Tribute to Pocketbond's Phillip Brook

26 July 2013
imports_CCGB_phillipbrookreadyfor_50390.jpg Phillip Brook, ready for the IMPS Nationals, November 2012.
Well known creator of Emhar and Pocketbond models dies aged 67. ...
With great regret Neil Fraser from Pocketbond Limited has informed us that Phillip Brook passed away suddenly on Monday June 3rd 2013. He became unwell on the Monday afternoon, but regrettably died later in the evening. Phillip had only recently celebrated his 67th birthday and had been in fine form after a recent trip to China. He was looking forward to planning his next visit in July.

Phillip was well known in the UK and International hobby industry, having established Pocketbond Limited in the late 1980s to market and distribute his own range of plastic kits under the Emhar brand, the World War I Mk IV tanks in 1/35 scale and 1/72 scale FJ-4B Fury being the first releases in 1989/90. The Emhar range was expanded over the years and in 2009 the 1/24 Bedford O Series trucks were released to much acclaim from modellers around the world.

Phillip joined Lesney Products & Co Ltd – manufacturers of Matchbox toys – in 1977 as Export Sales Manager responsible for Eastern Europe. In those days selling any commodity to countries behind the Iron Curtain such as East Germany, Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary and Czechoslovakia, was challenging to say the least – a challenge in which he excelled. Phillip represented Matchbox at many trade fairs and attended the annual Nuremberg Toy Fair every year since 1985.

Phillip’s love of travel from an early age saw him travel to more than 80 countries during his lifetime. In May 1981 Phillip relocated to Lesney Singapore with his wife Dagmar and three sons Julian, Daniel and Dominick, returning home to the UK in December 1982 with a new addition to the family, daughter Olivia. Phillip resumed work in the Matchbox Export Sales Department but although he was made redundant following the takeover of Matchbox by Universal Hong Kong, he was appointed as an independent sales agent responsible for sales of Matchbox diecast and plastic kits to the US independent retail sector. It was during this period in the late 1980s when Phillip travelled extensively in the US that he met the proprietors of Imex Model Co and Squadron/Signal Publications, and became their exclusive UK & European distributor. Other brands followed including Glencoe, Hobbycraft and Testors from North America and Canada, and Tauro of Italy. Phillip also travelled to Russia and Ukraine and became the importer for Eastern Express, Maquette and Toko (later to become Roden).

It was while Phillip was overseeing the sculpting, tooling and manufacture of Imex’s figures in the UK that, with his knowledge of military history, he designed the Emhar range of tanks, aircraft and figures. Originally manufactured in the UK, the tooling for Imex and Emhar kits and figures was transferred to China in 2004, and so began Phillip’s frequent visits to Hong Kong and China to progress projects, visit factories and attend trade fairs. It was during these early factory visits that Phillip saw the production processes with polystone, which led to the introduction of the Scenix and Conflix ranges of ready-painted buildings and terrain. He used his interest in classic cars to good effect and designed the Classix range of OO Gauge diecast cars and light commercial vehicles and cars, first issued in 2005.

He loved meeting new people and made many friends over the years. He loved travel and languages, and always wanted to learn as well as share his knowledge and experiences. He was never afraid to do things his way. Phillip loved his family and was especially close to his mother Emily, and nothing reflected this better than calling his range of model kits Emhar after his parents Emily and Harold.

Pocketbond Ltd is the exclusive UK importer and distributor of many model kit brands including Academy, Trumpeter, AFV Club, Imex, Pegasus Hobbies, “Roden”, Huma and Hong Kong Models. The Pocketbond team now headed by Phillip’s wife Dagmar Brook will continue servicing these ranges in the UK and Europe, as well as developing new Emhar releases. Pocketbond will be at the IPMS Nationals at Telford in November 2013, and London and Nurnberg Toy Fairs in 2014.
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