Hornby is planning to steam in with a rescue bid for cashstrapped plastic model firm Airfix.
Airfix, which has produced model planes, ships and tanks for generations of children to glue together, faces closure after its parent firm Humbrol went into administration.
Humbrol sacked most of its 41 staff on Wednesday, blaming a cash flow problem caused by the collapse of a French firm that makes the plastic kits.
But last night a Hornby insider said the firm was considering a rescue package - but wanted more details about Airfix's demise.
The insider added: "They've rescued companies before and turned them around. It's early days but they're definitely interested."
Airfix enjoyed its heyday in the 60s - selling 350,000 Spitfires, 80,000 Hurricanes and 60,000 Lancasters a year. But sales have slumped in recent years as children have turned to computer games and the internet.
A deal with Hornby would bring together two of the UK's best-loved toy firms.
Hornby was founded in 1901 and became famous around the world for its train sets.
It has fought back in recent years against more modern children's entertainment by bringing in a range of new designs, including a miniature version of the Hogwarts Express featured in the Harry Potter films. It also owns racing car game Scalextric.
Hornby chief executive Frank Martin used to work at Humbrol, which bought Airfix in 1949 after starting out making the paints used by model-makers.
Jeremy Brook, of the Airfix Collectors' Club, said the firm's collapse was extremely sad. He added: "Any schoolboy of the 50s, 60s and 70s will remember being covered in glue as you assembled them."