VINTAGE KITS ANNEX 5
CollectAir has vintage wood model airplane kits for sale, both flying models and solid display models, aimed at the serious collector. We also have special exhibits of old wood kits, completed models, ignition model engines, and rare model airplane catalogs dating back to 1912. The Society of Antique Modelers (SAM) is an international organization which carries on the tradition of flying old timer models, primarily those designed prior to 1943; many flying activities and contests are held in the U.S. and many other countries. The Flying Aces is another organization which is involved in flying scale, rubber-powered models built in the fashion of the 1930s and 40s.
Do you currently fly old timer models? Do you remember the old climb and glide routine? Would you like to become involved with radio controlled vintage model flying? Do you reside in the Central California area? Would you like to have a flying site that is devoted to R/C vintage models (i.e. no mufflers)? Would you like to belong to a vintage model club?
First, vintage fliers should belong to two organizations: The Society of Antique Modelers (SAM) and the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA). SAM is an international organization of vintage fliers and holds a national competition each year (SAM Champs). The AMA is an all encompassing model flying organization with many special interest groups - the main purpose for vintage fliers to belong is the insurance coverage for our flying, whether club flying or competition meets. Local chapters of SAM require that members belong to the AMA and recommend SAM membership if they intend to fly models at club sites.
SAM Chapter 26 is the Central Coast organization which fosters and promotes R/C vintage model flying through informal weekly "fly" sessions and several contests during the year. SAM 26 has a flying site (not suitable for free flight) available on Saturday mornings and has a dedicated group that tries to fill the air with old timers - including ignition engines, glow engines, gliders, and electric powered models, each trying to find that elusive thermal. Many of the modelers drive 50 or more miles to attend the weekly fly.
Neophytes to old timer building and flying are more than welcome. Experienced club members can provide guidance and assistance to the novice flier. Younger model enthusiasts who have been exposed to ready-to-fly R/C models are encouraged to build old timers - many small businesses now provide kits and parts aimed exclusively at the old timer. The old engines are readily available through eBay or swap sheets such as MECA - virtually all of the old model designs (originally free flight) are available by plan or kits. Some modelers enjoy competitive flying while many others enjoy pure sport flying - SAM 26 members have a wide range of interests.
Here are the organizations and SAM 26 individuals that would enjoy talking with you - if you have that urge to fly something different and would like to have a vintage model plan pinned to your building board, then contact our club officers. SAM and AMA both have websites.
SAM has a terrific old timer newsletter, SAM Speaks, which contains ads for many of the old timer suppliers. The SAM 26 newsletter is an informative, monthly tome which is equally valuable to the novice and experienced flier.
Academy of Model Aeronautics
Society of Antique Modelers (SAM)
SAM 26 President
SAM 26 Secretary/Treasurer
SAM 26 Newsletter editor
The Anderson Pylon model shown below is another example of the type of model flown in SAM. This model is an "Antique" design but has been scaled to 75% of the orignal size to accomodate a smaller engine displacement. The engine is an Ohlsson & Rice 23 (1947)and is mounted on an original O&R mounting tank. This engine has spark ignition.
Model had a successful first flight, so here's a photo.
BE SURE AND VISIT ALL SIX FOR A DOSE OF MODEL KIT HISTORY
As some of these kits are sold, I'm leaving the pictures on this page because I believe many of you will enjoy seeing the pictures and contents of these vintage models. As a number of kits have been sold, I will be posting many new kits, both flying scale and solid, during the coming months. A word of caution: Many old kits show up on eBay. I have been disappointed with the condition of some kits purchased on eBay auctions. I try to give you the true condition of kits that I offer with an honest appraisal of box condition (scale of 1 to 10 where "10" would be fresh out of the factory never opened - not many 10s around) and contents along with suitable pictures. Keep in mind that these are not new kits; they are all vintage items ranging from 40 years to over 80 years old so they usually show some patina of age and signs of shelf wear. The kit plan sometimes experiences acid-yellowing in areas caused by contact with wood and a plan can have splits along fold lines and may have tears - I try to describe these common defects as accurately as I can.
Be sure and check out the additional model kits on the Vintage Kits Annex Page, Vintage Kit Annex 2, Vintage Kit Annex 3, Vintage Kit Annex 4 and particularly Vintage Kits Annex 5 page (and Vintage Kits Annex 6) which has all of the Cleveland scale kits shown in the Cleveland 1955-56 catalog and much Cleveland history.
NEW BOOKS A new book, Flying Model Collectibles and Accessories, by James C. Johnson is a Schiffer book for collectors and includes a price guide - 627 color photos in 192 pages. This is an absolute necessary volume for the model airplane collector.
This is a superb book for anyone interested in old model memorabilia. The back cover states, "The dream of flight has been a rite of passage for more than three generations of boys, and model aviation continues to be one of the most wholesome and engaging activities in modern culture. This wonderful collector's book explores and identifies hundreds of fantastic items related to model aviation. More than 600 color photos illustrate engines, kits, radio control accessories, propellers, books, magazines, and other important model aviation memorabilia. The history of model aviation is documented in an engaging text full of facts and background information. Captions include detailed information about size, vintage, and current market values. At long last, treasure hunters, antique dealers, and all who have ever dreamed of flight have a clear, concise, and easy-to-use guide to model aviation memorabilia that has, until now, remained solely within the modeling community." Jim has had to omit a few subjects for reason of space, not importance. RTFs, solid wood scale, Jimmie Allen items, Jack Armstrong, and Jetex, are a few of the significant model items not included.
I believe this book is both a walk down model-memory lane and a good guide to what's out there. U-control is nicely handled as well as publications of the modeling world: catalogs, magazines, books, etc. I recommend this book for all who wander onto this page of vintage models. Priced at $29.95 and you can order from your favorite seller such as Amazon or Alibris. The cover and title page are shown below.
AVIATION'S GREAT RECRUITER - Cleveland's Ed Packard by H.L. (Herm) Schreiner. If you are a vintage model kit collector or were a youth in the great model building era of the 1930s through the 1950s and once assembled a Cleveland scale kit or dreamed of doing so - or if you are just interested in family businesses - this new book by Herm Schreiner must be on your library shelf. Herm has traced not only the accomplishments of Ed Packard and the Cleveland Model and Supply Company, but has laid the foundation for the model airplane industry from its infancy. Turn in your "collector's badge" if this book doesn't thrill you - guaranteed that you will learn things new and interesting. Herm first started working on this history in 1971 for several articles in the AAHS Journal and continued to be in contact with Ed Packard until Packard's death in 1992. The book is a fantastic work and I've thoroughly enjoyed every word. A few slip ups which aren't all Herm's fault - for instance, the terrific Cleveland Model display at the Air Force Museum, shown on page 280 is no longer there (as of June 2004). Page 119 has a caption for some race planes but no picture. Sorry to report that Mr. Schreiner has died since the publication of this fine book.
"This book was not written - it was assembled. It is a vehicle for the long overdue recognition of the spirit that lived within Master Model Engineer Edward T. Packard, since it was that indomitable, resolute dedication to providing 'wings for everyone' that created a lifelong hobby for so many of us, a hobby that made it possible for us to dream dreams of flying - of building or flying our own planes, of being test pilots, or of serving in the military. Dreams are the fabric of which Ed Packard was made. Had he not had dreams, there would never have been a Cleveland Model and Supply Company, and millions of us would never have experienced the satisfaction of the accomplishment of model construction and the euphoria of flight, one of the great joys of life." - from the Preface by the author.
"Aviation's Great Recruiter looks at an immigrant family whose oldest son's initiative and fascination with aircraft and flight led him into his career path at the age of thirteen. This cottage industry enterprise came to occupy his entire family for the next 77 years. It is a paean to the incubation of aviation, to the social and political atmosphere that accomplished it, and to Cleveland as the nexus for its germination." - Sidney H. Budd, Board of Directors, Crawford Auto and Aviation Museum, Cleveland, Ohio.
The soft cover book has a whopping 322 pages devoted to the model airplane industry. A listing is given of 289 of the C-D Scale Model Plans that Cleveland produced. Sixteen full color pages are included along with numerous black & white photos taken throughout Ed Packard's life. Here is a listing of the Parts and Chapters. Part I : The Birth of a Successful Cottage Industry. 1. Origins. 2. Destiny:Aviation. 3.Building a Nest Egg in the "Soaring Twenties." 4. The Lindbergh Phenomenon and the Pachasas. 5. The SF-1, Springboard to Greatness. 6. The Legacy of the War Birds. 7. C-D Takes Off. 8. The Era of the C-D "Giants" versus the Pylon Polishers. Part II: The Lorain Avenue Move and War Clouds over Europe. 9. The "All American Carton" and Gateway to Lorain Avenue. 10. The Playboy Family Takes Wing. 11. C-D Goes to War. 12. Postwar Dilemmas. Part III: Transition: The New C-D Era. 13. The Origin of the Volunteer Model Engineers. 14. The Reincarnations of the Wright Flyer and the Spirit of St. Louis. Part IV: Recognition. 15. The AMA and the Renaissance Man. 16. Showcased and Honored. 17. The Changing of the Guard at C-D. Epilogue. Appendix A. Listing of C-D Scale Model Plans. Appendix B. C-D Stock Prospectus and Evaluation, 1932. Appendix C. National Air Race Winners and the C-D Model Kits. Appendix D. Cleveland Model Supply Colunteer Model Engineers. Appendix F. Modelers Who Made It. References.
Sure to raise a few hackles, there is a lengthy description on pages 182-184 of how the Playboy Senior was designed by Ed Packard, not the "boy draftsman", Joe Elgin, who Ed directed how to draw the plan - the sequence of events was attested to by Cleveland designer/artist Jim Powell. Adding my own take on the Playboy origins, I've found that the wing on the 1938 Cleveland Cloudster is exactly the same as the wing on the Playboy Junior with the exception that polyhedral was incorporated on the Junior; this dates the basic wing design to 1938, before Joe Elgin's employment at Cleveland. This is not a technical, kit by kit, descriptive compendium - it is the story of Ed Packard and his company with its ups and downs, successes and failures. It is a fabulous book for our hobby of vintage wood kits. The price of this work is $39.95 and can be ordered from your favorite bookseller.
Ordering information is available at the bottom of this page.
More kits are offered on the Vintage Kits Annex Page. Click here to view additional old model kits at the Annex. Also, the Vintage Kit Annex 2 Page offers additional items. Click here to go to Annex 2. More vintage kits have been added to Annex 3 which can be accessed by Clicking here, and to Annex 4, accessed by Clicking here.
These links are repeated at the bottom of the page and in the list of page links in the left margin.
Berkeley Model Supplies was started in 1933 by William "Bill" Effinger in the basement and garage of his Brooklyn home while he was attending college. Starting with classified ads in Universal Model Airplane News, Bill began display ads in March 1934 and by November 1935 had an ad for six kits in what he named the "Master Models" series, all flying scale with a 20" wingspan. His very first scale design was the Consolidated Fleetster. This series continued until 1941. The Berkeley name came from his address in 1933, 53 Berkeley Place, Brooklyn.
Bill became known for his 7 1/2 foot wingspan, Brown Junior-powered Buccaneer free flight gas model, designed in 1934 and was put out as a kit starting in 1935, possibly being America's first gas model plane kit. A smaller Buccaneer Standard was offered in 1937 and the Super Buccaneer was a sleeker version of the large 7 1/2- footer. This design won many contests and set many records. It was one of the earliest gas models to be kitted and it is still popular today with those modelers flying vintage designs with the Society of Antique Modelers. The large, 9-foot Cavalier (1938)and Custom Cavalier were also early Berkeley successes. The "new" streamlined Super Buccaneer is pictured below from a 1937 Model Airplane News as the "improved version of the 1936 contest winner at NAA Nationals".
You may click here if you would like to see the Super Buccaneer catalog page from the 1941 Berkeley model catalog. Use back arrow to return.
Armed with a Mechanical Engineering degree, Bill found that Berkeley Models provided a better chance of employment than scarce engineering jobs during the depression years around 1938 so the model kit and supply business was his bread and butter until WWII came along. During the late 1930s, the young rubber model designer Henry Struck became associated with Berkeley; Struck designed the American Ace, Flying Cloud and the Sinbad glider. The AMA has a biography of Effinger on-line which you can access by clicking here.
Bill served as an Naval Aviation Engineering Officer during the second war and his dad continued the model business for the duration. A nice selection of kits existed throughout the war, including some civilian "Tactical Solid Demonstration Models", also presumably contracted by the Air Corps. While serving in Guadacanal, Bill and other modelers kiln-dried locally grown balsa and continued model building in off-duty hours.
Berkeley Models virtually exploded after the war with a wide range of new kits ranging from rubber powered scale, gas free flight - both contest and sport, powered scale, control-line stunt, speed and scale, solid models, boat kits, gliders, etc. Berkeley ads during the late 1940s and 1950s were prominent and featured a whole line of intriguing kits for modelers. The Berkeley kits were very complete and well designed by model "experts" - not only Bill, but also Henry Struck, Dr. Walt Good, Don McGovern, Woody Blanchard, Benny Shereshaw (Custom Cavalier), Paul Plecan (Minnow), Dick Korda (Powerhouse), and Stan Hill (who lived here in Santa Barbara), just to mention a few. Effinger developed a unique system of enlisting the design services of top model competition flyers. By 1957, Bill Effinger was reported to have estimated that Berkeley had produced 2 million kits, covering a very wide spectrum of modeling interests with an emphasis on scale flying models. The company was located in the famous aviation area on Long Island, West Hempstead, on Railroad Avenue. The Berkeley line ceased as an independent company because of bankruptcy around 1960 as it was taken over, or partnered, by Arkansas engine-maker Duke Fox who tried to rescue the ailing company. Beginning in 1960, Berkeley kits were featured in the same, familiar ads but with an Arkansas address, the same as Fox engines. By 1962, the Berkeley ads disappeared and a few of the kits were still offered in Fox engine ads; at first the kits were identified as Berkeley but some were put on sale at 1/2 price in June 1962 and the Berkeley name vanished. Subseqent ads in July featured some kits under the Fox name with no mention of Berkeley, so I use that date as the full demise of Berkeley kits, over 40 years ago. The melding of Fox and Berkeley just didn't work out. The kit line, in part, was picked up by Sig.
Effinger returned to New York following Berkeley's demise and he took a job as the project engineer for the A.C. Gilbert Company; in that capacity, Effinger developed the successful "American Flyer" line of ready-to-fly plastic models.
The January/February 1963 issue of American Modeler magazine has an ad for Reginald Denny Hobby Shop which features "Last of the Boeing B-17 'Flying Fortress'" - the large Berkely kit. From the ad: "Fox closes Berkeley plant...sells all stock...only limited quantities left."
Berkeley Models Inc. published a "How to Build Model Airplanes" Handbook in 1959; the book featured images from many of the plans for kits being manufactured by Berkeley. This excellent booklet, B-104, is shown in several pictures below.
Berkeley kits are very desirable collector items today inasmuch as they were one of the finest and most complete kits being offered during their run in the business. Some Berkeley kits will be presented here for sale as availability permits. The newest Berkeley kits that were marketed have to be over 40 years old by now; most are around 50 to 55 years average. Indeed vintage.
The Master Models series is pictured in the following page from the 1941 Berkeley catalog, the last year for this series.
The box measures 4 1/4" x 19" x 1 1/2" deep. The condition of this old box is about a "6"; it has a small date stamp of "DEC 15 1942" on the box front. This kit series was discontinued in 1941. The model plan has a few splits and tears on the lh side which have been repaired with archival document repair tape on the backside. The plan was drawn by "W.E." or William Effinger; he provided only 1/2 of the wing with instructions to use carbon paper to transfer the wing pattern to the backside of the plan. Contents and details from the plan are shown below.
This historic Master Model series was really the foundation for Berkeley kits, sales of which convinced Effinger to stay in the model kit business instead of venturing forth as an engineer. Bill's engineering background is evident in his drawings. This kit, around 60 years-old, is available for $110.00.
BERKELEY PRIVATEER SUPER 15 AMPHIBION KIT 19-4
Berkely was based in Brooklyn until the early 1950s when the company moved to West Hemstead, N.Y. A huge Privateer amphibion was designed earlier, followed by a 1/2A Privateer flying boat with a 36" wingspan and Henry Struck's "Sea-Cat" with a 68" wingspan, both of which appeared in the 1955 catalog. The Privateer Super "15" amphibion, kit No. 19-4, came out in 1960 after Berkeley merged with Fox and moved to Arkansas. See ad below. The "15" is a fabulous kit with a 60" wingspan, designed for either R/C or free flight and may be flown off water or land with manually retracted gear. The kit has a spun metal cowl for the engine, die-cut parts and lots of balsa; a large plan sheet is very detailed. Although this is a delightful collector's kit, one of the last designed by the Berkeley team and engineered by Bill Effinger, it is a kit which screams to be built - it looks like it would be a superb flyer with lots of wing and a long tail moment. The box rates about a "7 to 8" and the kit appears to be complete. Price of this 45-year-old box of balsa is SORRY SOLD.
Thousands of youth got their first modeling interest by assembling StromBecKer solid model kits in the 1930s and 40s. The early YB-17 kit C2 was my introduction to airplane models. The kits were absolute wonders with carefully milled and contoured pine pieces which could be crudely assembled by a 7-year-old (and actually look like an airplane) or finely crafted and painted by an adult to create a handsome display model. These were the cream of the solid model kits for kids. In the pre-WWII period, starting in about 1934, StromBecKer also made ship kits and various train kits (their specialty) as well as artillery pieces and a light tank. The dozens of pre-WWII kits are hard to find and very expensive. A history of the Strombeck-Becker Manufacturing Co. and their line of great pre-carved wood kits can be accessed by clicking the StromBecKer page here. I'm sure you will enjoy it.
Six 1:72 kits were made during the war for the identification program and the post WWII kits became more detailed and elaborate as competition started coming from plastic. The B-24J and B-29 were very nice 4-engine kits, all in 1:72 scale. A picture of a B-24J kit is shown below as an example. Several other StromBecKers are offered on these kit pages, including the B-24J.
Some lightplanes (Swift 125 - with and without floats, Piper Cub Super Cruiser and Seascout, Bonanza) were included in the post-WWII product lineup along with some civil airliners such as the Convair Flagship, Douglas Super Clipper, DC-3, and the American DC-6. The Northrop P-61 Black Widow was the only postwar twin reciprocating engine model of a military airplane - a very nice kit C33. Several small missile kits (Regulus and Matador - early design) were made and a number of post-WWII jet fighters (6), the D-558 Douglas Skyrocket, the Lockheed XV-1, and only one jet bomber, the B-47 Strato-Jet, kit number C45 which is being offered here. The XV-1 and the missile kits began incorporating many plastic parts as StromBecKer transitioned into the all-plastic field during the later 1950s and eventually dropped out of wood models altogether. The first all-plastic StromBecKer kit was the Navy XF2Y-1 Sea Dart, kit no. D25, which came out in 1955.
The B-47 kit is dated 1952. The box lid measures 3 3/4" x 12" x 1 1/2" deep; the general condition is a "9" making a very nice display box.
The kit contents are in excellent condition and complete with all parts. The model has a wing span of 13" and is marked as a scale of 1/9"=1', sort of a "fit the box" size - shown below with the September 5, 1949 issue of Newsweek featuring a B-47 on the cover and a short story inside about the B-36 controversy with the U.S. Navy.
This 1952 kit of the B-47 Strato-Jet is available for $95.00.
This kit is an excellent example of solid balsa kits of the mid-1930s; it features profile-cut parts and a nicely detailed plan in the full, 1:24 scale. The addition of an electrically-driven propeller is unusual for a solid kit - I have no idea whether the motor is functional. A 4 5/8" x 12" leaflet is included which promotes the movie, Mutiny on the Bounty, by having a model contest for Bounty models made from the Model Builders Guild kit. A detailed synopsis of the movie is on the flip side - starring Clark Gable, Charles Laughton, and Franchot Tone. Also included is a detailed instruction sheet , 8 1/2" x 14" describing the steps in building the P-26A. The title block of the 17" x 22" plan is shown below along with a detail from the plan.
The Model Builders Guild published many ship model plans and kits in the mid-1930s. Does anyone have further information concerning any other airplane kits by this firm? The box contents are pictured below. The large, 7 1/2" x 12 3/4" lid-type box is in great condition - a near "10" - surprising for its 70-year age.
This superb, 1935 solid model kit is available for sorry sold - a rare example. American Airlines baggage stickers were used on the ends to seal the lid to the kit bottom - the sticker reads, "American Airlines - Mail - Passengers - Express". A sticker half is shown below.
The following is from the leaflet enclosed with the kit.
"Ever since the epoch making flight of Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh, the youth of America has been 'air minded.' The imagination and fancy of all are in the conquering of the air. Boys! Young men! Build and fly model aeroplanes. The world of the future will be on wings. The model aeroplane opens the door of golden opportunity to you. Learn the elementary knowledge of the science of aeronautics by experimenting with model planes.
"ACE ARROW MODEL AEROPLANES are the result of many years of experimentation by one of the world's pioneer aviators. They are built to really fly and are so durably constructed, that no longer will it be necessary for you to spend hours of time constructing a model, only to have a complete 'crash' on your first few attempts to fly it.
"Glueless wings that take only three minutes to assemble, equipped with protecting wing tips. Tube fusilage construction with provision for using a winding device, Flexible elevator wing supports, giving automatic stability. Adjustable rudder control. Wings and rudders that are released when plane strikes objects, thereby preventing breaking. These, with many other features, are incorporated in ACE ARROW MODEL AEROPLANES.
"ACE ARROW MODEL AEROPLANES are named in honor and esteem of three pioneers in flying.
"The 'Beachey Stunt Plane' is rightfully named after Lincoln Beachey undoubtedly the most daring stunt flyer of his time, if not of all time. Beachey, the flyer who startled the world years ago by making an indoor flight in an armory.
"It is only fitting that the endurance flyer of the Ace Arrow fleet be named after George T. Tomlinson, the pioneer endurance flyer. - the first man in the world to remain in the air over night, and this, in a balloon, over thirty years ago. Tomlinson who built and piloted balloons, - who built and flew dirigibles and, lastly, aeroplanes many years ago.
"The Baldwin Tractor named after Captain Thomas S. Baldwin - the granddaddy of aviation, who was one of the earliest developers and operators of parachutes - who built and piloted balloons - who constructed America's first dirigible and, lastly, built and flew an aeroplane as far back as 1910, when he was then well over sixty years old."
This is an example of a kit from around 1930 featuring pre-built and pre-formed parts (partly finished). This kit was originally sold for $5.00 at San Francisco's City of Paris department store (Nieman Marcus currently on site at Union Square) and the price tag is still on the wing (marked down to $2.50). All parts are constructed from a harder wood similar to basswood. A pair of intact,and in excellent condition, celluloid wheels are still tied to the box bottom. A roll of red silk covering material is included. The pre-built parts and construction material have not been removed from their original tie-downs. The only items that appear to be missing are the Ambroid glue and dope can mentioned in the instructions. It is not evident where those items would have been fastened in the box as there is no obvious place for them. Perhaps they came as separately packaged items. The wing is on a raised cardstock platform but there isn't sufficient room underneath for the liquids. Two glassine envelopes have small parts within. Note that the original rubber motor is included although it is "petrified" (photo above).
The black box, measuring 13" x 30 1/4" x 2 1/2" deep, is all there although the cardstock is quite brittle and almost all seams and bends have been broken out, some repaired. There is a small, red label on top and on one end (pictured). I believe that a professional box restorer could enhance the box parts to a very presentable display condition. I have made no attempt to do so myself.
The 4-page, 8" x 10 1/2" instruction leaflet is in excellent condition. There is also a 3 1/2" x 7" leaflet giving "Baldwin Flying Tips."
This is a rare and unusual kit with contents in exceptional condition - over 80 years-old! This kit belongs in a museum. Coming out at the beginning of the great depression, the price of $5.00 was quite high, being comparable to the price of mid-range ARFs of today. Certainly not kid stuff! The kit was probably designed just before the stock market crash of 1929. Balsa was beginning to appear in some kits around this time; a Model Airplane News of 1930 shows ads for a number of kits looking similar to this crude design. Flying models were mostly semi-scale and made rapid progress from 1928 to 1932. By 1934, many kit manufacturers had handsome scale models in their line. Compare this rather rough design to the elegant Cleveland kits which began to appear simultaneously. It was a case of trying to sell ease of construction (semi-finished) and durability against the complicated balsa designs such as offered by the Clevelands which took skill and patience to build. Not many kids could hope for a $5.00 model so look how popular the dime and twenty-five cent kits became - a product of the depression.
I have not put a price on this kit. Only a few collectors will have interest in such a rare model airplane kit from that era. I will entertain offers so feel free to contact me concerning possible purchase of this "Baldwin Tractor".
How's this for an offbeat stick-and-tissue flying model(15-inch wingspan): a Megow's FW 198 (kit #F62). "What," you say, "is a FW 198?" According to the book, "Focke-Wulf" (see book link), "The designation 'Fw 198' was invented by the British aviation press during 1940 and referred in fact to a Dutch aircraft, the De Schelde S.21. No such designation as the 'Fw 198' was allocated by the R.L.M. or used by Focke-Wulf." The British magazine, The Aeroplane, edited by Edwin Colston Shepherd, was suckered into carrying a story about the "Fw 198" in the February 9, 1940 issue and then following it up with a page and a half exposition on the "Fw 198" in the March 1, 1940 issue (p.276) including the line drawing shown at right. This apparently is the origin of the phoney fighter. The magazine article stated, "Probably the Germans had hoped to spring the Fw 198 on us as a surprise in the Spring." Where and why the Megow's designers came up with this one is a mystery when there were hundreds of designs to model! Some clue, however, may be the fact that Model Airplane News, in the May 1941 issue, published a 3-view of the "Focke-Wulf FW-198", drawn by Wieczorek and dated 11/18/40.
During WW2, a weekly aviation tabloid entitled "Current Aviation" was available to high school students by subscription; each week, this four-pager featured a superbly drawn strip, "On the Beam", by F.K. Barnes which gave information on U.S. and foreign warplanes. The picture above of the "FW-198" is from the November 26, 1943 issue.
Maircraft produced a 50 cent "Sky Kings of World War II" 1/4" scale solid model kit, H-6, of the "Focke-Wulf FW-198" in the 1940s. This all-pine, outline cut kit is shown below and is offered for sale at $60.00 . The plan measures 11" x 17" and was drawn by James R. Wyse; there is some wrinkling and yellowing. The box shows its age with yellowing and scuffing on the end flaps; one flap is repaired but the box is sound and rates about a "6". The tail feathers and wheels are in the sealed envelope. The side view is from the back of the box which shows all the models in this series.
This "Focke-Wulf FW 198" is one of Megow's "War Planes" series of 30" flying models. The Megow kit line included a number of 30" flying models as "J" series kits prior to 1942. The 50-cent kits in the 1941 catalog ran through Kit No. J15 and were mostly light planes. By 1942, Megow expanded the "J" series with two releases (each of 6 airplanes) of 30" "War Planes", priced at 95-cents. Although the printwood carries the "J" numbering system, the kits were listed as the "X" series, perhaps because of the higher price. The FW 198, Kit X10 (J27), is shown listed below on page 11 from the 1942 Megow catalog, catalog 12.
No date on the Megow's, all-balsa model kit being offered for sale but it is packaged in an early 1940s, 2-color printed box. This kit is first shown in a MAN Dec. 1941 Megow ad as a 95 cent kit in a bright red box. The large, lid-type box is a condition 6. Fuselage is a round-nosed center pod that would have been a bear to figure out how the included flat pattern for the glass could be crafted. Do you know anyone that ever built one of these? This kit is a real kick. Own it for $100.00.
The October, 1952 issue of Air Trails magazine carried this teaser on the front cover: "The mysterious case of the misplaced De Schelde 'F.W. 198'." A three-page article puts to rest the saga of the Fw 198, outlining how the 1938 de Schelde S.21, built by Koninklijke Maatschappij 'de Schelde' at the Flushing, Holland plant became known as a "Fokker", then as a "Focke-Wulf", but no one has an explanation for the "198". To compound the error, the 1941 Jane's All the World's Aircraft book, on page 77c, lists the "Focke-Wulf Fw 198", although sparce on specs and no 3-view or picture is offered. Jane's was fooled also! (This 1941 Jane's is available for $200).
A Megow's Grumman Skyrocket, balsa flying model kit with a 30-inch wingspan. This Kit X-8 appeared in a 1942 Megow's advertisement shown below from the February 1942 Model Airplane News and was priced at 95-cents; a similar 30 " kit was introduced pre-war as Kit J-25 in the September 1941 Air Trails priced at 50-cents - perhaps without liquids, or maybe WWII just raised the price. The Grumman XF5F-1 Skyrocket made its first flight from Grumman's Bethpage field on April 1, 1940. This Navy fighter version was doomed from the start as the engines and the wing forward of the cockpit resulted in poor visibilty for a carrier landing. One XF5F-1 was built and it was modified significantly during its program before being shelved by the Navy in 1944. The Army had a similar ship for test, the XP-50 which promptly crashed on its first flight, ending that development. Nevertheless, the Skyrocket was an exciting looking airplane and it had superior performance to contemporary twin engine fighters such as the P-38. There is some question as to when the unofficial name "Skyrocket" was attached to the F5F-1 although the book The Grumman Story states that it was given to the ship when Navy tests proved it to have a high rate of climb. The picture below of the Air Trails magazine cover of August 1940 is listed as a Rudy Arnold photo of the Grumman "Skyrocket" which was published just a few months following its first flight. The photos below show the F5F-1 in its original configuration without wing to fuselage fillets and a straight rudder hinge line; note that this configuration is also the one used for the Megow's kit. The F5F-1 was originally painted with silver lacquer except for the top surface of the wing which was bright Navy yellow - scheme changed in late 1941 to standard Navy blue and light grey when the nose was lengthened.
Many model manufacturers came out with kits, both flying and solid, for the Skyrocket, even though it was a one-off airplane. Three-views for the Skyrocket appeared in magazines by the summer of 1940.
This panel is from Blackhawk's, The Brave and the Bold, No. 167 . It's the best drawing of the F5F-1 in the comic books.
Cleveland had a particularly nice kit. This Megow's kit has a lid-type box which rates an "8+" condition - a good display piece. Megow's used this same plan for a smaller kit by shrinking it down for Kit F60. Costing nearly one buck in 1942, Kit X-8 is available for SORRY SOLD to show how youth in that early war period were spending their hard earned paper-route money. The roundels on the box art is a mystery.
A companion kit to the Skyrocket above, the Grumman "Martlet" or Wildcat matches the box size and has a 30" wingspan. this kit X7 is a wartime issue with substitute wood for all balsa parts. The printwood is marked as "Kit J24" which is the prewar number. Kit is complete down to a dried-up glue tube. A good example of a wartime kit with strange wood for parts and sticks. Nice box with some distress to label and excellent contents, priced at $75.00. The "red box" ad below is from the January 1942 Air Trails.
Here's a wish book from 1940, full of enticing engines, free-flight models, accessories, boats, railroad, flying scale and solid models - advertised as the "Largest Hobbycraft Manufacturers in the World!" Own this terrific piece of modeling nostalgia for only $SOLD - see 1939.
The box lists the contents as including: Comet Model Builder's knife, Rolled plans, Rolled tissue, Colored dope, Extra large tube of cement, Printed balsa sheets, Colored insignia, Celluloid for the cockpit, Banana oil, Finished wheels, and die-cut formers. This particular kit from 1945 still shows signs of the wartime restrictions on balsa as the sticks are basswood (?) and the knife blade is the only metal part. A Comet catalog of the wartime period states, "In accordance with O.P.M. Order L-81, effective June 30, 1942, manufacturers will use substitutes to replace "critical materials" in Kit contents. Also from time to time certain contents will be omitted from kits entirely because of government regulations. PLEASE DO NOT blame dealers for such omissions."
This kit has a large, lid-type box measuring 9 3/4" x 20 3/4" x 1 1/2" and rates a condion of "8+" showing only a little shelf wear and slight fading. The contents are in excellent condition. Glue and dope are included for a complete kit; the dope is still liquid, all three bottles! A fine example of one of Comet's nicer scale model kits using the Speed-O-Matic construction. A close-up of one of the die-cut cardstock formers with an instrument panel is shown below. Note that the die-cut sheet is intact with no punch-outs
A complete Comet Super Kit of the Hellcat F6F-3 in outstanding condition considering that it is around the 60 year mark; priced at $235.00.
The Boeing B-29 Superfortress, in many scales, was modeled in solid kits by several manufacturers beginning in 1944. Several kits are being offered for sale here, but I'll set the stage for what was available in the the time period of about ten years from 1944.
Comet Models, in their Kit No. M3, 1944, offered what is probably the second largest solid model wood kit ever produced in the U.S. Their B-29 Superfortress, "Dynamite Dottie", tail number 26359, had a gigantic wingspan of 26 1/2", a 3/16"=1' scale, or 1:64 scale. This kit is all-balsa and is profile cut; it's actually an excellent kit with very good plans and instructions. Because of its quality and size, the Comet B-29 is an excellent collectible kit.
Comet Models, produced a smaller scale B-29, Kit No. M4, with a wingspan of 17 21/32 inches. All balsa, profile cut, this B-29 model of "Dynamite Dottie" uses a smaller scale plan based on Kit No. M3. Kit No. M4 is dated 1945. This kit is avalable for purchse for $75.00.
Kapro Kits of Seattle produced a B-29 kit which does not have a scale listed on the box or plans but which measures out to be darn close to 1:72 scale with a wingspan of 22 5/8". This kit has decals for "Sky Ranger", tail number 16280, and is a rather odd combination of materials. It has a machine turned, pine fuselage and nacelle/engine rings. The rest of the model is balsa, with partially shaped wings and profile cut tail feathers. Plans are ok.
Cadet Aeronautics, a Division of Winner Engineering Corp., made an all-balsa kit B-29 in 1/8" scale, or 1:96 scale. This is a nice kit with a machine turned balsa fuselage and profile cut parts. Kit S-1 has excellent plans and instructions and is in a lid-type box as are all of the kits outlined herein. The Cadet B-29 was featured in a full-page ad in the January 1945 Air Trails magazine with the headline, "It's Simple to Build This Boeing B-29." The 1945 dealer sell sheet for this kit is presented below - the backside has newspaper headlines such as "Thousands Flee Tokyo As Super Raids Mount." Click here to see headlines. Use back arrow to return.
The Randles model, or RANCO, B-29 Kit number 100-D, came in two style kits. The "Deluxe" kit (offered here), at $1.75 (originally $1.25), was precarved and the "79 cent" kit (originally 50 cents) was not precarved but had some profiling (see this kit, also offered below). The kit is listed as 1 inch equals 10 feet, or 1:120 scale. This is a very basic kit with a carved balsa fuselage, carved nacelles and the rest of the parts are also balsa with profile cut wings with some carving and the tail surfaces outline-cut. Plans are minimal but sufficient. Nice box which measures 6 1/4" x 12 1/4" x 2" and is a condition "9". Views of the kit are shown below. This "B-29 Superfort No. 100-D" is priced at SORRY SOLD, but see "economy" kit.
The Randles "Ranco" B-29 Economy kit is shown below. This profile cut kit comes in a different box, which rates a strong "9", and is priced at $65.00. The plan is identical to the deluxe kit. The wingspan is just slightly less than 16 inches.
Master Modelcraft produced a "Sculp-Turned" B-29 in 1/8" scale with an advertised wingspan of 17 1/2". This 1940s Master Modelcraft kit of the Boeing B-29 features a carved pine fuselage and profile cut balsa wings and tail surfaces. Balsa engine nacelles are to be cut out. Cast metal props are included along with hardwood wheels, wire, dowel, sandpaper, and dried up paint. The carved fuselage is unusual as it has nicely detailed blisters and root fairings for the wing and tail pre-carved - photos shown below. A full-size plan is included along with a smaller scale blueprint-style drawing of the B-29.
The kit box lid rates about a "6" and is suitable for display. An interesting example of machine carving of that period of kit manufacturing. The scale of the model is 1:96 (1/8" scale) with a wingspan of 17 1/4 inches. A very collectible kit for SORRY SOLD - see Annex 6.
A "Sculp-Turned" B-29 kit is also available without the box. The kit is complete with all parts, plans etc. but does not have the original Master Modelcraft lid-type box. This kit, in a plain box, is priced at only Sorry Sold.
Another Master Modelcraft advertisement from May 1945, showing the solid model line, may be viewed by clicking here.
Model Airplane Co. Techni-Carved B-29 Super Fortress is an elegantly carved, all balsa B-29 in 1/8" = 1' scale. Dated 1945, the plan for this model shows the full armament, unlike some of the other B-29 kits of that era. The Model Airplane Co. of Brooklyn, N.Y.,also states that it is an "Airways Product." It's possible that this company later became the A.M.P. Company. One of the finest of the balsa kits, this Techni-Carved model is available for Sorry Sold.
Undoubtedly the largest solid scale kit ever produced in the U.S. was the Douglas Models B-29B in 1/4" scale which had a huge span of 35 3/8". This Salt Lake City firm also kitted a 1/8" scale B-29. The kit was advertised in 1945. Walt Grigg, kit collector extraordinaire, says that the box measures a huge 25 1/2" x 5" x 3" deep and weighs 4 lbs.! Other large Douglas kits include the Lancaster, B-24 and PBY. Walt submitted a photo of the very rare kit, shown below; the fuselage is a 2-inch turned hardwood tube with a separate rear fuselage. This kit has been started by some "kid" who gave up. Walt comments that "I believe only one of these models was built, that being the one Jack Douglas did for his ads - but it was probably the 1/8" size." The full size plans are nicely drawn but the turret guns are not shown (only turret blisters)as was the censorship policy during WWII.
The smallest B-29 kit that I've seen is the "Megow Solid Scale Models B-29 Super Fortress" which is an all-balsa kit. This kit No. S-57 has a miniscule wingspan of only 6". Two pieces of balsa, one a printwood and the other a square piece for the fuselage, and a small package which I haven't opened. A minimal kit which you can own for a paltry $25.00.
Almost the smallest B-29 kit, is the Steve Patti B-29 kit No. 311, with a wingspan of 7 inches. A minimal kit, such as the Megow above, this little gem is priced at $22.00, a wonderful example of what the young buyer in the 1940s experienced when faced with turning those little blocks of balsa into a complicated model of a B-29. Yet, the youthful builder was proud of his model, no matter that it was barely recognizable as a Superfortress - compare to today's youth with the perfect plastic kit or inexpensive scale model from China. How expectations have changed!
The Continental Empire Tru-Scale Solids, all-balsa B-29 with a 12 5/8" wingspan is another minimal style solid kit requiring lots of work to make look like a Superfortress. Why are there two vertical tails? The array of solid models shown on the back of the box (below) would indicate that this is a wartime kit; an examination of the kit photo below, however, shows a 1947 style insignia, so this kit most likely was produced for awhile following WW2. Note that the B-29 is captioned as a "Flying Fortress" on the back! The box calls this kit E-3 but the plan shows a number of R.2135. Own it for $25.00.
The B-29 kit contents are shown below; click on the image for a larger view - once the image appears, another click on it will expand further.
Which brings us to two carved and all-pine kits in 1:72 scale, the "Testors Authentic Solid Scale Model - All Parts Shaped and Ready for Assembly - B-29 Super Fortress", Kit number 555, and the StromBecKer B-29 Boeing Superfortress Solid Model Assembly Kit", Kit number C250. These kits were in competition with each other with similar appearing boxes of the same size, 6 3/4" x 17 3/4" x 2" deep. Each offered pre-carved pine parts but the StromBecKer wins hands down in the detail department. The StromBecKer B-29 is equipped with flaps, landing gear (with nose weight), and propellers, none of which are included in the Testors kit. Both are 1:72 scale with a wingspan of near 23 1/2" (most B-29s had a wingspan of 141' 3").
The Testors Kit number 555, "Boeing B-29 Super Fortress", shown above, is complete with a box that is in condition 8 to 9, and is priced at $195.00. Manufactured by the Testor Chemical Company Wood Working Division. Single one-side plan sheet with a reduced size component view and excellent photographic instructions. A two-page ad for the Testors B-29 appeared in the December 1945 MAN; half of that ad can be seen by Clicking Here. The Testors solid kits used what Testors called "Mexican Pine" - never quite as nice material as the StromBecKer white pine.
The photo below is of a Testors booth at a model trade show in the 1946 era. The Testors B-29 and C-54 are the featured models being promoted at the show. You can read a short history of the Testors company by Clicking Here.
The StromBecKer kit (1946) below has an excellent two-side plan sheet with good views and instructions. In addition, a small, 24-page booklet from "The StromBecKer Library of Famous Models" for the B-29 is included in the kit.
This kit is complete with a box condition of about 8+ and is priced at Sorry Sold. Own this queen of the solids. Decals are marked 8-53 so I'm guessing that that is the date of production for this particular kit (which was introduced in 1946), over 50-years ago. A history of the Strombeck-Becker Manufacturing Co. and their line of great pre-carved wood kits can be accessed by clicking the StromBecKer page here.
Some parts for the StromBecKer B-29 are available; please inquire if you are short some parts for your restoration.
The photos below show a Strombecker display booth at a model trade show in the 1946 era. The StromBecKer B-29 kit is the featured item; several built-ups are also on display.
The huge all-balsa Comet kit M3 from 1944, as described above, is available for $125.00. The contents of this kit are complete and excellent and the kit box bottom is in excellent condition. The box lid, measuring a big 7 1/4" x 20 1/4" x 2 3/8" deep, is in pretty fair condition with the exception of one end which is distressed with what looks like moisture damage and scuffing from storage; except for the very end, the balance of the box lid is condition 7. The kit contents and box lid are pictured below.
Cleveland Models came out with a "Semi Solid" model of the B-29 in 1944. Designed for tether flying ("line controlled"), the model was partially solid and partially built up with bulkheads and stringers. The model had a 26 ½ inch wingspan. Interestingly, wartime restrictions excised armament from photos of the B-29; Cleveland went ahead and "installed" guns on this kit drawing. Details of kit AU-200 are shown below. The kit may be purchased for Sorry sold.
A Joe Ott "Flying Battle Plane Kit" from WWII era. Featuring the cardboard "Ott-O-Matic" formers and hardwood sticks (no strategic material in this kit!). The airplane is the famous Luftwaffe dive-bomber, the Stuka, Ju 87. Not a bad kit considering it has no balsa - these actually built-up to make a model. The flap-type box is in good shape for a Joe Ott kit (light weight cardboard). The kit number is #2205. The box is 4" x 7/8" x 13 5/8". A nice collector's kit of a wartime example of how things were done without balsa. Only $47.50 plus shipping; SORRY SOLD but have a poorer grade box for $22.50. See Vintage Kit Annex 2 page for a writeup on Joe Ott.
Prices for these unique patterns may not be for the faint of heart but represent good value considering their rarity and collectibility, particularly for the collector or enthusiast who treasures the era of solid wood models which required craft skills to complete. Consider that these patterns are truly one-of-a-kind compared to the manufactured kits which, although scarce today, were made in huge numbers. Quick-build plastic kits wiped out the wood models which began the process of near extinction in the 1950s.
Historical background. Unfortunately I do not have much information about the original Burkard company which was run by Joe Burkard. The first advertisement for solid models that I can find is in the November 1940 issue of Model Airplane News which states, "9 Great Deluxe Solid Scale Models Now $1 Each Postpaid," all military aircraft of the period. No similar ad appeared in any of the 1940 Air Trails magazines so the Burkard advertising budget was apparently limited. The July 1940 MAN carried a Burkard ad for gas-powered, free-flight seaplane kits; nice looking models but this may have been a one-time shot at advertising that line. These early Burkard solid kits consisted of profile-cut balsa and were rather large models in 1:24 scale, the line comprised of the Me 109, P-39, Hurricane, Curtiss Hawk 75, Gloster Gauntlet, Grumman F3F-2, Spitfire, Boulton Paul Defiant and the Stuka - a rather odd mix. The ads did not give a scale but merely stated that wingspans were up to 23 inches. At the time, Burkard's address was Larchmont, N.Y. By December of 1942, the product line had grown somewhat (still outline-cut) and their address changed to 3079 Third Ave., N.Y.C. The Curtiss P-40 plan section shown below was drawn by Joe Burkard; this giant solid model spans about 15 inches and the length of the fuselage depicted is over 13 inches. A very nicely drawn plan.
Some model industry gossip from Air Trails, June 1942: "The Burkard Engineering Co., under new management and in greatly increased quarters, has just enlarged their productive capacity by expending real money to get additional equipment that will guarantee their position in the field for a long time to come. The present line of $1.50 half-inch-scale solids with cut-out parts will continue in production. Balsa wood, should it get scarcer, may be replaced with pine. A super deluxe series with ready-carved fuselages and shaped parts, including metal foil covering, is being readied and will sell for $2.95." The Burkard ad in that same issue mentions that "Lifetime Carved Solid Models" would be "ready soon", "about May 10th."
Another model plane enthusiast, Art Hasselbach, was an employee of United Aircraft in Connecticut in the late 1930s. He was an active model free flighter and fixed wing pilot. Art moved to New York in 1939 and started a retail model airplane business in his father-in-law's stationery store in the Bronx where Art sold kits. He soon decided to make his own kits. Art turned the retail business over to his mother and he bought out the Burkard Model Engineering company and manufactured kits using their name. This happened in late 1941 as the Burkard address (3079 Third Ave.) coincidentally is next door to the eventual address of what would become the Consolidated Model Engineering Company, 3087 Third Avenue. Art also bought a propeller manufacturer, Bohsen Propellers of East Orange, N.J., which netted him an accurate prop carving machine which he put to immediate use carving "Redi-Carved" fuselages for the kits from Burkard which originally had only profile cut parts. He changed advertising to "Consolidated" instead of Burkard and, by early 1944 included the phrase, "Producing Burkard, Bay Ridge & Jackson kits" in his advertising but soon dropped this reference. The kit line was increased with new models including a line of 1/4" scale using the same plans in reduced size (for the fighters) and the kits were offered in standard profile-cut only or in the "Deluxe" versions which were "Redi-Carved." Even under wartime restrictions, the company pumped out 3,000 models per day; the R.H. Macy & Co. carried his complete line of 40 kits. When balsawood became scarce, Art used any wood he could come up with to make the kits, even to scrounging scrap wooden cases.
Art Hasselbach, who became very active and well known in the hobby business, control line flying (once toured with Jim Walker), hobby shows, contest CD etc., moved his plant to Cranbury, New Jersey after WWII and expanded into plastics and other products unrelated to modelling, while also putting our a broad line of flying airplane kits. The solid model line dropped off after WWII as modelling interest shifted to flying models. Much of this information comes from a thorough article on Art, "Artie, the happy model manufacturer," in the October 1962 issue of American Modeler. Of particular interest to me, in conjunction with the Friend or Foe? Museum of Aircraft Recognition, is the following excerpt from the article: "In addition during the war Art deilvered highly accurate Spotter plane models. These were prepared from photos of the original aircraft and included the Jap Zero and others. Each single model required 8 weeeks to complete, after which the Government took photos of them from many angles, for distribution to plane spotters all over the world...."
Enough background - let's explore the patterns being offered here. The Burkard profile or outline-cut kits were made by simply transferring the outline of parts, by either tracing around a plywood pattern with a pencil or using an ink stamp of the outline, onto the balsa (or other wood) which was then band-saw cut. The "Redi-Carved" fuselages were formed on the prop lathe by using a three-dimensional pattern guide on a 1:1 basis. The fuselage pattern was carved from a reasonably hard wood, including what in some cases appears to be walnut or mahogany. The patterns are a delight - a piece of sculptured art in themselves and a tribute to the solid wood model industry long gone.
I'm going to start off with the most expensive, a Consolidated pattern box (the original factory container for the items) holding all the profile outline patterns for one kit and the three-dimensional fuselage master pattern along with a complete balsa "Redi-Carved" kit made from these exact patterns. You can imagine being one of Artie's employees sixty-years ago and being tasked with taking that box of patterns and making thousands of kits. Come to think of it, you could set yourself up in business making these kits today! I will be adding several other patterns to this listing in the future and these will include some inexpensive outling patterns for smaller 1/4" scale fighter kits.
The first set is the BT-14, Kit No. 11, North American's first all-metal trainer with fixed gear which led to the AT-6 (which had also been derived from the BT-9, NA-16 design). The BT-14 was ordered in 1940 by the Army Air Corps and, beside being all-metal, it was the first of the famous North American line to have the triangular vertical tail - powered by a R-985 engine. This model plan is dated November 2, 1940 and would have been added to the original Burkard line in 1941 - this kit with "Redi-Carved" fuselage was made by Consolidated, probably in the 1942-1946 era. The carved BT-14 fuselage was pictured in many Consolidated ads showing, "Redi-Carved fuselage - All the hard work done for you" and then listing the kits as "Consolidated-Burkard" kits which is the most common name applied to this line.
The plan identifies the model as "North American Basic Trainer (U.S. Army B.T. 14) as used at Randolph Field." The wings and tail surfaces have been "worked" on and have been expertly sanded to airfoil shape by a modeler who never advanced beyond this point. Notice the metal cowling. The plan has some yellowed wood acid stain on about 10% of the area as can be seen in the photo above. This set of rare, one-of-a-kind manufacturer's patterns from the 1940s, along with a kit made from the patterns, is available for $900.00.
CONSOLIDATED-BURKARD HUDSON PATTERN AND KIT
The 1/4" scale "Lockheed Hudson Reconaissance Bomber", Kit No. 17, in patterns and original kit made from those patterns has been donated to the National Model Aviation Musem in Muncie, Indiana. Note the exacting shape of the aft turret on the pattern and its reproduction on the hardwood kit fuselage. The plans show this "Hudson" to have a number "N7208". This is a Burkard Giant Solids kit; the kit box rates about a "7-" and the contents are as shown in pristine condition. Interesting that the patterns show two profiles for engine nacelles; the deluxe carved kit has a two part nacelle while the less expensive standard profile-cut kit has a one-piece nacelle. The deluxe kit had a partially carved wing (shown) while the standard kit was outline cut only.
This is a pattern set only, for both the Redi-Carved Deluxe and standard profile-cut kits of the 1/4"=1' scale Focke-Wulf 190 fighter. Outline templates, rubber stamps for wing and tail surfaces, and a prop lathe pattern for the fuselage are included along with the original reference shop packing (parts) list which lists all of the contents of the kit; this listing is encased in the original sleeve used at the Consolidated factory. Smaller than the kits listed above, the FW 190 patterns come in a small kit box measuring 3 1/2" x 10 7/8" x 1 3/4" deep which has tape on both ends with pencil markings, "Focke Wulf". The nice fuselage pattern appears to be carved from walnut. This grouping of Consolidated patterns is available for $200.00 and is shown in the photos below. These patterns produced tens of thousands of solid kits!
CONSOLIDATED-BURKARD BREWSTER BERMUDA PATTERNS AND KIT
The Brewster SB2A-1 first flew on 17 June 1941 and production deliveries started in July 1942 of 450 ordered by the RAF as the Bermuda. The SB2A-1 was a development of the Brewster SBA-1 which was built by the Naval Aircraft Factory as the SBN-1. The SB2A-1's of the RAF and -2's of the U.S. Navy, the Buccaneer, never saw first line operational duty but were relegated to training and target towing. This Burkard kit is labelled as a "Brewster Bermuda British Dive Bomber" and is not dated but the first advertisement for the outline-cut only kit came out in the December 1941 Model Airplane News, just a few months following the SB2A-1's first flight and cover exposure on the October 1941 issue shown below.
The December Burkard ad extols the Brewster Bermuda as "Sleek, modern sky-terror. Adaption of U.S. Navy's Brewster-340." The kit plan carries the slogan, "Tough Guy!", which is also the title of the October 1941 article in MAN, "Navy Tough Guy." Think there's a connection?!
The Burkard blueprint plan lists this model as Kit No. 14, yet the Consolidated patterns used to make the kit are stamped "15". The July 1942 MAN Burkard ad states that carved solid "lifetimers" would be available "soon," followed by an August ad for Burkard (no mention of Consolidated) which states that kits with "Fully Carved Fuselage" are available for $2.50 ($1 more). This same ad features the "Deluxe Giant Size Solid 17" Wing Span Super Detailed Brewster-Bermuda".
The photos below show the patterns and the complete kit; this particular kit has a balsa fuselage and the box is "Burkard" only with no mention of Consolidated on the box or plans or coincidentally, the MAN ad, yet only Consolidated manufactured the Redi-Carved fuselage featured in this kit. A nicely formed pattern which dates to 1942, over 60 years ago. The kit box rates about a "6" with shelf wear and corner splits; and the kit is complete. The plan has several small insect holes in the bottom half and measures 16 1/2" x 21 1/2". The kit scale is 1:32 for this big airplane with a 47 foot wingspan. The price for this one-of-a-kind set of patterns with a complete kit is $600.00, an historical piece of the model industry from WWII.
The Messerschmitt Me 109 was one of the original nine Burkard solid kits in outline-cut. This Consolidated pattern was made in late 1941 or early 1942 following the acquisition of the prop lathe by Art as all the Burkard line were available with "Redi-Carved" fuselages by mid-1942. This set is the patterns only, for both the outline-cut and the carved fuselage. All patterns are die stamped "6". The scale changed with each model as necessary to maintain similar wingspans, so the Me 109 (M.E. 109) with a 32 ft. 8.5 in. wingspan works out to 1:24 scale for a 16 1/4" span model. Patterns are boxed in the standard pattern box used by Consolidated. This unique pattern set of the Me 109 is available for $395.00.
These are outline patterns only, which were used to make the profile-cut kits as first produced by Burkard and later by Consolidated as an alternative to the Red--Carved Deluxe kits. There is a complete set of sheet metal patterns and a set of wood templates for the fuselage and tail group for the Grumman F3F-2 biplane Navy fighter. Each item is die stamped with a number "8" which I have reason to believe originated with Consolidated when they began manufacturing the Burkard kits. The templates are boxed in the standard factory box used for the patterns. This is one of the first nine kits by Burkard and it is in 1:24 scale for a 15 inch wingspan. The price for these boxed, F3F-2 outline factory work patterns is $175.00.
These are outline patterns only, the prop lathe patterns for the center fuselage and engine/tail boom being long gone. A big solid model, this P-38 has a wing span of over 20 inches for 1:32 scale. As seen below, a shop worksheet parts list is included. The wing patterns on the bottom are for the carved fuselage Deluxe model only; slightly shorter because the carved pods and fuselage have wing root extensions and fairings carved in.
The original Burkard plan is a blueprint; a P-38 plan found in the pattern box accompanies this set. An insert has been printed over the title box to indicate that the kit was manufactured by Consolidated. The P-38 kit was first advertised in August 1942. As many other P-38 model airplane kits of this period, the plans are for the one-off and short lived XP-38 (1939) instead of the YP-38 which followed. Note that the plan shown below has features of the XP-38 including the pointed spinner and sleek forward engine cowling and has the small cooling radiators on the tail booms that were used on the XP-38 only (enlarged on the YP-38). The plan is printed as "Kit No. 15", yet all of the patterns are die stamped "16"; Consolidated must have changed the kit numbers. The price for this boxed outline template set for the P-38 is $175.00.
The Ace Whitman kits originated in 1935 in Racine, Wisconsin and lasted until 1951; Joe Ott started the company in the Western Coil & Electric factory and used the services of Western Printing of Racine to do the kit marketing under the name of Whitman Publishing. Whitman published books, games and other items besides the kits. Readers of the model airplane magazines of the 1930s and 40s will not not see any advertising for the Ace Whitman kits as these kits were sold primarily through dime stores and sold by the millions. According to Jim Noonan, who was a designer for the firm, the company sold about 5 million kits in 1940 and 77 million in 1941! Comet models were reported to have sold 90 million kits in that same year. With those millions sold, try to find a nice Ace Whitman kit today.
Joe Ott left the company around 1938 or before. Jim Noonan says that the product line was changed every year (lines from previous year dropped) until 1942 and in several other subsequent years, 1945 and 1946. Kits from these years were made for that single year only. Joe Ott created the design concept of the Ace Whitman line. The kit plans are beautiful. Most were blueprint on the front side with a three-view and blackline on the back which included a great perspective drawing of the complete framework along with construction instructions. The plans were drawn in ink on tracing cloth and the perspective drawn by tracing a photograph of the model's framework. The Ace Whitman plans alone are collector items.
An exceptional kit is being offered here. It is a 1938 kit, the "Curtiss Hawk P-36A", a 28" wing span warbird. This kit Number 2962 is complete with blueprint plans (Sav-A-Plan) in excellent condition. The box measures 5" x 18" x 1 1/4" and is in a condition "9", an excellent display box showing very little wear considering it's age of 67 years. This is one of the best picture boxes that I've seen from that era; the scene shown below is on the box back and is repeated on the front. Oddly, the scene credit is given to the Union Pacific Railroad (did Whitman Publishing do calendars for UP?). Ace Whitman was one of the few pre-WW2 model kit manufacturers that printed full-color, attractive boxes on some kits.
The model is in 3/4" scale, the same as most of the the Cleveland models of the same era along with Peerless, Miniature and many others who adopted that common scale. As mentioned above, this model was only made in that one year, 1938, as the line changed each year to introduce fresh, new models into the dime stores. Other 3/4" scale models of that year by Ace Whitman included the Stinson Reliant, Waco C-7, Cessna Airmaster, Howard DGA-8, and the Fairchild Ranger "24". One interesting item: the kit provides very good balsa sheet and sticks but there is no printwood - the printed formers, ribs etc. are at the edge of the plan and are to be cutout and pasted to the sheet to provide extra stiffness to the parts once cutout. A paper insignia sheet is included and it is bright and in "as new" condition. Wheels, balsa flying prop, and even rubber are provided. White and yellow tissue is provided.
The price of this rare and outstanding 1938 example of an Ace Whitman kit is $210.00.
P-36A CARD RECOGNITION MODEL
Another P-36A, this one from 1943. This is an official Army Air Forces P-36A Fighter card stock recognition model. The die-cut black card is assembled to form a silhouette model in 1:72 scale of the P-36A - no other production P-36 models were made for recognition purposes in WWII. The cardstock is enclosed in an envelope which has construction information printed on one side and shown above. This rare recognition model of the P-36A, Ref. No. CM-501, dated 2/22/43, may be purchased for SOLD, but many more available on this website.
MODELCRAFT HAWKER HURRICANE
A nice stick and tissue Hawker Hurricane with a 20 1/2" wingspan with a plan drawn by R.R. Erickson. The kit has wartime substitute materials. This is typical of 25-cent kits of the era. The box for this kit is in "as new" condition after all the years - Modelcraft used cheap cardboard boxes so the graphics don't have the crispness of coated paper as used by a few manufacturers in the 40s. A nostalgia kit for only $SORRY SOLD.
Model guru, Jim Alaback, has written an article on Barney Snyder who started Modelcraft in Los Angeles in the mid-1930s by buying Pacific Model Aircraft Supply and combining their line of kits with his earlier Modelcraft line. Snyder built full size airplanes and gliders in San Diego until the depression collapsed his business by 1932, at which time he began a retail model shop called Modelcraft. This is an interesting tale of the model airplane hobby business in the 1930s and beyond. To get your copy of this article, first published in the September 2007 issue of The KAPA Kollector, send SASE to CollectAir. Unfortunately, after many years of publication, the KAPA organization has folded.
A StromBecKer airliner kit from 1953 - over 50 years-old. This Kit No. C48 features the pre-carved pine pieces that made these kits so popular prior to the proliferation of plastic kits in the 1950s. This Douglas DC-6 "Super-6" Clipper is marked as being 1/9"=1' scale (1:108)and has a 13" wingspan. The price in 1953 was $1.79. The Super-6 was a special version of the DC-6B that was made just for Pan Am. With very nice decals, this makes up into a handsome model. Complete kits as shown below.
The box reads, "PAA World's Most Experienced Airline. The Super-6 clipper cruises at 325 miles per hour - over 5 miles a minute - at 20,000 feet or more in the cool, calm air high above the clouds. This clipper flies to all 6 continents of the earth and brings the world's most exciting cities of Hong Kong, Rio de Janeiro, Johannesburg, London and Paris within hours of the United States. The Super Six is used to fly Pan American's Famous Rainbow and Round-the-World Service."
Two kits are offered. A condition "9" box and excellent contents kit is priced at $125.00 SORRY SOLD and a "8" box with a plan that has some slight acid yellowing on a folded portion is priced at $95.00 SORRY SOLD; each kit is complete with all parts and unopened small parts envelope.
A history of the Strombeck-Becker Manufacturing Co. and their line of great pre-carved wood kits can be accessed by clicking the StromBecKer page here.
A nice example of the Easy-Built Simpl-i-matic flying model kits of the 1940-50s. This 24" wingspan Heinkel Fighter was made in Toronto, Canada and many were sold in the U.S. This is a complete kit with an excellent condition box which sports a large Mosquito and a small pic of a P-51 which is labeled as the "Heinkel Fighter"! The Heinkel Fighter designation refers to the He 112B which served very briefly with III/JG 132 at Fürstenwalde in 1939 before being recalled to Heinkel and shipped to export customers - Spain flew the He 112B. The He 112B ceased production in mid-1939 so this model is patterned after a very early WWII fighter. Some references state that a Spanish He 112B shot down a P-38 as late as 1943! This display condition kit from Canada is available for Sorry Sold.
Strombecker's first DC-6 model, the American Airlines DC-6 Flagship, with a copyright date of 1947. The pressurized DC-6 brought modern air travel to the American Airlines customers. This all carved pine kit number C36 is complete; metal props and landing gear are in the envelope and decals for the AA version are provided. The box rates about an "8+" with minor aging but no splits or tears. The fuselage has a slight manufacturing defect which you can see in the photo; it appears as if a tool slipped and made a cut below the cockpit area. Price of this kit is $80.00.
A Hawk solid model kit #72 of the Bell P-39 Airacobra in 1/4" scale. The plans for this kit are dated 1941 and the kit appears to be a pre-WWII kit because of the liquids and glue included. Note that the paint "bottles" are dried out. The odd thing about this kit however is the fact that it is all-pine, instead of balsa, profile cut. The lid-type box is 3 1/4" x 12 7/8" x 1 5/8" deep and is a condition 8. The price of this Hawk solid kit is $37.50.
The photo below shows a Hawk display booth at a Model Trade Show in 1946 with Hawk solid models. Hawk was run by Richard and Philip Mates.
This solid balsa kit of the Grumman TBF-1 in ¼" scale (1:48) is as nice as any profile balsa kit that you'll ever find. Dated August 20, 1945, and drawn by P.L. Mates (Philip - owner with Richard Mates), this kit No. 3 was designed at the very end of WW2. The kit meets all the qualifications for being "like new." The plan is pristine and bright white on heavy paper with an excellent three-view - a portion of the beautiful plan is shown below. Nicely cut balsa, a template sheet, plastic prop, vacuum formed canopy, wheels and two pilots/gunner seats along with decals and sandpaper and a wire stand - "like new." The box rates as near "ten." With sharp printing and bright background. Manufactured by the Hawk Model Company that started kitting solid models in 1928. This kit designation as No. 3 follows a DC-3 and Catalina - I don't believe that there was ever a Kit No. 4 - the boxes are different than the rest of the Hawk line.
This excellent example of a profile-cut, solid balsa model, now over 60 years old, is available for only $95.00.
The Hawk Model Aeroplane Co. dates from the late 1920s. By the early 1930s, Hawk advertised a large line of solid 1/4" scale kits (1:48 scale) with many WWI fighters in the lineup. They advertised that each kit has all parts cut out, die cast propellers, die cast wheels, die cast machine guns, and finished metal seats. Shown below is an early Hawk kit of the F.E.2b - this kit was not included in a 1934 advertisement in Model Airplane News so I'm not certain of its date. The plan was drawn by Mates. The kit sold for 50 cents. The photo below shows what you got in the F.E.2b kit.
Watch for Hawk P-38 soon.
StromBecKer's P-61C Northrop Black Widow, Kit number C33 in 1:72 scale. This is a very handsome kit with elegantly formed (pre-carved) wood parts; the only plastic in the kit are the two propellers. The nice decal sheet is marked "1953" but the kit C33 was issued prior to that date. The contents are in "as new" condition. The box rates a strong "9", very nice for display. All parts are in kit, including the marked, unopened envelope containing small parts (see photos of a sister kit below). This kit is priced at $230.00 SORRY SOLD but another C33 kit is available at $185.00 with a box lid rating about a "7" (photos available). A history of the Strombeck-Becker Manufacturing Co. and their line of great pre-carved wood kits can be accessed by clicking the StromBecKer page here.
The decal sheet for Kit C33 can be viewed and printed out by clicking here. Use the back arrow to return.
The first of the desirable Speedee Bilt Multi-Engine bomber series, the B-25 Mitchell, Monogram Speedee Bilt Kit No. H-1 with an 18" span. This kit was released in October 1953. Robert Reder, one of the original founders of Monogram Models, Inc. and an ex-Comet designer, has written an outstanding illustrated history of Monogram Models, published in 2000. This limited circulation book is available from Hannan's Runway, (530) 873-6421, and is highly recommended for anyone interested in models as Monogram was involved in balsa flying and solid models, control line, race cars, and boats before they became exclusively plastic model manufacturers.
Update: Robert Reder died on February 20, 2011 at the age of 93.
In his book, "A Brief History of Monogram Models, Inc. - The First Forty Years", Reder has this to say about the bomber kits; "I was fascinated when looking at these kits over 40 years later, to see the novel method of construction and precision pre-fabricated parts we produced. The wing panels had the airfoil, finished tapered trailing edges and spars machined in from solid balsa sheets. Plastic molded wing tips insured accuracy. Fuselage sides and formers were accurately cut with razor dies. Balsa blocks were used for the top and bottom of the fuselage and were contoured and cut to the exact size. All of the plastic parts - cowls and props, turrets and windows, engine nacelles, landing gear and other 'hard to make' parts were included. Each B-17 and B-24 kit also included four jars of paint and a tube of cement. Even the instruction sheet was a detailed, step-by-step guide to supplement the actual model-size three-view drawing. Kit parts were attractively displayed in the box on colored trays and dividers." These kits were the end of the balsa era for Monogram. They saved the best for last.
The description given by Robert Reder above applies to this fine kit offered for sale. The component contents are in the condition that they left the factory nearly fifty years ago. The assembly guide is mint and the plan is in excellent clean condition. The box bottom and dividers are in excellent condition as you can see from the photos. The box lid has some scuffing on the lid edges, normal shelf wear. Condition of lid is about a "8.5" on a scale of a perfect "10" (photo above). The two die-cut sheets are 100%complete. This kit has a special place in many a heart as Speedee-Bilts were very popular in the 1950s. The contents are just a marvel to observe; if I could just buy this kit for $2.95 and dive in to build! The decal sheet is a better-than-new reproduction by Ron Anderson of Classic Aviation Models; Ron has a line of Speedee Bilt reproduction kits for current building so you can leave the collector kits intact. You can own this beauty for your own entertainment and nostalgia for $450.00.
The trade magazine, The Hobby Merchandiser, for October 1953 (cover shown below), featured the Speedee Bilt B-25 on its cover. Inside, a three-page article appeared entitled "Monogram: Monarchs of Merchandising", with a sub-title of "This month Monogram Models introduces two highly detailed, twin-engine bomber kits and fancy Christmas gift assortments."
A description of the kits reads, "Twin-engine bomber kits are rare in the model airplane field, perhaps that's why Monogram received so many letters asking for them. In response to this popular demand, the two new Speedee Bilt kits build World War II bomber models to make any aeromodeler drool - they have such fine detailing. The B-25 Mitchell, well-known as the bomber used by Gen. "Jimmy" Doolittle in the Tokyo raid, is reproduced in a model 15" long with a wingspan of 18". Delivery to jobbers, of this No. H-1 kit is scheduled for Oct. 5, while Oct. 21 is the date set for the appearance of the B-26. This kit No, H-2 builds a 13 1/2" model having a wingspan of 18". Priced to retail at $2.95, both kits feature the popular, quick-assembly Speedee Bilt construction, a hallmark of the Monogram line. This combination of precarved balsa pieces with plastic parts guarantees foolproof construction, even by the very young model plane enthusiasts, and promises a beautiful scale model to the painstaking hobbyist who does a careful sanding and painting job. The kits come complete with 34 highly detailed plastic parts and more than 50 completely finished balsa parts, colorful decals and full-size, three-view instruction sheets.
"But the most noteworthy feature of these outstanding kits is their packaging. On the cover is a four-color reproduction of the model. Inside there's a superior piece of merchandising. Cardboard trays in bold primary colors hold the left and right nacelle halves and cradle the three-part Monofoil wings, so that at a glance the customer has a mental picture of how the kit should be put together. All the plastic parts are in a separate box covered with clear acetate. Below these trays are the long pieces of the fuselage, smaller balsa parts, the detailed 17" x 22" plan, and a 16-page, profusely illustrated instruction booklet. Here is packaging that sells kits. As Jack Besser says, 'Our boxes are always selling. They are beautiful packages, and they are best selling units.'"
SPEEDEE BILT B-26 INVADER KIT H-2
A very nice kit of the B-26 Invader. Kit box rates about an "8" and the content balsa and plastic parts are excellent and all separators are intact. The decal sheet rates about a "5" as at some time it stuck to a separator bottom and the U.S. insignia are spoiled as well as part of a black marking as can be seen in the photo below. A portion of a template also shows signs of having been stuck. This nice kit H-2 is available for sorry sold.
Speedee Bilt Kit No. H-4 from 1954 is shown in the pictures below. This magnificent kit is complete, even down to four bottles of Monogram dope and a tube of glue - all pristine. The die-cut printed sheets are located underneath the carved wing structure in the boxed kit - shown separate below for your review. All box separators and plastic covers are original and in excellent condition. The kit box lid rates a condition "6" with some restoration, tape and two reglued split corners - a decent box for display; note that there is a price marked on the lid. The contents are a "9+" with one sector, on one side, of the plan having very slight yellowing from the balsa wood. The booklet, sandpaper, template sheet, decals, and instuctions are intact. Monogram really put out some great kits in the Speedee Bilt line, this being one of the best. The price of this B-24 kit is $695.00.
This B-17 kit H-3 is complete and in excellent condition with glue and all dope and all original contents, separators and box. The box lid rates about a "7 to 8" with some shelf wear, scuffing and fading. The Speedee Bilt B-17 is the most sought after kit in the line; you can own this excellent example for $695.00. Additional photos below.
Monogram Models was run by Jack Besser and Robert Reder. In the 1950s, they were joined by Richard Mair, who began Maircraft.
This Master Modelcraft Supply Co. de Havilland Mosquito solid model kit is from the 1940s. The all-balsa kit is in 1:48 scale with a wingspan of 14 3/8"; the body and wings are outline cut to shape. The kit includes turned wheels, a 3-view plan, liquid, wire, official insignia, celluloid cockpit and die-cast metal propellers. The lid-type box is in excellent condition, an 8 to 9, and measures 4 1/4" x 15" x 2 1/8" deep. The plan is in like-new condition. An excellent kit and representative of the 1940s solid models, priced at $SORRY SOLD$.
This jewel of a model is from 1957. With a wingspan of 14 5/8", it is a classic U-control delta-wing planform in the style of the Consolidated WOWEE. Constructed beautifully from alclad aluminum, the DYO-X1000 (Where on earth did they come up with that title?) was a ready-to-fly model in competition with the Thimble Drome/Cox partly aluminum models of the era. This model is in near-perfect condition with polished aluminum (no dents), an intact plastic canopy, landing gear, lead-in control cables, label on bottom of wing, all markings (faded), a K & B Allyn Sky Fury .049 engine with good compression and clean, and a propeller. A full span elevator and tip fins which are pre-set to turn away from the circle. If you were a U-control freak in the 50s, then this model is for you, just as it appeared in 1957.
The pictures below show the manufacturer's label on the bottom (Stutzman "Flying Tiger" Design, DY-O-Plastics, Inc., Eddie Pope & Co.), the K&B Sky Fury engine close-up, a contemporary advertisement in Model Airplane News for the Fury engine, and a side view of the model. Also included with the model is an instruction and parts list sheet for the .049, a warranty card for the engine, and a partial instruction sheet and parts list for the model, an Altadena, California product. A crude control handle and thread control lines which came with the model are also included. This shiny delta could be hung on the wall as a nostalgia piece or taken out and flown - your choice. Not an inexpensive model in 1957, it retailed for $7.45 without the engine. You can own this unusual and rare item for $275.00 SORRY, MODEL SOLD. Just for interest: following the sale, I was contacted by William Lacefield II of Wasco, CA who informed me that his father, William D. Alexander, designed the machinery and produced this model in Oildale, CA - his father is now 80. Stutzman designed the airplane and gave it it's name, the X-1000. The model was repeatedly flown directly into the gound by Alexander to test its durability - pretty tough stuff!
See the Vintage Kit Annex for another all-aluminum control-line model by Topping from 1945.
The following notes are edited from previous appearances on this webpage and are presented here for general information purposes. Much more Cleveland information appears on Annex pages, particularly Annex 4 and 5.
One of the Cleveland Thompson Trophy winner kits, the Wedell Williams No. 44 kit came out in 1934. This kit SF-47 is all balsa and is packaged in the wartime cardboard lid box (sometimes referred to as a mailing box). The plans are for the P&W 1344 Wasp powered racer #44, NR278V, which set a world's speed record in 1933 at the Shell Speed Dash of 305.33 m.p.h. The Wasp Jr. version of NR278V was flown by Jimmy Wedell to a win for the 1933 Thompson Trophy. Herman L. Schreiner has written about the Cleveland Model & Supply Co. and its founder, Edward T. Packard. The new book by Schreiner is now available; 352 page Aviation's Great Recruiter is $39.95. In a 1972 AAHS article, Mr. Schreiner wrote about how Ed Packard would go out to the Cleveland Airport anytime a new racing plane would land there.
Cleveland had an impressive line of Thompson Trophy scale kits by 1936, covering each starting with the 1929 Travel Air Mystery Ship, Kit SF-2. A very complete advertisement from the back cover of the September 1936 issue of Model Airplane News may be viewed and printed out by clicking here.
A Cleveland Dwarf "CD" kit, Number D-46, of the 1930 Laird "Solution" Racer.
Charles "Speed" Holman flew this airplane #77 to victory in the 1930 Thompson Trophy Race. This 1/2" scale kit, with a 10 5/8" wingspan, is complete and in excellent condition; the printwood and sticks are in the original wraps and the plan is also in excellent shape. Cleveland scale models were started by Edward T. Paschasa (later changed name to Edward Packard) in 1929 with the 3/4" scale kit of the Great Lakes Sport Trainer which was flown by the famous Tex Rankin. This was kit number SF-1E and was quite expensive for the time; $6.25 with an introductory price in 1930 of $4.95. See writeup on Vintage Kit Annex Page for the history of the Great Lakes Trainer kit. The early Cleveland models came in what they called "Hobby-Tubes"; red tubes with an opening in the middle which was sealed by a wrap-around label. Any tubed kit which has been opened will have a split label. These 1929-1932 kits are rare and fairly expensive as one would imagine. To see the plan of a very simple 1929 Cleveland Wasp, Click Here. An interesting feature of the early tubed Cleveland kits is that they had no printwood. The kits came with sheet balsa and instructions to transfer the formers and ribs detailed on the plans to the balsa with carbon paper! The young fellow at left is from the 1933 "Cleveland Modelmaking News" and is entitled Bad weather, the flying model enthusiast's curse.
Cleveland had a whole array of scale kits in the early 1930s. The 3/4" scale "SF" kits were the cream but less expensive kits were also in the line such as the FL (Free Lance) profile kits and the "N" kits. I have no idea of why the kits are numbered as they are. For example, the Laird "Solution" 3/4" scale kit was SF-46 but the "Super Solution" (Doolittle's airplane) from 1932 was the SF-5. The Dwarf kits in 1/2" scale didn't come along until 1934 or 1935. Obviously the Great Depression was affecting Cleveland as well as everyone else and, although Paschasa kept up a stream of advertising and promotion, prices were dropped as the decade wore on. In March of 1933, the "Cleveland Modelmaking News" announced "Deep Cut Prices" and most kit prices dropped to the $2.00 to $2.95 level (still expensive) with some as low as $1.00. Some of the newer and more complicated kits were priced higher by 1935; for example, the Curtiss F11C-2 was $3.75 and the huge Boeing 247, SF-35, was $8.50 (translate to today's dollar). Apparently Cleveland tried to come up with something inexpensive to compete with the many kits on the market that were priced in the ten cents to a dollar range, so they reduced the plan scale by a third to 1/2" scale, eliminated any liquids, and created the "Dwarf" range of kits to be competitive. Prices continued to fluctuate throughout the thirties; the SF-46 kit sold for $1.95 to $2.50 in 1937 and the Dwarf D-46 was only $.50 to $.65. By 1939 SF-46 was $1.50 and D-46 was $ .50. A further economy move was made in May of 1937 with the announcement that "All kits now dry - no liquids." This move didn't last too long as liquids appeared in the early WWII period in the large box. Cleveland cut prices again in 1939 and stated in their ad, "Big price reductions on C-D rubber-driven models - as much as 33 1/3% off. Here are a few of the big bargains now available in all C-D rubber driven model kits. We're making these sharp price cuts to stimulate business, put men back to work, help bring back prosperity. Buy now!" All of the nine Dwarf Thompson Trophy kits were reduced to $ .50. For those of you not familiar with this depression era, it took our involvement in WWII and the stimulus of the defense industry to pull the nation out of the economic doldrums.
The October 1935 issue of "Model Airplane News" has a typical two-page ad spread for Cleveland and the "C-D Dwarfs" are promoted with the headline, "Inexpensive Now to Build Formations, Commercial Fleets, etc. - Get Started Today!" The complete line of Dwarf kits is listed with 31 kits included with the lowest price of $.25 (Lincoln Sportplane) and the highest of $2.50 (Boeing 247 and Martin Bomber).
At least five box styles (perhaps more) were used for the Dwarfs. The box for this kit D-46 is shown above. Another style box is pictured below along with the 1935 issue of Model Airplane News. Below that are pictures of what I believe is the first series of Dwarf kit boxes - monocolor type with several kits pictured on the front and back of the flap box. The back is a pitch for C-D kits and how the "low price Dwarf" kits are really better because - "Quality is Economy!" Also note that the printwood for D24 Lockheed Vega is dated 1934. Examples of this type early Dwarf box are scarce. The larger, twin-engine "D" kits, such as the B-247, DC-2, Martin Bomber, were packaged in the 1935 silver box, and some of these came with liquids. I have no idea when the last "D" kits were manufactured but they disappeared sometime in the post-WWII era. They were a grand example of the mid-1930 attempt to help keep a business alive.
The full line of Cleveland Dwarf kits, as shown in the "Cleveland Modelmakers Hobby Catalog No. 1" dated 1936-1937, can be viewed as catalog pages by clicking here.
Some of the twin-engine Cleveland CD kits were issued in "Dwarf" ½" scale only with no "SF" ¾" counterparts. The D-65 Lockheed Electra and the D-55 Douglas Transport (DC-2) were two of these and may be the only ones, to the best of my knowledge. The Electra, Martin Bomber 2, and Douglas Transport came out as "wet" Dwarf kits in 1939 and renumbered as "DLD" kits instead of "D". I have several of these in the silver, "All American" cartons. The DC-2, Kit D-55, was originally designed to be a ¾" scale kit but was never produced in the ¾" scale. The updated plan for the D-55 kit has a note from E.T. Packard which states, "Photo below of the actual ¾" scale test model constructed by CD employees, which I believed too large for modelers at the time, so I decided on the ½" 'Dwarf' scale instead." He must have believed the same with the Lockheed Electra.
Of particular interest is the fact that the Dwarf Electra kit was eventually sold in the large, red, white and blue master kit with picture box which was used for all the "SF" ¾" kits throughout WW2 , beginning in 1941, and up to around 1948. Was the Electra the only Dwarf to be kitted in the large box? Note the detail from the Cleveland ad run in the December 1941 issue of MAN shown below. Has anyone seen the DC-2 in a picture box? The Cleveland page from the 1942 catalog (see below) shows four Dwarf kits which may have been packaged in the picture box - any confirmation of that? The kit of the Electra, shown below, is definitely a WW2 era kit with hardwood printwood.
The old "SF" kits were renamed "Master Flying Model" and coded with an "M" instead of "SF" sometime after WW2. The plans were reprinted with new title block and a 1949 date although the original copyright date of 1934 appears in the title block also. This is a beautifully drawn set of plans for the P6-E Hawk, kit M-21. Correspondence with Ed Packard about 25 years ago revealed that the Hawk was probably his all-time favorite model and you can see why. It's a beauty! This is the plain cardboard, lid-type mailer box (no liquids) which came out during WW2. Although the plans state "M-21", the box end is ink-stamped "SF21".
The Cleveland C-D kit, SF-49, of the Curtiss F11C-2 "Goshawk" was designed in 1934; this is the Navy version of the Curtiss Hawk P6E single-seat fighter but employing a radial engine.
Note that the original 1934 plans refer to the model as the "X" version but as time went on, Cleveland advertised the kit as the F11C-2 although the plans weren't revised to remove the "X". The XF11C-2 began its flight trials in June 1932 with production deliveries in February 1933 for a total of 28 airplanes. The High Hat Squadron, VF-1B, was the only unit to operate this model. They were later redesignated as BFC-2s. Not a very successful airplane, but a beautiful model nevertheless.
This is one of the finest of all the Cleveland kits. Cleveland, in their 1943 calalog No. 40, states that the Goshawk is, "The most beautiful 'detail' model in the entire CD line..." The catalog entry for the Goshawk is pictured below. The USAF Museum in Dayton, Ohio had a small exhibit of Cleveland models and the history of the Cleveland kits. Included in this exhibit were three original models which were built and used for catalog photos at the time. The Goshawk built "bones" in the catalog is the same model that was exhibited at the museum and it is pictured below (1995); this is an exquisite model as you can see. The plans for the kit were also exhibited at the museum. As of June, 2004, the Cleveland exhibit (and the spotter model exhibit) have been removed and presumably are in storage. Over the years this kit has been offered in most of the box types used by Cleveland.
The Smithsonian Air & Space Museum used to have a model airplane exhibit but I didn't see it on a recent trip to D.C. - perhaps it has been "retired." The photo below shows a built Cleveland Curtiss Goshawk, taken in the 1980s, which varies slightly from the built model at the Air Force Museum.
Be sure and check out the Cleveland history information that is presented on Kit Annex 4 and Kit Annex 5 pages.
This StromBecKer Consolidated B-24J Liberator kit in 1:72 scale came out in 1945. A very nice kit which is all-wood with the exception of the propellers which are plastic. The postwar kits have water-slide decals. Complete with landing gear and weighted nose to keep it on the gear, this B-24J can be made up into a very handsome model.
StromBecKer aimed their wood kits at the youth market. The B-24J kit includes an informative booklet on the B-24; the centerfold of this booklet shows a young lad working on the kit. This same photo was used in a November 1945 women's magazine as seen below.
More information on this ad can be found on the StromBecker History link on this website.
The B-24J kit offered for sale is pictured below. The kit is complete and in excellent condition with bright decals. The box rates about a "7" with no major structural problems (slight crease on left end top) but some edge scuffing, fading, staining and shelf wear, but adequate for display. This kit C-76 is priced at $230.00.
A photograph of a Strombecker display booth from a 1946 Model Trade Show is shown on the Strombeck-Becker history page; a portion of that photo showing a completed B-24 is presented below.
This is the jam packed Tenth Anniversary catalog from Megow's, listed as the Spring and Summer 1939. Catalog No. 7, priced at 5 cents, celebrates Megow's history from 1929 to 1939. 96 pages of modeling stuff for only SOLD.
This Airlane Martin Mauler kit, No. R-11, is a die-cut sheet balsa (1/16"), flying model kit from around 1950, produced by the Airlane Model Co. of Chicago and priced at fifty cents. The box proclaims that this model "Flies Like a Real Airplane" and that "All parts furnished ready to assemble". This kit box measures 4 3/8" x 15 3/4" x 1 1/2" deep and is is condition 7.5 to 8 with some scuffing and the usual loose and torn flaps although the box is not crushed and is in good display condition. The contents are complete and in excellent condition with all die-cut parts.
This kit is representative of the sub-standard sheet balsa kits which came out between 1945 and maybe up to as late as 1955. These low price kits competed with the really fine, but more expensive, Speedee Bilt kits by Monogram and other higher priced partly finished flying models, both free flight and control line. This Mauler kit has plans which measure 11" x 17". The die-cut parts are to be assembled (flat plate wings) and curved parts are to be cut from the plan paper to form the fuselage top and cowling; a separate sheet has the cockpit pattern to be cut out and pasted together to form the bubble canopy. the plan advises not to dope the model if it is to be flown as, "Dope adds to (sic) much weight." No color insignia, only b&w to be cut from the plan. There is a nice plastic 4" prop, wire shaft, rubber, wheels and an extra small balsa block. Own this kit and imagine being faced with building this to make a flying model - must have been a lot of disappointed kids! Price is SORRY SOLD - SEE BEARCAT BELOW to add this disappointing collection of balsa parts to your collection.
Airlane Kit Number B-1, the Grumman Bearcat, has a 24" wingspan and is similar to the Mauler. The plan was drawn by Gene Solt. The kit contents are in excellent condition - the box has some moisture damage on one end extending inwards about 1 to 2 inches but otherwise in great shape. A good representation of Airlane products priced at only $25.00.
An all-balsa, 1/4" scale solid model kit H-5 of the Curtiss SBC-4 Helldiver biplane. Parts are profile cut. The plan, revision "A", is quite detailed as shown below in part; it was drawn by James R. Wyse who was responsible for the drafting of many of the Maircraft plans.
The kit box structurally rates a near "10"; there is some aging evident so the white is slightly yellowed. All of the 1/4" scale kits in this series (see Focke-Wulf Fw-198 elsewhere on this site) are pictured on the back side of the box. This kit's vintage is around 1944-45 as the latest model shown is the P-80 Shooting Star. This is an excellent example of a typical balsa, profile cut solid model of the World War II kit era, a collector's delight. Own this kit for $47.50.
Maircraft used the 1946 Cleveland National Air Race as a promotion for some of its solid models, Kit S-1 Bell P-39. Kit D-3 P-38 and Kit H-10 P-51. An informative leaflet was printed which showed Tex Johnston's.Winning Airacobra, Number 84. Color and marking details are presented on the leaflet with a headline, "Here's how to make your Maircraft Model into a National Air Race Champion." The top three winners in 1946 were Tex Johnston, followed by Tony LeVier in a P-38, and Earl Ortman in a P-51; Maircraft leaflets were printed for each of these aircraft. The P-39 leaflet may be viewed full size in PDF by clicking here. Use the back arrow to return.
This Maircraft kit in large 1/4" scale is all-balsa, profile cut. Kit Number H-11. The box rates about a "7" - very bright but one interior end flap missing. The kit is complete and the plan is clean and bright with no damage. Price is $42.50.
A mint condition aluminum wing with bellcrank for the early 1950s (1953) Thimble Drome (Cox) TD-1. This is the original aluminum wing. The aluminum "Air Cell" wing is unique in the long line of Cox RTF; the next model was the TD-3 which was a much smaller, all-plastic, including the wing, as were all that followed. Ad below is from the February 1956 Flying Models magazine.
The picture below shows the Cox TD-1 exhibited in the AMA National Model Aviation Museum in Muncie, Indiana in June 2004.
Will trade the TD-1 wing for an equally mint condition Topping Models helicopter display model, preferably a Hiller H-23 or a mint condition F-102.