15 years ago
Thanks, Ted. I fondly remember Joe Ott kits. I bought one about ten years ago from someone who was selling some (seems to me he posted on this newsgroup). I am not ordinarily a kit collector, but I still cannot bring myself to build that kit- have it as a unique bit of my past history.
For those youngsters not familiar with Joe Ott kits, they were flying models. During WW2 balsa was a strategic resource (I heard it was used in life preservers and rafts, of which we needed lots). So production of flying model kits was drastically curtailed.
During the war Ott kits featured pine stripwood and cardboard (yes, cardboard!) formers and ribs. The instructions were quite detailed on how to build stick models, particularly the Joe Ott ones.
Stick models, as we called them, were the balsa structured, tissue covered models intended to fly, with rubber band power. This is opposed to "solid models," of which I just bought two from a fellow list subscriber. Solid models were shelf scale models that predated plastic kits. The structure was solid balsa, sawn to profile and frequently to planform, but you needed to carve the cross section of the fuselage, and the airfoil into the wings.
While solid models were eventually overrun by plastic kits, there was an extensive overlap, and they stayed with us into mid fifties, though with many added plastic detail parts like wheels, props, landing gear, etc.
Every so often some company produces them for nostalgia buffs, but these little specialty companies usually don't last long.
BTW, while I did finish several Ott kits, at that time my building skills were not up to them being "flyable" quality. It was one thing to finish a stick model, something else to get them to fly. They did, but you had to make warp-free structure, which was not easy :-(
I may have posted this link before, but there's a very interesting article webpage on WW II ID models here:patient while the pages load; they are very large and have a lot of images on them, but the website has a ton of stuff of interest to modelers.
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