scales- history

I am working on a column for club newsletter on olden times. In solid (wood) era, things were all box stock. First plastics I built were Hawks (now kitted by Testors), and they were 1:48. What were the early Airfix? How about some of the other early plastics?

I know box scale stayed with Monogram for awhile, though they did architectural scales too.

Reply to
Don Stauffer
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The first mass produced model airplanes were the Skybird wood and metal kits. They installed 1/72 scale as the standard in the 1930s. They also provided many accessories from extra guns and figures to hangers and other buildings.

Frog came along with their early plastic kits before, during and after WWII. Frog stood for "Flies Right Off the Ground", a name which was created for their line of flying models. They needed a name for their new line of 1/72 scale plastic display models. That's where "Frog Penguin" came from. After the war they eventually went to styrene plastic and produced kits for decades.

In the US there was no predominant scale until Airfix and Frog began exporting here. Probably the earliest kits were the Martin Mars and early B-17 in small scales. Hawk started doing more in 1/48, Revell came close to 1/72 on many of their kits before starting a large range in the most popular scale. Aurora stayed with 1/48 with a handful of notable exceptions. Monogram played around in both scales with some of the finest 1/72 scale kits as part of their line.

Airfix had two lines of aircraft kits. Aside from their huge assortment in 1/72 they produced a number of airliners in 1/144.

Hope that this helps a bit.


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Dont know when they first were out but I built a load of 1/72 'Window box' and other Linberg A/C in the late '50s-- early '60s

-- Chuck Ryan Springfield OH

Reply to
Chuck Ryan

So you're saying in Europe and Britain even the wood models were to a constant scale? That was NOT the case in US, where box scale was rampant, as you say.

Yes, indeed, that helped a lot. I had suspected something along those lines, but did not know how early the constant scale stuff began on that side of pond.

Reply to
Don Stauffer

Most of what has been said here applies to plastic kits. It might be relevant to point out that 1/48 scale was very popular in the U.S. for balsa wood "solid models" during World War II. Here may also be where the 1/32 scale got it's start too. I remember getting a Burkhard kit for a Curtiss Hawk 75 as a Christmas gift one year. Had a turned copper cowling, pre shaped hardwood fuselage and a clear canopy. The canopy was molded in celluloid and turned yellow in a couple of years. Hawk did a number of kits in 1/48 and when Hawk bought out the Maircraft line of kits they acquired several more. I still have 4 hawk balsa wood 1/48 scale World War I kits that I keep to show people how this hobby started. I also have a 1/72 scale Avro Lancaster kit that my Uncle brought me as a present from a trip he made to England in the late 40's. Balsa wood with stamped metal propellers and clear celluloid cockpits/turrets. Strictly curiosity items now. Hawk, Comet, Monogram all got their start with balsa wood kits. Maircraft, Megow, Burkhard,... A lot of names are just fond memories now. There is an outfit that sells on line who specialize in dealing with old kits, ping on Gasoline Alley Antiques if you are interested.

Bill Shuey

Reply to
William H. Shuey

And even to this day, the old Maircraft wooden DC-3 kit, is considered a "classic", and a high standard to aim for.

Reply to
Greg Heilers

At a recent meeting of the model club for which I write the column, another old timer sold me a Dyna Model Products (DMP) kit, for a VERY good price, in appreciation for the column.

I could not afford the Dyna kits when I was a kid. They were in the three to four dollar range, and all I could afford where the 50, 75 cent kits- maybe a buck if I could save for several weeks. I think my allowance was something like 10 cents a week. Of course, I built far more flying models than static ones- there were the Comet ten cent ones, and really nice Guillows kits for a quarter.

Reply to
Don Stauffer

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