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DIVERSE IMAGES English Pewter Models



















PLASTIC KITS OF 1950s and 60s














THOMAS-MORSE S4c Display Model







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ANNOUNCEMENT: CollectAir has maintained a traditional "brick and mortar" gallery and museum experience for over 25 years, first in San Jose and then moving to Santa Barbara. As a consequence of disappointingly minimal visitor traffic and a building lease expiration, the decision has been made to close down the gallery and offer a continuing website experience. Because the number of aviation enthusiasts who are also serious collectors is rather limited in any one geographic area, I want to share the collection with aeronautical buffs throughout the world and the internet is the only attractive venue for a small business. Sales of our extensive inventory will remain through our website.

The Friend or Foe? Museum of aircraft recognition artifacts will be relocated to a major museum venue to achieve CollectAir's long term goal of reaching a wider audience for the somewhat neglected area of World War 2 training activities. It is anticipated that a new museum site will be established in 2015 and complete information will be available on this website.

I welcome the opportunity to visit with enthusiasts who stopover in Santa Barbara; just give me a call and we can discuss aeronautical issues over a cup of coffee.

This website contains informative articles on diverse aviation subjects, some of which are seldom printed. You are invited to explore these pages. There are also pages of photos and descriptions of items for sale including vintage display models, wood model kits, paintings, ephemera, books and miscellaneous airplane artifacts. This on-line "catalogue" will be frequently updated so visit CollectAir often to catch the newest offerings.

I am somewhat disappointed that many of the web pages on this site are seldom visited. I invite you to browse the many pages shown in the column to your left - it's like thumbing through a magazine. As an example, the Articles page has an eclectic mix of aviation related stories and photos; you might just find something of interest!

Santa Barbara Harbor on a nice day in October.

USS Ronald Reagan, January 08 at anchor in Santa Barbara.

USS Ronald Reagan, April 2014, at North Island, being prepared for deployment to Japan. CollectAir photo.

Enjoy Santa Barbara's magnificent beaches. View Santa Barbara at

Click on the logo above to review accommodations and the multitude of activities surrounding Santa Barbara.

Santa Barbara greeting committee. CollectAir photo.

Be advised that this is NOT a collection of hundreds of aviation prints but is a thinking man's website. Our goal is to provide the aviation enthusiast with an eclectic "zine" spanning many eras and containing both text and graphics. Conventional wisdom is that viewers will not read - that's O.K. because if you're really interested in, and possibly would like to buy, aviation art, ephemera, books, collectibles etc., then our textual content and graphics will be of value to you. This is not a comic book (although there is a cool page devoted to the vintage comic strip Tailspin Tommy).

Check out the list of "department links", and it's growing. SEE THE PAGE LINKS AT LEFT FOR PAGES ON THIS WEBSITE; A VARIETY OF SUBJECTS AND ITEMS FOR SALE AND DON'T MISS THE "ARTICLES" PAGE AS NEW DISCUSSIONS WILL BE POSTED THERE. Ordering information is given at the bottom of each catalog page and complete ordering information is located on the PRODUCTS page link.

An aviator's man/woman cave.


CollectAir is a division of Progressive Aviation Ltd., a California corporation established in 1965. Progressive was heavily involved in all aspects of the general aviation business in San Jose, California for many years and the CollectAir gallery was created in 1987 to add aviation art to the existing business entities. The gallery and museum operation was relocated to Santa Barbara in 1999 and the San Jose facility sold in 2000; since then, the gallery has been Progressive's sole business. Steve Remington is the proprietor and sole employee. Calls at 408-828-2810 are welcomed at any time. I do not use "social media" so you won't find CollectAir on Facebook or Twitter. However, I do promptly answer emails, the telephone and even write letters with more than 140 characters.

I realize that revealing one's self is a risky business as you may take one look and decide that this guy is going to scare the horses. And as you can easily judge, it's not an ego thing! However, I do want to differentiate CollectAir from the faceless enterprises which we all encounter every day on the internet or in catalogs. The real estate crowd, doctors, lawyers and car dealers frequently picture themselves in that "See, you can trust me" mode although I'm coming from a different angle - I want you to see who that guy is on the other end of the telephone or computer and who the person is that is responsible for anything that goes on at CollectAir. Darts or bouquets get thrown at the fellow you see below, Steve Remington. I don't have a fulfillment center in Nebraska nor a telephone bank in Calcutta.


A term I sometimes use!


The painting at the top of this page depicts a Bellanca "Airbus" as it departs Oyster Bay, Long Island in the summer of 1934. The painting, by Steve Remington, is done in fast drying oil on stretched linen canvas. This piece was in the juried ASAA art exhibition at the San Diego Air & Space Museum during the summer of 2010.

Arguably the most efficient airplane design ever built, the Bellanca "Airbus" P-200A floatplane NC 785W was used as an aerial commuter from the wealthy enclaves of Long Island to Wall Street's East River float, commencing July 16, 1934 as the New York-Suburban Air Lines. Airline use ceased that year as regulations prohibited single engine transports. Only four of the civilian Airbus examples were built and about 14 delivered to the A.A.C. as the C-27-A to -C. The later "Aircruiser" model, with more muscle, was used extensively in Canada as a bush airplane. The White Pelican can be found in eastern bays and estuaries during the summer months breeding season. No use of this copyrighted image is permitted without the express permission of the artist. I am pleased to report that this painting was included in an American Society of Aviation Artists Retrospective Art Exhibition at the Art Center of Battle Creek, Michigan.

For more aviation paintings by Steve Remington, click here.

Giuseppe Bellanca built his first airplane in Brooklyn and moved it to Mineola, Long Island in 1912 for its first flight. Bellanca operated a flight school at the Hempstead Plains from 1913 to 1915. Many of the famous pilots, both U.S. and European, flew in the Hempstead Plains area, Belmont Park to Garden City, prior to WWI; Glenn Curtiss, T.O.M. Sopwith, Roland Garros, Earle Ovington, Harriet Quimby, John Moisant, Lincoln Beachey, Blanche Stuart Scott, Henry Walden, Charles Willard, Claude Grahame-White, Orville Wright, Ralph Johnstone, George Beatty, and dozens and dozens of fellow "early birds" tested their wings on the plains. It was an international scene where American and foreign pilots flew together in competitions and exhibitions. French and British airplanes were as common as American flying machines. Matilde Moisant, during her short flying career in 1911 and 1912, met most of these airmen - it was a community of the intrepid. You can meet some of these aerial pioneers on the Matilde Moisant link on this website (see left column for page links).

Glenn L. Martin's Flight to Catalina Island - May 10, 1912

Glenn L. Martin began his aviation career by manufacturing Curtiss knock-offs in an old Santa Ana cannery in 1911; selling airplanes and flying on the exhibition circuit called for promotion which came with his successful attempt to fly to Catalina Island from Balboa. He built several Model 12s, one of which he equipped with a pontoon and other modifications to make the record setting, over water distance flight of over thirty miles, besting Bleriot's Channel flight record. Flying at noon above an overcast sky, Martin luckily found Avalon Bay.

I recently completed a painting of Glenn L. Martin making that first flight to Avalon, Catalina in his aircraft #12 which was for the most part patterned after a Curtiss. Fortunately there are several photos taken at Avalon on that grey May day in 1912; interestingly, photos appearing of #12 prior to the event, and afterwards, show significant differences from the configuration used for that record setting flight. The old airplanes allow little use of color in their depiction which doesn't exactly delight an artist's soul. Very few machines were painted with anything but clear dope or varnish; many airplanes used Goodyear rubberized fabric, with no descriptive color but "blah", which was applied to the structure with no dope or paint required. No bright color schemes, no nose art, no insignia, no camouflage but occasionally some advertising signage and even that was usually in black. Paint just added weight and complexity when fixing the inevitable and frequent damage.

Holly Hill House and the Island Incline Railway funicular are lee shore structures illuminated by the dull grey, spring marine layer. The Hill House remains today in a somewhat updated form; the bluff is still there, mostly unchanged by time, although the shoreline is now developed with numerous piers.

First to Avalon - Glenn L. Martin - May 10,1912

Glenn L. Martin plaque at Naval Aviation Museum. CollectAir photo 2011.


All of the material in this website is copyrighted. All images of prints or paintings displayed herein are copyrighted and any use for any purpose, without the specific written approval of the publisher or artist, is an infringement of the copyright. CollectAir represents each of the publishers and living artists displayed; paintings and prints shown are located in Santa Barbara. Each print or painting is owned by CollectAir or is under a consignment agreement affiliation with the artist or his/her representative. Articles located at this website and which are attributed to CollectAir may be copied or reused for non-commercial purposes provided attribution to CollectAir is boldly displayed along with the article. Contact CollectAir for commercial applications. Photos of collectibles, gallery, museum etc. may be reused with permission of CollectAir. Note that material from this website is frequently used for commercial purposes, such as eBay descriptions etc., mostly without my permission or without any attribution. Wikipedia is particularly guilty of infringement and plagerism - much of my writing has been hijacked without attribution.

The Creative Commons Attribution Guidelines License governs the use of this website material when not otherwise stated. Click here to view the license.


Now you listen up, Jimmie Allen. Don't say anything that you'll be sorry for!

First a few words about this website which I maintain. It's designed for you - no image advertising banners, pop-ups, flash, java traps, and glitzy motion; note that some advertising may appear on your screen. Photos are low res for loading speed. The material is mostly black ink on white paper, just like virtually everything you read daily. Pages are viewed by scrolling - not necessary to hunt and peck all over the screen to view the contents although I do throw in a few links and PDF files for detail. I admit unabashedly that this site has commercial content and I invite your business, yet more space is devoted to fun stuff than commercial and more interesting articles are in the hopper.

December sunrise in Santa Barbara; from my office.

DECEMBER 17, 1903

Drawing of the Wright Brothers by J. Kenneth Sniffen.


Drawing by Jack Frost - 1955.

NEW! Check out the Art Prints page for a terrific selection of aviation prints being offered at a bargain price, 60% off list price. Imagine - prints available at less than wholesale! Check out these bargains now.

CollectAir visited the HAI Heli-Expo 2009 and again in 2014 at the Anaheim Convention Center; photos of this exhibit may be viewed at the Shutterfly website by clicking on the photo of the Sikorsky S-92 shown below. This queen of Sikorsky's fleet was flown to the Expo in 2009 by my friend Tony Burson who is the chief pilot for UTC and was the Chairman of the HAI board for 2013/2014.

The CollectAir digital camera has visited the Seattle Museum of Flight and the Evergreen Aviation Museum during June 2008; photos from these visits are now posted on Shutterfly. Previous visits to the Patuxent River Naval Air Station and the NASM Hazy at Dulles resulted in many photos, a few of which are posted on this website. All are on now - go to Articles page for a direct link to CollectAir photos or click on the Sikorsky S-92 above. A photo display of a 2011 visit to the Alaska Aviation Museum in Anchorage is also on the Shutterfly page.

A B-17G Flying Fortress high over Berlin, 1944? Returning to England? No, it's the "Fuddy Duddy" flying over CollectAir on May Day, 2005. What a beautiful sight and sound! During their stopover in Santa Barbara, the B-17 flew rides for three mornings, each time flying right up State Street and over the gallery. What it must have been like to live in England during WWII with thousands of bombers and countless fighters. The "Fuddy Duddy" was purchased by General Lyon (Martin Aviation) and is based at John Wayne Airport in the new Lyon Air Museum. Click here to visit the museum.

Now, for another subject - Art. I wrote the following discussion several years ago with the intention of running it for a month or two and then changing to another subject. The subject, however, is one that hasn't changed and one that I feel needs a continued expression of viewpoint.

George Santayana wrote in his Life of Reason IV that, "Nothing is so poor and melancholy as art that is interested in itself and not in its subject." We're inundated with aviation scenes these days in the form of prints which have taken on the sobriquet of "aviation art", usurping the definition of art from the timeless description of a skilled human involving himself with some form of media to form an emotional visual bond between himself and his audience. I know that this is a mine field with more booby traps than can be estimated, yet each of us is entitled to an opinionated definition which is highly unlikely to be shared by one's neighbor. A photo-mechanical lithographic print (same as books and magazines) is a representation of a piece of art, not a work created by a skilled artist with his own tools. The printing press made that "art" not an artist. In fact, a photograph, digital or film, of any size, is probably a closer representation of the original art piece than a lithograph which is made from a photograph. I'm trapped into use of "aviation art" to describe prints even though I strongly feel that "art" should be confined to the original work created by the effort of an artist. Lithographic prints have become the benchmark by which many of the audience judge "quality" or literal faithfulness. The perfectly flat, lifeless ink dots on fragile paper and a reduced and constricted size when compared to the original work have convinced many that that is what "art" is supposed to look like - none of that messy brush work or canvas weave. I blame the artists and the publishers for this commercialized misrepresentation, not the audience.

I respect aviation lithographic prints for what they are: a means of enjoying a wide array of aviation scenes on a budget - whether it's a coffee table book or a limited edition. The fact that few enthusiasts look beyond printed media to real art is proof that the audience has become unable to distinguish the true value of artistic creation and the human involvement. The audience will cherish (and pay for) the reality of pencil lead in an autograph created by the celebrity pilot yet not consider the artist's brush nor chalk to have the same degree of authority or cachet. Modern technology is guilty of a further debasement of the term "art" in that the line between skilled writing of software for computers and the use of that software to form images is sliding off into a blurred definition of "computer art". The computer artist is forming images based on millions of lines of code written by someone else, or many corporate others, whereas the old version of an artist finds him creating from unique code only contained in his head. To be fair, the head code is based on many varied, even infinite or cosmic sources, but it is shared by no other artist. Some terms that I've seen being used recently probably more aptly describe the different "art" forms: digital art as differentiated from traditional art.

Aviation art has gently tilted toward representationalism that has taken the artist way beyond what was once considered literal description. Recreating an airplane structure in perfect form with accurate rivet spacing, color chips to match paint, markings to perfection, and the attempt to satisfy time lines to the hour, have had the effect of celebrating photographic detail to the detriment of joy. Emotions associated with flight are stifled by excesses of excruciating minutia. There is no turning back this tidal wave of detail. But when that one superb example of an emotional aviation work comes along now and then, the audience will react and revel in the discovery of art. A stationary airplane, sitting on a ramp, is a ripe subject for minute detail by the artist-observer who is also static. But, aircraft locked in combat, with an expansive skyscape, defy close examination by the brush and paint wielder.

Just for fun, let's look at a couple of pieces of miltary aviation illustrations from the past and compare them to works of today. Neither has a surfeit of detail and both are typical of their period. The first is from World War I, an undated cover illustration for a French publication (thanks to my friend Georges Grod of Royan, France); suggestive of a B-17 waist gunner - really not much difference. The second is entitled "Torpedo Squadron 8" and was painted by James M. Sessions for the June 1944 issue of Aviation. I suggest that you can thoroughly enjoy both of these illustrations sans rivets. So you say, "What's the point of all this?" Heck, I don't know - but you have to admit that Ensign George Gay looks like he's in a hell of a lot of trouble out there so the artist has accomplished his intent. You and I have seen artwork depicting this event by dozens of artists over the years, yet, for me, this scene, with all its technical faults, gives me a profound sense of what went on that fateful day for George Gay.

Mystery of the aviation art world. Why did 1930s artists, such as Jo Kotula, portray spinning propellers in a realistic manner, yet the majority of successful modern artists persist in picturing spinning props as globs of black paint stopped as in a high speed photo? The PA-33 below is from the cover of the August 1935 issue of Model Airplane News; compare it to a Robert Taylor Spitfire prop in the popular painting, Eagles Prey. I've noted that more recently a few artists have forgone the glob method and have elected to portray propellers as we humans actually see them.

Maybe it's just me - however, I find that the harsh depiction of props is distracting and takes away from the beauty and impact of aviation paintings. Here are two recent (10/09) examples of otherwise pleasing paintings by Robert Taylor and Gerald Coulson (no, I'm not picking on British artists; there are plenty of U.S. examples as well) that fail for me because of the propellers. I believe that a simple, mostly transparent prop disc with perhaps sun reflection would be much more appropriate than the "stump" that sticks out of the spinner extending to the tip. I would like to hear from viewers about this subject - do you agree or disagree, and why? Contact CollectAir with the Feedback link.


As items, articles or information are added to this site, I'll try to list the latest changes here. When the list gets too long, I'll erase and restart which was done on April 21, 2015.

4/22/2015 edit, 4/27 edit, June 25 I'm back from 7 week auto trip so hopt to add content in next week or so, 6/30 add YH-41 museum info to Cessna Helicopter, add AIM-7 photos to Wind Tunnel Models,7/2 add H-21 photos to Helicopter Annex and Cessna Helicopter, 7/3 add British photos to Museum, Cessna Helicopter update to Iranian MAP ships, 7/4 add photos to Missiles & Space, 7/5 add two original artwork Tailspin Tommy strips by Reynold Brown, add Topping Sparrow III missile to Missiles & Space, 7/7 add 1:432 B-25 to Models, 1951 Flyig magazine to Ephemera

Thank you for your interest and your business!

Come on Wilma, let's see what planet CollectAir has to offer.

A rare 1936 Buck Rogers Space Scout patch, 3 inches in diameter. If you bought Cream of Wheat cereal, you could send in the box top and 15 cents and receive this beauty. This patch recently sold at auction for $4,300.00.

Visit the Art Prints page link to see the scenic William Phillips' print, "Give Us This Day." The B-17G shown here is a detail from the reverential scene, perfect for your home.

Visit the website of pen and ink artist Jean Luc Beghin for one of the more interesting home pages; his XS-1 print is available on the Art Prints page and you can experience his web greeting by clicking here. Be sure to mouse over the drawing! Check out the print sale - selected art prints 60% off.

This fabulous Convair wind tunnel model of the proposed F-106X is shown on the WIND TUNNEL MODEL page for documentary purposes. Other wind tunnel models also appear based on availability.

This exciting new bronze sculpture of a P-51D by Canadian Aviation Artist Jeff Krete is the first of a series of famous WW2 aircraft to be offered in a limited edition. Details of this piece, along with the biography of Jeff, are shown on the Original Artwork page. Use the page link on the upper left or click here.

An F4U Corsair "Gate Guard" used to grace CollectAir's front lawn before the gallery closed in 2014; as a consequence, CollectAir likes to feature the Corsair whenever possible. In looking for markings info for the model, I ran across a superb website,, which is run by the Vought Heritage Museum, a group of retired Vought people. The picture of the Vought VE-7 at left is described as, "The airplane that got a company off the ground," delivered to the Army in February 1918. The personal history of Chance Vought and the company that has changed ownership at least 18 times (as of 2010, now Triumph Aerostructures - Vought Aircraft Division) is covered along with many excellent drawings and photos. Corsair history and a card model can be accessed by clicking here.

A page is devoted to celebrate the history of the Woodason Aircraft Models company of Heston, England and it's founder, V.J.G. Woodason. Victor Woodason created scale display models, from the 1930s through the 50s, as used by airlines, aircraft companies, movies, recognition films and manuals, exhibitions and collectors. His 1943 book, Scale Model Aircraft, has become a cherished reference for wood model builders. The Woodason Aircraft Models History is a tribute to this master modeler.


This Grumman J2F-4 Duck, s/n 1649, was at NAS Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, operating with the First Utility Squadron VJ-1. At Ford Island during the Japanese attack, this Duck not only survived unscathed, but is thought to have been one of the first to be used to seek the Japanese fleet. Active throughout WW2, this Duck was sold on the surplus market and operated until sinking in a Bahamas lake in 1955. The airplane was salvaged in the 1990s and fully restored to flying status by Wichita Air Services and now owned by Charles Greenhill. Click here to see a photo of the beautifully restored Duck, s/n 1649. Another excellent photo of the restored J2F-4 can be seen by clicking here. This airplane has been a winner at Oshkosh. The Duck appeared at the 2011 Oshkosh event; you can view a video of the Duck and other aircraft at the 2011 gathering by clicking on the photo below.

In cooperation with Wichita Air Services, CollectAir has several salvaged parts from this historic airplane on virtual exhibit; although significantly corroded, the wing ribs, an aileron, engine parts and several instruments are all elegant reminders of Pearl Harbor. Go to the Good Stuff Page to view the Duck parts by clicking here.

The "Air Classics" magazine, Volume 41 Number 9, has a twelve page spread devoted to the restoration of the "Pearl Harbor Warrior" J2F-4, s/n 1649, written and photographed by Michael O'Leary.

Also, the December 2011 issue of EAA Sport Aviation has a seven page feature article on the "Lucky Duck".

The Grumman Memorial Park website has an excellent 3-view of the Duck which you can access by clicking here. Use the back arrow to return.

An incredibly detailed Thomas-Morse S4c Scout display model, built by master craftsman Don Gentry, in 1:5 scale is displayed on the Thomas Morse S4C Scout page which you can access by clicking here. The creator of this fabulous display piece donated the magnificent creation to the National Museum of the Air Force.

Hal Forrest's Tailspin Tommy comic strip is explored on the Tailspin Tommy page link. The first aviation daily comic strip, this aerial adventure series made its entrance in 1928. Some interesting sidelights to the strip are presented. Frames from a Tailspin Tommy movie, Tailspin Tommy Danger Flight, are shown, featuring model airplanes. Panels from 1928 through 1940 strips are shown and original strips from 1939 are offered. Not many visitors opt to go this page but I find the old comic strip history as being entertaining and just plain fun. Try it! Learn what the link is between the Douglas AD-1 and Tailspin Tommy.

CollectAir is selling a limited selection of the fine, hand-crafted, limited-edition, painted pewter models from Diverse Images Historic Aviation Collection. These exquisite models are made in England. Check out our Page Link, DIVERSE IMAGES English Pewter Models (see Page Links at left). The B-17G Diorama, shown below, is now sold out. These are the only Diverse-Images examples on commercial display in the U.S. that I know of. These models make wonderful and unique gifts that can't be found elsewhere and are an excellent trophy or award. Also magnificent, a three P-51 D-Day diorama in a signed edition of only 50 is now in stock - check it out on the Diverse Images page; this diorama has been sold out by Diverse. Models limited to stock on hand.


Charles A. Lindbergh collectors are asked to take a look at a Wright Aeronautical Corporation item from 1927 at the bottom of the "Good Stuff" page link.

Douglas DC-2, NC13711 - N1934D, was flown from Van Nuys to the Museum of Flight in Seattle and is on outdoor display at the museum. Many photos of this venerable airplane, along with its history, are available by clicking here. Also, CollectAir photos of the DC-2 can be viewed at CollectAir's Shutterfly posting which can be accessed on the Articles page. A 3-view of the DC-2, taken from the August 1936 edition of The Model Craftsman can be viewed and printed out by clicking here.

A special page has been added for helicopter buffs. The obscure Cessna CH-1 Skyhook record setting helicopter, designed about 60 years ago, is chronicled from a personal involvement aspect. More information is available on this page than any book, magazine article or internet site has ever provided. Photos are included which have never been published. Check out the Cessna Helicopter page.

Original design drawing of Cessna CH-1.

Helicopter and VTOL manufacturer display models are now presented on a separate page(s), Helicopter/VTOL Display Models - Vintage. In addition, some helicopter miscellany such as brochures, pins, manuals - anything helicopter - are also offered on the page. Some items, as they're sold, are not deleted because of historical or collector interest.

To digress for a moment to a non-aviation subject. A maverick American artist, Harry Jackson of Wyoming, born in 1924 and a wounded and decorated Marine in WWII, has experimented with art forms ranging from abstract expressionism to cowboy realism, in painting and sculpture, and can switch from one to the other with equal adroitness. The University of Wyoming said of Jackson in 1988, "This outlaw of the art world, rejecting dead rules, and living by the timeless ones, steadily emerges as one of this century's most powerful artists." I mention Jackson, whom I admire greatly and treasure the few conversations I've had with him, because Santa Barbara has one of his monumental, outdoor sculptures on exhibit at the Chase Bank, just two blocks from the CollectAir gallery.

Jackson created the sculpture, Sacagewea, in 1980 on commission from Great Western Savings which later merged with Washington Mutual (now Chase). Sacajewea was a Lemhi-Shoshone Indian guide on part of the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition; she was married to the expedition's interpretor. Around the same time, Jackson also created a 21-foot bronze of John Wayne, The Horseman, for Great Western; this monumental work is located in Beverly Hills at Wilshire and La Cienega boulevards (I wish they would move the sculpture to the Autry Museum).

The city of Santa Barbara, with its liberal political peculiarities and college setting (and I'm sure you've encountered the mind-set of those folks when it comes to "art"), has not seen fit to promote Sacagewea as one of the more artistic creations in the area (for other great sculpture, visit La Arcada nearby). Therefore, I invite you to view this statue of a courageous lady whose trek with Lewis and Clark has been peppered with fictitious myth and legends, but yet when her life is simmered down to plain truth, she is truly a majestic figure in American history. The next time you're in Santa Barbara, visit this heroic lady at the corner of State St. and Victoria.

Harry Jackson died on April 25, 2011 at the age of 87. For a taste of Harry's irascibility, you can view an interview with Harry on the Wyoming Chronicle program by clicking here. Use the back arrow to return. This is one of Harry's last interviews.

"Study for a Bust Two" - Harry Jackson - 1980.
Steve Remington collection.

A not-so PC cartoon from the 1950s.

Isn't that a wonderful patriotic cover on the September 1940 issue of Flying Aces? The painting of the Curtiss XP-40 was done by August Schonburg; the airplane pictured, although done in mid-1940, is the very first XP-40, sporting the radiator under the rear fuselage, which first flew in October 1938.

The radiator was relocated to the nose very early in the test program but pictures in magazines persisted showing the XP-40 as pictured during its first flights. Even the German Luftwaffe Wiking recognition model of the P-40 in 1:200 scale is configured with the radiator in the aft fuselage position! Flying Aces and Model Airplane News, with its Jo Kotula covers, both frequently used odd but bright airplane color schemes to emphasize the magazine on the newstands of the era. CollectAir has many vintage model airplane kits and magazines for sale from the 1930s and 1940s; also see the "Articles" page for a briefing on old, solid model kits.

From 1939 "Model Airplane News."

A new webpage, StromBecKer History, has been added to cover the history of the Strombeck-Becker Manufacturing Co., maker of the popular StromBecKer solid, pre-carved pinewood models of the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. The story of J.F. Strombeck, R.D. Becker and their Moline, Illinois woodworking factory is a study in American family corporations and the influence of European immigrants in American commerce in the 19th and 20th centuries. Use StromBecKer link in left column or click here.

PLASTIC KIT OF THE MONTH (or so) CollectAir will periodically offer a "special" on a vintage plastic kit. This month it is the spectacular Speedee Bilt kit of the B-24 Liberator, a combination of balsa wood and plastic.

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 H-4 has been reduced this month to $435.00.

The Howard Hughes epic, The Aviator, received a lot of press when it was released, but nothing in that movie equals the magnificent job that the late Jim Wright did on his Hughes Racer reproduction that he completed and flew in 2002 following 35,000 man-hours of building effort by Jim and his team of expert craftsmen including Steve Wolf who built the Gee Bee for Delmar Benjamin. All the aviation world has mourned the loss of Jim and his Racer, but this re-creation of the most beautiful of all airplanes will live on in photos, memories and, of course, the non-flying, static display of Howard's original H-1 in the NASM (Historian John Underwood points out that technically, Howard Hughes' logbook reflects the designation of "Hughes Special 1B" for the long-wing, transcontinental Racer, but all references, including those by Hughes, use the H-1 designation). Yet, the sight and sound of that polished aluminum speedster will be greatly missed by aviation buffs now, and by future enthusiasts who will be deprived of it's graceful aerial beauty. As a tribute to Jim Wright and his Racer, a photo selection is presented on the Articles page. You can download a 1936 3-view of "Howard Hughes Racer" by clicking here. Return by using the back arrow.

RESEARCHER'S NIGHTMARE - Don't believe everything you read. I certainly don't claim to be error free; I'm always open to corrections and additions (the nice aspect of websites compared to printed material). Many of us depend upon qualified sources to provide valid historical information, but incorrect information does creep in, even at the gold standard sources such as the National Air and Space Museum with their impressive staff of college trained historians. I did research for a painting of the "first" U.S. Air Mail delivery by Earle Ovington on September 23, 1911 in Mineola, Long Island. This series of flights is well documented by contemporary text and photographs. Ovington's wife, Adelaide, wrote of the flight in her 1920 book, An Aviator's Wife. A recent (2009), massive volume, Reminiscences of a Birdman, by Robert D. Campbell, carries a significant amount of historical background for the inventor and pioneer aviator, Earle Ovington. The airmail story is well told in this book with documentation and photos. Earle Ovington learned to fly in France and purchased a special, beefed up Bleriot XI while there; the airplane was shipped back to the U.S. and Ovington used the machine, along with a Curtiss, for his barnstorming and competition flights - his name for the ship was "Dragonfly." He used this original Bleriot XI for his September airmail flight without question - it is documented with verifiable and incontrovertible evidence. Even his wife's book settles the issue of what airplane he used for the flight. The problem arises because many sources wrongly declare that Ovington flew a U.S.-made Bleriot copy built by Queen Aeroplane Company for the inaugural airmail flight - this anomaly has been caused by shoddy research and a successful PR campaign by Queen at the time. After the week long airmail flights, Ovington secured a contract to carry airmail across the U.S.(rather audacious!); his French-made Bleriot XI would require a huge amount of spares for the flight which he didn't have. The Queen outfit stepped up with a Queen Bleriot copy offer that Ovington couldn't refuse. In doing so, Queen painted up one of their monoplanes with Ovington's number 13 on the rudder and a billboard side which claimed to be the "U.S. Mail Aeroplane No.1" - modern authors and researchers have been duped into believing that the Queen was the airplane used for the September 23 flights - proof that unscrupulous promoters and public relations hacks have been with us for a long time, although we have to admit that Ovington must have gone along with the gag. Queen advertising in magazines (October 1911) ballyhooed Ovington as a flyer of Queen Monoplanes. Who has fallen for this switch? The Smithsonian book, Bleriot XI - The Story of a Classic Aircraft, perpetuates the Queen myth on pages 64 and 111. Many other reputable sources have fallen prey to this ploy such as the excellent book, TAKEOFF! How Long Island Inspired America to Fly, by Nelson DeMille, where, on page ii, the Queen is mislabeled as Ovington's aircraft for the first air mail flight. In fact, the Queen, with its Gnome engine copy by Indian, was unsatisfactory, barely able to fly, and Ovington went through several in attempts to fly the trans-continental mail with no success, wrecking each that he used. He was very critical of the Queen machines and it is sadly inappropriate that the Queen has been given any credit. Update, July 2011: This conglomeration of Queen misinformation has been further perpetuated by the EAA. The EAA recently successfully flew their nifty replica of a Bleriot XI powered with a three-cylinder Anzani engine. Unfortunately, they have decorated the airplane in the markings of the Queen "copycat" and have actually stated on their website that Earle Ovington flew a Queen on his September 23, 1911 flight. I contacted the EAA concerning this historical error but received no answer as is typical of large organizations that, in their eyes, can do no wrong.

Visit the Aviation Books link for a selection of aeronautical titles, from vintage to new. The book at left, Dave Dashaway The Young Aviator, is typical of the adventure stories aimed at youth in the pre-WWI era. This novel of aerial exploits of young Dave was printed in 1913 (the fifth of the series) and was penned by "Roy Rockwood" which is a pseudonym of Edward Statemeyer who wrote the famous Hardy Boys series. "Rockwood" also wrote the Speedwell Boys series featuring submarines, motorcycles, racing autos etc. The action novels of the period covered mysteries, sports, boating, jungle boy, ranching, even West Point and Boy Scouts - these series are ripe for collecting and can be found in book sales and used bookdealers at reasonable prices. The youth novels of the 1920s and 1930s became more military oriented with WWI aviation stories and flying adventure tales involving "modern" aircraft and villains.

This new book by H.L. "Herm" Schreiner, Aviation's Great Recruiter - Cleveland's Ed Packard, is a great read for any model kit collector, scale model hobbyist, follower of modeling history or the industry, or just interested in the development of family businesses in years past. A full 322-pages of sheer pleasure for the modeling buff. More info on this new Cleveland book is available on the Vintage Model Airplane Kits page and on the Books page. Now available from your favorite bookseller online. I have received nothing but rave reviews from purchasers of this book. A book for every modeler's shelf. You will find Cleveland kits for sale on most of the Vintage Kits pages; a selection of early Cleveland kits is shown for historical purposes at Vintage Kit Annex 5, Vintage Kit Annex 6 and others may be viewed at Vintage Kit Annex 4.

CollectAir photos taken at the NASM Steven F Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles Airport may be accessed on the Articles page link. Over 500 photos taken of the artifacts, arranged in an album; photos are from several museum visits, the latest in 2013. This photo of the Turner RT-14 Meteor racer is an example.

After you've browsed this CollectAir site or it's new additions, try for some more great original aviation artwork which can take you several hours to peruse. The British Guild of Aviation Artists has hundreds of paintings from their Exhibitions on their website - a heck of a lot to look at - over a thousand! Available on CD. Send me your vote for "Best of Show." Speaking of British, check out Michael Rondot's website whose name we share - his address is His art is outstanding; some of his prints are offered on the Art Prints page. The American Society of Aviation Artists (ASAA) displays a number of outstanding aviation paintings on their website, All of the exhibit paintings and the award winning paintings from the 2010 ASAA Forum show at the San Diego Air & Space Museum are currently on exhibit along with previous exhibits. You can view this 2010 exhibition by clicking here for ASAA artwork and here for award winners from the 2010 show. The exhibit remained at the San Diego Air & Space Museum until September 10, 2010. While at the ASAA website, also check out the 2011 Forum Exhibition at the National Naval Aviation Museum and the 2012 exhibit at the Kalamazoo Air Zoo. Some ASAA folks, Andy Whyte and Charlie and Ann Cooper have a second edition of their book, "How to Draw Aircraft Like a Pro," now on the market. An excellent work that everyone can learn from; even if you do no artwork at all, this book will alert you to good practices which you will be able to spot in your review of new prints and illustrations. Check with on-line booksellers.

Vintage model airplane kits, engines and accessories are featured for sale on the Vintage Model Airplane Kits page and it's new Annex, Annex 2, Annex 3, Annex 4, Annex 5 and Annex 6, along with the Vintage Model Engines page. Flying model and solid kits from 40 to 75 years old are shown including contents and description. The 1945 Topping "100" all-aluminum Control-Line model, shown at left, appears on the Vintage Kit Annex Page. A nostalgia trip for anyone interested in vintage modeling and wood kits. Also, visit the Vintage Model Engines page for some of the classics of the ignition model engines such as this Brown Junior Motors "D", the McCoy race engines, Ohlsson Custom 60, and others of the 1930s and 40s. A Plastic Kits page, featuring the rarer 1950s and 60s kits, is a new feature. Begin your tour of vintage model airplane kits here.

Vintage display models of many kinds are available from CollectAir. These manufacturer's models were, for the most part, not sold to the public but were used by companies for promotional purposes - today, these models are museum pieces, displayed in aviation museums throughout the country. You can own a museum piece - just use the page links in the left column or click on any of the following for a selection of models: Missiles and Spacecraft, or Display Models, or Display Model Annex, or Display Model Annex 2, or Display Model Annex 3, Display Model Annex 4, or Helicopter Models.

Ah, aviation advertising was different then! This young lady was featured in a 1943 full page ad in a popular aeronautical magazine. To check out the identity of the unlikely corporation that sponsored this ad, and see a larger photo of this WW2 era lass, you'll have to go to the "Good Stuff" page.

I highly recommend Hannan's Runway, POB 210, Magalia, CA 95954, as an excellent source for model aviation and aircraft history books, some published and edited by Bill Hannan. Access Bill by

Quick! Test your recognition skill. What airplanes are those flying overhead? Check the Friend or Foe? museum link and you'll not only find out but you'll also learn who made those models and what scale they are. Click here.

All students of American aviation history should be members of the American Aviation Historical Society; to join, send your $40 to AAHS, P.O. Box 3023, Huntington Beach, CA 92605.

Doug Emmons creates magnificent wood "sculptures" of airplane subjects, each a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. A Doug Emmons WWII Typhoon, created in the "bread and butter" technique based on an old kit, is shown on the "Articles" page. Doug has a delightful website DOXAERIE which showcases his incredible models and philosophy.

Artist Michael Boss, some of whose work is displayed in the Original Art page, has an Amelia Earhart scene featured on page 44 of The Artist's Magazine for February 2004 along with a discussion of his use of casein. This painting, Earhart and the Little Red Bus: Breaking Out of Bad Weather on Her Solo Transatlantic Flight, was in the juried ASAA show held in Wichita, Kansas. You can view Mike's website by clicking here.

I assume that most visitors to this website are some sort of aviation collectors, yet only 15% (improving) of visitors browse the "Collectibles Info" page. Interesting? Nothing there for sale, just my blather about collecting stuff. Before you venture further into this website, I highly recommend that you pay a visit to the COLLECTIBLES INFO page. During the last few years, and currently, I have been amazed at the large number of very significant toy auctions in the U.S. and Europe; some huge collections of very expensive toys have gone on the block and have brought tremendous prices. Many more significant auctions are coming up in the future.

For those of you who are aviators, there are numerous websites devoted to the business of aviation; you are invited to explore Global Air's offerings by clicking here. The back arrow will return you to this page.

Did you know that the USS Enterprise was the only U.S. Navy operational aircraft carrier in the South Pacific on November 12, 1942? Read about Admiral Martin Doan "Red" Carmody's SBD adventures in the World War II Stories Page Link at left.

The photo below purportedly represents the Lockheed XP-38 in flight; this picture taken from a Lockheed advertisement. Do you think it's real? Checkout the XP-38 story on the Original Art page for the answer.

OK boys and girls, who remembers when you could buy a magazine for 35 cents? No reason for this "Model Airplane News" cover from January 1958 to be here other than the fact that the P-38 is my favorite warbird and that the prolific artist, Jo Kotula, was one of the founders of the American Society of Aviation Artists (ASAA). If you would like to join this organization devoted to the art of aviation, contact me by email or cell and I'll fill you in on the details. The July 1943 cover below also depicts a P-38 by Kotula but the magazine only costs 20 cents; You can buy this magazine now for $5.00, postpaid.

The late Ren Wicks was also one of the founders of the ASAA. Ren's work was featured in Lockheed advertising during WW2 with many P-38s, Venturas and Hudsons. The image below is an original painting by Ren Wicks of a P-38 and was one of many used for WW2 Lockheed ads. The painting is in the CollectAir collection.

Patriotism proudly displayed - LOOK magazine, 1943. I doubt that any publisher would be brave enough to publish this sort of cover in today's liberal-dominated publishing business.

The cover photo, shown below, from the July/August 1964 issue of American Modeler magazine shows four of the world's greatest pleasures - what else does a man need?! The lovely model is "Miss Model Aviation," Penny Van Hekken from the Dallas/Fort Worth area; I wonder where Penny is today?

Grumman F3F-1 painted by the late Raymond Schmitt in 1972.


Come visit me at my very personal page link at left. I fly high and tell some very cool stories. What's my age? I'd love to take you flying with me but if you'll read my story you'll learn why I probably won't. I'd enjoy spending some time with you, so let's get together - just click my link. I promise that I won't try to sell you anything - but I do hope that my enthusiasm for early aviation history is contagious, particularly after we celebrated the 100th anniversary of heavier-than-air flight! Come visit with me at the busiest aviation center on the continent. I've added some new pictures to my story, so check them out soon.

Advertisement from the October 1932 issue of "Aviation", "The Oldest American Aeronautical Magazine," which today is still around as "Aviation Week." Note that Stearman, in August 1929, was purchased by United Aircraft and Transport Corp. which at that time also included Boeing Airplane Company, Chance Vought Corporation, Hamilton Aero and Hamilton Metalplane, Pratt & Whitney Aircraft and the Pacific Air Transport Company and, not long after that, they bought National Air Transport, Varney Air Lines, and some others which eventually became United Air Lines. United Aircraft also had an investment in Jack Northrop's company. At the time of the October 1932 ad above, deep into the depression, Stearman was experiencing difficult times and came close to shutting its doors. The United conglomerate was broken up in 1934 by the feds and Boeing became the owner of Stearman in September 1934 but the company continued in Wichita under the name of Stearman until 1941. At that time, the "Stearman Division" was renamed the "Wichita Division" and preparations made to also build bombers. A 1941 advertisement can be viewed by clicking here. The popular WWII PT-17 Kaydet trainer is well known; some sources say that 8,584 were built in Wichita although there is a photo (March 1945) taken at Boeing Wichita showing the 1000th B-29 built there and alongside it is a Kaydet with a sign that states that it is the 10,346th Kaydet built in Wichita, the last under contract.

The geneology of the Wichita aircraft companies is complicated; Lloyd Stearman originally worked as chief engineer for Swallow which was formed from the E.M. Laird Airplane Co. Stearman then quickly formed Travel Air Manufacturing Company with fellow Swallow employee, Walter Beech, in 1924 with Clyde Cessna as V.P. Lloyd Stearman departed Travel Air in 1926 to form his own company in Venice, California but then returned in 1927 to form another, the Stearman Aircraft Co., Inc. He left the company shortly after its takeover by United in 1929 so, in 1932, there was no Lloyd Stearman in the Stearman Aircraft Company. The Kaydet was designed in 1934. Lloyd Stearman became president of Lockheed in the mid-1930s and then became associated with the Stearman-Hammond safety airplane project in San Francisco until it folded in 1938.


Portions of a General Mills ad from May 1946 are shown below; the Kix cereal airplane premiums were 1:432 scale models made from the wartime Cruver recognition model molds - see Friend or Foe? Museum page or Display Model page for more information. Presented here just for fun.

And, while we're on the subject of breakfast cereal, the box back from Quaker Puffed Wheat Sparkies, "Shot From Guns," is presented below. From around 1939/40, The "Home Defense Series," with Captain Sparks, Commander, of airplane pictures is typical of cereal box pictures of that era. This scene of a PBY-5 was enough to excite any young lad and it says to "save them all," which translates to "eat more Sparkies." This terrific old box is significant to me as the bottom flap says, "Mills: Akron, Ohio - Cedar Rapids, Iowa - St. Joseph, Missouri." St. Joseph was my home town and, as a grade school student, we were taken to the local Quaker Oats plant to watch these Sparkies being shot from guns - I can still smell that delicious aroma of toasting wheat.


The Library of Congress has some outstanding color photos from WWII. The following scenes taken in 1942 show the indefatigable spirit of the American homefront as women became major players in the construction of the arsenal of democracy.


A delightful scene of a YB-17 at Langley in 1942. This remarkable color photograph (transparency)is from the Library of Congress "American Memory" series WW2 section available on their website.

See the Page Links at the top-left of this page.

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Korean vintage F4U-5 from Sterling Models 1964 ad for a rubber-powered, balsa kit A-14. What a superb graphic!

Painting by Mike Boss.

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Thanks for visiting CollectAir. Please e-mail us if you have any questions or would like to add your comments to our articles. Use the FEEDBACK link for correspondence or to ORDER. We welcome suggestions and particularly encourage you to point out any errors which may exist, or if you experience any difficulty in loading a page link. To ORDER, call cell (408) 828-2810, or e-mail at Check, money order or Paypal. Mailing address is CollectAir, 1324 De La Vina St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101. See PRODUCTS page link for ordering information.

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