Collect Air






DIVERSE IMAGES English Pewter Models

















PLASTIC KITS OF 1950s and 60s
















Collect Air  


Several supersonic transport design configurations were studied by NASA beginning around 1959, extending into 1962. The French and British decision to build the Concorde SST spurred the U.S. government to announce a competition for an American SST program in 1963. TWA and Pan Am stepped forward with $2.1M towards the purchase of 21 SSTs from whomever won out. Boeing and Lockheed, along with engine makers General Electric and Pratt Whitney, were named as the initial Phase II winners of the SST design competition in early1966 The designs would out-perform the Concorde, being faster (Mach 2.7) and carrying more passengers. However, the higher speed would require extensive use of titanium whereas the Concorde was an aluminum airplane. The Lockheed design used a fixed-wing, double-delta layout while the Boeing competition incorporated an innovative swing-wing (like a B-1 or F-111) design. The aerodynamic pitching moment change from subsonic to supersonic flight necessitated configuration solutions for each design. The Lockheed double-delta counteracts the supersonic negative pitching moment because the forward delta begins to generate lift at supersonic speeds and the low speed regime is assisted by controlled vortex flow from the leading edge which increases lift - no slats or flaps required as the large wing area (9,424 sq. ft.) has significant ground-cushion on landing. The Boeing swing-wing maintains longitudinal balance at all flight conditions (note however that the B-1B needs to shift fuel during wing sweep). The June 27, 1966 issue of The Lockheed Star announced the unveiling of the SST mockup; a portion of that paper is shown below.

A Lockheed promotional litho from that era shows the SST in-flight and a 3-view of the Lockheed L-2000. The needle-like nose was designed to lower 15 degrees for low speed flight and landing and takeoff.

The L-2000, at the end of December, 1966, lost out to Boeing with it's efficient swing-wing. Perhaps the likeness of the L-2000 to the Concorde hurt it's chances. In any case, the Lockheed engineers must have been miffed when Boeing couldn't make the swing-wing concept work and the resultant Boeing SST appeared as a copy of the L-2000 (see the Boeing SST mock-up at the Hiller Aircraft Museum). The Boeing 2707 would have been built at the Boeing plant in Renton, Washington, but increasing outcry over the environmental effects of the aircraft, notably sonic boom, led to its cancellation in 1971 before the two prototypes had been completed, so in reality, Lockheed didn't lose afterall.

The Danish firm of A/S Fermo-Model Factory, based in Charlottenlund, made the 1:200 scale, all-metal model of the Lockheed L-2000 as shown below. This sleek model, 16 1/8" in length, was made as a factory display model for Lockheed. Although about 40-years old, the model has intact decals and is in nice condition; the model came from the estate of a Navy procurement official.

This 1:200 Danish-made, all-metal model of the L-2000 SST proposal is priced at SORRY SOLD.

For general interest, you might like seeing the mini-kit pictured below. This small plastic kit of the Lockheed 2000 was put out as a promotional premium by the French cooking fat company of Vegetaline; it is undated and the box is about 10 inches in length. Research indicates that there was only one other plastic kit made of the L-2000 and that was considered to be a novelty item made by Playkits.

The Boeing SST was the subject of about five plastic kits, including one by Playkits. The Lindberg kit, 492-60, shown below has box art painted by the master illustrator, Ren Wicks, one of the founders of the American Society of Aviation Artists. Apparently this is the only example of box art by Ren Wicks.

When you are finished browsing this page, you can find more display models by clicking here to view additional display models at the Display Models Annex This link will be repeated at the bottom of the page and in the left hand margin. Also visit Annex 2 and 3 for more models.



Top view of 1:200 scale Boeing B-314 Clipper.


Western Models Boeing B-314 Clipper in 1:200 scale in Pan Am colors. Cast in Pewter, the model sits on a beaching cradle (removable). Priced at $595.00. This is an outstanding model of the 314 and is large at 1:200 scale. Packaged in a handsome box. I can no longer obtain Western Models as this British firm is no longer in business in the U.K. The company was sold and is doing business in Israel - at present (4/09) they are producing several airline variations of the Lockheed Electra - no other models. This Boeing is a rare model.

Some excellent vintage videos are available on the web. Click here for Boeing 314 story.


The Grumman EA-6B model pictured at the heading of this page has a 13" wingspan. The model blanks were shipped to Grumman and Grumman Employees Club volunteers painted the model. Models could be purchased by Grumman employees. Remember when Grumman used to make airplanes? The finest Navy airplanes ever designed and manufactured came from Long Island. You can celebrate the history of Grumman by displaying this model of one of their historic airplanes, still in service. The February 2002 issue of "Flight Journal" has a picture feature on the EA-6B. I believe that this model was made by Precise and probably dates from around 1970 (does anyone have the exact date?) Model comes with the original box and is priced at $295.00. Condition is "as new" because I opened the box! An interesting piece of news on the EA-6B: The Whidbey Island Naval Aviation Memorial was recently installed on May 15, 2001. This monumental sculpture by Michael Maiden shows two EA-6B crewman and is dedicated to the lives of the EA-6B "Prowler" aircraft community. This sculpture on the Whidbey Island Naval Station is the first dedicated to the EA-6B and it's crewmen.

The EA-6B Prowler played an important roll during the Afghanistan campaign. Prowlers operating off the USS Theodore Roosevelt performed jamming operations with their ALQ-99 jamming system, not only on air defenses but on other communications. This electronic attack airplane just keeps going; rrecently, the ICAP III upgrade version of the EA-6B began testing at Patuxent River with operational capability slated for March 2005.

As a further update on the long-life Prowler, the November 7, 2005 issue of Aviation Week has a long article on the "new" ICAPIII Prowler and how a Prowler squadron VAQ-139 will be deployed to Iraq to serve as an "electronic attack" platform close to the enemy to listen and jam cellphones, the prime communication means of the enemy. Little did Grumman know in 1970 that their airplane would someday be used to fight something that didn't exist in 1970.

The 2005 version of the venerable EA-6B.

An EA-6B Prowler, assigned to the "Scorpions" of Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 132, completes an arrested landing on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71).

As of the fall of 2009, the EA-6B is being phased out and the new Boeing EA-18G Growler has been assigned to the operating squadron VAQ-129 and the Whidbey Island NAS squadrons of VAQ-132 and VAQ-141. Celebrate the passing of the EA-6B with this excellent Grumman display model.

In October 2010, the oldest EA-6B, mfs 156481, made its last flight. The Patuxent River NAS test ship from VX-23 flew from Pax to Pensacola to be enshrined in the museum. The fleet EA-6Bs in service are to be transitioned out completely by 2014. Remaining EA-6Bs may be flying mostly "black" missions (8/2011).

EA-6B on CVN76.


Similar to the EA-6B discussed above, Grumman employees also painted A-6E models. The prototype A-6 flew on April 19, 1960 and the A-6E version being presented here first flew on February 27, 1970. The model shown below is in "as new" condition and comes with the original box. Priced at $295.00.

The St. Augustine Intruder Reef. The A-6 Intruder had a wing replacement program in the late 1980s. A one-piece graphite-epoxy composite wing replaced the original all-metal wing which was experiencing fatigue problems. After a number of A-6s were retrofitted at the Grumman St. Augustine facility, the program was abruptly stopped on September 17, 1993. It was decided that the remaining A-6s that were waiting for the wing retrofit at the Grumman plant would be barged to a spot about 25 miles offshore and sunk to create an artificial reef as a fish habitat. Nearly 50 A-6s were deposited by barge in 1995; today, the St. Augustine Intruder Reef is an attractive fishing area. Another 26 A-6s were sunk in 1996 about 30 miles off Daytona Beach.


You will find many vintage display models manufactured by Bill Toppping of Topping, Inc. shown on these pages, both here and in the missile and space section. My friend, Chad Slattery, a California-based photographer, writer and model collector, wrote a very fine article on Bill Topping which was printed in the Air & Space magazine of October/November 1996. If you have a few minutes, and would like to learn more about the late Bill Topping and his company, I have attached a PDF file which displays the entire 8-page article. Though not intended to be definitive, this informative piece may be viewed by clicking here. Please use the back arrow to return to this page.


Precise Models in Elyria, Ohio was a follow-on to Topping. This mini catalog from the 1960s shows some of the manufacturer's display models that Precise constructed. 9.5 cm x 17.3 cm, the catalog has 2 stapled sheets consisting of 8 pages. Shown, in addition to the attached illustrations, are a Thunderbird F-105, an Agena, Sikorsky S61R, a Corsair II, a C-5A fuselage, a C-141 and Phantom II. Price, including mailing, is $18.00.


This Topping model represents the early A2F-1 version of Grumman's low-level attack airplane, the Intruder. First flight in April, 1960 from the Peconic River facility on eastern Long Island. The designation for the Intruder changed from A2F to A-6 in September, 1962, therefore dating this model. Most of the A-6As had a non-retracting nose refueling probe which is not on this model; a few photos can be located which show the A-6A without the probe. Compare this A2F to the late A-6E version shown previously. A fine, nicely detailed Topping example of the first Intruder model; this A2F is priced at SOLD and is in "as new" condition. Several of the Grumman Topping models from this early 1960 era, such as this one and the Mohawk, have pilots in the cockpit.

This model comes with its original shipping box and it was shipped from Bethpage to Alexandria, Virginia in December of 1960. A portion of the label is shown below. A well detailed example of a Topping display model from 1960.


This large Topping model of the Grumman F7F-3 has a 15 1/2" wingspan for a scale of 1:40. Date of issue by Topping is unknown but note that the national insignia is pre-1947. The prototype XF7F-1 flew in December 1943. Deliveries of production F7F-1s were started in 1944 but production delays slowed delivery of the Tigercat. The -1 had large spinners. Two-seat night fighters were then built as F7F-2Ns and the -3 version was a single place but with larger R-2800 engines; 189 of the -3s were built.

The Tigercat was too late for operational service in WWII and served with several Marine squadrons until the early jets came into service and was used in a night fighter configuration in Korea. Production of the F7F stopped in late 1946. This handsome twin-engine fighter model represents one of the last of the Grumman line of piston engine fighters, the F8F being the only one to continue until May 1949 - the end of the Grumman piston fighter line. This is an impressive desk model and is priced at $700.00.

Grumman photo of Tigercat.

A sidebar to Topping Models. Bill Topping used rather elaborate, movable molds to manufacture his models with injection molding in as few pieces as possible; many are a single, unified structure. Also, most of the Topping models are not painted but depend upon the base color of the plastic. Although probably done for manufacturing ease and cost purposes, a rather unintended consequence has resulted. The desk-top models were sort of bullet-proof with very few appendages save a prop or two and little paint to scratch. Now, far removed in time from the 1940s and 50s, the simplicity of these models has made them not only collectible but also available. Imagine what we'd have today if the Toppings had been made in the style of modern, plastic assembly kits with their hundreds of bitty pieces, detail and appurtenances; 99.9% would be broken and totally unredeemable. So, thanks to Bill Topping and the manufacturers who ordered them, some of these sleek models of the great airplanes of that era are still around, having survived decades of cigarette smoke, desk top disasters, young'uns play, storage woes, grandma's attic, ultraviolet rays, and probably even the pet cat. A little polishing and possibly a new decal or two (although I generally like to keep the decals "as is"), the vintage Toppings are handsome sculptures portraying the aerodynamic theory and aspirations of that most prolific design period in American military aircraft history.

The 1961 color catalog for Topping Models can be viewed or printed as a PDF file by Clicking Here.



The German-made Wiking He 111 is in 1:200 scale and is part of the "Silver Series" from Wiking made from 1958 to 1962; the series production was halted because there was little success in selling these beautiful miniatures at the time - now they are desirable collectibles as 1:200 scale interest has grown considerably. These Wikings are the same scale and similar to the wartime identification "green" models made by Wiking for the Luftwaffe for recognition training purposes. The wartime issues are now very rare and seldom seen. Our Friend or Foe? museum has a large collection of the WWII Wikings on display and several are depicted on the Friend or Foe? museum link. The silver models are a desirable collectible and appear for sale very infrequently. This Heinkel comes with the original box, decal sheet and stand, all in "as new" condition. Priced at only $SORRY SOLD Have several other silver Wikings available such as the Fw 200, Ju 52 SOLD, Ju 87, Canberra, Viscount ; inquiries welcomed.


A 1:200 scale Wiking "Silver" model with original stand. This model had the furnished decals applied; note a slight loss on lefthand side - otherwise condition as new. Price for this delightful model is $65.00. A copy of the original leaflet and .jpg of the decal sheet will accompany the model.


A 1:200 scale Wiking FW 200 in the "Silver Series." Original stand. A copy of the original leaflet and .jpg of the decal sheet will accompany the model. Price for this four-engine Luftwaffe transport/bomber is only $65.00.


A 1:200 scale Wiking Canberra in the "Silver Series" in the original box with original leaflet and decal sheet. Price for this boxed beauty is $65.00.


Inspired by the performance of the Grumman Goose during WWII, the U.S. Navy solicited Grumman to design a significantly larger amphibian with longer range. In 1944, Grumman submitted and won approval of its design G-64, to be named "Albatross," with accommodation for a crew of four, and a cabin capacity of 10 passengers, stretchers, or 5,000 pounds of cargo, as circumstances dictated. In addition, there were pylons under the wing and outboard of the engines which made it possible to carry weapons or drop tanks for increased range. In addition, fuel could be carried in the fixed underwing floats.

Ordered by the Navy as a utility aircraft, the prototype which flew first in October of 1947, was designated XJR2F-1, going into production as the UF-1.

UF-1 pictured in 1951-52 Jane's All the World's Aircraft.

Impressed with the potential of the G-64 for rescue operations, the USAF ordered 305 planes, assigning most to the Air Rescue Service of the Military Air Transport Service with the designation SA-16A.

SA-16A pictured in 1951-52 Jane's All the World's Aircraft.

Too late for service in World War II, the Albatross was used extensively in the Korean and Vietnam wars.

The SA-16 Albatross in Korea. The following quotes are from the USAF publication, That Others May Live - USAF Air Rescue in Korea, 2004. "When hostilities began, USAF leaders quickly recognized that the nature of air operations ove the Korean peninsula would place a premium upon the ability to retrieve downed airmen from the surrounding waters. The SA-16 was well suited for its mission in Korea. A rugged, twin-engine aircraft manufactured by Grumman as a general-purpose amphibian, its towo outstanding features were its reversible-pitch propellers for short landing runs and its jet-assisted takeoff (JATO) capability. Surprisingly, the USAF was the only service using fixed-wing amphibious aircraft to recover downed aircrew. After sending four amphbions to the war theater in July, 1950, the ARSve ordered SA-16s to be permanently assigned to the 3d ARS fleet. The amphibions began arriving in November, and by March 1951 the 3d ARS had its full authorization of twelve SA-16 aircraft divided among three of the squadron's four flights. Moreover, the SA-16s served in many other capacities. They supported U.S./UN aircraft in countless lengthy overwater orbits and, when required, also searched for overdue or missing aircraft. Additionally, they provided overwater escort for aircraft ranging from helicopters and liason types to bombers and cargo aircraft. Dumbos were always prepared either to attempt a landing and pickup or, if rough seas precluded a landing, to drop a life raft to downed airmen. These amphibious aircraft were responsible for the rescue of roughly one-third of all airmen downed behind enemy lines or in hostile waters."

Experience with the UF-1 led to a number of modifications, such as more effective de-icing boots for the leading edges of airfoils, increased wing span, redesign of the leading edge to increase lift, and an increase in the area of the ailerons and tail surfaces. The revised model, introduced in 1955, was called UF-2. In 1957 an improved USAF version equivalent to the Navy's UF-2 went into service as the SA-16B. When the names were "rationalized" in 1962, they became the HU-16A and HU-16B, respectively. Albatrosses assigned to the U.S. Coast Guard originally designated UF-1G were reclassified as HU-16E, and the 10 supplied to Canada were designated CSR-110.

From the September 1951 issue of "Aero Digest."

An anti-submarine version, the SHU-16B, was introduced in 1961, redesigned to carry a few small depth charges. It was also equipped with a nose radome, retractable MAD gear, ECM radome and searchlight to enable it to find targets for those weapons.

The final official Grumman classification was G-111, devised in the 1970s as the result of a collaborative effort between the manufacturer and Resorts International to convert the military aircraft to an airliner. Of the 57 surplus aircraft purchased for rehabbing, 12 were completed and placed in storage by Chalk Airlines of Miami, where they remain. Despite that disappointing outcome, by 1997 there were 92 Albatrosses on the US civil registry, of which 30 were still flying as island-hopping airliners, or as customized executive aircraft. Thus, the Grumman HU-16 "Albatross" continues to fulfill the people-hauling part of the role that it was intended for when it first entered military service with the United States Air Force, Navy and Coast Guard, eventually serving 22 foreign governments as well. [History from internet by Kevin Murphy].

The Topping model offered here is the original USAF SA-16A Albatross, the same as pictured above in Jane's. The model scales to 1:80 with a 11 15/16" wingspan and is marked as the "RESCUE ARS-HQ USAF". The Topping marking debossed under the rh wing reads, "Topping Models, 106 N. Main St., Akron 8, Ohio".

The model is in excellent condition with a perfect acrylic stand. This model is circa 1950 making it over 50-years old. The price of this beautiful amphibian is Sorry, see other versions.

The government recognition model program had several Albatross models in the same time frame. The earliest is a 1:72 scale model marked "SA-16A USAF Search & Rescue, SEP 51, Property of U.S. Government"; this black ID model has the small radome on the nose which was used by the USAF and the Coast Guard aircraft. Interestingly, a U.S. Navy ID model was issued which is almost identical (with the exception that there is no radome under the lh wing) to the Topping Albatross offered here, although it is dark blue overall; the model is marked with the same underwing Topping logo and carries the legend, "Property of USN, UF (JR2F-1), Sept. 1953" under the lh wing. The Navy ID model is pictured below - from the Friend or Foe? Aircraft Recognition Museum. Note that it is the same configuration as the Jane's picture of the UF-1 shown above with the exception of the radome.

Also, I recently ran across a photo that I took at the Navy Museum in Washington, D.C. The same model in blue plastic has had insignia applied and is mounted on the standard Topping stand as a display model. The photo below shows this dusty model. This version of the UF-1 is also offered below.

And finally, the Topping SA-16A taking off at sunset on a search mission over the Pacific out of Santa Barbara.

Advertisement from 1955.

The United States Coast Guard obtained the SA-16A version of the Albatross, equipped with a nose radome; the Coast Guard version was designated as the UF-1G. The picture below is from Jane's All the World's Aircraft 1952-53 and this configuration is basically what the Topping UF-1G model in 1:80 scale is modeled after - virtually identical to the SA-16A offered above with the exception of the radome.

The Topping UF-1G shown here is in excellent condition. The pictures below were taken in natural, Santa Barbara setting sunlight.

The decals and finish rate 99%, a very nice model with a perfect acrylic stand. This model has slightly different markings than a UF-1G sold previously. I would guess that this is an earlier model.

This Topping Coast Guard UF-1G is over fifty years old; it may be purchased for $599.00. Following the USAF SA-16 above, the UF-1G is shown below as it departs Santa Barbara on a search mission over the Pacific.

A Topping Navy version of the Grumman UF-1 is offered below. Note that this model appears to be the same as the recognition model in blue with decals added except that the underwing radome is included. This exceptional model is available for $499.00. The original Topping box, as shipped from Grumman about fifty years ago, is included. Photos below show the label and the model in the box.

Yet another Topping Navy version of the Grumman UF-1 is offered below. This model is dark grey/blue with the yellow rescue markings although the fuselage band is broken by the "NAVY" marking. This is a seldom seen version and would be considered to be the rarest of the Topping Albatross models. This model is in excellent, nearly as-new condition and is available for $699.00.


A Topping model of the Grumman Mohawk, OV-1. The prototype Mohawk first flew on April 14, 1959. The Mohawk was a photo observation and electronic reconnaissance airplane. It ably served the US Army in Europe, Korea, the Vietnam War, Central and South America, Alaska, Desert Storm and a few other spots around the world. This Army model of the Mohawk has a 12 1/2" wingspan and has a tail number of 92603. Model is in excellent condition. The Air & Space magazine website,, has an excellent Mohawk article entitled "The Last of the Mohawks" from 1997. The photo below is from a 1965 publication, R.A.F. Flying Review.

The Topping model of the Mohawk is one of my favorites in the Topping line. Additional pictures of the immaculate Topping Mohawk being offered are presented below. A Topping SLR radar boom for this model is available if that version is desired - please inquire if interested in the SLR configuration.

Something to ponder about progress in aviation: We are now flying airplanes, such as the B-52, in combat which are 40 years old and more. This Mohawk, though not an operational airplane, would be a credible operational airplane even today after over 50 years. Yet look at our Air Corps as we entered into WWII - airplanes didn't even EXIST 50 years before Pearl Harbor. Enough pondering. Own this Mohawk for $450.00 .


Grumman S2F-3 Tracker pictured in 1960-61 Jane's All the World's Aircraft.

Topping Tracker model at the Annapolis Museum - CollectAir photo 1990.

1:40 scale Grumman Tracker made by Topping. The S2F-1 was redesignated as a S-2 in 1961. This large model has a 20 1/2" wingspan. The clear base reads "S2F-1 Sub-Killer" with Grumman logo.

The S2F-1 entered Navy service in Feb. 1954 with anti-submarine squadron VS-26. The radome and MAD gear are in the stowed position. Examples of this model are on exhibit in the Navy Museum in Washington, D.C, and at the Naval Academy Museum. A Navy blue model is also available in the same excellent condition. The price of this 45+ year-old Topping is $300.00 ONLY BLUE AVAILABLE. I refer you to the article on collecting in this website.

Grumman S2F-1 scale view by the late Walt Jefferies, published in the September 1955 issue of "Air Trails Hobbies for Young Men."


An Air Force T-28 in 1:48 scale by Don Schmenk. Don is a corporate jet pilot and a custom modelmaker when he's not in the air. Don mostly makes custom wood models but occasionally puts out a few resin cast airplanes. This Air Force T-28 in 1:48 scale is priced at $195.00. The model is mounted on a metal base. The T-28 in all its versions is one of the most seen "warbirds".



A Post War grey recognition model in 1:72 scale of the English Electric P.1B British fighter. Model is in excellent condition. The Post War models were made in much smaller quantities than the wartime black issues. Raised markings on the bottom of the wings: "P.1B BRITISH FIGHTER NOV.58" and "US PROPERTY SCALE 1:72". This is a P.1B Lightning F. Mk. 1 which is one of the first operational Lightnings to see service with 74 Squadron. The first flight of the P.1B prototype variant was on April 4, 1957 so this recognition model is very current for the times.

The P.1B Lightning was the FIRST single-seat fighter designed for the RAF to exceed the speed of sound in level flight so this is a very historic British airplane, much like our U.S. F-100. The first production F.1 first flew on 30 October 1959 and 50 were delivered of this Mark. Subsequent versions reached F.6, the last of which came off the production line in August 1967. The Lightning was started to be replaced by Phantoms in 1974 but the Lightnings were in service into the 80s. Today, two Lightnings are located at Bruntingthorpe Airfield in the UK and they are periodically run for the public. Closer to home, a Lightning T.55, ZF597, has been acquired by the Olympic Flight Museum and there has been some talk about making it a flying example. Former Engineering Test Pilots School Lightning (ETPS) T.5 XS422, is located in Mississippi and is being restored to flight status by the Anglo-American Lightning Organization ( Lightning history and photos can also be seen at

This recognition model does not have the lower fuselage "bulge" that appeared on the operational fighters; the lower bulged fairing was actually a ventral fuel tank which was jettisonable in an emergency.

This model is an original, not a copy. The stand is not included. Price for the model is only SORRY SOLDplus shipping. The photo, shown below, of the English Electric Lightning really shows off the remarkable planform. This photo is presented by courtesy of the Royal Air Force.


Douglas B-26B 1:72 Recognition Model - 1952

The Douglas A-26B engaged in European operations prior to the end of 1944 - developed from the successful, and much earlier design, A-20, the A-26B production version had an "attack" nose featuring six 0.50 calibre guns with turrets and provisions for eight more forward firing 0.50s. 1355 of the B's were built. The "B" was followed by the "C" version which had a transparent bombardier nose, a wider fuselage and dual controls. Both versions were used in WW2 and in Korea.

The surviving A-26B Invaders were redesignated B-26B in 1948

A-26B at St. Joseph, MO in 1947. Steve Remington photo.

B-26B at Travis AFB Museum. CollectAir photo.

B-26B at Castle Air Museum. CollectAir photo.

Recognition model production stopped at the end of WW2 and new models didn't appear until 1948 when a small group of American models appeared, all black and constructed from cellulose-acetate-butyrate. No models, to my knowledge, were dated "1949" and a couple of U.S. Navy jets were produced in 1950. Production of recognition model types took a leap in 1951 with many types, American, British and Russian, being produced - these models came in black, blue, and grey; a 1:144 scale was introduced sometime during that period where aircraft of 100 foot wingspan or more were made in the smaller scale. As production and new types were introduced, the models became all grey or blue by the middle 1950s. Recognition model design and production ceased with 1961 models. All of the postwar models were produced in relatively small quantities compared to WW2.

A complete breakdown of B-26 variants can be accessed by clicking here.

This B-26B Invader identification model is dated April 1952; it is a postwar version of the 2-44 A-26 which is not as detailed. This model in 1:72 scale is as nice as recognition model come and is one of my favorite ID models. You can own this beauty, stand not included, for $SORRY SOLD. Even though sold, the photos of this really nice recognition model are being retained for reference purposes.


The Navy's Douglas R4D-8 stems from Douglas' private venture in 1951 to beefup the venerable DC-3. The resulting "Super DC-3" had new outer wing panels with moderate sweepback, a longer and strengthened fuselage, a larger tail unit, and modified engine nacelles which enclose the wheels entirely - no more tires showing. Douglas also uprated the R-1820-80 engines and numerous other modifications to the old DC-3 airframe and systems. The Navy liked the Super DC-3 and subsequently converted 98 earlier R4D models to the Super configuration - early versions were used by the Marines in Korea. The R4D-8 was used extensively in the Antarctic on skis. The National Museum of Naval Aviation at Pensacola has a handsome example of the R4D-8 which you can view on their website. All of the 98 conversions retained their original serial numbers.

This recognition model of the Super DC-3 is dated January 1957 and is in 1:72 scale, grey in color. It is in outstanding condition and is very representative of the excellent recognition models produced in the 1950s; this model was made by Bevelite. You can own and display this example of the last of the Douglas DC -3s for $Sorry SOLD.


World War II recognition models are described in detail on the Friend or Foe? Museum page. From time to time some duplicate models are offered for sale. Most WWII U.S. 1:72 scale models were manufactured from injection molded, cellulose acetate plastic by a Chicago company, Cruver; models are identified on the underside by type, country, date, sometimes scale, and by the makers mark which in Cruver's case is . About a dozen models were made by a New York firm, Design Center, identified by a boxed "DC". Some Cruver models were sold on the civilian market until about 1948 by Polk's Hobbies and labeled as "Aristo-Craft"; they are identical to the wartime models. They obviously did not sell well as, for example, the B-32 (see below) dropped in price from a staggering $9.25 in 1944 to 98 cents by the end of the sales effort in 1947.

Some of the WWII plastic models are prone to self-destruct, or "melt" (see a dissertation on this subject on the museum page Appendix). All models being offered here are in fine condition and are guaranteed (not like an eBay purchase!). I will not sell any model type which has a past history of being "melters or shrinkers". Some of these have been sold and the description has been left on the page for your reference.

A Cruver Lockheed P-80 marked "USA P-80 4-45 ". The P-80 was the first jet aircraft accepted for operational service by the USAAF and the first XP-80 flew on January 8, 1944. The first YP-80A was delivered in October 1944 and two of these actually reached Italy prior to the end of the European conflict. The production P-80A was delivered to the USAAF in December 1945. This Cruver model is the only jet-powered recognition model type made in quantity by the U.S. during WWII. The price of this authentic ID model is Sorry Sold. A silver version, in it's original box, is also available at the same price.

Zeke 52. The Allied code name "Zeke" was applied to the Mitsubishi Navy Type 0 Carrier Fighter (A6M) although the fighter was usually called the "Zero". This model was made by Design Center who made only about a dozen types during WWII; the model is marked on the bottom, "JAP ZEKE 52 DEC '44" with a maker's mark, a boxed "DC". In excellent original condition, this particular model is unusual in that the "hanging hole", starting in the underside, and somewhat larger diameter than usual, does not go all the way through and is angled. Note the canopy area which is unbroken by a hole. This 1944 model is an accurate version of the "Zero" and is priced at SORRY SOLD. See the 1942 version below.

B-25 WWII recognition model in 1:72 scale. Markings include July 1942, the Cruver maker's mark and a boxed "US"; many of the early IDs had a nationality identification. This model is in perfect condition. It represents the B-25s that took part in the famous Doolittle Tokyo Raid on April 18, 1942. Price of this model is SORRY SOLD.

The B-32 Dominator recognition model in 1:72 scale made by Cruver. A few Dominators saw limited action in the Western Pacific in 1945. This is a very nice example of a recognition model and is dated 12-44 - a large model, nearly as big as a B-29. Sorry Sold.

From "Air & Space," November 2008.

An impressive recognition model with excellent detail and in perfect condition just as it came out of the Cruver factory nearly 60 years ago: the Curtiss P-40N version of the famous P-40. Model is dated 4-44 and is priced at SORRY SOLD. As nice as ID models ever get.


These models are all guaranteed to be in excellent condition.

North American P-51 dated June '42. This is the Allison V-1710-39 powered P-51A version. This is much rarer than the more common P-51D recognition model. Price is Sorry Sold.

The Spitfire Mk. I dated 8-42. This model is complete with the tail wheel intact. Price is Sorry Sold.

The Luftwaffe's mainstay in the early WWII period, the Bf 109E, marked on the model as the ME 109E, dated July '42. Note that the stablizer braces are intact as well as the tail wheel. A good example, priced at Sorry Sold.

The "F" model of the Bf 109, marked on the model as ME 109F and dated July '42. A sleeker version of the Messerschmitt fighter; priced at $Sorry Sold0.

JAP MITSUBISHI 00 dated 9-42; this is an early ID model of the "Zero" and is very inaccurate, suggesting the woeful state of U.S. military intelligence in the early war period - an interesting model, Sorry Sold The Navy's National Model Building Plans also showed a woeful configuration of the "Zero".

British Marauder B-26 dated 10-42, Price is $295.00


The June 1953, 1:72 scale Cutlass Recognition model represents the definitive Vought F7U-3 production fighter which first flew on December 20, 1951; 290 F7Us were built of all models. Four Navy squadrons received the aircraft. Follow-on orders to the -3 included F7U-3Ms equipped with Sperry Sparrow I missiles. Production ended in December 1955. This was the Navy's second tailless fighter; the first was the Burgess-Dunne AH-7 of 1916.

Two F7U recognition models were made to government specs. This June 1953 version was molded in black by Theatre Specialties Inc, the forerunner of Bevelite. They only made a few models in the 1953 era. Cruver also made a F7U-3 which was molded in dark blue and does not carry a date. The post WW2 recognition models are, in general, more accurate in configuration than the wartime issues. The number purchased is not known but the total produced is far less than the wartime models.

This is a very nice model and a superb example of the postwar recognition model. The black models are relatively scarce as most of the postwar models are molded in grey beginning around 1954/55. The program continued until 1961. Fly a Cutlass for only Sorry Sold.


Miniature plastic, scale airliners were used as promotional devices, usually given to passengers. Some of these diminutive models will be offered here.

A United DC-7 Mainliner with a wingspan of 82 mm. A very handsome model priced at Sorry Sold with "slanted" rudder hinge line.

A C-54 in 1:432 scale. Marking is "C-54" under RH wing. This is probably a cereal premium model. Own this DC-4 for Sorry Sold.

A Lockheed Model 649A Constellation. Wingspan is 7.7 cm which is near 1:500 scale. There are no markings on this beautiful little gem which has an excellent finish in natural silver-grey plastic. A late 1940s model priced at SORRY SOLD.

Also have a 1:432 B-29 priced at $30.00.


A detailed, museum quality, large scale display model of the Spad XIII with markings of the 22nd Aero Squadron as flown by Ray Brooks. This model is finished in the scheme of Smith IV as exhibited in the National Air & Space Museum.


The name S.P.A.D., an acronym for Societe pour l'Aviation et ses Derives evokes a vision of a fast and rugged biplane dogfighting with Fokker evils high above the muddy trenches of northern France. The Spad series of aircraft is especially associated with air heroes such as Georges Guynemer, Rene Fonck, Charles Nungesser, Raul Lufbery, Luke and Eddie Rickenbacker, who helped build its reputation as one of the finest fighters of World War I.

S.P.A.D. was a respected aircraft m anufacturing company in France, originally formed as the Societe pour les Appareils Depersussin in 1910. After the outbreak of World War I, the company was taken over by Louis Bleriot and renamed, but the acronym, S.P.A.D., remained the same. Louis Bechereau, Deperdussin's technical director and an innovative designer in his own right, conceived the Spad fighters. To Bechereau and Marc Birkigt, a Swiss engineer and designer of the Hispano-Suiza engine, must go much of the credit for the success of the Spad series.

The Spad XIII was a larger, improved version of the earlier Spad VII with, among other changes, two fixed, forward firing Vickers machine guns; a more powerful Hispano-Suiza eight-cylinder engine (220 horsepower for the mid-production XIII with the 8Be engine versus 150 hp for the VII); and aerodynamic improvements (single bay wing etc.). The prototype Spad XIII made its first flight on April 4, 1917, flown by Sous-Lieutenant Rene Dorme, and by the end of the following month, the production aircraft had made its way to the front escadrilles de chasse. By the end of the war, and several engine improvements, the Spad XIII had proven itself in combat, particularly over the Western Front in 1918, and it was largely responsible for Allied air superiority over the Central Powers.

The Spad XIII served in, among other units; Belgian Air Service, French Air Service: Spa 93 and Spa 159, and Royal Flying Corps: 19 and 23.

The Spad XIII was manufactured and used in great numbers. In all, 8,472 of the sturdy fighters were constructed. At the end of the war, contracts for an additional 10,000 machines, 6,000 of which were to be built for the United States, had to be cancelled. By the time of the Armistice, almost every French pursuit squadron had them as did most of the newly formed U.S. Army Air Service sdquadrons. During the war, Spads were used by the British, Italians, Belgians and by the Russians.


Spad XIII at NASM prior to restoration. CollectAir photo.


NASM photo of Spad XIII following restoration at the Garber Facility.


NASM Spad XIII following restoration and installed in the museum in 1991 prior to the opening of the new WWI Gallery. A CollectAir photo.

NASM Spad XIII in new World War I Gallery in May 2007 - CollectAir photo.


A.R. Brooks and a Spad XIII (Photo: UT - Dallas, Texas)


Ray Brooks sitting in a Jenny. Photo courtesy of Walt Boyne's website,, worth a visit.

Surprisingly, in view of the quantities built, only six (let me know if this is the correct number) of the aircraft remain including Guynemer's in Paris. One of them, Smith IV, was assigned to Lt. A. Raymond Brooks, U.S. Army Air Service, who named it after the college attended by his sweetheart and future wife (it was his 4th Spad). It later became part of the Smithsonian Institution's collection. NASM's Spad XIII was built by the Kellner et Ses Fils piano works in August 1918. It was delivered to Colombey-les-Belles in September 1918 and assigned to the 22nd Aero Squadron where it was given the number "20" and assigned to Ray Brooks. The aircraft was a replacement for another of the same type in which Brooks had earlier crashed. Smith IV had one aerial victory credited to Brooks during operations in the Saint-Mihiel offensive. The aircraft entered combat during this campaign, and by the end of the war six victories had been scored in it by various pilots. After the war, Major Robert L. Walsh, a member of General William Mitchell's staff, proposed the idea of sending two Spad XIIIs to the United States, one of which was Smith IV. This aircraft found its way to the Smithsonian on December 17, 1919 and it was alternately displayed and stored it in its original condition for many years. Time, however, took its toll and eventually Smith IV, its fabric rotted and its tires missing, was finally left in storage (see the photo above taken at the Garber Facility in 1980). Smith IV eventually underwent a two-year restoration process, which was completed in 1986. The 1932 Smithsonian publication, "Handbook of the National Aircraft Collection", written by Paul Garber, Assistant Curator of Engineering in Charge of Aeronautics, U.S. National Museum, has the following information about Smith IV: "...the favorite fighting plane was the Spad XIII, of French design. In this type many of the most prominent aces achieved their victories. The collection includes an original Spad in which three prominent American aces flew, and from which seven of the enemy were shot down. It is marked by many bullet holes and is decorated with colorful insignia and camouflage." (page 19).


The model is in 1:5 scale which renders a size that is impressive for display but not too large for most venues and is easily transportable inasmuch as the wings are two piece when disassembled. All control services are connected in scale fashion, working from the functional cockpit controls. The model is faithful to plans of the Spad XIII C.1 drawn by William Wylam, published by Air Age (incidentally, Bill Wylam lived in Santa Barbara and was actively working on a Breguet 14 book project until his death in 2015). The wingspan is 68.9 inches with a length of 47.6 inches. This model has a wing area of 1210 sq. in. Although this museum quality model can be made flyable, it would make more sense to purchase the ARF version for scale flight purposes. All struts, cabanes, and flying wires are functional and are adjustable with turnbuckles. Scale rib spacing and airfoil section is used and the covering is rib stitched. Covering is Solar Tex. The model as shown here was priced at $1849.00, an incredible bargain considering the number of labor hours which go into its construction and finishing. This particular model was donated to the Estrella Warbird Museum in Paso Robles, CA and is no longer available from CollectAir. A similar model may be purchased from 3 Sea Bees of Lake Stevens, WA. The 22nd Air Squadron profile below is from the 1974 book, Color Profiles of World War I Combat Planes.



This exquisite, hand-painted model has a wing span of only 5.8 centimeters. Cast in pewter from the original WWII brass mold for the recognition model in 1:432 scale. This model has the following on the underside: "NELL 1/43 JAP MITSU T-96 NMB". Sold by DFC in the early 1990s, this painted version on the original wire stand is very rare; the DFC models are no longer being produced. Own this diminutive and impressive gem for $47.50 SORRY SOLD. Wartime 1:432 recognition models are shown on the Friend or Foe? Museum link. Also have a painted Japanese "Val II" for $29.95 SORRY SOLD. The unpainted DFC pewter 1:432 models were made in 1992 - the CollectAir stock is now sold out completely with the exception of the B-25 shown below.

DFC B-25 Mitchell is priced at $20.00.

Wartime 1:432 identification "pocket" models were manufactured in both plastic by Cruver and in metal by Comet Metal Products; wartime models had a small hole at the c.g. for mounting or hanging. Both types were produced after WWII for sale to the public and for use as advertising premiums; many different colors were used for these post-war versions, but they were generally made without the small hole - some, however, do have a mounting hole - the 1945 Authenticast catalog shows a variation of the 1:432 metal aircraft which are mounted on a wire extending from a small metal stand. Perhaps this hole does not go all the way through as on the wartime issues. Several of these post-war models are offered for sale below and are individually priced.

General Mills offered a group of 22 planes made by Cruver; a portion of a 1946 newspaper advertisement for these "Kix scale-model plastic planes" is shown below. Ten-cents and a Kix box top for each set! These models were generally in grey plastic.

Me 210 in green plastic by Cruver with 2-44 design date. For most monitors, this picture is 5 to 6 times the actual size of the model which has a wingspan of about 1.5 inches. Model price is $10.00.

Consolidated PB2Y in grey-green plastic and marked "PB2Y" under wing. Probably Kix from Set 4. Price $20.00.

From October 29, 1943 "The Aeroplane" British aviation journal.

Boeing B-29 from KIX series. Price $30.00

The models below are all wartime issues, each with a mounting hole. The plastic models are identical to those Cruver models shown on the Friend or Foe? Museum page. Included are plastic models: "U.S. A-29" Lockheed Model 14 Hudson; "T 01 JAP OSCAR SSF" Nakajima Army Type 1 Hayabusa Ki-43; Pete with no markings, a Mitsubishi Navy Type 0 Observation Seaplane F1M; "RUSSIAN PE-2 "; and a Comet Metal Products white metal model, "PV-1 VENTURA 9/43" Model 18 Lodestar (sorry sold). The Hudson and Ventura are shown side-by-side for comparison. Each of these 1:432 models is priced at $SORRY ALL SOLD.


Grumman E-2C Hawkeye Airborne Early Warning And Control Aircraft. The Northrop Grumman website has this to say about the Hawkeye: "The all-weather E-2 Hawkeye airborne early warning/command and control aircraft (AEW&C) has served as the 'eyes' of the U.S. Navy fleet for more than 30 years, and current production E-2C aircraft possess the most advanced AEW&C capabilities in service today. The Hawkeye provides simultaneous air and surface surveillance, strike and intercept control, search and rescue support, and drug interdiction.

"Continuous modifications and upgrades have kept the aircraft's mission systems current with the evolving operational environment, and the U.S. Navy is continuing to invest in a number of system upgrades to keep the aircraft viable for at least another twenty years."

A suitable place to land. Photo by CollectAir.

A somewhat more difficult landing site. Photo from

The definitive Hawkeye is the E-2C, which first flew in January 1971 (the original E-2A first flew in 1961). The main new feature of the E-2C was the APS-1 25 radar and improved signal processing capability. The C can be identified by its large air intake ahead of the wing and has been continually updated and fitted with increasingly capable radars. Over 170 Hawkeyes have been ordered, primarily for the US Navy, but also for export. Low rate production continues for the US Navy as procuring new-build aircraft was found to be more cost effective than upgrading early E-2Cs. E-2Cs are flown by many foreign nations including Japan which has thirteen in service. The 1975-76 Jane's has significant information on this airplane. Web info on the E-2C is available at by Clicking Here..

This exquisite model in 1:72 scale depicts a generic E-2C without squadron markings or specific serial numbers - it was made for Grumman as a factory display model. The model is a Topping-type, probably produced around 1970 by Precise of Elyria, Ohio who picked up most of the Topping projects when Topping went out of business.

This elaborate, detailed model has a wingspan of 13 1/2". In excellent shape, the model shows some signs of aging in some decals. The clear plastic stand carries the Grumman name and "E-2C."

This Grumman E-2C in 1:72 scale is available for $300.00.

A VX-20 E-2C Hawkeye at the NAS Patuxent River Air Test and Evaluation Squadron Two Zero taken in June 2005. Note the 8-blade propellers.

The E-2D with upgraded electronics recently took to the air, as shown below on its first flight.

Northrop Grumman Flight Test Pilot Tom Boutin and U.S. Navy Flight Test Pilot Lt. Drew Ballinger along with Northrop Grumman Flight Test Lead Weapon Systems Operator Zyad Hajo fly over the skies of St. Augustine, Fla., August 3, 2007, during the maiden flight of Delta One, the first E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. (photo credit by USN Advanced Hawkeye Flight Test Pilot Lt. Cmdr. Dave Eisen)

The newest Hawkeye, the E-2C with eight-bladed props, was featured in the July 2008 issue of Air & Space. The E-2Cs of VAW-116, the Wallbangers, are stationed at Point Mugu NAS. The "D" model (SHOWN ABOVE) is scheduled to replace the "C's" in 2013.

The photos of an E-2 Hawkeye shown below were taken at the USS Midway Museum exhibit. CollectAir sphotos 2010.



The "Texaco" hangar is a cardstock building which advertises Coca-Cola on both ends and "Texaco Gasoline" on the back. This delightful piece was manufactured by O.B. Andrews Co., Chattanooga, Tenn. The hangar is in excellent condition and measures 4 1/8" x 8 1/4" at the roof. Possibly an advertising premium and the vintage is unknown. A "restaurant" is located on one end below the Coca-Cola sign. A typical 1940s hangar which you can own for SORRY SOLD.

Sitting on the ramp in front of the Texaco hangar is a Douglas DC-3 waiting to pick up the next load of passengers bound for Chicago. This pewter DC-3 is in 1:157 scale and was made by The Danbury Mint in 1983. Not available by itself, this DC-3 is part of a twelve airplane series issued by Danbury, entitled Great Aircraft of History. Included in this series is a Sopwith Camel, Flying Fortress, Concorde, Lockheed Lightning, Piper Cub, Martin M-130 Clipper, F-15, Boeing 707, Wright Brothers' Flyer, Hellcat, Space Shuttle; twleve scale pewter replicas of legendary aircraft that have shaped history. Wingspans range up to 8 inches. Each airplane comes with it's original box and a "Certificate of Registration" from Danbury accompanies the collection.

This 20+ year-old collection is available for only $75 each for a total of $895.00 plus shipping.


The McDonnell XF3H-1 Demon first flew on August 7, 1951; the single powerplant was the XJ40-WE-6, later changed to J40-WE-22 on the production F3H-1Ns but resulting in a very underpowered fighter. In addition, the Westinghouse engine was plagued with problems which forced the Navy to shut down production after the 58th airplane. The F3H-2N was equipped with the Allison J71-A-2 in June, 1955. The last F-3Bs were in service until 1965. The history of the Demon and the squadrons that flew it can be found at an excellent F3H Demon Site. The Topping models of the Demon are marked on the Topping box as the -1 version in both an overall blue and a grey scheme. I suspect that the blue scheme was the first Topping version of the F3H, matching the Navy's original color as flown on the early models. The blue model being offered has a clouded and yellowed canopy. The Bureau of Aeronautics issued instructions in February of 1955 which described the new color schemes for all Navy and Marine aircraft beginning July 1, 1955; all existing aircraft would have the new color within two years. This places the blue Topping model in 1955 or earlier. An opportunity to own a model of the Navy's first all-weather fighter.

Each model is priced at $325.00.

As far as I can tell, all of the Topping Demon models were molded in blue plastic, The later grey color scheme is painted over the blue plastic. For the adventurous and curious, I have an original boxed Demon F3H-1 which was given to a McDonnell employee following the end of Demon production after 1959. This boxed Demon (box shown below) has never been opened. It is believed to be in the grey scheme, but you will have to break the tape yourself to find out! After 45 years, break the seal - only SORRY SOLD for the most pristine Topping model that you can obtain.


Monday morning, July 3, 1950 dawned bright and warm on the Yellow Sea, 180 miles (290 km) southwest of Inchon, South Korea. The Korean War was just 10 days old as the US Navy Carrier Valley Forge steamed north at high speed toward the 38th parallel. At 0935 hours she began launching aircraft. Jet engines began winding up from a high-pitched scream to a thunderous roar and one by one the catapult shot them forward and off the deck, clawing for altitude. The third aircraft away was flown by Lt. (jg.) Leonard Plog. The fourth was his wingman Ensign E. W. Brown. Two hours twenty minutes later the pair were over Pyongyang, North Korea in their Grumman "Panthers", riding shotgun for various Allied piston engine craft which were sent to wreak havoc on the enemy airfield located there. Spying a pair of Russian built YAK-9 piston engine craft taking off, Plog and Brown nosed over to challenge them. Plog arrived behind one YAK only to discover tracers flying past him from another enemy at "six". Pulling back hard on the stick, he was relieved to see the tracers falling away from him as Brown slid neatly astern the antagonist and put a stream of 20 mm cannon shells across the YAK from the top of the fuselage, just behind the canopy to about midway out on the left wing. There was a mighty explosion and the YAK disintegrated. It was the very first kill by a Navy jet, the Grumman Panther.

As the British were a few years ahead of the US in jet engine development in the late 1940s, the Grumman design team decided to import a single Rolls-Royce "Nene" for installation in the XF9F-2 prototype. At the same time, Pratt & Whitney was licensed by Rolls-Royce to manufacture the Nene which was a turbojet of 5,700 lbs (22.24 kN) maximum thrust. As a back-up in case the Nene project failed, Allison developed the J-33-A-8 which developed 4,600 lbs. (20.45 kN) thrust. This engine was installed in 54 F9F-3s. The Allison installation was purposely made identical to the Nene so that all Panthers could be easily switched to whichever power plant proved the most successful.

F9F Panther wind tunnel model - Patuxent River Naval Air Museum - CollectAir photo.

The first Nene powered XF9F-2 flew on Thanksgiving Day, 1947. It was a very sleek looking craft with elevators sitting high on a tail that jutted out past the tail pipe of the J-42 Nene. Air was scooped to the engine through triangular openings at the wing roots. It could reach 20,000 ft. (6,096 m) in just over two and a half minutes and zip along at 573 mph (922.16 kph) at that altitude. Top speed was just under 600 mph (965.61 kph) at sea level. The prototype was painted silver. The silver painted Topping model shown here is a representation of the original XF9F-2 and has a painted canopy. The model has a professional refinish after leaving Topping. Price on this Topping model is $SORRY SOLD$.

The Nene engine proved to be such a success, that all 54 production F9F-3s were eventually converted to dash 2s with the installation of the P&W J-42-P-6 (Nene). A total of 101 F9F-2s were thus produced. By odd coincidence, Russia was also licensed to build the same engine and they used it in their famous MIG-15 which would shortly be the Panthers adversary.

The standard Topping F9F-2 is blue with a clear canopy and is not equipped with wing tip tanks. The second and third protoypes were the F9F-2 and the F9F-3 (flown in August, 1948), identical except for the engine; these factory aircraft were not equipped with wing tanks. Oddly, the Topping Panther was never made with wing tanks and even the 1:72 scale postwar recognition model of the F9F-3, dated June 1950, does not have wing tanks. This is difficult to understand as the first license built Nene powered F9F-2 Panther (production) flew on November 24, 1948, nearly two years before the design date of the recognition model. Permanently mounted wing tip fuel tanks were added to this production model to increase the range and production Panthers retained this feature, starting with the thirteenth production aircraft according to some sources. Four 20 mm cannons were mounted in the nose, giving the Panther awesome firepower. The standard Topping F9F-2 is shown below; the model pictured is available for $185.00.

The May 23, 1949 issue of Aviation Week features a Grumman ad on the cover which shows two Panthers, both without wing tanks. The nearest Panther is a -2, serial number 122581, which would make it part of the first production batch, 122560-122589. Apparently not a prototype, then why no tip tanks? Is this the third prototype? The first deliveries of the -2 to an operational unit, VF-51, were made in the same month, May 1949, as this magazine. The magazine cover is presented below.

3-view of XF9F-2 from contemporary magazine.

An additional Topping F9F-2 is available for only $235.00. Photos of this nice model are presented below.

It has been said the military views a new weapon as a Christmas tree. They just keep hanging things on it. They managed to hang enough ornaments on the dash 2 to increase its empty weight from 7,101 lbs. (3,221 kg) to 9,303 lbs. (4,219.84 kg) with a corresponding reduction in speed from 594 mph (955.95 kph) to 575 mph (925.37 kph) and climb rate from 7,700 ft/min (39.12 m/s) to 6,000 ft/min (30.48 m/s). On the plus side, the addition of wingman fuel tanks increased the range from 1,100 miles (1,770.27 kilometers) to 1,353 miles (2,177.44 kilometers). Every minute of combat in a Panther reduced its range by six miles and the extra tankage represented an extra 40 minutes in the combat area. By the end of August, 1951, over six hundred F9F-2 and -2Ps (photo reconnaissance version) Panthers had been produced by The Grumman Iron Works, including the dash 3s which were converted to -2 specifications.

When the Korean war began at 4:00am, Sunday, June 25, 1950, the F9F Panther comprised the vast majority of US Navy carrier based aircraft. The Air Force had the F-80 "Shooting Star" and a few F-82 Twin Mustangs which were more than a match for North Korea's piston engine craft. But when the Chinese Communists began furnishing Russian built MIG-15s and pilots to fly them, the technological balance shifted toward the enemy. The F-80 and F-82 were totally outclassed by the sleek, swept wing Russian fighter. The best available aircraft was the Panther. Though by no means an even match, the Panther had the advantage of a mobile runway, and with this floating air base, had more "loiter" time. At first, Panthers were so priceless even the Navy Flight Demonstration Team (The Blue Angels) was stripped of its new Panthers, which were then sent to battle in Korea. In November, 1950, the Panther became the first carrier jet to engage a jet-powered enemy, a MIG-15 of the Chinese Peoples Republic. Pieces of the MIG were scattered over large area of the frosty Korean landscape.

The last Panthers were flown by the US Marines until 1957, while some Naval Reserve craft remained in service a few years longer. Some (mostly-2s) were also used for advanced pilot training, while a few -5s were modified to F9F-5KD drones. Navy records indicate that, in one form or another, Panthers were still on the books as late as 1962. Civilian pilots seem also to have been fascinated by the F9F, with some still flying. Own your own Panther with one of these historic Topping models. The follow-on version of the Panther, the F9F-6 Cougar, is presented next.


The Grumman Cougar was the U.S. Navy's first swept-wing, carrier-based, fighter jet. The MiG-15, encountered in the Korean War, was powered by derivatives of the same Rolls-Royce Nene engine as was the Panther, but was nearly 100 mph faster. By Christmas 1950, the Navy and Grumman both agreed that accelerated development of a swept-wing version of the Panther was urgent. A contract for the modification of three F9F-5 airframes was signed on March 2, 1951. Grumman's Design 93 was, essentially, a swept-wing conversion of the F9F Panther. It retained the fuselage, vertical tail, engine, and landing gear of the F9F-5, but was fitted with wings and horizontal tail surfaces swept at 35 degrees. To improve slow-speed flight characteristics, the chord line of the wing, when configured with extended leading-edge slats and trailing-edge flaps, was increased. To accomplish this, larger split flaps were fitted underneath the fuselage center section. The fuselage was lengthened by two feet, the wing root-mounted intakes were extended farther forward, and the wing root fillets were enlarged. The upper rudder section was unchanged, but was linked to a yaw damper. Because of adverse impact upon performance, wingtip tanks had to be eliminated. The resulting reduction in fuel capacity was partially offset by increasing the size of the forward fuselage fuel tank and by adding bladder-type fuel tanks in the wing leading edge. The swept-wing version of the Panther was designated as the F9F-6 Cougar. It made its first flight on 20 September 1951. The Cougar was first delivered to the Navy in November 1952 and remained in squadron until February 1960.

The National Air and Space Museum's F9F-6 (BuNo 126670) was the first prototype built by Grumman. The Topping Models Cougar represents the early F9F-6 and is in 1:40 scale.

This Topping model is one of a small group that has a special provenance linked to the Topping production process. George Walton had a start-up company, Progressive Plating, in Elyria, Ohio in the 1950s. He obtained a contract from Bill Topping to perform finish buffing on the acetate butyrate plastic-model castings; his brother Jack actually did the buffing. Most of the Topping models were not painted but had the color mixed into the plastic so that buffing creates a finished and polished color surface - no paint to cover scratches or factory screw-ups. Of course, not all castings were good as some were damaged during the buffing process or defects became apparent in which case the models were scrapped. These flawed rejects were brought home by Jack Walton and given to his young son Randall who promptly threw them around, crash dived, and generally demolished the winged rubbish bin prospects. However, on the plus side, Randall's uncle George would receive one completed model from Bill Topping for each type that he buffed. Randall was the only male child in the family and became the recipient and keeper of the coveted completed models, much to the envy of all the kids on his block. The plating business was later sold, Jack died in the early 1980s and George Walton passed away in 2003. This is a one-owner Topping model that never made it into the distribution system. It can be expected that each model represents the earliest example of that particular model type or production run. The lineage of this model cannot be duplicated, so although the general appearance may be identical to thousands of like models made, the model itself has traveled a unique path to this website by remaining with the original production team family all these intervening years.

Note that this Cougar does not have the silver painted leading edge extended cuffs as represented on later Topping models of the F9F-8 Cougar; also, the lucite base has no legend. This is exactly the way the model was given to George Walton by Bill Topping. This desirable model can join your Topping collection for $SORRY SOLD.

Cougars were responsible for several aviation "firsts." They were the first swept-wing aircraft used by the Blue Angels flight demonstration team from 1955 to 1957. The first deployment of the heat-seeking Sidewinder air-to-air missile was with an F9F-6 attack squadron aboard a Sixth Fleet aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean. Additionally, Capt. Ray Hawkins, USN (Ret.) made the first successful ejection from an aircraft traveling at supersonic speed, from an F9F-6.

With a new F9F-6 Cougar in your hangar, you will need a Flight Handbook, Navy Models F9F-6, -6P Aircraft to familiarize yourself with this swept wing jet. The manual shown below is dated 1 April 1954 and is marked "Confidential". The red cover is missing (note red stain on front page bottom - this and back page only), but the manual is complete clear through Appendix I for 258 pages. This flight handbook is special in that it was really used - inserted in the handbook is a mimeographed (you younger readers may not know what that is!) 5-page "F9F-6 FAMILIARIZATION EXAMINATION" which has been completely filled out by a pilot at NAS Glenview Example: Question 70. "Approximately ______pounds of fuel will be required to make a tight go around on a wave-off." Did you know that it takes 220 pounds? Learn all the answers with this gem for Sorry Sold.

AN 01-85FGD-1 Flight Handbook Navy Models F9F-6, -6P Aircraft.


Grumman F9F-8 Cougar.

The Topping models of the Panther and the early -6 Cougar are finished in the overall blue scheme used by the Navy in the late 1940s. The Grumman F9F-8 and 8P Cougar were the final single-seat versions of the Cougar and it first flew at the end of 1953. With a longer fuselage and wing leading edge extensions, the -8 is easy to spot. The Topping model of the -8P is finished in the grey and white scheme and represents the photographic version. The model, as pictured below, is priced at $300.00.

The first Topping model of the F9F-8 Cougar was finished in the all-over blue scheme. This version is shown below on the Cougar stand. This graceful appearing airplane can be yours for SORRY SOLD.

Topping Grumman F9F-8 Cougar in 1:40 scale.


This diminuative model, with a 11.3 cm wingspan, is an all-metal, shiny silver (nickel?) souvenir model with an inscription in Japanese characters on the bottom of the fuselage. The airplane type is not identified but is definitely a military type as the "meatballs" are located on the fuselage sides and on the wings. The closest Japanese airplane to this configuration is the Nakajima Army type 95-2 Trainer based on the Fokker Super Universal from around 1935.

The postcard shown above is of the Japanese pre-Dreadnought Mikasa, the flagship of Admiral Togo at the Battle of Tsushima (Russian fleet sunk) during the Russo-Japanese War in 1905. "What," you ask, "does the Mikasa have to do with this shiny little airplane?" The Mikasa has been preserved and is on waterfront display today in Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan along with a statue of Admiral Togo. This beautifully restored (both inside and out) flagship is now a Memorial Battleship, maintained by the Mikasa Preservation Society. Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz helped improve Japanese/American post-war relations in 1951 by helping to raise money for the Mikasa restoration. The ship is pictured below.

The Japanese inscription on the bottom of the model has been translated independently by several Japanese friends and it has been explained by both that the model represents some sort of souvenir from the Mikasa exhibit.

I have no idea what significance this airplane has to the Mikasa Memorial exhibit, yet it is obviously associated with the Yokosuka battleship, perhaps some sort of gift shop item, but why pick this particular style of airplane? And why an airplane at all? My research through the internet has not turned up an answer; perhaps you know? You can purchase this delightful Japanese airplane, shrouded in mystery, for $125.00.


I don't know how many magazine covers had a Topping model featured, but here is one from the Aviation Week issue of February 25, 1952. Although a F9F Panther is shown in the painting on the wall, the Topping model of the 1:40 scale F9F-6 Cougar is being held. Do you have any other examples of a mainstream magazine showing a Topping on the cover? I know that there were numerous photos of Topping models in the background of Pentagon offices but how many cover model shots?



A 3/4" scale diorama demonstration model of the B-1A nose section crew compartment is offered here. This is a Rockwell International factory model used during the initial stages of the B-1A development.

The factory full-scale, wooden mock-up (shown above) of the B-1A was begun in January 1971 at Rockwell's facility near the LA International Airport.. Note that the nose section of the mock-up, painted white, matches the crew compartment demonstration diorama model shown below. It is reasonable to expect that the model either slightly preceded the mock-up or was used concurrently, making it somewhere around 35 years old.

The first three B-1As featured an encapsulated ejection system module for the 4-man crew, rocket propelled from the aircraft. A mock-up of the crew capsule is shown below; note that the aft "break" portion of the capsule matches the model's configuration.

Photos of the 3/4" scale diorama model are presented below. The first photo shows the model neatly stowed in it's protective travelling container. The model has a battery compartment located just forward of the landing gear and has several interior bulbs to provide illumination of the compartment - I have not installed batteries so have no idea if it still functions.

This outstanding, one-of-a-kind factory demonstration model has been sold, however the images are being retained here for reference purposes as an interesting artifact.


The Diverse Images model in 1:72 scale of the Me 262A-1a, "Yellow Seven," of 11.JG7 flown by Oberfeldwebel H Arnold in April 1945 is previewed below. Go to our Links Page DIVERSE IMAGES English Pewter Models for a showing of these fine models.

You can own this exquisite pewter model of the Me 262 for around $200. This model is not fragile and is suitable for shelf display - it can be easily dusted with a soft bristle brush for example. These models by Diverse Images are historically correct and can be proudly displayed to enhance any aviation collection. Read my "collectibles" page article and decide whether you'd rather own this fine, limited edition of only 100, British-crafted model with historically correct markings and paint scheme or a glossy, Philippine wood model with no detail and dubious historical markings at nearly the same price. And, you'd better include this pewter model in your last will and testament because its going to be around long after we're gone! Visit the DIVERSE IMAGES Link Page for a grand tour including the magnificent B-17 diorama, Spitfire diorama, P-51 diorama and the outstanding Swordfish Mk I along with many other models.


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Click here to view additional display models at the Display Models Annex

Click here to view additional display models at the Display Models Annex 2

We purchase vintage display models. Rare Toppings, recognition models and metal airline models are particularly sought.

CollectAir sold this 1:72 Scale Douglas factory model of the DC-7C - This is an example of the type of model that we are seeking.

To ORDER models above, call cell (408) 828-2810 or e-mail or use the FEEDBACK link. Check, money order or Paypal. Mailing address is CollectAir, 1324 De La Vina St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101.

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