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DIVERSE IMAGES English Pewter Models
















PLASTIC KITS OF 1950s and 60s
















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Missiles and space comprise a distinctly different aspect of the aeronautics field and partially, at least, fall into the purview of astronautics. The Chinese invented rocketry centuries ago as it was reported that a scholar and scientist, Wan Ha (or Wan Hoo), lashed 47 large powder rockets to his stately sedan chair which was suspended between two balloons, had 47 coolies ignite the fuses and launched himself in a cloud of smoke into outer space, never to be heard from again. But, from a practical aspect inasmuch as I can't read Chinese, this section of CollectAir will commence chronologically following the Wright Brothers' aerial endeavors. In America, Clark University physics professor and inventor Robert H. Goddard launched the first rocket using liquid propellant on March 16, 1926 at Auburn, Massachusetts. This flight was far less auspicious than Wan Ha's as it didn't quite make it into outer space but fell at 184 feet after 2.5 seconds. However, it is really the beginning of missiles and space in America and the world.

In this Missiles & Space section, expect to find "stuff" concerning anything that flies, aerodynamically or not, guided or not, manned or not, real or fiction, that can't be conveniently and conventionally classified as an "airplane" or "lighter than air" and maybe a few things that defy classification. Is the shuttle a "space ship" or an "airplane"?

The illustration above is by the famous artist and writer, Chesley Bonestell (more on him later on this page). Plate XVIII from the 1961 book Man and the Moon by Bonestell has a caption that reads, "The tanks of a moon rocket's third stage are being refilled while in orbit 1,075 miles above the coast of California. Only the winged fifth stage will return to earth after the moon journey."

To order any item on this page, see information at the bottom of the page.


An unusual Douglas Aircraft display model of the Delta B/C launch vehicle from the1962 through 1969 period (last launch of the Delta C). Evolving directly from the U.S. Air Force Thor IRBM, the Delta space launch vehicle was designed for NASA in 1959 to handle a variety of satellite payload applications. Originally a temporary vehicle to be used as an interim solution, the Delta family of rockets evolved as the prime, reliable foundation for launching intermediate-weight civilian payloads. Delta has been a mainstay of the U.S. rocket stable since its introduction in 1960.

The non-military nature of the original Delta vehicle is historically significant, since it was the reason the booster family was given the name it still holds. The military Thor IRBM had already been adapted for satellite launches prior to the introduction of the Delta vehicle. The first three Thor-based satellite launchers were called Thor-Able, Thor-Able-Star and Thor-Agena A, based on the respective names of the rocket's upper stage configurations. The intended name Thor-Delta represented the fourth upper stage configuration for the Thor-based space launch vehicle, because Delta is the fourth letter of the Greek alphabet. Because the vehicle was designed primarily to be a civilian satellite launcher, the name Thor was eliminated so that the rocket could be better distinguished from its military relatives.

The roots of Delta began in a 1954 USAF Request for Proposals for an Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile capable of carrying a thermonuclear bomb 1,500 miles - the distance from England to Moscow. The Douglas Aircraft Company was selected to build a design that utilized the warhead and guidance system already in development for the Atlas missile.For propulsion it used the engine from the Navaho cruise missile. Sixty-five feet long and eight feet in diameter, it could fit inside a Douglas C-124 Globemaster II for easy transportation to a launch site. The first Thor IRBM was ready to fly in August 1956, just seven months after Douglas was commissioned to build it. By September 1957 Thor had successfully flown to a range of 1,250 miles while heavily weighted down by instrumentation. The first operational Thors were deployed in England by the end of 1958 and remained there until August 1963.

Thor-Delta used a Thor booster powered by a Rocketdyne MB-3 engine burning liquid oxygen and kerosene; and upper stages derived from Vanguard: the Aerojet AJ-10-118 (nitric acid/hydrazine) second stage previously used in Thor-Able, and the Allegheny Ballistics Laboratory X-248 solid motor as a third stage. The use of already available parts allowed Delta to be ready just 18 months after receiving the go-ahead. The first Thor-Delta flew on 13 May 1960 but failed due to a problem with attitude control in the second stage. Three months later, on 12 August, the Echo 1 reflight was a total success, as a 100-foot diameter aluminized mylar balloon inflated in orbit, providing a reflective surface so that two-way voice signals could be bounced from ground stations on the west and east coasts. The passive communications experiment of Echo 1A constitutes the first communications satellite in history. The orignal Topping Thor Delta model is shown immediately follwing this B/C model.

In 1962 Douglas Aircraft began a series of upgrades and modifications which would increase Delta's capacity tenfold over the next nine years. The Delta A used an improved MB-3 engine (Block II), and the Delta B model was an A with a lengthened second stage using higher energy oxidizer. The Delta C model added a bulbous fairing for greater payload space and used as its third stage the X-258 motor developed for the Scout rocket.

Delta brought on the Telecommunications Revolution. Due to its reliability and the fact that its capacity closely matched the relatively small size of early satellites, the Delta vehicle quickly became the workhorse of satellite communications and weather observation. Much of this information has come from two excellent websites; for detailed data on the Delta, Click here for Kevin Forsyth's site, or Click here for space vehicle data at Astronautix, both worth a visit for the space vehicle enthusiast. The Delta C launched many versions of the Explorer, Tiros, and the Orbiting Solar Observatory (OSO).

This handsome model of the Delta C in 1:32 scale is a representation of many of the B and C rockets of the Delta series - there were various markings and several configurations of the payload. This large, 32-inch model is mounted on a 34-inch board with two, stand-off stanchions for wall display; it was exhibited in a museum. The main engine nozzle and base fins are shown below.

The third stage has a metal dowel attachment and is removable.

The model is constructed from several materials. It appears to be lathe-turned phenolic, at least in part, and perhaps some laminated wood and metal; the fins are metal and possibly the first stage body. It is not fiberglas. At least forty-years old, the model shows some signs of finish aging in the second stage, tapered area with some longitudinal hairline cracks in the paint finish. The closeups shown below over emphasize this area with bright sun on the finish. Although easily repainted, I recommend leaving the finish "as-is" as the checking is barely visible and doesn't detract from the model's appearance but adds to its "maturity". The "United States" decal is original.

The Delta series of vehicles, now engineered by Boeing, has developed into the currently flown Delta II, III and new Delta IV, all of which bear little resemblance to their forebears other than the lineage. This exceptional Delta C space piece is in superb condition and is available for $1250.00.

A Delta II rocket launched the Phoenix Mars Lander on August 4, 2007; the lander is scheduled to land on Mars in May, 2008.


The single-stage Thor IRBM (intermediate range ballistic missile) entered active military service in September 1958, becoming the free world's first operational IRBM. The Thor was launched from a combination transporter-erector vehicle; the missile was guided by a self-contained inertial guidance system. The Thor's range was 1,725 statute miles; this limitation required deployment to an allied country closer to the Soviet Union. An agreement was reached with England and the RAF where RAF crews would train (by SAC) as the launch crews and the missiles would be based in the U.K. By the end of 1959, three squadrons of Thor IRBMs were operational with a fourth ready by April 1960, all in a state of combat readiness by the RAF. Thor stations were at RAF Feltwell, RAF Hemswell, RAF Driffield and RAF N. Luffenham. Newer missiles replaced the Thor and it was retired in 1963. The missiles were then used for space research, either as a single-stage booster or in combination with various types of upper stages for such projects as Tiros, Telstar, Pioneer, and Discoverer programs.

The original Topping Thor IRBM model with the transporter-erector is shown below.

Model is shown in the transported position. For another view of this model in erected position, click here, or for a detail view of the base, click here, or here for nose clamp detail. Use the back arrow to return.

Two photos are shown below of the Thor IRBM that is exhibited at the Edwards Air Force Base Museum. CollectAir photos taken in June 2006.

This Topping boxed Space Vehicle set from 1961 is a combination of the Thor booster and four upper stages used for space research. As previously mentioned for the Delta rocket series, the name Thor was abandoned for the civilian program. This set uses the name Thor Delta for the very first of the Delta series, prior to changing the name.

Descriptions of each of the upper stage vehicles follows:

Thor Able-4. The Thor Able combination consisted of the basic Thor missile, which was propelled by a Rocketdyne MB-3-I motor, and the Able two-stage vehicle which was built by Space General and was originally used for the Vanguard launch vehicle. It appeared in various configurations. The Thor Able combination had a length of up to 89.9 feet and was capable of launching a 251.3 lb. payload into a low-Earth orbit. The only Thor Able-4 flight took place on 11 March 1960.

Aviation Week magazine of November 27, 2006 featured a photo on page 20 of the Lockheed Martin/USAF GPS satellite being launched by a Boeing Delta II rocket as it is framed in the photo by a 50-year-old Thor-Able rocket displayed at the Air Force Space & Missiles Museum at Cape Canaveral, Florida with the comment that, "The Thor gave birth to the modern Delta."

Able Star The Thor Able Star, initially known as Thor Epsilon, combined an improved basic Thor vehicle, designated as DM-21, with a new second stage based on the Able and built by Space General, giving it a total length of 77.99 ft. The vehicle was also identified as DSV-2A and DSV-6. The combination had an orbiting capability of 595.2 lb. into low-Earth orbit and was used between 13 April 1960 and 13 August 1965 for 19 flights of which five failed. Several photos of the Thor Able Star are presented below.

Agena-B Originally known as Hustler after the Bell motor (see Bell Rascal missile on this page), the Agena upper stage was developed by Lockheed and had a Bell liquid fueled motor. It was fitted with the basic Thor first stage to create the Thor Agena A, Thor Agena B and Thor Agena D combinations, while the upper stage was also combined with improved developments of the Thor first stage, resulting in the TAT Agena B, TAT Agena D and Thorad Agena D versions. The Thor Agena B used the DM-21 first stage version with an improved upper stage which incorporated a re-start capability. This gave the launch vehicle an orbiting capability of 2094 lb. into low-Earth orbit. The 81.36 ft. launch vehicle was used for 47 launches between 26 October 1960 and 29 November 1965. Nine of these failed. The Topping Agena-B upper stage from this set is shown below.

Thor Delta The Thor Delta series of launch vehicles was developed from April 1959 by the Douglas Aircraft Corporation as an interim launch vehicle but evolved into a distinct series of launch vehicles known simply as Delta, which are still being used to date and are expected to be further developed in years to come. The current design has, however, little in common with the original Thor missile due to a continuous incremental development process. The basic Thor Delta, or Delta DM19, consisted of a Thor first stage with a second stage propelled by an Aerojet AJ-10-142 liquid fueled motor and a third stage with an Allegheny Ballistics Laboratory X-248 Altair. The 91.04 ft. launch vehicle was capable of placing 606.3 lb. into a low-Earth orbit. Between 13 May 1960 and 18 September 1962 12 were launched on which one was unsuccessful. Note that the basic Thor Delta did not have stabilizing fins as used on the B/C and later versions. While rockets carrying the Thor name continued to launch military satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California well into the 1970's, the Delta family has served with distinction as one of the longest-lived programs on the Cape as described above for the DSV-3L version. The photos below show the Topping Thor Delta configuration from the set. I hope you enjoy seeing the variety of missile and rocket models that were prevalent in the 1950s and 60s. NFS.

The following correspondence concerning the Thor Delta model was received in 2013 from Wayne Eleazer: "I have one of the Thor Delta models by Topping. I bought it at an IPMS fleamarket back in the late 1970's. At the time I was in my first job in the space business - the last USAF Program Manager for the Thor program. One especially interesting thing about that model is that it accurately depicts the Thor launch mount and the way the vehicle was attached to it. Three smooth pins from the launch mount inserted into the rocket boattail, while three other threaded pins screwed into the boatatil to provide a means of fastening the rocket to the launch mount. For erecting the vehicle, which was stored in a horizontal position the entire launch mount was rotated to the vertical position, and took the rocket with it. I have used my model to illustrate that procedure on more than one occasion, especially when we had a threaded pin break while erecting a Thor at VAFB in 1979."


The follow-on to the Delta C, the Delta D or Delta DSV-3D, also known as Thrust Augmented Thor (TAT)-Delta was similar to the Delta C but carried three Thiokol TX-345-5 Castor solid fuelled motors as strap-on boosters. The version was first used only on 19 August 1964 and 6 April 1965. The strap-on boosters were continued to be used on the Delta rocket in clusters ranging from three to a projected maximum of nine. The 3-stage (plus boosters) Delta L or Delta DSV-3L, pictured at left, used the Long Tank Thrust Augmented Thor (LTTAT) or Thorad, as the first stage. The vehicle had a length of 35.35 m and an orbiting capability of 998 kg into a low-Earth orbit. A search of Air Force Serial Numbers asociated with the McDonnell Douglas SLV-2G and J Thor missiles, in the years 1968-71, show about 22 of these being used as the first stage for the Thor Delta DSV-3L vehicle, launching numerous satellites in that period, mostly from Vandenberg AFB. The last launch that I can locate for the DSV-3L is for #88 vehicle on March 11, 1972 which carried TD-1A from Vandenberg.

The McDonnell Douglas Astronautics Company display model of the "DSV-3L Multi-Purpose Long Tank Delta", which is being offered here, measures 21 inches in length for a scale of 1:66. The "DSV" in the designation stand s for "Douglas Space Vehicle." The model appears with a full complement of nine boosters, but clusters of three, six and nine were available for launches. The model is constructed from molded plastic. The walnut base carries a handsome engraved name plaque for the rocket. This model is in "like new" condition and may be purchased for $950.00. Photos of the vehicle are shown below including a highly enlarged view of one of the several tiny blade antennas.


A spiral bound booklet of a Douglas Aircraft Company presentation to the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics on May 23, 1964. Presented is material on progress of the Douglas upper stage on three Saturn launch vehicles. Diagrams, photos and descriptions are offered for twelve figures. Figure #10 is shown below. This booklet from 1964 covers some of the preparatory engineering leading to the Saturn V. Own this valuable document (certainly of limited printing) for only $10.00. Soft cover with clear plastic overlay; 8 1/2" x 11" size.


This impressive, deep relief, bronze APOLLO 11 COMMEMORATIVE MEDAL was issued in 1969 during the Apollo program. The medal is made from bronze and measures a large 63 mm in diameter and is about 5 mm in thickness at the edge. It commemorates the first moon landing on July 20, 1969 and originates from the Apollo era. The medal was made by the Medallic Art Co., New York, a well known name in the business and the medal comes with a special 3-part, four-bolt plastic case, made by Capital, which measures 98 mm square and is 14 mm thick. The case has "Man's First Lunar Landing" printed on the white plastic liner. Own this celebration in bronze of the first lunar landing for $55.00 including case. SORRY SOLD The cased medal is pictured below.

Additional Apollo bronze medals of equal 63 mm size by Medallic Art Co. are available, including Apollo XII, Apollo XIII, Apollo 14, Apollo 16 and Apollo XVII (the last footprints on the moon). Each of these is cased in the 3-part white plastic case which can be disassembled. Each cased bronze medal is available for $50.00.


The above North American Aviation pins were promotional pins associated with the Apollo Space Program. The 3-dimensional Command Module pin on the left is a pin/tie tack and the enamel Apollo/NASA pin on the right is the standard lapel pin with the spike and push on clip. These pins belonged to a North American Aviation engineer who acquired them during the Apollo program, probably the most exciting manned space venture that we'll ever witness. I believe that it is doubtful that politics and economics will ever permit another journey to the Moon or an exploration of Mars by a manned spacecraft within the forseeable future of many generations - I can't imagine congress approving on-going funding, over many years, sufficient to fund a viable program, regardless of what the President wishes. Memorabilia from the significant Apollo era will gain attention as it becomes more evident that it was a one-time event in the history of the world. Just think, those twelve astronauts may be the only humans to ever set foot on extraterrestrial soil. Own these delightful pins in their original boxes, as a set of two, for SORRY SOLD


The supersonic Bomarc missiles (IM-99A and IM-99B) were the world's first long-range anti-aircraft missiles, and the first missiles that Boeing mass produced. The program also represented the first time Boeing designed and built launch facilities. It used analog computers, some of which were built by Boeing and had been developed for GAPA experiments during World War II. Authorized by the Air Force in 1949 as the XF-99, Bomarc was the result of coordinated research between Boeing (Bo) and the University of Michigan Aeronautical Research Center (marc).

Testing of the F-99 prototypes began in 1952 (with the first launch from Cape Canaveral in September of that year) and the first production-representative model (the YIM-99A) was flown in October 1957. The production contract was awarded in late 1957and the IM-99A was declared operational in 1960. There were two production models of the Bomarc: Bomarc A and Bomarc B. The booster on the Bomarc A was the source of some problems. The fuel was too corrosive to store in the missile, so fueling took place immediately before launch (increasing time to launch). The fueling process was also quite hazardous, involving three steps (white fuming nitric acid, analine-furfuryl alcohol, and kerosene). In 1958, Boeing announced the development of a new model that would utilize a solid fuel booster. The Bomarc B became operational in 1961, and featured the safer solid fuel booster and more powerful sustainers. In June 1963, the IM-99A and B were redesignated CIM-10A and CIM-10B, where the C prefix stood for "Coffin" which described the intercept missile's launch environment, i.e. horizontal storage in a protective shelter surround. Boeing built 700 Bomarc missiles between 1957 and 1964, and the Bomarc saw active service until 1972.

The missiles were housed on a constant combat-ready basis in individual launch shelters (coffin) in remote areas. The alert signal could fire the missiles around the country in 30 seconds. Propelled at launch by a rocket booster until it reached sufficient speed for its ramjets to operate, it was guided from the ground to the vicinity of its target at which time it came under control of an internal target seeker. It was launched from a vertical position by a 23,000 Aerojet General LR59-AG-13 liquid-fueled rocket motor mounted in the tail. Second-stage thrust was provided by a pair of 10,000 Marquardt RJ43-MA-3 ramjet engines attached to the fuselage sides. Maximum speed attained during an intercept was Mach 3.45 (2275 mph) at 105,000 feet. Launch weight was 15,500 pounds. The dimensions were wingspan 18 feet 2 inches, length (excluding the first stage rocket nozzle) 47 feet 4 inches, height 10 feet 3 inches, wing area 65 square feet. The warhead consisted of 1000 pounds of high explosives. Alternatively, a nuclear warhead could be carried. the W-40 nuclear fission (7-10 kT). The warhead was detonated by a proximity fuse activated from the ground control center.

In the late 1950s, the Canadian government decided to abandon work on the advanced Avro Arrow two-seat Mach 3 interceptor (a move that upset many in the Canadian industry) and opted for the unmanned Bomarc. The Bomarc served in Canada for about a decade. At first, the warheads were conventional, since the Canadian government of the day (Progressive Conservative Party) could not decide whether to accept nuclear warheads or not. When the Liberal Party came into power in 1963, the government finally decided to accept nuclear warheads. The nuclear warheads were supplied by the US, and there was a "double key" launching arrangement similar to that used by US missiles in the United Kingdom. The warheads were removed and returned to the USA in April/May of 1972, and the missiles were decommissioned at the same time.

The Bomarc was used as a Navy target vehicle with the first launch from Vandenberg AFB on August 25, 1966. The last launch from Vandenberg, Bomarc Launch Pad: BOM-2, was on July 14, 1982. Complete information on the Bomarc can be found at Astronautix.

The Topping model of the IM-99 Bomarc, offered here, is painted in the scheme of the Bomarc IM-99A pictured above, taken at the Namao Air Base, Alberta, Canada in June 1960. Note: Correspondent Dan French has pointed out that the black and white scheme was also used for some "B" models. This exquisite model is in a diminutive scale of approximately 1:56 (10 inches in length and stands 12 1/4 inches on the launcher) and has very finely shaped features; flying surfaces are scale thin, almost delicate. The model is in excellent condition.

The launch platform, built by Boeing, on this model is representative of the real item. The model's launch "tower", shown in the normally stowed, horizontal position above, can be raised to the vertical position - at that point the finely detailed nose clamp restraining system can be disengaged and the tower returned to the horizontal location while the launching restraints at the base of the missile remain in the vertical mode, ready for firing.

The photos below show the model raised to the vertical with the "tower" in the vertical position, followed by photos of the model ready to launch with the tower returned to horizontal. Several scenes are shown of the Bomarc that used to be located outdoors at the Air Force Museum - note that the model's launcher contains the features of the real thing.

This rare Topping model of the Bomarc IM-99 is nearly fifty years old. Model photos are of a previous "sister" model. In almost as-new condition, you can own this delightful and historic model for $1200.00.

Bomarc three-view from "American Modeler," August 1958.


The solid fueled IM-99B by Topping, the Bomarc B missile, complete with launcher as pictured in the 1961 Topping catalog, is offered here for $775.00.. The Bomarc B system was operational until April 1972 as the last of them was retired; the missile was then used as a target drone, designated as CMQ-10B.

Note in the photo below of the Bomarc B that the launcher does not extend forward of the "claws"; the Bomarc A launcher, as shown with the Topping "A" version above, has an extension which provided support tubing (service lines) to the nose, lines which the "B" version didn't require. The Topping "B" version correctly omits the extension.

Photos of the model are shown below.


This is a Topping Models two-stage Titan I model on a weighted base. The website,, provides the following information on the Titan I, ICBM.

The two-stage Titan I, together with the Atlas, comprised our nation's first generation of liquid-fueled, strategic, intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). Operational Titan I's contained an all-inertial guidance system to direct the nuclear warhead to the target. Liquid propellants for the Titan I's Aerojet rocket engines were kerosene fuel and liquid oxygen. The HGM-25A, formerly known as the SM-68 (or B-68), was the first USAF ICBM to be placed in hardened underground silos for protection against enemy attack. However, they had to be lifted from their silos to the surface by elevator prior to launching.

The USAF launched its first test Titan I on February 6, 1959 and in April 1962, the first Strategic Air Command squadron of nine Titan I's was declared operational. Eventually squadrons of Titan I's were deployed at five different bases in the western U.S. By 1965, however, Titan I's were being phased out in favor of Titan II's which offer greater range and payload, and are launched from within their silos. Modified Titan II's also were used to launch the Gemini astronauts into space. The larger and more versatile Titan III, developed from the Titan II, is one of the Air Force's major launch vehicles for its many military space programs.

This Topping model separates to show the stage II engine as pictured above and below; the separation rockets and the vernier nozzles are included and original. The Titan I was 98 feet in height.

This Topping model, as pictured, is well over forty-years-old and represents early ICBM history; the photos are of a previously sold Titan I but the current offering is identical. The model is in excellent condition and shows very well; the white plastic is bright with no sign of aging or yellowing - this model did not sit in a smoke-filled room! The base contains the inscription. The Titan I may be purchased for $895.00 . What I believe is a slightly earlier version is also available at the same price - identical with the exception that the payload nose cone is more pointed, prior to the ablative version (sorry, this one sold).

A USAF photo appearing in the July 2005 issue of "Air Force Magazine." The caption reads, "Three Titan I intercontinental ballistic missiles, iconic of the Cold War, stand ready for launch at a western US base. The wrangling over the nuclear missile mision began early. The Army believed that it should belong to the ground forces." The magazine article is entitled, "How the Air Force Got the ICBM." Some info from the article: "Titan was a two-stage missile, just over 98 feet long. Like Atlas, it used liquid fuel. However, it did not follow the Atlas pattern of depending on internal pressurization for structural stability. It used conventional aircraft construction techniques for its ywo stages. Additional structural metal made Titan heavier than Atlas, as well as longer."

Titan I first stage engine. USAF Museum Restoration Facility, 2004.


GX-460, Richardson, Robert and Bonestell, Chesley, MAN AND THE MOON, Very good Illus by Chesley Bonestell. w/ good dj, First Edition 1961, 8 1/4 x11 1/4 inches, 171pp. Illustrations by Chesley Bonestell. An anthology of 18 articles by different experts with Bonestell's wonderful illustrations. Contributors include Thomas Gold on the Lunar Surface, Wernher von Braun on the Journey, Arthur C. Clarke on the Principles of Interplanetary Flight, H. Percy Wilkins on Where to Land on the Moon, Fred Whipple and von Braun on the Exploration, and many more. A great book. Scarce in this condition. Fine $67.50 SORRY SOLD

Fusées Françaises Pour la Recherche Spatiale by CENTRE NATIONAL D'ÉTUDES SPATIALES, 1964, soft cover, 115 pp., listing, diagrams, specs, some photos of French research rockets (photo of VÉRONIQUE shown below), 6 1/8" x 9 7/16", excellent condition. text in French, $SOLD.

Taylor, Michael J. and John W.R., MISSILES OF THE WORLD, 1972, 167 pp., 5 5/8" x 8 3/4", SBN 684-13169-2, Trade cloth, no dj, clean, spine board faded, excellent compilation with photos and specs of all missiles throughout the world - a summary of what existed in 1972. $27.50.

GX-463, Corliss, William R., NASA SP-334, THE VIKING MISSION TO MARS, National Aeronautic and Space Administration, soft cover, 1975, Revised Edition, 77 pp., Added: includes symposium brochure for 1976 "Three Voyages Into Space", Fine $18.00 SORRY SOLD

GX-464, TRW SPACE LOG 1980, Volume 18, soft cover, 99pp., name written on cover otherwise fine, logs every space flight through 1980, Fine $12.00 SORRY SOLD

GX-465, TRW SPACE LOG, TWENTY-FIFTH ANNIVERSARY OF SPACE EXPLORATION 1957-1982, Volume 19, TRW, soft cover, attractive silver embossed anniversary logo on cover, 122pp., listing of every space launch through 1982, Fine $SOLD

GX-466, Carpenter, M. Scott plus, WE SEVEN, The astronauts Themselves, dj torn section on back, names on front free endpaper and first page, book club, 473 pp, Good+ $5.00 SORRY SOLD

GX-466A, Carpenter, M. Scott plus, WE SEVEN , The astronauts Themselves, no dj, First Printing 1962, 473 pp, Fine $15.00 SORRY SOLD

GX-468, Adams, Dr. Carsbie C., SPACE FLIGHT, dj, "Satellites, space ships, space stations and space travel explained, " personal library embossed on front free endpaper, 1958, photos, preface by Dr. Wernher von Braun, 373 pp., Condition fine $10.00

GX-469, Clarke, Arthur C., THE EXPLORATION OF SPACE, 1951. LC 52-5430, ndj, Condition Good+ $SOLD

GX-470, von Braun, Dr. Wernher, Whipple, Dr. Fred L., Ley, Willy, Illustrated by Bonestell, Chesley, Freeman, Fred, Klep, Rolf, edited by Ryan, Cornelius, CONQUEST OF THE MOON, dj with scuffed edges plastic protected, colored endpapers with Bonestell painting, 1953, 8 1/4" x 11 1/4", Fine $55.00 SORRY SOLD

8-20, Lapp, Ralph E., MAN AND SPACE, THE NEXT DECADE, 1961, First Edition, 183pp., ndj (no dust jacket) $6.00

12-10, Cobb, Jerrie with Rieker, Jane, WOMAN INTO SPACE: THE JERRIE COBB STORY, 1963, DJ worn, Ex-lib., LC 63-12304. $7.00 SORRY SOLD

9-20, HUBBLE SPACE TELESCOPE - A WINDOW INTO THE UNIVERSE, paper, Lockheed Missiles & Space Company, Inc., 3-foldout brochures, aticle, painting print loose accompanies pamphlet. Fine $3.00

9-29, McCall, Robert and Asimov, Isaac, OUR WORLD IN SPACE, 1974, DJ some edge tears, 0-8212-0434-3, 176pp., featuring Robert McCall paintings, Fine $40.00

5-06, Henshall, Philip, HITLER'S ROCKET SITES, 1985 First U.S. Edition, DJ, V-1 and V-2 launch sites, very detailed, photos and drawings. Fine $25.00

3-33, SPACEIMAGES - LUSTRUMPRESS, 1982, DJ, the photography of space exploration, 0-912810-37-8, Fine $30.00

GX-452, Ferris, Timothy, SPACE SHOTS:THE BEAUTY OF NATURE BEYOND EARTH, 1984 First Edition, folio, 144 pp., fine condition with v.g. dj, eighty photographs chosen from a quarter million photos from world-wide sources, outstanding collection of images. Fine $20.00 SORRY SOLD

From "Space Shots". Enceladus, a satellite of Saturn, only 310 miles in diameter and sheathed in ice. A NASA Voyager photo.

3-63, Bergaust, Erik, ROCKETS OF THE AIR FORCE, 1960, DJ, Ex-libris, 48pp., many photos $SOLD

GX-02, Smaus, Jewel and Spangler, Chade, AMERICA'S FIRST SPACEMEAN - STORY OF ALAN SHEPARD, 1962 First Edition, DJ, a "Books for Young Readers", very good biography with photos from his childhood through the space flight, Shepard died in 1998 at the age of 74 and his wife died within a month, First American to fly in space and the 5th to walk on the moon. $40.00 SORRY SOLD


GBC3-149, Tacker USAF, Lt. Col. Laurence J., FLYING SAUCERS AND THE U.S. AIR FORCE - THE OFFICIAL AIR FORCE STORY, 1960, dj, EX-LIB., "There just are not any manned spaceships yet." (p. 87), 164pp., includes government forms etc. $9.95

GX-450, Cooke, Hereward Lester, James Dean, EYEWITNESS TO SPACE:PAINTINGS AND DRAWINGS RELATED TO THE APOLLO MISSION TO THE MOON, ab 1970, Oversize oblong folio, Foreword by J. Carter Brown, linen with decorative board in fine condition, dj with slight yellowing on edge and slight tear at spine,mylar protected, Profusely illustrated many full-page, many in color and some tipped-in plates, 258 paintings and drawings by 47 of America's great artist such as Bob McCall, Norman Rockwell, James Wyeth and Robert Rauschenberg, commissioned by NASA and the National Gallery of Art to record America's historic space program, printed by Harry N. Abrams, a spectacular book of art which was executed prior to the Moon landing in 1969. Fine- $SORRY SOLD$. See photos below.

Apollo 8 painting by Bob McCall.

GBC3-155, Bergaust, Eric, ROCKETS OF THE NAVY, 1959, DJ, 48pp., good photos of the "newest" rocketry in 1959. Fine $SOLD

GBC3-181, Baker, Ph.D., David, SPACE SHUTTLE, 1979, paper, large format, 64pp. $7.50


GBC1-64, MacKinnon, Douglas and Baldanza, Joseph, FOOTPRINTS - THE 12 MEN WHO WALKED ON THE MOON REFLECT ON THEIR FLIGHTS, THEIR LIVES, AND THE FUTURE, 1989, DJ, 291pp., as new $19.95 SORRY SOLD

GX-176,JANE'S SPACEFLIGHT DIRECTORY, Edited by Reginald Turnill, "A comprehensive guide to the past, present and future acitivities of the world's space powers.", 1984, DJ, 311pp., "Space Programmes" worldwide, a great space book. as new $50.00

GX-429, MAN ON THE MOON, 1969, North American Rockwell, paper, 10 1/2" x 13 3/4" large format, 52pp., Space Division, first landing details, photos etc., ex-lib. $SOLD

GX-451, Schick, Ron and Julia Van Haaften, THE VIEW FROM SPACE AMERICAN ASTRONAUT PHOTOGRAPHS 1962-1972, 1988, Incredible color and b&w photographs taken by 16 astronauts on mission, includes eclipses from outer space, sunsets and sunrises over the moon, first edition in fine condition with dj with slight markings on front, collection marks the first time that photography from space has been attributed to the individual astronaut who framed each shot, a spectacular book, 128pp., large format. Fine- $20

GX-452, Ferris, Timothy, SPACE SHOTS:THE BEAUTY OF NATURE BEYOND EARTH, 1984 First Edition, folio, 144 pp., fine condition with v.g. dj, eighty photographs chosen from a quarter million photos from world-wide sources, outstanding collection of images. Fine $20

GX-453, Ogawa, Dennis M and Grant, Glen, ELLISON S. ONIZUKA: A REMEMBRANCE, 2nd November 1986 Onizuka Memorial Comm., Hawaii, fine condition with dj, astronaut from Kona died on Challenger, folio, book signed on title page by Robert Gibson STS 41-B & STS 61-C, Loren Shriver STS 51-C, and relatives Mitsui Onizuka ("El's Mom"), Lorna L. Onizuka, and Chuck Onizuka, with inscription to Chuck and June Barfie, 160 pp., profusely illustrated with color photos. Fine- SOLD

GX-453X, Armstron, Neil, Collins, Michael, Aldrin Jr., Edwin E., FIRST ON THE MOON, A VOYAGE WITH NEIL ARMSTRONG MICHAEL COLLINS EDWIN E. ALDRIN, JR., Epilogue by Arthur C. Clarke, 1970 bce, condition fine with vg dj, 511 pp. $10 SORRY SOLD

GX-454, Adamski, Professor George, PIONEERS OF SPACE, A TRIP TO THE MOON, MARS AND VENUS, First Edition August 1949, 260pp., speculation on inhabitants of other planets, convinced that moon has atmosphere etc., work of fiction but based on what the professor believes to be fact, no dj, boards faded somewhat and no evidence of printing on spine, the front free endpaper has ink inscription, "Prof Geo Adamski 10-29-1950 Good (word unk) To You", presumably an autograph of the author, an unusual and rare book. vg $50 SORRY SOLD

GX-500, Wilding-White, T.M. JANE'S POCKET BOOK OF SPACE EXPLORATION, 1978 second printing, 238 pages of spacecraft from the 1970's, 4 1/4" x 7", vinyl covers, ISBN 0-02-080660-4, compact digest with photo of each craft and specifications, fine $8.00 SORRY SOLD

Gulf Oil Company, WE CAME IN PEACE - The Story of Man in Space, hardcover illustrated, no dj, 1969, comes with a leaflet from Gulf Oil which..."offer you this commemorative documentation of one of man's impressive accomplishments in history.", has Gulf logo on back cover, 77 pp., photographs and paintings, history of space program, solar system. $7.50

Ley, Willy, ROCKETS, Science Service Science Program, Sticker Book, 1965, paper, 5 1/2" x 8 1/4", 64pp., all stickers intact and uncut, $5.00 SORRY SOLD

Von Braun, Wernher and Ordway, Frederick III, HISTORY OF ROCKETRY & SPACE TRAVEL, Revised Edition 1969, hardcover, dj torn, outstanding book on rocketry history up to and including first moon landing. $10.00.

LIFE Magazine, July 25, 1969, a significant space issue with headlines, "Leaving for the Moon" and "Neil Armstrong commander of Apollo 11 sets out for the launching pad.", a 2-page color center spread, "The moment: 9:32 am, precisely on schedule, July 16, 1969 - Lift-off.", this issue priced at $18.00.

LIFE Magazine, August 22, 1969, "Our Moon Trip - the astronauts write their own stories.", an 8-page article. Priced at $15.00.

GX-268H, Stine, G. Harry, ICBM - THE MAKING OF THE WEAPON THAT CHANGED THE WORLD, 1991 First Edition, DJ, 291pp., as new $30.00

Ephemera. COUNTDOWN, 6 7/8" x 9 1/4" 20-page paper booklet by Bell Systems and Mountain States Telephone. The booklet deals with the development of electronic means for guiding missiles and rockets. Profuse line drawings of early aviation, WW2, German V-2, Nike Ajax etc. Date is 1960, just prior to the Atlas missile being opertional. Fine condition. $SOLD.


Robert McCall, a Founder of the American Society of Aviation Artists, is recognized as one of America's leading futurist artists; McCall's space art and depictions of future habitats have been seen by millions of viewers, from the Smithsonian NASM mural to movie sets, from Epcot to the Air Force Art Program, from countless illustrations to NASA paintings, from murals at space and research centers to stain glass church windows, from postage stamps to public murals - Robert McCall is a true visionary. An examination of Robert McCall's career will be rewarding and enrichening - his own website carries a delightful biography which you can view by clicking here. Also, the ASAA honors founder Robert McCall with a short biography at the ASAA website. Robert McCall died in 2010.

Robert McCall was an active magazine illustrator for a number of years beginning around 1949 with an emphasis on aviation; many of his paintings can be found in The Saturday Evening Post, Colliers, Life, and Popular Science. The scenes below are examples from the June 22, 1956 issue of Colliers.

McCall illustrations were frequently used in Popular Science and featured on the cover. The May 1968 issue carried an article on the F-111 with a cover painting and a two page illustration by McCall.

One half of the 2-page illustration.

Robert McCall gave several presentations at the 20th Anniversary Forum of the ASAA at the Dryden Flight Research Center, including a discussion of his huge story of flight mural at Dryden that is reproduced at the NASM Dulles facility. The photos below were taken at the Dryden gathering in June, 2006. Robert McCall has done numerous murals for the NASA facility.

An exhibit of Robert McCall paintings was featured at the Scottsdale Center for the Arts between October 24 and December 6, 1981. The showing was titled, "A Vision of the Future - The Art of Robert McCall." An exhibition pamphlet was printed for this exhibit with a run of only 2000 copies. The cover of this document is shown below along with a typical page showing one of McCall's paintings.

Robert McCall signed this exhibition pamphlet as shown below.

This handsome and autographed document from 1981 is available for only $45.00.



A U.S. Army rocket launcher from 1958. A rather fanciful array of army trucks, all Fords, based on the 1953-1956 2nd generation of the Ford "F" trucks. Tootsietoy also put out a rocket launching set which included the radar truck, rocket launcher and others. The missile is sort of a Nike Ajax (M1M-3), surface-to-surface weapon which was first operational in 1953; the missile launcher was a trailer very similar to the Tootsietoy. The Nike required additional ground support trucks. The toy trucks pictured are in as new condition along with their respective boxes.


The Honest John was the U.S. Army's first nuclear-armed surface-to-surface rocket. The model being offered here is the last of the Honest John series, the Douglas Improved Honest John.

Development started in May 1950, when Restone Arsenal was tasked with the development of a large caliber unguided solid-fuel field artillery rocket with a capability for nuclear armament. In late 1950, Douglas was contracted to develop the new rocket, to be named Honest John. Flight testing began in June 1951, and in January 1953, the first limited-production Honest John rockets, designated Artillery Rocket XM31, reached U.S. Army units. In September 1953, the Honest John was reclassed as M31, and the first operational units were deployed in Europe in Spring 1954. The M31 Honest John was an unguided 762 mm artillery rocket, powered by a M6 solid-fuel rocket engine, and spin-stabilized in flight by two M7 spin motors. Of all U.S. nuclear weapons of the 1950's, the Honest John was the easiest to operate. The rocket was transported from the depot to the launching unit by truck and trailer in three parts (warhead, motor, fins). Assembling the rocket, and mounting it on the M289 launcher was then accomplished by six men with a crane in about five minutes. The rocket was then ready for aiming and firing to a range between 5.5 km (3.4 miles) and 24.8 km (15.4 miles). Because of its simplicity, Army units actually preferred the Honest John to the guided MGM-5 Corporal and MGM-18 Lacrosse missiles. The rocket went through several minor improvement cycles to 1960.

In 1957 Douglas had completed the design of the improved Honest John, now known as XM50. Flight tests of the XM50 started in June 1958 and continued through July 1959. In 1960 production of the Honest John switched from the M31A2 to the XM50, and the first XM50 rockets reached operational units in 1961, the date of this model.

. The XM50 Improved Honest John had a significantly improved solid-rocket motor, being lighter and yielding higher thrust, and had completely new square-tipped fins for much improved stability. These changes almost doubled the range, and significantly increased the accuracy of the rocket. In December 1962, the XM50 was reclassified as M50. There was also a product-improved version designated M50A1. In June 1963, all Honest John rockets were redesigated in the MGR-1 series. Production of the MGR-1B/C (M50) versions ended in 1965, after more than 7000 rockets had been built. By the late sixties, the MGR-1A had been completely replaced by the newer versions. In 1973, the MGM-52 Lance began to replace the MGR-1, and Honest John was relegated to U.S. Army National Guard units. In 1982, the last Honest John was discarded by the National Guard.

I was acquainted with the early version of the Honest John. I was stationed at Fort Sill, Oklahoma into late 1954 and the 52nd Artillery Group was stationed at Fort Sill, where it activated and trained units for world-wide deployment of the huge 280mm "Atomic Artillery" weapon. In 1954 it received additional units of the Self-Propelled 762mm Rocket "Honest John". When they fired the Honest John, things rocked! The late MAJ (Retired) Donald K. Bynum, Sr. was instrumental in the early development of Artillery Air Defense Systems, having fired the first Honest John Missile at Fort Sill. I lived just off base and when they would have early morning artillery exercises with the Honest John, it sounded like a sharp earthquake.

This model measures 15 1/2" in length, making it 1:21 scale. A descriptive card came with the model and both sides of it are pictured below; the date of the card printing is February 1961.

The model may have been made by Topping but there is no makers designation. The original box is included - this box is rubber stamped "DOUGLAS Improved Honest John" several places but it was "recycled" in that "F-106A" is printed on the bottom. The model is in "as new" condition along with the descriptive card. The Improved Honest John may be purchased for $1195.00.

V-2 by Walter Dornberger

This is an interesting book (written in 1952) which covers the German V-2 rocket program, written by Dr. Walter Dornberger, Doctor of Engineering and General in the German Army, who was the director of the program at Peenemünde, the German experimental rocket station. From the dust jacket: "...reveals here for the first time the full story of that fantastic enterprise, which nearly changed the course of World War II. This is the factual, yet intensely dramatic memoir of one of the world's foremost scientific engineers. His institute's contribution, the V-2, remains the most awesome and fearful weapon actually brought to bear against the Allies."

Descriptions of the inside politics of the army establishment and the totalitarian regime of Hitler and the Nazi state are firsthand glimpses at the political rivalry and greed that permeated the German war machine.

Dr. Dornberger and his top engineers in Vienna, Summer 1942. Left to right: Dr. Dornberger, Colonel Zaussen, Dr. Theil, Dr. von Braun.

Dornberger's last paragraph in the book: "Ignoring the rocket as a weapon of war, its general potentialities are enormous. A dream can now become reality; the spaceship can emerge out of hopes and theories. To this our labor, our creation, and our success made the first contributions. It must be left to the victors in this, let us hope, last great war, to see that our contribution is not lost."

The background introduction to this book was written by Willy Ley, who worked on German rockets before the Nazis came to power and who left Germany for the U.S. More on Willy Ley below for historical interest. This 281 page book is in excellent condition with dust jacket (pictured above) and is priced at $27.50. Written by the man who was there, it has a lot more appeal than later historical treatises. The book was written in 1952 and first published in the U.S. in this 1954 edition. My University of Minnesota Institute of Technology professor, Dr. Rudolf Hermann, wind tunnel expert and one of the German "Paperclip" scientists is mentioned frequently in the book - hard to believe in today's academic society, but Dr. Hermann taught undergraduate "Aero 1" - I still have the classroom notes and assignments from his class (and before this book was written).


"Ley is probably the best known exponent of the developing science and art of rocketry and space travel in the world today. He has used his long experience and interest to write a momentous volume that is packed full of information, charm, and speculation...." - Science Monthly

"From his youth Willy Ley was fascinated by all aspects of scientific fact and theory. Planning originally to be a geologist, he became interested in astronautics in the early 1920s. A pioneer in his field, he was one of the founders of the German Rocket Society in 1927.

"Mr. Ley came to the United States in 1935 and is now an American citizen. In addition to writing many popular science books, his activities include extensive lecturing before "live" audiences, as well as on radio and television, and contributing articles to scientific and popular periodicals. He has served as technical advisor for several television science programs, as science editor for a New York newspaper, as research engineer for the Washington Institute of Technology, and as consultant to the Department of Commerce's Office of Technical Services. Mr. Ley was recently appointed professor in the Science Department of Fairleigh Dickinson University."

The following information is provided as explanatory and historical background material for Ley's 1936 rocket plane flight.

The book, AIR MAIL, an Illustrated History 1793-1981, on p. 204, describes a piece of mail carried on the Rocket-Plane flight.

"When Dr. Willy Ley emigrated to America from Germany in 1935, his rocketry experiments continued. In February of the next year two small rocket planes were launched from Greenwood Lake, New York under his supervision. Neither was a complete success. One lost its wings in 15 seconds, and the other fell spinning to the ground after reaching 1,000 feet. Nevertheless, at least some of the 6,146 pieces of mail they carried landed across the state border in New Jersey, were retrieved, and were passed on to the U.S. Post Office there at Hewitt."

Illustration from "Air Mail", page 206. "A specimen of the early rocket mail experimental flight of February 1936 at Greenwood Lake. This cover displays a printed cachet (upper left corner), a rocket label of private origin, a rubber stamp cachet and Willy Ley's signature. Franking is provided by the U.S. Air Mail-Special Delivery issue of 1934."

POPULAR AVIATION, October 1936 issue, carried an article entitled "Proposed Altitude Rocket Hops" concerning Willy Ley. The following sections are from that 1936 article, contemporaneous to the rocket-plane mail attempt.

"...Willy Ley, Whose profession is science writer for American, British, German, French, and Swiss publications, first became interested in rocketry through his acquaintance in 1926 with Professor Oberth's theoretical work on rockets.

"Soon afterwards Ley wrote The Trip Into Space, which was a popular account of rocket theory. In 1928 he met Oberth at the annual meeting of the Scientific Society for Aeronautics and later the same year published The Possibility of Space Travel.

"It was this book which inspired Thea von Harbou to write her novel, "The Girl in the Moon", which later was made into a film and stirred great interest in rocketry in Europe. Professor Oberth and Willy Ley supervised the picture and Ley also handled the scientific publicity.

"Meanwhile, however, the European Rocket Society had been formed by Max Valier and Johannes Winkler in 1927, shortly after Valier had interested Fritz von Opel, automobile manufacturer, in rocketry and had conducted his famous rocket-car experiments. In 1929 Oberth became president of the society and Mr. Ley became vice-president.

"About this time the UFA film company was persuaded to finance experiments in rocketry, because of the publicity value for the film, The Girl in the Moon. An altitude rocket shot was planned and Oberth and Ley set to work to develop a suitable liquid-fuel motor as it was decided that here was a splendid opportunity to put into practice the principles which they had been advocating in their writing. The boldness of the undertaking is appreciated .....

"....Following the disintegration of the European Rocket Society (actually the German Rocket Society, VfR!), Willy Ley came to America in 1935, accompanied by another rocket engineer, Mr. H. Scharfer, and conducted the Greenwood Lake rocket airplane experiments, backed by F.W. Kessler, of New York City. The acceleration produced by Mr Ley's new type rocket motor was so great as to cause structural failure."


A selection of Rockwell International information brochures on the Space Shuttle, including color lithograph photos and 3-views. Package of the brochures listed here, spanning the era from 1976 to 1983, is priced at $Sorry Sold.

The grouping consists of: 1) 9" x 12" Mailing envelope "The Space Shuttle Missions" with lithographic photos showing STS-1 through STS-6; 2} Mailing envelope "The Space Shuttle Saga Columbia STS-3" with five lithographic photos of STS-3; 3) 8.5" x11" two-fold leaflet, "For Down to Eartth Benefits"; 4) 11" x 17" one-fold brochure, "Space Shuttle - A Promising New Era for Earth", showing mission profile; 5) Space Shuttle triangular sticker; 6) 24-page brochure, "Using the Space Shutle - A Guide to Shuttle Utilization", with many photos and diagrams; 7) 17" x 22" two-fold layout of Shuttle, "Space Shuttle Transportation System", with four-view and sections, suitable to build model; 8) 8.5" x 9" color brochure, 24-pages, "Space Shuttle Transportation System - A Promising New Era for Earth", with four-page fold out as shown below; 9) Four covers for Space Shuttle. All of these items are in unused condition.

THE SPACE SHUTTLE -The Build It Yourself Series - 1982

A complete kit in a book by Wayne McLoughlin. A twenty-four inch model made from cardstock as printed in this 9 1/2" x 12 1/4" soft cover book. Four-color, the parts are to be cutout and assembled in accordance with very detailed, printed instructions. Examples of the Space Shuttle parts and instructions are presented below. ISBN 0-316-56216-5. Prior to this book being printed, Space Shuttle Columbia completed STS-3 mission. Own this book for only $25.00.


Martin TM-76 Mace missile. USAF photo.

Mace at Eglin AFB Museum. Note launcher. CollectAir photo 2015.

Note the attachment of the booster rocket in the photo below.

The Martin Mace was a growth version of the Martin B-61 (TM-61) Matador. The Martin B-61 Matador development commenced in 1946 under Project "MX-771" with the first test flight on January 19, 1949 at the White Sands Missile Range; the missile prototypes were redesignated the "XB-61" and "YB-61" in 1951. Production of the B-61 was started in 1951 with the B-61A being evaluated by 1952. The B-61A production version was slightly larger than the prototype and had the wings raised to the high wing configuration instead of mid-wing. The B-61A was accepted for operational service in 1954. The Matador was the Air Force's first modern mobile, short-range, surface-to-surface tactical missile. The term "cruise missile" didn't exist at that time.

The Matador (and the Northrop B-62 Snark) were originally designated as "aircraft" by the Air Force, a "pilotless bomber" that went from point to point. It has been reported that this "pilotless bomber" term was used by the U.S. Army Air Forces (pre-1947) to prevent the Army from usurping the missile programs. It became obvious that the overall maintenance and operational problems for missiles were completely different from that experienced with bomber aircraft and the Air Force redesignated the missiles in 1955; the Matador became the "TM-61A" (Tactical Missile) in 1955. The first Matador unit was deployed to West Germany in March 1954 to bolster NATO forces; the missile was also sent to South Korea and Taiwan. By mid-1957, one thousand Matadors had been produced and was being phased out by 1959 in favor of the more advanced version, the Martin Mace.

Flight testing of the YTM-61B began in 1956. Because the missile was significantly different from the original TM-61 Matador, the YTM-61B/TM-61B Matador B was redesignated as YTM-76/TM-76 Mace in early 1958. Note that an early Topping launcher trailer is provided with a TM-61B label designation; a TM 76 launcher trailer is also available (see photo below) - your choice. The production version was designated TM-76A. The first squadron of TM-76A missiles became operational in 1959, and Mace soon replaced many existing Matador missiles.

Mace improvements over the Matador included a lengthened fuselage which doubled the vehicle's fuel capacity. This resulted in increased range and warhead capability. Compare the early Topping B-61 Matador model shown below (previously sold on this website) to the later Topping TM-76 Mace as offered for sale here. The lengthened nose is very apparent.

Topping B-61 Matador - 1955.

Topping TM-76 Martin Mace.

topping TM-76 Mace launcher/trailer.

The most important change, however, was the new guidance system, called ATRAN (Automatic Terrain Recognition And Navigation). The ATRAN system, developed by Goodyear, matched the radar return of the surface with pre-preprogrammed radar images, thereby enabling the missile to follow a predetermined course. ATRAN was essentially the first application of the modern TERCOM (Terrain Contour Matching) guidance principle. The system was fully autonomous and jamming-resistant. The disadvantage, however, was the necessity to obtain radar images of the potential target areas, which was not an easy task in the 1950's.

The missile was powered by an Allison J33-A-41 turbojet engine which could produce 5,500 pounds of thrust. At launch, boost was provided by a solid-fueled motor attached under the vehicle's tail. The solid rocket booster could produce a thrust of 100,000 pounds. The Topping Mace model disassembles showing various parts; the Allison engine is separate and is pictured below.

In 1963, the TM-76 Mace was redesignated in the M-13 series. This model has the TM-76 designation on the nose cone which places it's production prior to 1963. The launcher retains the designation TM-61 Matador - perhaps it was considered unnecessary to alter the unit as the same launcher was used for the Matador and the Mace. Topping only had to change the nose cone segment to convert the Matador to the Mace missile.

Topping logo on underwing.

In 1965, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara decided that the Army's MGM-31A Pershing missile should replace the USAF's Mace, mainly because of the Pershing's high-speed launch ability. By 1966, the MGM-13A (final designation of the Mace) had been withdrawn, and by 1971 the Mace was no longer in active service. The remaining missiles were used as full-size target drones.

USAF photos of the TM-76 Mace.

This Topping Models TM-76 Mace display model of the USAF's surface-to-surface missile, on it's transporter/launcher trailer, is priced at only Sold. It is complete with all parts including the J-33 engine. The model is in like new condition with sharp decals. The model came originally in individual parts which snap together; an Allison J33 engine is fitted within the tailcone and access to the guidance system (a black box!) may be made by removing the air inlet scoop (by pressing down through an access hole in the fuselage when the wing is removed). An original Topping box for the Mace accompanies the model - the box was "recycled" by Topping as it has "Titan" printed on the bottom but "Martin Matador" stamped on the side - with a Mace inside!. More model photos below.

The mobile launcher/trailer rig became obsolete as the "B" version of the Mace was developed. The TM-76B Mace B, development of which started in 1959, had an AC Spark Plug "AChiever" inertial guidance system instead of ATRAN. This allowed the Mace B to fly at high-altitude, which almost doubled the missile's range. An inertial guidance system requires the exact coordinates of the launch location. In the 1950's/60's, this required an accurate survey of the launch site which ruled out mobile use of the TM-76B. It was therefore based in fixed, semi-hardended shelters. As a compensation, launch times could be very short. The first TM-76B launch occurred on 11 July 1960, and the first operational missiles were deployed in 1961.


The Convair Atlas missile was America's first ICBM, being fully operational by September, 1959 ("Big Joe", the Atlas D). The Atlas variants, through the Series E, were stored horizontally and fueled once lifted to the upright position. The F Series was nearly identical to the E but was stored vertically in a silo, raised to the surface, loaded and launched. The Atlas series was fueled with liquid oxygen (LOX) and a hydrocarbonlike jet fuel, RP-1, thus requiring filling the LOX only just before launch because of its cryogenic nature. The Series F Atlas was the last of the ICBM series, passing its final test at the Cape in December, 1962. This Topping Models missile is the "D" version of the Atlas and was made for General Dynamics Astronautics, probably around 1959.

The Atlas missiles, however, saw only brief service and the last squadron was taken off operational alert in 1965. Despite its relatively short life span, Atlas served as the proving ground for many new missile technologies. Perhaps more importantly, its development spawned the organization, policies, and procedures that paved the way for all of the later ICBM programs.

The Atlas incorporated two novel features. The first was its "stage-and-a-half" propulsion system consisting of two large booster engines flanking a smaller sustainer engine. Unlike the later ICBMs in which the first, second, and third stages fired in sequence, all of the Atlas engines were ignited at liftoff. Another interesting feature was the pressurized integral fuel tanks. The Convair designers adopted this technique to save weight. The huge tanks, which constituted 80% of the missile's mass, were built from thin sheets of stainless steel. When empty, the tanks were filled with nitrogen gas at 5 psi to maintain a positive internal pressure to prevent collapse.

During the launch sequence, the two boosters and the sustainer engine were ignited on the ground and the two small vernier engines mounted above the sustainer came to life 2.5 seconds after lift-off. After leaving the launch pad, the missile accelerated rapidly, gradually nosing over in a gentle arc toward the target. Once in flight, the booster engines burned for 140 seconds. After receiving a staging signal from the ground station, the booster engines and turbo-pumps were jettisoned into space (including the bottom "skirt" and booster fairings). The sustainer engine continued to bum for another 130 seconds, and then it too fell silent. Final course and velocity corrections were made by the vernier engines. At the apogee of its elliptical flight path the missile reached an altitude of 763 miles and a speed of approximately 16,000 miles per hour. Elapsed time for a flight of 6,785 miles: 43 minutes.

Vernier engines.

Interestingly, Topping made several versions of the Atlas missile. An E/F version, which differs slightly in several external areas, has been offered here in the past, and is shown as an addendum to this "D" version. The D version shown here has the same General Electric Mk 3 re-entry vehicle as the E/F version. The external booster fairings are different between the D and the E/F and the bottom "skirt" fairing extends lower on the D. The two versions are shown below in line drawings.

The Atlas D was equipped with radio-inertial guidance. First tested in April 1959, three Atlas Ds were placed on operational alert at Vandenberg AFB in late 1959 with the 576th Strategic Missile Squadron; this squadron is still based at Vandenberg and now has a Topping Atlas D,which was purchased from CollectAir,in their history museum. The Convair Division of General Dynamics produced three different models of the Atlas ICBM destined for deployment with the Strategic Air Command. The first operational version of the Atlas, the "D" model, was stored in a horizontal position on a "soft" above-ground launcher, unprotected from the effects of nuclear blast, and had an effective range, like all Atlas models, of approximately 6,500 nautical miles. The first full Atlas D squadrons became operational in 1960. In these so-called "soft" sites, which could only withstand overpressures of 5 pounds per square inch (psi), the missiles were stored horizontally within a 103 by 133-foot launch and service building built of reinforced concrete. The missile bay had a retractable roof. To launch the missile, the roof was pulled back, the missile raised to the vertical position, fueled, and fired. An individual Atlas D launch site consisted of a launch and service building, a launch operations building, guidance operations building, generating plant, and communications facilities.

Photo Release #69521 A - General Dynamics/Astronautics - June 1961. ATLAS MISSILE PRODUCTION - An Air Force Atlas intercontinental ballistic missile moves along production line on overhead crane at San Diego, Calif., plant of General Dynamics/Astronautics. Single sustainer engine attached to aft-end of missile tank is shown in foreground. Two booster engines are contained in cylindrical thrust structure housing which is mated to the missile as shown on top Atlas; this portion is jettisoned at staging and Atlas continues on course powered by single sustainer engine. Atlas engines are made by North American-Rocketdyne.

An operational Atlas D is shown below in its vertical launch position.

The first American astronaut to experience orbital flight, John Glenn, was lifted into orbit on February 20, 1962 aboard the Atlas rocket powered Friendship 7 (see models further down on this page). The 2-stage Atlas/Centaur was first launched in 1963 and became a space workhorse for 30 years.including the Pioneer 10 to Jupiter and Surveyor I to the Moon.

This Topping Atlas D measures 15 5/8" in length, making it about 1:72 scale. Note the single booster engine turbine exhaust duct on the bottom alongside the three engines and the two vernier engines midway up the missile body. External parts also include the liquid oxygen tank pressurization line, upper pod, lower bump pad, and the cableway fairing that runs up one side to the re-entry vehicle, carrying the inflight disconnect.

This Topping Atlas D missile is in very nice display condition. It is an excellent example of an historic vehicle that was used both as a weapon and a space vehicle launcher. This manufacturer's display model is available for $850.00..

An Atlas D with an earlier version of the Topping base marked, "Convair Division of General Dynamics Corporation," is available with the original Topping box for $895.00.

Interesting postcard from the "National Air Museum." The back of the card states, "THE ATLAS. A rocket-powered vehicle selected to launch the Man in Space Capsule. During a space communication experiment, using a similar vehicle, President Eisenhower broadcast a goodwill message on December 18, 1958.

Just as the Delta series of launch rockets has maintained the Delta name, the Atlas series name continues to this day. In January 2006, the Lockheed Martin Atlas 5 rocket launched the Pluto-bound "New Horizons" mission.



The Atlas II was the final member of the Atlas family of launch vehicles which evolved from the successful Atlas ICBM program of the 1950s. It was designed to launch payloads into low earth orbit, geosynchronous transfer orbit or geosynchronous orbit. In May 1988, the Air Force chose General Dynamics (now Lockheed-Martin) to develop the Atlas II vehicle, primarily to launch Defense Satellite Communications System payloads and for commercial users as a result of Atlas I launch failures in the late 1980s.

Atlas IIA

Sixty-three launches of the Altas II, IIA and IIAS models were carried out between 1988 and 2004, when the project was dropped in favour of Delta-based launchers. Larger Atlas-derived vehicles were also produced, the Atlas III and Atlas V.

Atlas IIs were launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., by the 45th Space Wing and at Vandenberg AFB; the final West Coast Atlas II launch was accomplished December 2003 by the 30th Space Wing, Vandenberg AFB, Calif. The Power Plant of the Atlas II consisted of three MA-5A Rocketdyne engines and two Pratt & Whitney RL10A-4 Centaur engines The Gross Liftoff Weight was 414,000 lb. The first launch of the Atlas II was on February 10, 1992 from Cape Canaveral.

This maker of this Atlas II model is unknown; it is plastic with a wood base.


Monogram Missile Arsenal, PD40 - advertisement from the February 1959 "American Modeler" magazine.

This is the ultimate in plastic missile kits. Thirty-one missiles in one Monogram kit! Truly a collector item for the missile buff, right up there with the Monogram PA56 Airpower kit for the aviation enthusiast. Own this fantastic kit, complete, for $600.00.



The Naval Aviation Museum Foundation published this remarkable print as a 75th Anniversary of Naval Aviation Commemorative in 1986, 75 years since the founding of naval aviation in 1911. It is a limited edition lithograph which was mounted on a mat and framed by the foundation; this particular print being offered, number 947/1000, has been removed from the frame but is linen hinge hung from the matting and will be shipped flat.

Painted by R.L. Rasmussen, this montage of naval aviation history has been signed by twelve distinguished naval aviators as featured in the painting, three of whom are famous as astronauts: Col. John H. Glenn Jr., USMC; Radm. Alan B. Shepard, Jr., USN; and Capt. Gene Cernan, USN.

Additionally, the print is signed by LTJG George H.W. Bush, USN who was Vice President of the United States at the time of signing; Radm Jeremiah Denton, USN; LCol Joseph J. Foss, USMC; Adm Thomas H. Moorer, USN; VAdm James Bond Stockdale, USN; Capt David McCampbell, USN; Col Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, USMC; Cdr Clyde E. Lassen, USN; and Cdr Randall "Duke" Cunningham, USN. The Certificate of Authenticity has brief bios and pictures of each of the signers. The painting features twelve flight vehicles representing the twelve distinguished naval aviators who have signed this print. The selection of participants was made based on accomplishments and representation of the widest possible span of naval aviation communities and time periods associated with its history. Sadly, today many of these gentlemen are no longer living but their accomplishments will remain part of our proud national history. This print is available for $1500.00 SPECIAL PRICE REDUCED TO ONLY $SORRY SOLD.


Background: The Hughes Maverick is a tactical, air-to-surface guided missile designed for close air support, interdiction and defense suppression mission. It provides stand-off capability and high probability of strike against a wide range of tactical targets, including armor, air defenses, ships, transportation equipment and fuel storage facilities. Maverick has been used in recent U.S. actions.

The Maverick has a cylindrical body, and either a rounded glass nose for electro-optical imaging, or a zinc sulfide nose for imaging infrared. It has long-chord delta wings and tail control surfaces mounted close to the trailing edge of the wing of the aircraft using it. The warhead is in the missile's center section. A cone-shaped warhead, one of two types carried by the Maverick missile, is fired by a contact fuse in the nose. The other is a delayed-fuse penetrator, a heavyweight warhead that penetrates the target with its kinetic energy before firing. The latter is very effective against large, hard targets. The propulsion system for both types is a solid-rocket motor behind the warhead.

The Maverick variants include electro-optical/television (A and B), imaging infrared (D, F, and G), or laser guidance (E). The Air Force developed the Maverick, and the Navy procured the imaging infrared and the laser guided versions. Maverick A has an electro-optical television guidance system. After the protective dome cover is automatically removed from the nose of the missile and its video circuitry activated, the scene viewed by the guidance system appears on a cockpit television screen. The pilot selects the target, centers cross hairs on it, locks on, then launches the missile. The Maverick B is similar to the A model, although the television guidance system has a screen magnification capability that enables the pilot to identify and lock on smaller and more distant targets.

Hughes won the Maverick contract in 1968 with a first test launch in 1969 and production initiated in 1971. The Air Force accepted the first AGM-65A Maverick in August 1972. TV Mavericks have been experiencing declining reliability and maintainability since exceeding their 10 year shelf life many years ago. The Depot has ceased to repair AGM-65A Maverick missiles and concentrates on maintaining AGM-65B, AGM-65D, and AGM-65G Maverick missiles.

There's a certain element of mystery connected with the Maverick models. I've seen all the variants, A through the F, and they all have a Topping logo on the underside of the base, as seen at left. The Topping AGM-65A (USAF) being offered here is likely the earliest model of the series in that it is the only one with the "U.S. Air Force AGM-65A" on the nose section. Later versions, since there were additional versions, have the type of sensor on the nose, such as "TV", "LASER", "IR" etc. The mystery? Topping's production plant was in Elyria, Ohio in the 1950s and later. Military restrictions on gifts to officers, Pentagon workers etc, along with Topping's disasterous New York World's Fair contract for the unisphere model, caused Topping to go into bankruptcy in 1964. Many of the molds (which belonged to the aircraft manufacturers) were sent along to other Ohio companies such as Precise in Elyria and RoLen or, in the case of Douglas models, to Walt Hyatt on the west coast. Bill Topping suffered a stroke in 1966, at which time he elected to personally build historic models as part of his recuperation effort - that was when he began the the series of models which he called "Aviation's Pioneer Collection", consisting of ten famous airplanes, all in 1:30 scale, which he completed in the mid-1970s. By 1976, Bill Topping published a very limited, private edition book which had tipped-in photos of the ten models. This collection later grew to a total of twenty-four models, the "Wings of History" exhibit which was first shown at the 1988 San Diego Air/Space America '88 show. By the late 1960s, Topping Models, Inc. was still producing display models, primarily for the general aviation manufacturers and in much smaller quantities. I have several Piper models from 1969; Topping ran ads for the Cessna models in 1969. These models, along with other civilian models such as the early Boeing 747, carried a Topping logo unlike the one on this Maverick model base. Earlier Topping logos on models carried addresses of Akron, then Elyria, and then Akron again. Based on the history of the Maverick, we know that it can't be much earlier than 1969 or 1970 making the Maverick series later than the general aviation series. Also, Edward William Topping states in his book that, "From 1942 until 1972, the Firm of Topping Models, Inc. produced 250 types of miniatures, mostly for the aircraft industry. The total volume of the manufactured units was nearly three million." So the mystery to me is why a Topping model produced in the 1970 era carries a logo style used on 1950s models, yet there was a complete change of logo design during the late 1960s civilian aviation model production. Perhaps the base was made from an older Topping mold supplied to the follow-on companies.

The AGM-65A shown below has the production launch rails incorporated into the top of the model. Subsequent models eliminated the rails for some reason. This is the TV version and the nose is clear plastic. The model has a canted support, perhaps to reveal the base. The AGM-65A Topping Maverick model is available for $210.00.


A whimsical, 3D plastic postcard from 1966. The reverse side has "A Message From Outer Space"; the message side has been written on and mailed with a 6 cent stamp. Names have been defaced. The card was printed in Japan and sold by the W.C. Jones Publishing Co. with a 1966 copyright date. The 3D effect is good and is accomplished with laminated plastic; the card face is in fine condition. Own some space fun from the 60s for only $8.00.


SM-62A Snark at Air Force Museum - without pylon tanks. CollectAir photo (1995). The Snark has been restored and is now indoors as seen in the photo below from 2007.

The 1950's Northrop Snark missile is an unusual subject for display models, a project seldom seen today although one of historic significance. The Snark project began at Northrop in 1947 under Air Force contract as the Northrop N-25, an unmanned, turbojet-powered aircraft to be used as a guided "flying bomb". The N-25 was unsuccessful and a follow-on version was designed, the N-69, a much larger aircraft with a more sophisticated guidance system which, with numerous changes, became the production SM-62A Snark, the first U.S. surface-to-surface missile which had inter-continental capability. The N-69 first flew on August 6, 1953 and progressed through the "E" version. Variously referred to as an ICM or a GLCM (Ground Launched Cruise Missile), the system was originally designated a B-62 by the Air Force.

The first of anything is ground breaking, with difficulties and unknowns usually plaguing the effort. Certainly the Snark was a large technological bite for Northrop; imagine, the production SM-62A had a T.O. gross weight (includes the boosters) of 60,251 lbs, more than the weight of an F-14 Tomcat. Never before had such a large aerodynamic vehicle been designed to not only fly unmanned, but to fly with onboard guidance to a target 5,000 to 6,000 miles is distance and deposit a "first priority" weapon (a euphemism for a nuclear bomb).

Snark production line in Hawthorne plant of Northrop Aircraft. 1958 photo.

The Snark SM-62A, in it's final form, the Northrop Model N-69E, was operational with the 702d SMW at Presque Isle, Maine with the first on "alert" status on March 18, 1960, yet the unit wasn't considered operational until February 28, 1961. Four months later, the unit was inactivated by President John F. Kennedy, a short operational life indeed for a project that was 14 years old. Fifty-one production Snarks were delivered.

Views of the SM-62A Snark on a launcher (prototype "E" test vehicle) and being zero launched (production version).

A rare Northrop model is presented here for your consideration. Significant background material for the Snark is available on the web and I recommend the FAS site, for a digest of the Snark's history and problems. Excerpts from sources not found on the web are presented below; copies were made of these documents from the Air Force Museum Library.


DESCRIPTION. The SM-62A missile is a zero launched, turbo-jet powered, surface to surface, intercontinental missile capable of delivering a first priority warhead to a predetermined target area at near-sonic speeds. A releasable nose then carries the warhead to the target. The missile is guided to its destination by a celestial guidance system and controlled by an elevon flight control system operated by a closed-center hydraulic system. Electrical power for operating the guidance system and various other components is supplied by an engine-driven alternator. Fuel is carried in bladder type, integral cells located throughout the fuselage. Supplemental fuel is carried in wing mounted pylon tanks which are automatically jettisoned when the tanks empty. The missile is propelled by a J57-P-17 turbojet engine, mounted internally in the aft fuselage of the missile. Additional thrust is supplied at launch and for several seconds thereafter by two 16-foot booster rockets. Immediately after rocket power is exhausted the rockets are automatically jettisoned. Refer to T.O. 21-SM62-2-1A for classified information pertaining to guidance and arming and fuzing systems.

From "REPORT ON THE SNARK"- a government report - 1960s

FACTUAL DATA. SM-62A is the Air Force designation given to the air breathing intercontinental range guided missile named "Snark". This missile required in excess of eleven years to develop and produce. Today, a comparable missile system is developed and produced in less than five years. This condensation of time came about during the development of the Snark weapons system and hence made it obsolete at almost the same time that it became operational. The original plan for the missile called for several squadrons to be located across the northern portion of the United States. The concept did not materialize due to the rapid evolution of the ballistic missile. The intercontinental ballistic missiles such as the Atlas and Titan and their successors have taken the place of the Snark. There are several reasons for this: (1) Duration of the guided portion of flight for the Atlas or Titan is five minutes or less. For the Snark is was approximately ten hours. (2) Time to target, Atlas or Titan, approximately 30 minutes. For the Snark, approximately ten hours. (3) Velocity of warhead at the target, for the Atlas or Titan is approximately 15,000 miles per hour. For the Snark it was approximately Mach one. Due to these factors and others, the Snark was limited to one operational squadron of thirty missiles at Presque Isle Air Force Base, Presque Isle, Maine.


A portion of the missile capable of guiding it across the surface of the earth through the use of gyroscopes, accelerometers, and a platform slaved to a local vertical passing through the center of the earth directly under the missile. The Snark guidance system was capable of making corrections for winds, coriolis effect, 84 minute oscillation, oblatness of the earth and variations in gravity from point to point on the earth. The operational system after launch, was unaffected by any known method of jamming, in fact, if a Snark was launched in anger, the only way we could prevent the completion of its mission, would be to shoot it down. The stellar portion of the guidance system was mounted on the gyro stabilized inertial platform to correct for gyro drift during flight. With no gyro drift, the star of stars, (up to three), were detected in the center of one of the three telescopes. In the event of gyro drift, the star image would not fall in the center of the telescope. The amount of displacement was then measured and appropriate platform corrections were made. The inertial platform thus stabilized became a reference for range and lateral accelerometer, These extremely sensitive accelerometers would provide an output anytime the missile deviated from its prescribed course and feed this information to the remainder of the system. The amount of deviation was measured in feet. Acceleration signals, when intergrated, in this case, electronically by Miller Integrators, once provides velocity information, and when integrated a second time will provide displacement or distance information. This method of course requires previous knowledge of the launch point and the planned target. The guidance problem then becomes one of keeping track of all accelerations occuring during the flight and maintaining the stellar monitoring as often as possible. In order to allow the telescopes a view of the various programmed stars, it was necessary to provide an optically perfect 20 inch diameter window directly over the inertial platform. with this method, the Snark was said to be able to "thread the eye of a needle at 5000 miles."

Inertial and stellar techniques were incorported in this Snark guidance system as exhibited at the Steven F Udvar-Hazy NASM Dulles facility - gift of Northrop. A CollectAir photo.


The Air Force operational crews required for launching the missile totaled eight people. The reaction time for the weapons system was less than 30 minutes from the warning time of impending attack. This included the final check of the missile, towing the missile to the launch pad, starting the engine, elevating the missile to launch attitude, clearing the personnel from the area and igniting the boosters. This operation required months of training and practice by each member of the launch crew. The launch itself is like an ear splitting thunder clap. The missile jumps from its launcher to a velocity of 300 miles per hour in less than five seconds, the expended boosters drop away and the missile disappears over the horizon.


This is definitely a one-off model of the final production version of the SM-62A Snark. A large 1:10 scale, the model is finely constructed of laminated planks of what is believed to be hard maple wood. The model is precisely formed with superb accuracy as would be expected of a wind tunnel model; airfoil sections, leading edge cuffs, delicate curves, pylon tanks etc. have been meticulously duplicated in 1:10 scale.

T.O. 21-SM62-2-1 has finely detailed principal dimensions and lines and stations. The pylon mounted fuel tanks, for example, are oddly mounted with a 3 degree nose down attitude and are canted inwards by 4.5 degrees. The tail fins on the tanks are not equally spaced but have an angle of 78 degrees between the upper fins. These dimensions are exactly duplicated on the model. The booster rockets are removable from slots milled in the fuselage.

Because of the exactness of form and configuration, this Snark model might have been used as a wind tunnel model for a drag confirmation; range was always a problem so the final production version with finned pylon tanks would have had to have some sort of substantiation for the aerodynamic solution. The use of planked maple suggests a wind tunnel model as opposed to the usual display model construction which wouldn't require the stability of lamination and the weight of solid wood. When I got the model, it had been painted grey with Air Force markings. I stripped the paint to find another layer of redish or maroon primer which had probably been used to create the final and exact dimensions for testing. I'm certain that you'll agree that the laminated wood shows the model off best. There is absolutely no delamination at any point. Of interest, the small air scoop on the RH side has nothing to do with the J-57 engine; the scoop is used for cooling air for the inertial guidance system - electronics weren't the miniature chip variety in the 1950s. A search for information about this model has come up with nothing so if you can add a scrap of info, please let me know.

This handsome and historic model belongs in a missiles museum. It is for sale for SORRY SOLD.

The April 1958 issue of Popular Science had an article, "Our First 5,000-Mile Missile is Ready Now", about the Snark. Included was the picture below with the caption, "FIRST SNARK SQUADRON, for AF's new base at Presque Isle, Me., gets preliminary technical instruction. On table in foreground is model of Snark poised for flight on mobile launcher." What a cool model! Looks to be about 1:12 scale or smaller, somewhat less than the wind tunnel model above. It's the test version of the Snark as it has the test probe on the nose. This is probably a one-off model.

The April 1958 issue of "Science and Mechanics" magazine featured, as part of the cover, the Snark model scene shown above. A "How to do it" section has a five page article on building a rocket-powered (Jetex motors) model of the Snark Missile; you can view the plan for the model by clicking here.


A 1:10 scale wind tunnel model of the Raytheon Sparrow is shown on the WIND TUNNEL MODELS page.


The genesis of the AIM-7 Sparrow family was developed out of a late 1940's project to create an aerial beam-riding rocket out of the HVAR used during WWII. Douglas quickly discovered the size of the HVAR was inadequate for the needed electronics, so the body was enlarged. The result was the AAM-2 Sparrow I, which made its first "interception" in 1952, and was carried onboard Skyknights and later F3H-2M Demons and F7U Cutlasses. It use was limited, but it did pave the way for further development. The Sparrow II, or XAAM-N-2a, later the AAM-N-3, was an attempt to develop a fully active radar-homing system. It was developed in conjunction with the F5D Skylancer and Canadian Avro Arrow supersonic interceptors. Reliability was questionable, and the project was canceled as the respective aircraft it was to arm were also shelved.

The modern Sparrow stems from the AAM-N-6 Sparrow III, which is a semi-active system that tracks based on reflected radar from either ground or airborne control, such as the launch aircraft. This system is far easier to fit within the confines of the rocket body. Raytheon had started development of the semi-active system concurrently with the Sparrow I; it was in US Naval inventory by 1958 and had a production of 7500 rounds. The missile was also selected for the infamous F-110, which later became the F-4 Phantom II. Additional improvements, such as a new solid rocket motor, gave the Sparrow III a 22 mile range. By then, new designations were developed, with the Sparrow I and II becoming the AIM-7A and AIM-7B, and the Sparrow III with its subsequent improvements became the AIM-7C, D, and E, respectively. Over 25,000 AIM-7E's were made.

From web sources: Vietnam saw the first combat use of the AIM-7E in widespread use. Unfortunately, a combination of several factors led to the missile having less than favorable results, with only a 10% kill ratio. Some of this can be attributed to the same lack of ACM pilot training that affected all engagement kill ratios, but also the tropical environment and both mechanical and electronic issues arose. The worst of these issues was a premature detonation of the warhead, leaving the enemy aircraft unscathed. An improved version of the -7E, dubbed the "dogfight Sparrow," was developed with clipped fins (represented on this model) and was optimized for closer ranges; however, it only improved the kill percentage slightly. Regardless of its shortcomings, the Sparrow's first combat kill came on 7 June 1965 when USN F-4B Phantoms shot down two MiG-17's. A history of the Sparrow missile may be viewed by clicking here.. Use the back arrow to return.

This model measures 8.75 inches in overall length and was made by Topping (name on bottom of base). POR.

The United States Air Force Armament Museum at Eglin AFB, Florida has several AIM-7 missiles on display. The photos below were taken June 2015 (Collectair photos).


"You Ain't Nothing But a Hound Dog"

(Info from the web) The AGM-28A Hound Dog was SAC's first air-launched missile. One was carried under each wing of the B-52G Stratofortress. Their mission was to attack and destroy enemy air defenses, such as fighter aircraft bases, communication centers, and anti-aircraft missile batteries thus clearing the way for the bomber to more successfully strike its target. It was named after the popular Elvis Presley song, "You Ain't Nothing But a Hound Dog."

Each Missile had a J52 jet engine. In addition to its own fuel tank, the missiles were integrated with the Stratofortress fuel system. This permitted their use as auxiliary engines. For example, a heavily loaded B-52 could use them on takeoff in addition to its own eight jet engines.

The Hound Dog was originally designated B-77, but this was quickly changed to GAM-77 and later changed again to AGM-28. The AGM-28 missile program began on March 15, 1956 when Headquarters Air Force issued a General Operations Requirement (GOR 148) for an air-to-surface missile to be carried on the B-52 strategic manned bomber. On 16 October 1958, Headquarters USAF awarded a Hound Dog production contract to North American Aviation, Inc. In February 1958, growing concern about both the perceived unfavorable shift in the strategic balance and the increasing vulnerability of penetrating bombers prompted USAF to accelerate the Hound Dog. On 21 December 1959, General Thomas S. Power, Commander in Chief of the Strategic Air Command, formally accepted the first production model Hound Dog missiles in a ceremony conducted at North American Aviation's Downey, California plant. Headquarters Air Force finalized the Hound Dog missile program at the end of fiscal year 1959 when it approved a force of 29 B-52 squadrons equipped with Hound Dog missiles. The first launch of the missile from a B-52 took place in April 1959.

The Hound Dog utilized a delta wing configuration, and a self-contained inertial auto-navigation guidance system. It has a range of 350 miles and a speed of Mach 2 at over 55,000 feet. It carried a 1,742-pound thermonuclear warhead (four megatons) approximately 500 nautical miles from its launch point at high altitude and supersonic speed, or approximately 200 nautical miles from its launch point at low altitude and subsonic (1,000 feet at Mach .83) profile. Accuracy was adaquate considering the four megaton warhead, but two other problems hindered the missile. Reliability was a constant concern and in addition the two five-ton missiles, carried on pylons, degraded B-52 flight performance.

North American delivered the first production Hound Dog in December 1959. SAC launched its first AGM-28 in February 1960; by the following July, one wing was operational with the weapon, although the first airborne alert with it did not take place until January 1962.

The numbers of Hound Dogs in the B-52 fleet rapidly grew from 54 in 1960, rising to 230 the next year, 547 in 1962, and 593 in 1963. 600 Hound Dogs were produced from 1957 to 1963. Twenty-three Hound Dog-equipped B-52 squadrons were operational by 30 June 1962, and by August 1963 29 SAC wings were operational with the AGM-28. Hound Dog production ended in March 1963 and the number of operational missiles declined in the late 1960s and early 1970s to about 308 in 1976. After thirteen years of service in the Strategic Air Command, the last Hound Dog missile was removed from alert on 30 June 1975. Nearly three years later, on 15 June 1978, the 42d Bombardment Wing, Loring AFB, Maine, destroyed the last last Hound Dog missile and removed it from the SAC inventory.

The missile had a span of 12 ft. 2 in. and a length of 42 ft. 6 in. This Topping model has an overall length of 12.5 inches for a 1:40 scale. This model would have been produced in the 1960s; originally the Hound Dog was manufactured by Topping, but the molds were taken over by the Orvis Plastic Company (located in Elyria, Ohio near the location of the original Topping plant) and the "Topping" logo removed from the underside of the base. The model comes with the original box which carries the Orvis logo as shown below.

It's always interesting to speculate about how these military display models filtered through the Pentagon or other military facilities. The model is in pristine, bright white condition with all decals bright and intact.

This Topping-mold display model, by Orvis, of the USAF AGM-28 Hound Dog Air-launched missile, is priced at $1100.00.

THE EXPLORATION OF MARS by Willy Ley and Wernher von Braun, with paintings by Chesley Bonestell - 1956

Frontespiece painting by Chesley Bonestell. "The Mars expedition, 8600 miles from its goal. The ships are approaching tail first."

A landmark work that deserves to be in every space library. Written in 1956 by two spaceflight proponents who worked with and wrote about spaceflight and rocketry long before America became energized by Russian successes in space. The book features sixteen paintings by Chesley Bonestell, a visionary painter of extraterrestrial landscapes and interplanetary flight.

Chesley Bonestell with Wernher von Braun.

Chesley Bonestell (1888-1987) worked on the Illustrated London News as an illustrator following World War I, returned to the U.S. in 1927 and worked as an architectural artist on projects such as the Golden Gate Bridge and the Chysler Building until 1944 when he began painting space scenes. Bonestell had a childhood interest in astronomy and is reported to have read Laplace's nebular hypothesis at the age of ten. He was also active as a scene painter for numerous Hollywood films, starting with "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" (1939) through the movie "Conquest of Space" (1955) and won many awards. Bonestell is considered to be the dean of modern space art. Bonestell's work appeared in hundreds of magazines, from Life to Popular Mechanics, and in many books starting in the mid 1940s. A great deal of information is available on Bonestell on the web.

The Bonestell paintings of our Solar System were done at a time when space travel was considered as science fiction, yet his painting combined his skill at realism with scientific facts so that views of extraterrestrial objects - such as the lunar surface, or Saturn as seen from Titan - are classical renditions even though they have been superceeded by modern space exploration. Wernher von Braun stated that Bonestell's pictures, "...present the most accurate portrayal of those faraway heavenly bodies that modern science can offer."

The dust jacket for THE EXPLORATION OF MARS states that "Willy Ley and Wernher von Braun, basing their plans on astronomical realities and sticking strictly to engineering knowledge available today, have outlined a master blueprint for man's first exploring trip to Mars." The authors explain in the book that a space station is necessary to launch the Mars exploration ships. The planet Mars is examined closely using all available material.

The book is in fine conditions with a few minor edge bumps; there are no markings. The dust jacket is in poor condition, about 95% complete, but is mylar protected. A first edition (June 1956) work which measures 8 1/2" x 11" with 176 pages. Available for $250.00.


First, a little Regulus I history. The Regulus Guided Missile Program is all too frequently overlooked in the history of strategic nuclear weapons systems. A legacy of the German V1 rocket, the Regulus program ushered in a new era that changed the strategic role of the submarine forever. Developed by the Navy and Chance Vought Aircraft, the missile was carried horizontally in a chamber on top of the sub. To fire, the sub would have to surface. The missile was then rolled out, positioned and fired.

The Navy's BuAer issued a Letter of Intent to Vought for Contract NOa(s) 9450 On 16 November 1947. On 28 November 1947 initial engineering design work was begun and on 23 December 1947 Chance Vought accepted the program contract. The Regulus program was begun. The missile was named for a first-magnitude star in the constellation Leo.

Vought and BuAer selected the Allison J-33 jet engine as the powerplant. This limited the missile's performance but provided a proven engine and eliminated possible delays from an engine development program. Above all, the goal was to produce as quickly as possible a flight test vehicle that differed as little as possible with the tactical missile to follow. Flight testing began in 1950 as the first flight of the XSSM-N-8 Chance Vought Regulus I was conducted at Edwards AFB on Nov 22 . The Regulus cruised at subsonic speeds, going supersonic in its terminal dive to a target. It had a 500-nautical-mile range and was designed to be launched from offshore submarines and cruisers and to carry a nuclear warhead to inland targets. Many of the Regulus I missiles had landing gear and parabrakes so that they could be recovered after test and training flights.

Regulus I SSM-N-8 installed on ship - 1953. U.S. Navy photo.

From 1952 until contract termination in 1958, the Regulus missile program progressed from an experimental status to a fully operational weapon system. The Navy ultimately had the Regulus system installed on five missile submarines and eleven guidance submarines. During the cold war years the submarine fleet made 41 strategic deterrent patrols armed with Regulus, not ceasing operations until 14 July 1964. Over 500 Regulus I missiles were produced.

The USS TUNNY SS-282 was the first Regulus-firing submarine in the U.S. Navy. The TUNNY was commissioned on September 1, 1942. Following shakedown training out of California ports, USS TUNNY (SS-282) arrived in the Hawaiian Islands on 12 December 1942. After an additional week of training and two weeks of availability, she got underway from Submarine Base, Pearl Harbor, on 12 January 1943 for her first war patrol; the TUNNY was engaged in significant action in the Pacific during WWII. Following Japan's surrender, the submarine then made her way back to the west coast. TUNNY was decommissioned on 13 December 1945 and placed in the Mare Island Group, 19th Fleet.

Communist aggression in Korea placed new demands on the resources of the Navy and led to TUNNY's being placed in commission, in reserve, on 28 February 1952. She saw no service at this time, however, and was decommissioned in April 1952. On 6 March 1953, she was placed in commission for the third time. Converted to carry guided missiles, she was reclassified SSG-282 and served as a Regulus-missile submarine for nearly 12 years.

USS TUNNY, SSG-282, with Regulus I missile system.

From "Submarine Recognition Manual", NAVPERS 10011.

For the first four of those years, the boat operated out of Point Mugu, contributing to the development of the Regulus missile system. Except for a short period of type training, TUNNY engaged entirely in the launching and guidance of Regulus missiles for purposes of missile evaluation in the development of the system. In 1957, she shifted her base of operations to Hawaii where she conducted deterrent patrols and fired exercise missiles. In May 1965, the Regulus missile system was phased out, and TUNNY was redesignated SS-282. She served in other capacities until she was decommissioned on 28 June 1969.

A metal Wiking Modelle 1:1200 scale USS TUNNY with Regulus I missile in firing position. Model from the 1950s. Note that Regulus is in red test color.

The Topping model in 1:48 scale with launching ramp is in nice display condition. Note that it was probably designed at Topping from early test units of the Regulus I as it does not have the lower "chin" that later appeared to accomodate the warhead; also, the model was not made with the JATO take-off bottles.

This Topping Regulus I has been stored in the original Topping/Chance Vought shipping box which has a worn label indicating that it was shipped from Texas to Alexandria, Virginia. The model is in "as new" condition as is the interior of the box. Photos of this model are shown below. The price of this immaculate Topping missile is $650.00.

Regulus I exhibited at NASM Steven F Udvar-Hazy Center. A CollectAir photo.

Models of the Regulus I are quite scarce. There was only a single kit sold in the 1950s, the StromBecKer Regulus I, kit M1, which was a combination of wood and plastic - there were no all-plastic kits made that I know of. The StromBecKer model is pictured on the StromBecKer History link on this website. The Topping model is the only display model outside of some possible factory one-off models. Oddly, the Regulus II appeared in many plastic kits, and a Topping model, although it was never an operational missile so lacks the historical cachet of the Regulus I.

Of general interest, the Intrepid Sea-Air-Space Museum, Pier 86 12th Ave. & 46th Street, New York, N.Y. 10036, exhibits the USS GROWLER with a Regulus I missile installation.

A superb website is devoted to the Regulus, They offer a DVD entitled REGULUS: The First Nuclear Missile Submarines. This incredible disc is jam-packed with special features including: Three exciting supplemental segments, featuring nearly 20 minutes of additional footage never before seen by the public, Archival footage of the never-deployed Regulus II supersonic cruise missile, and Dozens of newly declassified historic photos, data cards and fact sheets. This DVD is a must-have for the submarine afficionado, or anyone interested in Naval aviation, cruise missiles, or the Cold War! You may view the Regulus website by clicking here, or can view an exposition of the StromBecKer Regulus I model, along with plastic kits of the Regulus II, by clicking here. Return to this page with the back arrow.


This unusual piece featuring an ashtray appears to have been made in a limited quantity. The models are cast resin and the uprights are what appears to be polished plexiglas - no sign of any yellowing as experienced with acrylic stands. The ashtray has been simply die-formed and fitted to a wood base. This may have been a factory piece for presentations. Definitely vintage. Have you ever seen one of these?


Air-to-Air rockets were first used during World War II by the Luftwaffe. The R4M, was developed in 1944 from the Föhn antiaircraft rocket by fitting a new elongated motor body to the warhead. Folding fins which lay alongside the rocket motor exhaust nozzle unfolded backwards, jack-knife fashion, upon launch. The warhead was fitted with an impact-and-self-destruction fuse. The motor used a single stick of nitrocellulose propellant and burned for about 0.8 seconds. The R4M was mass produced by Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabrik at Lübeck. The Me 262 A-1b was fitted with underwing rocket mounts with twelve under each wing (See the Diverse Images 1:72 scale pewter Me 262 models on the Diverse Images page link). The R4M was 33.1 inches in length and was 55 mm in diameter (2.2 in). The fighters launched a salvo of these unguided rockets at bomber formations.

The American 2.75 in. (70 mm) Folding Fin Aircraft Rocket (FFAR) appears to be a development of the German design. Two full-size training or demonstration 2.75 in. FFARs are being offered here for sale and each has an interesting provenance; these particular rockets appeared several years earlier than most references indicate and are, in fact nearly 60 years-old. Interesting when considering that variants of the 2.75 in. FFAR are still very much in use today, particularly on armed helicopters as air-to-ground weapons.


The Naval Ordnance Test Station, NOTS, at China Lake lays claim to developing the unguided air-launched rockets of 2.75 in (70 mm) diameter. Here is a quote concerning the China Lake development: "Unguided air-launched rockets of 2.75 in (70 mm) diameter were originally developed in the late 1940s by the NOTS (Naval Ordnance Test Station) at China Lake. The rockets were to be used as more powerful supplements and/or replacements for guns in both air-to-air and air-to-ground applications. Many millions of rocket rounds have been built so far, and the latest versions are still widely used by all U.S. armed services.

"Designation Note: No formal designations are allocated to all-up 2.75-inch rockets. Instead, the rocket type is generally identified by the designation of the motor assembly, which is the main body of the rocket and includes nozzle and fins. The various warheads are typically usable with all available motors, and are presumably often fitted to the rockets in the field only shortly before actual use. Therefore it was apparently deemed unnecessary to assign designations to every specific combination of rocket and payload. In fact, the original edition of the current designation system for rockets and missiles explicitly excluded unguided line-of-sight rockets from the system."

Another quote, this from China Lake: "Aircraft rockets were China Lake's raison d'etre at its establishment. The early forward-firing aircraft rockets developed by the CalTech-NOTS team included the 3.5- and 5.0-Inch Aircraft Rockets; the 5.0-Inch High-Velocity Aircraft Rocket, Holy Moses; and the 11.75-inch Tiny Tim. Early China Lake products also included spin-stabilized bombardment rockets and special-purpose rockets that were used for everything from propelling line charges to sampling atomic clouds. Folding-fin aircraft rockets (FFARs) are another highly successful China Lake product; literally millions of the 2.75-inch Mighty Mouse and 5.0-inch Zuni have been fired in combat."

Additional information: "MK 4 Mighty Mouse, MK 40. The 2.75-inch FFAR (Folding-Fin Aircraft Rocket) was originally developed by the NOTS as an air-to-air weapon to be used by interceptors against heavy bombers. A salvo of rockets was considered much more effective than a stream of cannon shells. The original rocket model was the MK 4, which was spin-stabilized and featured four flip-out fins around the nozzle. Fitted with a 2.7 kg (6 lb) HE warhead, it was widely used in the 1950s as the Mighty Mouse air-to-air rocket by USAF interceptors like the F-86D Sabre, F-89D Scorpion, F-94C Starfire and F-102A Delta Dagger. Total length of the MK 4 Mighty Mouse was 1.2 m (4 ft), and it weighed 8.4 kg (18.5 lb). Maximum range was around 6000 m (6500 yds), but effective range was more like 3400 m (3700 yds). The rocket's accuracy was relatively poor, because its speed and spin rate were too low to effectively counter gravity drop, cross winds and dispersion." The F-89D carried 52 "Mighty Mouse" rockets in each wingtip pod along with fuel. This installation was first tested on a YF-89D in 1951.

1950 - USAF F-94C Starfire, surrounding the radar unit are 24 2.75" Mighty Mouse rockets, China Lake, 01 Jan 1950. Official U.S. Navy photo, G. Verver collection.

November 1952 "Model Airplane News" - F-94C painting by Jo Kotula.

Lockheed F-94C Starfire exhibited at the United States Air Force Museum (6/04). 2.75 FFAR also carried in wing pods.

Painting by the famous artist/illustrator Jack Leynnwood which was done for Jack Northrop. Note that the Scorpion approaching has two nuclear armed, air-to-air Genie MB-1 missiles, Can you figure out what's going on? Image courtesy of artist Mike Boss.

Another source states: "The R4M was used as the basis for unguided rockets built by many nations after the war. Rather than mounting individual rockets individually on a stores pylon, unguided rockets were fitted to aircraft in "pods" that could be streamlined and could carry a large quantity of folding-fin rockets.

"As such unguided rockets are very simple and easy to manufacture, they are widely available in many different versions. In 1948, the US introduced a 70 millimeter (2.75 inch) "Folding Fin Air Rocket (FFAR)", also once known as "Mighty Mouse", derived from the German R4M that was fired in clusters by 1950s interceptors such as the Northrop F-89 Scorpion, North American F-86D Sabre, and Lockheed F-94C Starfire to knock out Soviet bomber formations attacking the North American continent. The FFAR saw little or no action in air-to-air combat, which was fortunate because most pilots who fired them in tests found them much too inaccurate, but it was used for ground attack in the Vietnam War with good effect. It was standard armament for attack helicopters like the Bell AH-1 Hueycobra, and was often carried by fixed-wing close-support aircraft such as the A-1 Skyraider, fitted with different versions of cylindrical pods accommodating 7 or 19 rockets. The FFAR was often fitted with a smoke warhead for target marking by forward air controller aircraft. "

USAF F-86D Sabre s/n 50-0494, FU-494, oblique rocket firing package, 01 Jan 1950. Official U.S. Navy photo, G. Verver collection.

FFAR on F-86D at United States Air Force Museum, CollectAir photo 6/04.

F-86D at USAF Museum, CollectAir photo 1989.

The AIR FORCE ARMAMENT MUSEUM, EGLIN AFB has a display of 2.75 in. FFARs which is labeled as "Air-to-Air weapons". I copied the text which accompanies the display of three of these missiles with their tail fins in different postions as they would unfold in flight. The museum display reads: "By the early 1950's, air-to-air missiles began to be added to the arsenal of fighter aircraft weapons, initially supplementing machine guns and eventually overtaking them in importance. Rockets under development were based on the German designed R-24 air-to-air rocket that had been used against allied bombers during the Second World War. The rockets that evolved from this development program were designated the 2.75 inch Folding Fin Aircraft Rocket (FFAR). The rockets had an effective range of about 2,000 yards and a high explosive warhead. Several fighter aircraft were armed with these rockets, including the North American F-86D with an under fuselage retractable tray containing 24 FFARs, and the Lockheed F-94C with 24 FFARs in the nose."

The unguided 2.75 rockets, after all these years of use, are now being targeted as a possible cheap ($10,000) guided weapon for use against lesser targets where higher cost rockets such as the Hellfire is an overkill, the range is in excess of the 30 mm chain-gun and the old unguided 2.75 lacks accuracy. A LCPK and APKWS program (Low Cost Precision Kill and Advanced Precision Kill Weapon System) by BAE Systems adds a guidance and aerodynamic control unit which screws in between the motor and the warhead. Called the Distributed Aperture Semi-Active Laser Seeker (DASALS) it also features advanced digital signal processing and a tiny vibrating silicon "gyro" inertial measurement unit.

The earliest dates mentioned above for the American 70 mm FFAR is "late 1940s" and "In 1948" with actual use in "the early 1950s". The FFARs offered here predate these years and, in fact, can be traced to December 1945, making these examples rather rare pieces which perhaps were used as preliminary training tools. Additionally, the inert motors are marked as Mk 1s whereas the production versions used in the 1950s were apparently Mk 4s. The units are detailed below. The rockets came from the Naval Ammunition Depot in Crane, Indiana.


This is a complete inert missile which can be disassembled (see separated warhead below)and which has working fins, fin casing (removed when loading) and firing contact which holds fin tips. Pictures of the missile, fin closeups, and the removed warhead are shown below. The unit is in excellent condition. Markings are as follows:

Marking on warhead. "INERT , PLASTER 1.4 LBS, ALN RHHB-2023-C-60, 2.75 IN ROCKET HEAD MK 1 MOD 3, BUORD DR NO-660897-D, CONT NO 17319 LOT NO 3D1258" and the following die-stamped in, "MK 1 MOD 3 LOT 3D 1258".

Marking on motor body. "2.75 IN ROCKET MOTOR EX 1 MOD 0, BUORD 1350654, CONT NO NORD 14207" along with a Navy anchor with "US". The removable fin casing is marked, "RETURN TO NEAREST LOADING ACTIVITY".

Note that this missile had a shipping cardboard container which was marked with a December 1945 date. The price of this full-size inert training missile is $5000.00.


This is a complete 70mm FFAR which has been sectionalized to show the warhead fuse mechanism and powder charge and two portions of the motor. Fins and arming contact are in perfect working condition and the fin casing is included. The provenance of this rare unit is established with the following shipping label information carried on its cardboard container:

C.O. Supply ("Supply" x'd out) Officer
U.S. Naval Ammunition Depot Crane, Indiana
To: Inspector of Naval Material, c/o Minneapolis
Mining and Mfg. Co. Attn: Mr. George Chutka,
900 Fauquier Blvd, St. Paul 6, Minnesota
Contents: 1 Rocket Head and Motor Assembly 2."75
Head Mk. 1 and Mod. Sectionalized
Shipping Authority Regn. 310058-58
Inert Material

Marking on the warhead. "INERT 2."75 ROCKET HEAD MK 1 . 3, NOSE FUZE MK 176 MOD 0"

Marking on the motor. "2."75 IN ROCKET MOTOR MK 1 MOD 2, GRAIN MK 31 MOD 0, IGNITER MK 125 MOD 0"

The price of this sectionalized 2.75 in. FFAR is SORRY SOLD. The unit is in excellent condition as the photos below substantiate.


A grouping of items commemorating the 1975 joint Soviet and U.S. link-up of the space ships, the Apollo Soyuz Test Project (ASTP), involving the rendezvous docking of the Apollo craft, 32 feet long weighing 14 tons, with the 23 foot long Soyuz with its three modules weighing 8 tons. Intermediate was the Docking Module, U.S. built, 10 feet long weighing 2 tons. In this grouping are four pins and tie-tacks as pictured, four covers with color cachets (one picturing the three U.S. astronauts and two Soviet cosmonauts), three Soviet unused postage stamps depicting the link-up, and a Revell 1:96 scale plastic kit of the Apollo-Soyuz, Kit H-1800, from 1975 which is still in the original cello wrap in mint condition. This selection of items celebrating this historic space venture is priced at SORRY SOLD.


Shown above is a group of first day of issue covers and commemorative covers (both cancelled and unused), unused space stamps, and cards cover space events including the Apollo-Soyuz link-up - various (1975), Space Shuttle 1st Phase Flight Test Program (1977), Syncom II (1965), STS-1 Launch (1981), Esnault-Pelterie (France Le Bourget 1967), Aeronautique Espace (Paris 1975), Relay UIT (1965), Enterprise DFRC to JSC to MSFC (1978), Skylab (1974), Interkozmosz (1980), Columbia (1981), Blocks of 4 U.S. ten-cent stamps including Mariner 10, Skylab, and Pioneer-Jupiter, space stamps from Paraguai, Apollo 15 (1971), several Soviet covers, Apollo 16 (1972), Apollo 17 - Final Apollo Scientific Lunar Expedition (1972), Mars es Venuszkutatas (1976), and a STS-1 card to fit an envelope. A group of Ten Different Items selected from the above is priced at only $10.00. Add $2.00 if you want to choose particular theme covers etc.


Various items pertaining to the early Space Shuttle program, as pictured above. Revell Enterprise & Space Lab, the World's First Reusable Orbital System, 1:144 scale, plastic Kit H-200, 1978, in orignal cello wrap, mint, priced at $27.50; Tiger Squadron Columbia foam glider from late 1970s, $10.00; Space Shuttle frisbee, $5.00; Space Shuttle Pencil Sharpener, zinc alloy, 1981, $3.00; ERTL Enterprise Space Shuttle cast metal 1:196 scale with retractable gear and removable Space Lab Payload, stock no. 1514, $30.00; Space Shuttle Team Member sewing kit with scissor, $7.00; Space Station sewing kit, $7.00. Space Shuttle sticker and STS-1 card accompanies each item.

Autopoint Pencil-Pointer, boxed, 0.5mm lead, "Space Shuttle" printed on pencil, $9.00; Chromatic Two Color Pen, boxed, "Space Shuttle" printed on pen, $5.00; Space Shuttle tie-clip or lapel pin, Rockwell logo box, $7.00 SORRY SOLD; enamel Space Shuttle lapel pin, $6.00 SORRY SOLD; and "Launch Fever...Catch It!" pin, 2 1/8" diameter, $5.00 SORRY SOLD. These are all items from the early days of the shuttle program.


This Space Shuttle Columbia key tag comes in the original folded presentation card which measures 3 1/2" x 5 1/2" when folded. It is available for only sorry sold.


30 mm deep relief pewter medallion, boxed, celebrating first lunar landing, July 20, 1969, priced at $12.00. 38 mm bronze medallion commemorating "Ex Luna Scientia", Apollo Eleven, $9.00; 34 mm bronze medallion (both sides shown)commemorating Apollo XI, price $6.00.


The Apollo program Lunar Module built by Grumman. Model by Topping.

The 1966 photo below shows the Topping Grumman Lunar Module model with Grumman's Tom Kelly, the design genius who took the Lunar Module from concept through the Moon landings. From the book, Building Moonships - The Grumman Lunar Module, by Joshua Stoff.

Model displayed at U.S. Naval Academy Museum - CollectAir photo 6/05.

Edwin Aldrin holding Topping model during press conference on January 10, 1969. NASA photo S-69-33877.

From November 15, 2010 Aviation Week.

Following Apollo Eleven's landing on the moon, the Lunar Capsule model's base was altered to reflect the famous comment by Neil Armstrong. Several manufacturers of the model introduced small changes in the model's construction; notice the difference in the ladder and porch on the later model presented below, probably made by Precise of Elyria, Ohio.

The photo below shows the Lunar Module model as exhibited at the San Diego Air & Space Museum; note the mising antennas, common for this model. This is a CollectAir photo, taken in June 2010.

The December 1969 issue of the National Geographic covered the Moon landing in detail in a five section series with many photos and paintings. Included in the magazine is a two sided, 33 rpm record entitled "Sounds of the Space Age." The magazine is complete and undamaged and the record is in pristine, original condition still bound in the magazine. This superb, contemporary account of the Moon exploration by Apollo 11 is available for Sorry Sold. Several paintings by Pierre Mion, done for the N.G.S., which are included in the article, are shown below along with the cover of the issue. Advertising the magazine includes Cadillac Eldorado Fleetwood, Olds Delta 88 Royale, and Chevelle SS 396 - GM wasn't promoting any compacts for the 1970 models!


Project Mercury involved six one-man flights (1961-63) to investigate man's ability to perform in space and to test basic space technology and hardware. The Mercury capsule weighs about 2,000 pounds and is nine feet tall. The pilot reclined on a couch contoured to his individual shape. During re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere, the capsule's blunt curved end was the leading face; it was coated with heat-resistant plastics which burned away (ablated) to protect the crew compartment from excessive heating. The Mercury was launched by the Redstone rocket and by a version of the Atlas missile. An escape tower was used in the event of an aborted flight. The follow-on, two-man Gemini program, with ten launches in 1965 and 66, did not use the escape tower because of systems and reliabilty factors with the Titan II launcher. The rare Topping model pictured below is in CollectAir's collection.

A short history of Bill Topping's company was carried in the October/November 1996 issue of Air & Space magazine; entitled "The Model Man," the article was written by photographer and historian, Chad Slattery. Page 81 shows a picture of the Mercury Capsule with a notation that one was sold at auction for $2,645 in the fall of 1995 - that page is shown below.

Alan B. Shepard, America's first spaceman, rode the first manned Mercury flight,. Freedom 7. Lift off with the Redstone rocket took place on May 5, 1961. With an apogee of about 115 miles, the Mercury's trajectory carried it to the recovery area in the Atlantic - a short but epic flight and the beginning of the manned program which would result in a landing on the moon just over eight years later - an amazingly short time when looking at the progrm in retrospect. The LIFE magazine, shown below, is from May 19, 1961 and has a ten-page article, most written by Alan Shepard, entitled "The Astronaut's Story of the Thrust Into Space." Shepard dictated the article into a tape recorder while sitting on the porch of his Virginia home. This magazine is for sale at $25.00.

To put technology into perspective, consider that the "finned" Cadillac Sedan de Ville, shown below, was advertised in the same LIFE magazine.


The Atlas launch vehicle put the 1st orbiting Astronaut into space - John the Mercury "Friendship" on February 20, 1962. The 2nd Astronaut to orbit, Scott Carpenter, was launched by the Atlas, as well as the 3rd Astronaut, Walter Shirra, and the 4th Astronaut, Gordon Cooper on May 15, 1963. Walter M. "Wally" Schirra, Jr. was the only man to carry the distinction of flying in all three of the early space programs: Mercury, Gemini and Apollo. An information poster accompanies this Topping set; info on the poster is complete through mid-1963 which dates this display model set. At that date, according to the poster, four versions of the Atlas were in production for space launch missions: LV-3, a general-purpose booster for varied space projects; LV-3A, designed especially for Agena missions; LV-3C, a special booster for the high-energy Centaur space vehicle; and SLV-3, America's first standardized space launch vehicle which launched the Mercury, Mariner, Ranger, and many others including a planned test Gemini mission. NFS.

Passenger Pods. These pods attach to the rocket body magnetically. The Atlas airframe has small green squares which indicate the location of the pods. Want to take a ride in a passenger pod?


The same basic model configuration was made by Topping as the Atlas-Mercury "Man-in-Space" model featuring the Mercury capsule and escape tower. However, unlike the launch vehicle set shown above, the Atlas-Mercury model does not have the Mercury capsule painted black, but is in an all-over silver scheme. Photos of the Topping model and box are shown below. NFS.

The Atlas-Mercury Man-in-Space rocket on the launch pad. This is an official photo from General Dynamics/Astonautics, a Division of General Dynamics Corporation, number 07347F.

"Mercury Atlas" by Douglas Castleman. 30" x 15" oil painting. The launch from Pad 14 of the second American orbital mission of the Mercury Space Program (MA-7), using an Atlas booster, with astronaut Scott Carrpenter. This mission was less than completely successful, and the astronaut never flew into space again. He went on to study the Earth's oceans after he left the space program. This painting may be purchased for $1,000.00; Contact the artist, Douglas Castleman, by clicking here. This painting was juried into the American Society of Aviation Artists exhibition held in the BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport in 2013.


The Titan II ICBM Missile.

Gemini-Titan XII launch with James Lovell and Buzz Aldrin, 11-15 November 1966.

The origin of the launch rocket, the Gemini-Titan: The Titan II, manufactured by the Martin Company, was a large two-stage, liquid-fueled, rocket-powered ICBM that incorporated significant performance improvements over the earlier model Titan I weapon system. Titan II had more powerful engines , a larger warhead, all-inertial guidance, hyperbolic fuel and an on-board oxidizer, and the capability of being fired from a hardened underground-silo launcher. Each Titan II silo was directly connected to an underground launch control capsule manned by a missile combat crew of two officers and two airman. The Titan II, like the Titan I, had an effective range of approximately 5,500 nautical miles. The Air Force had approved the development of the Titan II ICBM in October 1959. By 28 March 1961, the missile force included six Titan I and six Titan II squadrons. SAC activated the first Titan II squadron on 1 January 1962 and during the next eight months activated five more squadrons.

The Titan II was by far the most powerful nuclear armed missile ever deployed by the United States, with a deployment level of 54 LGM-25C missiles between 1964 and the beginning of its retirement in 1984. The Titan II remained in service so long despite the fielding of more than 1000 of the much easier to operate solid-fueled LGM-30 Minuteman, because the huge warheads of the few Titan IIs represented almost 30% of the overall ICBM "megatonage" of the USAF. The only major improvement fitted to the LGM-25C during its service life was the installation of the so-called Universal Space Guidance System, developed for the Titan III space launch vehicle. A very thorough technical analyses of the Titan II is available by Clicking here. Additional information is available at Astronautix by Clicking here.

The first silo-launched ICBM, the heaviest payload of all ICBMs, and a missile which has had a second life as a space launch vehicle - to this day; the Titan II is an historic rocket. The following CollectAir photo was taken at the USAF Museum Restoration Facility in June 2004; a Titan II has joined the museum's Titan I.

Titan II second stage engine.

The photo below shows the first stage Titan II engine installation. This photo was taken at the Evergreen Space Museum, McMinnville, Oregon in June 2008.

The photos below (CollectAir 2/2011) were taken at the Estrella Warbird Museum in Paso Robles, CA.


The Titan II model pictured below is a milled and turned aluminum model with three machined stages. The stages can be separated, as shown. The model is 16-inches in height, not including base. This polished model is from the estate of a SAC veteran. This is probably a custom presentation model given to SAC commanders. Own this rare, all-metal Titan II for $$1575.00.


NASA, too, was quick to recognize the vehicle's capabilities and ordered a modified version of the Titan II to launch its two-person Gemini spacecraft. Ten crewed Gemini missions were launched during 1965 and 1966 from Cape Canaveral, developing the techniques required for the upcoming Apollo Moon landing program. The model of the Gemini-Titan rocket, shown below, was made by Topping; there are some differences in this launcher from the basic Topping ICBM Titan II model.

Project Gemini, pronounced "Jiminy" (cricket)by the astronauts, which used a two-man spacecraft, bridged the gap between the Mercury program, the first tentative steps into space, and the Apollo program, which landed men on the moon. Gemini's primary objectives were to investigate the problems of long-duration spaceflight, to develop techniques for rendezvous and docking with target vehicles, and to conduct extravehicular operations. After two unmanned test flights in 1964, ten manned Gemini missions took place in 1965-66. Two of these, Gemini 6 and 7, were simultaneous so that the capsules could rendezvous in space and orbit in close formation. The Gemini capsule, the diminutive model shown below, weighs approximately 4,500 pounds and is 8 feet, 6 inches tall.

Listing of the Gemini-Titan Space Missions

Gemini Titan 1 Empty 8 April 1964
Gemini Titan 2 Empty 19 January 1965
Gemini Titan 3 Gus Grissom/John Young 23 March 1965
Gemini Titan IV James McDivitt/Ed White 3-7 June 1965
Gemini Titan V Gordon Cooper/Pete Conrad 21-29 August 1965
Gemini Titan VI Wally Schirra/Tom Stafford 15-16 December 1965
Gemini Titan VII Frank Borman/James Lovell 4-18 December 1965
Gemini Titan VIII Neil Armstrong/David Scott 16 March 1966
Gemini Titan IX Tom Stafford/Eugene Cernan 3-6 June 1966
Gemini Titan X John Young/Michael Collins 18 21 June 1966
Gemini Titan XI Pete Conrad/Richard Gordon 12-15 September 1966
Gemini Titan XII James Lovell/Buzz Aldrin 11-15 November 1966

Sixteen different astronauts made Gemini flights and four others trained for them. This experience was passed on to Apollo, as 15 of the 20 men subsequently flew in the lunar program. The rapid succession of Gemini missions demonstrated that it was truly a second generation spacecraft, and the length of its missions - 330 hours on Gemini VII - allayed major medical concerns over man's ability to adapt to and function in space. More and more it became an accepted fact during Gemini that man could, should, and would fly to the Moon and back.

An insight by a space engineer: As Project Mercury came to an end, many members of the Aerospace Mercury-Atlas team transitioned to the next space initiative, Project Germini. Joe Wambolt, a member of that team, in an interview, when questioned about the difference between the Mercury and Gemini, stated, "I think it was probably easier. The Titan II was a pretty robust design as opposed to the Atlas. We were dealing with later technology. We weren't dealing with the structural problems that Atlas could encounter with a thin skin, and we had some working knowledge now of an abort system. We knew how to build an abort system, and we knew how to engineer an abort system that would detect malfunctions during ascent. So the task of getting a malfunction detection system into the Titan rocket was, I believe, simpler and we learned a lot from the Mercury Program so it made the job a little easier. We found some vulnerabilities in the Titan by going back, and we reviewed every Titan flight that had ever flown. And at that time, I can't remember the numbers, but there were many, many dozens of Titan failures that had occurred. We went through every Titan failure and made a determination whether the failure had been identified and been fixed on the Titan weapons systems fleet. If it hadn't, we carried that problem to the Gemini Program and then a review board looked at every single flight failure that hadn't been fixed or explained to see if there was something we should do to the Gemini rocket to make it more reliable. And one of things we discovered is that we needed to put in a redundant first stage flight control hydraulic actuator system. We had dual actuators steering engines as a result of hydraulic failures that had occurred previously. So we made a lot of modifications to the Titan II rocket to make it more reliable based on that flight history."

Details of the Topping Gemini-Titan launch vehicle.

Concerning the absence of an escape tower on the Titan II , Wambolt said, " The mission malfunction detection system that was used on the Gemini was different in that we had no escape tower. But we had developed a malfunction display panel in the satellite itself, or in the spacecraft, and the crew had the ability to shut down the rocket, eject, or abort. Or they could switch back to our flight control system if it turned out that our system malfunctioned early in flight and was corrected. And if it corrected itself and they switched back to the primary mode, they had an ability to switch over to a backup mode. So we had a much more sophisticated abort protection system, or malfunction detection system, for Gemini than we did for Mercury.

"The crew became, as I remember now, much more integrated into the process of whether or not they would abort the mission. It was almost out of their control on Mercury. It was pretty much in the control of the ground NASA mission operational people whether they should abort on Mercury. But on Gemini the crew had enough onboard instrumentation to make their own determination where they were in trouble during booster ascent with the data provided, and they could decide whether or not the situation was critical [enough] to abort or whether to continue with the mission."

Wambolt, when questioned about the need for the Gemini program, said, "In terms of the U.S. space program, I would have to yield to NASA on that because I know NASA, the people that we worked with, felt that Gemini was a necessary stepping-stone to Apollo. There were too many unanswered questions about whether EVA [extravehicular activity] was going to be safe. Whether or not Gemini could rendezvous safely with another vehicle in space. Whether or not they could penetrate the altitude in the long duration necessary for some of these future missions. As I recall, the Gemini Program was the first to come up with 14 days in orbit, and the nature of the medical effects on the astronauts was unknown at that time. The ability to think and provide reasonable conclusions if they encountered an on-orbit malfunction-could the crew in the space environment continue to operate and think properly under those conditions? Was the mission control concept of having a mission control in Houston watching and overseeing the flight, was that network ready to take on a mission like the mission to the Moon and the duration of the crews and so forth? Because the time between the earth and the moon essentially was what a Gemini mission was. It was tailored to be a mission to the moon.

"So a lot of knowledge needed to be obtained by the spacecraft community. It didn't affect the booster folks ourselves. We didn't notice the difference as far as Gemini versus Mercury. It was strictly a stepping-stone in space for us, going from one rocket to another. But it was a huge step for NASA to make. I don't think NASA would have ever made that step from a one-man capsule to a three-man module for the Moon without Gemini. I really think Gemini was vital to the whole Moon program. I would doubt you would find anyone at NASA who would disagree with that."

This Gemini-Titan model is not being offered for sale but is shown here for historical purposes as an important stepping stone to the only extra-terrestrial venture that we will probably ever know in our lifetime.

Click on the above Gemini cutaway for a video of Gemini 3 operation.


A book full of space anecdotes from the Cape written by NBC's veteran space correspondent. From the dust jacket:

Some fifty years ago, while a cub reporter, Jay Barbree caught space fever the night that Sputnik passed over Georgia. He moved to the then-sleepy village of Cocoa Beach, Florida, right outside Cape Canaveral, and began reporting on rockets that fizzled as often as they soared. In "Live from Cape Canaveral," Barbree - the only reporter who has covered every mission flown by astronauts - offers his unique perspective on the space program. He shares affectionate portraits of astronauts as well as some of his fellow journalists and tells some stories - many involving astronaut pranks. Barbree also shows how much the space program and its press coverage have changed over time. Warm and perceptive, he reminds us just how thrilling the great moments of the spce race were and why American fell in love with its heroic, sometimes larger-than-life astronauts.

The book is illustrated with a number of photographs, most not the familiar press shots. This book was published in 2007 and has 321 pages. Price for these delightful space stories is only $18.00.

TOPPING Lance Missile (MGM-52C)

The Lance missile was deployed with U.S. Army forces from 1972 to 1991, largely in West Germany. It was also deployed with British, Belgian, Dutch, Italian, and West German armies. More than 2,300 were purchased. The Lance had a range of 3 to 78 miles (5 to 125 kilometers), although its accuracy decreased at longer ranges. The Lance was a dual-capable weapon, that is it could carry either a conventional or a nuclear warhead. The nuclear warhead, the W70, had a yield of 1-100 kilotons and was produced both as a standard fission weapon and an enhanced radiation (ER) weapon. It was originally carried on a mobile launcher, a modified M113 vehicle which is included with this Topping model. Two contractor model versions were made. The first was by Topping during its "reincarnation" period around 1969/70 and then the Topping mold was used by another company, probably Precise. Very little difference in the models - extremely minor. CollectAir has examples of each.

The history of the important Lance missile can be accessed at the Redstone Arsenal by clicking Here. You can click here for a specification page from the 1972 book, Missiles of the World. The example presented below is a Topping model, one of my favorite promotionals. You can own a superb example of this model for $2000.00..



U.S. Army photo of XM4 Lacrosse missile.

The following is from various internet sources: The Lacrosse was an SRBM (Short-Range Ballistic Missile) briefly deployed by the U.S. Army in 1959, designed for close support of ground troops. It was designed for very high accuracy, but the technology of the day wasn't quite up to the task, and so the missile was not very successful in service.

Development of the Lacrosse began in late 1947 as a U.S. Navy project. The U.S. Marine Corps had a requirement for a short-range guided missile to supplement close-support artillery, and initial studies were made by the Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) of the John Hopkins University and the Cornell Aeronautical Lab. In June 1949, Cornell was tasked to develop a guided missile system conforming to the Lacrosse specifications. Around that time, the missile designator SSM-N-9 was assigned by the Navy to the Lacrosse project. In late 1949, the Joint Chiefs of Staff decided that responsibility for short-range ballistic surface-to-surface missiles should be assigned to the Army, and in August 1950, Lacrosse was officially turned over to the U.S. Army. The Army initially assigned a new basic designation of SSM-G-12 (the Navy reused the dropped SSM-N-9 designation later for the SSM-N-9/RGM-15 Regulus II), but in mid-1951, the Army slightly revised its missile designation system, and the designator was changed to SSM-A-12.

Component tests for Lacrosse began in late 1951, but development of the Lacrosse by Cornell and the Army was slow. As an example, it was not before January 1953, that the decision to use a solid-propellant rocket motor was finalized. The radio command guidance system of Lacrosse was first tested by air-launched RV-A-22 Lark test vehicles. These were converted Fairchild/Convair CTV-N-9/10 test missiles, which were itself derivatives of the XSAM-N-2/4 Lark naval surface-to-air missile. The RV-A-22 flights were conducted between April 1953 and January 1954. In August 1954, the first flight of an XSSM-A-12 Lacrosse prototype took place, and in April 1955, Martin was selected as prime contractor for the production of the SSM-A-12 tactical missile. Various production-related problems delayed the first flight test of a Martin-built Lacrosse (by that time known as Guided Missile, Field Artillery, XM4) until January 1957, and it took another two years of testing until the missile was ready for deployment. In July 1959, the M4 Lacrosse missile was finally delivered to operational Army units.

The M4 Lacrosse SRBM was powered by a Thiokol XM10 solid-fuel rocket motor to a maximum range of about 19 km (12 miles). It was guided via radio commands by a forward observer/operator team within visual range of the target. When the observer had selected a target, he would fire the missile (located behind the lines on an XM398 transporter/launcher truck) by remote control. As soon as the portable tracking equipment detected the missile's tracking beam, the missile operator would optically track the missile and put it on the proper ballistic flightpath towards its target. The Lacrosse's large cruciform wings were fixed, and the missile was steered by its movable tailfins only. The visual tracking and manual guidance method meant that the Lacrosse was of very limited use in night or bad weather. Additionally, the radio command system was susceptible to jamming and countermeasures, which could render an approaching missile uncontrollable, endangering friendly troops. Furthermore, the Lacrosse required extensive maintenance and suffered from poor reliability. Although the Lacrosse was theoretically the most accurate field artillery missile of the time (it couldn't hit a moving target, though), its numerous problems prevented a successful service career.

In March 1960, the first overseas deployments of U.S. Army Lacrosse units occurred, but in January 1961, the Army decided to terminate Lacrosse procurement, and retire the missile as soon as possible. Withdrawal began in 1963, and in February 1964 the Lacrosse was no longer in the active Army inventory. Shortly before, in June 1963, the Lacrosse had received the designation MGM-18A.

The contractor's model of the Lacrosse by Topping is pictured below. Note that this model has the early color scheme of the XM4 version, so the Topping Lacrosse probably originated around 1957 to 1959. NFS.

The October 2011 issue of Antique Toy World has an article devoted to the Topping Lacrosse written by toy expert Steve Butler. You can read this description of the Lacrosse by clicking here. Use the back arrow to return.


Kenneth Arnold with his CallAir A-2.

It's generally agreed that the first major UFO sighting was made by Kenneth Arnold, a private pilot flying a Call Air A-2 on a search mission near Mount Rainier, on June 24, 1947. Arnold, an experienced pilot, spotted a formation of objects which he described as "bright," flying at a "tremendous speed" and were "erratic." Arnold routinely reported the incident to the CAA when he landed at Yakima, Washington and there was no indication that he was seeking publicity or had any reason to fabricate the account. The military denied having any aircraft in the vicinity of Mount Rainier at the time of Arnold's sighting and, although there was no corroboration of Arnold's UFO, there were other pilot reports of UFO sightings in the northwestern U.S. This was a creditable account, both considering the source and considering that at this point there was no hysteria associated with UFO sightings as there had been none previously reported. Kenneth Arnold later wrote a report of the sightings which can be read by Clicking Here. After reading his report you can then ask the question, "What did Kenneth Arnold see?"

Arnold's sighting became fodder for some of the more sensational publications, even after ten years. The cover of Flying Saucers, November 1957, is shown below; Arnold is shown with his Call Air A-2. Arnold's sighting remains to this day as one of the most creditable observation of UFOs. In the following month, July 1947, the infamous "Roswell incident" featuring a crashed object, led to charges of a military coverup of an extra-terrestrial visitor and other equally inane issues. There were countless "observations" of UFOs during the late 1940s into the 1960s and even the USAF had a system of recording civilian and military "sightings." Now that half the country owns a cellphone camera, nobody seems to spot UFOs anymore. For a review of UFO material by researchers of the phenomenon, Click Here.

Artist Mike Boss decided to accurately portray the conditions existing on the day Kenneth Arnold spotted the strange objects; the painting, "What Did Kenneth Arnold See?," depicts Arnold' s colorful Call Air A-2 as he was conducting a search mission near Mount Rainier. The UFOs that he observed are shown in their proper perspective as they were a considerable distance away. A detail of the "UFOs" are also shown below.

Detail of UFOs.

This Mike Boss painting is done in Casein on Rag Illustration Board and measures 21" x 28". The painting may be purchased for $3500.00.

Mike's painting was chosen for the cover illustration on the September 2006 issue of Fate magazine.

Martin Marietta PERSHING I MGM-31A Missile

Pershing Ia Missile Test, November 17, 1964.

Pershing I Missile.

The history of the development of the Pershing I, Pershing Ia, and Pershing II can be accessed at the Redstone Arsenal by Clicking Here.

The Pershing I development, manufacturing and deployment was active during the early 1960s. The Pershing I missile was 34 ft 5 inches long, 3 ft 4 inches in diameter and weighed 10,262 lb. It was powered by two Thiokol solid-propellant engines, the TX-174 first stage generated 25,900 lbf for 38.3 seconds and the TX-175 second stage 19,100 lbf for 39 seconds, total powered flight time was a maximum of 77 seconds at a speed of around Mach 8. Since a solid-propellant engine cannot simply be turned off, selective range was achieved by thrust reversal and case vent. The rocket stages were attached with splice bands and explosive bolts. As directed by the onboard guidance computer, the bolts would explode and eject the splice band. Another squib would open the thrust reversal ports in the forward end of the stage and ignite the propellant in the forward end, causing the engine to reverse direction. During testing, it was found that the second stage would "draft" behind the warhead and cause drift, so an explosive charge was added to the side of the engine that would open the case and vent the propellant. The range could be graduated but the maximum was 460 miles. The missile was steered by jet vanes in the rocket nozzles and air vanes on the engine case. Guidance was provided by an onboard analog guidance computer and a Eclipse-Pioneer ST-120 inertial guidance system. The warhead could be conventional explosive or a W50 nuclear warhead, yielding 400 kt of TNT.

In early 1965, the DOD issued a requirement for a QRA (Quick Reaction Alert) Pershing missile system, with the intention to replace the USAF's Mace missiles by the Pershing Ia. In January 1966, Martin Marietta was awarded a contract to develop the Pershing Ia system to meet this requirement. The Pershing Ia system consisted of faster ground support vehicles, a faster erector/launcher, and new solid-state electronics. Production of the Pershing Ia began in 1967, and by 1970 it had replaced all original Pershing I systems in U.S. Army service.

In 1976, further improvements of the Pershing Ia system were fielded, the sequential launch adapter (SLA) and the automatic reference system (ARS). The SLA allowed a Pershing Ia platoon to fire its three missiles in quick succession, and the ARS (essentially a ground based inertial unit) eliminated the need to survey the launch site before firing, making on-the-spot launches possible. Production of the Pershing Ia was originally completed in 1975, but the line had to be reopened from 1977 to 1979 to replace missiles expended in training exercises. A total of about 750 Pershing I/Ia missiles were built, with an operational deployment level of 108 missiles in Europe.

Training on the Pershing missiles took place at Fort Sill, Oklahoma by the 3rd Battalion, 9th Field Artillery unit.

The maker of this Pershing I model is probably Topping; a similar model with erector/launcher follows and it is marked with Topping logo. NFS

An earlier Pershing I model (service round configuration) made in test firing colors is shown below. This model carries the Topping logo and the "Martin" logo. The erector/launcher is probably a test version or a proposed version by Martin. Photos of the Pershing I show a slightly different configuration of the erector/launcher although a similar launcher appears (rather dimly) in a movie from that period and in a test firing photo of the slightly longer test vehicle. Another version of the Topping model also has the track equipped mobil carrier which carries this model of the launcher. The first photos below show the P1 erector/launcher and warhead vehicle. The erector/launcher nests on the tracked vehicle - Topping also made a model of the tracked vehicle. The Pershing 1a used a larger trailer-style erector/launcher arrangment. This Pershing 1 model does not appear in the Topping 1961 catalog so is presumed to have been made in 1962-1964. The scale is 1:32. The erector platform is missing the strapping which should surround the missile and I believe there is a support pad missing from the forward end of the launcher - otherwise it appears to be complete.

Pershing I missile at White Sands Museum.

56th FA patch starting in 1972.


In 1947, a $3.8 billion, US Air Force contract, was awarded to the Bell Aircraft Corporation of Niagara Falls for the World's first guidable atomic missile, the air-to-surface, the Rascal Crew Saver.

The Rascal, originally designated as the XB-63, was an air-to-surface supersonic guided missile armed with a nuclear warhead. The name "Rascal" was actually an acronym that stood for RAdar SCAnning Link, so named for the guidance system that was used during the missile's dive onto the target. This guidance system was to be installed aboard the controlling aircraft. This system was to be developed jointly by Bell Avionics, Radio Corporation of America (RCA), and Texas Instruments.

Its development was inaugurated in April 1946. The Rascal was intended as a "stand off" weapon, to be launched from Strategic Air Command (SAC) bombers as far away as 100 miles, thus reducing the manned bomber crew's exposure to enemy defenses in the immediate target area, thus the little used moniker of Crew Saver. Launched from its carrier aircraft, the missile would continue toward its predetermined target controlled by a self-contained inertial guidance system. The terminal dive began about 20 miles from the target. During this final phase of flight, the Rascal's course could be altered by signals from the launching "director" aircraft. The GAM-63 was powered by a Bell LR-67 liquid-propellant rocket engine with three combustion chambers. A Bell XLR-67 engine that is currently being displayed in the Niagara Aerospace Museum is shown below; note that a model of the Rascal is suspended above the engine - this model has a slightly different color scheme than the same model shown on this page. This engine design technology was used for the Bell powered Agena.

The large missile had to be carried externally by the DB-47E carrier aircraft. The GAM-63 was 31' 11" long. Its aft fins had a span of 16' 8", while the height of the fins was 12' 6" - a very large package for a B-47.

The Rascal's forward flying surfaces comprised fixed horizontal and movable dorsal and ventral fins, and the rear surfaces were made up by wings with ailerons and non-moving (but foldable) dorsal and ventral vertical tails. The initial test models were guided to the target by radio commands from the launching aircraft, but the final GAM-63A missiles used an inertial guidance system. The accuracy was around 3000 ft. CEP for the radio-command guided and 1500 ft. for the inertially guided missiles. The Rascal had a range of about 100 miles at a speed of Mach 1.6. Initially, the GAM-63 was to use a W-5 nuclear fission warhead, but this was later changed to a 2 MT W-27 thermonuclear device.

The first squadron of DB-47E bombers was established in late 1957, but the unit never became fully operational with the Rascal. The program was terminated in November 1958, and the last GAM-63A was withdrawn in 1959. Because of its limited range and accuracy, and its difficult-to-handle liquid-fueled rocket engine with its toxic propellants, the Rascal was far inferior to the newer GAM-77/AGM-28 Hound Dog, which was then in advanced development. About 150 GAM-63 missiles of all variants had been built.

This large Rascal model is believed to have been made by Craft Industries, a company located near the Bell Aircraft plant.

The Rascal, being the first of its kind, advanced technology although it wasn't considered a complete success - this has been true of many of the "first" attempts at missiles such as the "Snark" and "Navajo." It took a great deal of confidence to tackle these projects right after WWII.


Douglas Aircraft display model of the Manned Orbiting Laboratory. This model is in 1:65 scale, complete with the Douglas logo at the base of the laboratory module. The model's maker is unknown but very likely is the W.J. Hyatt Model Co. - the model would date from the early to mid-1960s.

The history of the 1960s Manned Orbiting Laboratory is an interesting study in the struggle between military (USAF) and civilian interests (NASA) over the control and use of space craft and the need for manned vehicles - although beginning with an Air Force Space Plan in 1961, the issue continues in various forms to this day as scientists confront the costs and the relative effectiveness of placing men on Mars, for example, as compared to unmanned exploration vehicles.

An artist's conception of the MOL being launched.

MOL also played a vital role in the history of the American space effort. It remains, much like the Dyna-Soar, one of the great "what-ifs?" in the history of space exploration. Had it not been terminated, MOL would have been the first U.S. orbital space station, and its crews would have been the first to reach space from the Vandenberg AFB Western Test Range (a feat still unaccomplished). Despite the contention in 1969 that technology had overtaken the need for human observers in space, the same argument originally used to support the presence of MOL astronauts is used today to justify a crew onboard the International Space Station.

The U.S. Air Force, not directly involved in Project Apollo, envisioned a crewed space station as a valuable military asset for orbital reconnaissance missions. After the December 10, 1963 cancellation of its winged spaceplane, the X-20 Dyna-Soar, the Air Force shifted its focus to the development of the Manned Orbiting Laboratory (MOL) - a house-trailer-size laboratory to be launched into orbit atop a Titan 3 booster along with a modified Gemini spacecraft carrying two military astronauts for military missions lasting up to 30 days, an evolution of the earlier "Blue Gemini" program which was conceived to be an all-Air Force parallel of NASA's Gemini efforts

Under the MOL contract, McDonnell Aircraft would modify its Gemini spacecraft design, to be designated Gemini-B. Douglas Aircraft was tasked with building a 42-foot-long, 10-foot-diameter cylindrical laboratory module which would be attached to the manned Gemini. As envisioned, MOL would be capable of supporting a minimum of four astronauts and their equipment and experiment-laden laboratory. Guidelines established in early 1964 envisioned the spacecraft to have multiple missions including the development of technology to improve military space capability, the demonstration of manned assembly of large structures with potential military applications and the in-orbit servicing of craft. The observation and detection of enemy operations, ballistic missile defense, nuclear test detection and similar missions were envisioned as requiring a manned spacecraft such as the MOL. General Electric held contracts for classified MOL experiments, and Martin Marietta would be responsible for the Titan IIIC expendable rocket used to launch it. President Johnson gave formal approval for the $1.5 billion MOL Program on August 25, 1965.

The Phase II MOL schedule called for a series of seven qualifying test launches of the laboratory from the Western Test Range beginning in April 1969, with the first piloted flight set for December 15, 1969. Thus, it was an important milestone when construction began on Space Launch Complex 6 (SLC-6) at Vandenberg AFB on March 12, 1966. This was one of the most complex construction projects ever attempted by the Air Force at Vandenberg.

In November 1966, MOL enjoyed a much-needed success when a Gemini capsule, attached to a modified Titan II propellant tank (to simulate the laboratory), was launched from the Eastern Test Range by a Titan IIIC. One important purpose of this launch was to test the stability of a hatch door that had been cut into the heat shield of the Gemini capsule, an addition that would enable the astronauts to transfer directly from their capsule to the laboratory. The capsule was ejected and recovered near Ascension Island, and the heat-shield test was declared a success. This test flight marked the only occasion that the Titan IIIC/MOL configuration was actually flown.

Titan IIIC launch of unmanned, test simulated MOL.

Originally targeted for a 1968 launch, the MOL program experienced significant cost overruns and schedule delays with the first mission slipping into 1969, and then to 1972. Remarkable advances in uncrewed reconnaissance satellite systems soon rendered MOL's primary mission obsolete and, on June 10, 1969, President Richard Nixon canceled the program. Even though roughly $1.4 billion in development funds had already been spent on MOL, the projected cost increases, the continuing advances in automated space surveillance systems, and the lack of supporters outside the DOD made MOL an easy target. "Regardless of the justice of the decision," Ivan Getting wrote in his autobiography, "the impact on Aerospace and its people was traumatic." The Air Force was similarly stunned by Nixon's decision, and the official Air Force announcement of MOL's cancellation was made at the site of the nearly completed SLC-6 at Vandenberg.

A thorough history of the MOL program was printed in several issues of Quest magazine, Volume 4 Number 3 and 4. Internet information can be obtained by clicking HERE or OR HERE.


The Minuteman I Missile is prominantly shown on the cover of the 1961 catalog for Topping, Inc. The photo above shows a portion of the front cover.

The LGM-30A Minuteman I intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) was a second-generation weapon that used solid propellant rather than the liquid propellants used in the earlier Atlas and Titan ICBMs. It was designed to be maintained in, and launched from, hardened underground silos where it would be virtually immune from an enemy nuclear attack. Early in the program, it was proposed that the Minuteman be mounted on railroad cars for a mobile system; this idea was actually tested but dropped in favor of the silos. It was eventually replaced in service by the Minuteman II and Minuteman III ICBMs. The Minuteman was the world's first solid-fueled ICBM, and has been the mainstay of the USAF's ICBM force ever since its deployment. Because international arms reduction treaties led to the early retirement of its designated successor, the LGM-118 Peacekeeper, the Minuteman is now the only land-based strategic missile of the United States, and will remain so for the foreseeable future .

The Minuteman I missile made its first test flight, from Cape Canaveral, on February 1, 1961 - about the same time as the Topping catalog for 1961 came out - and was deployed by November 30, 1962. The first full Minuteman IA wing in SAC became operational in July 1963. This Topping model represents the very first of the Minuteman weapon systems. The model, over 45-years old, in about 1:50 scale, is shown below; note that the base represents the silo system. A diagram of the silo is also presented below to give an idea of the accuracy of the model diorama.

The Minuteman I is much smaller than the liquid-fueled ICBMs which it replaced. The diagram below shows the relative size of the Minuteman I to the Atlas, Titan I and Titan II missiles. The Titan II was the largest, most powerful ICBM weapon system ever deployed. Since the Minuteman IA had been designed primarily for mobile basing, it was limited in range and firepower compared to the Atlas and Titan ICBMs.

The silo launching system for the Minuteman I is diagrammed below.

There are some excellent Minuteman missile histories on the web. The National Park Service has a silo as a National Historic Site; a very thorough history of the sytem can be accessed by clicking here.

Other Minuteman histories worth visiting are at Directory of U.S. Military Rockets and Missiles, and at Strategic Air Command.

The Minuteman I had a length of 55 ft. 9 in. and a diameter of 6 ft. This Topping model is about 13.5 inches in length. POR.

The photo below shows an interesting manufacturer's display from 1975; presented, in 1:200 scale, are twelve missiles, a mix of U.S. and Soviet. Note the small size of the Minuteman II compared to the Titan II. It is reported that this display was used by Boeing. POR.

X-51A Scramjet Engine Demonstrator - WaveRider (SED-WR)

Manufacturer's missile and space display models of vintage origin (more than 25 years old) are the subject of CollectAir's offerings on this page. However, display models are currently being made for promotional purposes by the manufacturers - these recent models are being produced in much smaller quantities than the vintage Topping, Precise and other producer's models which were distributed to a wider audience.

Display models have been used for many years - patent models for example which were made in the 1800s. Architectural models are commonly made for projects and industrial models are valuable tools for oil rigs, refineries, and a myriad collection of industries. Ship builders have used models for hundreds of years.

The model presented here, the X-51A Scramjet Waverider (SED-WR), is an up-to-date example of a current promotional display model which was constructed in 2006. The Boeing Phantom Works X-51A is a hypersonic missile which will be an air-launched, an expendable weapon powered by a hydrocarbon-fueled scramjet engine. The X-51A is launched by a B-52H and accelerated to the Mach 4.8 scramjet ignition speed by the solid-propellant rocket motor of a surplus MGM-140 ATACMS missile. The estimated target speed for the X-51A is between Mach 6 and 7. The first flight of the X-51A took place on May 26, 2010 and the Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne-built scramjet engine successfully had a 140s burn at 70,000 feet.

The "wave rider" principle uses the nose shock wave to both create lift and compress air to eliminate the need for a mechanical compressor in the scramjet engine. This proposed missile is a kinetic weapon only, having no explosive charge onboard.

This model is shown here for interest and for sale at Sorry Sold; if you would like to examine the scramjet and wave rider program in detail, then click here for X-51 info, or here for wave rider info. Popular Mechanics carried an extensive article on the X-51 and this article may be viewed by clicking here.

Pratt & Whitney design concept paintings of the hypersonic cruise missile are presented below, followed by photos of a current display model of the X-51A.

The Smithsonian magazine, Air&Space, in the September 2007 issue, carried an article on hypersonic flight. In the photo below of the lead page of the article, the caption for the missile painting reads, "The X-51A test vehicle could lead to something like this: A Mach 6 missile that could reach anywhere on Earth within two hours."

An advetisement for the X-51A appeared in the November 1/8, 2010 issue of Aviation Week. You can view this ad by clicking here. Use the back arrow to return.

The photo below is from the November 26, 2012 issue of Aviation Week. The fourth and final vehicle test of the X-51A is scheduled for mid-2013.

Update: The U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory's Boeing X-51A Waverider (article number four) acheived a prolonged scramjet-powered hypersonic flight on its final test on May 1, 2013. The X-51A reached Mach 5.1 and ran its full duration of the powered phase of its test for a distance of over 230 miles. This may be a record for sustained, air-breathing hypersonic flight. Own a model of this record setting Waverider.

NASA flew a 12-foot hypersonic prototype scramjet, the X-43A, to test the concept of the supersonic-combustion ramjet; this machine was air launched and boosted by a Pegasus booster rocket. A NASA painting of the X-43A is shown below.


The USAF issued a requirement in 1959 for a long-range ALBM (Air-Launched Ballistic Missile) after studies in 1958 had shown that it was feasible to air-launch ballistic missiles from strategic bombers at high altitude. Douglas Aircraft was awarded a development contract in May 1959 for the WS (Weapons System) 138A missile, designated GAM-87 Skybolt. Douglas subsequently awarded development subcontracts to Nortronics (guidance system), Aerojet General (propulsion), and General Electric (reentry vehicle). The GAM-87 was intended for use by the B-52H Statofortress and the British Vulcan B.2. Full-scale development was approved in February 1960, and the first drop tests of unpowered Skybolts occurred in January 1961. Powered and guided flight tests of XGAM-87A prototypes began in April 1962, but the first five tests were all failures. The first fully successful Skybolt flight occurred on December 19,1962, but on that same day the whole program was cancelled and the production of the operational GAM-87A stopped. Although Skybolt certainly had its technical difficulties and was well behind schedule, the cancellation was also very much influenced by economical and political factors at the time.

The XGAM-87A was a ballistic missile powered by a two-stage solid-fuel rocket motor and guided by a stellar-inertial navigation system. Each B-52H was to carry four GAM-87As, two each side-by-side on two underwing pylons. While on the pylon, the Skybolt was fitted with a tail cone to reduce aerodynamic drag. For launch, the missile was dropped from the pylon, the tail cone was ejected, and the first motor stage ignited. After first stage burnout, the Skybolt coasted for a while before the second stage ignited. First stage control was by movable tail fins, while the second stage was equipped with a gimballed nozzle. The length of the Skybolt was 38 ft 3 in.

Limited flight tests with the remaining XGAM-87A missiles continued after program cancellation, and in June 1963, the XGAM-87A was redesignated as XAGM-48A. In total, Douglas built less than 100 Skybolt missiles. The Skybolt model, shown below with its carrier, carries the Douglas emblem on a chrome name plate; the maker of this model is not known but it would be from the 1960 era. Model NFS.

Apollo 13.

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Artwork copyright © Bonestell Space Art, used with permission.

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