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HISTORICAL MODELS

Included in this section are desktop models, company presentation models, wood kit models of the Thirties and Forties, prisoner of war models and other models of historical interest.

Bell Aircraft Co. model shop FM-1 in 1/30 scale

Bell FM-1 Airacuda in 1/30 scale, wood with a lacquer finish in the now closed Bell’s visitors center in Niagara Falls, N.Y. This was one of a series of models covering all of Bell’s designs that were built in the Bell model shop shortly after WWII. Copies of the original drawings from which this model was made are available through Doxarie.

German WW II POW model

German WW II POW model

Stuka dive bomber, prisoner of war model, wingspan about 6 inches,1944. This model was built by a German POW and given to a Canadian soldier while aboard ship bound for Canada. It remained in the soldier’s family and was restored in Rochester, N.Y. in the early 1990’s. The model was carved in birch, obviously from memory. Markings and detail were a mixture of stained sawdust glued into reliefs carved into the model.

German WW II POW model

German WW II POW model

Boeing B-17, prisoner of war model, mahogany, circa1944, wingspan about 12 inches. The story is that this model was one of a number made by German POWs in England and traded for cigarettes. The fuselage has been hollowed out so that windows are open. Fairly accurate model for the rudimentary information from which the model maker doubtless worked.

San Diego Aerospace Museum's walnut Consolidated PB4Y-2

San Diego Aerospace Museum's walnut Consolidated RY-3

The Consolidated PB4Y-2 model is in 1/50 scale with a wingspan of about 26 ¾ inches.  The RY-3, a transport version of the same aircraft, is the same size.  Both are in solid walnut with windows relieved and brass fittings.  They appear to have a rubbed oil finish. These models and the B-32 Dominator models (pictured in the restoration section) are all of a series done by an unknown model shop probably in the San Diego, CA area during 1944-45.  Interestingly, the Doering brothers were building PB4Y-1 models in the same scale of formed tin sheet contemporaneously with these models at the Consolidated-Vultee plant in Downey, CA. The brothers were not aware of the wooden models.

Grumman F6F

Grumman F6F

Grumman F6F Hellcat, wingspan about 12 inches in naturally finished wood of undetermined type. This model may have been built on contract by a Long Island, N.Y. model making company that had produced desk display models for Grumman from the late Thirties. The model dates from late 1943. The spinner was not fitted to production machines, so it indicates a prototype model although the decal insignia, if original, implies a somewhat later date.

Lockheed Model 14, 1940's Ideal kit, Robert C. Mikesh

Lockheed Model 14, 1940's Ideal kit, Robert C. Mikesh

Lockheed Model 14 transport used for the Howard Hughes around the world flight from an Ideal kit of the early Forties. The kit featured a very unusual solid molded wood shaving filler material. The fuselage came in two halves and the wings were conventional solid wood. This model kit was assembled by Bob Mikesh who finished one side of the model and left the other unfinished to indicate the unusual type of construction. Compare this to another unusual WW II era kit using the "bread and butter" construction technique illustrated by the Typhoon model found in the Doxaerie models Gallery II.

Curtiss F9C Sparrowhawk, company model

Curtiss F9C Sparrowhawk, company model

Curtiss F9C-2 Sparrowhawk, 1/16 scale, 19 inch wingspan, solid mahogany with brass detail. This is probably a manufacturer’s wind tunnel model for the Sparrowhawk dating to 1930. The model was photographed in the early 1990’s at the Amherst Colony Museum in Western New York, but when the museum’s aircraft displays were moved to the Niagara Falls Aerospace Museum in the late 90’s, this model and some others apparently did not make the move. The whereabouts are not known at this time.

Curtiss Model HA-1, company model

Curtiss Model HA-1, company model

Curtiss Model HA-1, the so-called "Dunkirk Fighter", wingspan about 16", solid mahogany fuselage, pontoon and tail, aluminum sheet wings, brass propeller and struts. This aircraft was designed by Marine Capt. B.L. Smith for use in WW I, but design was too late to see service. This model may also be a manufacturer’s wind tunnel model, although it does not represent the actual machine in some respects. Wing tip floats are missing. This is another model that had once been in the Amherst Colony Museum, but its whereabouts are not known at this time. Model dates to the early Twenties.

Bell P-39 Airacobra, company model

Bell P-39 Airacobra, company model

Bell P-39 in 1/16 scale, wingspan 25 ½ inches, solid machined aluminum. This magnificent manufacturer’s model was series produced during WWII and at least one was painted olive drab and gray (a photo exists showing noted burlesque queen Gypsy Rose Lee holding it during a bond drive). The stand is perhaps even more interesting than the model.  It is presently at the Niagara Falls Aerospace Museum.

Curtiss YP-37 company model

Curtiss YP-37 company model

Curtiss YP-37 unfinished company (?) model

Curtiss YP 37, the finished model is in 1/30 scale, wingspan 15 inches, unfinished model 1/40 scale, wingspan 11 ¼ inches. Both models solid cast metal, the larger a manufacturer’s model probably made in the Curtiss model shop on Long Island, N.Y. Many beautiful models were produced at this shop in the Thirties and early Forties. This model has a metal frame over a clear plastic canopy, but sparse internal detail, the finish is aluminum paint. The origin of the smaller, unfinished model is a bit of a mystery. Many such unfinished smaller Curtiss display models have been found, especially P40s, alongside finished models. This YP-37 model is roughly cast and has slightly raised circles where the insignia go. This might mean it was cast from an original with painted or paper insignia already in place. These may be pirated copies of Curtiss manufacturer’s model originals, but still date to the early WWII period..

Curtiss C-46 Commando, wingspan 16 inches

Curtiss C-46 Commando, wingspan 9 inches

Curtiss C-46 solid cast pot metal desk top display models dating from the early Forties. One has a span of about 16 inches, the other only about 9 inches. Both models are painted a light gold color, the larger one has windows painted in. Both are typical of Curtiss display models of the time, although interestingly these models depict the stepped nose C-46, very few of which were actually manufactured. Other small desk top models of this type are P-40Cs and Es, SB2C Helldivers. A very nice solid plastic P40F also dates to this period as well a SC-1 Seahawk with solid clear plastic canopy. Bell had a plated 1/60 pot metal P-39. Several aircraft manufacturers during this period contracted with model and display companies for desk display models, so not all are made by the aircraft companies themselves. Some of the latter models were also touted as armed services recognition models.

US WWII era solid black plastic ID model, Dinah (Mitsubishi Ki46)

US WWII era solid black plastic ID model, Irving (Nakajima J1N1)

US WWII era black cardboard silhouette ID model, Nell (Mitsubishi G3M)

The two models on the left are US 1/72 solid plastic recognition models of the Japanese Irving and Dinah (Nakajima J1N1 and Mitsubishi Ki-46), 9 and 8 inch wingspans by Cruver.. No mention of historically important models in the US can neglect reference to these models, hundreds of types of which were manufactured from 1942 on, even into the Fifties and Sixties. These two models were among the last WW II models produced (the Irving in August of 1945) and their general accuracy reflects this. Early models in this series, particularly Japanese aircraft, were based on such inadequate information that today they seem laughable. The model on the right is a US 1/72 cardboard silhouette recognition model of the Japanese Nell (Mitsubishi G3M), wingspan 13 ½ inches. These models came on die cut heavy black cardboard sheets in envelopes printed with information about the airplane along with building instructions. They were meant to be built in the field by servicemen likely to come in contact with these aircraft. They were particularly effective visually from more than a couple of feet away and as learning aids were good because there is no better way to become familiar with the shape of an airplane than to build a model of it. Compare this photo to the Nell in the Restoration Work area.

US WWII era ID models

US WWII era ID models

Tiny 1/432 WW II recognition models. In the first photo, a 1/72 black ID of the Japanese Zero is contrasted with the 1/432 gray plastic Rufe (Zero with floats) by Cruver and the 1/432 Zero in metal by Comet. The other photo shows the latter models with a US Navy PBM Mariner and PV-1 Ventura with a penny to show size. In a way this scale is more realistic for recognition purposes since identification of friend or foe at a distance (when the outline of the approaching aircraft is very small) is most important. The standard German WW II recognition models, the Wiking models, were in 1/200 scale.

US WWII era photo models for recognition manuals

Carved from wood in about 1/32 scale, these WWII Axis aircraft have clear canopies and are painted gray with national insignia in white and very dark gray. The models were the subjects of 35mm black and white photography, the negatives being projected on screens to provide a positive black and white image of the aircraft for recognition training purposes. Positive images were also used for recognition manuals.  Other models built for this purpose were quite small, about 1/200 scale. These are among hundreds of exquisite models found in a display case at the National Air and Space Museum (NASM) that has not been available for viewing by the general public.  This issue may be addressed with the expansion of the museum at its Dulles Airport building.

Boeing 247

Being 247

Boeing 247D, wingspan 56 inches at the National Air and Space Museum. This model is similar to the Boeing 247 constructed by the Doering brothers in 1937, but with less detail. The model is sheet aluminum, but has little interior detail. This model was given to NASM by the Boeing Company in the mid-Thirties at the request of curator Paul Garber.

Doering Brothers I
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