Aurora’s Chance Vought Regulus II Guided Missile Kit Review

November 11, 2014 – 4:03 pm

By Fred Boucher

Introduction

In a golden age of aviation tarnished by the Cold War, many new aircraft were produced, including what became known as cruise missiles.   One was the mach 2 Chance Vought SSM-N-9 Regulus II.   Aurora was always quick to machine molds for injection molded kits of warfare’s latest & greatest technical achievements, and the Regulus II supersonic cruise missile was no exception.  Issued in 1958 as kit 132-129, it scales to 1/48.  The “129” was Aurora’s MSRP (Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price $1.29), a part of the box despised by retailers since they often wanted to set their own price by demand.  Aurora also issued a kit of the missile with a ground launcher, kit 378-249.

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Kit #132-129, still in the factory seal

Most of these kits came out before I was born so perhaps it is not so strange that I never saw them at my childhood hobby outlets:  City Cycle Hobby Shop, Bell or Davis Drug Stores, Value Village, Kresge, Woolworths, Sears, or JC Pennys.  In fact,  I never even knew most such kits existed until the advent of online sites!

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Vintage Plastic Modeling – Revell’s Lockheed L188 Electra

November 5, 2014 – 5:42 pm

By Dennis Sparks 

Long range commercial aviation was dominated in the early 1950s by aircraft like the Douglas DC-6 and DC-7, Lockheed’s L-749 and L-1069 Constellation and Boeing’s Model 377 Stratocruiser.  But the sound of the future could already be heard in the whine of the turbojet engine, which was soon to be powering aircraft such as the deHavilland Comet, Boeing 707 and Douglas DC-8.

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Early reciprocating and jet aircraft kits (click any to enlarge) 

But for a time at least, it seemed that there was yet another type of engine that would be suitable for commercial aircraft, one that would bridge the gulf between the traditional reciprocating engines and the new turbojets.

Turboprops

Introduced in 1953, the Vickers Viscount became the world’s first airliner to be powered by turboprop engines.  Both Capitol and Continental Airlines operated the Viscount in the US, but with an initial capacity of around 50 passengers, it was seen as a bit too small for some routes.  Therefore, American Airlines had asked Lockheed for a similar aircraft that could instead seat 75 100 and their response was their Model L188.  Lockheed chose to revive the name Electra for the new airliner from their 1930’s vintage Model 10.   The most famous Model 10 was the one flown by Amelia Earhart.

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Aurora Mace TM-76 Guided Missile Kit Review

November 5, 2014 – 12:21 pm

By Fred Boucher

Introduction

During a golden age of aviation tarnished by the Cold War, many new aircraft were produced, including what became known as cruise missiles.  One was the Martin TM-76 Mace.  Aurora was always quick to cut tooling for models of contemporary subjects, and in 1958 issued their kit MACE – TM -76 GUIDED MISSILE.  Once again, Aurora had the weapon on the shelf before it was actually deployed.  TM-76 was first flown in in 1956 but was not active until 1959.  The kit number is 130-.79.  The “.79” was Aurora’s MSRP (Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price), a part of the box despised by retailers.  Aurora also scaled it to 1/48.

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Aurora’s one-and-only issue of this missile 

I do not recall Aurora rocket and missile kits vying for shelf space at my town model outlets: City Cycle Hobby Shop, Bell or Davis Drug Stores, Value Village; nor at Kresge, Woolworths, Sears, or JC Pennys.  Perhaps my modeling interests made space and missile subjects invisible to me at that time, or perhaps Aurora had already discontinued the kits!

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Box side (click to enlarge)

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Aurora’s U.S.A.F. 4-Stage Rocket Lunar Probe with Launching Pad and Servicing Tower - Kit Review

November 2, 2014 – 10:06 pm

By Fred Boucher

Introduction

In 1958 Aurora released a Thor rocket but the model did not sell well.  To get more use from the mold, they added a galactic instrument payload intended for moon exploration.  This was released in 1959 as the U.S.A.F. 4-Stage Rocket Lunar Probe with Launching Pad and Servicing Tower.  The kit number on the box is 385 – 2.49, with “2.49” being the retail price of $2.49, or approximately $25.00 in today’s dollars.  Compared to model prices today that was an exceptional value for a multi-stage rocket and payload, with launch facility and figures!

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The Lunar Probe #385–2.49 (left) and the earlier Thor IRBM #380-198

I do not recall Aurora rocket and missile kits vying for shelf space at my town model outlets: City Cycle Hobby Shop, Bell or Davis Drug Stores, Value Village; nor at Kresge, Woolworths, Sears, or JC Pennys.  Perhaps my modeling interests made space and missile subjects invisible to me at that time, or perhaps Aurora had already discontinued the kits!

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A “Classic Build” of a 1/48th Lindberg Curtiss JN-4 Jenny

October 24, 2014 – 10:34 am

By Dennis Sparks 

Another top-quality build Dennis!  Thank you so much for the article -AB 

Beginning  in 1909, almost all of the first aeroplanes that had been acquired by the US Army Signal Corps were either Wright or Curtiss “pusher” designs, with engines that were situated behind the pilot. As might be expected with this new technology, during the first five years of flight operations crashes were both frequent and too often fatal. Realizing that the location of the engine was a factor in some of the fatalities, on 25 February 1914 the Army grounded all of their remaining “pusher” aircraft, leaving them with almost no aircraft to fly.

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Curtiss Model D Pusher (courtesy Wikipedia)

Seeking to purchase safer aircraft, both Martin and Curtiss responded to the Army request with designs for two-seat biplane trainers with the engine and a “tractor” propeller mounted in the front of the aircraft. The Army bought three Martin Model T aircraft, which curiously enough were specified to be delivered without engines, as for reasons of economy, they wanted to re-use some of the engines that had been salvaged from crashed aircraft. Later the Army purchased an additional fourteen Martins which were to be delivered with a variety of new-built engines. And while both the Army and the Navy also later acquired a few examples of the Martin Model S floatplane which shared a common heritage with the Model T, the type has largely faded into obscurity.

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 Martin Model T (from the movie A Girl Of Yesterday) and Model S - click to enlarge (courtesy Wikipedia) 

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A “Classic Build” of a 1911 Deperdussin Type A Monoplane

October 24, 2014 – 9:42 am

By Dennis Sparks

Dennis is an active and talented IPMS modeler in and around Kentucky.  I saw his superb build of the classic Pyro/Life-Like kit at the Cinicinatti IPMS show and he was kind enough to let me place his article on the website - AB

 

A relatively brief history of Armand Deperdussin and his aircraft…

Armand Deperdussin (pronounced as depper-DUE-sin”) was born c.1860-1870 (accounts vary) in or near Liege, Belgium (or possibly in or near Paris, as again, accounts vary). He held a number of jobs a young man, including working in a pharmacy and as a traveling sales representative for a Belgian chocolate firm, and still later was a singer in a Brussels night club. In Paris in 1902, he decided to venture into business on his own; borrowing enough money to begin buying imported silk in large quantities and then re-selling it in smaller portions to Parisian dress shops at a handsome profit. Possibly aided by the threat of the loss of the silk trade from the Far East during the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-05, he quickly both amassed a fortune and simultaneously developed a real flair for extravagant spending.

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Armand Deperdussin (courtesy Wikipedia) and the Pyro issue of his aircraft, kit number P603-100

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Aurora Nieuport 28 Kit Review and History

October 7, 2014 – 9:09 pm

By Fred Boucher and with Kit History by Alan Bussie

Kit History 

Aurora’s Nieuport 28 [sic] was the eighth model of Aurora’s 20 “Famous Fighters” 1/48 World War One aircraft. It was released in 1957 with two other single-seaters and three two-holers.  The first release is kit number 108-69 with the oval logo, ‘Famous Fighters’ in the boarder, northern lights in the center back ground and the Parent’s Magazine seal on the lower left.  The short box sides have a yellow background.  Box art is by the famous Jo Kotula.  This was one of his earlier aircraft illustrations for Aurora.  Inside, the kit was molded in gloss light gray and black.  The mold quality was certainly a step above the earlier Aurora efforts.

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Aurora 108-69, the first issue Nieuport 28 

The second issue was changed very little and probably came out in about 1958 or 59.  The 10 cent price increase was reflected in the new part number of 108-79 and the Parent’s Magazine logo was still included.  This time, however, the short box sides have a blue background instead of yellow.  The parts inside are identical.

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Aurora Albatross D3 (Albatros D.III) Kit Review And History

October 7, 2014 – 8:27 pm

By Fred Boucher and with Kit History by Alan Bussie

Kit History 

Aurora’s Albatross D-3 [sic] was the fourth model of Aurora’s 20 “Famous Fighters” 1/48 World War One aircraft.  It was released in 1956 with five other single-seaters. (Curiously, although Aurora released their “Sopwith Tripe” years later, it was originally numbered 100.)

The initial issue first appeared in Aurora’s 1956 Catalog and on dealer’s shelves the same year.  The kit number was 104-69.  Jim Cox did the box art and the instructions.  1956 was the first year for the large rectangular ‘Northern Lights’ logo.

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First Issue Albatross D3, # 104-69 

Aurora rolled out a new logo in 1957.  But creating new box art was costly, so they simply modified the old art with the new oval ‘Famous Fighters’ logo with the northern lights on the inside background.  The price went up ten cents, changing the part number to 104-79.  The Parent’s Magazine seal was added at the left.   This issue was probably produced from 1957 until around 1960.

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Restoration of an Aurora 1/48 Zero

July 1, 2014 – 2:27 pm

By Eric Freese 

Box photographs courtesy of www.Oldmodelkits.com

 

Virtually anyone I meet at an air show, museum, or the local hobby shop has a list of their favorite planes, ships or cars.  Personally, I can’t get enough of the Zero.  I put it among my top ten favorite designs because it is pure fighter, perfectly proportioned in line and form. 

The ‘classic’ Zero is the Aurora 1/48 kit in yellow plastic.  Once common in the 1950s and early 60s, it has become a rare collector’s item today.

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Various issues of the Aurora Zero (click any to enlarge)

 I enjoy ‘classic builds’ and restoring older kits, but the Aurora Zero has been conspicuously absent from my collection.  Recently I wrangled a deal to buy a pre-built version.  There was no box, just the model, but I was thrilled at the prospect of finally getting one!

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A History Of Renwal Aeroskin Kits

June 29, 2014 – 8:06 pm

By Brad Hansen

 

PART 1:  Pre-War 2-in-1 Sets

Renwal had established an extensive line of kits by 1966.  They had come out with a unique line of modern armor and military equipment, visible anatomical models, visible V-8s and chassis, nuclear submarines with detailed (if a bit fanciful) interiors and an older line of naval warships.  They had introduced a large line of “Collectors Showcase” 1/48th scale cars, started a series of seven modern iterations of classic car designs (Renwal Revivals) plus a super-detailed 1/12 scale Mercedes Benz Gullwing and Ferrari.

Selected Renwal Kits (click any to enlarge) 

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Notable by their absence up to then were kits of aircraft.  This changed in January of 1966 when Renwal issued their first series of model planes kits.

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