Aurora 1/48 505-69 Kaman HOK-1 Egg Beater Model Kit Review

by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ] (photos and kit history by Alan Bussie)


Welcome to the first review of the late-great Aurora Model Company range of 1/48 helicopters! Kaman HOK-1 “Egg Beater” was kitted in 1956 as kit Nr. 505-69; “-69” was the MSRP of 69¢, and one got a cool model for that. We’ll judge this venerable kit today.

Special thanks to Alan Bussie of Old Model Kits for his contribution of kit release notes, as well as making this model available for this review.

Kaman HH-43B Huskie/HOK-1

Aurora’s Kaman Model K-600 (Kaman Aircraft’s designation) model is of a unique helicopter flown by the United State’s Air Force, Marines, and Navy. Decals are included for all three of the services, as well as for the US Army, for which I can find no history of. Although Aurora marketed it as the USMC HOK-1, as it was essentially the same aircraft (Except the HOK-1 was powered by the R-1340-52 radial piston engine engine while USAFM’s Husky had a turbine engine), I offer USAFM’s history of the machine.

Pima Museum Display

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The 1/350 SS Normandie Modeling Project

By Alan Bussie & Ken Friend

We are happy to announce that has received exclusive license from the French Line to produce and sell the 1/350 SS Normandie Ocean Liner model kit!  The first batch are ready to ship.  These are limited run kits in resin with photoetched details.


Photo of the first production model, built by Ken Friend 

If you have ever wondered what goes into making a model, then please read on!  If you plan on buying a 1/350 Normandie, please continue so you will know what went into your personal model.  

Alan:  In 2007 Ken Friend and I decided to make a model kit.  It was not a sudden decision, but the result of two life-long dreams.  I had been seriously investigating making a number of unique models but I lacked certain necessary skills.  Ken had wanted to produce a model also and did possess the numerous skills that I lacked- IPMS National Award Winner, CAD expert, early 3D printing engineer for GM and a mold maker/caster.

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Aurora 379-129 Nike Hercules Guided Missile with Launching Platform Kit Review

by: Frederick Boucher  (with kit release notes by Alan Bussie)



Welcome to the final review of the late-great Aurora Model Company series of 1/48 missiles!  “Nike Hercules Guided Missile with Launching Platform” was kitted in the late 1950s as kit 379-129.  “-129” was the MSRP of $1.29, and one got a lot of model for that.  We’ll judge this venerable kit today.


Aurora Nike Hercules dated 1958 

Missile History

 Development of the MIM-14 Nike Hercules took place in the early 1950s and deployment commenced in

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Aurora Nieuport 11 ‘Classic Build’ With Rockets For An Attitude!

by Eric Freese.

There are plenty of WW I planes in my collection and plenty more to add as well.  I’ve always been amazed at the guts it took to get in a fabric and cloth covered kite and hit the throttle.  But to go into aerial COMBAT?  The flight environment was brutal enough!  Some planes were pushing miles high and hypoxia always a threat.  Temperatures were brutally cold at minus 20 or 30 degrees.  Observers sat or stood at a gunners platform in the onslaught of frigid air and faced oncoming fighters from behind a single defensive gun.


WW1 Nieuport 16 fighter with air to air rockets for attack on balloons. The pilot is Charles Chouteau Johnson (photo courtesy of  Wikipedia)

Years ago I had the rare opportunity to actually see WW I fighters “dogfighting” in the air.  Northern Virginia was, and still is, home to the Bealeton Flying Circus.  It is the last continually running, barnstorming, grass field, flying circus… apart from Cole Palen’s Old Rhinebeck in N.Y..   Among the beautiful restorations and exact replicas was a Nieuport 17.  I was in love with the beauty of this bird!  Alas, the WW I aircraft went away, replaced with Stearmans, Fleets, Wacos, Ryans and J-3 Cubs.  Years later little did I know that I would be getting my flight training in a 1929 Fleet model 9 from this same field.  I even wound working with the Flying Circus for a few years!

Just for grins, the little Aurora Nieuport 11 leapt out at me one day, with all 8 red rockets hanging from the wing struts.  I did some on-line research and was amazed at the LePrieur balloon busting

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Flight 12 – Flying Tigers DC-8 Incident in Bien Hoa Vietnam

Dan was kind enough to share a fascinating story from the Vietnam war involving a Flying Tigers DC-8.  I have never heard this or found any reference on it, but I knew it would be of interest – AB

I just wanted you to know that May 12, 1969, I boarded a stretch DC 8, Flying Tiger Airlines at Bien Hoa.  The aircraft had a big ‘T’ on the tail and looked like the Revell/Lodela kit (below).   The aircraft was hit by mortar fire on take-off.


All civilian aircraft were to be out by 6 pm, but a monsoon came in at 5:30 that was like black night all the way to the sky, with heavy rain and a lot of lightning.  Air Force crews could not refuel with lightning within a mile and a half, but it became apparent it was necessary if we were to leave.   So after 8 pm, with lightning still within half a mile, they started fueling it and simultaneously crammed all 222 of us in as quickly as possible.

Mortars had already begun to drop while I was on the ramp.  The pilot started the engines while they were still fueling.  I could feel their heat while boarding  When the two guys behind me were on, the door shut and the plane immediately started rolling.

When the pilot reached the north end of the runway, he brought the Stretch 8 around like a cat, locking right brakes and powering up the left engines. As he lined it up on the outside runway headed south, I could see mortar flashes outside.

There were no bulkheads in the aircraft, so you could see all the way to the cabin.  So when the pilot rotated,  the take-off angle looked intense from the back in seat 220 (of 222).  We were just about to clear the ground and the mortar exploded right before the left rear stabilizer.  The explosion forced the nose all the way back down at an angle to the right, pushing the nose gear into the tarmac.  By the grace of God the aircraft then bounced back up to the left, visibly twisting the fuselage.  We hung on the barest of lift and thrust, swinging right to left, left to right for what seemed like forever.  The pilot eventually got her straightened out but we were very low…low enough to clip the trees with our main gear about 2 miles south of the runway. Finally, the aircraft gained some altitude.  Then the pilot announced the most beautiful words I have ever heard in my life:    “We’re five miles out…..and at 200 feet….I think we’re going to make it”

There were shrapnel holes through the horizontal and vertical stabilizers and the wind through those holes made the weirdest harmonics you have ever heard……all the way to Yakota, slow and low.  The tail section creaked and groaned all the way there.  The flight engineer kept coming back and checking on it throughout the flight . We landed…very gently…around 5:30 am.

When the cabin doors opened at Yakota, they announced it was the “…last chance to buy Japanese cameras.”  Everyone hurried inside the terminal except the Captain and me.  I came from an Air Force family, so I walked back to the back of the aircraft to see the damage.  He met me back there. I shook his hand and we both stared at the damage.  I told him I wasn’t sure we were going to make it back there.  He said he wasn’t sure either. The Air Force crews fueled us up all the way, used tin snips to cut off the torn, exposed metal and used a special duct tape to cover the holes.

The one thing I will always remember is when he said, “I think we’re going to make it….” followed by a very audible intake of breath from everyone in there, including  me 🙂

It was Flight 12…I still have the ticket stub.  I was headed home on emergency leave.

Dan Mauldin


By Frank Leimbek


Two locomotives met at Promontory Summit on May 10, 1869, signaling the completion of the transcontinental railroad.  This is now the Golden Spike National Historic Site located in Utah north of the Great Salt Lake.  Replicas of the two engines meet there again during reenactments.  The wide open spaces and the gently rolling hills make it a beautifully poignant location.


The completed models 

When I saw a model of the General offered for sale on the Internet, I thought it might make a very cool model of the Golden Spike meeting.  Of course I would need two models.  I have a garden railroad in 1/29 scale and my father and grandfather worked for the Northern Pacific Railroad.  I have specialized in 1/32 scale aircraft for many years.  In other words, I like modeling and railroading so this was a great project.

Continue reading “CONSTRUCTION OF THE JUPITER & NO 119 LOCOMOTIVES From MPC’s The General”

ITC (Ideal Toy Company) Model Kit History and Cam-A-Matic Action (Used in the Halibut, USS Enterprise, Thor, Mercer, Duesenburg and Battling Betsy)

by Alan Bussie

Every article starts with inspiration.  In this case, I wish to thank Dusty Rhodes.  He located critical information, the wonderful advertisement/article in Boy’s Life that is reproduced here and valued insight as well. 

Almost every die-hard kit collector has heard of the ITC Thor Missile Base and Halibut Submarine models.  The Thor is among (or is) the most valuable of all collectable models and the Halibut and other ITC Cam-A-Matic action kits are close behind.   Both kits have fantastic action features.  The Thor is automatically removed from the shelter, taken over the launcher, raised into position then fired!  The Halibut dives, surfaces then removes a Regulus II missile from the hanger and fires it!  They were (and still are) the most complicated operating plastic model kits ever created.  But how did Ideal Toy Company come into being, and what was Cam-A-Matic action?

itc-thor-small-for-top.jpg  itc-halibut-small-for-top.jpg

(Thor restored box art courtesy of 

Penny Candy and Teddy Bears

Ideal Toy Company was founded by Morris and Rose Michtom.  Both were Jewish-Russian immigrants.  Morris came to New York in the 1897/99 time period and Rose came over in 1899.  He was penniless and soon married Rose.  They were a hard-working and very enterprising couple; soon had a store at 404 Tompkins Avenue in Brooklyn, NY that sold candy, notions and other penny items.  Rose was also a seamstress, and to help make ends meet, she sewed plush toys that were also sold in the store.  They both became American citizens in 1902.

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Hawk Beta One Atomic Bomber XAB-1 Kit Review

By Fred Boucher

with kit history by Alan Bussie


In the salad days of the early atomic and jet ages, Cold War fears pushed the envelope of aerospace design and an atomic powered strategic bomber was seriously considered.  Convair, Lockheed and Northrop (perhaps others) submitted proposals for such a plane and reactor-fuel concept engines were built.  And if a nuclear powered jet bomber isn’t growling-Geiger counter-cool enough for you, consider the zany nuclear powered Mach III SLAM (Supersonic Low-Altitude Missile) of Project Pluto† streaking just above the tree tops, spewing radioactive particles in its wake and lobbing H-bombs.  Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper’s dream come true!

project-pluto.jpg nuclear-bomber-concept.jpg proposed-atomic-bomber.jpg atomic-plane-popular-mechanics.jpg nuclear-turobojet-demonstrator-engine.jpg

SLAM (Project Pluto), three popular Atomic Bomber concepts and the nuclear turbojet engine (click any to enlarge) 

USAF was not the only air force to explore an aerial nuke plant- the Soviets did, too.  And Hawk was not the only model company to kit a fanciful model of that radiant subject.  Aurora kited the Russian Nuclear Powered Bomber shown below and also reviewed on this website.

soviet-atomic-bomber-article.jpg aurora-128-98-rusnuke.JPG

The original magazine article and the resulting Aurora Kit (click any to enlarge) 

Your humble reviewer built this marvellous model aeons ago – I still have the parasite fighters from it!  It was, in the lexicon of the era, one cool kit!

“hawk” or “Hawk”?

OK, was it hawk or Hawk? Their logo was ‘always’ spelled in lowercase. Yet the company name as printed on the instruction sheet is capitalized.  While I personally want to use hawk, henceforth I will punctuate it as a proper name: “Hawk.”

Kit History

Hawk, like Aurora, liked to be first to put new concepts into a kit.  Combining Atomic Power and the parasite fighters, Hawk issued this kit in 1959, shortly after conceptual drawings of Nuclear Powered Bombers appeared in popular magazines.  The first issue was in a sturdy hardbox (a thick cardboard upper box lid and tray, with the top covered with a lithographed paper ‘slick) and was given part number 514-98.  This exact artwork layout was used in the second issue (roughly 1961) with no changes other than the part number.  It was changed to 514-100.



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Aurora’s Boeing Bomarc IM-99 (CIM-10B) With Launcher Kit Review

By Fred Boucher

with kit history by Alan Bussie 


In the chill of the Cold War a golden age of aviation inspired many new aerospace vehicles, including surface-to-air missiles.  One was the supersonic, long-range anti-aircraft Bomarc missile.  The USAF originally categorized it as a fighter aircraft and designated it F-99.  Later they re-designating it IM-99A and IM-99B after 1955, and finally CIM-10 after the McNamara Sept. 1962 dumb-down.  


Bomarc Base #1 with missiles in launch position (courtesy Wikipedia) 

Most of these kits came out before I was born so perhaps it isn’t so strange that I never saw them at my hometown hobby outlets.  In fact, I was not even aware that many existed until the advent of online sites.

Kit History 

Aurora wasted little time detecting and acquiring information to cut tooling and produce injection molded models of those contemporary subjects.   Their goal was to be to market first with the latest – and they were!  The Boeing “Bomarc IM-99 Intercepter- [sic] Missile With Mobile Launching Platform- Newest Weapon for America’s Defense” was released in 1958.  Aurora scaled it to 1/48.  It was packaged in an Aurora standard “long box” carton, a sturdy cardboard conventional lid-tray design.  Dramatic box art shows a Bomarc searing skyward from its launcher into the atmosphere to smite commie inbounds.  In an effort to maximize mold utilization, Aurora issued this model as two kits (just like the Regulus II).  377-198, the subject of this review, was the Bomarc with a working launching.  At nearly double the price, this kit featured completely new box artwork, decals and instructions.  The traditional Aurora stand was not included, presumably because the launcher doubles as one.  

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Monogram’s Bell GAM-63 Rascal Missile – Kit Review

by Fred Boucher


As the Cold War deepened, aerospace companies developed delivery systems for nukes that lessened hazards to pilots.  Cruise missiles and “stand off” weapons were developed and deployed and model companies developed and delivered kits of them almost as fast as the military received the real things – or sooner, as in the case of the Bell GAM-63 Rascal!


Rascal on the transporter 

Monogram Models, Inc created this amazing 1/48 model of the Bell GAM-63 Rascal.  It was released in 1958, with the kit number PD42-98; “-98” was the recommended retail price of a whopping 98¢!  More than just a model attack missile, this kit included a tractor with a transporter loader, and a trio of figures.  It also boasted “action” features such as folding missile fins and a positionable loader.  Like many of the vintage missile models reviewed, this model was a surprise to me.


PD-42-98 Rascal GAM-63 Missile by Monogram 

As amazing as this model is, it was only released by Monogram for a short time, perhaps because Strategic Air Command did not field the weapon. But more likely it was because model missile sales, after great initial success, completely stalled.  This lead to very short issues of one to three years on average.  This has made them very popular among collectors today.

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