A Biography of T.L. Wardlaw, Jr. (1915-1977)-‘KC Terror’ Model Kit Designer

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By Sylvia Diane Wardlaw, Edited by Alan Bussie Google+ profile

Editors Notes – During the Golden Age of model aviation (1930s-1940s), the wood and tissue flying model aircraft was king. As rubber power yielded to gas in the mid 1930s, model aircraft design became more and more critical. The basics were well known, but gas power added numerous complications. The now-much-heavier aircraft needed to climb steeply in a stable fashion during the short but powerful motor run. During the rush for maximum altitude, it had to withstand the forces of the higher relative winds and the vibrations of the engine. When the engine stopped, the plane was required to suddenly fly level and and display a stable, high glide ratio flight pattern – one suitable for catching thermals. The men who could create successful designs from scratch were among the few, and there names are well known – Walt Good, Carl Goldberg, Joe Koval and Henry Struck, just to name a few. Now, thanks to Diane, we have the history of the creator of the Kansas City Terror. Alan BussieGoogle+ profile


Thomas Lamar Wardlaw, Jr. was born in Columbia, South Carolina March 28, 1915. His father got him started on airplanes when he was about 6 years old and so from an early age he was interested in aviation. By the time he was 11 years (1926) old he was building his own flying models. This soon became a passion for model airplanes and he was building them and also teaching others. While still living in Columbia he had a model airplane camp group where he taught young boys to build models.

T.L. Wardlaw, Jr. standing center, with the boys club

As a young man he enrolled at the Parrish Flying Service. He studied there from July 1934 and received his wings in February of 1937. Once receiving Continue reading “A Biography of T.L. Wardlaw, Jr. (1915-1977)-‘KC Terror’ Model Kit Designer”

Aurora’s 1/48 Scale Breguet 14 With Kit Release History

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Written by Fred Boucher (courtesy of Aeroscale)

Kit History by Alan Bussie Google+ profile

The Aircraft


Breguet 14

Built by The Société des Ateliers d’Aviation Louis Breguet, also known as Breguet Aviation, the Breguet 14 (often spelled as the Breguet XIV) is considered one of the most important French warplanes of WW1. Designed for reconnaissance and bombing roles, it was known for toughness and performance, thanks to Breguet Aviation internal structure of duralumin and steel, with a wood and fabric external construction. Powered by a Renault 12Fe water-cooled inline engine rated at 224 kW (300 hp), the Breguet 14 was fast (121 mph) and fairly maneuverable. It usually packed a fixed Vickers 7.7mm machine gun firing ahead, and single or twin 7.7mm Lewis Guns mounted on a scarf ring for the observer.

The Aéronautique Militaire used them Continue reading “Aurora’s 1/48 Scale Breguet 14 With Kit Release History”

Aurora’s 1/48 Gotha G.V Bomber Review with Kit Release History

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Written by Fred Boucher, courtesy of Aeroscale

Kit History by Alan Bussie Google+ profile

The Aircraft

Built by Gothaer Waggonfabrik AG, the Gotha G.V was a heavy bomber used by the Luftstreitkräfte (Imperial German Air Service) during World War I. It corrected a design flaw of the G.IV–mounting the fuel tanks in the engine nacelles, which contributed to three-quarters of G.IVs destroyed in landing accidents! Gothaer moved the fuel tanks to the center of the fuselage. Housing Mercedes D.IVa engines rated at 190 kW (260 hp), the smaller engine nacelles were mounted on struts above the lower wing, e.g., “floating,” between the wings. Thirty-six were built and began operations in August 1917.


Gothaer Waggonfabrik G.V Bomber

The fuselage was fully skinned in plywood. It was noted at the time Continue reading “Aurora’s 1/48 Gotha G.V Bomber Review with Kit Release History”

How to build Resin Model Airplane Kits-Resin 101

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Article and Photography by Ken Friend

Editors Note: It is my pleasure to bring you another article on modeling by Ken. Since Ken would never brag on himself, I must point out that his work has been featured in in FSM (Fine Scale Modeler) and he has won numerous awards in IPMS Competition. I know that I have learned an immeasurable amount from him and I hope you can too-Alan Bussie.

Some time ago I was asked to build a few models for display at the 2008 IPMS Nationals. The first of those was an Anigrand Mirage 4000, and while building the kit I thought back to the time when I built my first resin kit and of the changes in modeling techniques I had to adopt and/or develop. Other modelers I talk with are sometimes reluctant to build a resin kit, simply because they “don’t know what they don’t know” about building kits made of this different kind of plastic. I realized the Mirage would be a great beginner’s kit that could help new resin modelers get over their resin anxiety and open their collections to rare, one-of-a-kind, and unusual aircraft. First, a little history of just what the Mirage 4000 is all about:


The Mirage 4000 was a French prototype jet fighter aircraft developed by Dassault-Breguet from their Mirage 2000. The new aircraft was noticeably bigger and heavier, being fitted with two (SNECMA M53-2) turbofans, rather than the single engine found on the Mirage 2000. It also featured small canards above the engine air intakes. Despite the changes the two aircraft remain similar, sharing the delta wing design, semi-circular air intakes and general configuration.

The plane first flew in 1979. It was financed as a private venture by Dassault, possibly with Saudi Arabian money. The Continue reading “How to build Resin Model Airplane Kits-Resin 101”

Jack Leynnwood- Artist and Model Kit Box Art Illustrator

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By Michael Boss and Mary Ridgway

Editors Note: Michael Boss is an illustrator who was good friends with Jack Leynnwood from 1971 till Jack’s passing in 1999. This article was written by Michael and Mary in 1995. Thank you both for a superb inside look at one of the great illustrators -Alan Bussie

When you were a kid, do you remember going to the hobby shop to spend your hard-earned lawn mowing money on that plastic airplane model kit that you had your eyes on for weeks? Or perhaps you spent your time hinting to family members that if they wanted to get you a present, this particular model was just the thing? Maybe you tried to bribe (or blackmail) siblings into making a contribution toward the ultimate cool kit? Most of us had that kind of obsession for plastic model kits at some point in our youth. There was one exceptionally gifted artist whose job it was to fan the flames of our insatiable desire. His name was Jack Leynnwood, and he was responsible for many of the high-energy illustrations that made us lust for kit after kit. During his long career, he painted hundreds of model kits box wraps from the 1950s through the 1980s.


Revell Nieuport 28 C-1. This illustration was for a middle 1960s release of the 1/72 scale kit in the markings of Lt. Douglas Campbell of the Eddie Rickenbacker’s “Hat in the Ring” squadron of WWI. The original was rendered in gouache.

Jack’s artwork is an understated part of American culture. Most people Continue reading “Jack Leynnwood- Artist and Model Kit Box Art Illustrator”

Red Ball Ltd – Pioneer HO Kit Manufacturer Since 1939

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By Alan Bussie Google+ profile

While researching Red Ball Ltd., I came across a unique article that had been deleted from Wikipedia. Fearing that one day the history of this famous kit line would be lost, I began research on this pioneer model manufacturer. Fortunately, the information could be verified through catalogs, model railroading magazines, and Red Ball’s previous owner, MRRW.  The best news came when I was contacted by Robert Newton and Fred E. Newton, grandson and son of M. Dale Newton.  They verified the accuracy of this article and added many facts to it.  To them and all others, I thank you for keeping Red Ball’s history and name alive. AB




Early Red Ball Logo

As of 2010, Red Ball Ltd. has been producing craftsman model railroading kits for over 71 years. Marvel Dale Newton, known better to modelers as M. Dale Newton, founded Red Ball during the 1930s model railroading expansion. Red Ball quickly found favor with modelers thanks to high scale detail, realism and an extensive product line.

Mr. Newton was born on September 28, 1898 in Kansas. By the 1930s, he was a print shop entrepreneur in Los Angeles, California. Coincidentally, this was the time of dramatic growth in the the young scale model railroading hobby. (If you have an interest in this modeling revolution, please see the other article on this website.) Established hobby companies like Megow were successfully issuing rolling stock kits with printed cardstock sides. This type of kit was ideal for those who wanted a high quality constant scale layout but did not have the time, inclination or skills to scratch build it. It is not known if Mr. Newton was a model builder, but this probably seemed like a logical expansion to his existing business. He chose the growing HO scale and launched Red Ball Ltd. in 1939. Early catalogs list his address as 2303 Hyde Park Blvd, LA. The company was the “M. Dale Newton Company” and it appears that “Red Ball HO Trains” was the brand name of the product. The 64 page 1941 Red Ball catalog confirms production of numerous train kits but also custom decals and mailing envelopes, letterhead stationary and calling cards for model builders. Also displayed are electric motors, trackside accessories, rails, spikes, roadbed, switches, operating signals, a very large variety of ‘super detail’ parts and modeling tools. The diversity of the model and supply line after three short years in the business is astounding.

red-ball-cat-cover.jpg red-ball-cat-inside.jpg red-ball-cat-page-10.jpg red-ball-cat-page-11.jpg


Sample pages from a rare Los Angeles-era Red Ball Catalog (click photos to enlarge)


Based on the timing, Newton did not invent HO scale but he was certainly in the Continue reading “Red Ball Ltd – Pioneer HO Kit Manufacturer Since 1939”

History of the Hawk “Weird-Ohs” Plastic Model Kits

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By Bill Campbell -Edited by Alan Bussie Google+ profile

When he provided me the information for his biography and Hawk Model Company, Bill was kind enough to write a history of the phenomenal “Weird-Ohs” model kits that he developed. – AB

After reviewing some of the dangling questions voiced on the internet by people wanting to close the circle of the Weird-Ohs, I decided to write this article. I will do my best to finally resolve the Who, What and Why questions that you have articulated on your electronic cyber queries.


“Daddy”, one of the original Weird-Oh figures (Hawk Reissue)

The Weird-Ohs were produced from 1963 forward by the Hawk Model Company in Chicago, IL. Hawk is perhaps the oldest model company in the USA, dating back to 1928. My relationship with Hawk was a close one, as I was usually busy producing box artwork for them. For more information on how I met up with Hawk, please read the biography located on this website. Now I’ll head into what you really wanted to know – about the Weird-Ohs. Continue reading “History of the Hawk “Weird-Ohs” Plastic Model Kits”

A Biography of Artist Bill Campbell – Illustrator For Hawk Plastic Model Kits

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By Bill Campbell and Edited by Alan Bussie Google+ profile

Bill Campbell has had a steady and successful career in commercial artwork and marketing. In modeling circles, he is known for his 250+ box illustrations (mainly for Hawk Models) and as the creator of the eccentric and popular “Weird-Ohs” model line. In one of those random events that you can never forget, Bill contacted me by mail after hearing about the website. Always a big fan of his artwork, I expressed an interest in telling his full story and he was kind enough to furnish this information- AB

Early Years
Bill Campbell was born at Bunker Hill, Mass and his family moved to Chicago three years later. By the time he was 5 years old, he knew that he wanted to be an artist. He was fascinated by modern transportation, and this was often his theme. During his free time, he sketched and photographed the powerful locomotives at Englewood Station and the early air transports at Chicago’s Municipal Airport. He attended a number of south side primary schools and majored in Art and Music at Hyde Park High School. Hyde Park claimed two other personalities from that era – Mel Torme and Steve Allen. Bill was in a band with Mel Torme as the drummer, and knew Steve Allen from his literature class.

A Mountain Class locomotive pounds out of Englewood Station, Chicago
Continue reading “A Biography of Artist Bill Campbell – Illustrator For Hawk Plastic Model Kits”

A Brief History of Marusan – the First Japanese Plastic Model Kit Manufacturer

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By Alan Bussie Google+ profile

In the USA, Revell, Monogram and Aurora are synonymous with early modeling. However, the name Marusan is equally well known in Japan as the pioneer plastic kit manufacturer. The history of Marusan is not well known outside Japan. I am indebted to John Burns, numerous KCCers and Marusan for this information – without them, this article would not have been possible.

Early History
Marusan’s roots are deep in Japanese toy history. In 1923, Naokichi Ishida founded Ishida Manufacturing. The factory was located in the Asakusa area of Tokyo, which was well known for toy production. Ishida produced toy binoculars and telescopes for the domestic market. Business was good until the late 1930s when raw materials shortages and World War II brought non-necessary production to a halt. Immediately after WWII, toy production was encouraged as a way to economic growth. Metal stamping equipment was plentiful, and the flow of metals resumed as the country rebuilt.

The difficulties of post war production quickly became evident. In many large manufacturing cities, transportation beyond walking or bicycling did not exist and most large factories were heavily damaged or destroyed. Food and materials were difficult to come by and the black market flourished. It was difficult to assemble a team of workers at a factory, and it proved more difficult to keep them supplied logistically. As a result, many companies did not even assemble or finish their goods. Stamping and wood cutting would be done centrally, and painting and assembly would be sub-contracted out. Not surprisingly, this subcontracting was primarily done in residential homes. The factory would deliver the raw materials to the home, and the working members of the family would paint and assemble toys. The completed toys would be picked up and returned to the factory for boxing and distribution. It was in this challenging environment that Naokichi’s sons, Haruyasu and Minoru Ishida, with their business partner Yasuo Arai, founded Marusan in 1947. The brothers had been raised around toy manufacturing and understood the business. Initially they produced what they knew best, optical toys, and sold them wholesale only. They quickly branched out into other tin toys as well. Marusan marketed their good through several names and logos through the years, but the initial logo was based on the name itself- “Maru” means circle, and “San” means three, which refers to the three original founders in 1947.


Marusan Logo

The early success of the company lead to the formal incorporation as Marusan Shoten Ltd in 1950. Continue reading “A Brief History of Marusan – the First Japanese Plastic Model Kit Manufacturer”

How to Repair Clear Parts on Plastic Model Kits

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By Mace R. Abrams

Editors Note: I first saw Mace’s work through photographs but quickly realized that I seen it before – in big screen movies. Mace is a professional model builder/supervisor/rigger at Stageco and has honed his techniques in the high pressure field of motion picture development. His technique for cleaning up clear injection molded parts work great, and he was kind enough to write and article and take sample pictures. I have found it very useful and I hope that you do too – Alan Bussie

As your skill in model building grows, you begin to choose more advanced model kits. In these advanced subjects you will frequently encounter additional clear plastic pieces such as fuselage, cowls and walls or hulls. For example, there are several kits of military submarines that have clear sections of hull so you can see the interior compartments and deck levels. There is also the famous Monogram Visible B-17 and the LS Ki-109 with all clear fuselage and cowls.

No matter how careful you are in your construction, accidents do happen. Suddenly the transparent hull pieces or windows get clouded or scared from glue on your fingers or by a masked area lifting up while airbrushing. In fact, I made the “boo-boo of all time” by thinking that I could clear a transparent hull section as I clear coated the entire model. Now what do I do? The entire submarine interior that I worked so carefully to detail was now obscured by a fogged opaque hull half!


Sample Damaged Clear Part

After thinking about the problem, Continue reading “How to Repair Clear Parts on Plastic Model Kits”