Author Topic: Back to the glory days of the hobby  (Read 592 times)

Offline Dave W

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Back to the glory days of the hobby
« on: March 15, 2021, 04:51:53 PM »
It's a fact that simply seeing the box art for some of the old 1960s Ww1 model kits instantly brings back all the exciting memories of those days when a new kit cost pocket money change and opened a whole new hobby world to us all.

My personal favourite kit and the one that still evokes those happy times was the Revell 1/72 SE5a



Revell and Airfix dominated the WW1 hobby in 1/72 and the box arts still evoke warm memories.








Airfix's WW1 kits were also must-haves.





In 1/48 scale the Aurora kits dominated, among them:



In New Zealand we were introduced to affordable 1/48 WW1 kits through the Merit brand, UK adaptations of Aurora moulds, sold in a generic box.



Looking at today's state of the art releases it's fascinating to see how far the hobby has progressed since the early days.

What's your favourite model from the classic era of WW1 kits?

Dave Wilson
Gold Coast
Australia
Owner and Administrator of ww1aircraftmodels.com and forum.ww1aircraftmodels.com

Online lcarroll

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Re: Back to the glory days of the hobby
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2021, 01:11:00 AM »
   All of that great box art brings back fond memories of happy and much simpler times! I believe I probably built most of the Revell and Airfix WW.I subjects but it was the Aurora line of Great War classics which really captivated our "gang" of model crazy youngsters in the mid to late 50's. Although Kit Links shows 1956 and 1958 for the line's debut it seems closer then that, but I guess as the saying goes, "time passes quickly when you're having fun"! I think it was the Fokker D.VII and the SE5a that really got my fascination. The D.VII came in a dark green plastic with black accessories and IIRC the SE in an olive drab. (Perhaps this could have been the elusive "Real PC.10"!!) As Dave points out these kits could be had for pocket change back then however it's all relative. I was running two full paper delivery routes at the time and made just over $4.00 per week. That gave me enough cold cash for payments to my Mother for the big Schwinn Bike I bought with a loan from her and at least a Kit every weekend (remember, a kit could be completed in an evening or better, with "the Guys" on a Saturday afternoon! Now we could easily make the equivalent of a Mortgage Payment for a Wingnut's Kit on the Web!
   Great theme Dave, happy times and great memories! I still have the Monogram version of the original D.VII in my stash, I'll never build it but it's a treasure I'll never part with either!
Cheers,
Lance

Offline Alexis

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Re: Back to the glory days of the hobby
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2021, 11:10:34 AM »
I must admit that I have never built any of those kits at all . I started off with those mongrama's snap fit . First one was their P-51D Mustang and form there is was gluing and getting it ever where except for on the model . I have built a lot of the early balsa planes and some of them even flew for a second or two , but I didn't care about that . It was building it which was the must fun .

Alexis
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Offline lone modeller

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Re: Back to the glory days of the hobby
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2021, 09:41:02 PM »
Evening All,

For those of us over a certain age, this brings back lots of memories of visits to Woolworth's for Airfix kits (which when I started modelling were 2 shillings in real money, (10 pence in today's currency), for a series one kit. I did have a local model shop - they sold Frog kits and later Revell, but I never saw the Aurora kits. The model shop also sold Kiel Kraft flying models made from balsa but they were far too difficult for me to make as I was even more ham-fisted then than I am now. A local cycle shop also sold a range of Airfix kits so I was really spoiled for choice on a Saturday morning. I built almost all subjects at the time, so inevitably I built the WW1 range: and like many others I had fads about certain subjects/periods so I did build WW1 aircraft, but I did not really get into them properly until I was well past my teenage years, by which time I had learned to rig them with stretched sprue.

I have always been a bit of a hoarder, and started young.... Seeing Dave's images of some of the box tops and headers reminded me that I have a collection of header/instruction sheets of almost every model which I made as a youngster, so I paid a visit to my attic and found the following, which may bring back some memories for others over a certain age....!

These are original Airfix headers from the late 1950's when they started to release kits in plastic bags. These were bought in the early 1960's before new header designs were introduced. The Albatros, Fokker Dr 1, Sopwith Camel, Bristol Fighter and RE 8 were among the very first aircraft kits released by Airfix: all pre-date 1960. The 2/3 on the RE 8 header means 2 shillings and three pennies, (there were 12 pennies in a shilling), and was the first price increase that I can remember.







In the mid-1960's Airfix introduced new headers for their kits, so that they now appeared as follows:



The next WW1 type was the Roland CII whcih was an incredibly good kit for its time, as the observer's scarf was caught by the wind. The level of detail was also greatly superior to the earlier kits. Then in 1967/8 three new kits were released at almost the same time: the DH 4, Avro 504 and Spad VII, and finally a little later the Hannover Cl II:





The Hannover was particularly exciting for me because it had to be painted in lozenge camouflage, (there were no transfers then), - what a challenge that was! Airfix also released the Handley Page 0/400 in the late 1960's but I do not have a box top of that kit.

Revell kits were more expensive than Airfix - as I recall they were approximately 2/6 against Airfix 2/-, so value for money was not the same. However the Revell kits offered a different range and the Fokker Triplane and Sopwith Camel were definitely better mouldings. In addition to the box tops that Dave had shown, the others were as follows:









Eventually the prices of Revell and Airfix series one kits became almost the same, and as my income had also increased the difference in price did not matter any more, well not to me at least!

Revell also issued three 1/28 scale kits: the Fokker Triplane, D VII and Sopwith Camel. Although I saw the Camel and Dr I in my local model shop, I never saw the Fokker D VII and to this day I have never seen the latter as a kit, although I have seen them as completed models. I only bought and built the Dr I:



It is not only the box artwork which has changed in the passing years: the quality of the content and range of types in different scales has changed too. It is no wonder that many of us learned to convert models using the limited materials available. However if you want to know what modelling was like in the very early days, just try an early Airfix kit - they have not been retooled and although the moulds are now very worn, they still give an accurate impression of what was on offer 50+ years ago - and they were pretty good for the time!

Ah memories....

Stephen.




Online lcarroll

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Re: Back to the glory days of the hobby
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2021, 11:22:17 PM »
   Lots of wonderful memories there Stephen, they are all indeed great pieces of the past! I remember many of them, some from the only real "Hobby Shop" in our city when I was in my early to mid teens but most from the smaller variety stores and local Woolworths Department Store. Those plastic bagged "treasures" took hours to make the final choice on!
   50+ years ago ........ 
Cheers,
Lance

Offline ermeio

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Re: Back to the glory days of the hobby
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2021, 08:45:16 AM »
well, I have bought some of these old memories lately and I have them here
 (some others are stored elsewhere, so I cannot access them in these lockdown days),
so let me share them with you:

Online macsporran

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Re: Back to the glory days of the hobby
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2021, 05:17:02 PM »
I remember buying all the Aurora models: they were responsible for my WWI addiction!
But that Fokker D.VIII caused me much grief. I meticulously hand painted lozenges on the wing and axle fairing just like Joe Katula's box art, only to find later that it was wrong and had to repaint green - which was probably also wrong!
Sandy

Offline dr 1 ace

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Re: Back to the glory days of the hobby
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2021, 01:24:52 AM »
I remember buying all the Aurora models: they were responsible for my WWI addiction! ...

Sandy



Same for me on the Aurora kits and then WOW when Revell released the 1/28 Dr.I, Got one of the 1st Kits with Flying over the Trenches Box Top Art Work, inside cardboard dividers for the parts and super thick silver metallic thread.

Ed
Life is short, enjoy it, nobody gets out alive.

Offline Brad Cancian

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Re: Back to the glory days of the hobby
« Reply #8 on: March 22, 2021, 06:31:57 PM »
Great thread Dave!

As a child of the 1980s, I only really got into the hobby around 1990. For me the 'glory days' are a little different, but no less meaningful for me as an adult modeler. These were the days of the airfix palitoy box tops, matchbox 'hockey stick' boxes, revell 'slap-dash poorly built model on the front (bits in the wrong place optional)' boxtops, etc.... But I still fondly remember certain kits and series. I fondly remember building many of the Airfix special edition 1/72 kits. I also remember being blown away by the DML / Dragon kits of the early 1990s; the box tops had evocative and inspiring paintings for a 12/13 year old. I remember these so fondly that I have collected these over the years.



I still look back fondly on those glory days; indeed they inspire me even now! :)





Cheers,

BC

Offline pepperman42

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Re: Back to the glory days of the hobby
« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2021, 09:57:13 PM »
All those oldies. Thanks Dave!! Had 'em all and have re-acquired most of them. We had a couple of hobby shops in Toronto but what I remember most is the family Saturday trip to Yorkdale mall and the stacks of Revell, Monogram and Aurora kits in the Eaton's lower level (You know, right across from the barbeques and bikes). Those were the days a ten year old could wander the aisles with no fear!!! Nostalgia aint what it used to be.

Steve
I was clean,shaved and sober and I didnt care who knew it.

Offline skeeterbuck

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Re: Back to the glory days of the hobby
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2021, 10:50:53 PM »
This is one of my favorites as it was the first WW1 aircraft I ever built. My older brother had bought the kit but later decided it didn't want to fool with it and passed it on to me.  :) All the older Aurora kits are my favorites as they were readily available at the hobby shops as well as the 5 & 10 cent stores and drug stores which also sold models in the 60's and 70's. Considered rather crude by today's standards, for a young kit they were perfectly acceptable. No reference was needed...just a tube of glue and several bottles of appropriate color paint (black, silver & tan) and you were good to go.  I never painted the wings or fuselage as the carefully followed the instructions never indicate to do so. You could finish them in one day and have them ready for combat the next. Zooming around the room with the help of an extended arm grasped around the fuselage behind the cockpit would do the trick assisted by the sound of the rat-tat-tat of blazing machine gun fire. When they received damage beyond repair, they would go down in flames assisted by some lighter fluid and matches in the yard.  ::) Oh what simpler times they were.


Offline pepperman42

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Re: Back to the glory days of the hobby
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2021, 11:01:06 PM »
Love it!! From that point onI never could spell Albatros uuuh tross uuuh trosses?

Steve
I was clean,shaved and sober and I didnt care who knew it.

Offline Monty

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Re: Back to the glory days of the hobby
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2021, 04:34:29 AM »
Even worse with the plural, Steve... Albatrosses?? Albatrii?? I have seen both in print! But Thank You all for the memories. so great to go back to innocent times! I do remember my Dad taking me to a model shop and offering to buy me a 1/28th Spad and me flatly refusing as it appeared far too complicated for me! I regret it still! Regards, Marc

Offline gbrivio

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Re: Back to the glory days of the hobby
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2021, 05:05:20 AM »
I remember from my early years the Airfix Re.8 was a big favourite along with the Albatros D.v. I don't know if my aged eyesight allows a decent 1/72nd build now, but I'm tempted to tackle one of the relics I'm still preserving at home in their blisters.
Ciao
Giuseppe

Offline Rip Van Winkle

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Re: Back to the glory days of the hobby
« Reply #14 on: April 18, 2021, 01:14:08 AM »
I started with Revell 1/72. I still believe that their first six aircraft were the best.  Fokker D.VII, Albatros D.III, Sopwith Camel, SE5A, Nieuport 17 and SPAD XIII. The latter six introduced in about 1966 seemed to have quite a few errors. Still they were good for the time. I also had the Airfix kits some of which were sold under the MPC label. I still have some of these kits in my stash. I recently finished a Revell Fokker D.VII and Albatros D.III. I am currently working on a Revell Sopwith Triplane along side the new Kovozavody Prostejov  Sopwith Triplane.