Skybirds – Introduction

Woodworking Made Simple?

Skybirds

With Skybirds, we jump back to the 1930s, and what many consider to be the birth of aircraft kits. Yes, we are going vintage!

‘Skybirds’ was the name given to a range of aircraft kits produced by A.J.Holladay during 1932-46, with a hiatus from 1942-45 as materials were reserved for the war effort. The range was the brainchild of J.H.Stevens, a young designer and artist who designed them, drew the plans and illustrations, and wrote extensively on the subject of flight and aircraft. He has been credited with inventing, or at least establishing, the 1:72 scale which has been the mainstay of aircraft kits ever since (there will be more on this subject in a later story).

Continue reading “Skybirds – Introduction”

Matchbox Skybusters – Scale

How Big is It?

Fitting the Box

Matchbox, like other manufacturers of the time, made their models to fit the box. This was convenient for the manufacturer and retailers, because they could handle a single size of product, but as a consequence meant that models in the same range were produced to varying scales. In fact, the scale of an individual model is not usually stated.

What does this mean for Skybusters models? Let’s examine the question by taking two aircraft of widely differing size.

Continue reading “Matchbox Skybusters – Scale”

Wiking Ships – Harbours

Safe Havens

Harbours

Ships spend a lot of time docked in harbours loading and unloading, and a dockside diorama is a great way to display a collection, so it’s only natural that Wiking should have produced a range of harbours. As we have already seen in Fighting Toy Stories, Minic did the same and took the opportunity of presenting their harbours with modular components, that could be assembled and reassembled in various configurations. How did Wiking, some 20 years earlier, approach the subject?

Continue reading “Wiking Ships – Harbours”

Matchbox Skybusters – Introduction

Simple and Snazzy

Matchbox Aircraft

In 1973, Matchbox introduced two new ranges of aircraft to the market. The first has already been covered in these pages – plastic construction kits. The second was a range of diecast models, the Skybusters.

Continue reading “Matchbox Skybusters – Introduction”

Dinky Aircraft – Big Planes

Bigger and Better?

The Big Planes

The last of the roughly 1:200 series of aircraft models that we have so far been examining was produced in 1960, and the range fairly quickly faded out of production. But after a short hiatus, the first new aircraft of what is generally called the Big Planes range was released in 1965, and this was followed over the next 10 years by another 15 models.

Continue reading “Dinky Aircraft – Big Planes”

Wiking Ships – Finishes

Changing the Colours

Introduction

Cruise ships are repainted many times during their lives, and sometimes this is more than a fresh coat of the same paint. New ownership will usually require an entirely new livery, and of course a changed colour scheme can breathe new life into a jaded liner. Modelmakers will sometimes follow suit, updating the colours on their models to keep them up to date – but they will also sometimes change the colour schemes for other reasons. Wiking were no exception in this, and we can see how they rang the changes by taking as an example their model of a relatively humble yet long-lived ship, that began life as the SS Sierra Salvada.

Continue reading “Wiking Ships – Finishes”

Dinky Aircraft – Identification

Versions and Reproductions

What is it?

A challenge for any collector is to accurately identify the models that they acquire. Usually the subject is obvious, and by using reference books it is possible to pin down which model one has and access all sorts of data about it. However, sometimes … it isn’t quite as easy as that! To illustrate the point, let’s consider the strange case of the Dinky Vickers Viscount.

Continue reading “Dinky Aircraft – Identification”