VINTAGE KITS ANNEX 5
There is a fascination with Cleveland model kits that transcends the mere collector value of the vintage stick and tissue scale models - there is a spirit of adventure in the boxes of balsa which Cleveland's Ed Packard created over a thirty-five year period. The scale models represented the real airplanes that the youth of the period held in high esteem - constructing a Fokker DVII gave the young builder a feel for the World War air battles over Europe which filled the pages of Flying Aces, Battle Aces and similar pulps of the 1930s. Also, the dogged pursuit of the marketplace for model kits by a gentleman (and his family) who truly appreciated the beauty of scale model kits and the lore of aviation history is a story in itself which has been aptly told by author Herb Schreiner in Aviation's Great Recruiter - Cleveland's Ed Packard, a must-have book for the wood kit collector and scale model enthusiast.
The National Museum of the United States Air Force, some years ago, had an exhibit case devoted to Cleveland scale models - this exhibit has been retired and I have no idea of its present whereabouts. The exhibit was put together by Maj. Royal Frey with the cooperation of Ed Packard. Besides being an interesting display of early Cleveland memorabilia including some Cleveland-built airplanes which were used for advertising (Me 109E, Curtiss F11C-2, Boeing B-9), one of these models, the Boeing B-9, represents an example of the tubed kits used into 1932; I have the B-9 kit JSF-1005 in my collection, and photos of it, and the museum display, are used here to celebrate Cleveland model history to accompany the previous discussions and photos of Cleveland kits on this website. Schreiner's book has a single photo of the museum display on page 280.
The 1930s were a very exciting era for Cleveland scale model kits. They expanded from the first 3/4" scale Great Lakes Sport Trainer kit SF-1 in 1929 through dozens of designs with emphasis on Thompson Trophy air racing, sport planes, transports, War Birds of the Great War, and American fighter aircraft. All-balsa construction was introduced by Cleveland with the SF-1 and subsequent kits became the typical former and stringer construction with cutout balsa pieces for tips and ribs which dominated the model kit field and which were used in Cleveland kits to the end of the line.
Cleveland's early direct-mail promotional material, aside from their looseleaf catalog, consisted of leaflet-style mailers and the newspaper-size Cleveland Model Engineering News which first came out in 1932 . The magazine format, Cleveland Modelmaking News & Practical Hobbies, was also begun with Vol. 1 No. 1 issued in December 1932. This was a fabulous magazine for the hobbyist; each issue carried full size plans for "C-D" ¾" scale airplanes, railroad and other projects along with three-views, articles and hobby features. A total of seven issues were published on a quarterly basis - a wonderful Cleveland collectible today. The 1932 announcement leaflet can be viewed by clicking here. Early catalogs and magazines are pictured below.
The following is from a February 1934 Cleveland ad in Popular Aviation:
CLEVELAND MODELMAKING NEWS & PRACTICAL HOBBIES - VOL. 1 NO. 2 For Sale: Issue Number two of the terrific Cleveland model magazine which features a full scale plan(s), articles, railcar plan, ship plan and more. The full size plan of the SF-29 Boeing F4B3 fighter and Monocoupe SF-28 also has a building plan for a 53' Auxiliary Centerboard Ketch and an advanced soaring glider in 3/8" scale, JSF-2. This plan carries the notation that it is a "Supplement" to the Vol 1 No 2 issue.
Also, in the magazine, 3-views are included for a Curtiss A-8, Sopwith Camel, P-6 Polish Fighter, and Wedell Williams 1932 Racer. This magazine is dated March-April 1933 and the original mailing envelope from "C.M.&S.Co." is included. The magazine and plan are in excellent condition. Note that this is an original magazine, not a copy. The plan is original - if you bought copies of the plans today, just the SF-29 and SF-28 would cost $18.00 for the two. A superb piece of modeling history, the magazine has numerous catalog descriptions for Cleveland kits of that era. This 1933 Cleveland item is available for $35.00.
Vol. 1, No. 1 First Issue. The first issue is dated January-February,1932. This issue has a full size plan for the 1932 Gee Bee SF-27; also on the large plan sheet back is SF-26 Heath Parasol LNB-4 plan and JSF-1 3/8" scale Primary Training Glider. This is the correct plan which states on the bottom that it is a "Supplement." Additional 1/8" scale airplane plans are included, a rail car, a 1/32" Santa Maria plan and more. This copy has no envelope; the spine has some separations and tears. Price of this original 1932 Cleveland magazine is only $SOLD. The cover is pictured below.
Vol.1, No. 6 Issue. The next to the last issue, No. 6, of the CLEVELAND MODELMAKING NEWS & PRACTICAL HOBBIES has a full size plan of the Aeronca C-3 included and 1/8" scale plans for other aircraft along with many features. This magazine is available for $25.00. The cover painting of a C-3 Aeronaca was painted by the famous artist, Charles Hubbell.
The red "hobby" tube kits are a rare find for the Cleveland kit collector - these were made in much smaller numbers than the later boxed kits and are seldom seen offered for sale. These "genesis" kits are the time machine which gives us a glimpse of what started Cleveland kits on the road to their huge success in the 1930s and 1940s.
Also in 1930, Cleveland decided to come out with a line of "Class B" kits which they called "near scale." These were to be an intermediate step between the very early Cleveland stick kits and the 3/4" scale kits. The first of the "CB" kits was the Boeing Fighter, CB-1C. Advertised as having "no complicated parts to make" and "simple to construct." This line may have become the basis for the later "REP" (Representative-Duration)kits; the REP kits of the mid-1930s all had 20" wingspans (except for 28" Sikorsky Amphibian)and were priced at 50 to 75 cents. The REP kit designation was "R".
From Aviation's Great Recruiter:
Also in 1932, the earlier Cleveland Model Engineers News, a tabloid-style broadside, was expanded into a magazine format entitled Cleveland Modelmaking News & Pracitcal Hobbies. The first issue, Vol 1 No 1, came out in December 1932 with twenty-four pages and an advertisement was included for the new Boeing B-9 kit, JSF-1005, which I believe is the only scale kit made by Cleveland in the 3/8" scale - other 3/8" kits were profile (FL) models. The last issue of the Cleveland Modelmaking News & Practical Hobbies, No. 7, carried a full-size 3/8" scale plan for the Lockheed Sirious Seaplane which was numbered JSF-3 but I'm not aware of this being kitted - if you know of a kit, please let me know. The ad is shown below.
The B-9 kit had been first advertised in the June 1932 Universal Model Airplane News as seen below.
Also, the September 1932 issue of Universal Model Airplane News featured a B-9 on the cover along with an article and plan by Howard McEntee on "Building the Boeing Bomber" which incorporated the central fuselage rubber power with pulley transmission to the nacelles, the same as the Cleveland model - McEntee stated that, "This method of transmission is, in a way, experimental, and the model is rather a difficult piece of work, so only the more experienced builders can be absolutely sure of results, because quite a bit of experimenting may be necessary to get the transmission working." The Universal Model Airplane News B-9 plan had a 26" wingspan compared to 28 5/8" for the Cleveland model. Interesting that McEntee and Cleveland Model & Supply came out with a similar model - makes one wonder how "experimental" the Cleveland kit was! The cover and Cleveland ad are shown below.
The photos below show the Air Force Museum exhibit of Cleveland models.
A single example of a "tubed" Cleveland kit is exhibited at the AMA Museum in Muncie, Indiana - see this exhibit at Vintage Model Kits Annex 4 page. I have several photos of a Cleveland exhibit when the AMA museum was in Reston, Virginia and there were three tubed kits at that time - a large tubed Lockheed Vega SF-24 (1931) and two profile kits, the Boeing Mailplane FL-108. Neither of these are in the current exhibit. The photos below show the AMA Museum kits in 1990/91 at Reston.
The following photos are of the 3/8" JSF-1005 Boeing B-9 Bomber kit of 1932. This model kit came out within about a year of the airplane's maiden flight on April 13, 1931. Note that these "hobby tube" kits did not have printwood - all formers, ribs, tips etc. were to be copied from the plan with carbon paper to supplied balsa sheets. Sorry, but I have not removed the contents for these photos as the rolled plan with parts is difficult to repack without damage to the plan as you can tell from the end shots of the contents - certainly careful packaging by Packard's superb crew.
The FL profile kits came in small diameter tubes as there was very little wood in the kit. An example of the simple FL-112 Curtiss Falcon kit with a 14 1/2" wingspan is shown below.
The Cleveland kit of the Curtiss JN4D, Model SF-4, came out in 1931. The plan is two-sided with details of all parts which had to be transferred to the included balsa sheet. A portion of this plan may be viewed and printed out by clicking here.
The hobby tube kits had two main flaws insofar as sales were concerned. The tubes were not dealer friendly as they couldn't be displayed easily and the requirement to transfer parts outlines to balsa sheets made building more difficult. Cleveland remedied both of these problems in 1933 by adding printwood to their kits and by packaging in lid boxes instead of tubes. The very first printwood kits (4) were advertised in March 1933 in a giant 2-page ad in Universal Model Airplane News as shown below. Subsequent kits, and reworked earlier kits, were thereafter equipped with printwood. The SF-1 kit became a redesigned SF-1G with printwood and easier construction.
The very earliest red tubes (mailing tubes, or "Sealed Hobby Container") had a label (seal) with no picture of the model and which bridged the gap or split in the tube. These labels, as shown below for the 1917 Rickenbacker SPAD-XIII (Fighter), had the following guarantee:
Later tube kits featured a picture label with instructions as to where to cut the label to open the tube. This particular kit may or may not be an anomaly. The label is for the SF-13 version which came out in the early 1930s; the original kit (SF-13) had no printwood, yet the kit in this tube is the 1934 version, SF-13-B, which features printwood. Did Cleveland use up the old tubes and labels when the "B" version came out? By 1934, the SF-13-B kit would have normally been packaged in the silver box. The two-sided S.P.A.D. XIII plan appears to be normally rolled as appropriate for the tube, but why this combination of an early tube and a printwood kit? Did someone repackage the kit? In any case, it's an historic kit, complete with several containers of "Cleveland Enamel-Dope." These bottles are unusual and possibly represent the earliest examples of Cleveland packaged dope - notice the diamond opening where you are to see the color (as if the clear backside was invisible!).
Photos of the SF-13-B kit are presented below; this S.P.A.D. XIII would make a very handsome kit - notice the gummed paper insignia and markings.
The unusual gold label on this box states that this is a SF-1E kit, but in fact, the kit inside is the later 1933 version which was redesigned and includes printwood. The gold label is not one that was used on the red hobby tubes as it specifically states that it is the "Gold Sealed Hobby Box." Perhaps this "Hobby Box" is the very first container for the SF-1E kit before the "hobby tube" - it has been reported that Cleveland's first boxes proved to be too expensive so the tubes were used. However, the fact that the SF-1G kit from 1933 is in the box might suggest that some of these boxes were saved and used for the later model.
This was a very elaborate box with multi-boxed contents - but without any printed graphics, it probably was a less expensive alternative. It is of heavy construction and without any labeling on the ends , which, as with the tubes, was probably not to dealers liking for shelf visibility. As the box tray was fully slid out, the contents appeared as below.
The contents of each box are pictured below. Note that the larger sticks have the Cleveland "Diamond C" logo printed on them. Numerous small parts were included. The ribs in the envelope are a mystery since all of the printwood ribs are included and these cutout ribs are devoid of any evidence of printing. White covering tissue was provided.
This must have been an interim use box at some point in the 1930s and the SF-1E label would suggest that it was the early 1930s. It is a very significant package, perhaps used during the period of changeover from the "hobby tubes" to the silver boxes, or maybe used prior to the tubes. If you can provide any further information, please contact CollectAir.
Cleveland Great Lakes Trainer built by Marc Knoll. Courtesy of Marc Knoll, 2009.
The April-May 1930 issue of Aero News and Mechanics has a write-up on the Great Lakes Sport Trainer. To view this page from the magazine, click here. Use the back arrow to return.
CLEVELAND QUICK TO COMMIT NEW DESIGNS TO KIT FORM. Cleveland Models was noted for coming out with kits soon after prototype aircraft designs were revealed. Note the Boeing B-9 mentioned earlier. One of the best examples of a kit following a real aircraft roll-out is the Boeing P-26.
Boeing first revealed the Boeing Model 248, the XP-936, c/n 1678, on March 17, 1942. The three Model 248s were Boeing owned while being tested by the Army. The Army acquired the three aircraft in June of 1932 and the designation was eventually changed to P-26. The Army ordered the P-26A in January 1933 and the first P-26A was delivered to the Army in December of the same year.
Cleveland went to work and came out with a ¾" scale kit of the Boeing XP-936 with a design date of 1932. The original title block of the drawing for SF-23 calls the aircraft a "Boeing Experimental Pursuit" with "Prototype on Trials Reported Traveling over 225 MPH." The rudder marking on the plan shows "XP936 BOEING." The designation of P-26 does not appear on the plan. Note in the plan sideview shown below that the headrest is significantly lower than was used on the P-26A and that the wheel fairings had a pointed aft section which were eliminated on the production versions. Since the Army used the P-26 designation for the three test ships during the latter half of 1932, it would appear that the drawing was made soon after roll-out. Once the kit was released, however, the advertising and the box copy stated that it was a P-26, "formerly known as the Boeing XP936." As noted elsewhere on this site, the P-26 kit SF-23 was one of the first four Cleveland kits to have printwood, as advertised in 1932. The SF-23 kit was in production for a number of years, even after the 1937 P-26A version was issued, Kit No. SF-60.
Compare the 1932 Boeing XP-936 plan and the 1937 P-26A plan sideviews below. Note that the structure was changed on the newer version with different placement of formers etc.
The early silver box with blue stripes and a picture label is shown below for the SF-23 kit; note that "P-26" designation is used.
The label on the box, above, states that this is a "Sealed Hobby Container." These silver box labels, in some cases, were the same labels that had been previously used for the early kit hobby tubes. For example, the "De Haviland-4 Battleplane," kit SF-3, packaged in a silver box with blue stripes, has a label which reads, "This Sealed Hobby Tube Contains One Complete 3/4" Scale" although the end, wrap-around label is obviously printed for a lid box and it states, "This Sealed Hobby Container..." Cleveland made good use of existing material.
Note in the Cleveland ad shown below, from the January/February 1933 issue of Cleveland Modelmaking News, that the P-26 designation is used.
The 1937 Cleveland catalog shows the new P-26A kit, SF-60, which is dated 1937 - the advertising still shows the earlier P-26 Kit SF-23 also. Leftover production?
The full line of Cleveland Dwarf kits, as shown in the "Cleveland Modelmakers Hobby Catalog No. 1" dated 1936-1937, can be viewed as catalog pages by clicking here.
In May, 1934, Cleveland, in its newspaper-size Cleveland Model Engineers News, announced that custom built models are available of their ¾" SF kits. Built by "master model craftsmen," the exhibition models were offered along with the standard kits. As an example, an exhibition model of the complicated Boeing 247, Kit SF-35, could be purchased for only $110.00. Sound cheap? Well, $110 in 1934 is equivalent to $1769.85 today! Even kits such as the Mystery Ship ran over $500 (today's equivalent price) for an exhibition model.
The Peerless Model Airplane Company began business in Cleveland's backyard, the suburb of Lakewood. The story is that a Cleveland C-D draftsman went to work for Peerless and developed a style of scale kit based on the Cleveland SF series. To check this out, I've compared the Peerless Curtiss Army Hawk P6-E kit , VC7, in ½" scale to the Cleveland 1933 U.S. Army Hawk P6-E Pursuit kit, SF-21B kit (dated 1934 - the original Cleveland SF-21 came out in 1932/33). The Peerless kit is dated 1934 which would have allowed Peerless to "copy" the earlier Cleveland kit, if desired. The design of the Peerless kit, though, is clearly different than the Cleveland kit, even though Peerless did adopt a similar style of construction - even the Ideal Super Detailed kits and others, including Miniature Aircraft and Wanner, had similar styles of construction. I understand that Cleveland's Ed Packard felt that Peerless had infringed on Cleveland's C-D concept. Nevertheless, Peerless was bought out by Cleveland in May 1942 and many of the Peerless designs and plans were offered by Cleveland in their catalogs. Peerless limited their advertising to small ads in Universal Model Airplane News in the early 1930s. Peerless kits are quite nice and make excellent collectible model items.
As mentioned previously, Cleveland used several kit box designs before alighting on the superb "All American Carton" silver box which came out around 1935. This attractive silver design was used up to 1941 when cost considerations caused a redesign to the larger picture box used during WW2 and into the later 1940s which is the most seen box style today. The silver boxed kits, from 1935 up to 1941, are the most appealing, with compact packaging of kit parts and liquids contained in a red tube in some kits (Cleveland couldn't get away from the red tube!). Some examples of the silver box kits are shown here, beginning with the SF-21, Curtiss P-6E Hawk Pursuit. It has been reported that this was Ed Packard's favorite. Many years ago, I sent Ed Packard a note, along with a photo of this kit, requesting the date of issue. I have his return note which says, "Would you dare to trade for several Plans? - Packard" - his company ink stamp on the note states "Edward T. Packard - Aviation's Best Friend." The silver box kits, as with the hobby tubes, are not commonly seen for sale. This P-6E kit has several paint bottles; the two larger bottles in the tube are still liquid! The smaller glass tubes with cork stoppers are, of course, dry. The printwood and stringers, enclosed in the covering "silkspan", have never been unwrapped.
These "All American Cartons" continued the Cleveland practice of sealing the container with a label - the end label wrapped around to the bottom of the box so that the contents could not be viewed without breaking the seal.
The "All American Cartons" were also used for the larger, twin-engine "D" dwarf kits in 1/2" scale which first came out in 1935. Although the single engine kits came in several different, small end-tab style boxes, at least some of the twins were packaged in the same silver box as the 3/4" SF kits. Two examples of twins are shown below - the D-55 "Douglas Transport DC-2" (1934) and the D-45 "Martin Bomber" (B-10) (1934).
And the Cleveland dwarf kit D-45, the Martin Bomber (B-10).
The Cleveland Dwarf line of kits was introduced during 1935 which added to the existing line of 3/4" scale kits which numbered around fifty. The August 1935 issue of Model Airplane News carried three full pages of Cleveland ads including the back cover; the centerspread was devoted to the Dwarf line of kits. Click on the MAN cover pictured below for a look at the expensive back cover ad.
The 1933 Boeing 247 was featured as the first of the really large C-D model kits with a 55-inch wingspan in the 3/4" scale. This huge kit, SF-35, was advertised in several aviation publications in October 1933. The Universal Model Airplane News carried an impressive Cleveland ad on page 1 which can be viewed by clicking here. Note also in this ad that four more "new" kits (2 redesigned old ones) have "printed-out wood in them" - the Lincoln Sport, Buhl Bull-Pup, 1931 Gee Bee and the Howard SF-18. The kit was so large that it was shipped in a 40-inch wood box. The 1934 kit of the Martin B-10 was also in 3/4" scale, measuring 53-inches with a kit weight of 10 pounds - it was first advertised in October 1934 in MAN. The dwarf version in 1/2" scale is shown above. A truly giant model of 78-inch wingspan, the Stinson Reliant, kit GP-66, came out in 1937 in 2" scale (see British offering of this kit below). Following WW2, Cleveland manufactured several large 3/4" scale kits, including the B-17, SF-100, and the Douglas DC-3, SF-165. Probably the largest scale model designed by Cleveland was the Martin M-130 with an 8-foot wingspan. A completed M-130 model, C-D 300, was used by Cleveland for displays in 1937; this model had at one time hung in the Lorain Avenue hobby shop of Cleveland's. Later, in the 1980s, this model was rebuilt with aluminum covering by Dan Scherry and, for a time, was displayed at the Treasure Island Navy/Pan American Museum near San Francisco. This model is so unique that a large resolution photo is attached for your viewing; you can return with the back-arrow after checking this Martin M-130 out; click on the photo to enlarge it. The Treasure Island museum closed down many years ago and I believe that this model is now displayed at the San Francisco International Airport's museum.
The Premier Aeromodel Supplies catalog of 1939, from the U.K., advertised "Kits of distinction." With a shop located near London, the Premier catalog has a detailed map of directions complete with tube stations, railway and bus routes. A kit for the winning 1938 Wakefield design by Bob Copland, the G.B. 3, is offered on page 7 (see page below) and Copland offers some modeling advice on page 8. A number of rubber-powered kits designed by Bob Copland and C.A. Rippon, Technical Advisor, are featured, ranging from simple to scale.
Of particular interest to U.S. modelers, this catalog features some of the Cleveland scale models and suggests that the modeler send for a C-D price list. It is rather rare to see the Cleveland kits show up in a British pre-war catalog. The Cleveland Stinson Reliant, GP-66, and the Rearwin Speedster, GP-69, both gas powered free flight models, are pictured in the catalog, as shown below. Also pictured in the catalog are the Gold Seal Ohlsson, 9 c.c., and the Ohlsson "23", but no other gas or diesel engines of European design - rather interesting!
The Premier hobby shop, run by Mr. F.R. Barnard, must have had some kind of tie-in with Cleveland Model Supply and Ohlsson. If any of the U.K. modelers can shed a light on this subject, please contact CollectAir.
The F11C-2 Goshawk which was featured uncovered in the Air Force Museum exhibit, was kit No. SF-49 - the model displayed was the XF11C-2 version; a plan supplement for an export version accompanied later kits by 1936. The 1936 version of the silver box kit is shown below.
The kit number R-59 shown below is dated 1936 and is titled, "Hawker Low Wing Merlin-Powered Fighter" - the kit was later called a "Hurricane" but the title block was never changed. The box is the first REP box with pictures and names of all the REP line at the time. The kit design is competitive with other flying scale, low price models of the era, though not up to the scale quality of the Dwarf or 3/4" S-F kits.
By 1942, Cleveland was pricing the REP kits at only 25 cents and had changed the box graphics. A typical later REP kit box is shown below along with the smaller, earlier style. I'll leave it to you to figure out what "fighter" is depicted on the box. The particular graphics would suggest that this box design is from around 1941. It would appear that the REP kits were slowly phased out by the end of the war. The REP kits must have been produced in large numbers, yet they are scarce today; the lower price kits were throwaways while the more expensive SF kits, in their large boxes, were less likely to get pitched. The old dime-scale kits, of all manufacturers, are hard to find now, but they had to have been made in huge quantities at the time.
REP kit Number R-X5001, The Cleveland Amphbion, with a 28" span, is ". . .designed along Sikorsky lines. . ." according to the plan. Details of this 1936 REP kit plan are shown below.
The 1937 REP kit number R-70 of Maj. Al William's Grumman Gulf Hawk is a particularly nice flying scale kit; even though it was at the low end of Cleveland's kit range, it is competitive with the Gulf Hawk kits of Megow and others of the period. This kit came in the early style box.
This "Hi-Speed Fairy(sp) Battle" kit was shipped on June 21, 1938 in the plain Cleveland postal box, free of any graphics. Note in the pictures below that the postage was 10 cents, netting Cleveland 55 cents for this kit.
The era of the "All American Carton" extended into 1941 as the first of the SF kits came out in the large picture box although some of those first kits were also packaged in silver boxes. For the vintage kit collector, the silver box defines a time frame, from 1935 to the eve of WW2 for America; this period of gathering war clouds and tough economic times was also an active period for young model builders who thrived on the wonderful kits from Cleveland Model & Supply.
The P-6E kit in the silver box was followed by a P-6E, Kit No. SF-21, in the large picture box which came out around 1942. This kit is pictured below.
A two-page Cleveland sales flyer from the World War II period (around 1944-45) can be viewed and printed out by clicking here. Note the complete emphasis on WWII airplanes.
The first two light planes to be issued as Cleveland kits after WW2 were the Culver "V" and the Globe Swift, both dated 1946. The Swift kit, IT-96, had a wing span of 30" and is a very nice kit. The box type is shown below.
The Cleveland designation of "SF" was dropped from their advertising following WW2, around 1947-48 or so; the "SF" designation was clearly used in their large, 2-page ad in the August, 1946 issue of MAN. A full-page Cleveland ad from the February 1948 issue of Model Airplane News can be viewed by by clicking here. Note that the scale kits are called "MFM" or Master Flying Models and carry no kit number. The large picture box, used throughout WW2, was continued after the war for at least several years. The 1947 Sea Bee, for example, was issued in the attractive picture box. I suspect that Cleveland used their supply of boxes and kits until exhausted, thereby making statements about exact dates when certain box types emerged a difficult exercise prone to error.
The "SF" kits were reissued, and some plans redrawn or new title blocks added, by 1949. One of these kits is shown on a previous page. By the mid 1950s, a P-6E kit was issued with the designation of SF-21-B, again in the "mailer box." Oddly, this kit retains the original SF-21 plan with the original 1934 copyright date, not the 1949 redrawn title box. This 1950s kit used the 1949 printwood. Details of this "last" version are shown below. It merely adds to the confusing kit designations used by Cleveland Models over the many years of business. Oddly, Cleveland's full page advertisement in the April 1950 issue of Air Trails promotes "...This Grand Old-Timer P6-E" but doesn't use any kit number - the rest of the ad shows numerous models, none with any kit number designation, only the type and price. You can view this Cleveland ad from the 1950s by clicking here; some really nice drawings of the Hawk.
This kit is offered for sale, as listed below in the 1955-56 catalog.
By 1949, many kit manufacturers were coming out with die-cut, inexpensive airplane kits. Cleveland kits, including the late 1940s "IT" kits, required the modeler to carefully cutout parts from printwood; in addition, the Cleveland kits, even the least expensive, were priced higher than the new die-cut offerings from competitors. To counter this trend, Cleveland launched the "E-Z" series in 1949; these kits had 20" wingspans and all die-cut parts (die-crushed would be more like it!) and were priced at 50 cents. Nicely scaled, these kits required standard stick-and-tissue building, but with the pre-cut parts. The Cleveland ad of August 1950 touted the "Half-Dollar Die-Cut 'E-Z' Kits" along with their higher priced lines. The March 1951 ad mixed all of their line without regard to kit numbers, just price, including the 50-cent kits. By mid-1951, Cleveland apparently ditched their 50-cent E-Z line and came out with new, higher priced, easy to build kit lines: the "Simplex" at $1.00 and the "Quicky" kits priced at $.59. The Quicky line were junky little slab sided kits, not even close to the quality of the E-Z kits, but obviously aimed at the beginner. The Simplex line were so-called "flying" models (initially all jet fighters) with die-cut and interlocking parts. The May 1953 advertising touted the Simplex kits (now 9 kits), the IT kit fighters at $1.50 and the $.59 Quicky kits (7 kits); the higher priced Cleveland kits were not being pitched. The December 1954 Air Trails Hobbies For Young Men had no Cleveland ad whatsoever. The August 1955 Air Trails Hobbies for Young Men had no Cleveland ad yet the flyer advertising the new, "revived" SF kits was in the mail. Some advertising for the "revised" SF line was run in Model Airplane News (see ad in Kit Annex 4) and the significant 1955-56 catalog was coming out (see below).
An excellent example of the "E-Z" kit line is shown here, the Cessna 120 (an airplane in which I've logged many hours). These E-Z kits had a rather short production life.
The 1937 rail section also offered the "OO" gage using ¾" track (cars were scaled to 4mm equals 1 foot) - the cars and locomotives came in kit form only and were made by Nason. "HO" gage (3.5 mm equals 1 foot with .65" track) parts and H. Owen car body kits were also included along with track and locomotive mechanisms and a Reading 0-4-0 Camelback Switcher as a metal kit; parts by Varney were also included in the catalog. None of these were made by Cleveland.
The following announcement appeared in the 1937 catalog rail section:
The "new" Cleveland rail kits came out in 3/16" scale with a "C-D Gage" of 7/8" track; modern "S" scale is 3/16" scale with a track size of .883 in. Cleveland noted that the Gilbert Co. also manufactured 3/16" scale equipment but at that time was running on "O" track. Cleveland made three locomotive kits in what they called "representative" or "REP" type - the kits first appeared on May 25, 1937. The loco kits were made of balsawood and were not engineered for anything but display or, in Cleveland's parlance, "atmosphere." The three locos were: PRR Switcher 0-6-0 and tender, C&O Pacific 4-6-2 and tender, and the Hiawatha 4-4-2 and tender. These kits were priced at only 50 cents. The Penn. 0-6-0 Switching Locomotive kit is pictured below - it is listed in the title block and on the printwood as kit "RL-1." Note all the intricate parts that are to be fashioned from chunks of balsa; it would take a mighty good modeler to complete this kit to a high quality standard. The box car kits and other rail cars could be purchased for only 10 cents! However, Cleveland did offer a deluxe kit for freight cars which had no balsa and had metal rail trucks for use on track; the deluxe kit cost $1.25. Apparently all the rail material died out with WW2.
Shown below is a ten-cent kit number RT-1 of the Texaco TCX (White) 8,000 Gal Tank Car in 3/16" scale; the plan is dated 1937. The box is similar to one of the Dwarf series boxes but is shorter in length - only 9 ¼ inches. The rail kits disappeared from the Cleveland line following WW2.
Would you believe a Cleveland "Interplanetary Saucer?" If you would like to see Cleveland's 1951 saucer, click here.
Many model kit manufacturers were coming out with prefab parts in the 1950s - Monogram and their Speedee Bilts for example. Apparently Cleveland attempted to break into that prefab market with a competitive product. The advertisement below is from the July 1951 issue of Air Trails. The Boeing P-26A, SGP-60, is in 1" scale. Note that the Great Lakes Trainer, SGP-1, a U-control model, is offered for sale on this page below.
See the offering below of all the Cleveland "SF" kits from the 1955-56 catalog - unprecedented in the vintage kit field.
Would you like to turn the clock back over 50 years and order Cleveland "SF" 3/4" scale kits right out of the catalog? Ok boys and girls, pick up the Cleveland catalog below and let's peruse the wonderful offerings in the Cleveland wishbook of 1955-56. Prior to this catalog, Cleveland sent out a mimeographed flyer offering some "revived" SF kits, "At Last." Check out this August 1955 flyer by clicking here. One month later, September 1955, Cleveland expanded the list of "Revived" kits with a new flyer which you can view by clicking here. This second listing in September is in line with the 1955-56 catalog which must have been issued after, or about the same time, as the September flyer.
As shown on the Kit Annex 4 page, Cleveland advertising in 1955 made note that they were again making a limited run of some of the "SF" kits, "Specially made in small lots." These kits were packaged in the cardboard "mailer" boxes and were all "dry" with no liquids. Otherwise the kits were as original with all-balsa, original plan except where later modified, and contents are complete.
Subject to prior sale, most all of the "SF" kits shown below on pages 4 through 10 of the 1955-56 catalog are now available from CollectAir. These vintage kits are complete. The mailer boxes vary in quality, some with stains and shelf aging. The plans are in generally good condition, some with acid yellowing in the areas touching the wood contents - this is pretty common for vintage kits.
The descriptions in the catalog are accurate for the kits being offered - however, the price may be somewhat higher than listed in the catalog! Today's collector prices are given following the catalog pages.
As seen on the back cover of the 1955-56 catalog:
"Kits are complete except for cement, dopes and rubberbands. These kits are for those modelers who like to assemble 'em completely themselves and are being manufactured in VERY LIMITED quantities. Upon their sales will depend whether or not we will continue to make these or any additional "Ol' Timer" Custom kits. YOU MAY NEVER AGAIN BE ABLE TO GET THEM! Oder your favorites today while they last."
A prefabricated (to some extent) stunt-sport kit in 1" scale for U-control. This is a rather rare kit which you can own for $215.00. The catalog entry shown below is from the Cleveland 1955-56 catalog. The kit was introduced in 1951, probably with the red box mentioned below.
This SGP-1 kit also was issued in a solid red, lid-type box with the label printed in two-color and with minor changes in text. It is not known whether the red box preceeded or followed the "mailer box," but it is more attractive with "shelf appeal" for the hobby shop market. The label on this red box differs from the mailer box label in that the company name is printed as Cleveland Model Products instead of Cleveland Model & Supply - perhaps no significance in that Cleveland Model & Supply was a "Division" of Cleveland Model Products. The kit contents and plan are the same. This kit is also available for Sorry Sold.
The paragraph below is from the July 1951 issue of Air Trails.
The giant Luscombe Sedan in 2" scale came out in 1949. It was one of the featured kits on the back page of the Cleveland 1949 catalog, "Cleveland Models for '49" as shown below.
Note that the 1949 version was initially advertised as kit number GP-106, priced at $7.50. The 76" wingspan Luscombe Sedan was also featured in the 1955-56 Cleveland catalog, but was listed as kit number GP112, priced at $9.95. The 1955-56 catalog listing is shown below. The Sedan kit is being offered for sale here for $395.00 - note that it is actually the 1949 kit GP-112 with a price of $7.50 printed on the box label. The kit plan is dated 1949 and marked as GP-112 and the printwood is also marked GP-112. Perhaps the GP-106 number was for early advertising only. The kit is in excellent condition and is complete. As far as I know, there is no difference between the two kits with the exception of the number.
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Items may be ordered by contacting CollectAir at 1324 De La Vina St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101. Call cell (408) 828-2810. Email address is email@example.com
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