VINTAGE KITS ANNEX 5
Topping models of the "A" version of the Grumman Albatross can be found on the Display Models Page along with information about the origins of this famous seaplane which is still in action around the world. First flown in 1947, 305 SA-16As were built in the next few years. An improved version of the Albatross was developed in 1955 and about 240 "A" versions were converted to the "B" configuration during an IRAN program. First production "B" configuration was delivered in January 1957; this Albatross had a longer wing (96 ft. 8 in.) and larger tail surfaces and was redesignated as the HU-16B in 1962. The HU-16B Air Force Air Rescue Service Albatross was active during the Vietnam War; they flew over the Gulf of Tonkin, operating out of Da Nang. The A.R.S. aircraft were piloted by PanAm pilots who were members of the USAF Reserve.
The model being shown here is a HU-16B, serial number 51-7180. This model is in 1:72 scale. This Albatross model is absolutely exquisite, perfect in execution, markings and finish. The model was made in Japan by Nemoto. I believe that the Nemoto organization no longer exists - I was able to find a website for them about 5 years ago (by a convoluted method!) and they were still making a few models, mostly gliders for a German firm. However, I can find no trace of them currently - the old website is no longer active. Following WW2, the companies of Tenshodo in Tokyo and Nemoto made many models for both U.S. servicemen stationed in Japan and under contract for some American companies such as Grumman. This Nemoto Albatross was probably made for Grumman and I suspect in very small numbers. Both Tenshodo and Nemoto models were first rate. I have several Tenshodo models and their base is exactly the same as the base used for the Nemoto models. This Albatross base has the name "NEMOTO" on the side.
This Nemoto Albatross is flawless and it comes in it's original box but there are no Nemoto markings on the box. These models are scarce and are offered for sale infrequently. I have no way of knowing when this model was made but would assume it was during the IRAN production because of the markings - the A.R.S. Albatross flown during the Vietnam War had a different paint scheme. Ownership of this gorgeous model will cost $2000.00.
The HU-16B Albatross in the Air Force Museum is pictured below.
An all-metal Bronzart P-47 Thunderbolt from the 1940s. This model, with it's square wingtips and dorsal fin, most likely represents the P-47N-5-RE which had a wingspan of just a little over 42 ft. 6 inches. The model scales out to around 1:62 on that basis.
The model, in its "received" form, had some paint chipped and scraped. It's nearly impossible to match the original Bronzart lacquer paint after almost 65 years, so it was elected to repaint the entire model, as shown except for the red areas which are original. The metal surface condition was left in its original shape which was slightly rough in spots. The model's stand was not restored in any way - the Bronzeart logo sticker is on the bottom of the felt base.
The model has not been priced.
These Bronzart models from the 1940s are excellent examples of display models from that era. Smaller, 1:72 versions were made during WW2 as recognition models, some of which may be seen on the "Friend or Foe Museum" page.
The Martin Seamaster prototype first flew on July 14, 1955. The "Y" version, the YP6M-1 first flew in January 1958. Following two spectacular crashes, the Navy ordered the P6M-2 which began operational testing. However, the program was shut down in its entirety by the Navy on August 21, 1959.
The Seamaster was a very interesting concept. The Glenn L. Martin Maryland Aviation Museum's website has a short article on the history of the Seamaster dev elopement which you can view by clicking here.
The Topping model includes the unique "water" base. The model's painted surfaces have been restored where necessary. There is a small piece of cockpit window decal missing from the rh side and minor warping of the stabilizer tips. The rotating bomb bay functions. A very nice example of a rare Seamaster display model which is 50 years old. This model is available for $650.00. Strangely, the model was molded from an olive drab/green plastic, yet carries the correct Navy decal - other Topping Seamasters that I've seen have been made from a blue plastic. The model's configuration, with the engine inlets close to the wing leading edge and not canted outward, would suggest that this is the "X" version of which only two were built. However, the white underside is a feature which the "Y" version had. The model was probably configured to the "X" version prior to flight and later painted to more closely represent the "Y" version. Note that the "Y" version had the engine nacelles canted outward by 5 degrees.
The following photos appear in the 1957 book, Instrument Flying, by Weems and Zweng. The elaborate dry docking arrangement was planned to be used in semi-sheltered areas with seaplane tenders.
I was aboard the heavy cruiser, USS St. Paul, berthed at San Diego's North Island NAS in early June, 1950. One morning, I saw a magnificent, 4-engine flying boat taxi out on San Diego bay preparing for takeoff - I had seen photos of this exquisitely designed prototype but never expected to watch it on a test flight. The flying boat had made its first flight on April 18, 1950 and was heavily into its test program a month and a half later. I was an aeronautical engineering student so consequently this test flight intensely aroused my interest ; as the turboprop power was applied and the four Allison T-40 engines, swinging counter-rotating propellers, began moving this blue giant, I glanced at my watch's second hand and timed the takeoff - 27 seconds from start to breaking water. A very impressive sight that I was fortunate to witness. This was the new Convair XP5Y-1 prototype.
The Convair XP5Y-1 was a "state-of-the-art" design, with turboprop power, a high aspect ratio, laminar flow wing, and a super sleek fuselage with a long, single step boat hull. Ordered in 1946, the aircraft was designed as a patrol boat and the version flown in 1950 was in the patrol boat configuration. Convair ran an ad in the July 1950 edition of the Aero Digest announcing the first flight of the seaplane - you can view this ad by clicking here. Use the back arrow to return to this page. Note that the seaplane had not been given a name in 1950.
The drawing of the XP5Y-1, shown below, is from the August 1949 issue of Model Airplane News.
The Navy changed their mind soon after the first flight and, by November 1950, had elected to scrap the patrol boat version and develop the flying boat as a passenger and cargo aircraft. Two examples of the XP5Y-1 were constructed - the most obvious external differences from the follow-on version are the v-shaped stabilizer and engine nacelles (the buried engines with long extension shafts on the XP5Y-1 were changed to an engine installation above the wing and closer to the leading edge on the R3Y).
The R3Y-1 first flew on February 25, 1954. Five of the -1s were built; the -1 retained most of the appealing lines of the XP5Y-1 and became the first operational Navy turboprop flying boat. The -2 version (six built) had a bulbous nose containing a nose-loading door and was a rather ugly duckling compared to the XP5Y-1. It later became a four-point tanker before being scrapped. The Allison T-40 engine, with its gear box and counter-rotating props, was a disaster - the engine was unreliable and was never fixed during its service life. Navy transport squadron VR-2 received first deliveries of the "Tradewind" in March 1956 - mounting engine problems led to the end of transport operations by 1958. I recall Alameda residents telling me of Tradewind problems that they had witnessed when the boat was operational out of the Alameda NAS harbor. One R3Y-1 (128446) had an engine loss in flight which severed control to the number one engine, after landing, and with no way to reduce power to the number one engine, taxiing was uncontrollable and the plane crashed into the rock seawall protecting the basin (picture of this 1958 event in Ginter's book, page 47). Including the loss of the second prototype XP5Y-1 to catastrophic engine failure, four of the boats were lost to engine problems.
There apparently weren't many display models made of the Convair Tradewind. Ginter's book (page 113) shows factory models of the R3Y-2 and R3Y-1 (metal). I've only seen the metal Allyn model in 1:200 scale, commonly mounted on the standard design ash tray (photos below). I also have a 1:140 scale resin model of the original XP5Y-1 which is reported to be an original Convair promotional model, probably made by a Convair model shop. The Tradewind name doesn't apply to the XP5Y-1 and the model carries a nameplate which reads, "Convair XP5Y-1 U.S.N. Water Based Research Aircraft." Note that the model doesn't have the blisters, or turrets, that were on the flying prototype patrol version. The photos below show details of both models; these photos are for reference purposes only as neither model is for sale.
If you have any personal experiences with the Tradewind, I will be pleased to print them.
This handsome Topping model carries the serial number of 59-2868, signifying the very first of the T-39As. Serial number 59-2869, carrying "TG-869" on the fuselage, was widely used as the North American promotional photo for the series; an Official Release Press Kit for "The U.S. Air Force Jet Utility Trainer Saberliner T-39" featured the tail number 92869. This airplane was almost in the same markings as this Topping model with the exception that the Topping model features a dayglo tail whereas 92869 had a white vertical surface.
This is a large model with a 13" wingspan (1:40 scale). The model is "as new" as the original Topping box has just been opened. The T-39 has been used in various models for many years with a T-39N trainer version still in use by the U.S. Navy at Air Wing Six, NAS Pensacola (see photos below). Versions were built to 1982. Lots of info on the T-39 can be viewed on the web, such as the Boeing history site, by clicking here.
This sleek T-39 model, about 50 years old, in its original Topping box, may be purchased for $525.00. Of general interest, the University of Georgia Library has a collection of Senator Richard Russell's activities as a United States senator representing the state of Georgia. This Topping T-39 model is in that collection, item RBRL 49.
The T-39N is in use at Pensacola NAS as of May 2011; the CollectAir photos below show T-39N, 165511, in the hangar and on the airfield's taxiway.
The Convair CV-240 was designed as a pressurized airliner in accordance with requirements of American Airlines; the 240 first flew on March 16, 1947 and the first production model delivered to American in February 1948. The airliner was in production from 1947 to 1954 and was used by many airlines in addition to American, the largest user. The Convair CV-340 was a follow on version initially supplied to United. Military versions included the C-131, T-29 and the Navy's R4Y.
This factory display model in American Airlines livery is made of wood and is in 1:50 scale. The model is in its original condition with no restoration performed on the wood structure. The stand is not the original base. This excellent Convair model has not been priced.
Nearly everyone agrees that the Lockheed Connie was one the most attractive airliner designs ever conceived and it was created by the pencils and slide rules wielded by the talented engineers and draftsmen of Lockheed's technical staff. The shapely fuselage of the Connie has pleased the aesthetic nature of aviations buffs since its inception, yet today, an airliner must be tubular according to the strict dictates of the all-powerful CAD systems. The L-049 to L-749 series had the original, fabulous fuselage shape prior to the later stretching and lengthening which detracted from the flowing lines.
The model presented here is an all-metal, 1:72 scale, original condition model of an L-749A Constellation of Eastern Airlines, N113A. The model was made by Matthijs Verkuyl of Holland; the model has an interesting provenance, having been delivered to the buyer at Verkuyl's home. The L-749A, N113A, was built by Lockheed around 1949 and delivered to Eastern. Eastern Airlines, with beginnings in 1926, had several famous CEOs, including Eddie Rickenbaker and Frank Borman, before going out of business in 1991. The Connie was the first airliner, in widespread use, to be pressurized; the Boeing 307 was built as a pressurized airliner, but following WW2, none in service were pressurized. I fondly recall a trans-continental flight in a Super Connie, being upgraded to first class - champagne and steak!
One hundred thirteen L-749 and L-749As were built by Lockheed. This model has not been priced. It is in outstanding condition with only a minor scrape or two.
The photo below appeared in the July 1950 edition of Aero Digest touting a "new, improved Shell Oil Co. aircraft refueling truck" at Charlotte, N.C.; note that this truck tractor appears to be the same White truck cab as appears as a Topping model on this web page. The same magazine has an ad by Vickers that features the Eastern Airlines Connie, NC109A; what year did the registration change from "NC" to "N"? You can view this one-page ad by clicking here. Use the back arrow to return.
The computer drawing below depicts Constellation N118A as it appears in the Flightsim library as a Freewave rendering.
The pressurized Cessna Model 441 Conquest Turboprop first flew in 1975; it was initially powered by two 625 hp Garrett TPE-331 engines and equipped with three bladed props. First customer deliveries were in September 1977. The Conquest was renamed the Conquest II in 1983 and production ceased in 1986.
The airplane got off to a bad start with an in-flight, catastrophic tail section failure within two months of the first delivery; Cessna redesigned the tail and retrofitted all existing 441s. If you are interested in the history of the 441, click here.
The Conquest display model shown here, in 1:48 scale, represents one of the most interesting concepts of new model aircraft promotion that I've run across. Not dated, but the model undoubtedly dates from around 1976/77; I do not know which model company is responsible for this project. Some advertising agency should have been given an award for this one! I cannot imagine any company today investing in a promotional model to the extent that Cessna did about 30 years ago. This is an attention getting package with lots of appeal - I wish I knew more about how the product was delivered. As you will see in the photos below, there would be several ways that the multi-packaged model could have been delivered. Enjoy the pictures of this unusual, "disassembled" airplane.
If you have any information on exactly how this promotional piece was used, please contact CollectAir. An expensive piece to distribute so I would assume that recipients were highly regarded by Cessna as "suspects" for this new airplane.
Arguably one of the most beautiful aircraft in flight that has ever been designed, the sleek, all aerodynamic, radical YB-49 met with some success and with disaster - the crash of the second YB-49 (42-102368)in which flight commander, Captain Glen Edwards, was killed along with the rest of the five-man crew; Edwards Air Force Base forever memorializes his name.
The prop driven forerunner, the XB-35, was designed during WW2 (as was the B-36) and rolled out in 1946. Designed as a bomber, the all-wing Northrop series exhibited deficiencies in stability (later corrected with a Honeywell auot-pilot) and load carrying ability (bomb bay size) which resulted in cancellation of the program by mid-1951 and break-up of the remaining airplanes in 1953. To this day, there is a continuing controversy surrounding the cancellation - political pressures from B-36 proponents and other conspiracy theories abound and provide fodder for magazine articles and books. Most likely scenerio was a collusion between the Secretary of the Air Force, Stuart Symington, General Curtis LeMay, and Convair; LeMay wanted the B-36 only, Symington wanted Northrop to merge with Convair, giving them the YB-49 design, and of course Convair's Floyd Odlum wanted all the action. Only six of the 15 airframes manufactured actually flew in either the prop or jet versions. Sadly, no example remains. The Northrop wing concept became vindicated as the YB-49 became the progenitor of the current B-2 stealth bomber. Of coincidence, the YB-49 and B-2 share the same wingspan (172 feet). The Northrop flying wings have received considerable attention and much information is available on the web. A short history of Northrop and the wings may be viewed by clicking here. Use the back arrow to return to this page.
On a personal note, I've been privileged to have met both the pilot of the first XB-35 and YB-49 flights, Max Stanley, and the test pilot of the inaugural B-2 flight, Bruce Hinds.
The exquisite model pictured here is a copy (from the original master)of an original Northrop display/promotional model in 1:72 scale. Constructed of reinforced resin, the model is an accurate representation of the YB-49. Of particular interest is the accurate incorporation of wing twist (washout of 4 degrees)) in the model - a feature that is usually omitted on display models. Note the scale fineness of the fins. This may be an early representation as the observation bubble on the model is placed further forward than what appeared on the prototype(note the drawing). Also, there is no serial number on the model, possibly suggesting that the original model was constructed prior to contractural details. The model is not for sale but it is on display at the CollectAir gallery. It is mounted on a nice walnut stand with a label plate.
The Northrop Corporation published "a commemorative book edition of airplane designs and concepts" in 1976; the author was Fred Anderson, a member of the American Aviation Historical Society. Northrop designs from 1939 to 1976 are covered as well as early John K. Northrop history. Jack Northrop's entry into the aviation field happened in Santa Barbara. Fairly fresh from high school, with some experience as a mechanic and architectural draftsman, Northrop went to work for the Santa Barbara firm of Loughead Aircraft as a mechanical draftsman-engineer culminating in the design of the S-1, an innovative small personal plane by 1920. Lack of sales closed the Loughead factory that year and Jack went back into the building business until 1923. Douglas, Lockheed, Avion and Boeing all played a part in Jack's career and formation of Northrop Aircraft Corporation in 1929. Eventually becoming a Douglas division, Jack again formed Northrop Aircraft Inc. in 1938 and the Northrop legend began. The photo below shows a page from the book.
Ted Coleman, a former vice president and director of Northrop Aircraft Company, authored a book, Jack Northrop and the Flying Wing - the Real Story Behind the Stealth Bomber, in 1988. Coleman tells the XB-35 and YB-49 story as an insider, revealing many events surrounding the testing and eventual scrapping of the flying wings and the individuals involved. This book is a must for anyone interested in Northrop's history and development of the flying wing. I won't sell my copy but the book is available on-line at a reasonable price.
Part of the blurb from the dust jacket:
Some really superb flying scenes of the YB-49 can be seen in the 1953 flick, The War of the Worlds.
A chrome finished model of the Boeing "Dash 80" tanker/transport. The scale of this model is approximately 1:150 with a large 10 9/16" wingspan; the stand appears to be an Allyn style but there is no identification. The wooden base has a felt bottom and appears to be professionally made. I acquired this model about 30 years ago and have yet to see a "sister" model. The model's chrome finish has no corrosion - there are a few imperfections which probably came "as new" - and there are several small decal losses at the doors (see photos). Note that the actual Dash 80 didn't have all those cabin windows! The "specs" in the photos are dust particles. The Dash 80 made its first flight on July 15, 1954. A model with an impeccable chrome finish is hard to find; this Boeing may be purchased for Sorry SOLD.
These are interesting and inexpensive WWII training artifacts. Cardstock models in 1:72 scale which punch out of heavy, black cardstock and assemble by pressing parts in place. These make reasonable three-dimensional models suitable for recognition training. I have several photos in our Friend or Foe? Museum which show WWII classrooms with these cardstock models hanging from the ceiling as training aids. Assemble these for display or leave in the envelope. I have pictured the envelope only as the black cardstock doesn't photograph well. The model pictured is; SCOUT BOMBER U.S. Navy SB2A-1 Buccaneer, British Bermuda I, A.A.F. A-34, Silhouette Model, 1:72 Scale, Ref. No. CM-526, 2/22/43. Army Air Forces - Aircraft Identification Section. Price for this WWII item is only $37.50. ALSO available: P-38E, CM-502, $55.00, F2A-3 Buffalo, CM-518 (interesting because the Buffalo didn't appear in the cellulose acetate line of recognition models), $40.00 A-31 Br. Vengeance, CM-509 dated 11/23/42, $37.50, German Fighter Me 109E, CM-101, $37.50, and German FW 190, CM-102 dated 2/22/43, $37.50.
Additional WW2 card models available - all in original envelopes - date 2/22/43:
I don't have a clue concerning the "CM" numbering system.
Topping Models made a semi-truck model for the White Truck Company to use for promotion - different company labels could be applied to the sides of the trailer. This truck model appears in the Topping Models 1961 catalog (available elsewhere on this website). Photos below show the truck without any promotional logos on the trailer. Note that the intake filter and exhaust system are frequently broken off the truck. I have no idea how many different colors were used during its production for White. This model is not for sale but is pictured to show the diversity of models that Topping made during their prime.
Models may be ordered by contacting CollectAir through theFeedback Link at left, top margin, or calling cell (408) 828-2810 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Payment by cash, check, money order or Paypal. Mail to CollectAir, 1324 De La Vina St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101