Reviews & Previews
Collecting Vintage Plastic Model Airplane Kits
It isn’t slickly produced, but you wouldn’t want it to be. The author, Craig Kodera, an aviation artist and former U.S. Air Force pilot, is a collector of plastic model airplanes, and with this book, he invites fellow collectors to peruse dozens of classic kits from the 1950s through the early 1960s. As expected, there are kits by Aurora, Revell, Monogram, and Lindberg, but lesser-known companies are represented too.
“This book stems from a request from t the head buyer at Barnes & Noble Books, and since I h have built models for nearly 50 years and have many k kits in my collection, I was chosen as the author.” DescribeDe the early plastic-model industry.ind Tho Those early post-world War II kits were a bre breath of fresh air in the hobby industry. No more sanding, shaping, and filing a bloc block of balsa wood to create an accurate representation of the aircraft, ship, or car in question. There was no more guesswork for the hobbyist. The ease of assembly allowed children and adults to enjoy a hands-on pastime. Do you have a favorite plastic model airplane that you’ve built? For me, the airliner is everything. The earliest memories I have are of the Revell American Airlines DC-7. We can follow this with the Monogram TWA Super G Constellation, the Frog airliner kits, and my favorite late pieces: the Revell Fairchild F-27 and DC-9. I’ve built them all many times over.
What is the rarest model in your collection?
Hands down, the Revell Martin Seamaster [a cancelled 1950s Navy flying boat] in blue.
Any idea how much you might have spent on your collection over the years?
I am fortunate to have had the resources over the decades to buy, sell, buy, sell, and finally arrive at my current collection. With about 700 kits, certainly a low, low six-figure amount could be accounted on a tally sheet. All the aviation artists I know were doing two things as children: building models and drawing airplanes. The joy of the model kit was that we couldd start to understand the three-dimensional aspects of airplane shapes so as to know how to render them in a two-dimensional art image. By the way, we all still build models to this day, sometimes as photographic support for a painting— or just because we love to build.
How did your experience ass an early model builder affect your career in aviation art?
WHY THE AUTHOR DECIDED TO WRITEW IT
A CHAT WITH CRAIG KODERA
AN AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR OF MANY BOOKS AND
ARTICLES ON MILITARY AVIATION, PETER B. MERSKY HAS
BUILT MOST OF THE MODELS FEATURED IN THE BOOK.