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Models/History of plastic model building


Phil Marchese wrote at 2008-08-10 03:43:04
While model building does indeed go back as far as domesticated civilizations, plastic models are generally a product of the mid 20th Century. While various forms of plastic items and toys appear before The Second World War, the commercial plastic model kits were a post-war transition from wood, paper and white metal kits. FROG and AIRFIX in the UK grew out of airplane kit while the US hobby was spurred by planes and more compellingly by antique cars. Gowland and Gowland took the Hudson Miniatures antique car kit craze of the late 1940s to the plastic age with its Highway Pioneers collection. First as assembled ACTION toys distributed by Revell, the first series of five cars were then issued as quick construction kits about 1951. The collection grew to 20 cars in four series and later to 30 cars, and finally 35 by adding five Hudson Miniatures to the line in the UK. Revell soon switched for an acetate based plastic to styrene and the hobby grew. Monogram launched ships and planes and Revell was quick to add similar kits to its S-type hobby kit. In the mid-60s, international plastic modeler clubs and magazines appeared. By the mid-70s, world wide companies competed for the international market. The eastern European market developed after the fall of the USSR. The 21st century plastic model industry is a broad spectrum of large international companies and small specialty firms.

Peter van Lune wrote at 2012-01-12 13:08:51
Unfortunately I miss the mentioning of the FROG 'Penguin' range of all plastic model kits, that were available between 1936-50. Although not made of polysterene, but cellulose acetate, this is technically speaking a form of plastic. I don't think "mass-production" or "commercial" is a fundamental issue here. Penguin kits were exported to many countries, already by 1939-41. And also to the U.S.A., beating any American manufacturers by several years.

Peter van Lune

The Netherlands

phil marchese wrote at 2014-01-15 19:14:13
FROG was indeed the first company I listed, stating it had a prior history in wood kits.


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Clifford Bossie


Model aircraft and aviation History and photography, Naval history and ship models, maritime and ships in general, Scratch building of models, Some military history


I have built models for the better part of thirty five years, have taken photographs of U.S. military aircraft and ships for about twenty five years and am currently scratch building a 1/72 nd scale model of the USS Petrof Bay (CVE-80).

Local IPMS

IPMS journal and local IPMS publication. Photos and drawing in Koku Fan, Deatil and Scale, et al.

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