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I just got one of my grail kits: A Hawk R3C-1 Racer. Why important? For me, this may have been the first plastic model I ever saw as a kid way back about 1950. I thought it was very cool, and still do.
For a long time I believed this was the first all-plastic model kit manufactured in the US. It came out in 1946. Now I can confirm that because Phil Mates (co-founder of Hawk with his brother Dick) signed the instruction sheet and dated it 10/9/46. The kit is molded in black acetate plastic (the original plane was black) and came in a tiny 6 x 2.5 inch box. The first issue was the wheeled R3C-1 version, while later Hawk editions were converted to the R3C-2 seaplane racer.
However, I now know that the Hawk model was preceded in the spring of 1946 by the Varney PT-17 Stearman. It came in a huge 9 x 13 box. And even before the PT-17, Varney released the Fleet Submarine in the fall of 1945. So it must be our first US all-plastic model kit.
All the built models shown are from recent reissues of the kits by Hawk and Lindberg (for the Varney models). Amazing that the molds (in highly modified form) are still around today.
 

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Man I love this history lesson Tom,and it spurned me to find more info and pictures...
http://www.oldmodelkits.com/blog/plastic-model-kit-history/early-plastic-model-kit-development-in-the-usa/
and here also...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plastic_model

Man someone ought to get all this info together and put it all together in some sort of medium...a book!
Yes ...a book...but who?...who...?;)
Honestly, I think this History of Models from the beginning until now would be a facinating read and one that I'd be happy to add to my collection of other cool Model books like Classic Plastic or (my Bible) the Schiffer Aurora Model Kits book :thumbsup:
Mcdee
 

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Fascinating stuff Tom - thanks for posting.
Was your Hawk RC3-1 complete in the box?

I recently picked up an Aurora "T for 2" in the box. It was one of the first model kits I ever had - it was a Christmas present in the early '60s...
 

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Just before Christmas I got two reissues of old pre-war Frog Penguin kits. The originals were done in cellulose acetate plastic, while the reissues are styrene with white metal pieces. These are probably the first recognizable plastic model airplanes as someone today would envision them.
 

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Man I love this history lesson Tom,and it spurned me to find more info and pictures...
http://www.oldmodelkits.com/blog/plastic-model-kit-history/early-plastic-model-kit-development-in-the-usa/
and here also...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plastic_model

Man someone ought to get all this info together and put it all together in some sort of medium...a book!
Yes ...a book...but who?...who...?;)
Honestly, I think this History of Models from the beginning until now would be a facinating read and one that I'd be happy to add to my collection of other cool Model books like Classic Plastic or (my Bible) the Schiffer Aurora Model Kits book :thumbsup:
Mcdee
Schiffer has an equally good book on Revell and there is a paperback book on Monogram. I can think of at least two nice hard back books on Airfix kit history (one came with two kits). There is also an excellent hard back book on Frog, which goes back to the decades before World War 2. There is also a book called something like "Collecting the Greatest Kits" that covers all the oldies...
 
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