Rareplane Vacforms

 

Gotha G.IV Ryan trainer Dewoitine 510 Gloster Meteor F8/FR9
Thomas Morse  Ryan Trainer PT-22 Fokker G-1 Reaper Short Tucano
Junkers D1 Grumman XF5F-1 Skyrocket Breda Ba65 Republic F-84GThunderjet
Pfalz DIIIa Curtiss Condor Nakajima Army Type 71 Lockheed PV-1 Ventura
Vought O3U-6 Corsair
Kinner XRK-1 Envoy  Lockheed Vega McDonnell XP-67 Moonbat
Martin B-10  Beech 17 Staggerwing Boeing YB-17  Beech C-45
Sopwith Snipe
 Seversky P35 Republic P-43 Lancer Stinson L-5 Sentinel
Heinkel He51  Curtiss P1  Boeing P12B  Boeing P12E
Douglas Y10-43 Supermarine 224 Bell P-59A Airacomet Lockheed Lodestar
Grumman Goose Curtiss YP-37 Douglas BTD-1 Destroyer  Grumman F3F-1
Martin PBM-3C Mariner  Pucara  Brewster Bermuda  
Curtiss SBC-3 Helldiver Hall-Aluminium XPTBH-2 Douglas O-46A  Grumman F3F-2
Heinkel He-112
Henschel Hs-126
 Vought Vindicator Supermarine Seafire
Grumman Goblin Curtiss Demon  Fairey Fulmar  North American O-47
Curtiss A8 Shrike

Bell XFM-1 Airacuda

 N.A Mustang P51H

 D.H.Dove

Brewster Bermuda Hawker Fury Republic P47N

 Lavochkin La5

Curtiss A12 Shrike

D.H. 87A Rapide

 Douglas Skyshark

 N.A Fury

Supermarine Spiteful/Seafang

Douglas Skywarrior

North American Savage

McDonnell Douglas Demon

Douglas Skyknight

Beech RC-12

 Bell 206 JetRanger

North American FJ-4B Fury

Chance Vought Cutlass

Piper L4 

 Lockheed U-2

Blackburn Firebrand

Supermarine Swift North American F86H Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon Fisher P75A Eagle
  Learjet C21-A

De Havilland Venom

Gloster Meteor 14

Beech Kingair

 

 

Gotha G.IV WW1 bomber (August 1983 date of issue)

 

This was a very popular kit as, until its issue, no big German Great War bomber had ever been offered in 1:72. The result was that several talented modellers rapidly won trophies, competitions and fame with their impressive Gothas. The lozenge pattern was handpainted, though commercial aftermarket decals are available.

 

 

Thomas Morse S4C fighter/trainer (Septemeber 1973) marketed under the Warbird label.

 

This was the first all-American WW1 aircraft (apart from a 1:48 IM 'Jenny') ever to be kitted. There were only four models in the Warbirds series but they served as the master pattern for the many WW1 vac kits that came afterwards.

Junkers D.1 (July 1981) marketed under the Warbird label.

 

For such a tiny model, the rendering of the corrugated metal in vacform is sharp and convincing.

Pfalz  DIIIa  (February 1980)

 

This was the last of the small biplane Warbird kits whose style influenced every WW1 vac kit that followed. The single thickness wings make this a relatively straightforward kit to build. The DIII can also be built from the kit, the main difference being in the shape of the tailplanes.

Sopwith 7F Snipe  (June 1973)  Marketed under the Warbird label.

 

The first WW1 kit that used a single thickness wing which became the style for all WW1 kits that followed.

Martin B-10 Bomber (November 1973)

 

The model is in colours of the 31st Bomb Squadron. The B-10 was a very popular subject in the 1970s. The first 1:72 kit was the RAREplane version in 1973, shortly followed by a Contrail version and then, a year later by the ultimate Williams Brothers injection-moulded item.

Douglas Y10-43 Observation (August 1976)

 

The aircraft was a buttefly-wing, wire-braced machine of the mid-1930s. The parasol wing style came from the O-31 line to the O-43 and to the final O-46.used by the US National Guard squadrons. Model shows markings of 88th Observation Squadron.

Grumman Goose 

 

The model is shown in Canadian Rescue marking and as one from the US Coast Guard JRF-1 Patrol. The aircraft is very much the 'big brother' to the Gosling. It was designed as a commuter aircraft to carry passengers between Long Island and New York City. It saw war and post-war military service in many different roles, including that of a submarine hunter.  

Grumman G.23 Goblin US Navy FF/SF-1 fighter (May 1982)

 

The model is shown in the markings of Fighting Squadron Five, the 'Red Rippers' squadron circa 1935. The mould was bought by Esoteric in the 1990s and the kit was made under the 'Naval Aircraft Factory' label.

Northrop A-17/ A-17A Nomad (December 1971)

 

The model is in colours of the 13th Attack Squadron Commanders aircraft, Barksdale Field        with Grim Reaper insignia circa 1937. The RAREplane kit could be used to make different undercarriage versions, either with spats or the later retractable version.  MPM, who started        life as a vacform producer, made injection-moulded 1:72 kits of both versions 35 years later.

Curtiss A-8 Shrike US Army attack bomber (December 1969 male & May 1977 female mould)

 

The model is shown in the colours of the 90th Attack Squadron, Barksdale Field, Louisiana circa 1935. It is probably one of the easiest vac kits to construct.

Curtiss A-12 Shrike US Army Air Corps attack bomber ( May 1977)

 

The model is shown in 26th Attack Squadron markings based at Wheeler Field, Hawaii in 1936. They were still there in 1941, but painted silver. The kit is 40 years old and is still the best and most detailed A-12 kit in 1:72 scale - if you can find one.

Vought O3U-6  Corsair  (RAREplane mould sold to Esoteric - see their entry).

 

The model shown here was modified from the standard kit into the higher-powered US Marine observation plane.

Ryan PT-16 Trainer (June 1976)

 

This aircraft was a standard trainer of the mid-late 1930s used by the US and other air forces.

Ryan PT-22 Trainer (June 1976)

 

This model is painted in spurious 'trainer' colours used on a Ryan now flying in the USA.

Model by Gordon Stevens
Model by Gordon Stevens

Douglas O-46A

 

This model shows a kit that never was! It was built by Gordon Stevens but never released as a Rareplane kit. It was intended to use the O-43 wings. 

Grumman XF5F-1 Skyrocket  US Navy experimental fighter (July 1988).

 

This was the first full kit that Hannants marketed and was supplied with decals, metal parts and boxed with new labels.

Curtiss Condor

 

In the markings of a US Marine personnel transport circa 1937. This was made from a one-off RAREplane/Esoteric master moulding. It was never issued as a production kit.    

 

Model by 'Gerry' (ATF web site).

Model by Gordon Stevens
Model by Gordon Stevens

Hall-Aluminium XPTBH-2

 

This kit was mastered but never released. The master went to the USA.

Beech 17 Staggerwing (February 1970)

 

This aircraft first flew in 1932. It had retractable undercarriage and an unusual wing configuration. Production continued during the 1930s, during WW2 and even afterwards, the aircraft being used in a variety of civil and military uses.

 

Two versions of the kit were issued, the first in February 1970 was male moulded (and contained Edo floats) and the second, an update with much crisper detail, in 1980. An injection-moulded kit came from Sword 20 years later.

Grumman F3F-1 

 

This kit had two different engine cowlings for the -1 and -2 versions. The mould was bought by Esoteric in the 1990s and became part of their naval fighter stable.

Model by Gordon Stevens
Model by Gordon Stevens

Grumman F3F-2

Curtiss SBC-3 Helldiver


Decals are for USS Yorktown, 1939, from Starfighter Decals.

Curtiss P1

Rarebits kit mated to Mpnogram Goshawk wings and other parts. 

Boeing P12E

Rarebits fuselage mated to Matchbox Boeing P12 wings.

Boeing P12B

Rarebits fuselage mated to Matchbox Boeing P12 wings.

 

Hawker Fury 1 & 2  (November 1970)

 

Airfix and Frog had neglected the beautiful Fury biplane so this was an opportunity for a vacform that could not be missed. The kit did remarkably well and introduced vacforms to many British modellers, however only a few months later the Matchbox company brought out a line of injection

moulded small kits and kicked off with - surprise, surprise - the Hawker Fury biplane. Bob Jones

their advisor in the IPMS had reveiewed the RAREplane Fury just four months before.

 

Seversky P-35 (1969)

 

This was the first true vacuum-formed aircraft kit with fuselage, wing halves, tailplanes, engine  cowling, undercarriage and clear canopy. Its style and format was copied and perhaps never bettered. Two versions were made, the first was a plain male moulding and the second, an updated female mould with surface detail in 1974.  Model is shown in the Snow Owl markings of the 17th Pursuit Sqdn, Selfridge Field, Michigan in 1938. Those below are of the 94th Pursuit  Squadron in 1937.

Model by Gordon Stevens
Model by Gordon Stevens

Kinner XRK-1 Envoy 

 

This little US Navy Transport was a vacform made specially by G Stevens, because he loved its sharp 1930s design and because he could (only one moulding was made).. Utility Squadron mark 'J' on fuselage; three XRK were used by Navy engineering inspectors.

Model by Jim Lund
Model by Jim Lund

Lockheed Vega

 

Model painted in the livery of Jimmie Mattern’s 1935 Lockheed Vega. You can find out about Jimmie Mattern by clicking here. A unique feature of the kit is that the fuselage used clear

plastic for ease of painting windows.

Model by Gordon Stevens
Model by Gordon Stevens

Republic P-43 Lancer (November 1972)

 

This aircraft is a 'beefed-up' P-35, on the way to becoming a P-47. It was 30 years before an injection kit appeared. Markings are of a 55th Pursuit Squadron machine.  The camouflaged model below shows 1941 colouring and was made by Gerry. Some ended up in Australia.

 

 

Supermarine 224 The first 'Spitfire' (February 1984)

 

The aircraft was designed by R.J.Mitchell as a replacement for the Gauntlet. It first flew in 1934. The aircraft was not successful, losing out to the Gladiator as the replacement fighter. The fine corrugated wings are successfully imitated on the kit mouldings.

Curtiss YP-37 US Army pursuit (July 1977) packaged as a RAREbit conversion fuselage to be used with P-36 wing parts.

 

The model is shown in 1939 Arctic high-vis markings when 35th Pursuit Squadron of these experimental fighters operated from Ladd Field, Alaska.

Curtiss CW-21 Demon (July 1970)

 

This little interceptor was never named 'Demon'. Journalists saw the word on Curtiss literature which was partly obscured.  It was short for 'Demonstrator'.

 

The first model is in Dutch camo, as used in Far East. The blue model is of the prototype and the third is in the style of pre-war US Army markings. 

Bell XFM-1 Airacuda US Army experimental bomber-destroyer (June 1973)

 

Although only 13 of the futuristic Airacuda design were made, the model kit was more popular, selling more than 2500 copies! The model was unique in that the outboard wing nacelles were moulded in clear plastic for ease of painting.

 

For a review of the kit, look here.

Heinkel 51

D.H 89A.Rapide light transport (August 1974)

 

The model is unusually shown in the livery of the US Army Air Corps based in the UK in 1943. This kit also had clear mouldings for the fuselage halves for ease of painting.  Very shortly after this RAREplane appeared, first Veeday then Heller issued their 1:72 Rapide injection kits.

Dewoitine D. 510

French fighter (January 1970) male mould

 

A charming design of the 1930s, the D-510 was an ideal choice for RAREplanes to make into a vac kit with a simple number of parts so modellers could see what was required of them. The French were delighted with the kit but then Heller started their line of small aircraft of the late 1930s and amongst them was a gem of a D-510.

Fokker G-1 Reaper Dutch fighter (March 1978)

 

Quite a lot of modellers voted for this aircraft, perhaps because twin-boom type kits were rare.

It had the central nacelle halves moulded in clear plastic.

Breda Ba,65  Italian WW2 attack bomber (April 1972)

 

Surprisingly, the Breda was one of the top-selling RAREplanes and only recently one was super-

detailed by an Italian on an American website. Ron Firth of Plastic Kit Constructor also did a nice build of one on the ATF website. This model by Gerry shows how effective a simple vacform can be.when allied to inspired photography.

 

 

 

 

 

Nakajima Army Type 91 fighter (July 1984)

 

This smart little parasol-wing fighter was a good subject for RAREplanes as none of the Japanese

model industries had thought it would be a successful seller. With many drawings and photographs available, it was one of the most accurate of kits. Some 20 years later, an injection model appeared.

North American O-47A 

 

The kit was not released - patterns made were used for this one-off model that was built by Gerry (ATF web site) 

Lavochkin La5

 

Brewster Bermuda (Buccaneer)

Model by Gordon Stevens
Model by Gordon Stevens

Boeing  YB-17 'Flying Fortress' boxed with B-17D fuselage (February 1976)

 

This is the second of RAREplanes large kits with parts to make several versions of the straight-tailed early B-17 line. Academy injection kits finally made a B-17B and B-17D. This model was built and covered in silver foil by Gordon Stevens.

Martin PBM-3C Mariner 

Heinkel He-112 (October 1971) 

 

The model is shown in markings of the Spanish Nationalist air force in about 1938. Shortly after this kit was released, Heller issued an injection moulded kit.

Bell P-59A Airacomet (February 1971) packaged as RAREjets.

 

This was the first US jet of which only 50 were built. The aircraft was not judged to be a success  as a fighter but it gave valuable experience in designing and flying jet aircraft. The P-59 was the first jet made in vacform and showed the use of the process for all vac jets that followed.

 

Henschel Hs-126 (August 1971) 

 

This observation aircraft served with the Luftwaffe and several other air forces, giving a variety of oliur scheme options. The upper and lower left photos shows.the aircraft in Spanish Nationalist  camouflage and markings circa 1938. At right the observation aircraft is shown in Greek Air Force colours. Two injection-moulded kits were issued shortly after the vacform appeared.

Vought SB2U-3 Vindicator

(Kit issued in  May 1970 male  / July 1977 female)

 

A great favourite of modellers and another that had to wait 30 years before the Sword and MPM kits appeared, although there were several short-runmouldings from Merlin, Pegasus and Meicraft during that time. Model is shown in late 1941 USN camouflage and markings.

 

Model by Carmel J. Attard
Model by Carmel J. Attard

Brewster Bermuda  (May 1984)

 

The US Naval scout bombers were a very popular subject with modellers and the Helldiver, Dauntless and Devastator were established favourites. To make up a display, a Vindicator,             a Skyshark, Buccaneer and Destoyer were supplied by RAREplane kits.

Douglas BTD-1 Destroyer (mould sold to Esoteric circa November 1987) 

 

Having produced a large number of old US Navy airplane kits, Jim Wood (Esoteric) fancied a new line of modern US jets and warplanes.  Having completed the mould for the RAREplane stable, it was sold on to be the first of the new Esoteric series.

Fairey Fulmar Mk.I/II Fleet fighter (April 1975)

 

The Fulmar was one of the most popular RAREplane subjects because of its history, design and

perhaps also because it looked easy. Many were displayed in competitions in the early days of vacforms. A short-run injection kit by Pegasus came along after, but a kit from an Eastern Block country was to take a lot longer.

 

 

Model by Gordon Stevens
Model by Gordon Stevens

Supermarine Seafire FR.47  (January 1977) 

 

At the time this was issued, no Seafire kit existed and no Spitfire kit had got past Mark 9, so a lot of British modellers tried their hand at a vacform. A lot kept them for the next 25 years intending to make them!

North American P-51H Mustang (August 1975) packaged as RAREbits,fuselage only.

 

The wings on the model (shown left) came from a Starfix kit, cleaned up and scribed.

 

This version of the famous 'Mustang' was the fastest and used until the 1950s by the US National Guard whose units were allowed to decorate their aircraft in colourful scemes as shown here. The shape of the fuselage differed considerably from the wartime P-51D.

Republic Thunderbolt P47N

Model by Gordon Stevens
Model by Gordon Stevens

Fisher P75A Eagle

Rareplane Vacforms

Dougls A2D-1 Skyshark USN Attack Bomber (September 1981)

 

Although only a handful of the real aircraft were ever built, this excitingly 'busy' design appealed

very much to modellers and the kit was a best-seller. It was fairly accurate, considering the lack

of photographs available and was a favourite subject at model shows.

McDonnell XP-67 Moonbat (August 1980)

 

The Moonbat was designed as a high altitude interceptor. It first flew in 1944 but the project was cancelled before the end of the year, partly for a variety of technical reasons.

 

Making a kit of this curvaceous aircraft was a pattern-makers nightmare. That it could be constructed into a reasonable likeness is shown here in its 1944 US Army camouflage colours.

Stinson L-5 Sentinel (February 1973)

 

This is a simple kit of a much-used plane. The fuselage being molded in clear plastic, allowed the angled cabin windows to be accurately modeled. With little more than a few struts to be added, it was one of the easiest and most effective of vacforms. Care in the choice of glue, however, is essential when joining the cabin parts - PVA is probably best to avoid problems of clouding. 

Piper L-4 Grasshopper (May 1979)

 

Popular light liaison two-seater in WW2.  Kit had a clear plastic fuselage.

Blackburn Firebrand TF.5  ( May 1982)

 

Made from the accurate plans of the Firebrand by Mike Keep in Aviation News magazine, the kit was well-received by British modellers who felt that the earlier Airmodel vac was a little spartan.

It could be painted in several smart Royal Navy colour schemes.

Gloster Meteor F.8/FR.9 fighter (February 1980)

 

Surprisingly, a company issued a 1:48 vacform Meteor Mk8 in 1971, but it took nearly ten years to get one in 1:72 scale (the old Frog injection version was difficult to find). RAREplane polls

with the modellers showed the Meteor to be top of the list, so they got what they wanted. The extreme popularity of the kit was such that it encouraged a long-nosed night-fighter kit to be made later.

Model by Malcolm Lowe
Model by Malcolm Lowe

Meteor 14

 

Embraer/Short Tucano trainer (October 1988)

 

This smart new light aircraft, chosen to train RAF pilots, was an ideal subject to offer the modelling fraternity. Parts were moulded for the Brazilian version but the main fuselage featured the British one,

 

 

Model by Carmel J. Attard
Model by Carmel J. Attard

Pucara

Republic F-84G Thunderjet USAAF jet fighter (April 1974)

 

No small-scale version of this prolific jet fighter was available to modelers in the early 1970s and it was up to RAREplanes to fill the gap with a very detailed and accurate moulding. Decals on the model came from the HobbyBoss kit.

De Havilland Venom

Model by Carmel J. Attard
Model by Carmel J. Attard

 

Chance Vought F7U-3 Cutlass (March 1979)

 

30 years after the unusual Cutlass appeared, there was only a 1:48 Revell kit available and an odd scale Aurora injection kit. This was the RAREplane offering which soldiered on until the mid-1990s when Fujimi produced their definitive injection-moulded F7U versions.

Lockheed PV-1 Ventura Patrol Bomber (April 1978)

 

With only the old Airfix Hudson available at the time, a kit of the Ventura was badly needed by the American market according to feedback from model shops. So RAREplanes obliged and it rapidly became a favourite, as did the kit of the PV-2 Harpoon ten years later.

Lockheed PV-2 Harpoon

Rareplane Vacforms

 

A fine kit of this aircraft that saw service during the latter part of WW2 then in some foreign air forces such as France, Portugal and Japan  in post-war years.

Lockheed R5O-1 Model 18 Lodestar - Rareplane Ventura fuselage

 

The vacform fuselage was mated to wings from FROG Ventura, a successful mix and match by Gerry. Smart paintwork depicts the pre-war US Coast Guard version with no stars on the wings.

 

 

Beech C-45/ JRB/ F-2 Expeditor and variants

 

A versatile kit, allowing for a myriad of colour schemes from the blue-and-yellow US Army days to

grey USN transports of later years.  Shown here are a Royal Navy Expeditor, a modern high-vis staff transport, a camouflaged SEAC communications machine and the Arctic-based F-2  fitted out for photograhic mapping in 1939, and a hi-vis USN communications transport. 

D.H. 104 Dove (May 1986) 

 

This was a much-wanted model kit - and we are still waiting for a good injection-moulded version. Arguably, the Dove is the prettiest of the RAF/Royal Navy communications aircraft.


The third photo is a model built by Kevin Payne. Other photos of this model can be seen here.

Supermarine Spiteful/Seafang 

 

This model was a favourite with modellers and often seen at model shows because of its simple but effective shape. It probably introduced many British modelmakers to the vacuum-formed kit in the 1970s. Now, in the 2000s, we have a great choice of injection-moulded Spitefuls and Seafangs and in all sizes,

North American FJ-1 Fury USN shipboard jet (July 1975)  

 

The first of the Fury line of USN jets is shown in smart 1946 Reserve colours of Gloss Sea Blue and Orange. Short-run injection kits followed quickly, but the accurate and detailed vacform Fury got good publicity and outsold all others until the lone Siga kit came along.

North American FJ-4B Fury (September 1980)

 

This fighter-bomber served in the US Navy and Marines from 1955. It was the last in the line of Fury aircraft. The tanker version can also be buit from the kit parts

Model by Carmel Attard
Model by Carmel Attard

Douglas KA-3B Skywarrior (December 1985)

 

The Skywarrior is known as the heaviest aircraft to have served on US aircraft carriers. It as nickmaned 'The Whale'. It served for 30 years, only being retired in 1991. The kit used highly-detailed plans from Douglas Aircraft Co and was a good likeness to the original.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

North American AJ-2 Savage (November 1989)

 

The Savage was designed as a carrier-based bomber that could carry atomic bombs. it served between 1950 and 1957. Some were later used for air flight refuelling. The kit included a nore moulding for the AJ-2F version. Kit had metal parts.

 

 

McDonnell Douglas F3H-2 Demon (January 1984)

 

The Demon was a single-engined fighter designed to operate from aircraft carriers. It was nicknamed 'The Chair' or sometimes, 'lead sled'. It was in US Navy service until 1964 when it was replaced by the Phantom. 

Model by Carmel Attard
Model by Carmel Attard

F3D-1 Skyknight  (April1993)

 

The Skyknight, as the name almost suggests, was designed as a night fighter interceptor. It saw service during the Korean War. It used radar to find and intercept targets. It was the first aircraft to be fitted to fire Sparrow missiles. The Skyknight was finally retired in 1970. Titling on the kit said 'Skynight' which the originator wishes to umbly apologise for.

 

 

Model by Carmel J. Attard
Model by Carmel J. Attard

Beech Super KingAir 200  / RC-12

 

The kit is the Beechcraft Model 200 Super KingAir,shown here as the RC-12Huron used by the US Army, Navy and Air Force, as well as many other countries. It is also used for general light cargo, personnel and for some more specialist roles.

Supermarine Swift

 

This kit was first produced in 1986. It contained raised line detail and injection parts for the undercarriage. Some decals were also provided.

Model by Carmel J. Attard
Model by Carmel J. Attard

North American F86H

 

206 JetRanger

 

The JetRanger is one of a series of helicopters that have been used in a variety of military and civillian roles. It irst flew in 1966 and has only recently gone out of production.

 

The kit is moulded in clear acetate. This makes it easier to paint window frames, though attaching the halves needs care so as not to cloud the material.

Model by Carmel J. Attard
Model by Carmel J. Attard

U-2   (August1979)

Model by Kevin Payne
Model by Kevin Payne

Learjet C21-A

 

More photos can be seen here.

 

Model by Carmel J. Attard
Model by Carmel J. Attard

Beech Kingair