The Frog Trail blazers (part one)

Frog announced in the beginning of 1964 a new range of 1/72 Aircraft to be known as ‘Trail Blazers’. These were models of aircraft that had become famous for feats of aviation such as the Bleriot that was the first aircraft to cross the English Channel in July 1909, the High Altitude record in 1936 by the Bristol 138, and the Schneider Trophy outright winner in 1931.

Five Trail Blazer models were released in 1964 followed by four in 1965 and the final two in 1966. The full list is as follows:

F163 Vickers Vimy (Spring 1964) F164 Supermarine S6b (the first to be issued and the only model in the purple range) F165 Bristol 138A (autumn 1964) F166 Spirit of St Louis (autumn 1964) F167  Westland Wallace (winter 1964) F168 DH Comet Racer (1965) F169 DH Gipsy moth(1965) F128 R-100 (1965 It was to 1/500 scale due to the huge size of the Airship. I have the original drawings in my collection) F173 Bleriot (1965) The final two issued in 1966 were F174 Gloster E28/39 and the F175 Southern Cross. in total eleven models were released between 1964 and 1966. 

It is worth noting with the exception of the 1966 releases all the Trail Blazers carried ‘Gold Tokens’ a reward scheme introduced in April 1964 which when collected could be redeemed for gifts 15 tokens for instance would get a “Chuck Glider” 30 a book on speed record breakers and 45 a Junior sail plane kit. The tokens were printed on the instruction sheets and had to be cut out. When the scheme closed in December 1965 a lot of models appeared with stickers on the boxes stating “Gold token scheme now discontinued”.

Trailblazers

Trail Blazers advert from 1964 booklet issued by Frog

Bristol 138:A

F165 This example is in near mint condition. Note the Trail Blazers logo on the box

Bristol 138:A-1 (1)

The painting guide on the rear of the box.

frog bristol 138

A 1964 advert for the Bristol 138

Bristol 138:A-1-3

The rather odd decal that Frog included in the Trail Blazer series. No mention of it was made on the box or instructions.

F165 Bristol 138. Note the original type stand still marked International Model Aircraft Ltd

F165 Bristol 138. Note the original type stand still marked International Model Aircraft Ltd

138:1

Clear and concise instructions for the Bristol 138

The Original decals for the 138 complete with tissue protection. These decals are in super condition.

The Original decals for the 138 complete with tissue protection. These decals are in perfect condition and are 52 years old

IMG_1491

When I was taking the parts out of the box to photograph the 138 for this article I was very surprised to notice that this small tube of glue was still soft and had not hardened. This is surely a first bearing in mind it is 52 years old.

IMG_1482

The beautiful stand for the Bristol 138 still marked ‘International Model Aircraft

138

Note the Gold Token printed on the instruction sheet

A Note on numbering 

Frog’s numbering sequence does not appear to be  logical in the Trail Blazer series F163 to F169 are Trail Blazers this is followed by F128 The R-100 then the next models in the series are F173/4 & 5. number F170 is the P61 Black Widow (issued 1966), F171 is the Hurricane 11c (first issued as F188 in 1967 and re-numbered F171 in 1974and finally F172 the Avro Shackleton (issued in 1967)

The first Trail Blazer is the S6B F164 however the Vickers Vimy has the number F163 which was issued after the S6B.

I have checked my primary source on Frog “Frog Model Aircraft Lines & Hellstrom 1989″ and can find no explanation. If anybody can cast further light on this mystery, please contact me.

Supermarine S6B 1-2

F164 The S6B The only model in the purple series and the first Trail Blazer. The bottom of the box was plain and did not have any printed painting instructions. It later became the Black series.

IMG_1508
Supermarine S6B 1 Supermarine S6B 1-1

Supermarine S6B 1-6

The S6B Decals. With decal solution these would still be usable

Supermarine S6B 1-5

Another of the rather odd decals that came with the Trail Blazer models

It is now half a century since the Trail Blazer series was discontinued (1966) but amazingly several of the models are still in production. A tribute to the Frog mould makers. Models such as the Bleriot and R-100 still match up well to today’s releases. Without the Trail Blazer series would we have ever seen models such as the Bristol 138, the R-100, the Gloster E28/39 or even the Bleriot? Each model had figures of the pilots and the Bleriot even had a base and French flag. The R-100 of course included the Mooring Mast. Part two will  focus on further models in the series.

Przemysl  January 2016  © Frog Model Aircraft