The First Frog Plastic Kits

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The First Frog Plastic Kits

Unread postby N113 fan » Sat Sep 15, 2012 10:56 pm



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The first Frog kits seem to appear to the model buying public in the first half of 1956 and reading the pages of the aeromodelling magazine 'Aircraft Models' for January 1956 a short paragraph in the magazine's regular what’s new in the market place 'Over the Counter' on page 16. names the seven kits that will become the first additions to Frog 1/72nd high impact polystyrene scale model range. They are called by the magazine writers “plastic solids” and it is stated that the kits are easy to build and include glue, stand and full instructions. The article also mentions that the trade name of Penguin will not be associated with the new kit range.

Note that the Hunter kit has the box top colour scheme of the all red, one of a kind record breaking high speed Hunter Mk 3 WB188 from 1953 which was a modified version of the Hunter Prototype. For the kit as shown is to be modelled as the record breaking Hunter the rear fuselage would have to be modified with two side mounted airbrakes added and the nose reshaped to a point. Currently the actual aircraft is displayed at the Tangmere Military Aviation Museum and they have a page on the aircraft in their web site. However the serial number WT575 both on the box top and on the decal sheet was for a standard camouflaged Hawker Hunter F Mk 1 which was scrapped in 1958.
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From the decal sheet supplied with the kit the serial numbers is for a Westland Whirlwind HAR Mk 1, cn
WA05 supplied to the Royal Navy in 1954 allocated the serial number of XA865 per the decal sheet. The records for this aircraft was that it was used by the Royal Navy for development flying and at the end of its service life it was later sold to BEA helicopters and was reduced for spares in 1963.


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Again this time from the pages of Aircraft Models magazine on page 137 is a small paragraph report on the Tri-ang trade Fair which introduced the new accurate 1/72nd plastic kits. They state that the Hunter and Whirlwind Helicopter were in the shops and to follow were the Canberra PR 7, Javelin F1 and the F-86E Sabre in that order. Price was to be 5s 3d and 8s 6d. A small B/W picture of the trade stand was printed in this issue and the early box design could just be picked out on the far wall of the stand.



A short pre-view film clip gives a flavour of the 1956 Tri-ang Toy (trade) Fair can be viewed in this short video link. However it does not show the early new Frog kits on display. It does show a number of mechanical toys and pedal cars. The other main features is of the model rail layout and another a large water tank with various floating toys. Using the links on this page the 1957 Tri-ang Toy (trade) Fair is also featured and gives a fantastic but short clip of the then new Bristol Britannia and a mock-up of an aircraft carrier with several early Frog RAF and Fleet Air Arm kits on display. The Westland Whirlwnd has powered main rotors for effect, is this the first example of spin a prop technology (just kidding).

Toy Fair 1956



Toy Fair 1957





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The Canberra PR 7 serial WH773 first flight August 1953 is currently on display at the Gatwick Aviation Museum and has had a very interesting career in the RAF which is detailed in the Gatwick Museum web page for WH773. The aircraft was one of the entries to the 1953 London to New Zealand air race being placed fourth.

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First flight January 1954, Javelin prototype to A&AEE Boscombe Down for trials. Then allocated serial 7485M for instructional use and eventually SOC and scrapped in December 1962.

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The first advertisement that I have found for the then new Frog plastic kits range were printed in the June edition of the Aircraft Models magazine and surprisingly the Ad was not by the Lines brothers company of IMA Ltd but a retail department store called Gamages of Holborn London. The advertisement shows with the aid of a small pictorial B/W line drawings, I guess that the artwork must have been supplied by IMA Ltd, the Canberra and Javelin with a text mention of the N.A. Sabre and Whirlwind helicopter to the side of the drawings. But at the head of the Ad was the line drawing of the new kit the D.H. DH110 which it stated would be ready soon, the Hawker Hunter was mentioned in text only at the side of that line drawing. Also in the other major aeromodelling magazine Aero Modeller for June a model shop by the name of Arthur Mullet of Brighton Sussex had an advertisement selling the Whirlwind helicopter, Hunter F1, N.A. Sabre and Canberra PR7. They were also selling imported Revell ship kits and a model shop in Cardiff by the name of Bud Morgan was selling the same Frog kits, but listed the Javelin kit and to follow the Meteor, Sea Hawk, Venom and DH110. Airfix were also on sale with kits like the BTK Spitfire and the Ferguson tractor.

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The Frog Sabre F-84E, serial XB547 was a Canadian built Sabre F4 which started its life with the Canadian Air Force with the serial 19478 and was then purchased by the RAF as XB547 it operated with No 3 Sqn and No 20 Sqn in Germany it was eventually struck off charge in 1958.
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DH Venom FB4 serial number WR413 SOC in Africa on the 20th March 1960 and noted as scrapped at RAF Eastleigh Kenya.

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The mention of the D.H. Venom latest Frog plastic kit in the Over the Counter articles of new products for the August edition of the Aircraft Models magazine. Interestingly it was noted that the stand supplied with the kit had been modified with a web ? to strengthen it. Also towards the back of the magazine the Gamages Ad was showing the Venom at 5S 3d along with the Canberra and Javelin. The other magazine of note Aero Modeller magazine and this featured in its pages the first International Model Aircraft Ltd full page advertisement that I have found so far. The line drawing of the Hunter is showing it with RAF markings and also this Ad is also promoting the Meteor, Sea Hawk and DH110 kits.

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Gloster Meteor F Mk 8 of 600 sqn which at the time of its release by Frog was coming to the end of its service life and by November 1957 it was struck off charge and later scrapped at RAF Waterbeach.

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The magazine Aero Modeller had a few lines and a photo in its Trade Notes article on page 483, showing the Hunter, Whirlwind and Sabre models built but not painted and just a few lines of description. Also in the September issue of the Royal Air force Flying Review magazine the second found, this full page advertisement by the company, International Model Aircraft Ltd as shown below:

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Meccano Magazine for October/ November/ December ran advertisements for a company called Taylor & Mc Kenna Ltd of Harlesden had each month a half page Frog Ad.

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The Famous Hamleys of Regent Street, London had a half page advert for Frog models in the December issue of Meccano Magazine.

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(Frank Spencer, repeating) There are old pilots and bold pilots

(Frank, confused) There are no old bald pilots

(Flight instructor, annoyed) No Mr Spencer no old Bold pilots !!

(quote : Frank Spencer, Xmas special, TV show Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em)

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