What do you know about the history of early Free Flight models? The museum is looking for the earliest advertised kit or published plan of a scale model with a wingspan of 13″ or less. There’s some history below to jog your memory. If you have anything to share, please email Maria at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update: We’ve been informed that in the early 2000s a collection of National kits and catalog were auctioned off on eBay. Does anyone happen to know who bought them?
Peanut scale models as a class began in 1967 when Dave Stott and Bob Thompson decided to hold a contest featuring the small scale pre-WWII kits after reminiscing about how much fun they were to build and fly. The two of them coined the term “Peanut Scale” for any scale Free Flight model with a wingspan of 13” or less.
Just what small scale models from before World War II were the two talking about? When did they come on the market? What about published plans? For an upcoming exhibit on the history of Peanut Scale models, the museum decided to find out.
Thanks to the work of dedicated museum volunteers Tom Hallman and Vance Gilbert, museum intern Max Madson, and the advice of Bill Hannan, the earliest mention of a model that meets Peanut Scale regulations was found in the March 1931 issue of Model Airplane News. National Model Aircraft & Supply Co. advertised their new line of Midget models as a sensation that could be flown anywhere and were practically indestructible. The first two models in the line, both with a wingspan of 12”, were a Curtiss Hawk and a Heath Parasol. The next month saw additions of a S.E.5 and a Fokker D-7. By March of the next year there were 21 National Midget models, according to their full-page ad inside the back cover of Model Airplane News.
Plans for the Heath Parasol have been located in a KAPA Kollector, and the museum has the Fokker D-7 kit in the collection.
Before we go forward with building a reproduction of one of these early National Midget models, the museum wants to know: do you have any knowledge of any early scale Free Flight models with a wingspan of 13” or less? Do you have access to any copies of old National Midget plans? If you do, let us know by emailing Maria at email@example.com. Please provide any documentation you can, including magazine article dates, kit names and or plan information.