Ron Crawford's, April HBM 1/200 scale newsletter

For discussion of the popular 1:200 scale of aircraft models. Wikings, Helmets, HBM, the Norfolk Group, etc.... Ron Crawford, Wiking specialist and creator of 1/200 scale HBM aircraft is the moderator.
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Ron Crawford's, April HBM 1/200 scale newsletter

Postby grwebster » Mon Apr 02, 2012 7:57 pm

HBM 1:200 Newsletter – April 2012

From Ron Crawford

Note- A lot of people have requested that I append the photos as a separate file. The individual shots are all clearly labeled, so this will let you download, save, and use the pictures as you choose.

Rumors of Ron’s Demise Department. There is nothing to get your attention like a friend reaching out to console your probably bereaved wife. The past weekend a good friend in California made my day by calling. It turns out that he had heard reports passed on by other collectors in New Jersey and California that I had checked out and was now crafting 1:200 scale harps or pitchforks at some eternal destination. I pinched myself a couple of times, convinced both of us that I was still around, and then pondered the Lessons Learned.

The Somewhat Varnished Truth Department. The story goes something like this…….

• I tried really hard but could not even pull off a demi-demise. I have been spending a lot of time and energy going back and forth to Harvard in Boston for tests, scans, and probing, plus an occasional surgical tune-up of my improved plumbing. However, there is no sign of regrowth of the tumor. So I expect to be around for the foreseeable future. The Good News in all of this is that the Sturm und Drang carved me down two full clothing sizes, and around 60 pounds. It also cured my creaky knees and heroic snoring decibel output, and dropped my blood sugar and cholesterol to normal numbers. I still do not recommend my approach.

• We moved. Our old address, telephone number, and email addresses are as defunct as English personal pronouns (eg, Thee, Thou, and Thine). We sent out several waves of notices , but to limited avail. I have the feeling a lot were trashed as spam. We are located a bit north of the memorial to Carleton’s Revwar Raid and south of the twin hydro dams, overlooking Otter Creek and the Lemon Fair. Come visit virtually on Google Earth. Corporeal visitors are welcome by pre-arrangement as well. The new contacts are as follow.

735 Quaker Village Road
Weybridge, Vermont
USA 05753

Telephone +802.545.2224
Skype Stromboli1963

• Like most readers my own days as a sexual athlete and model making Olympian are nonetheless in the past. ‘Nuff said on that score, n’est pas (That’s French for nicht wahr? or the elegant, simple Canuck eh? )? We are within striking distance of achieving the goals I set for HBM. Our long time collectors now have very comprehensive representations of military aircraft from the 1930’s to date, plus some very unique subjects like NASA X-Planes, UFO’s, and midget submarines. The temptation to spend my pre-dotage getting the collection fettled and on display is well-nigh irresistible. The attrition among 1/200 collectors, the continuing issue of flagrant piracy, increasing problems with payments, and the competing demands of Real Life are adding to the urge. See also next item.

• We volunteered to host the Miniature Aircraft Collectors 2013 convention. We hope somehow to live up to the super Florida events hosted by Dennis Ramsey in 2011 and GR Webster in 2012. Our grandsons will also be in for command performances. That means two things. First it is now time to get the rest of my personal collection assembled, finished and on display. Second, the meeting will be combined with the sale of an incredible lode of duplicates and other stuff that surfaced during our move. Following GR’s lead, we will hold a sell and swap during the event and then run the remainders through auctions. The MAC event will probably be an early summer event (June and July have especially poor skiing conditions here.)

HBM News Department – new model releases

• In case anyone missed our notices, our most recent (2011) releases were the three versions of the JSF or Joint Strike Fighter, the F-35A,F-35B, and F-35C, the prewar French Loire 70 flying boat, the Consolidated Commodore , the Consolidated XPY-1 Admiral, the Martin P6M Seamaster, the Piasecki X-49A Speedhawk, and the Douglas XSB2D Destroyer. We are down to the last few copies, as we reduced the production numbers.

• March 2012 releases were the NASA Boeing X-51 with its ATACMS launch booster, the Chinese Chengdu Jian J-20 stealth strike jet , and Shenyang Jian J.14 stealth fighter.

• We are now tooling up for the next releases. Those will be the Douglas AD Skyraider/Spad, the Douglas XBT2D Skypirate, the Northrop BT-1, the Sikorsky S-42 Clipper, the Boeing 314 Clipper, and the Martin 130 Clipper. Those should be out in the early summer..

• By autumn we expect to release the remaining NASA X-planes, including the NASA X-42, X-39 FATE, X-41, X-46, and maybe the X-54. We are also working on the beautiful Republic Rainbow and Hughes XF-11 Chain Lightning, the final details for the U-Boat Type VIIC, and some surprise subjects.

Help wanted Part I

I am still looking for Konishi 1:200 aircraft models, the final couple issues of Air Enthusiast, and good drawings and pictures for any of the following…..Soviet space launch rocket vehicles such as the Vostok, Soyuz, N-1, Energia, and the NASA X-54. Also a comprehensible explanation of how to re-initialize Jaguar GPS systems – we think Phillipa (our S-Type) has suffered from DC current irregularities. If you are really feeling cyber-empowered, I could really use some instruction on how to program and use 3D printers. That is clearly one of the waves of the future.

Florida meet photos – most readers have already seen reports on the Miniature Aircraft Collectors meet at GR Webster’s lodge in Frostproof, Florida. I am attaching a number of photosof the event. It was absolutely terrific. Great prep, great folks, excellent grub, and some phenomenal finds, in addition to the tour of the Webster archive.,

Help Wanted Part II – The producer’s Dilemma Revisited

Choice of types. As mentioned above today’s cottage industry producers are in somewhat of a restricted wicket. The vast majority of the remotely interesting historic types have long since been made in 1:200, in many instances in a variety of variants. We are in a very real sense running out of rentable subjects and will soon face the prospect of making types so obscure or difficult that too few people will want one. Do we start making generations of improved or more detailed models of more popular types? Do we reintroduce the models we made long ago in hopes of recruiting a new generation of collectors? Do we reinvent ourselves and make very limited but state-of-the-art finished models? Or do we step back and concentrate on where we started off? That is, making models that we want personally plus selling enough copies to offset some of the expense.

Encouraging new collectors. The mirror image of the producer’s predicament is the barriers to becoming a new collector. We receive inquiries every week from people who want models we made any time from last year to decades ago. We try to supply what our limited remainders allow and to steer them to other sources. Unless they are extremely fortunate and stumble upon someone who is eager to sell off his collection, the new collectors face a long, difficult, and probably very expensive search. There is no possible way to duplicate the experience we had of being able to subscribe to entire ranges or genres. We have looked from time to time at the feasibility of reissuing the most requested models, but few instances have we had enough requests to support new tooling. (That is generally what suppresses piracy – it loses money.) And from the perspective of a hobby level producer, I wonder how many of us would enjoy making reissues in preference to making new and different designs.

Retaining current collectors. Then, of course, there is the third set of considerations. We know the collector-modeller population is declining. Age, health, grandchildren, retirement incomes, and competing priorities are all factors. As critical, however, is the failure of most hobbies to recruit and support younger generations. The potential is still there. Indeed, I honestly believe that digital media do not elicit the same kind of involvement and emotional attachment as tangible physical models. However, there is not much out there that is accessible for kids to see, let alone afford. With the grandsons here last week we made a valiant effort to find hobby and toy stores. The closest true model hobby shop is over an hour drive in each direction. The next closest are in Montreal.

Help wanted Part III - The guys who do not pay their bills

We would all be happiest in a pure swap situation. That is, in fact, how many collections have been built. Almost all of the 1/200 hobby producers have had swap agreements with each other. And many other collectors have had comparable arrangements, trading books, research information, corporate “gifts”, or labor on building models. Swaps are probably what kept us going and kept us honest over the years. We all enjoy opening a package of goodies much more than opening a check.

I believe the same spirit carried over to paid sales. Our “customers” were in many cases friends with whom we corresponded for years. Even if they kept up with means like money orders, checks, and Paypal, we all understood that they would do something in kind when they could. Often it means acting as eyes and ears, alerting us when new goodies or bad traders appear. Others might show us or our kids around when we are in their area. Or perhaps just take the time to send a letter telling us they appreciated our efforts. It would have been unthinkable for them to withhold payment. It would have been just as abhorrent for us to badger them.

For reasons I do not understand, times have changed. That raises the cost to everyone else, but the lack of common courtesy is more demoralizing.

Help wanted department Part IV – Planning for the inevitable

Sometime down the road our collections are going to be dispersed and passed on to new owners. GR Webster, Ladd Bovey, Larry McLaughlin and I are in an extended discussion about this. You are more than welcome to join in. We believe the issue is important enough that we should share our conclusions with the collector community.

In this installment I would like to address a couple of considerations. First, it is really difficult to predict when you may encounter a need to cut back or bail out. Second, and this may surprise most collectors, very few of us have more than fuzzy notions about what we have.

A. When are collections passed on?

Looking at the ways in which collections known to us have changed hands, we are most surprised by the variety of precipitating events, the way the issues are spread across life spans, short lead times many of those permit. An illustration: older collectors get whacked by heart attacks, cancer, and strokes. Middle aged guys seem to fall prey to disorders with earlier onset, such as Type II diabetes and lifestyle/ stress disorders. Younger collectors appear to favor accidents, vengeful former partners, and infectious consequences of procreation. They all end up equally deceased and with equally little warning. We noted similar patterns for other life-changing ichallenges, including health, employment, family matters, and moving house. Of particular interest, ostensibly good life events also seem to be crisis points for collections. Falling in love, getting married, new additions to the family, changing to a better job or company, joining voluntary organizations are common examples. On minimal examination the reasons are clear. When things change, we stop the action, take necessary looks at what we are doing, and make adjustments. And we may not be the only ones making assessments. We are reminded especially of one chap with world class model collections (I hope Fred is adequately disguised here) who found himself forced to choice between moving his models out of the kitchen and bedroom and losing the attentions of a gorgeous, talented, affectionate and very affluent girlfriend. We have heard that she took the dogs. Enough said. Life is bound to throw you some challenges. And all too many challenges will have you thinking about what to do with your collection(s). Do not delude yourself into thinking you will have warning or time to react systematically.

B. What have you got? (NOT necessarily “what do you collect”)

One of the real pleasures of my career was being able to piggyback a lot of personal touring on business travel. This enabled me to visit a very large number of modelers and collectors in North America and Europe, to see their collections, and to get to know their families.

I have actually met a few collectors who have genuinely circumscribed collections. Within the 1:200 world almost all of those are collectors of Dinky, Wiking or similar long defunct ranges. And within those categories I have encountered fellows who collect even more delimited categories of models, such as Wiking Wehrmacht (ground combat) and Vehrkehr (civilian traffic) or 1/200 wooden Wiking ship models. One might argue that succeeding in such specialization is a sign of mental imbalance or perhaps merely an early stage in becoming a “true collector”.

The latter was certainly part of my experience. In my wayward youth – perhaps a couple of those – I specialized in WWII US aircraft ID models. For the most part those were black, solid models made from cellulose acetate (a wood pulp derivative closely related to Rayon) in 1/72 scale. Several hundred black 1/72 models make an impressive display. They filled our basement. For some inexplicable reason my wife was delighted when I sold the collection. However, the lessons of that collection are clear. I knew exactly what had been made. I very quickly learned who else collected them or was looking for them, and I could recite from memory the collected works of Cruver, Design Center, and Theater Specialties. When Bob Thompson, Jim Dorst, and other older collectors turned me on to 1:200 Wiking aircraft, I should have been suspicious. Wikings looked at the time like a downsized but equally attractive range of identical historical significance. The coverage of Pacific Theater, especially Japanese, types was zilch, but Wiking compensated by offering the only authentic ID models of types like the Me 262 and Me 323. Selling (in my case) the 1/72 ID collection was actually very straightforward. I knew exactly what I had and did not have in one clearly identified range. I knew exactly who might want them, and most collectors knew what was in my collection. Even values were generally agreed. Individual models varied but large batches and collections went for $50 an engine. In my case I was even more fortunate that the buyer was a good friend, so that visitation rights were built in.

In my experience collecting rarely stays that simple. There are probably several more stages in the progression of collecting. We can see much of that without leaving my house. My case may be artificially simplified. Early in my efforts to collect Wiking aircraft, I made an agreement with my wife. In retrospect we both fooled ourselves. We agreed that if I collected only models in 1:200 scale, she would not collect my life insurance.

Collections almost never stay controlled or focused. Think in terms of focus overrun. In my case, I soon discovered that Wiking made very nice 1/200 boats and ships, 1/200 AFV’s, military and civilian transport models, including delightful items like a full dress brass band and a funny little guy who was a traffic cop in some finishes but with the right paint job and a toothbrush mustache looked just like the late Mr. Schickelgruber. From there it was only a modest extension to metal Wikings that stretched back into the 1930’s and forward into the Jet Age. Then there were other models that just might have been Wikings and making some original models that filled gaps of rumored Wikings and types that Wiking never got around to making. (Or did they?) And one should not forget the accumulation of books, articles, catalogs, etc. to document and support a Wiking collection. At least I was still in the Wiking ballpark, populated by folks who knew Wikings and understood them. So what if most Wiking collectors did not even know some of the models ever existed. At least there was a single theme and a population who thought in similar channels. I could always offer sale or swap within recognized rubrices like Wiking 1/200 figures And the scarcity of Wikings I might find should have been an ever-strengthening control.

The typical next stage seems to be collection proliferation. Looking back at my collecting career that is exactly what happened. I discovered that at least Holland, Sweden, England and the ANZACs, probably Italy, and the USA used ID models or training devices in or near 1/200 during WWII. How could I go wrong collecting those? But then how could I ignore the 1/200 ID models used by the Bundeswehr during the cold war or the almost certainly parallel 1/200 aircraft series that seemed to have come almost simultaneously from players like Corgi/Vapour Trails, Hawk, Cruver, Eskader, and Wiking themselves? With a bit of stretching one could define each as a collection branching in a reasonable way from Wikings. Further, each was itself a limited, historically defined collection for which there were identifiable but harder to find and contact constituencies. For example the collectors of Vapour Trails models are mostly Corgi and diecast model folks. The collectors of Hawk are mainly plastic modelers. I may be the only 1/200 Cruver collector.

I think, upon probably too generous consideration, that I am still in the next stage. Let us call that the stage of theme driven collecting. As collections proliferate it becomes evident that there are big, fascinating, gaps in what is available within a focused realm such as 1/200 ID models. In more or less quick succession I became involved in several different, more or less related, areas of the 1/200 hobby. The first was probably 1/200 plastic kits. 1/200 has never been a big hit in the plastic or wood kit industries, but the industry notion of Box Scale has resulted in some very nice and quite unique 1/200 models. Toys were another source. Some are close in scale but not in quality, but others are extremely nice. I discovered that diecast and display models are another way to broaden and deepen a 1/200 collection. Discovering Konishi first was a definite attraction, as was finding that Northrop and Boeing made regular in-house use of 1/200 models. That thrust, however, can lead one into the current offerings of firms like Herpa and Hogan. Collecting 1/200 aircraft can also lead into collecting more kinds of 1/200 models. With a bit of effort one can build very nice sets of 1/200 tanks and military vehicles, figures, battlefield scenery like pillboxes, architectural, space and sci-fi subjects. I did.

The next expression of theme driven collecting may be more driven than themed. Let’s call it something innocuous-sounding, like becoming a producer. Nearly 35 years and 900+ models later, I have finally gained a rational insight into that aspect of collecting. Suffice that becoming a producer directly subverts the underlying control of collecting. Making what you or friends desire is more or less the psychological opposite of collecting. It defies the controlling factors of what is “out there” and competing for scarce items. Worse still, it is a lot of fun. Just keep in mind that producers spend all of their time and effort trying to ensure that everyone who wants a particular model already has one.

A still worse aspect of being a producer is that you get very quickly into swap arrangements with other producers. That can be great fun as well, but it can lead to collecting whole collections. Having just moved them I am quite sure that I transported effectively complete collections from Trident and Hai-Krtina in Austria, Rohrmoser, Hauk, Rainer, Breyel, Fredy Schulltz, Club 200, and probably others in Germany, Helmet, Helmet 200, the Norfolk Group and its successors, 5-6 other British producers, and smaller sets from Holland, Denmark, The Czech Republic, and Sweden. To extend the analysis, I think it is possible to consider each of those nodes as a discrete collection that could be catalogued, displayed, and ultimately sold or swapped. But that could be a daunting task, for which there might be a limited payoff down the road.

The ultimate expression of collecting is probably something like collecting everything somewhat related. This is not a good point at which to name names, but we all know fellows, some of them perhaps close friends, whom this describes. Some collect, for example, every model of every plane they flew in, or Dad or Grandfather perhaps. Others want every livery of certain types, usually airliners. Others collect model airplanes in general, setting limits at such boundries as “good quality” and “not radio-controlled or flyable”. Visiting such collectors is wonderful for marital bliss. Significant others come away singing praises for your discipline and good taste. Unfortunately, such interludes invariably lead to the inevitable questions about how one might find good homes for such collections. Or yours.

The Learnable Lessons we can/should all be thinking about here are threefold. First, we need to understand what we are collecting. That will help us enjoy the collecting experience now but make it much easier to organize and dispose of holdings when the need arises. Second, we need to view our collections as single or multiple collections that appeal to other collectors. That aids current visitors and virtual guests in appreciating what they are seeing. It also guides us and our successors in how to package, market, and offer natural segments of our collections. Third, I think we need to be realistic about the values and prospects for selling currently available models. Those need to be out of production and retail stocks for about a modeler generation. In the meanwhile, as the plastic and railroad modelers have always realized, the value of the models is in the fun of finding, building, finishing, and displaying.

A look ahead. That is enough for now. In the next installment we will start examining ways we can put these lessons into action without stress. That will bring us into ways to identify, record, and present our collections. Then we will move on to what I consider the key component in the whole story: publicity. That means making sure that prospective buyers or swap partners are already well aware of our collections. That may be difficult but it is a whole lot easier to alert people who already lust for our collections than to start with our usual lists of folks who already have the same treasures.

3D Modelling Department. Chris Sayer and John Pracko are both closely tracking recent developments in 3D Printing. Here is an example just in from John Pracko. As that technology develops and as home craftsmen learn to use it effectively, that will be one of the core waves of our future. It will enable us to move directly from paper drawings and pictures to digital 3D “solid” models, and from there to directing printers, mills, or other computer controlled tools to make actual physical models. It is possible to output models in any scale that fits your machinery. And those models can be already assembled (in many cases) and conceivably even finished. Are you ready for a 1/200 WWI Gotha V with full lozenge camouflage? The 3D technologies are not fully mature. They work by either depositing or cutting away thin layer after layer of material, so at present the models will look more like tiny LEGO efforts. But I for one will be happy to work with what is available until the methods mature. According to my assessments it is not too difficult to rework a good 3D model as a master for lost wax or spin casting reproduction. Go to . Shapeways are a company that produces items using 3D Printing of designs produced by professional & amateurs - including aircraft of various scales - primarily 1/144 BUT a few 1/200 scale. Enter "aircraft" in the search section of their website and explore - you will find a photo & 360 degree view of the model. The 1/144 designers have offered to make the same models in 1/200, so the future is approaching at flank speed. You can follow developments here and in TOTS.

Offbeat tips department. -Indiana Jones Division. Hasbro Toys made, circa 2008, a diecast “Micro Machines” model of the German flying wing that appears prominently in Raiders of the Lost Ark. On a whimsical ark lark (pun intended) I ordered one,. Forsooth, the little devil scales out at very close to 1:200. At $9.95 from Amazon and eligible for free shipping, you can’t go far wrong. ... 42&sr=1-70

Submarine Department – Mel Douyette of Cold War Submarines continues to turn out real beauties. Just in is his Balao Class USN fleet boat in midwar trim. Check out the closeup photo attached. Those bits are all scratchbuilt. I am eagerly awaiting his Tambor and Squalus, the latter a hangover from reading Edward Ellsberg as a kid.

Surface Naval Gazing Department. Tehnoart Models in Riga, Latvia are the new incarnation of what we once knew as Fine Arts Models. They are making a growing range of both revised and brand new models. Their large ships are in 1/16” = 1 foot scale or 1:192. The models are simply outstanding. A gorgeous Sumner Class US destroyer from WWII is just out as your choice of a kit or finished model.

Leo Models

A new range of finished aircraft are the Leo range from Italy. The announcements show a rather ambitious selection of Italian military types that come with booklets somewhat like profiles. Unfortunately the models are also in a variety of scales. So far in 1:200 there are very nice models of the Cant. Z506 and Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar, and a Grumman Albatross. Christian Gandolfo on eBay is our recommended source.


The makers of Zvezda kits have begun a series of WWII models . Most appear to be 1/144 scale but their Junkers Ju 52/3m is a beauty.

Dragon Models

Dragon Models, which made some dandy 1/200 kits of B-52’s, Bears, B-2, etc. in the 1980’s, have restarted their 1/200 offerings. John Pracko has a feature on these in the latest TOTS. The marketing premise is very interesting. The models thus far are available both as Dragon-Cyber models kits and as finished Dragon models, For the minimal cost difference you would need some special purpose not to just buy the complete models. Out so far are versions of the Vulcan and B-49. An XB-35 has been announced.

IDT Models

John Pracko alerted us to a finished model of the Virgin Galactic SpaceShip Two and White Knight carrier aircraft made by IDT. We have ordered examples from Diecast but they are not out yet.

Peter Krtina/Hai

Peter Krtina sent a variety of very nice AFV models. Mainly WWII types. He is collaborating experimentally with a chap who does what look like 3D deposition or printing models.


Tehnoart Models in Riga, Latvia are the new incarnation of what we once knew as Fine Arts Models. They are making a growing range of both revised and brand new models. Their large ships are in 1/16” = 1 foot scale or 1:192. The models are simply outstanding. A gorgeous Sumner Class US destroyer from WWII is just out as your choice of a kit or finished model.

Herpatology Department

Herpa /Hogan have been releasing many colour and markings variants but brand new and very nice models of the MiG-25, MiG-25 UTI, B-52, An-12, Thunderbirds F-16 set are now available. The slow rate at which new miltary types are appearing makes us wonder about the economics of this niche. It may be, however, that the makers are simply recovering from the perverse habit of making one airliner in a thousand colour schemes.

Wings of War Becomes Wings of Glory

Sounds sort of like the first line of a Victorian hymn. Eh? The bottom line here is that Wings of War went belly up and the rights were acquired by another Italian firm. The new range will be called (modestly) Wings of Glory. The first issues will be a 3rd set of WWII fighters, like the Ki.61 Tony, P-40B, Re.2000, and Yak-1. Off scale but nice are a couple of pretty WWI giants in 1/144.
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