AIRCRAFT MODELS

With a handful of ship models successfully under our belt, we turned our attention to the “impossible,” produce exact replicas of airplanes - in aluminum - with no compromise.   Needless to say, everyone thought we were crazy (and perhaps we are).  So where to start?  Back when this idea was just that – an idea, we had read a story about an Argentine, named Guillermo Rojas Bazan who had been building airplane models in aluminum for many years.  His work looked quite good and our thought was that he just might have the knowledge and technology necessary to realize the impossible. 

We tracked Guillermo from Argentina to Spain and then on to Israel. When we located him (or rather those that knew him) in Israel, we were told he had moved to the United States.  As it turns out, Guillermo and his family had been promised the world by some American enthusiast if he would come to the U.S. and build models.  When we finally got a break and located him one Saturday evening in New York, we offered to bring him to Michigan to work with us on our World War II Corsair prototype. Thankfully, he accepted.  Today Guillermo and his family are US citizens living in Michigan.  He continues to build the most exquisite aircraft prototypes for us.

The original thought was that his creations could serve as a pilot model for our limited edition models.  But, because of the difference in a one-off model and creating fuselage panels for a series production, it became apparent to us that this would not work (even Guillermo thought the concept of a series production was insane).  It was our ship builders who finally turned us on to a couple of fellow Russians just as passionate about airplanes (they had built a 1/4 scale all metal flying airplane model) as they were about ships.  After three years of excruciating development, we began our limited production of the Corsair.  The end result was the impossible achieved - models that truly defy belief.

We’re pretty sure you won’t find better models in museums anywhere (take a look at the detail in our WWI Nieuport 11 and Fokker Dr.I).  And if there are, we don't know about them.


MODEL AIRCRAFT DEVELOPMENT

While we work from microfilm drawings of the real airplanes, (in the case of the FG1-D Corsair, we had the actual plane being restored the same time we developed the model, so there were no unanswered questions), these remain the most difficult models for us to develop.  This difficulty lies in the wood used in our World War I planes and the aluminum used in the World War II planes.  

With planes such as the Fokker, Nieuport and Sopwith Camel, warping was our biggest issue.  We must select woods whose grain is as close to scale as possible as the real plane, while simultaneously constructing the wings and fuselage in such a way that warping doesn’t occur over time.

The aluminum planes create an almost insane challenge with respect to building the internal structure of the wing and fuselage.  We must build these pieces so they won’t move.  We then have to apply a skin with pre-punched rivets that line up exactly with every bulkhead and detail.  We found that the solution was to create a jig to hold everything in place (which resulted in our panels being interchangeable with every other model produced of a specific plane).

Another challenge we faced were the instrument panels.  We had to create gauges with dials that could actually be read.  After some trial and error, we were able to produce data plates with lettering and images to scale, but only readable with a high-power magnifying glass.