AV-NOSTALGIA: Those little polystyrene foam planes you used to play with..


In a world where products change by the season, it’s wonderful to have eternal things. Power Prop Flying Gliders have been the same for at least thirty years, and I suspect longer than that.  You buy an envelope, decorated with a fascinatingly naïve painting of an aeroplane. Open it and within seconds you’ve assembled a natty little World War Two fighter. After a few flights you’ll loose the small blue propeller, but that’s fine as it flies better without it. The spelling mistake ‘Eocke-Wulf’ has been immortalised and remains today (if the manufacturers are reading this, please DO NOT correct this!).

(Hang on, I’ve just checked a modern packet and it appears it has been corrected…)

The artworks were clumsy and at times bordered on being ‘outsider art’.

Hey! Number 7 should be a Spitfire! This must be a US edition.

Hey! Number 7 should be a Spitfire! This must be a US edition.

The Hawker Hurricane and Tomahawk were satanic red and appeared to be fighting in the fires of hell. The Supermarine Spitfire MK.II (sic) was the weirdest front-cover. The style is like a Vietnamese ’60s propaganda poster. Bloody splodges of explosions decorate the mountain ridge below the aircraft. The plane itself is mottled two-tone blue and is dropping two slug-like creatures (bombs?). The aircraft bears little actual resemblance to a Spitfire Mk.II and looks like an experimental Italian fighter.

Millions of these excellent toys have been produced. Gardens and pavements around the world became theatres of war, with enactments regularly foiled by cats mauling your fighter force.

Who was the artist who made these covers? Was it the work of an old man in China in the 1950s? Did he paint them in one rainy morning in a back room in Chengdu, as his wife cooked? I guess we’ll never know.  Looking at them, there is enough difference to suggest there is more than one artist at work here. I want to find out the true story behind these paintings..

Hush-kit is reminding the world of the beauty of flight.

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  1. Gray Stanback

    You’ve got to love how they included the Piper Tri-pacer pretty much as the token civilian type.

  2. Funkylamb

    Just bought an Eoke Wulf today so the mistake remains (they make another one correctly named Focke Wulf but it’s a different model).

  3. henryvonkleist

    I bought the Piper Tri-Pacer today and can report it looks nothing like the original. Its some WWII fighter with a palette-swap.
    As the manufacturer also offers a range of styrofoam bird models, I bought a little Shrike for my girlfriend. It also looks nothing like an actual Shrike, but who cares, right? It flies just fine.

  4. Philip Chandler

    A friend had them as table gifts at their wedding. All the speeches featured flypasts and heckling by Spitfire. I fully recommend the concept!

  5. War

    I just like the models, the color is ok … Sometimes they put 2 same planes in wrappers but under different names .

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