If you ask anyone the question of who makes model planes, most answers will be Airfix. The first Airfix plane kit of the Spitfire was made in 1955 in the standard 1/72 scale. These original models were very simple by today’s standards, and the quality of detail and fit, left a lot to be desired! Japanese companies Tamiya and Hasegawa set new parameters for design detail in the 1980s, and almost all manufacturers have since improved their finish and quality.
Modern kits have a huge amount of moulding detail, with very accurate and precise decals. The kits also require painting and decals to achieve a high standard of finish, and a keen model maker will take great care and attention to achieve this finish on his model plane. Many people however just want to buy it ready made. Plenty of manufacturers are able to supply this market, with Corgi being one of the best known. Their ranges of modern military jets and WW2 fighters and bombers are acknowledged to be some of the finest available.
In recent years, flying model planes has become a popular hobby. They are powered by small liquid fuel engines or by re-chargeable batteries. They are generally made of very lightweight materials like expanded polystyrene, and are controlled from the ground by means of sophisticated radio units. As manufacturing techniques have improved, many flying fans have been attracted to exchanging their model planes for helicopters, which are almost as difficult to fly as the real thing! Silverlit are the experts in this field, and many of their miniature versions can be used indoors, as long as all valuables are out of sight!
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