Popular 1950s Aircraft
Boeing 707 – MiG-17 – Druine 31

Today we’re going to have a look around the Gallery of 1950s aircraft. There are a lot of interesting aircraft here but I thought it might be fun to look at three of the most popular of them.

First is the Boeing 707, in this case a rare version called the Boeing 707-138B. The Boeing 707 was the most popular of the second generation of jet airliners that began appearing in the world’s skies towards the end of the 1950s. It was the 707 and its competitors that began to popularize air travel and make it affordable to many more people. They were manufactured between 1956 and 1978 and a total of 865 were built. The 707-138 was a special version manufactured for Qantas and only seven of them were made. One of them ended up in the ownership of John Travolta and flew for many years in this Qantas livery.

This model is not one you can make straight from the box because of the shortened -138 fuselage and the upgraded engine and wings of the -138B version. There is a Workbench Notes about making a full range of Boeing 707 models, including the -138B, and you can find it here.

The MiG-17 was a development of the slightly earlier MiG-15 fighter that was flown against American Sabre fighters over Korea. It was too late for that war but came to public attention during the Vietnam war where it was used successfully against America fighters and bombers. Over 10,500 were manufactured in Russia, China and Poland and flown by thirty-six different nations. The first one flew in 1952 and a handful around the world are still flying, if not in military service then as civilian ‘warbirds’ that you can see at airshows.

When I made this model in 2011 I used the recently published AZ model 1/72 kit. I thought it was pretty good for a limited run injection model and it went together well, but you need care and patience with these kinds of kits to get the best out of them. I made this model in the markings of the Hungarian Air Force because I’ve been to that country and liked it.

It is impossible to know how many Druine 31s ultra-light aircraft were made because it was designed for home builders so people could make it in their garages if they had the plans, an engine and the necessary woodworking skills. This aircraft was designed in France in 1950 specifically to be built by enthusiasts but strict regulations meant that they could not be made in Australia until much later and this aircraft (VH-ULI) was the first ultra-light to be flown in South Australia in 1963.

The kit for this model was the delightful little Dujin 1/72 resin kit. Dujin kits are an acquired taste and increasingly rare to find these days. Some people say that they are unmakeable but really they are fairly straight forward once you have made a few, understand the processes involved and proceed slowly and carefully, as is always the case with limited run kits like this. I made the decals for this on my computer and printer on decal paper.