Fire Engines by Tom Showers
The late Tom Showers was a prolific builder of model fire engines and an
apparatus historian. Many of his over 450 models are on display in fire museums
like the one in Los Angeles. We are privileged to have on display some of
his models from the collection of model builder and fire apparatus
historian John Ackerman. Tom Showers served as John's mentor in model
LaFrance Searchlight engine #1
Courtesy of the John Ackerman
This New York Fire Department
horse drawn engine is based on a 4th size steamer with Bullock marine type
5 Kw generator. It has two de-mountable searchlights of 9000 candlepower
each. (The term “4th size” refers to a particular category of pump engine
and is not a reference to scale.)
Donated by John Ackerman,
Tom built this model in 1951.
It is one of his earlier models built from basswood. In fact, the number
“20” on the door indicates that it is his 20th model. It represents a
machine from the Marion, OH fire department.
Seagraves Rescue Car
Courtesy of the John Ackerman
Featuring ladders and four
powerful searchlights, this emergency vehicle was tasked with rescue
rather than strictly firefighting duties. It carries the SFD livery of the
Sacramento Fire Department.
Ahrens-Fox Model VLU 42
Courtesy of the John Ackerman
A standard line quad in an
unusual black color, this truck is one used by the Sacramento Fire
Department in California.
Mack Type 21
Courtesy of the John Ackerman
A New York Fire Department
classic in bright red. Although there is much speculation about the reason
red became the most popular color for fire trucks, more than likely it was
just because people have always associated red with fire. There are
certainly many other colors in use around the country and around the world including black, gray, lime yellow,
bright yellow, white, green and even purple!
"Magirus" 30-meter Aerial Ladder Truck (Germany)
Courtesy of the John Ackerman
This German hybrid was built on
a British “Bedford” chassis and used by a fire company in Denmark. The
aerial ladder on the model actually rotates and extends using a special
tool to turn the cable drum. To stabilize the vehicle while the ladder is
extended, jacks are pulled out from the sides of the chassis.
Howe/Hendrickson Manifold Wagon
Donated by John Ackerman,
Builder Tom Showers painted a
number of his trucks in the colors of an imaginary town called Luna Beach.
Bright yellow colors like this model were once thought to be more
visible to other drivers than the traditional red color, but accident
statistics involving fire vehicle collisions fail to back that up.
Originally even red trucks were a much darker shade of red than the
brighter red popular with many departments today.
Morita-Isuzu Hose Tender (Japan)
Courtesy of the John Ackerman
This model was built using the
molded plastic front end from a 1960's Japanese kit but from the cab
back it was all scratch built from basswood. Details like siren, bell,
emergency lights, loudspeaker, mirrors, controls, ladders and such are
all scratch built as well. This engine includes two hose carts that are
unloaded from the engine and then are hand pulled by the firemen as the
hose is played out at the fire. One cart rides inside the back of the
truck and the other rides on top of a platform in the back. A small ramp
allows the carts to be rolled out of the truck. A handle at the front of
the truck swings up for two firemen to pull it.
More Fire Equipment
(Above) Cart and pump in travel position
Pump unit only and pump unloaded from cart.
1880 Dutch Fire Pump
Built and donated by
Merl Thurman, Livingston, TX
This is a 1/8 scale model
of a pump built by H. Belder, a fire engine manufacturer in Amsterdam,
Netherlands. The horse cart was built by C. H. Broekman in Amsterdam.
The pumps were used as a combination of extinguisher and supercharger.
In 1880 the town of Wassenaar purchased two of these hand pumps, the
last hand pumps they purchased.
The pumps were drawn by
horse to the fire. There the pump was offloaded by tilting the cart and
sliding it off the back. Two pumps/carts were required. One was
stationed at the water source and pumped water into a holding tank on
the second unit. From there, the second pump was used to pump water from
the tank onto the fire. They were capable of pumping 200 gallons per
minute. Each cart had a 6-man crew.
This model was scratch
built in 1/8 scale from plans drawn by Frans Zwartjes with information
from Fire Brigade Chief J.A. Jansen. It took approximately 700 hour to
Built by Robert Wood
Robert was unable to complete this model
but his skill and attention to detail can clearly be seen in this
masterful work of art. The USS Pennsylvania was designed by Samuel
Humphreys and built at the Philadelphia Naval Yard in 1837. Around 1977
Robert started in earnest his quest to build his model of the USS
Pennsylvania. After a number of months of correspondence with the
Smithsonian Institution and the Franklin Institute he finally succeeded
in obtaining copies of the plans from the National Archives which he
then began the task of scaling to 1/8th scale.
Robert’s passion for model ship building
began in 1939 while living in Philadelphia shortly before beginning his
military career in the Marine Corps from 1939 to 1951.
One of his first models was of the Flying
Cloud that he built while in the Marine Corps. By 1950 he’d built a
replica of Joshua Slocum’s Spray. In the mid-1960s he built a replica of
an 18th century ropewalk in order to manufacture his own ship rigging
rope. Passing in 1990, Robert is remembered for never being without a
model in progress.
USS Pennsylvania Specifications
Started c1978 – unfinished
Rib and plank construction
Open hull one side
43” stem to stern
32” keel to top of main mast.
Sovereign of the
Built by Robert Wood
The Sovereign of the Seas, also called the
Royal Sovereign, is the fifth ship model built by Robert. The Sovereign
is an English Naval warship built by Peter Pelt at the Chatham Dockyards
in England for King Charles I. It was launched in 1637, saw three
battles, and burned to the waterline in 1697.
Completed in 1965, the Sovereign model is a solid hull, scratch-built
ship. With the exception of a few metal fittings and the cannons,
everything else is hand made by Robert. The Sovereign is an especially complex
model with yards of hand crafted rigging and intricate carvings
decorating the ship. This was the first ship for which Robert built an
18th century ropewalk in order to manufacture rigging rope. He spent
many hours hand-twisting various sizes of rigging and formed the
decorations by carving individual molds in plaster in order to make the
castings of wood paste.
Sovereign of the Seas Specifications
Solid hull construction
35” stem to stern
26½” keel to top of main mast
Donated by Dandelyn O'Conner
Nordkap—A 1/50th scale Greenland Trawler
Built by Maurice "Mike" O'Conner
Though representing a modern steel-hulled fishing trawler, this hull of
this model was built up using traditional plank-on-frame technique. Plans
and materials came from a kit by
The Billing Boats site describes the
Nordkap as a typical trawler from the North Sea, built in1970 at an
English shipyard. The model kit is based on the original ship drawings.
Tonnage: 185 gross register tonnage. Length overall: 40.0 m. Beam: 9.30 m.
Motor: 1000 HP diesel. Cruising speed: 12-14 knots. Crew: 7-8 men. Fishing
tackle: Drag net (trawl). Fishing area: Around Iceland and Greenland.
Haul: Herring, cod and trash fish.
Mike O'Conner was a pilot and
engineer for Douglas Aircraft for over 40 years and enjoyed building
models as a hobby. He was also a member of the Shadowridge Ocean Hills
Retirement Community "Woodchucks" woodworking club. Several years ago,
members of that club toured the Craftsmanship Museum in Vista. When he
passed away in May, 2010 at his request his wife donated his finest model
to the Joe Martin Foundation's museum for all to enjoy.
Built and donated by Michael Titone, Temecula, CA
Built by Michael Titone
This 1/78 scale plank-on-frame
model was built by Michael Titone starting from a Model Shipways kit.
Rigging is all functional.
In 1794, the United States Congress
authorized the construction of six warships, which in effect created the
American Navy. One of these ships was the USS Constitution, which
became known as "Old Ironsides" because the oak used in her hull
construction was so hard that enemy bullets were unable to penetrate her
7" thick hull.
The Constitution was built in Boston
in 1797 and first served in the "Quasi War" with France from 1798 to 1800.
She also served in the Mediterranean in the battle against pirates in
Tripoli. In 1812, during the war against Britain one of her most famous
battles was the victory over the British HMS Guerriere. Another
important victory was won with the defeat of the HMS Java later
1831 the Constitution was considered not fit to sail, but public
opinion of the famous ship allowed it to continue in activeservice until
1881. It has now been restored and is on display at the Naval Museum in
Courtesy of Michael Titone
Built by Michael Titone
This 1/56 scale plank-on-frame
model was built by Michael Titone starting from an Artesania Latina kit.
Rigging is all functional.
In 1787 a convoy of 11 ships uner the
leadership of Captain Arthur Phillip left Plymouth, England on a journey
to the far side of the world. The ships contained 1500 Marines, officers,
seamen and their families along with 732 convicts bound for a new penal
colony in New South Wales in the future commonwealth of Australia. The
trip to Botany Bay took eighteen months and one week.
The HMS Supply, at 168 tons was the
swiftest sailor in the first fleet and acted as a scout and message
carrier during the voyage. She was the first ship to enter Botany Bay on
January 19, 1788. The Supply rates with the Sirius as the
most famous historical ship of the new Australian nation and was typical
of the convict ships that would transport more British prisoners to that
Courtesy of Michael Titone
HMS Victory, Granado
Built by Michael Titone
This 1/84 scale plank-on-frame
model was built by Michael Titone starting from an Artesania Latina kit.
Rigging is all functional.
The Granado was originally built as a sloop
designed by the great naval architect Thomas Slade who also designed the
HMS Victory. The Granado was launched on June 20, 1742.
She worked at intelligence gathering and intercepting smugglers and
privateers. With the impending Seven Year's War, the Admiralty converted
her to a bomb vessel in 1755. As a bomb vessel she performed her duties
admirably and ended her career with the close of the war in 1763.
Courtesy of Michael Titone
Oseberg Viking Burial Ship
Built by Michael Titone
This 1/25 scale plank-on-frame
model was built by Michael Titone starting from a Billings Boats kit.
This is a model of an unusual Viking burial
vessel that seems to pose more questions than it answers. The
Oseberg burial mound (Norwegian: Oseberghaugen ved Slagen from the Old
Norse word haugr meaning mound or barrow) contained the ship, numerous
grave goods and two female human skeletons. The ship’s interment into its
burial mound dates from 834, but parts of the ship date from around 800,
and the ship itself is thought to be older. It was excavated by Norwegian
archaeologist Haakon Shetelig and Swedish archaeologist Gabriel Gustafson
in 1904-1905. This ship is widely celebrated and has been called one of
the finest finds to have survived the Viking Age. The ship and some of its
contents are displayed at the Viking Ship Museum, in Bygdøy.
Unfortunately, in the middle ages the mound was tunneled into by robbers
and all of the metalware was removed. The ship and remaining contents were
perfectly preserved by the clay in which it was buried for over 1000
years. It remains one of the best preserved relics of the Viking age.
Boat in a Bulb
Built by Howard Griffus, San Diego, CA
Howard Griffus, a retired shipwright,
wanted to see if he could put a tiny boat in an old automotive lightbulb.
Beginning when he was just 10 years old, Howard has built a number of
model boats and ships (you’ll find a couple of his works at the Maritime
Museum in San Diego) but this was a first for him. After leaving the
military, Howard worked as a fire fighter and then as a shipwright in
the San Francisco Bay area.
Donated by Joe Martin
Model Sailing Ship in a Bottle (Maker unknown)
Ship models built inside glass bottles have amazed viewers for centuries.
Sailors had plenty of time on their hands in their off-duty hours aboard
ship and a ready supply of bottles, wood and cloth. They also had the
requisite knowledge of ships and rigging to make accurate models. The
trick was to build one inside a bottle when it was apparent to all viewers
that it would not fit through the bottle's neck. How was it done? The ship
was built outside the bottle but the rigging was designed so that it laid
down on the deck of the ship while it was inserted into the bottle. Then a
single string was pulled that erected the masts and rigging inside the
bottle. The masts were glued in place and finally the erecting string was
cut and removed, leaving a fully rigged ship inside the bottle...that is,
if everything went as planned.
This modern model is no doubt constructed in the traditional way, because
the bottle is intact. Though not of the quality of some you will see in
museums by the finest craftsmen, it is probably pretty typical of a real
seaman's model, and a pretty good one at that. The bottle stands about 12"
tall and the ship is about 5" long. A US Quarter in the photos is used for
Model Commercial Ship in a Bottle
Built by Mr. Fraas—Donated by USS Midway
Museum, San Diego, CA
Commercial ship with seven holds built
inside a small liquor bottle. Note the unusual carved bottle stopper.
Donated by Francis J. Tepedino
USS United States man-o'-war
Built by Francis J. Tepedino
A good way to get started in ship modeling
is with plastic models. This detailed model by Revell still required a
tremendous amount of upgrading, painting and rigging. Frank Tepedino
comes from the East coast, where he says, "Practically every house has a
ship model on the mantel or in the window." He likes to build models to
sell, but to keep prices down he prefers to start with a plastic model
kit and then do a super job of adding detail. This way he can do several
a year instead of spending several years on one model that would be so
expensive it would be difficult to find a buyer for it.
The United States was
one of the three great 44 gun frigates that were ordered by Congress
towards the end of the eighteenth century. She was launched in May 1797
and was considerably heavier then her sister ship the Constitution.
This imposing man-o'-war had excellent sailing characteristics and saw
hard service with the US Navy. During the 1812 war she captured the
British frigate Macedonian. Later in her naval career she was
rebuilt and refitted many times. In the confusion of the American Civil
War she was sunk as a blockade by Union seamen in Norfolk during the
surrender of Norfolk harbour. She was finally broken up in 1866.
Built by Norman Wuytens
This solid wood hull model was built from a
Midwest Models kit. The kit only included the spars but no rigging
instructions. The builder had to do extensive research to learn how and
where to run all the rigging lines--a major part of building a model
sailing ship. Some of the painted metal parts have deteriorated due to
being stored for a time near thinners that created corrosive fumes, but
the wood and rigging lines were not affected.
The USS Essex was a
thirty-two gun frigate built in Salem, Massachusetts in 1799. She was
known around the world for her speed and graceful lines, achieving many
dramatic firsts for the young American Navy.
Essex was the first US
warship to cross the equator and the first to round the Cape of Good
Hope into the Indian Ocean to protect US shipping during the first
Barbary War in Tripoli. Thirteen years later, she became the first
American man-of-war to round the Horn into the Pacific.
Sailing the Pacific during
the War of 1812, she captured 18 British whaling and merchant ships,
causing the British to lose almost a million dollars of lost revenue and
devastating their whaling industry. The ship was eventually captured by
the British and re-commissioned as the HMS Essex before
eventually ending its days as a prison ship in Jamaica.
Donated by William R. Brown
Radio Controlled Steam Tug Fergus
Built by William R.
This live steam, radio
controlled tugboat model is a hefty five feet long. It's boiler is
heated by propane and it has sailed many hours on the water around San
The plans for Fergus were taken from a Royal Navy WWII rescue tug
named Stormking. The Stormking was built by Cochrane &
Sons Shipbuilders Ltd. (Selby, JK), laid down in July, 1942 and launched
November 24th, 1942. It was commissioned four months later on March
29th, 1943. It was originally called the Stormcock but was
renamed Stormking before commissioning. It carried the pennant
W87 and was in the Assurance class of ships. After the war it was sold
in 1957 and went through several name and ownership changes before being
broken up for scrap in 1969.
In 1968, William Brown obtained the plans for Stormking and
decided to make his own steam tug, which he named Fergus. Mr.
Brown’s model is radio controlled and features a working 2-cylinder
steam engine, feedwater pump and steam whistle. The boiler is fired by
means of a propane tank mounted in front of it. The water tank for the
boiler has a simple float pole with markings that can be seen through
the forward cabin door on the port side when the superstructure is in
place. The radio gear used to control the servos for steering, throttle
and steam whistle is from about the 1968 era as well. The model was
sailed many times.
We have displayed the model
with the superstructure raised above the deck so you can see the
workings of the steam boiler and engine.
Chippewa Model Steam Launch
Built by Gordon Wiles
This model steam launch is
powered by a Stuart 10V 2-cylinder steam engine fed with steam from its
own boiler. The boat is 5 feet long and weighs 40 pounds. The boiler is
fired by a propane blowtorch. Radio control servos operated steering,
throttle, forward/reverse and two steam whistles. The boat was often
sailed in the lake at Busch Gardens in Los Angeles to the amusement of
visitors to the park.
Inspired by the fun of
operating a steam boat, Gordon went onto built a 29' long version of the
boat that he called Victoria. It now resides with the California
Donated by Naomi Broadbent
Scratch Built Monterey type Fishing Boats
Built by Theodore Snoddy
These fishing boats were
typical of the type used along the California coast from Monterey to San
Francisco. Ted Snoddy worked from photos and postcards showing the boats
and constructed these from his own plans. The hulls are individually
planked. The boat on the left also features a skiff with oars. The boat
on the right is named "Off-Road Cape Able."
Queen Mary 2 Ship Model
Courtesy of Kimberly
After a voyage on the
Queen Mary 2, passengers were offered the opportunity to purchase a
professionally built model of the ship as a memento. Not inexpensive at
$3500, some passengers did nevertheless order a model. It took 6 months
to custom build, but the final result is a miniature masterpiece loaded
with tiny details down to the deck chairs and delicate railings. The
model was made by Maritime Replicas in 1:350 scale. The last photo shows
the model on display in its glass display case.
The QM2 remains the
longest and heaviest ocean liner ever built. There are several lighter
duty Oasis class cruise ships that are now larger, but they were not
built for use in the heavy seas of the North Atlantic Ocean. Many
container ships are also larger, but as passenger vessels go, the QM2
built in 2003 remains one of the largest.
Flowers' LA-11 "Ferret" Ground Support Aircraft Model
built and donated by Allan Flowers
This unique aircraft model
was designed and built by former GM and Nissan stylist Allan Flowers in
1996-1997. Rather than model an existing plane he decided to design his
own next generation of a ground support and tank killer
aircraft. It would be part A-10 "warthog" and part Cobra gunship with a
little Humvee thrown in. He handled the project as if designing a new car. First came
sketches and computer drawings. Next he lofted the lines of the plane in
three views using thin black tape on clear Mylar. Next he made a clay
model of the fuselage from which molds were made and eventually plastic
fuselage parts were vacuum formed. The parts were then painted, the
wings made, control surface and landing gear servos installed and
finally the Magnum Pro .45 cu. in. 2-stroke, single-cylinder model airplane engine was
installed in the rear as a "pusher." Using a turboprop engine
in the real version would give P-51-like performance but keep cost down
to a minimum. The model ended up being featured on the cover of Radio
Control Modeler magazine in June, 1997.
||The first step—pencil sketches and computer
||Next, a three-view drawing is lofted using
strips of black tape on clear mylar. This full size drawing is about 6'
long. Tape is used because it can be peeled up and repositioned easily
to change the lines of the plane.
||From the drawings, a clay model is made. The
first is of the top of the fuselage, the second is of the bottom. Other
clay models are made of other parts that will be vacuum formed later.
Some of the stylist's clay modeling tools can be seen in the second
||Next, a mold is made for vacuum forming
various parts. Shown here are the cockpit and pilot head insert and the
nose of the aircraft including the canopy. The vacuum formed parts are
made from clear plastic and painted on the inside after masking off the
parts that will remain clear.
||The final product. Note the cockpit detail
including the face of the pilot inside the helmet. The face was modeled
by a friend to look like the builder, Allan Flowers back in 1997. The
last photo shows the plane with a blue ribbon it won for 1st place in
the scale division of a contest in Pasadena in 1995.
The plane was
flown 3 or 4 times and then put away for many years until donated to the
Craftsmanship Museum for display in 2016.
||The plane was featured on the cover of the
June 1997 issue of Radio Control Modeler magazine. The photo was
shot at Miramar Naval Air Station, known as "Fightertown USA" where the
movie Top Gun was filmed. The planes and hangars in the
background are real. The model was posed on a gray board and aligned to
get the perspective right.
Custom built "Peanut Scale" biplane
Designed, built and donated by David Gee
This contest-winning rubber powered plane is patterned after the 1913
Grahame-White "Lizzie" and is built from balsa sticks with doped tissue
for wing and fuselage surfaces. It is detailed down to the wire spoke
wheels, pilot figure and a representation of the 9-cylinder rotary engine
behind the prop. The very light weight Peanut Scale planes are designed to
be flown indoors or in very calm exterior conditions.
Custom built "Control Line
Speed" competition model airplane
Donated by John Stein
At the opposite end of the
extreme compared to the delicate, slow biplane above, this plane was built
for speed. The pilot held onto a pair of control lines, or in some cases a
single wire that was twisted to drive a worm gear to work the elevator
mechanism on the plane for altitude control. The operator stood in the
center of a circle with his hand in a fixture that rotated but kept him in
the center of the circle against the plane's centrifugal pull. And that
pull could be quite high, as these tiny aircraft were capable of speeds
between 100 and 200 MPH! This plane is fabricated from aluminum and has
about a 15" wingspan. It was never quite completed, as the control line
mechanism and elevator bellcrank were not installed. Unfortunately,
nothing is known of the builder, and the engine is in the process of being
Cessna 310RII & Beechcraft V35B Bonanza
1/144th Scale Custom Aircraft Models
Built by Ronald Sanctuary
Pictured here are just a few of the more than 280 144th scale model
aircraft that Ron has built. All are scratch built using castings. Some
of the castings come from other modelers such as those made by Donald
Schmenk while others Ron carves and casts himself. He has also built a
number of other vehicles in other scales such as 1/87 scale cars and
Ron has been involved in aviation for
most of his career either as a pilot or instructor for both fixed wing
and rotary wing aircraft. He became interested in building models in the
early 60s. Each of his models have full interiors (even for aircraft
where you can't see the interior such as the Gulfstream pictured here.)
He begins by hollowing out the fuselage then adds in the interior
details from instrument panels and flight controls to passenger seating
and galleys. Every detail
gear, props, antennas, windows, seats, instrument panels, controls etc)
is handmade and installed in the
proper orientation for the aircraft being modeled taking about 3 months
per model to complete. 2018.19
Joe Bridi Collection
These aircraft models were made by former Air
Force pilot Ralph Sarosi. Ralph flew a large number of different
aircraft over his career from a P-51 after WWII to fighter jets. He flew
chase planes when the Space Shuttle landed at Edwards AFB, so his career
spanned from propellers to spacecraft. The models are carved from wood
and expertly painted. They were purchased and collected by R/C flyer Joe
Two Grumman F7F "Tigercats" in different
paint schemes. The F7F tigercat was a twin engine fighter that could
operate from Midway class carriers or larger. It saw service in navy and
Marine Corps colors from the Korean war on. Most were land based, and
only the F7F-4N was certified for carrier service.
The yellow paint job denotes
a target towing aircraft. The dark blue color is the US Navy version.
Three different versions of the Grumman G-44
"Widgeon" include one with radial engines, one with inline engines and
one in the color scheme of "Catalina Airlines," a carrier that flew
passengers from Long Beach to Catalina island for many years. Though
originally designed for civilian service, the plane was produced from
1941 to 1955 and saw service as a scout plane during WWII and was later
used by the Coast Guard.
F-14 "Tomcat"—The only military jet in Joe's
collection, most people will recognize it as one of the stars of the
movie "Top Gun." The big fighter was capable of carrier operations. The
model, like the real plane has wings that can be swept back or extended
for slower speeds in flight.
Laird Solution biplane—Built starting in
1931, the Laird LC-DW500 Super Solution, aka "Sky Buzzard," was a racing
biplane built by Matty Laird for the Cleveland Speed Foundation. It was
similar in design to the Gee Bee with its short, wide fuselage and large
engine. It was the first winner of the
Bendix Trophy race from
Cleveland where it was flown by Maj.
Basic Trainer—Powered by an inline engine, this was used as a primary trainer in WWII.
It was used "pre-solo" with an instructor in the second seat as an
introductory aircraft before moving on to a more advanced trainer. The
plane's plywood covered wings created maintenance problems in hot
climates like Florida and Texas where it was used, sometimes requiring
replacement after only three months.
Piper J3 "Cub"—Built between 1937 and 1947,
this inexpensive light airplane introduced many new pilots to flying.
One of the best known planes of all time, the Cub is compared to the
Model T automobile for its utility and reliability.
Boeing B-17—The workhorse bomber in Europe
during WWII was known as the "Flying Fortress." It began development in
1935 and carried a crew of 10. The aircraft went on to serve in every
WWII combat zone, and by the time production ended in May 1945, 12,731
aircraft had been built by Boeing, Douglas and Vega (a subsidiary of Locheed. It had a range of 2000 miles and a ceiling of 35,600 feet. A
number of external guns were needed to protect it from enemy fighters,
as fighter escorts early in the war didn't have the range to accompany
the bombers all the way to their targets over enemy territory.
Curtis P-40 "Warhawk"—this plane is seen in
the Chinese markings with the painted shark mouth as made famous by the
Flying Tigers in asia during WWII. Assigned to the 1st American
Volunteer Group flying under General Claire Lee Chennault, these
"private contractors" fought valiantly to protect the Chinese from
Japanese attack. Receiving little outside support, they kept these
planes flying against huge odds. Returning pilots got together and
formed Flying Tigers cargo transport service after the war.
"Gee Bee" R1 Racing Plane— Designed by the
Granville Brothers (hence the GB name) it was a special-built racing
plane designed to vie for the Thompson tropy. It was, in effect a Pratt
& Whitney 1333 engine with wings and a tail added to it. It won the 1932
Thompson trophy with Jimmy Dolittle at the controls. He also set a new
world landplane speed record of 476 km/h (296 mph) in the Shell Speed
Dash. The plane's small control surfaces and uncompromising design made
it a difficult and dangerous plane to fly.
Rearwin Speedster—Designed before the Great
Depression, only two protypes were built before production ceased.
Production stopped in 1934 and resumed in 1937 but the original
Ace Cirrus engines were no longer available by that time, so a switch
was made to Menasco C-4 for production.
Ryan PT-22 "Recruit" Advanced
Trainer—This was the US Military's first monoplane trainer. It was used
for more advanced training after the PT-19 prior to WWII. It was powered
by various 5-cylinder radial engines. Original cost per plane was
1940 Waco UPD-7 Biplane—
North American T6 SNJ "Texan" Trainer—Used in
WWII and into the 1950's, this advanced trainer was used by all the
services. The "SNJ" is the Navy designation, while the Army Air Corps
referred to it as the AT-6.
T-34C "Mentor" Trainer—Built by Beechcraft
and based on the Model 35 "Bonanza", the military trainer model was
redesigned with a conventional tail instead of the "V" tail of the
Bonanza. It also has a fore/aft cockpit seating instead of side-by-side.
This is the "Turbo-Mentor" version which came with a more powerful
Business Jet—The only other jet in
the collection, this jet was based on the Aero Commander. That company
was purchased by North American Rockwell, but they already had a small
business jet, the Saberliner. The design was eventually sold to IAI
(Israeli Aircraft Industries) which now sells the modern version of this
plane as the Westwind II. The tiny winglets on the wingtip tanks were
developed on this aircraft and are now standard on almost all jet
Douglas DC-3 Airliner—American
Airlines “Flagship ”
Built as a transcontinental airliner capable of crossing the United
States coast-to-coast in 15 hours (3 stops). Over 10,000 of the military
C-47 version were built in WWII.
Consolidated B-24 "Liberator" bomber—This
diecast metal model features a fancy paint job including the plane's
name, "A Dragon and It's Tail."
Sikorsky VS-44A Flying
“Mother Goose," it flew under the colors
of Catalina Airlines/Avalon Air Transport for much of its career. it
from Long Beach to Avalon daily from 1957 to 1968. It is one of only
three built in 1942. It also served as a Navy transport flying between
New York and Ireland before being flown to South America where it was to
deliver supplies to the Amazon. That didn't work out, and it was
purchased by Catalina Airlines and flown back to Long Beach where it was
returned to passenger service.
"Mallard" Amphibian—Building on the success of the
Widgeon, Grumman Aircraft developed Design 73, the larger "Mallard"
for commercial use. Retaining many of the features of the smaller
aircraft, such as twin radials, high wings with underwing floats,
retractable landing gear and a large straight tail, the company built 59
Mallards between 1946 and 1951. Unlike the smaller aircraft, the Mallard
tricycle gear, stressed skin, a two-step hull and wingtip fuel
tanks. This one is painted in the colors of "CAT—The Route of the
California Amphibious Transport provided seaplane service to the
Catalina Island in California for about a year between 1981 and 1982,
flying from Long Beach Airport with a Grumman Mallard and a Piper
Navajo. The airline's owner was Dan Aikens.
Tigercat Diecast Model—The F7F-3 Tigercat was one of Joe Bridi's
favorite planes to model. This one was made by First Gear Collectibles
and features retractible landing gear and folding wingtips for carrier
deck storage. It is in blue Marine Corps colors and numbered G-142.
Other Vehicle Models
On loan courtesy Rob Ryan
Formula 1 Race Car
Built by Rob Ryan and Family
Rob and his
son started this project by first working with a plastic F1 kit they
purchased. Using the plastic model as a pattern, they began to construct
their Western Digital (WD) F1 car. Internal Components from several
different types of WD hard drives were used. A total of 250 hard drives
were collected, disassembled, and crafted to create this very unusual
car. The wheels and the tires are the only parts not made from WD drive
The wheel hubs are made from 10,000 RPM and 7,200 RPM hard drive motors.
WD Red® hard drives were used to build the side panels of the car and
engine air scoop using stacks of the anti-disks. The actuators of the WD
Red® hard drives (the arms that read data on the hard drive) were used
to form the front wing of the car. The rear wing and mount are made from
WD VelociRaptor® and WD Scorpio® actuators. The front and center of the
body is cut from WD Scorpio® top covers.
A small stack of disk spacers on a 7,200RPM motor in the middle of the
car model the driver's head. Behind the driver is the replica V12 engine
using the actuators from 12 WD Scorpio® notebook hard drives. The
transmission is made up of stacks of WD Scorpio® VCM magnets. The
differential is a stack of spindle motor windings from many different
types of motors. The LED and driver circuits in the body are cut from
sections of Western Digital WD My Passport® external hard drive boards.
The WD Fl Car is powered by a 12v power supply and custom "C" controller
code written by Rob spins the drivers head and flashes the LED lights at
varying times when power is applied.
Build time: 400 hours
Medium: WD hard drive parts
Hard drives used: 250
Built by Kenneth Roger Casey
Roger has been building wooden works of art
for many years. He builds models after actual old woody station wagons
and Harley Motorcycles. No two models are exactly the same. All the
pieces, including wheels, are handmade out of solid hardwoods such as
Oak, Maple, Walnut, and Teak. Many of his Woody's have gone to
collectors throughout San Diego.
The Chopper is 26 inches long standing 12
inches tall. Like Roger's other works, the Chopper is scratch built from
Walnut and Figure Maple and won 1st place in the model building division
of the 2007 Del Mar Fair San Diego Fine Woodworkers Association (SDFWA)
Design in Wood "Model Building" venue.
Courtesy of Kenneth Roger Casey
Datsun 240Z Tribute Car
Built by Mark Bracewell
A car guy all his life, Mark started
building model cars around age 10. He’s continued to build models
throughout his adult life and won the Titus Brothers Creative Concept
Design Award in 2015 for his custom build 1962 Ford Thunderbird. Mark
also did some SCCA racing in his Ford Capri until it got wrecked. He
then did a total restoration on a Lotus Type 61 Formula Ford which he
then raced and still owns today.
While racing, Mark took a liking to the
240Z race car owned and driven by his friend Cliff Koehler; partly
because Mark owned both a 240Z and 260Z in the past. So Mark took to
building his 240Z Tribute car customizing a 240Z Hot Wheels car. He
began the project by disassembling the Hot Wheels car in order to
customize the interior including the roll cage. Gauges, steering wheel,
seats, etc., were all modified to recreate the look of Cliff’s interior.
The exterior body was modified to remove bumpers and hood vents then
sanded and primed in prep for the final paint scheme. Mark replaced the
wheels, tires, and mirrors and even recreated the decals to match the
Courtesy of Mark Bracewell
On loan courtesy
of Carl Schwam
Carl Schwam started using machine tools his father
had bought for him when he was very young and went on to become an
accomplished machinist and tool & die maker. Carl later went to school
to become a mechanical engineer.
English Canal Boat
Carl's steamboat is modeled after an English Canal boat.
This 50" boat
is radio controlled and was run by Carl in San Diego. Carl made the
steam engine first then decided to build a boat for the engine.
Carl built this 20" steamroller of his own design based on a variety of
steamroller photos he had collected.
On loan courtesy of Bernhard Goettker
General Motors Craftsman's Guild Model Contest Coach, 1932
In the early 1930's, local San
Marcos company owner Bernhardt Goettker's father (also named Bernhardt) entered a contest hosted
by General Motors. GM offered a set of plans and instructions for young
model builders to duplicate the ornate Napolionic coach that was the
symbol in the "Body by Fisher" logo used by Buick, Cadillac and other top
GM brands. Top prize was a 4-year college scholarship and lesser prizes
included $25 or $100 in gold. Bernhardt's father was 14 when he started the
model and about 16 when he finished it and entered it in the contest. It
did not win the top prize, but he did receive an award certificate and a
gold ribbon for participation, and his family still has a model that they
treasure highly—a lasting tribute to the senior Mr. Goettker's skill as a
The contest extended from 1930
to 1968, but in its later years the rules were changed to encourage models
of futuristic vehicles as might be conceived by the GM design studio. Over
the years the GM Craftsman's Guild had over 8 million young members and
was second in popularity only to the Boy Scouts.
An original set of model coach
plans was donated by Ray Anderson and is
on file in the museum library. A diorama model builder and author, Mr.
Anderson was also a Guild member who built a model coach in his youth.
NOTE: Mr. Goettker has also
donated a Deckle pantograph mill and a RayCon EDM machine to the museum's
Kostron is shown with his finished GM coach model in the 1930's. He won
a $25 savings bond for taking 1st place in the Paintcraft division of
the Indiana regional finals.
Both the Goettker and Kostron models are now on display and museum visitors can compare the two.
Craftsman's guild Napoleonic Coach Contest Model (Permanent
Built by Emil Kostron, 1932—Donated by Ron
and Sandy Kostron
Ron Kostron notes the following about his
"Emil Kostron, was the ultimate
perfectionist. He could do most anything with his hands, a self taught
jack of all trades from the old school. He often proclaimed that if you
can't do it right the first time, don't do it at all. Growing up, I
remember him studying books on watch making and then going off to
Indianapolis to take the exam to get his watchmakers certificate. He
took a lot of pride in everything he did. During the day he worked at
Kraus Jewelers in Gary, Indiana repairing clocks and watches. He would
come home, have supper, get a few hours of sleep and go off to work the
11-7 shift at US Steel's sheet and tin works as a instrument repairman.
He claimed to only need 4 hours of sleep but I suspect he had a place in
his repair room to catnap a little. He had a work bench in our basement
that was always neat & tidy. Every tool had its place and was back in
its place when he was done with it. I recall his 1937 Plymouth 4
-door. When he would come home for lunch, I'd meet him down at the end
of the alley and he would let me ride on the running board back up to
the house. He took such good care of that car. Once I watched him pull
the straight-6 engine out and rebuild it right there in the garage. That
car got washed and waxed so many times that when in 1956 he traded it in
for a new Ford Fairlane no one would believe that it had its original
paint. It was still pretty much like new. He wanted both me and my
sister to go to college so we would have good jobs and not have to work
in the steel mill and live in Gary. It was his idea that I should go to
pharmacy school and my sister should be a teacher. He worked 2 jobs for
over 20 years with the goal of sending his 2 children to college. I am
2010.8.2 and 2010.8.3
Donated by Phillip R.
wooden Marathon-LeTourneau L-1100 front end loader, Cement truck and
Built by Perry R. Henderson,
Perry Henderson built many
large wooden models of construction equipment for his friends in his
lifetime. This was one of two diesel electric front end loaders he built
that were retained by his family. (The other is in Africa.) Perry passed
away several years ago and this model was donated by the family. It is
articulated in the center and the bucket moves up and down and tilts as
the wooden hydraulic cylinders slide. It is made from varnished but
unpainted (except for the red fire extinguishers) white pine.
It is 42" long, 12-1/2" wide
and 20-1/2" tall to the top of the bucket. The original had a 22 cubic
yard or 66,000 pound bucket capacity and a wheelbase of 19'.
Donated by John McGinley
Model Toy Trucks
Built by George C. Russell
George Russell worked for Roger
Penske's racing organization. In his spare time he enjoyed making toys
from wood for his children. After they grew up and no longer had any
interest in them, he sold them to a fellow worker, John McGinley who
donated them to our museum.
Included are an 18-wheel rig
of semi tractor and flatbed trailer that is several feet long, a fire
truck hose tender with ladders, a colorful stakebed truck for a younger
child and a toy armored truck coin bank. The semi truck and fire truck
are quite detailed with a spare tire under the trailer, ladders, fire
extinguisher and lights. The models are sturdy and nicely made and
A US Quarter dollar coin is
shown in each photo to give size reference.
Wood and Brass Model Cushman 711 Scooter
Built by Daniel "Buzz"
Daniel Brunkow (above)
brought this model in to the museum to show us, and we talked him into
letting us display it for the coming year for all to enjoy. The 1/4
scale model is built to a high level of detail capturing the fun of an
era where motorized two-wheel transportation was a little simpler.
In addition to the complete
Model 711 scooter, Daniel also offered a model of a 1939 Cushman Husky
engine for display. Like the full scooter model, the engine has a high
degree of detail. Even the tiny butterfly on the carburetor works as
does the kick starter gearing.
(On display for one year
starting July 20, 2013)
Miniature Model Ski Boat and Outboard Engines
Built by Daniel "Buzz"
In addition to the model
Cushman scooter shown above, Buzz also brought in a miniature wooden
model flatbottom ski boat with a tiny outboard engine attached. The
mahogany boat is only about 6" long. The .010 cu. in. engine is based on
the piston and cylinder of a Cox Thimble Drome engine and utilizes a
flexible drive shaft. The other outboard is based on a Cox .020 engine.
For more of Buzz Brunkow's
model outboard collection see the OTHER ENGINES
On Loan Courtesy of Daniel Brunkow, October 12, 2013
Miniature Commercial Outboard Motors
the Collection of Daniel "Buzz" Brunkow
has been collecting engines for a long time. These are some of the
outboard motors in his collection. Some represent actual production
motors and have a scale appearance, others are based on gas engines and
made for speed.
scale electric Mercury, Johnson and Scott-Atwater outboards
larger scale electric Mercury engines
3a and b.
Three AMPS gas powered outboards...these were capable of very high
speeds. (Shown with motor covers in place and removed)
large K&B powered outboards do not represent a particular real-life
engine, they are just made to be fast. The one with the gold flywheel is
powered by a K&B 7.5
Outdrive unit with twin, counter-rotating, 2-bladed propellors.
Chris-Craft Cobra R/C Model Boat
Built by Daniel "Buzz"
This is an extremely well
built model of the unusual Chris-Craft speedboat built in the 1950's.
Chris-Craft was traditionally a wooden boat builder, but this was their
first attempt at fiberglass construction, with the gold finned engine
cover on the stern deck. Buzz's model includes electric motors and
receiver for running the model via radio control. His epoxy finish on
the individually planked hull is virtually perfect. White calking lines
are represented by thin strips of white plastic between each plank on
the deck. The model is based on a kit by Dumas.
On loan courtesy of
Daniel Brunkow, November 30, 2013
courtesy of Ed Stewart
Metal Vehicle Art
Built by Ed Stewart
Ed is a builder with a good
touch with shaping metal and a sense of humor. he also volunteers his
time at the Craftsmanship Museum as a docent. His vehicles seem to be
full of motion with lots going on. You can tell Ed had fun conceiving
and building these nice pieces in a folk art style.
Images 1-3—A driver talking
on a cell phone is about to get into a whole lot of trouble for dropping
his load of 55 gallon drums on the highway as he motors on totally
unaware. Ed has supported the vehicle from underneath, leaving nothing
but air between the centers of the axels and the wheels, giving the
impression they are spinning so fast you can't see them. He is either
from England or he's on the wrong side of the road too.
Images 4-5—An old sports
car flies down a county lane taking a turn so fast the inside front
wheel is lifting off the ground. The driver with cap and goggles is
getting all he can from this old open-fendered beast.
Photos of the racecar with
the fiberglass body removed.
(Left) A typical track. Note
the short catch barrier around the outside of the concrete track plus
the chain link fence for safety. (Right) A track worker push starts a
car using a pole.
Class V FTL Tether Car
Courtesy of Rick Schafer
This car has been clocked
at over 197 MPH on its first run at Whittier Narrows, CA. It averaged
over 188 MPH for a timed 8 laps. The world record for this class of car
is 214.348 MPH held by Gualtiero Picco, the builder of this engine. The
machining was done by Lloyd Torrey, and the car is entirely custom built
starting with a cast aluminum frame. It features a 10cc Picco 2-cylce
engine with a tuned steel exhaust expansion chamber. Tires are made from
solid rubber and are only about 1/8" wide. The car weighs about 7
pounds, but at 200 MPH it exerts over 300 pounds of centrifugal force on
the steel cable that keeps it going in a circle, and a lap at that speed
takes less than 3/4 of a second.
The tracks for this type of
car are very specialized. Because of the speeds attained, they must have
a steel barrier 2" behind the car to catch it if the cable should break.
Taller secondary fences also protect the spectators. There are only
three recognized tracks in the USA: Seaford, NY, Anderson, IN and
Whittier Narrows, CA.
The cars are push started
with a long stick. A second person holds the .079" thick steel cable up
so it doesn't drag on the ground while the car picks up speed. Once it
is pulling tight on the cable he steps up onto a platform above the 10
meter long cable, which is attached to a pole at the center of the
track. The car can be shut down by means of a lever that shuts off the
fuel supply when triggered by holding out a broomstick to hit the lever
as the car goes by. Speeds are measured by a radar gun and read out on a
sign next to the track.
Also included with the car
are a tire trimming fixture and a battery charge/discharge fixture.
This proposal model for a portable compressor on a trailer would have
been unusual for Solar Turbines to build. Most of the military portable
turbine units they built for use in Iraq ran electrical generators.
Solar Turbines Mobile
Gas Compression Station
This study model was made by Solar Turbines in San Diego, most likely as
a proposal for the military. It is a Centaur or Taurus portable gas
compressor unit, typically used to boost transmission gas line pressure
between natural gas transmission stations or at a natural gas plant. It
dates from the 80’s or early 90’s.
From right to left in the photo: The cylindrical tank is a gas storage
tank. The small V8 auto engine below it is used to pressurize the tank.
The tank pressure is used to drive a pneumatic starter motor. The
pneumatic starter motor is attached to the larger turbine engine housed
in the box enclosure to the left of the storage tank. The Mars turbine
engine inside that enclosure is rated somewhere between 3,000 and 8,000
shaft horsepower depending on the model. The curved vent duct on top of
the enclosure is a combustion air intake unit. The dark duct to the left
of that is the combustion exhaust duct for the turbine engine, used to
reduce noise when the unit is running. (8,000 hp at 20,000 rpm is
noisy!) The two small sideways fire hydrant shaped units to the left of
the box are gas compressors. The output shaft of the turbine spins those
gas compressors which utilize a rotor/stator design to boost gas
pressure. Typically with two compressor units, one takes the gas from
ambient pressure up to medium pressure, then the second one takes it
from medium up to higher pressure (referred to as a two-body). The
horizontal box at the left of the model looks like a gas cooler, built
similarly to the radiator in your car.
The model is made mostly
from structural plastic sheet and rod. It was most likely built by the
late Gene Leslie in the Solar Turbines factory model shop. After it
served its purpose, the model was eventually auctioned off and was
actually purchased for its sturdy shipping container. The model itself
was donated to the museum by the buyer of the shipping container, Mr.
Alonzo Clark. Our thanks to former Solar employees Dave Biermann and
Wayne Myers for providing details on the unit.
Solar Turbines Gemini
APU Turbine Rotor
This is the heart of a
turbine auxiliary power unit. The blades are very thin and made from
Titanium. This particular demonstration unit was assembled from scrap
parts. Actual cost of a replacement of a unit like this is about
Donated by Janice
Marshall of Solar Turbines