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1950s Plastic Space Model Kits:
Buyer Beware
1950s space books
Glencoe Reissues
Lindberg Spaceship kits
Monogram / Willy Ley kits
Revell model kits
Strombecker / Disney kits




Related reading:

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Classic Plastic
Model Kits:

& Value Guide

by Rick Polizzi





Nasa and Space Exploration

Feature Article
Strange New Worlds  Issue 14 - June/July 1994

Vintage Spaceship model kits and popular
publications of the 1950s
by Elliott Swanson

Lindberg Vintage Space Model Kits

Paul Lindberg produced a series of space kits that stayed in production longer than those produced by any other company. Never one to miss cashing in on ready made publicity, he reissued the entire series of four kits under the "Mars Probe" banner, and once again under the "Star Probe" banner in 1977 when the film "Star Wars" came out. (The "Star Probe" run excluded the #1004/#1150 Satellite Rocket.) Many of the designs were blatantly stolen from Wernher von Braun concepts without giving him credit. Glencoe Models picked up the Lindberg torch and has put several of the old molds back into active production. Lindberg produced a five kit gift set, GB-103, which includes kits #1001-4, plus #517.

While not a space prototype, #517 "Flying Saucer," a UFO that included a little green man as pilot (pictured right), has the distinction of being the first plastic science-fiction model kit ever made. The UFO was reissued by Lindberg in 1977 (they were still using the original fifties-vintage #517 decals!) and was recently put back into production by Glencoe. Another interesting side note regarding #517 is that Ed Wood Jr. allegedly used this model as the prop spaceship for the classic schlock sf film "Plan 9 From Outer Space." All first issue Lindberg space kits feature spectacular box art by Ray Gaedke.

Lindberg Multi-stage Transport Rocket Kit

Kit No. 1001:98. 1/200 scale. Issued circa 1958.

A three-stage rocket with a delta wing third stage, based on a von Braun design. Reissued as #1149 in Mars Probe and Star Probe versions. Re-reissued by Glencoe as #05910 "Transport Rocket."

Current value [in 1994] of #1001: $150.

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Lindberg U.S. Space Station Kit

Kit No. 1002:98. 1/350 scale. Issued circa 1958.

Although not credited, this is a very slightly modified version of the solar powered station designed by Wernher von Braun. It appears in the Viking Press book Across the Space Frontier. The classic design uses mercury vaporized by solar energy to drive turbines. Only the first issue of the kit is known to have transparent red components. They were changed to opaque red in later issues.

Reissued as #1148 in Mars Probe and Star Probe versions.
Re-reissued by Glencoe as #07901 "Solar Powered Space Station."

Current value [in 1994] of #1002: $200-$250.

Lindberg U.S. Moon Ship Model Kit

(pictured on right) Kit No. 1003:98. 1/70 scale. Issued circa 1958.

Based upon a Wernher von Braun design, although not credited. This craft is fully described in Across the Space Frontier.

Reissued as #1147 in Mars Probe and Star Probe versions.
Re-reissued by Glencoe as #05003 "Lunar Lander."
Current value [in 1994] of #1003: $150.

Lindberg Satellite with Three-Stage Launching Rocket Model Kit

(pictured top of next column) Kit No. 1004:98. 1/200 scale. Issued circa 1958.

Paul Lindberg squeezed a little extra mileage out of his #1001 "Transport Rocket" kit by replacing the third stage with a satellite carrier.

Reissued as #1149 in a Mars Probe version.
Current value [in 1994] of #1004: $150.

Article continues...

bulletGlencoe Reissued Models (made from original vintage molds)
bulletHawk Model Co. Vintage Kits
bulletLindberg Vintage Space Model Kits
bulletMonogram Vintage Space Model Kits
bulletRevell Vintage Space Model Kits
bulletStrombecker Vintage Model Kits

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