In-Box Review
Lockheed Vega
Winnie Mae
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

AHM's 'Winnie Mae' is one in the series All the worlds aircraft - Historical Aviation in Scale Models' in 1/100 scale. It is part of their Series 1: The Golden Era. For aircraft modelers, these are niche models. For model railroaders and war gamers, they offer the opportunity to add aviation to vehicles propelled by beast and engines of steam and diesel.

Associated Hobby Manufacturers ( reincarnated as INTERNATIONAL HOBBY CORPORATION until IHC’s demise in 2010) was a multi-faceted hobby powerhouse c.1960‘s-80’s. Modelers -- especially model railroaders -- of that era no doubt had some of AHM’s products. AHM airplane model history is at the bottom of this review.

Lockheed Vega
    Designed by John K. "Jack" Northrop, the Lockheed Vega first flew in 1927. It was the first aircraft with the NACA cowl, which streamlined the airflow around and through the engine. This decreased drag and increased power plant cooling.

    Physical Description:
    High wing cantilevered monoplane with monocoque fuselage, fixed landing gear, ground adjustable propeller.

    Cowling: Aluminum
    Overall: Plywood
    Wheel Pants: Aluminum
    Wingspan: 12.5 m (41 ft)
    Length: 8.4 m (27 ft 6 in)
    Height: 2.5 m (8 ft 2 in)
    Weight, empty: 1,177 kg (2,595 lb)
    Weight, gross: 2,041 kg (4,500 lb)
    Top speed: 298 km/h (185 mph)

Seeking a fast utility plane the United States Army Air Corps acquired two Vegas. One was designated as a Y1C-12. The other, serial number 159, was designated Y1C-17 and was used by Capt. Ira Eaker to attempt a coast-to-coast speed record. But Eaker was forced to make an emergency landing near Tolu, Kentucky. The Y1C-17 differed from the other with wire braced landing gear and a different fuel tank installation.

In 1942 the Army Air Force impressed another Vega into the war effort.

Cracking the box
I have collected most of All The World's Aircraft. AHM's F4B-4 (see my review) built into a pleasing model. In an era when accurate scaling was played fast and loose AHM deceived modelers as to the scale of this series by advertising them as 1/87-HO scale. AHM was heavily into HO model trains and was the importer of Roco MiniTanks, also HO. Most of these airplanes are 1/100 - which is sort of model railroad TT scale. "Sort of" because TT is 1/100 on the western side of the English Channel and 1/120 on the continental side. Further information can be found below at both AHM Airplane Model Kits and for scale info, Click here for additional images for this review.

AHM also sold these models fully assembled and packed in a plastic display case.

These kits are packed inside end-opening boxes with litho box art, including imitation wood grain and faux brass plaque. Painting and decal placement is printed on the back. White sprues are sealed in a plastic bag.

So what about the model? It consists of 27 parts on two sprues. While the molding is fairly clean, the model is primitive, 1950s-esque. The windows are not open spaces, they are depressions molded into the fuselage. Even the canopy is molded as part of the wing. The parts are thick. The engine looks like a round Ruffles potato chip.

The propeller looks good but that's about it. All five of the control surfaces are separate and can be positioned. That is a quality of this model that exceeds most of today's gee-whiz models.

Decals and instructions
The instructions are simple - a line art exploded-view of the model, supported with some text.

Painting guidance and decal placement is shown via color images on the back of the box.

A decal sheet includes a lot of ornate trim with stenciling and registration numbers. When I built the AHM F4B-4, the 45-year-old decals went on without trouble. They are sharply printed.

AHM's airplanes are niche models. I have several. Winnie Mae is not the best one. It is primitive. But if you want a small scale Vega/Y1C-12/Y1C-17, it is probably the only game in town.

AHM Airplane Model Kits
AHM also released model kits of different aircraft in 87th scale*. They were in the 'All the worlds aircraft - Historical Aviation in Scale Models' product line. There have been at least three series of aircraft. All models were released in 1974 or later. * Information received from Wayne Calder:
    several of the kits were actually made in 1/100. These later turned up as Roco models.
Additional information received from Jens Mehner:
    Having almost owned all of them at one time or another, I can assure you that none of them was in 1/87 scale, with the possible exception of the "Spirit of St Louis", the only one I never had, they were all more or less in 1/96 scale.

Information received from J.D.:
    I was the purchasing director Far East for AHM in the mid 70’s. We took over the Cox line of built-up planes and produced them in both kit and built-up models. I don’t recall just how many we did, but it included some like “Spirit of St. Louis” as well as the StuKa, P-38 Lightning, most of the famous WWII fighters (US mainly) and the F4 Phantom. The built ups were nicely done.

Model railroaders and war gamers of OO [1/76] through TT [1/120] (including E and QO SCALE [1/96], OOC SCALE [1/100], 3mm SCALE and TM SCALE {a version of TT}, [1/101.6]) desiring aircraft had, and still suffer, a small field to choose from. AHM filled the void with a good selection of common and popular aircraft c. 1927-73:
Series Name Kits

    1. 'The Golden Era' (6)
    2. 'The Famous World War II Fighters' (6)
    3. 'The Classic War birds’ (?)

      SK-1 1 Curtiss P-6E 'Hawk' 1/100
      SK-2 1 Grumman F3F-3 1/97
      SK-3 1 F4B4 Boeing 99 1/100
      SK-4 1 P26A Boeing 'Peashooter' 1/99
      SK-5 1 Ryan 'The Spirit of Saint Louis' 1/110
      SK-6 1 Lockheed Vega 'Winnie Mae' 1/100
      SK-7 2 Mitsubishi / Nakajima A6M 'Zero' / 'Zeke' 1/103
      SK-8 2 Kawasaki Hien K1-61-1 'Tony' 1/100
      SK-9 2 North-American P51D 'Mustang' 1/100
      SK-10 2 Messerschmitt BF-109E 1/100
      SK-11 2 North-American P51D 'Mustang' 'Miss America'-version 1/87
      SK-12 2 Curtiss P-40 'Warhawk' (Flying Tigers decals) 1/96
      SK-13 2 Bell P-39Q 'Airacobra' 1/102
      SK-14 3 McDonnell F-4E 'Phantom II' 1/90
      SK-15 3 Lockheed P-38L 'Lightning' 1/89
      SK-16 3 Junkers Ju87G 'Stuka' 1/85 ? ?
      McDonnel F-3B 'Demon' (announced but never issued)”**

    1/87 (HO scale) is 21% smaller than 1/72
    1/87 15% larger than 1/100


† National Air and Space Museum. Lockheed Vega "Winnie Mae". [Web.] n.d.

*, **. Used with permission of 87thScale.info

Click here for additional images for this review.

Highs: All five of the control surfaces are separate and can be positioned. Sharply printed decals.
Lows: Primitive molding.
Verdict: If you want a small scale Vega/Y1C-12/Y1C-17, it is probably the only game in town.
  Scale: 1:100
  Mfg. ID: SK-6
  Related Link: F4B-4 Boeing 99
  PUBLISHED: Apr 29, 2016
  NATIONALITY: United States

About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2021 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of AeroScale. All rights reserved.


the lockheed vega one classic of the aviation in 1930's.(winnie-mae).
APR 30, 2016 - 03:48 AM
a little trivia.... Lockheed made a universal fuselage and wing. wherever you wanted your cockpit Lockheed would cut a hole (forward or behind the wing. You wanted the wings High you got a Vega, Low wing (the same wing) you got a Sirius. Furniture, Engines, window were where you wanted them. These were custom planes from the same parts. Above is really generalized but the story is available on the web or in some nice books. Look them up. enjoy Captn Tommy
MAY 02, 2016 - 05:38 PM
Captn Tommy, interesting. Thank you.
MAY 17, 2016 - 09:00 AM

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