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A much touched-up photograph of a Soviet-operated ex-Nazi Ta 183 ? No just a complete fake sold to credulous newshounds in the early fifties

The time period during which the A-plane concept flourished , 1950-1961, coincide  with both the emergence of the plastic kit industry in the USA with brands like  HAWK, O-LIN (LINDBERG LINE), AURORA and REVELL and the heating up of the "Cold war" first in Korea then in Viet-Nam through what could have been the final incident at Cuba in 1962 .
For our present subject this period can be characterized by

  • A strong presence of the "militaro-industrial complex" in the media which continued its wartime presence throughout the period via a lot of "technological marvel" type advertising that was to culminate in the "Race for Space" from 1958 onward.
  • By a strong belief in technology , especially aerospace technology , as a way to better the living conditions of the human race . A belief which is unfortunately no longer among us.
  • By a  sublimation of the Cold War into a technological competition : being the first with the latest gadget (supersonic aircraft, A-bombs, H-bombs, missiles, satellites, transistors, lasers, computers…)
  • By an effective climate of technological disinformation which was a logical fall-out of the Cold War mutating into a Science War as refered in the preceding item . This leads to rumors of German secret "miracle" weapons being produced by the Soviets  and the leakage of horribly touched up pictures of fake aircraft .

All this to arrive at
  • Kit manufacturers were strongly carried toward the latest subject matter (even before the subject matter actualy flew) by the competition . The competition for the latest technological marvel was also on the shelves of the toy shops .
  • Their sources could not be as rigorously researched when they treated in a hurry (not to be beaten by a competitor with the "first kit of…") subjects that due to their strategic  nature were obviously classified. It is therefore not possible to compare the accuracy of those models to the latest wave of "Messerspit" coming today from Japan…

And this resulted in the models we will review here

F104 : the first batch of photographs released to the press were touched up to camouflage the top-secret intake geometry. Photo : Lockheed)

Ford Nucleon :  As its name implies this was a Ford study for a nuclear powered car. In the same Lady Penelope styling you also got the Seattle-ite which could get either a miniature nuclear reactor or a power pack.  Nice to think of the results of the first crash of such machines on a gorged highway at rush hour! There were also various projects of nuclear powered locomotives which is not much more reassuring . In fact nuclear application to civilian vehicles was limited to the S/S Savannah freighter (kitted by Revell) and a few icebreakers in Soviet Union ("Lenin" was kitted by Heller , currently-?- available through Ogoniek)

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