by: Frederick Boucher [ ]
Originally published on:
IntroductionFor you, noble modeler, I present this walk down memory lane: an oldie but goodie, a 'public service announcement' or an educational review to just fill in the gaps, any of those are my reason for eclectic model reviews. This review of the late Entex model company's Early Birds 3 Model kits of Pioneers of the Air set is one such a review. Early Birds features a Voison [sic]-Farman 1908, de Havilland No.1 1910, and an Antoinette 1908.
Today these birdies can be found at shows or collector sites.
The kitsYes, Entex misspelled Voisin as "Voison".
For most vintage models I generally touch upon the high points and otherwise let the pictures speak their 1,000 words.
Renwal cut the tooling for these models and released their first model airplanes in January 1966. They had open-structure wings intended to be covered with the same tissue as used on flying models, such as Guillow kits. Renwal later trademarked their idea as Aero-Skin. (Please see A History Of Renwal Aeroskin Kits, below.)
These models feature pretty good molding for the time although they are marred with some flash and other visible molding abominations. While many pieces are quite fine, the airfoils and other components are oversized. Modelers may consider sanding down the trailing edges. The pilot figures aren't very good although they are better than some pilot figures by some Japanese companies of the era, i.e., Nichimo, Otaki.
Renwal molded the models in dark plastic. That doesn't look good under the simulated linen covering. Why Entex didn't shoot the models with a tan color is lost to time.
DetailRenwal put some effort into detail. Wood grain was worked in on some parts. That whole concept of making the wings as open structures was clever.
Each aircraft features an engine(s).
Perhaps the most notable detail is the Aero-Skin. It feels like common balsa wood model tissue paper.
Instructions and paintingWhen I build these, I intend to paint the airframe structures to match the lumber they were built with, including whatever varnish was used.
The instructions are good. They are black-and-white line art with shading. A list of parts for each aircraft is printed on the back.
There are no decals.
ConclusionMany early aircraft were beautiful hand-wrought creations of polished brass and copper and other metals, varnished woods, and luxuriant leathers. Sunlight often reveled the airframe structures through the doped linens. Elaborate lettering scrolled across their exteriors. Today, many modelers of this eras aircraft perform complex masking of the polystyrene planes to simulate the internal structure. With Aero-Skin, the tissue allows the light through.
These kits have decent detail and molding. Many pieces are commendably fine in size. Some are marred by some flash and other visible molding abominations, and some are oversized.
While these may may not measure up to the standards of today, they look like they can be built into very good models. Three very cool models! Find a set and treat yourself!
Brad Hansen. OldModelKits.com. A History Of Renwal Aeroskin Kits. June 29, 2014.
Entex......was formed in 1970, based in Compton, California. The name is the phonetic pronunciation of NTX, the initials of the two original founders plus an X. The company grew in the 1970s but withered into the history books in the early 1980s, supplanted by the electric and digital entertainment revolution.
Entex released almost the full genre' of models: cars, engines, ships, and aircraft (civil and military). I do not remember any military vehicles or figures. With a couple of exceptions Entex did not create models, they repackaged and reissued them. Distributed under the Entex logo were kits of many minor (At least in the U.S. and Europe.) Japanese model companies such as Otaki, Fuji, and Doyusha to name a few (Some of them also issued kits in confederation with other companies.)
Two models that apparently were Entex creations were the Rockwell B-1 bomber and the Hughes H-4 Hercules "Spruce Goose". I've never seen either in person yet both are reported to be very good models. Entex also issued in 1/100 the C-5 Galaxy and Aérospatiale-BAC Concorde. Could there be a greater dichotomy of subjects than those two?
Entex also released models by American manufacturers. I read on a WWI site that many of Entex's Pocket Planes series WWI models are original Revell molds. Although after Aurora's dissolution in 1977 many of their their molds went to Monogram, Entex also received Aurora molds, i.e, the F4B-4 (reviewed here at Aeroscale).