Model Airplanes for Fun and Profit

Some of the best model airplanes are the ones that never get built.

I’ve been building model airplanes since I was a young boy, and I’m still building them. I also collect unbuilt kits of vintage plastic models, and my collection now numbers 690 kits. Over the years, I’ve spent more than $100,000 on classic kits, many of which are featured in my new book, Collecting Vintage Plastic Model Airplane Kits (Specialty Press, 2015).

The book outlines some general guidelines to collecting plastic kits from such prolific manufacturers as Aurora, Revell, Monogram, and Lindberg. I explain how to determine the value of a kit, and the best places to find them: online auction sites, garage sales, flea markets, under beds in homes for sale, and from a network of fellow collectors.

I also include a chapter titled “Rarest of the Rare,” which lists the most sought-after, hard-to-find kits. My dream kit has long been the Revell Martin P6M SeaMaster—in blue. I purchased one from a collector friend for under $500. The low price is due to the kit being partially assembled (unbuilt kits are the most desired), but the box and instructions are in perfect condition. So I am still on the hunt for a blue SeaMaster with a perfect “inside.”

Varney PT‑17

Perhaps the oldest plastic model kit in America, the Varney PT‑17 arrived ca. 1946. Now one of the rarest of all styrene models, it sells for close to $1,000.


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