Hangar 47 is an homage to aircraft both famous and obscure, of all nations. It is dedicated to preserving aviation history, but also to sharing my love of modeling. This site is also a response to the “dumbing down” of modeling in the United States in recent decades, the lack of historical information included in many model airplane kits produced in this country, and virtually everywhere but Europe and Japan. Today, modeling is less a window into history and more of a means of visual gratification — but since it is a less instant form of gratification than Nintendo, X-Box, Facebook or Netflix, most of its disciples today seem to be an aging population — the younger Baby Boomers and the Generation X’ers who are beginning the downhill slope of middle age.
When I was a kid in the 1970’s, with my $5.00 weekly allowance burning a hole in my pocket, I would head out to the local Woolworth’s on Saturday afternoon and make a beeline for the model section. About the only models available back then, if you were interested in airplanes, were the 1/48 scale Monogram kits, maybe a few Revell, all of which despite the tremendous advances in modeling technology since, are today considered classics. For their time (their heyday was the 1960’s and 1970’s), they were state-of -the-art, the most accurate kits around.
Back then, to me an exotic kit was something by Revell, or a kit in the not-often-seen (by me at least) 1/72 scale. But certainly the instruction sheets of all the aircraft kits of the day were accompanied by a fairly substantial section on the history of the aircraft, including anything that made it particularly noteworthy. The Fokker Triplane had for a brief time been the scourge of the Western Front; the Curtiss P-40 had been the mount of the Flying Tigers; the B-25 Mitchell had bombed Tokyo just four months after Pearl Harbor; and the de Havilland Mosquito had executed a pinpoint bombing of Gestapo headquarters in Oslo, Norway — decades before GPS. At some point all that began to vanish. American kits (and many of their Asian competitors) began to have no history section in the instructions, no matter how cursory, and in time they contained virtually no text even to explain construction, just pictures. Modeling was no longer educational, no longer a window into history — unless you went to the library, or more likely got on the Internet, to do your own research.
The mission of Hangar 47 is to bring back that history, with a vengeance.