Hawk Model Company
Hawk Model Airplanes was established in 1928 by brothers Dick (Sr.) and Phil Mates, in Chicago, Illinois. Promoted as "America's Oldest Model Company", the company was purchased by the Testors Corporation in 1970. The Hawk Company assets were later acquired by J. Lloyd International, Inc. of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which, in turn, sold them to Round2 LLC of South Bend, Indiana in 2013.
From its inception in 1928 to the early 1950s the company manufactured a successful line of solid-wood aircraft models, which eventually included injection-molded generic plastic propellers. The Mates brothers exhibited built-up and painted plastic models at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1934. During World War II, Hawk helped to supply plastic identification models for use in military training.
In 1946, Hawk produced one of the very first all-plastic model kits, the Curtis R3C-1 racer. Four additional kits (all classic 1930s racers) were added in 1948; the Gee Bee, Howard Ike, Laird Solution, and Supermarine S6B. These early kits were molded in acetate plastic, but from 1949, Hawk employed polystyrene in its injection-molding process. The kits were advertised as “1/4 scale”, meaning ¼ inch equals 1 scale foot or 1/48th scale. Additional, increasingly sophisticated toolings were developed into the 1960s. By the time of its sale to Testors Corp. in 1970, the company's catalog included a wide range of realistic scale replicas of aircraft, ships, missiles, vehicles, and conceptual subjects in 1/48, 1/72, 1/144 and smaller scales. Among notable releases:
- LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin (in 1/245 scale, when finished, this kit measured 38.5 inches long.)
- Lockheed Constellation (the company's first polystyrene kit)
- Lockheed U-2 (1/48 - One of its most popular and accurate examples - based on the Garry Powers-flown variant)
- Spirit of St. Louis (1/72 scale)
- Messerschmitt Me 163 'Komet' German Interceptor
- Gee Bee racer (the original 1948 tooling was still being re-boxed by Testors Corp. into the early years of the 21st century.)
- Spad XIII World War I-era biplane
- Mister Mulligan Benny Howard racer
- Travelaire Mystery Ship racer
- Grumman F8F Bearcat
- North American P-51 Mustang
- Manned Orbiting Laboratory (a conceptual space model)
- 3 Rocket-Powered Guided Missiles
Many of these original Hawk toolings were re-boxed and reissued periodically by Testors and its successors, and continue to be available.
One of Hawk's best selling kit lines was the "Weird-ohs Car-icky-tures", dragster and hot rod caricatures (along with the related "Frantics", and "Silly Surfers" series), based on concepts and art created by their often-used freelance illustrator Bill Campbell.
- Daddy - The Way Out Suburbanite (racer; aka. "the Swingin' Suburbanite")
- Davey - The Way Out Cyclist (outlaw motorcycle club rider: "He's a Psycho cyclist! This cat's a terror on the road ...")
- Digger - The Dragster (racer)
- Drag Hag - The Bonny, Blastin' Babe (racer)
- Endsville Eddie - The Shortstop Stupe (racer)
- Freddy Flameout - The Way Out Jet Jockey (test pilot)
- Huey's Hut Rod - The Way Outhouse Bomb (racer)
- Sling Rave Curvette - The Way Out Spectator (race fan)
- Wade A. Minut* - The Wild Starter (race 'official'; aka. The Timeless Timekeeper)
- Francis the Foul - The Way Out Dribbler (basketball player)
- Killer McBash - The Dazzling Decimator (football player)
- Leaky Boat Louie - The Vulgar Boatman (motorboater)
Silly Surfers characters:
- Beach Bunny ("Beach Bunny Catchin' Rays")
- Hodad Makin' the Scene ("Hodad Makin' the Scene With a Six Pack - Detailed Personable Pelican and Crusty Crab, Insect Pests, Sand Crawlers, Etc., included")
- Hot Dogger Hangin' Ten
- Riding Tandem ("Hot Dogger and Surf Bunny Riding Tandem - The Dazzling Duo of the Surf - Goony Gull, Crusty Crab & Friendly Fish included")
- Woodie on a Surfari
Frantics (the frappin' family of fidgeting...) characters:
- Frantic Banana (drummer: "Frantic Banana Punishing The Skins - car plugs not included in this kit")
- Frantic Cats (dancers: "Shifty Snuffling at its best - This is the Livin' end!")
- Steel Pluckers (guitarists: "Bopped out Steel Pluckers having A Bash - the twangin' and sangin' stars of the Sappy Swingin Sixties")
- Totally Fab (guitarist & groupie: "...Screamin' Meemies Two Legged Model of Fort Knox & Security Guard")
- Aurora Plastics Corporation
- Pyro Plastics Corporation
- "Jupiter Corp. Acquisition". The Wall Street Journal. September 18, 1970.
- "Hawk Model to Merge Into Testor of Rockford". Chicago Tribune. September 18, 1970. p. C9.
- Round2 LLC, press release, March 18, 2013
- Fischer, Dave: Early Plastic Model Kit Development in the USA, oldmodelkits.com blog, September 2, 2009
- Fischer, op. cit.
- Fischer, op. cit.
- Fischer, op. cit/
- Fischer, op. cit.
- Bussie (ed.), Alan. "A Biography of Artist Bill Campbell - Illustrator For Hawk Plastic Model Kits". Retrieved 2010-04-16.