Lines Bros., Inc., 1107 Broadway, New York, NY, USA.
The first U.S. distributor of Frog kits was H. Hudson Dobson in New York, who sold the pre-war Penguin kits. When plastic kits were re-introduced in the 1950s, distribution was handled by Lines Bros., Inc., and also by Continental Models, Inc., in Brooklyn, New York. Incidentally, Continental also handled most of the Airfix imports. However, all imports of plastic kits were subjected to high customs tariffs and sales were therefore relatively low. It was to cure this situation that Air Lines were born.
Air Lines was the brain-child of Alan Ginsburg, the local Lines Bros, manager. His suggestion was to have all the kits moulded in the U.S.A., thus avoiding the tariffs. He eventually persuaded the management in London that this was a sound proposition and an initial range of 24 kits was selected. After visiting a number of potential candidates -bringing a sample Frog mould in the car boot - an agreement was reached with Pyro in New Jersey to mould the kits.
Most Frog kits at the time had a line drawing rather than dramatic artwork on the box and this was felt to be unsuitable for the U.S. market. The artist Jo Kotula was therefore commissioned to paint new art for Air Lines, many of his paintings later being used on Frog kits as well.
All decals were printed in England and, apart from the new ones for the USAAF B-25 and B-26, the same as in the contemporary Frog issues.
Instead of the normal U.S. practice of adding the price after the kit number. Air Lines incorporated it in the number itself. Kit 3901 thus cost 39 cents, and so on.
It should be noted that the Vimy was never sold with radial engines, although shown thus in the Air Lines leaflet.
The first kits appeared in 1964 and a further five kits (7908, 9803, 9804, 12903 and 12904) were added in 1965. The last kits to be released were the 59 cent range in spring, 1966. However, by now it was apparent that the whole scheme was in fact uneconomic and Air Lines was terminated later in that year, an additional five kits planned for August never being produced.
Production quantities are not known but must have been substantial for most kits, judging by the numbers still around.
| ||7903||Westland P.V.6 (Wallace)|
FROG model aircraft 1932-1976, R. Lines, L. Hellstrom