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Aircraft instrument panel restoration

Promotional contractor aircraft scale models - Topping Incorporated, Ohio, USA



Topping Guardian AF-2W Hunter
Grumman Guardian AF-2W Hunter model in Navy dark sea blue colour. Produced early 1950s. Ventral radome for search radar, fin and stand are missing. Made of resin in scale 1/40, presumably in the late 1940s or early 1950s. Source: Reise and Karen. Many thanks to Shepherd Cofer for its identification.

History of Topping Inc.

Topping, Inc. logo Edward William Topping Edward William (Bill) Topping was born in 1911 and attended Case School of Applied Science in Cleveland. From 1929 until 1936 he was employed as a salesman in the family business, the Topping Manufacturing Company. He then became a salesman for the the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company in Akron, Ohio until 1941 and subsequently worked for the Goodyear Aircraft Corporation until 1945. In 1942 Bill Topping started a plastic mold manufacturing business as a parttime activity, making recognition models for the military. This became a fulltime activity in 1945 and Topping Models was born.

Topping propellors Topping produced plastic spinners and wooden propellors for flying remote controlled airplanes and in 1946/1947 met Mr. Hardy, an ex-AAF pilot who flew model airplanes as a hobby and produced his own propellors for his company H&P Plastics. Mr. Hardy bought the spinner/propellor model business from Topping (Scamper propeller and spinner shown) and also introduced Topping to a tool and die maker, Joe Goldsmith, who agreed to work for Topping and produced all Topping's moulds from then onwards.


Wooden propellor replacement blades made by Topping Models
Topping Models Inc. - rare set of wooden variable-pitch propellor replacement blades. Produced by Bill Topping in the late 1940s for his 10.25" variable-pitch propellor used on remote controlled model aircraft. Blades were attached to an aluminum two-piece hub such that the propellor pitch could be set by the user (source Hillary S. Wood).

Mr. Hardy also suggested that Topping's models were cast by a company called Majestic Molding Co. in Elyria (current address P.O. Box 1079, Elyria, 44036 OH). The raw products coming from Majestic Molding Co. were subsequently finished, assembled, decalled and packed, in the basement of the house of Mr. Hardy's inlaws until 1951, when operations moved to the basement of Mr. Hardy's own house 8 km south of Elyria. At this time production had expanded already and Mr. Hardy had 14 people working part-time in his basement finishing and shipping Topping's Models. As the production increased over the years it became increasingly difficult for Mr. Hardy to combine his own business with Topping's operations in his basement. This forced Topping to move its finishing and shipping activities to 147 Kenwood Street in Elyria, Ohio (in 1955?). Collaboration with Mr. Hardy continued but at a much lower intensity.

In May 1950 Topping's company was formally listed as an Ohio corporation called Topping Inc., with a business address at 517 First National Tower in Akron. Its activities included the formation and design of plastic models of military and civilian aircraft. In 1955 Bill Topping established Topping Assemblies Inc., of which he was president. Topping formally moved to 147 Kenwood Street in Elyria, Ohio in 1962.


XB-70 Valkyrie
Topping Models Inc. - North American XB-70 Valkyrie, scale 1/48?.

The company initially produced aircraft models for military and civilian customers and later made contractor sales miniatures for a wider range of American industries. Topping's production included models of heavy machinery, farming equipment, kitchens, washing machines, engines, missiles, air- and spacecraft, etc. The latter were mainly made for NASA or defense contractors and included such large companies as Convair, Douglas, Boeing, Grumman, Hughes, Lockheed, Martin, McDonnell, and General Electric. Topping, Inc. also produced desk models for the aircraft industry to serve as gifts to pilots, private and military buyers and for other promotional purposes. One of Topping's clients was the National Air Museum of the Smithsonian Institution, who used the models for display in the museum. Topping, Inc. became the main source for such contractor airplane miniatures in the 1950s and early 1960s and had produced well over two million scale models for American industries by 1961.

Topping Unisphere Globe model Topping, Inc. filed for bankruptcy in 1965. This was partly due to new US Defense Department restrictions on gifts to military personnel that slowed down his sales and to a misunderstanding about the rights for the production of high quality Unisphere Globe models (photo right, courtesy of M. Johnson) for the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair. Topping assumed that he had world rights for this model, but had in fact only the rights for the USA pavillion. Other manufacturers for non-US pavillions produced them at a more competitive price and this left Topping with a warehouse full of unsold Unisphere models. Another factor may have been that, due to his poor temper, Topping was very difficult to work with. In 1966, shortly after his bankruptcy Bill Topping suffered from a stroke and remained inactive as a consequence until about 1968.

Topping Inc. was re-established but with a scaled-back production employing 12 emloyees including Bill Topping himself. In 1971, the company operated in leased space in a two-story brick building in 365 Water Street. Among the last models produced and sold were the early Boeing 747, the Maverick AGM-65 missile, Piper Cherokee and Cessna 150 Commuter airplanes, the latter still being advertised in flying magazines in 1969. The production of models by Topping Incorporated ceased completely in about 1972.


AVRO VZ-9 Avrocar
Topping Models Inc. - rare model of a VZ-9 Avrocar made for AVRO, Toronto, Canada. Brass antenna and wheels. This VTOL Prototype was designed between 1956 and 1962. scale 1/24. Photo courtesy of Tom Rudisch.

An extensive description of the history of Topping, Inc., based on interviews with Topping's family members and business associates, is given by Chad Slattery in the October/November 1996 issue of the Air & Space Magazine of the Smithsonian (C. Slattery, 1996. The Model Man. Air & Space Magazine). As I do not have access to this article, I would appreciate it if someone could send me a copy...

During Bill Toppings recuperation from his stroke, he started building a series of ten historic aircraft in 1/30 scale, which he called his "Aviation's Pioneer Collection". He continued to work on this collection, which was completed in the mid-1970s. By 1976, Bill Topping published a limited private edition book which had photos of the ten models. He later expanded his collection to twenty-four models and called it the "Wings of History" exhibit, which was shown in 1988 at the San Diego Air and Space America show.

Walter Hyatt Apollo modelWalter Hyatt Apollo model The moulds used by Topping for his model production before his bankruptcy in 1965 had remained property of the contractors and after the company went broke the production was taken by previous employees who had formed other aircraft model manufacturing companies, such as RoLen Plastics Inc. (Established by two Topping employees, Richard (Dick) D. ROberts and Orvis LENovitch), who received about 20% of the business, Precise Models Inc. (150 Kenwood St., Elyria, Ohio 44036; established in 1960 by Mr. Paul Schneider, a former Topping employee and WW2 veteran in the US Army), who received about 80% of the Topping's business, and by the Walter J. Hyatt Co., 7316 Varna Ave. North Hollywood, California, which received the Douglas Co. molds. The rare Apollo spacecraft model (photo: supertoys) shown to the right was also designed and constructed by the Walter J. Hyatt Co. These companies were all supplied with molds that were previously used by Topping Inc.

From 1942 until 1972 Topping Models, Inc. produced 250 types of scale models, mostly for the aircraft industry, and nearly three million models were produced. His largest order came from American Airlines, who ordered 125,000 models of their Boeing 707, which were given away to VIPs and sold in their gift shops.

Topping Inc. Republic Aviation F-105 Thunderchief model

Unlike Matthijs Verkuyl, Bill Topping produced only few aircraft models in metal. The most well-known is presumably the Fairchild-Hiller Corp., Republic Aviation Division F-105B Thunderchief (see image below). This model had a plastic canopy and was produced in the late 1950s. In August 1958, 2,500 models had been produced at a cost of $1.68 each (pers. comm. Mark Johnson). Republic was billed $1.50 for each model, resulting in a loss of $450 on this deal for Topping. The model was produced by injection moulding of a zinc alloy in steel moulds. It proved to be very difficult to maintain production, with lots of problems in the metal injection moulding process. The subsequent extensive buffing/polishing of the model also proved hazardous because of the toxicity of zinc metal dust (metal fume fever health risk). The time consuming finishing work caused Topping to loose about $0.18 on each F-105B model produced and production was therefore stopped. An attempt was made to chrome-plate a resin model (see image below) with poor results, after which production stopped (pers. comm. Gary Schneider). Precise models Inc. continued production of the resin F-105F models in the early 1960s with painted models.

Production of a similarly looking F-105B model in metal restarted in the 1960s by Matthijs Verkuijl in The Netherlands, who was a master in the production of metal models. The F-105B model produced by Verkuyl was full-metal with a painted canopy, rather than the plastic one used by Topping, and had a more rounded stand. See my F-105 web page for the cockpit instrument panel configuration of this aircraft.

The Topping Inc. F-105 Thunderchief model shown below was given to Mr. A.J. (Tony) Weiss in September 1958 by Republic Aviation Corp. to honour his "Buy of the month". Mr. Anthony John Weiss was born in Brooklyn N.Y. on 14 February 1913. He was a Staff Sergeant in Squadron S of the 324th Army Air Force (AAF) Base Unit, until he received an honourable discharge in October 1945, just after the end of WW-II. He was employed by Republic Aviation Corporation in Farmingdale N.Y. on 26 July 1956. He worked under the secret Air Force AF 33(600)22512 contract, and was presumably involved in the development, procurement of parts or production of the F-105 Thunderchief. (Pers. communication Mrs. Trottere).

Republic F-105 metal model
Republic Aviation F-105B Thunderchief (Thud), scale 1/48. The only (?) metal (zinc alloy) aircraft model produced by Topping Inc. The stand is chrome plated metal and is inscribed with Buy of the month awarded to A.J. Weiss Sept. 1958. This model was given to Mr. Weiss by Republic Aviation Corp. (Source: Mrs. Trottere).

Topping Inc. McDonnell F-4 Phantom model

James A. Powroznik was so kind to provide the following information about the F-4 Phantom scale models produced by Topping Inc. Topping's first F-4 Phantom II model was the F4H-1 displayed below. These are really rare now. Topping also made some models of the F-110, which was the first designation given for the F-4 Phantom produced for the USAF and was used until 1962 when the USAF version became the F-4C. The Navy F-4B, the Marines RF-4B and Navy and Marines F-4J models were all produced by Precise Models Inc. (see below). This was also the case for the later models (F-4E, RF-4E, F-4F, international versions, etc.).

F-4H Phantom
Topping, Inc. - McDonnell Navy F-4H Phantom II, scale 1/72 (Photo courtesy of Jim John)

Topping Inc. Lockheed F-104 Starfighter model

Below is a nice example of a Topping F104A Starfighter (submitted by Frank A. Doll). This model is in mint condition and represents the early series of the fighter as noted by the lack of the usual wingtip mounted fuel tanks and the perspex canopy. This was one of the last fighters that Topping, Inc. made before Precise Models Inc. took over, as represented by the later "G" model.

F-104A Starfighter
F-104A
Topping, Inc. - F-104A Starfighter, scale 1/48 (Image source: Frank A. Doll)

Other examples of Topping's Models

Several examples of Topping's models are shown below. These models are now quite rare and much sought after by collectors.

Navy Lockheed P3A Orion model
Topping Models Inc., Navy Lockheed P3A Orion model, scale 1/72. Source James A. Powroznik, USA.

McDonnell USAF F-110 model
Topping, Inc. McDonnell USAF F-110 model, scale 1/72. Image courtesy of Steve Eisner, USA.

Boeing IM-99 Bomarc missile
Topping Models Inc. model of a Boeing IM-99 Bomarc aerial intercept missile (Image source: Ebay)

U.S. Army XM561 1 1/4 ton LTV Michigan cargo truck
Topping, Inc., scale 1/32 model of a U.S. Army XM561 1 1/4 ton LTV Michigan cargo truck (Image source: Ebay)

LTV Aerospace Corporation Navy F-8 Crusader
Topping, Inc., LTV Aerospace Corporation US Navy F-8 Crusader. Scale 1/48.

LTV Aerospace Corporation French Navy F-8E Crusader
Topping, Inc., LTV Aerospace Corporation F-8E Crusader with French Navy markings. Scale 1/48. Source: M. Novack.

Boeing C-135B Stratolifter cargo jet
Topping, Inc. Boeing C-135B Stratolifter model in USAF Military Air Transport Service (MATS) livery, resin model, scale 1/200 (Photograph courtesy of Mr. Joey Bombaci).

Boeing KC-135R tanker jet refueling B-52
This Topping, Inc. Boeing KC-135R model was reworked by a Boeing shop employee to a B-52 (kit model) refueling configuration. Resin model, scales 1/200 (Photograph courtesy of Mr. Joey Bombaci).

Boeing 720B model
Beautiful Topping Inc. Boeing 720B model in factory colours. Resin model, scale 1/200 (Photograph courtesy of Mr. Joey Bombaci).

Trainer aircraft models

North American Aviation T2J-1 Buckeye Jet Trainer
Topping, Inc. North American Aviation T2J-1 Buckeye jet trainer airdcraft model, scale 1/38 (photo: Walter D. Willett IV).
Topping, Inc. Beech T-34 Mentor trainer
Topping, Inc. yellow-coloured Beechcraft T-34 Mentor trainer aircraft (photo: J. Powroznik).
Topping, Inc. Beech T-34 Mentor trainerTopping, Inc. Beechcraft USAF T-34 Mentor trainer aircraft in silver livery. Stand and propellor missing (photo: John Hardy).
Cessna T-37 Tweety trainer aircraft
Topping Inc. Cessna T-37 Tweety trainer aircraft, scale 1/48 (photo: unknown)
T-39D Sabreliner
Topping Inc., North American Navy T-39D Sabreliner, scale 1/40 (photo: Rich Beebe)
T-38 Talon
Late 1950s - early 1960s USAF Northrop T-38 Talon in day glo / white colour scheme, scale 1/40 (source: Danny Davis).
TA-4J Skyhawk
Topping Inc., Douglas TA-4J Skyhawk, scale unkown (source: Blake Sutton).

Fighter aircraft models

F2H Banshee
Topping Inc., F-2H Banshee model in Navy dark sea blue colour (Photograph: Jim Powroznik).
McDonnell F3H Demon
McDonnell F3H Demon resin model in US Navy colours (scale 1/72?). The model was presumably made in the 1950s (Photograph: Caleb Ostrander).
Chance Vought F4U Corsair
Chance Vought F4U Corsair model, scale 1/48. The model shown was made in the early 1990s by Precise with the Topping moulds for a 50-year F4U pilots reunion (photo: M. Johnson).
Douglas F4D Skyray
Douglas F4D Skyray, scale 1/48 (Courtesy of Jack Brennan, a WWII Fighter Pilot and former prisoner of war).
Douglas F4D Skyray
Douglas F4D Skyray, scale 1/48 (Photo: Flynmess)
Vought F7U-3 Cutlass
US Navy Vought F7U-3 Cutlass, produced in the early 1950s, scale 1/48? (Photo Mike Kosman)
Vought F8U-3 Crusader III
Vought Navy F8U-3 Crusader III model, scale ? (Photo: Blake Sutton).
Grumman F9F-8 Cougar
Grumman F9F-8 Cougar, scale 1/48 (photo: Jim Powroznik).
Grumman F9F Panther
Topping, Inc. USAF Grumman F9F Panther, scale 1/32. (photo: Walter D. Willett IV).
North American F-86 Sabre Jet
North American Aviation Inc. F-86 Sabre Jet in USAF colours, scale 1/48 (Photo: Blake Sutton)
Northrop F-89D
Topping Inc. Northrop USAF F-89D Scorpion, scale about 1/120 (photo: M. Kosman)
North American F-86 Sabre Jet
North American F-86D Sabre Jet in USAF colours on globe stand, scale 1/100 (Photo: lbfreefall)
North American Aviation Navy FJ-2 Fury
North American Aviation Navy FJ-2 Fury, the Navy version of the F-86 Sabre, scale 1/100 (Photo: lbfreefall).
AVRO CF-100 model aircraft
Topping Inc., AVRO CF-100 Canuck model aircraft, scale 1/48 (photo: M. Kosman).
North American Aviation Inc. USAF F-100 Super Sabre
North American Aviation Inc. USAF F-100 Super Sabre, scale 1/48 (photo: lbfreefall).
McDonnell F-101 Voodoo
McDonnell USAF F-101A model in day-glo USAF paint scheme, scale 1/72. Made of resin, presumably in the late 1950s (source: Reise and Karen).
McDonnell F-101 Voodoo
McDonnell USAF F-101A model, scale 1/72, dates from late 1950s (Photo: John Hardy). Model featured in Topping's 1961 sales catalogue.
Lockheed USAF F-104A Starfighter
Lockheed USAF F-104A Starfighter, scale 1/48 (photo: lbfreefall).
F-105 Thunderchief
Chrome-plated F-105B resin version, scale 1/50. Failed prototype (photo: M. Kosman).
Convair F-106A Delta Dart
Convair Division of General Dynamics Corporation F-106A Delta Dart resin model, scale 1/48 (photo: wide2beatall).
Northrop N-156F Freedom fighter
Topping Inc. Northrop N-156F Freedom fighter, scale 1/48 (photo: Mount Vernon Auction Center).

Reconnaissance Aircraft models

Grumman WF-2 (E-1B) Tracer
Grumman US Navy WF-2 (E-1B) Tracer, scale ? (Photo: Blake Sutton).
Grumman S-2E Tracker
Grumman US Navy S-2E Tracker, scale ? (Photo: M. Johnson).
Republic RF-84F Thunderflash
Republic USAF RF-84F Thunderflash model, scale 1/48. 500 produced in May-July 1958 (Photo: lbfreefall).

Bomber aircraft models

Convair B-58 Hustler model
Convair B-58 Hustler model, scale 1/120 (Photograph: tempersausmc). See Chad Slattery's X plane model collection or CollectAir Display Models web sites for higher resolution images.

Attack aircraft models

North American A3J-1 Retaliator
Topping Inc., North American Aviation A3J-1 Retaliator prototype, scale 1/72 (photo: j_s_kirk).
North Ameriocan A3J Vigilante
Topping Inc., North American A3J Vigilante, scale 1/72 (photo: Mount Vernon Auction Center).
Grumman A-6A Intruder
Grumman A6A Intruder in USAF colours, scale 1/48 (Photo: jcsk95)
Grumman A-2F Intruder
Topping Inc., Grumman A-2F Intruder sub-killer, scale 1/48 (Photo: Blake Sutton).
Navy A-4D Skyhawk
Topping Inc. Navy A-4D Skyhawk, scale 1/48 (photo: Mount Vernon Auction Center)

Helicopter and VTOL models

Sikorsky H-37 helicopter
Topping Inc., Sikorsky H-37 helicopter, scale unkown (photo: Greg Barbiera).
Sikorsky HR2S helicopter
Sikorsky HR2S helicopter, scale unkown (photo: Greg Barbiera).
Piasecki HUP-2 Retriever helicopter
Vintage, Topping Inc., Piasecki Helicopter Corportation HUP-2 Retriever model in US Navy colours, presumably made in the early 1950s (scale 1/48). Material: resin fuselage with metal landing gear support. Source: found in the trash by a trash collector and given to Reise and Karen who kindly contacted me... I am now looking for rotor blades and a stand to complete this model.
CH-46A Sea Knight
Early 1960s Boeing Helicopters (formerly Piasecki Helicopter) CH-46A Sea Knight (or Boeing/Vertol V-107/II) tandem rotor helicopter model, scale 1/48. This model is in Canadian Army livery (US Marines version displayed on page 5 of Topping's sales catalogue). Twelve units were bought by Canada in 1964 as CH-113A Voyageurs, being slightly modified stock CH-46As (photo courtesy of Phil Houstoun, Canada).
Sikorski CH-3C helicopter
Topping Inc., Sikorsky CH-3C helicopter, scale unkown (photo: Mount Vernon Auction Center).
Curtis Wright X-19 VTOL model
Topping Inc., Curtis Wright X-19 VTOL model, scale 1/72 (photo: Mount Vernon Auction Center).
Bell UH-1 Huey helicopter Topping Inc., Bell UH-1 Huey helicopter from the US Army, scale unkown (photo: Blake Sutton). Piasecki H-25 Army Mule helicopter Topping Inc., Piasecki H-25 Army Mule helicopter, scale 1/48 (photo: Greg Barbiera).
Sikorsky S-58 helicopter Sikorsky S-58 Helicopter. A total of 300 produced (200 Comm, 100 C.G.) by July 1958 at a price of $3.50 each (Photo John Hardy).

Transport, cargo and tanker aircraft models

Fairchild C-123H Provider
Topping Inc., Fairchild C-123H Provider, scale 1/72 (photo: Mount Vernon Auction Center).
De Havilland AC-1 Caribou
Canadian De Havilland AC-1 Caribou, scale 1/72 (Photo: Renegaderose).
Lockheed USAF C-130 Hercules
Lockheed USAF C-130 Hercules, scale 1/72? (Photo: Blake Sutton). Stand reads "Lockheed C-130 Hercules, Symbol of Global Mobility". 500 produced in May-July 1958 at a cost of $2.25. Production continued in 1959.
L23/U8 twin Beech
U.S. Army model of the twin Beech Bonanza (L23/U8 Series). Produced in the early 1950s (Photo courtesy of John Hardy).
Boeing KC-135A Tanker aircraft
USAF Boeing KC-135A tanker aircraft model manufactured around 1960, resin, scale 1/200. Photograph courtesy of Mr. Joey Bombaci.
Boeing 737 Military Airlift Command
Boeing 737-100 in USAF Military Airlift Command livery (but never ordered for MAC, only as CT-43), scale 1/100 (source: P. LaCicero). Made in the mid 1960s from resin, perhaps by Precise Models?

Sea planes

Martin P5M-1 Marlin
Glenn L. Martin Company P5M-1 sea plane in Navy dark sea blue colour (thanks Shepherd for correction), scale 1/100 (source: Reise and Karen). Made in the early 1950s from resin, stand and portside float missing. More images available at www.collectair.com
Grumman SA-16 Albatros
Grumman SA-16 Albatros in USAF colours, scale 1/100 (Photo: Flynmess)
Grumman HU-16 Albatros
Grumman US Coast Guard HU-16 Albatros, scale 1/100 (Photo: teebee40)

Missile, drone, rocket and bomb models

GAR-1D missile
Topping Inc., Hughes Aircraft Corp. USAF guided air-to-air GAR-1D (AIM-4A) missile, scale 1/10.
Beechcraft KDB-1 Missile Target
Beechcraft KDB-1 missile target model, scale 1/22. Contractor model made for the Beech Aircraft Corporation, Wichita, Kansas, U.S.C. Model is made of metal and stand of lucite. Made in the late 1950s, by Topping Inc.? Source: Thomas Munson.
Lt. Coll Howell with Topping GAR -1D model
1950s Photograph of Lt. Col. W.D. Howell from the USAF with a Topping Hughes GAR-1D air-to-air missile model (see above). Courtesy of  tempestausmc.
US Army Ryan KDA-1 Firebee drone
Rare US Navy Teledyne Ryan KDA-1 Firebee drone, produced in the early 1950s, scale 1/28 (Photo teebee40)
USAF B-61 Martin Matador missile
USAF B-61 Martin Matador missile on its launch vehicle (Photo Usaf_general_officer)
USAF TM-76 Martin Mace missile and carrier
Topping Inc. USAF TM-76 Martin Mace missile and carrier (photo: Mount Vernon Auction Center)
General Dynamics RIM-24 Tartar surface-to-air missile
General Dynamics RIM-24 Tartar medium-range naval surface-to-air missile, scale 1/24, stand missing (source: M. Kosman)
SM-68 Titan
Topping Inc. SM-68 Titan model in frame (photo: Mount Vernon Auction Center).
McDonnell Mercury Spacecraft
McDonnell NASA Manned Satellite Capsule-project, Mercury Spacecraft, scale unknown (Photo: Blake Sutton)
General Dynamics Aeronautics USAF Atlas ICBM
General Dynamics Aeronautics USAF Atlas ICBM, scale unknown (Photo: Blake Sutton)
General Dynamics Atlas ICBM
General Dynamics Aeronautics (previously Convair) Atlas (SM-65) ICBM and space launch vehicle for USAF and NASA programs, butyrate, scale about 1/60 (Photo Mark Johnson)
Glenn L. Martin Company SM-68 Titan ICBM
Glenn L. Martin Company SM-68 Titan I Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, produced in the mid-1950s (ICBM, Photo Mark Johnson).
Chance Vought Aircraft SCOUT launch vehicle
Chance Vought Aircraft Solid Controlled Orbital Utility Test (SCOUT) launch vehicle for NASA/DOD. Model dates from around 1958. Scale 1/72. (Photo Mark Johnson).
General Dynamics (Convair) SAM-N-7/RIM-2 Terrier
Topping Inc., General Dynamics (Convair) SAM-N-7/RIM-2 Terrier missile, scale 1/32. (photo: Mark Johnson).
McDonnell NASA Mercury Spacecraft capsule
McDonnell NASA Mercury Spacecraft capsule, scale unknown (Photo: Blake Sutton).
MGM-29 Sergeant Missile
Topping Inc. Sperry Utah Company MGM-29 Sergeant tactical surface-to-surface missile, butyrate, scale unknown (photo: Mark Johnson)
Boeing Minuteman I Missile
Boeing Minuteman I LGM-30A ICBM resin model, scale 1/48. Produced in the late 1950s, early 1960s and shown on the front page of the 1961 Topping catalogue (Photo Mark Johnson).
Thor space vehicle
Complete set of the Topping Inc. Thor space vehicle with booklet in its original box, produced in the mid-1950s (Photo Feebee40).
Nike Hercules MIM-14 missile
Topping Inc. Nike Hercules MIM-14 misile (photo: Mount Vernon Auction Center)
Martin Bullpup B missile
Martin ASM-N7b Bullpup B missile, scale 1/50?. The earlier ASM-N-7 Bullpup model was in production in 1958 (Photograph: Masonkatz).
Convair XSM-65B ICBM
General Dynamics Convair Atlas-B (4B) USAF launch vehicle ICBM, scale 1/32 (Photograph: Magnoliamall). See also the Smithsonian collection entry.



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Bendix Talos long-range surface-to-air missile. A total of 500 produced by July 1958 at a price of $0.60 each.

Prototype models

Grumman F-11 Tiger
Early 1950s Convair XFY-1 Pogo propellor driven VTOL prototype model, scale 1/50 (Courtesy of Jack Brennan, a WWII Fighter Pilot and former prisoner of war).
Bell X-2Early 1950s Bell Aircraft Corp. X-2 Starbuster research aircraft model, scale 1/35 (Photo S. Bridge). Lockheed X-7Early 1950s Lockheed Missile Systems Division X-7 "Flying Stove Pipe" prototype model, scale? (Photo J. Hardy).
Grumman F-11 TigerEarly 1960s Grumman F-11 Tiger prototype model, Design 98 J-5, scale 1/38 (Photo J. Powroznik). North American Aviation Inc. X-15
1960s North American Aviation Inc. X-15 research aircraft for the USAF, Navy and NASA, scale 1/40 (Photo Supertoys).

Civilian aircraft models

Piper Arrow
Resin Piper Cherokee 235 model, Topping produced these in the mid-1960s. Scale 1/54 (Photo Inhot).
Piper Cherokee 235
Piper PA-28 Cherokee Arrow, one of the last models produced by Topping in mid-1960s. Scale 1/54 (Photo J. Powroznik).
Cessna 177 Cardinal
Topping Inc. Cessna 177 Cardinal scale 1/48 (photo: Jim Powroznik)
Cessna 150 Commuter plane
Cessna 150 Commuter airplane, scale 1/48. One of the last Topping models sold in the late 1960s (photo: Jim Powroznik)
Convair 990 American Airlines
Topping, Inc. Convair 990 American Airlines, scale 1/.. (photo: Walter D. Willett IV).
Boeing VC-137 Stratoliner
Very rare model of a Boeing VC-137 Stratoliner, a modified Boeing 707 used for transporting the vice president and high-ranking congress members, scale 1/?. (photo: Blake Sutton).
Topping, Inc. Gulfstream I model
Topping Inc., Grumman Gulfstream I (C-4 Academe) model, scale 1/48 (source Mark Johnson)
Topping, Inc. Boeing 747 model
Topping, Inc., Boeing 747 Jumbo jet (stand missing). Scale 1/200 (source: Rui Cristina).


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Fairchild F-27, scale 1/72?. A total of 1,000 produced by August 1958 at a price of $1.50 each.


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Lockheed Jetstar, scale 1/48. A total of 100 produced by August 1958 at a price of $3.85 each.

Engines

Allison T56 turboprop engine
Allison Engine Company Aeroproducts Propeller T56 turboprop engine produced in the early 1950s, scale unknown. This engine was used in C-130 Hercules and P-3 Orion aircraft (photo: Blake Sutton)
Rocketdyne rocket engine
150,000 Lbs thrust rocket engine developed by Rocketdyne, a Division of North American Aviation, Inc., scale unknown (photo: Blake Sutton)
Lycoming T-53 Gas Turbine Engine
Lycoming T-53 Gas Turbine Engine produced in the early 1950s, scale unknown (photo: Blake Sutton).

Miscellaneous

Massey Ferguson tractor with plow
1950s Massey Ferguson 30 tractor with plow, scale 1/12-1/16. Materials: resin and metal.

Topping Inc. sales catalogue and other advertising material

A 10-page sales catalogue was produced in 1961, which shows many examples of the models produced by Topping, Inc. in the early sixties. Scans of several pages of this catalogue are shown below.

Topping sales catalogue
Topping, Inc. catalogue, 1961, cover page
Topping, Inc. catalogue, 1961, cover page
Topping, Inc. catalogue, 1961, page 8
Topping, Inc. catalogue, 1961, p. 8, with F-4H model
Topping, Inc. catalogue, 1961, page 13
Topping, Inc. catalogue, 1961, p. 13
Topping, Inc. catalogue, 1961, page 15
Topping, Inc. catalogue, 1961, p. 15

The complete catalogue was scanned by Keith Scala and can be downloaded as a PDF document at www.collectSPACE.com (see links at the bottom of this page). Topping also advertised in newspapers and made a flyer to pronote the sale of small-scale (1/72) Cessna aircraft that he made after the bankruptcy in 1965.

Flyer for Topping Cessna models
Flyer advertising two Cessna models, both priced at $9.00, made by Topping in the late 1960s (source: Mark Johnson).

Remarks or contributions to this web page can be send to aviation@watergeek.eu.

Precise Models web services - Precise Models LLC.

Precise Models LLC LogoFor all of you who have affinity with the products of Precise Models Inc., who took over the business of Topping Inc. in the mid-1960s, there is very good news. Mr. Mark Johnson has teamed up with the former Precise Models Director, Mr. Gary Schneider, to develop the Precise Models LLC web site. This site serves as an additional source of information for scale model collectors and includes a forum to exchange ideas, tips and techniques. Furthermore, Topping and Precise models and parts are for sale at this web site and can be bought for competetive prices.

Links

The following sites are good references for information about contractor scale models:



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