Disney’s ‘Planes’

As a follow-up to the successful cartoon series CARS, Walt Disney Studios will be releasing a new cartoon series entitled PLANES on 9th August 2013 … and some of the merchandise is already in the shops. I saw some of the diecast model aircraft in the Disney store at Bluewater, and whereas some of them may not be of a great deal of use to wargamers, some might.

Amongst the aircraft ‘characters’ in the film are:

  • A crop-duster (whose design is very like that of an Air Tractor AT-502 and PZL-Mielec M-18 Dromader)
  • A Chance Vought F4U Corsair
  • A generic biplane
  • A de Havilland DH.88 Comet
  • A Gee Bee Model R
  • Two Boeing F/A-18E Super Hornets

These are the ones that will probably be of most interest to wargamers, and it is interesting to note that most are produced in a number of different scale/sizes.

My own favourite is the Gee Bee Model R, which is little more that a very large radial engine with wings! It looks like an aircraft that SHOULD have been militarised and turned into a fighter.

My second favourite is the de Havilland DH.88 Comet. My paternal grandfather helped built them (he worked for the de Havilland company at the time) and they are often cited as being the forerunner of the de Havilland Mosquito.

Both aircraft would be very suitable for ‘conversion’ into military aircraft for wars (imaginary or otherwise) that might have taken place during the late 1930s.


12 Comments on “Disney’s ‘Planes’”

  1. Interesting idea, Bob. Yes, repainted, they could be of use for an inter-war imagi-nations game. Depends upon the scale of course. Fun models in any case. Reminds me a bit playing Crimson Skies on the old Xbox. Regards,Steve

  2. arthur1815 says:

    Bob, IIRC, the Gee Bee was designed specically for round the pylon air racing – hence the 'engine with wings' design. I doubt it would be very manoeuverable in dogfighting, though probably excellent at one diving pass, guns blazing, down onto a target and away.The long engine cowling would seem to create a big blindspot in front and below… I suppose the guns would have to be mounted round the engine with interrupter gear, as there wouldn't be enough room in the wings for a Hurricane-type 8-gun arrangement?But an iconic plane design, and plenty of room for 'nose-art'!Arthur

  3. Pete. says:

    Any link between the DeHavilland plane and the Westland Whirlwind? They do bear a superficial similarity… it got me thinking.Cheers,Pete.

  4. Corporal_Trim (Steve),The main models seem to come in a variety of different sizes, and it should be possible to find one that fits in with most of the main figures scales.I never played 'Crimson Skies' but some of the aircraft could easily have come from the same design studios.All the best,Bob

  5. Arthur1815,You are absolutely right that it is an impractical starting point for a fighter design for all the reasons that you state … but the design has something about it that is appealing and I can imagine what it might look like in military garb.I have a diecast model of a Gee Bee R somewhere. Perhaps I ought to give it a try myself sometime!It is worth remembering that many of the aircraft used in air racing during the 1920s and 1930s were the design precursors of fighters used during the Second World War (e.g. Supermarine S5 and S6 vis-à-vis the Spitfire).All the best,Bob

  6. Pete,Although the designs do appear similar, I don't think that they are linked in any way. I understand that the de Havilland DH.88 was designed by Geoffrey de Havilland and Charles C Walker whereas the Westland Whirlwind was designed by William Edward Willoughby "Teddy" Petter.All the best,Bob

  7. I wonder what sort of scale these will be made in? They look just the thing for my 'Jono's World' project… Thanks for the heads up!Cheers,Ion

  8. Archduke Piccolo (Ion),It is difficult to judge how big the models are from the images that are available, but I would say that the larger sized ones will probably look all right alongside 28/25mm-scale figures whilst the smaller ones will not look wrong alongside 15mm-scale figures.All the best,Bob

  9. Steven Page says:

    The Gee Bee's were so unstable that they had trouble staying on the runway while taking off. While they were great racers, they claimed the lives of some very good pilots. I am looking forward to seeing these models. No '20's or 30's pulp Adventure is complete without some wing-walking combat….-Steve

  10. Steven Page,The Gee Bee may have been a dangerous aircraft to fly … but it LOOKS great, and it – and some of the other models in the range – would certain grace any number of 1920/1930 'pulp' adventures by their presence.All the best,Bob

  11. Jiaqi Lim says:

    Gotta agree with you. While it may be a dangerous aircraft to fly, the GEE BEE looks really awesome! It has a lil cartoonish design feel to it which I really like a lot!

  12. Jiaqi Lim,I totally agree that it looks awesome … even if it was a real pig to fly.All the best,Bob

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