“True FROG buff wants to make the model look like FROG model,
not like its real prototype.
And, if FROG model has some visual differences,
he is always sure that it only makes it look nicer…”
FROG input into development of scale modelling in Soviet and post-Soviet area is hard to overestimate. But, before start talking about late period of life of FROG press molds, it’s worth to run a brief excursion into a history of this trade mark.
FROG abbreviation stands for Flight Right Over the Ground. The name was invented in 1932 by managers of International Model Aircraft Ltd. (IMA) and originally used for flying models. However, when in 1938 Penguin series was presented (comprising aircraft detail sets made of cellulose acetate), FROG began to be more and more associated with scale models, including wooden ones.
The real breakthrough took place in 1956-1959, when more than 20 models made of plastics were released under FROG trademark. Some of these models appeared to be so fortunate that they are, in fact, still in production! Over the next five years FROG saw no abrupt failures, but in 1965 IMA was merged with Rovex Scale Models Ltd and ceased to exist in 1972. During that period, British economics came into continuous recession and not all model manufacturers managed to grow out of it.
Dynamics of change of names of FROG trademark holders in 1955-1977 is presented below:
1955-1965 – International Model Aircraft Ltd.
1966-1967 – Rovex Scale Models Ltd.
1967-1969 – Rovex Industries Ltd.
1970-1971 – Rovex Tri-ang Ltd.
1972-1973 – Rovex Ltd.
1974-1977 – Rovex Models and Hobbies Ltd.
If you examine it in more detail, FROG models can be divided into five generations, which partially overlapped each other.
1st generation (1955-1958)
Famous “airman’s head”
U/C wheels, legs and doors molded as a single detail
Heavy raised panel lines and rivets
Absence of wheel wells
2nd generation (1956-1962)
Heavy recessed panel lines
Empty cockpits – no pilot, no seat
Marking elements engraved in plastic
3rd generation (1963-1967)
Movable U/C details: rotable wheels, retractable legs
Movable control surfaces: rudders, elevators, ailerons
Thin raised panel lines
Aircraft cockpit details: floor, seat, pilot figure
Separate engine details.
4th generation (1968-1974)
Placement of details within a frame
Model stand in one of the frames, together with other kit details.
Thin hexagonal frames
5th generation (1974-1977)
Absence of the stand (or Skybase stand)
New pilot figures
Following their sale to Novoexport in 1975-1977, FROG models literally found a new life, as they became hugely popular in Soviet Union – even more popular than VEB Plasticart kits produced in DDR.