Stratocruiser

I haven’t blogged for a while – maybe it’s because of the start of the semester (which is now rapidly drawing to a close)  or for some other reason.   Actually one of those reasons was that we have been turning out the attic, sending clothes and other household items we haven’t used to charity.

A few items have seen the light of day briefly before being re-packaged, like those Roman mosaics in the England that are uncovered, examined in all their glory and then carefully covered in sand to preserve them for future generations.

What we have here isn’t quite as esoteric as a Roman mosaic, but it has a place in the fabric of history nonetheless.

Tomiyama Boeing B377 Stratocruiser. Approx 1956

Tomiyama Boeing B377 Stratocruiser. Approx 1956

We came across this tin toy, which Susan first assumed was mine because it was an airplane.   It isn’t, so it must have come from her side of the family.  Even without the helpful decals or lithography  you’d recognize that you had a Boeing 377 Stratocruiser  here.   It’s even more helpful that it has “BOEING STRATOCRUISER” written down the side.  I was interested in the US civil registration NX1022V on the starboard wing which is repeated in a slightly different form (N1022V) on the fuselage and tail

Tomiyama Boeing B377 Stratocruiser. Approx 1956

Tomiyama Boeing B377 Stratocruiser. Approx 1956

From this angle, the maker has clearly shown the B-29 / B-50 origins of the B377. I have seen a couple of photographs of the B-50 model from the same era and  it certainly appears that the same wing assembly has been used for both toys.  The distinctive shape of the B-50 extended fin is shown clearly here although the fin and rudder look more B-29 than anything – although this may just be a feature of the lithography / paint scheme.  The vestigial B-29/B-50 tail turret is not a feature of the B377.

There are other B377 models made by the Japanese company Tomiyama in the mid-50s, in different liveries and configurations.  Ebay, Pinterest and some collectors’ forums have pictures of them – or they ought to. You can find them in a Google image search, but  Photobucket made some changes recently which tend to prohibit 3rd party linking so please pardon me if I don’t show you any of them here.

The  “real” N1022V was, according to Bryan Swopes the re-registered prototype NX90700,  which first flew in 1947.   NX90700  was upgraded to full 377 standard and went to Pan American World Airways as N1022V Clipper Nightingale. Pan Am kept the aircraft until 1960 before selling it back to Boeing.  N1022V found its way to the Venezuelan airline RANSA. It was converted to a freighter and scrapped in 1969.    It is ironic that the toy has lasted longer than the aircraft on which it was modeled, although not unusual.

Boeing Stratocruiser prototype NX90700.

Boeing Stratocruiser prototype NX90700.

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