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Gary Brantley
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Howard “Ike” air racer

May 22, 2021 · in Aviation · · 10 · 2.2K

This little air was built back in the early 1990s and had never been photographed before May 20 of last year, almost a year ago today in fact. I don't know why I had overlooked it all these years but I decided to rectify that by a trip to the airport. I loaded it and two other never before photographed models into the Isuzu Trooper II and took them to the Cameron Municipal airport. I got there about 10 am and the wind was beginning to gust a bit. There were several planes parked there and a nice gentleman was fueling up two others.

The kit is the ancient Testors (first release by Hawk was in 1949) model of the Howard “Ike”. My instructions are dated 1976. The Ike was first introduced at the Thompson Trophy Race in 1932. Spanning 20'6” with a fuselage length of 17', the little racer would fit in many living rooms today. With Harold Neumann at the controls, Ike , wearing racing number 39, finished fourth in the 1934 Thompson Race, with an average speed of 207.064 miles per hour. The structure was steel tubing covered with fabric and she was powered by a Menasco B-6 inline engine of 489 cubic inch displacement. It was built by Ben Howard in Chicago, Illinois.

I don't remember a whole lot of the details about building her back then. I did scratch-build a cockpit, including seat and IP. I drilled out the exhaust openings and did a little weathering. The rather crude wire bracing is very thin strips of galvanized sheet metal glued into place. (I found the port tailplane brace missing when I arrived home. oops! Its absence is obvious in a few pics-sorry 'bout that! 🙁 )

I wanted a pilot figure to give an idea of her quite petite size and in these pics, a WWII Japanese airman stands in for a ‘30s pilot. Oh well. ? Please excuse his amateurish paintjob and yellowed clear base, but it does demonstrate the small size of the little racer.

So, here she is, finally out at the Cameron airport last May.

Reader reactions:
8  Awesome

13 additional images. Click to enlarge.

10 responses

  1. Awesome old kit ! I remember seeing a whole series of 1/48 racers by Testors. Those were interesting kits. I wonder if they are still easily available . I think Williams Brothers had some in 1/32. Racers seem like an uncommon subject in the 21st century modeling world.

    • Thanks Jay! I have several of those air racers and a few other Testors Hawk reissues. (see photo) The Supermarine racer has sat unfinished in my display cabinet for over twenty years now. I'd say it was about 3/4 done, and I'd say also that I should dust her off and get it finished! 😉 I've seen some real beauties displayed online so I know they can be built into great models. And you're correct in saying air racers are certainly under-represented in today's "modeling world"! Thanks again for your comments!

      1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

  2. This is also a really fine model, Gary!
    So nice that you decided to take it out after all these years, take pics of it and present it to us!

  3. Looks indeed like a very tiny race, Gary.
    Beautifully build and great presented.
    Love the way you have taken the pictures.

  4. Marvellous result with this kit Gary.
    Beautiful finish and great looking photos!
    I found these two guys on Ebay and couldn’t pass them up, and looking at your photos I’m real glad I got them.

    1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

  5. Spiros, John and George (hey, that sounds a bit like a law firm...or a folk singing group! 😉 )-thanks so much for all those kind comments! I sure appreciate them for this old model!

    George, I'm glad you found those; I have that boxing of the Mystery Ship, and also a later reissue of the same. I believe my Howard Ike came in that vertical box too! Cool find for you and I look forward to seeing them here someday!

    Thanks again gentlemen! 🙂

  6. Yeah, the Hawk/Testor racers! Looks great .

  7. Another nice model!

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