Howard “Ike” air racer
This little air racer 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) 1/48 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.
13 additional images. Click to enlarge.