Toys of the Seventies, Bachmann Mini-Planes

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Description
Bachmann Mini-Planes, made by a firm that claims to have been founded in 1833, were tiny and highly-detailed, fully-assembled model aircraft that came in red and blue window boxes in the 70s. Made in Hong Kong, Mini-Planes encompassed everything from the first 1903 Wright Flyer to the latest wide-body jet liners. They were fragile, however, and really designed for "display" rather than heavy play. Nevertheless, the moving parts - such as spinning props, retracting undercarriage and opening bomb bays - were appealing to children of all ages. Much as I liked them, the WWI bi-planes were especially fragile, and also especially intricate and beautifully detailed. Mini-Planes are widely collected because of their affordability.
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User Stories and Comments

The following are comments left about Bachmann Mini-Planes from site visitors such as yourself. They are not spell checked or reviewed for accuracy.

Steve Layne - August 22, 2008 - Report this comment
Hello. I had a pretty good collection of these when I was about 10 to 12 years old. The first ones I bought were I think a Fokker DR1, Albatross, and SPAD XIII in non-window boxes (the first boxes often had no window from what I've read). I soon bought the WW2 set with 6 aircraft, and a set of four WWI aircraft which I recall may have had the Fokker Eindecker and Sopwith Camel in it. I bought these planes whenever I could scrape a little money together from mowing lawns. They were obtained at the local PX on Fort Hood, Texas in about 1971-73. The first of them cost 50 cents each. I distinctly remember that. They had a retail price of $.59, and the PX always discounted things a little compared to "civilian" stores. I think the WW2 set was $2.75 or so. I remember going once to the PX with my buddy Pat. His mom, who was driving, got so impatient because I just had to go into the Toyland (which was in a separate barracks type building) and look for some Bachmann Mini-Planes- I bought some, too. One summer I talked my mom into letting me order a bunch from the Bachmann catalog. By then (probably 1973) they retailed for $.99, and I ordered fourteen. Shipping was about a dollar. My buddy John Woodbery had me order him a Bell Iroquois, so I got thirteen of them. I recall that a Polikarpov was among them, also a Wildcat, a Catalina, and a Lysander. I had the best time opening that box when it came in the mail!! Wow- there they were for real! You see, the catalog only had little artist renderings of each plane offered, with a corresponding number and the plane name, so when I unpacked the box, I had no idea what the models would actually look like. One of them was damaged but I can't recall which type it was. Anyways, I decided I was too "old" for them once I got into 10th grade, and I took a big, almost forgotten shoebox full of Bachmann Mini-Planes down from the closet (I had thrown away all of the boxes!!) and gave them to my three year old nephew to play with. Needless to say, none survived. It was a really good collection then- probably thirty or forty planes. Starting about 1999 I began re-aquiring Bachmann Mini-Planes on Ebay. I now have just about all the types that were available in the U.S., including some different color variants for many of the planes (different airlines for the same airliner, different Mustangs, P38s, P47s, F105's, Me109s, etc). I also have committed a cardinal sin- no I never throw boxes away any more. I have painted touch ups on many of the WWI and some other planes. By coloring in the wheel covers, props, exhausts, and other details I have made some of them quite striking. I took a Nueiport 17 (version with pilot's head molded right into fuelage- no separate pilot figure)and colored the pilot, darkening the area around his body to simulate the open area, and you cannot tell its not a separate pilot piece. Then I painted the prop brown, spinner plate and wheel covers silver and it looks very cool. I guess I've "devalued" them from a collector standpoint, but I do not EVER plan on getting rid of any of these Mini-Planes again. I now have about ninety of them, including a few of the rarer ones, and one hyperscarce Japanese floatplane fighter. The Japan only releases are hard to get. They didn't sell them here, from what I understand. These are mostly Japanese army and navy WW2 aircraft. I hope to find some more of those in the future. I also have several Cox/AHM Showcase Miniatures (including a fantastic P26 Peashooter) and 1/144 21st Century aircraft, as well as some die-cast metal types which go great alongside the Bachmanns. I've enjoyed telling about my little plane collection. I have them all in a lighted showcase covering 4 shelves, and they are definitely among my favorite possessions. Thanks for reading, and Happy collecting! Steve
John Woodbery - December 05, 2008 - Report this comment
Steve...you should have held on to those planes. What were we thinking?!! I had forgotten all about those planes. Funny thing, I grew up to fly UH-1s and CH-47 pilot. From little acorns grow big oaks HA!
Chris Kramer - December 06, 2008 - Report this comment
I was collectingMini-planes in the early '70's too. I have about 100 different in original boxes--mint condition. Found them in the attic. really takes me back.
Wayne - January 15, 2009 - Report this comment
As a young man I had all of the WWI versions of the Mini Planes and several of the WWII versions. Being just a boy I of course played rather than displayed these great little planes. I was a WWI fanatic and read every book our public library had on WWI and would spend hours recreating the air battles of Boelke, Richtofen, Voss, Hawker, and the rest. Because they were so fragile I often found myself buying the same plane over and over again as they broke often. I had several of the Triplanes, the D7's, the Albatross, The Spad, the Sopwith, the SE5 and the Nieuport 17. I also had the Eindecker, the Wright Flyer. It was a simpler time and kids entertained themselves with simpler things, but I'll never forget the fun I had with my Bachman Mini Planes.
Todd Eyl - April 07, 2009 - Report this comment
I still have all 20 something of the planes I bought as a kid. Most of mine were purchased at K-Mart for $0.83 and still have the price stickers on them. I loved these as a kid and still do. My 10 year old Son loves them now and is very careful with them.
Steve Layne - April 15, 2009 - Report this comment
John Woodbery- is that really you? Your dad was a chaplain at Fort Hood? I'd sure love to talk to you. Steve Layne
Vic Nash - June 07, 2010 - Report this comment
I've really enjoyed reading the stories about collecting the planes and then rediscovering them years later. Pretty much my story, but without the Bachmann brand. While shopping, I would always make a side trip down the toy aisle, select a plane or two, pay about 2 bucks each, and then toss them into a closet-bound box. Well about 6 months ago I rediscovered two boxes of planes and decided to display them. With no perspective of time I decided to fill in some blanks in my collection. Disappointment upon dispair resulted in the stores, Dyna-Flites and the other brands were nowhere to be found. So I turned to ebay and lo, there they were, the Bachmann Mini Planes. The lost and sought after strays. Selectively, I found the F-104 Starfighter and several others I had wanted but never bought when available. But the Ruby Slippers, the Holy Grail, the Cream of the Crop was nowhere--the elusive, rarely seen B-58 Hustler. A plane that buzzed me in my youth on the Lake Erie break wall in Cleveland, Ohio, in the early 60s, the weekend of my first air show. Gentlemen, that plane that at least one of you paid less one dollar American to own, now fetches between $25 and $30 plus shipping. And I just paid nearly $40 for a Flying Boxcar. Madness surely, but cheaper than therapy. My collecting is all but over, due to the unavailability of ultra modern and experiemental aircraft. So building the perfect display is next. Currently I can only imagine what form it will take, but it will certainly be a compliment to my small gathering of miniture flying machines.
Joseph Lena - October 27, 2010 - Report this comment
I remember it was my 6th birthday (Aug 1969)and my aunt drove me to the local toy store to pick out something. Well, I went home with my first two Mini Planes: the B-25 Mitchell & the Stuka. Then it got really interesting...My friend next door got lots of cool toys because his dad worked at W T Grants (remember that store?) and Sammy gave alot of them to me. I had a Japanese Hein "Tony" & the "Emily" floatplane. I soon had a Jolly Green Giant and had my other 2 friends come over to play war games on the porch. Then they were buying Mini Planes too.I had an old green felt covered plywood plank that we played on with little $.25 gumball machine tanks & trucks. Eventually I had a shoebox full! I too, did detail work; painting wheel hubs silver, etc. I even mixed in some diecast planes and 1/144 scale plastic kits That I built. If I had only held on to them! I gave the box to my grandmother for the Cornwall Thrift Shop. I often wonder what became of them... Fourteen years ago I started a new (adult)collection. It began with 1/18th scale diecast cars then 1/43rd, then planes and tanks. Mini Planes had to be included of course and now I even have the first two I ever got (the B-25 & Stuka) in their old boxes. They are in the company of 2 Tonys, an Emily, a Zero, a Lysander and a Ju-88. There's also a ton of 1/144th scale WWII aircraft by everybody! and diecast too. I even found some pewter WWII planes on ebay! There's still much to do but maybe over the winter I'll build and display everything. I really got into Japanese WWII types and have almost everything in tiny model form; some having come in chocolate candy eggs! These are Furuta Japanese candies that have a prize inside. Inside the chocolate is a plastig egg which, when opened, reveals prepainted, snap together, TINY! models) I have two of the twin float seaplanes that were stored in the really big Jap subs. These come with a bomb and tiny stand. And these are realistic models! I have the Meteor, the Do-335, Me-110, Jack fighter, etc.etc!I'm proud to show off my collection. Any questions? feel free to email me at: Joe250GTO@msn.com Thanks, happy hunting, Joe
James Brady - February 05, 2011 - Report this comment
I collected about 50 Bachmann Mini Planes as a kid, then rediscovered them about 5 years ago. I have seen set about trying to complete the collection, and have done so for all the models available in the US. Those dozen or so models sold only in Japan are my Holy Grail(s). I have also collected some of the gift sets, advertising boards (remeber those at the hobby shop?), catalogues, etc. I have well over 200 at this point. My message here is for a few reasons: First, I have many duplicates, so if you are seeking a few you do not yet have, let me know which ones and we may work something out. Second, I have amassed what can only be described as a junk yard, with another 100 or so broken models. I restore as many as I can by using scrap parts, and also have painted many with actual schemes. To feed my hobby, I am looking for broken planes, parts, decals etc. If you have them, I want them. Finally, if anyone knows how to connect with the Japanese market for these models, I would have a great interest. James Brady bradysurf@sbcglobal.net
Lee - June 02, 2011 - Report this comment
I had a collection of Bachmann Mini Planes when I was 10, but they were loss when our house burned down two years later. Just 8 months ago I discovered that they are still in existence. Since then I have slowly collected some of the models I held most dear when I was young. I have also discovered the AHM/COX Showcase line of Mini Planes, but have not had any success in acquiring any. I have picked through EBay as much as I can and would love to know where else I could find some of these. Any help I could get would be greatly appreciated.
Lee - June 02, 2011 - Report this comment
If anyone has any information you can email me at: rimelh50@hotmail.com
John Ragatz - August 20, 2011 - Report this comment
I was given 18 of these mini planes still in the box. 1,6,12,13,14,16,24,27-32,34,36-38 and 55 are there people who buy these? I know nothing about them. thanks for any info. John
Tim Mc Hugh - November 02, 2011 - Report this comment
My childhood shoplifting career lasted from age ten to a little past eleven. It was a Bachmann mimi-plane that brought me down. I guess the sound of the plastic tearing reached the ears of the manager of the T.G.&y we were in. I forget the plane I was going for but 45 years on I still remeber the voice of my chort Wynn Kendall saying, "Good Show! Let`s go!" seconds befor an adult arm grabbed mine. Cue the crying phone call to Mom in the store office...
Chuck - December 29, 2011 - Report this comment
Like many of you I found an old box filled with these and started collecting them again thanks to ebay. On a checklist found on the back of the sky scene insert I saw a SBD Dauntless & an ME-262 listed. I had never seen either of those planes. Does anyone know if they were actually made & exist out there somewhere?
Steve - January 10, 2012 - Report this comment
I have a few survivors from childhood, but they went on to become my 1/144 scale airplane fetish. The new Japanese trading toys are a great legacy to the mini-planes. Is there a list of what scale each plane was? I saw one once but cannot find it now.
Danny Wallertstein - February 01, 2012 - Report this comment
In regards to John Ragatz post on August 20 2011, and any other readers I am a collector and pay well for these BACHMANN MINI PLANES loose or in box ILL Even buy broken ones for spare parts. PLEASE contact me at tuna_coladas@yahoo.com
Daniel Wallerstein - February 23, 2012 - Report this comment
Dear forum members, its my pleasure to invite you all to visit the bachmann Mini Planes Collectors Club http://www.wix.com/bachmann_miniplanes/collectors Im sure youll find its a great resourse for collectors and enthusiasts! To forum post made by Chuck opn december 29th 2011 and John Ragatz on August 20th 2011 I invite you to bring those mini planes on over Im sure we can find them a home quickly and put money in your pocket! Thanks for your interest and Happy Hobbying to us all! Daniel bachmann_miniplanes@yahoo.com
Frank Munoz - November 18, 2012 - Report this comment
I ALWAYS LOVED TO TAG ALONG WITH MY GRANDMOTHER WHENEVER SHE WENT OUT SHOPPING TO WOOLWORTHS WHEN I WAS A KID IN THE EARLY '70s. BECAUSE I HELPED HER CARRY STUFF HOME SHE WOULD ALWAYS BUY ME SOMETHING AND I WENT STRAIGHT FOR THE BACHMANN MINI - PLANES AIRLINERS...PAN AM & JAPAN AIRLINES 747, EASTERN & UNITED 727, HINDENBURG, UNITED & JAPAN AIRLINES DC-8, AMERICAN & PAN AM 707, EASTERN & DELTA & TWA DC-9, AMERICAN DC-3, TWA CONVAIR 880...
FRANK MUNOZ - November 18, 2012 - Report this comment
BELIEVE IT OR NOT I DISTINCTLY REMEMBER THAT MY PAN AM 747 CAME PACKAGED WITH 2 ROLLS OF LIFESAVERS!
Dave Brockmeyer - February 18, 2013 - Report this comment
My father was a Boeing engineer for 40 years. His favorite plane was was the YC-14, a "Short Take-off & Landing" jet, designed for the Vietnam war effort. Dad brought me to the maiden flight...what a sight! That thing was designed to take off and land in about 100 yards. It featured huge engines mounted above and forward of the wing, to blow exhaust over the wing for more lift. Anyway, I have a Bachmann Mini-Plane of the YC-14 that, I think, was given at the first flight...anyone know if that story might be true?
Roger Harmon - April 22, 2013 - Report this comment
I just recently got back into my collection while cleaning out my parents estate. In my old room was my box of Bachmann mini planes. I have 83 of them. Of course I do not have the Japan only issues of the planes however I am just a few planes away from completing my collection. Does anyone know if the Airfix planes are the same as the Bachmann's? I did see some on a site for sale and they are ones I do not have. However, I do not want to spend $ on Airfix models if they are not the same. thanks!
Antonio Santiago - March 25, 2014 - Report this comment
I was just wondering why Bachmann never made the airliners in a size that would match their HO trains...I know they'd probably be big and expensive, but nevertheless, one could probably make a realistic looking airport next to the railroads, with these planes!!
Tim Fricker - April 01, 2014 - Report this comment
I remember growing up in suburban Maryland, visiting our local "cards and hobbies" shop, and discovering these wonderful planes. I was crazy about aviation from the beginning, as my dad had served in the USAAF during WWII and talked about it a lot. My collection focused mostly on WWI and WWI planes, though I did have the Spirit of St. Louis and I think a Wright Flyer as well. A few years ago I started poking around online to see what I could learn about them, and now have a few of them again. The level of detail and quality is pretty amazing, especially considering how inexpensive they were.
Alex - May 18, 2014 - Report this comment
I too started collecting these model planes in the 70s. I went to a few airshows in Central CA, and they had them for sale. I bought quite a few. My first one was the Sopwith Camel, then the Grumman Wildcat, then the Lockheed P38, Spirit of St. Louis, Lightning, then the B1, Huey Cobra, and then the final one ( and the most disappointing) , the B17. It was NOT to scale! The Spirit of St Louis was bigger!!! I mean come on now.. LOL Anyway, I still have those lovely plastic replicas in my collection, and I am looking for more. Also, I am looking for more information on Bachmann itself. Is the company out of business??? Why can't we find any toy stores, or distributors that sell all the planes in their catalog? It saddens me to think that they are gone. Does anyone know if they are out of business?? I would love to find out more!. If anyone knows anything about this wonderful toy maker, please post! Thanks!
Phil - May 24, 2014 - Report this comment
I have a collection I inherited from my brother. These were probably manufactured in the 70's. Mix of WWI, WWII and jets. If you are interested in obtaining some or all of this collection please email me at albusmm5@gmail.com
Dave Batty,Doncaster, UK - May 26, 2014 - Report this comment
to Roger Harmon: yes the Airfix miniplanes are simply the Bachmann planes re-boxed (albeit the Airfix range wasn't as extensive I don't think...about 30 planes, of which I own all, but there's a handful I've NEVER seen yet eg FW190, Mosquito. Not sure where they retailed at..bought mine in the 70's from the English seaside holiday camps called Butlins

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