Line Mar was a brand of Japanese tin toys that the Louis Marx Company marketed in the 1950s and early 1960s. The advertising slogan "Line Mar, Best By Far" boldly appeared on the boxes. Some of the toys did not live up to this proclamation. A monster is a creature of large and unusual appearance. Three large transport planes, in particular, were monsters. Two of the three were made from parts of different aircraft.
One of the Line Mar Toy monsters appeared in the 1956 Sears, Roebuck and Company Christmas Wish Book as a "Stratocruiser with twirling propellers." Indeed it looked something like a Stratocruiser because Line Mar used the tooling for the famous four-engine B-50 Superfortress bomber from the maker Tomiyama, with its 19" wingspan and twin friction motors driving four metal props. The toy was finished in royal blue and red American Airlines markings and was named "Flagship Allison." The designation "D7C" is printed on the tail fin, mixing yet another distinct aircraft type. The toy had a 19" wingspan. Line Mar also made a kid sister named "Flagship Pamela" using a smaller B-50 Superfortress mold. It had a 14" wingspan and a lithographed finish identical to that of "Allison."
The airlines’ jet age arrived in the early 1950s with Great Britain’s De Havilland Comet. Its four Ghost jet engines were encased in fairings between the wings and fuselage. Unfortunately, this dramatic aircraft developed structural problems and its few operators were compelled to remove all examples from service promptly. Nevertheless toymakers offered some brightly colored Comets with flint-activated sparkling engines. These planes appeared in the manufacturer prototype colors with the appropriate artistic license added!
Tomiyama’s smallest size Comet has a ten inch wingspan and bears the British Overseas Airways Corporation (B-O-A-C) speed bird symbol as well as a US flag!
The 1930s were known for streamlining and speed. Polished metal and rounded shapes replaced fabric-covered wooden, boxy designs with blunt noses. A single spluttering engine with exposed cylinders could not power the modern airliner. Two cowled engines were desirable.
Pilots were protected from the elements in enclosed flight decks. Passengers enjoyed improved amenities in cabins that were chic but not yet pressurized. Air travel could not match the luxury of rail and ship travel, but it was evolving into something bearable to match its increasing speed.
To encourage this evolution, Boeing’s ten-passenger 247 appeared in 1933. Seventy-five examples were built, but the design did not inspire many different toys. The public found Douglas’ slightly larger DC-1 and DC-2 more captivating; for instance, a DC-2 co-starred with Shirley Temple in the movie “Bright Eyes.” The Douglas became the world’s leading airliner. Different toy replicas were produced as a result.
Toy aircraft are fun to collect. Nearly all children have used their imaginations to fly them.
Early toy aircraft appeared in the 1900s. These planes were frail tinplate, sheet steel laminated with tin, soldered together and painted. Others had wire frame wings covered with cloth. To simplify manufacturing, toy makers innovated gradually. They began to attach tinplate components with tabs and slots. Lithographed printing superseded hand painting. Lead was phased out and plastic was introduced.