Kramer Kits and all

HART CHARLES (hartc@spot.Colorado.EDU)
Tue, 10 Jan 1995 10:31:43 -0700 (MST)

Greetings Fellow WW I enthusiasts,

Imagine my surprise to discover last week a noed on the Internet
devoted to World War One modelling. After perusing the accumulated
correspondence it seems as though I have a bit of catching up to do.

One message from last August that caught my attention was an inquiry
regarding a kit manufacturer called Kramer. Let me add some details.

Vac u formed kits produced by Ken Kramer of Gahanna, Ohio probably
first came to the attention of the modelling community in the late 1970's
as a result of Brad Hansen's book "World War One in Plastic", a
comprehensive catalog of all first world war model kits up until that
time. Today that volume would need substantial revision. Brad listed a
number of vac form kits made by Ken Kramer and then available for limited

I met Ken while living in Ohio in the mid-1980's and traded with him
for a quantity of his kits. Ken is a builder of considerable ability.
He has an interest in all aircraft and when he wants to build something
he does. These vac-forms were a means of making the subjects he wanted,
hence his production of a number of obscure aircraft from WW I and the
1920's and 1930's.

In total, Ken probably has produced over 100 different vac form
kits. Most are basic shape, male vac-forms and mose were in 1/72 scale,
although there were some1/48 scale kits also. There were a couple of
female mold vac form kits of 1920's era a/c, the Orenco D comes to mind.
Ken probably never made more than 100 examples of any particular kit and
usually far fewer than that for most. He had a short mailing list and
sold a few via the mail up to about 1985. It took a lot of his time and
kept him from modelling so he dropped the whole thing. I later saw a few
of his kits for sale in a hobby shop in Columbus, Ohio. These quickly

These kits were never large in number and their existence is mostly
known from Brad Hansen's book and listings in the Americal/Gryphon decal
catalog. I hope that the readership finds this enlightning.

I will also throw my bit into the discussion about German WW I
underside blue colors. I was fortunate enough to have been given several
years ago pieces of fabric taken from an Albatros fighter, probably an
Albatros D-III. There are three pieces, mauve, very dark green and
blue. Methuen numbers for these colors come in as:
19F4 mauve, 27F4 dark green, and 24D3 for the blue

The blue is a little on the greenish side and darker than my
recollection of RLM 65, though I have no Methuen number for the RLM
color. The fabric is linen with a heavy coating of clear, now orange
dope beneath the paint with a thin coating of clear dope over the color.
This last coat may have slightly shifted color in a warm direction. It
is difficult to tell from my small samples.

I also have a small swatch from a Fokker Triplane which has a thin
wash of green dope, methuen 3-4F6. This is again sandwiched between a
thick base coat of dope with a thinner overcoat. This fabric is also
linen and the threads can be seen under the relatively thin wash of green

I hope the readership of this node finds this of interest.

Charles Hart