Rare German card models – 1

Models on negatives by the East German Military


During the 1960s, a series of unusual card modesl was published in East Germany:

Illustrierte Reihe fur den Typensammler

These models are unique due to the medium on which they were published – black and white negatives of photographic film. Overall about 30 models were published. Each model had a dedicated booklet. The brochures were published by the East German military publishing house.

On the inside back cover of the booklet there was a paper pocket which included a number of pieces of film negatives, on which the model parts were appeared. In order to build the model you would have to go to a photo shop and ask to print the negatives. The scale could be selected in the following manner: In the lower right corner of each negative there was a rectangle. A table in the booklet detailed the possible scales. For example, if the rectangle was printed so that it would be 10 cm long then the scale would be 1:25. The smallest scale was 1:120 and to obtain it, the rectangle should be 2.08 cm long.

Each booklet cotains about 30 pages and included a detailed article about the airplane, complete with images and chartes, in addition to building instructions.

The model could be hand painted according to instructions. The back cover included the appropriate air force insignia.

The front cover contained a handsome painting of the airplane flying in an appropriate setting.

The model’s design is reminiscent of the late Wilhelmshavener and Schreiber models. In my opinion, they were quite accurate and not too complicated. They contained a small number of outlines.

I was interested in these models for two reasons: some of the models were unique, until the apperance of other models of the same airplane in later years. And even then it’s unclear whether the new models are of higher quality than these models. Another reason is that from the collector’s point of view, the booklets were very interesting and building the model doesn’t harm the booklet or the negatives.

Buying and building specific models

I own 8 booklets which were purchased on Ebay or in antique book shops in Germany through the internet. The booklets are not too expensive, some were bought for 1 Euro each (in the mid-2000 years). I built 4 models in approximately 1:33 scale. I added transparent cockpits which don’t exist in the original models.

The process required overcoming some unusual obtacles specific to these models – finding a photo shop that will agree to develop the negative strips or pieces, scanning the prints into a computer, enlarging it and painting it using the Photoshop software. The prints produced by the photo shop were not of high quality and I had difficulties identifying small parts. Therefore I had to view the negatives in a microscope magnified 60 times.

Grumman OV-1A Mohawk

This models was unique at the time of purchase (and maybe today). I built in in Israeli Air Force color scheme. So that it is undoubtedly the first ever card model of this airplane which served with the IAF.


SAAB A-32 Lansen

At the time there was only one other model (Schreiber) that was not of high quality. The model I built from negatives was slightly bigger than 1:33.


D.H. Sea Vixen

First card model of this aircraft.

Let L-200 Morava

A Czech airplane that impressed me when I saw it at an air museum, and which did not have any other card models at the time.

Convair 240 / T-29

Another example of a unique model. I haven’t built it yet.


These models are also called ‘Variantmodell’, apparently due to the fact that they can be built in multiple scales.


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