Another Toy Plane

One of the more pleasant distractions in life is the making of toys for nephews and nieces. I have written about this before on this blog, but the truth is that when a birthday comes around for one of the younger ones, I never know what I am going to do, I think I won’t come up with any ideas, and that I will never get anything done in time. What I try to do to come up with an idea is to think about that last conversation I had with that child in question, and to recall what we were doing together at the time. It always seems like something that child said, did, or asked about gives me an idea for a toy.


Case in point: I have a nephew who turned five this week. When I realized his birthday was just around the corner I began to stress over what to make. I could not think of anything. Then I started thinking about the time we spent together just after Christmas. I suddenly remembered playing on the floor with him with a bunch of wooden boats and fire trucks that I had made him, and he quite suddenly started asking me about a toy biplane that I had made for his older brother when he was little. He seemed fixated with the plane (which he is not allowed to touch) and I was a little surprised at the time because it is a rather simple toy, and not one of my more elaborate efforts. Once I recalled the conversation, however, I knew what I was going to make him.

The plane is an Albatross D-series fighter dating from World War I. The toy is made of varnished poplar. All parts are glued and doweled together for strength. It has a plexi-propeller disk, a design which I have found holds up better and is less prone to getting broken than a wooden propeller blade that turns on a spinner. A bear flies the plane, and the insignia on the fuselage is made up, but loosely based on the bear symbol of the city of Bern Switzerland.

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