Frog Ready To Fly Models

Memories of the Frog Tadpole by Michael Kavanagh

I purchased this little “Frog” Tadpole from a local toyshop in my home town of Wexford , Ireland shortly after the 2nd world war. It was 1948 and the price of the model was 2/6d (about 12.5 new pence or 16 eurocent) and took several weeks saving to amass the vast sum needed to purchase it. As is always the case, to rebuild the model from spares would have cost a lot more. The most vulnerable part of the little model was the tiny glass bead which formed the bearing between the ‘prop and the nosepiece. The ‘prop itself was also very delicate as it was formed from 1/32” balsa steamed into shape. The airframe was made from split bamboo cane (the carbon fibre rod of its day) covered in, I think, condenser paper. This covering was stronger and more refined than tissue paper.

Having purchased the ‘plane I flew it hundreds, if not thousands of times in our, not so huge, living room. Flights could not be made after dark for fear that my beloved “Tadpole” would end up incinerated in the bowl of the gaslight illuminating the room. All the usual reasons, earning a living, getting married, raising a family, then prevented me from flying it for many years when it rested in the loft space of, first my parent’s house and then mine. It was when our Wexford M. F. C. was celebrating its 50th birthday in 2000 (actually it’s 52nd) that the Tadpole flew once more, by making several flights in the ballroom of the Cedars hotel in Rosslare

As the extra light rubber bands used to turn the ‘prop were well and truly perished by this time the search for replacements was far ranging. I tried various bands from assortments available from several sources. All of these proved too strong, lifting the model into an almost vertical climb for far too short a flight. It was my intention to attempt cutting these bands along their length with a sharp modelling knife. This proved impossible and almost resulted in injury to my fingers. My wife Celine watched these attempts with some apprehension (I was still working at this time and really needed my fingers in good nick) and suggested that I try cutting fine bands from the cuff of some rubber gloves with a scissors. A far less dangerous method and as it proved, a far more suitable substitute for the original tiny bands supplied. The rubber lubricant used was” KY jelly”. DON’T ASK!

The manufacturers of the “Tadpole” were Lines Brothers who also produced the “Frog” Interceptor, another R.T.F. a lot bigger than the “Tadpole” so I suppose the name was a natural for the smallest model in the “Frog” range The little “Tadpole” is still flying and manages to fascinate my grandchildren as it slowly and silently circles our living room. When, all those years ago, I proudly tendered the price of the model to Mrs. O’Brien, little did I realize that a third generation of Kavanaghs would still be enjoying it, and I wonder if this could be the oldest R.T.F. model still flying???


Wingspan: 8 inches.

Length: 7 inches

Weight: 1/6 oz.

Power: 2 to 4 rubber bands.

Back to home page

Back to the Frog Senior Series plans page

Back to Senior Series photo gallery

Back to rubber powered scale plans

Back to more rubber model plans

Back to the Frog Junior Series plans page

Back to the Frog Junior Series scale plans page

Back to Frog glider plans

Back to power model plans

Back to 1960 flying model catalogue

On to memories of working for Frog

On to Wilmot Mansour Commemorative Exhibition report

On to the links page