Exhibition: ‘Postwar Propliners in Miniature: Models from the Collection of Anthony J. Lawler’ at SFO Museum (SFOM), San Francisco International Airport

Exhibition dates: June 2011 – December 2011

Location: Aviation Museum and Library 1 – Front Wall Cases



Lockheed Aircraft Co., Burbank, California. 'American Overseas Airlines Lockheed L-049 Constellation' c. 1946


Lockheed Aircraft Co., Burbank, California
American Overseas Airlines Lockheed L-049 Constellation
c. 1946
Scale 1:44
Metal, paint
Collection of Anthony J. Lawler



One of my favourite postings in a long while. As an inveterate collector how I would love to have these in my collection. What beautiful aircraft; what graceful models; what simple, gorgeous photographs by photographer Chad Michael Anderson. The Lockheed Constellation has to be one of the most delicious aircraft ever made. But the model I would take is the gorgeous Air France Breguet 763 Provence, because of it’s aerodynamic beauty and angle of flight.


Many thankx to John Hill, Assistant Director, Aviation for his help and to SFO Museum for allowing me to publish the text and the photographs. Attribution for the photographs is to the SFO Museum (actual photographer unknown). Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.


Maarten Matthys Verkuyl (Dutch). 'KLM (Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij) Royal Dutch Airlines Douglas DC-6' c. 1950


Maarten Matthys Verkuyl (Dutch)
KLM (Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij) Royal Dutch Airlines Douglas DC-6
c. 1950
Scale 1:48
Metal, paint
Collection of Anthony J. Lawler


Shawcraft Models, Uxbridge, England. 'BEA Airspeed AS.57 Ambassador' 1950s


Shawcraft Models, Uxbridge, England
BEA Airspeed AS.57 Ambassador
Scale 1:48
Wood, metal, paint
Collection of Anthony J. Lawler


La Maquette d'Etude et d'Exposition à Aubervilliers, France. 'Air France Breguet 763 Provence' 1950s


La Maquette d’Etude et d’Exposition à Aubervilliers, France
Air France Breguet 763 Provence
Scale 1:50
Wood, plastic, metal, paint
Collection of Anthony J. Lawler



Immediately following the end of World War II in 1945, airlines and passengers benefited from a surplus of inexpensive, advanced propeller-driven transport aircraft, or “propliners.” Over the next fifteen years, commercial aviation expanded rapidly as airlines persistently requested improved propliner designs to lower costs, attract new customers, and gain advantages over competitors. In meeting these demands the manufacturers of North America and Europe developed increasingly superior aircraft. These included the jet-powered turboprop airliners that flew successively faster, higher, and farther.

Making scale models of these airliners was an important part of the design, manufacturing, and marketing process during this period. Crafted by in-house model shops or independent model makers, they represented the new designs in miniature for convenient three-dimensional analysis. Accurately painted livery schemes on the models helped the airlines to imagine the new airliner operating within their fleet. Carriers also commissioned the making of models to promote their improved services in airline offices and travel agencies. During the late 1940s and early 1950s, they were usually made of sheet or cast metal and complemented with metal bases often formed into unique streamline shapes. By the late 1950s, models began to be produced from plastic, which was easier to mold into intricate shapes and reflected the proliferation of new synthetic resins.

These models represent the age of postwar propliners, which lasted until the 1960s when faster, more fuel-efficient and propeller-less turbojet airliners began to supersede them. They are from the collection of Anthony J. Lawler, an aviation industry professional and avid airplane model collector since first seeing the De Havilland Comet – the world’s first jetliner – fly over his boyhood home in Rhodesia. Mr. Lawler has spent decades assembling one of the finest collections of scale airliner display models, most of which were acquired while working as a senior sales representative for Airbus North America during the 1980s and 1990s. His collection spans a century of commercial aviation design innovation.

Text from the SFO Museum website


Raise-Up Models, Rotterdam, Netherlands. 'REAL (Redes Estaduais Aéreas Limitadas) Transportes Aéreos Lockheed 1049H Super Constellation' 1950s


Raise-Up Models, Rotterdam, Netherlands
REAL (Redes Estaduais Aéreas Limitadas) Transportes Aéreos Lockheed 1049H Super Constellation
Metal, paint
Collection of Anthony J. Lawler


Peter V. Nelson, Reading, England. 'Trek Airways Lockheed 1649 Starliner' early 1960s


Peter V. Nelson, Reading, England
Trek Airways Lockheed 1649 Starliner
Early 1960s
Scale 1:62
Metal, paint
Collection of Anthony J. Lawler


Westway Models, London, England. 'BOAC Bristol Britannia 300' late 1950s


Westway Models, London, England
BOAC Bristol Britannia 300
Late 1950s
Scale 1:72
Metal, plastic, wood, paint
Collection of Anthony J. Lawler


U.S.S.R. 'Aeroflot Tupolev Tu-114 Rossiya' early 1960s


Aeroflot Tupolev Tu-114 Rossiya
Early 1960s
Scale 1:100
Metal, paint, plastic
Collection of Anthony J. Lawler



SFO Museum 
San Francisco International Airport
P.O. Box 8097
San Francisco, CA 94128 USA
Phone: 650.821.6700

SFO Museum website


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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, an art and cultural memory archive, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

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