WAR YEARS
(1939-1940)


The start of the Second World War gradually affected the production of Frog. Life became more expensive for the public and less money was spent on things like toys. Frog tried to benefit from nationalistic feelings by releasing models of the latest aircraft, like the Spitfire, Hurricane and Blenheim. Frog, like Meccano and Hornby trains, tried to picture their hobby as being ideal for the wartime blackout, as in this advertisement in Meccano Magazine of February 1940 (photo right).

The release of the Dornier Do.215B in 1940 is considered a technical achievement, since it appeared within a year after the original aircraft.

The photo above shows a detail from a Spitfire Mk.1 (1939). By 1939 Frog was exporting Penguins to the U.S.A. and it seems H.Hudson Dobson in New York was their agent. I have tried to find more information about this, but this is all I have until now.

The later models were less well designed than the early ones. Caused by lower budgets due to the war the standard of detailing became gradually worse. The Messerschmitt Me.109 (1940) stands out as a poor design and it is hard to determine what version it is, either a B/C/D, while the Miles Magister (1940) has no detailing at all. Sometimes the plan of a model is correct, but the model itself shows design mistakes.

After the outbreak of hostilities on September 3rd 1939 the International Red Cross banned the use of their Red Cross symbol on toys. Frog was forced to put a note in the box of the Monospar Ambulance (1939) explaining a circular decal with the name of the plane written in red should replace the original ones.

Since, in 1939, the country was preparing for war Frog also had to keep vital information a secret from the enemy and details like maximum speed and weapons were not mentioned any longer in the information provided with the models. On the instruction sheet of the Spitfire Mk.1 it says: "Its actual maximum speed is a jealously guarded secret" and "At the time of writing (February 1939) it is not possible either to describe this aeroplane in greater detail or to say which squadrons are to be equipped with it".

I am not sure if the Germans ever used Frog models as a source of information Could it be that the photo on the right suggests German fighter pilots of a Me.109G equipped JG4 (squadron) studying a Frog Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress? Who knows...
(see section Photos of Recognition Models by Frog).


On the instruction sheets several examples can be found in the way the public was encouraged with soothing words about the performance of British aircraft or by saying that "…it is common knowledge that enormous quantities of them (Spitfires) are being produced…". It just might have scared some Germans… The amount of Handley Page Hampdens flying with the R.A.F. is said to be "…a circumstance which cannot fail to be depressing to the enemy"!
On the other hand the German Dornier Do.215, of which is said that it is "…too slow to get away from our 360 mile-an-hour fighters, to whom it falls an easy prey".


Frog tried to survive as a company by using its knowledge and skill in producing war material for the Ministry of Defence. They produced several types of powered and free flight gliders for (military) target purposes. Frog also started large-scale production of 1:72 scale recognition models made of wood and buckram, to help the military to distinguish friend or foe. An example is this Bristol Blenheim Mk.1 (photo above).


In 1941 Frog finally had to stop production. This was partly due to the difficulty in obtaining the raw materials, but also because the highly skilled workers were needed for manufacturing military products. Several projects for new Penguins were cancelled, as can be seen on this "Apology"-leaflet added to a Dornier Do.217 model (photo abovc): the Messerschmitt Me.110 (eventually issued after the war) and the Heinkel He.111 (never issued).

The last models believed to be produced were a batch of Dornier Do.215s. A datestamp (on the "Packed by"-slip) of December 1940 at first seemed to me to be the last period of production (photos right). This slip comes from a 1940 H.P. Hampden.

However, later on I found this slip from an unknown modelkit, with a datestamp of January 1941.

The Fairey Battle (shown in Penguins - 1938) had a datestamp of 12th of January 1942, more than a year later.

This Packed by slip from an unknown box, has "43" written with pencil on the back. However, I can not be sure if this is an accurate date of production..

During the 2nd World War Frog continued to advertise in newspapers and magazines so the public would not forget the company's name. An example is this advertisement in Aero Modeller of December 1942 (photo left).

Both Wilmot and Mansour left the Frog-company in 1944. Mansour was later on involved in a project called Jetex, a research into flying models driven by miniature, re-usable rockets using solid fuel pellets (see "Credits/Info"-page). He died in 1972.
Wilmot died in 1981.

Sources: Luftwaffe/B-17 - Hamilton page 120