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Gowland & Gowland models (with photos)

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  • Member since
    January, 2013
Gowland & Gowland models (with photos)
Posted by FenderMender on Wednesday, January 10, 2007 6:14 PM

I have just uncovered a small box that has a few models within that were made by the company Gowland & Gowland (1953). The green 1913 Mercedes Benz may have been altered some as I don't remember exactly how I came about getting this model. I think I traded for it and it was missing some parts. The same was/is true of the 1952 Ferrari as it is definitely missing the windshield.

I painted and built these models around 1955, so they were extremely dusty and dirty. I am cleaning them up now and reattaching some parts that have come loose.
I will post pictures soon when all are finished. I sure hope there are some folks here who can identify and shed light on these old models as I remember putting them together but not much else as far as the make and year of each version goes. That was 51 years ago!!!!!!!!!!

What I am wondering is:
how good a model company was (is) Gowland & Gowland?

Was it a forerunner of Revell?

What else is significant about this company if anything?

  • Member since
    May, 2008
Posted by Anonymous on Wednesday, January 10, 2007 7:06 PM
The early beginnings of the model car industry are pretty murky. There are a few experts on the subject here on the forums, but to get started, here's some information for you:

One of the earliest plastic model kits was Revell's Maxwell. It was actually a re-release of an earlier "action" toy, which had featured a cable that when actuated caused the car to jump backwardsd and the driver figure to lurch forward...sort of imitating the way early cars would backfire. The re-released kit was actually this very same "action toy" in unassembled form, without the mechanical bits and pieces that caused the movement.

From an article I found on the web:

In the early 1950's as plastic kits were in their infancy, Gowland & Gowland and Revell designed and marketed some clever, factory-assembled toy cars called "Action Miniatures". There were five in all, and when a cable protruding from the front of the vehicles was pushed (like a camera release), the car would spring up and the driver would lurch forward, somewhat duplicating the backfiring action of some of the early automobiles after the turn of the century. In a non-prototypical fashion, the rear axle was mounted on a long protrusion that extended from what would be the differential on the axle up into the area below the drivers seat where it was hinged. A spring on this, combined with the cable release allowed the movement of the axle to produce the bucking effect.

When the success of these waned, Revell/Gowland & Gowland went on the market with these as Series One of their "Highway Pioneers". This unusual rear axle mount continued on with the cars, only now the cars were unpainted kits and no mechanical parts were included to make the car jolt up and down. Now, here is where the fun begins with the "cloning" of these cars by other manufacturers.

While Revell did license other companies to use their molds, some others made tooling to try to duplicate these cars. Cars made by Merit and Lodela used the Revell molds, with no modifications. These cars date to the time period when the molds were not modified or replaced by Revell. So they include the incorrect rear axle assembly. By 1960, Revell had retooled the first five cars (series one) to elimate this problem and make the cars more accurate models of the prototypes. Then we come to the 1910 Ford.
While the only changes made to the 1903 Cadillac, the 1900 Packard and the 1909 Stanley Steamer were changes to the rear axle, eliminating the large hinged extension, two cars were completely retooled. First was the 1903 Model A Ford. When the Action Miniatures were released and when the Highway Pioneers kits consequently were introduced, both the 1903 Cadillac and the 1903 Ford A were molded from the same tooling, and only the color of plastic was different. A careful scrutinizing eye of a collector can even see the similarity on the box art of the first edition. The Ford only had the front seat, while the Cadillac also had a rear seat. Revell made an entirely new set of molds, correctly protraying the Ford A, including the color of the plastic (Remember that until the late 1920's you had your choice of three colors - black, black or black. If you wanted another color, you bought it and took it home and painted it!). Likewise, Revell completely retooled the 1910 Ford Model T, not only changing the rear axle, but including the correct springing, overall better detailing, a more realistic-looking driver (closer to 1/32 scale too), plus separate parts for the fuel tank and tool box.

Now we encounter some humor. As the various companies cloned these first five kits, they followed the original so closely as to include the mistakes. Both Premier and Lincoln International used the incorrect axle, designed for the springing action of the toy cars. Premier's car kit toolings are more crude, including some rough surfacing and poor proportions to some detail parts.  Lincoln International's tooling is good, and the
detailing is closer to the Gowland & Gowland quality. I have only one car in my collection and have seen one other kit by Lincoln, and there is a glaring difference between them. They are right hand equipped for driving, while the G&G Revell cars are American style, left hand equipped. It is almost comical that everybody cloning the cars, especially the 1910 Ford, copied the driver, an oversized cowboy-like man that would scale out to be about nine feet tall. In all the kits, including the G&G originals, he towers over the windshield.

So, to date, if one is collecting 1/32 scale antique car kits, it is possible to have at least four 1910 Ford Model T cars that are similar, but different. If you collect to own the brands and add the Merit, the Lodela, several South American runs of the G&G molds, a possible Yamada run of the car, a later release of the correct Revell mold by Minicraft and the most recent run by Dapol, you'll have yourself a shelf filled with just one model of car. Only the revised Revell, the Minicraft and the Dapol will be close to the real item though. But that's what collecting is all about, so buy every **** one and enjoy it!

  • Member since
    June, 2008
  • From: East TN
Posted by chaz on Wednesday, March 09, 2011 5:01 PM



I found this post doing a google search on Gowland and Gowland. I am a recent member of sa-forum but like you have modeled gor many years.. My first model was a Gowland &Gowland 1906 Franklin I built in 1959. From what I have read G&G became Revell but I don't at this time know the details. I emjoyed the post even though it is 4 yuearws old.


  • Member since
    August, 2011
Posted by bigredapple96 on Sunday, August 14, 2011 10:15 AM

How interesting,   I had to look and make sure I remembered the car on my fathers mantle.

and it is a T Ford 1917 Gowland and Gowland. with a man sittling inside holding the steering wheel and he has a hat on.

Would you happen to know the value of the car?

thank you



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