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  How did Grumman's LM become Topping's LM?

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Author Topic:   How did Grumman's LM become Topping's LM?
Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30969
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 05-15-2008 06:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A number of past auctions have referred to the models as the "Topping LM", "Grumman Topping LM" or the like. But did Topping ever produce a Grumman LM?

According to Gary Schneider, owner of Precise Models, Inc., the answer is no. A collectSPACE reader who recently spoke with Schneider and who has known him for the past two decades, wrote cS today to clarify the situation.

"He told me that Topping was out of business in 1963-64 and had nothing to do with the LEM models. They didn't get the plans for the models until around 1967-68."
According to Schneider (via our reader), Precise made all the models now referred to as the 'Topping LMs'.

So, does anyone know how, when or where this model misnomer originated?

Retro Rocket
Member

Posts: 313
From: Santa Paula, Ca,. USA
Registered: Dec 2007

posted 05-15-2008 10:07 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Retro Rocket   Click Here to Email Retro Rocket     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Have you tried CollectAir in Santa Barbara? And this other website?

I'd be curious too as I'm working on the LEM replica also and I thought there was a Topping label underneath. I have a friend with one mint in box, I'll ask him.

davidcwagner
Member

Posts: 558
From: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Registered: Jan 2003

posted 05-15-2008 11:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for davidcwagner   Click Here to Email davidcwagner     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The fitted box that my LM model came in has "00323" stenciled on the outside side and bottom of the box. This may be a box manufacturer number.

The top has two FRAGILE HANDLE WITH CARE printed on the top flaps. The box also has a round makers label on the bottom

"SUPERIOR CONTAINER, INC. CLEVELAND, OHIO
Bursting Test 200 LBS per square inch, etc."

There are no other markings that I can find on the box or on the model. The LM Model fit inside a fitted, folding cardboard insert with bubble pack aroud each stage.

Retro Rocket
Member

Posts: 313
From: Santa Paula, Ca,. USA
Registered: Dec 2007

posted 05-16-2008 11:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Retro Rocket   Click Here to Email Retro Rocket     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It looks like no LEM models were produced by Topping, they were produced by Precise. I have a feeling that the LEM models sold at the space memorabilia auctions in the early nineties were assumed to be made by Topping. In dealing with the auction guys it seemed as though there wasn't too much time spent on the research of the history of the model other than who owned it. Is Precise still in business? I had read that it closed in 2006. I wonder what happened with the original LEM molds?

I'm still working on the LEM replica models, the Mercury with the Earth hemi base and the X-15.

Go4Launch
Member

Posts: 431
From: Seminole, Fla.
Registered: Jul 2003

posted 05-16-2008 09:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Go4Launch   Click Here to Email Go4Launch     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
My box also has 00323 on one side - on the other it says: PRECISE MODELS, INC. ELYRIA, OHIO 44036

NASA Glenn
Member

Posts: 46
From: Cleveland OH
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 05-19-2008 07:45 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NASA Glenn   Click Here to Email NASA Glenn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Smithsonian Air & Space magazine had an excellent article on Topping Models in the November, 1996 issue in which the author identified the Lunar Module as a Topping Product.

NASA Glenn
Member

Posts: 46
From: Cleveland OH
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 05-19-2008 08:01 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for NASA Glenn   Click Here to Email NASA Glenn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
When I visited Precise Models Gary said the customers (Grumman. McDonnell, Et all) retained ownership of the steel molds and contractually prohibited him from making and selling additional copies of their models. Is some instances the companies retained physical possession of the molds, and others had precise destroy the molds when no longer needed. It is my understanding that when Precise closed, a couple of collectors bought up all of the remaining stock and parts. These parts, stands and unfinished blanks are frequently listed on eBay.

Rick Mulheirn
Member

Posts: 2824
From: England
Registered: Feb 2001

posted 05-19-2008 03:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Rick Mulheirn   Click Here to Email Rick Mulheirn     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have been told that one of these collectors plans on producing Topping/Precise LMs in kit form using many of these recovered unused spares.

barnstormer
Member

Posts: 102
From: Niceville FL USA
Registered: Mar 2000

posted 05-20-2009 07:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for barnstormer   Click Here to Email barnstormer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Anyone know who made the 4-inch diameter base Grumman Lunar Module models? Or other history?

This has all metal legs the top and the bottom halves rotate, individual of each other. Base seems very much like the graphics on the well-known larger Topping/Precise LM models, with smaller decals etc.

I did a Google search and did not find these. I'm guessing these were professionally made for/by Grumman? I'm also guessing this is pre-1969 launch? Has a nice heavy metal base plate etc.

barnstormer
Member

Posts: 102
From: Niceville FL USA
Registered: Mar 2000

posted 05-22-2009 02:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for barnstormer   Click Here to Email barnstormer     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Surprised that there was no feedback on this one.

I went back through my acquisition files. Obtained this at the same time as the larger 10 inch diameter one. Suggests it came from Grumman with other quality item. Does not say "rare" for the 10 inch one but the letter says "Grumman Lunar Module, small size, very rare, 4" x 4", on heavy Grumman base, exc. condition circa 1969." But can find no reference to this smaller size one on Google or here?

It is NOT a kit. I have not checked the main body, but all the legs and even all the little antennae and thrusters, etc., detail parts are metal. My image does not show the clear Grumman logo on the far side, but it is there. I wonder about its history.

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