Licensing fees for model planes?

Pentagon vs. Hobby Shops

Should defense manufacturers be able to charge royalties for model makers who make kits of their products?

Murdoc thinks not. At least not as long as the product was purchased by the US government with public dollars.

I’m no lawyer, and I don’t even play one on the internet. But this doesn’t seem right.

Incidentally, Murdoc’s first model kit was an Me 109. I’m not sure how that happened. It was a gift, I think.

Not much later, I built an F-16 (in the red-white-and-blue marketing colors) and pretended that the Viper shot that Messerschmitt down about a hundred times. The X-Wing, the F4F Wildcat, the F4, the Harrier, and the USS Arizona all shot down the 109. Heck, I even let the MiG-25 shoot down the 109. Then the F-16 shot down the MiG.

Ah, the good old days. Joys of youth and daydreams of glory. Wild stories spun by a young boy’s imagination.

I sure wish that I had been paying royalties on those kits to help support defense contractors.


  1. Funny, Murdoc. My first model was a B-47, so you know I’m older than you. I just built a F-15E Strike Eagle for my 9 year old nephew. Korean made, highly detailed and warped like heck. I had to use six large paper clamps just to mate the fuselage halves. Can do. And yes, I agree with you about the royalties issue.

  2. Well, as a contractor…………I can always use extra cash! LOL! What?? Oh, I actually have to work for the company that makes the full size aircraft to get the licensing fee. Never mind then! I think it sounds pretty stupid too.

  3. It’s all because the model trains company’s lost their case, and now pay royalties to BNSF, C&O, etc. Some model kits already have a ‘Licensed By….’ comment on them- the major manufactures blinked early. Just what a struggling industry needs- more expenses and regulations. And don’t think older planes are safe- if, for instance, Boeing wants a piece of the P-51 action, they can get it. (North American built the P-51, which became Rockwell, which was devoured by Boeing)

  4. This is not a model. It was done by a vet of wars long ago and far away to support those now in the field or at home waiting for the next rotation. The author of I Wanna Go Home: Karridine, has authorized me to give away 1,000 free copies of the song to our men and women in the military for personal use only. However, recipients of a free copy can let anybody listen to it if they want. Members of the military can put it on their i-pod, use it on their computer, or make one CD. You can find out how to get a free copy at: If you want a copy for review e-mail me. My e-mail address is on the sidebar.

  5. MO, I think I had that same F-16 model. Circa 1976-77. I didn’t build it, as I was only about 5, but got it assembled from…I dunno, an uncle maybe. Well, its provenance is irrelevant, as I destroyed it by throwing it against the outside wall of the apartment building my mom and I lived in at the time. Man, it was cool to see the ‘battle damage’ getting worse and worse with each throw…

  6. I find it hard to justify that a design, funded with public monies, is allowed to be copyrighted and used as a bludgeon to squeeze more money out of that same public’s wallet… – SJS

  7. I personally feel that they whole system by which we issue copyrights and patents has gotten completely out of hand. This has mainly been the doing of the courts which have effectively been allowed to write the laws through their application of legal precedence. Funny how that does not appear in the Constitution anywhere, nor will you ever be allowed to vote on litigation by legal precedence. One more way you can serve the judicial oligarchy. That being said, the design of the F-14, F-15, F-16, F-17/18, F-22 and F-23 were paid for by your tax dollars, however, most airplane designs prior to those were funded by the manufacturers themselves. If anyone should have a right to them, it should be the manufacturers themselves. Otherwise, if they’re going to start taking some copyrights, why not take them all away? Or perhaps the US Congress could do their job per the US Constitution and start making our laws and quit letting the judicial branch do it for them. Yeah, I know, what a radical idea actually reading the Constitution and doing what it says…

  8. Or perhaps the US Congress could do their job per the US Constitution and start making our laws and quit letting the judicial branch do it for them. Yeah, I know, what a radical idea actually reading the Constitution and doing what it says… No room for crazytalk here, Dfens.

  9. This is a subject the keeps coming up on modelling boards. Apparently some in the defense industry are going crazy with delusions of free money. One source claimed that a contractor was demanding $40 per kit from a kit that only cost $15. Supposedly Boeing is demanding that the royalties be back paid for all B-17 kits ever produced by Revell and Monogram. Can you imagine trying to find records of how many kits were produced? I believe the whole thing is out of hand, but will not get better, since most Congressmen are lawyers and they protect their own (when’s the last time Congress passed meaningful tort reform?).