If turning a sheet of A4 paper into an aeroplane always left you disappointed because the average paper dart didn’t look particular plane like, then the Polystyrene Glider was the cheap solution to your woes. I remember buying them on my way home from primary school in the corner newsagents. They only cost about ten pence, and came in a little paper envelope with a picture of the plane you had bought on the front.
When you got that little envelope home you’d rip it open to reveal three pieces of shaped polystyrene, a clear plastic nose weight, and a little plastic propellor and peg. The peg held the propellor onto the nose weight, which slotted onto the fuselage section of the model. You then popped out two little strips of polystyrene for the front and back wings to push through – this was always my favourite part of the construction process. Once the wings were in place you were all done, and a light throw sent the plane soaring through the air, propellor whizzing round as it went.
After constructing your little flying marvel, you’d then try to get it to go as far as you could, which meant standing on a chair for extra height, and finding the precise speed at which to launch the plane. Too slow and it would drop to the ground, whilst too fast would cause it to stall, and end up going nose down into the ground.
This would continue until you either got bored, or somebody inadvertantly trod on your plane before you had a chance to retrieve it. If you were lucky then a piece of sellotape might get you airborne again, but normally the plane would be so bent up that it no longer flew properly, so it was time to wait until school the next day to buy another one on the way home.
If this has brought make the memories and you want one more go at flying a polystyrene Spitfire around your living room then fear not! They are still available from the good folks at Toy Day but with a rather larger wingspan than I remember!