Toys from my childhood were rarely better value than these polystyrene gliders.
Costing mere pennies, they came separated and you had to assemble them yourselves. This was not a difficult task – wings slot through the body, propellers go on the wings or the nose. Some were bi-planes with 2 wings, some has wheels. Spitfires were my favorite.
I remember collecting them and getting really far too excited by getting a new model. They were better than airfix because they flew! And they were better than radio controlled ones because they were affordable!
Other than planes they also made dinosaur and bird versions of the gliders for the less military minded youths out there.
Of course, because of their lightness, they flew quite a distance. Also, you could make them fly in different directions by manipulating the direction of flaps on the tail which added to the thrill. You could rarely make your own paper airplanes fly with such precision.
However, the lightness was also a weakness, in a strong wind they would disappear off up up up into a nearby tree or out of sight over to another country perhaps. I always liked the idea that one might get lifted up into a airstream and not come down for miles – eventually landing in the lap of a African shaman in the Sahara.
The disappeared ones probably just landed on a soggy field somewhere and got eaten by a curious cow. But I had my dreams.
And then there were the breakages, they broke very easily, you had to treat them with kid gloves when you weren’t using them. Sitting on them, someone else scuffing them, even breathing on them hard they could kink. And well, with a kink they never flew the same again.
They are still available now believe it or not. Amazingly. And still as cheap, about 50p each.