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Jean Plastic


In Plastic Aircraft Kits of the Twentieth Century (PAK-20) [1], John Burns lists the West German manufacturer JEAN as "n.p." [not producing] with the following entry: " Only one kit was issued by this company in the late 1950's, a 1/200 Boeing 707 Lufthansa". There was also shown a rather faded  black and white picture of the boxtop.

I may have taken notice of this entry  already in 2009, when I browsed in PAK-20 for German manufacturers inspired by a thread about "German Brands" in the Airfix Collecting Forum [2]. One time or another I did a research for the JEAN PLASTIC Boeing 707 over the years with no success.

Finally in June 2015 I found photos of the kit  in  the Lufthansa model-collection  website [3], see pictures right. That was a breakthrough. Additionally from the text in the captions I got the right keywords to find more information in the web about JEAN PLASTIC, which was a brand  of the German company Jean Höfler + Co.K.G. based in Fürth, Germany

History of Jean Höfler GmbH
In 1923 the brothers Johann, Georg, and Leonard Höfler founded the Metallwarenfabrik Jean Höfler & Co oHG in the town  Fürth, Germany. They started with cans, promotional articles, whistles, and toys made of metal. In 1938 Lohann and Georg leaved the  joint company and founded their own companies in Fürth.

Georg founded a company for tool-making, Georg  Höfler Werkzeugbau, Johann founded a company producing metal toys, the Metallwarenfabrik Johann Höfler.

In 1951 the brothers Georg and Johann decided to merge their companies again. In 1953 after filing for bankupty their company Johann Höfler was taken over by their brother Leonard, who still ran the original company Jean Höfler. 

Both companies as well as their product lines remained independent.

In 1954 Johann's son in law Ernst A. Bettag took over Johann Höfler and  starting in 1957 converted the toy production completely from metal to plastic in a few years. The company
boomed,  changed their name to Johann Höfler Metall-und Plastikspielwarenfabrik,   to big plastic in 1962 and finally to BIG in 1966 [6].

Jean Höfler still remained independent, though Ernst A. Bettag became a co-owner. In the end of the 1950's or 1960's the brand JEAN PLASTIC  (see picure 4, right) was created changing to JEAN in 1970 . The Product line of Jean Höfler comprised cheap articles from plastic, like figures, cars, doll house furniture, later developing to more sophisticated toys (see catalogs in  [4] ). The Boeing 707 reviewed here was produced by this company.

In 2000 the brand JEAN appeared as part of the BIG product range.

Ernst A. Bettag  died in April 2003 and BIG was taken over in 2004 by the Simba-Dickie Group [10], Fürth Germany.

Sources: History [5 and 6].

Plastic Kits/


Picture 1: JEAN PLASTIC Boeing 707 in Lufthansa livery.
To the courtesy of M.S. Lufthansa model-collection ©

Picture 2: JEAN PLASTIC  Boeing 707 in Lufthansa livery.
To the courtesy of M.S. Lufthansa model-collection ©

Picture 3: JEAN PLASTIC  Boeing 707. Fuselage detail.
To the courtesy of M.S. Lufthansa model-collection ©

Picture 4: Logo JEAN PLASTIC shown in the lower right corner of the Boeing 707 box.

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Started: June 2015 Revised: Author: cjk  ©cjk