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Modeling Nostalgia: IMC 1/48th Gates Learjet, Pt. I

Don McIntyre shares this preview of a kit he remembers from his youth. Be sure and click on the gallery photos for additional text. Thanks for sharing this trip down memory lane, Don!

This is one of those kits I’ve been wanting to get for a long time, and I finally got one on eBay at a price I was willing to pay.

This kit has great nostalgia value for me. When I was in High School, lo these many years ago (I graduated in 1975), my friend, George Nuss and I used to get together at each others homes and build models together, often until far into the night. I don’t know if George (he’s been a missionary in West Africa for well over 20 years from now), still builds models or not. One of the models I built (partially) during that time was this an original IMC Learjet. So it’s definitely got nostalgia value for me. I still have parts from it in my parts stash that I come across from time to time. I must never have finished it, because I even came across the decal sheet not long ago!

This kit was later released by Testors, but they modified the molds, so that instead of having the Panoramic Windows like this kit has (I believe it’s a Model 23) it’s got the smaller rectangular windows (as per the Model 24).

The box art, while not particularly inspired was pretty good and is one of the things that led me to buy the kit originally. The panel line detail is mostly raised, but there is some rivet detail. The instrument panel is nothing to write home about and I’m not sure if the instrument panel coaming texture is meant to represent fabric or what. There’s also a sprue of chrome-plated parts. The engines, the landing gear legs, the wheel hubs and other bits are plated. The tires are vinyl and they provided plenty of parts for the wingtip navigation lights. The “tub” has carpeting texture and the front sidewall seats molded in. The interior parts for the cabin have wood grain texture molded in, but I wasn’t able to get a good photo of those bits.

The decals are nothing to write home about. Unfortunately over the years, the clear sections of the decal have yellowed pretty badly. I’m hoping someone may have produced a set of NASA decals for this kit as I found some pretty good photos of said aircraft on

I’m looking forward to building this one once I get my modeling area set up. It will be interesting to compare this one with the Hasegawa Learjet 35/36 that came out twenty years later.

Don McIntyre, Clarksville, TN
I’ve been building models since the late 1960s and while I’ve built many different models in different scales, I’m trying to focus on 1/48th Scale. I’m a member of Gateway Christian Church.