This page is dedicated to the memory of Ernie Webster,

one of the famous Keil Kraft design team.
Ernie was with Keil Kraft from 1946 until 1966

All the following was very kindly sent to me by Dudley Webster, Ernie's son.
Many thanks go to Dudley and his mother, Evelyn for their invaluable contributions.


16th April 2010
Hi Derick,

There are a series of photos on the building of the KK Spitfire.
These show the box with all the components. You will see that there are two photos of this. Dad always experimented with the layouts and backgrounds when he took the pictures and you may notice that there is a piece of tape stuck over part of the Keil Kraft name on the lighter picture. This one would have been rejected!
There are details of building the fuselage and wings including how to trim the tissue around the wing tips. The small picture is of his hands trimming a piece of balsa to the plans. The finished build and completed, painted model is shown.
He would have built all of this himself, photographing each step, through to painting the finished plane. Not only that, he actually developed all the pictures himself in the company "dark room" (One of the toilets had a work top alongside a sink.)

Another series of pictures show a scruffy little urchin posing with various boats. Some of these were used in the KK handbook. (Yes, it's me!!)
If you look carefully at the largest of the three boat pictures, turn it over and you may notice a faint sketch on the back. This is an embryo of a design for a plane! The picture must have been on his work bench in his office when he had a brainwave and quickly jotted down the idea.
You can clearly see his idea for the basic fuselage shape, wing and tail shapes as well as the fuselage forms both fore and aft. There is also an idea of scale in the top right hand corner and also wing section. From this he would have been able to tell you the exact weight! (Years of practice).

There are another couple of pictures showing that kid again building a "Playboy". These were taken for the handbook as well.
I am not sure about the two pictures looking into the cockpit of the radio-controlled model, I cannot place what it is! (I identified it as the KK Falcon, Derick)

The picture of the tricycle undercarriage plane (Experimental) is, I think, the very first build of the Super 60. - Not too sure. (It is the Mini Super, Derick) I know he redesigned the Junior 60 to bring it more up to date.

I think the glider is a Dolphin.

The large pictures show a couple of trade shows with which Dad used to get involved.
Two of the pictures are of the same stand and you will notice the 'next flying demonstration' poster. Dad would have been doing the flying!
These are taken in the Royal Horticultural Halls in London where trade events were frequently held.
The third of these pictures shows another stand with able bodied personnel posing professionally (?) awaiting the customers. Second from the left is Dad.

As for the year these were taken, Im guessing late '50's.
I have included a photocopy of the newspaper cutting which is from the Basildon Standard not Southend standard as previously thought.

A bit more history:
When Keil Kraft moved from Hackney Road, in London to Wickford, in Essex, the company had a pair of bungalows built so that we could live in one and another employee in the other. These bungalows were given names (street numbers in the small towns were not invented then!) They decided to call them after their two latest model kits; we lived in Ajax and next door was Achilles!

During the school summer holidays I would quite often go to work with Dad, spending the day either in his office/workroom playing about with bits of whatever he was working on at the time, posing for photos, going out with him (and sometimes Eddie Keil) to test fly various planes, or even wandering up to the dispatch end of the factory and getting a job of tidying up the racks where the kits were stored.

An advertising film was made and myself and a friend of mine went to a film studio in London (somewhere?), set up a mock shop - we had to take up a car load of kits to stage the scene- shot a few scenes entering the 'shop', buying a kit, taking it away, building it and then going outside to a bit of a bomb site and flying the finished plane. Apparently it was screened in the Odeon Leicester Square but I never saw it. I wonder if it still exists?

As the bungalow was only small we later moved to another property (rented from Kiel's) in Runwell Road (as on the newspaper cutting.) We lived there through the 60's, and 70's. I left home in "72.

Having been with the company since 1946, Dad decided he had had enough and in about 1966, left the company and went to teachers training college, full-time, for two years where he graduated at the age of 44 and landed a post in my old school in Wickford teaching Art and English.
After a about 10 years there he got a Head of Art Department post at John O'Gaunt School in Hungerford, Berkshire where he stayed until he took early retirement. From there Mum and Dad moved over to Watched in Somerset.

Missing the grand children they then moved back to Essex to Burnham-on-Crouch, 10 miles from where I live now.

About 8 years ago, my late wife worked in a local hobby shop. A very small shop that specialised in evertyhing 'hobby'. A gentleman called in one day and started a conversation with the owner of the shop who then passed him over to my wife. He was a member of the Marconi model club and wanted information about balsa wood etc. My wife then admitted that she was the daughter-in-law of Ernie Webster. From that Dad was invited to go and meet the members of the club, which he duly obliged.
To his amazement, when he arrived, there were people that had brought up plans of his models for him to autograph !

Dad sadly passed away a few years ago but I'm glad his legacy lives on! With best regards, keep up the good work!

article about Ernie Webster



I am glad you appreciate the work that my father did at Keil Kraft.

Ernie was involved in designing, drawing, photographing for the handbook – that`s how I managed to get in the pictures! – representing the company on trade shows, testing new engines, repairs, demonstration flying as well as dealing with many queries from small boys, ( a lot of my mates who used to turn up at the factory) as well as grown up `boys`.

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Keil Kraft factory Wickford 1961

Keil Kraft factory Wickford 1961 taken by Ernie Webster.

Does anyone recognise themselves or anyone in the picture?

Keil Kraft moved to Wickford in 1954. 
I`m not too sure of the exact date but I think dad was commuting for a couple of weeks before we moved
so that would put it around July  / August of that year. 
I remember I had just started school in London and we moved 2 weeks later!
(I was 5 years old then!) (by Dudley)

keil kraft 1965

Inside Keil Kraft from the 1965 KK Handbook

Eddie Keil and his wife Rosie

Eddie and Rosie Keil at the Wickford factory door. Thanks to Catherine Doherty for this photo from her family album.
Cath's mum's Auntie was Rosina Davy who married Eddie Keil.
It's so nice to keep getting these little nuggets of history. Many thanks to Catherine and family for this and more is promised.

Watch this space!

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Keil Kraft exhibition stand

Keil Kraft stand 1950 The younger slim chap in the pale suit is Ernie Webster.

Can anyone positively identify the others?
I know this to be the 1950 stand as the 1950 Keil Kraft hand book is for sale on the stand.
My goodness Holmes, you've done it again!

Ok stop drooling on your keyboards, I know you would love to get hold of some of those models!
Just have fun trying to name them all!

Keil Kraft stand early 1950's

1948-49 Keil Kraft stand, DROOL! The Mk1 Phantom and mite as well as the Hornet put it at after 1946.
The Stuntmaster was around 1948-50. On the counter are copies of Model Aviation magazine.
There were only 7 issues of this mag from 1948-1950 so it puts the stand firmly between those dates.
As the top picture is of the 1950 stand, I would think this one is either 1948 or 1949.

Early 50's Keil Kraft stand

Same stand from the other side. Great stuff! just look at those props!

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Ernie Webster Ernie Webster article

From the Basildon Standard, Ernie Webster with the Keil Kraft Gyron 1966.

Dudley with Keil Kraft Tritondudley with kk curlew

Two more pictures of Dudley with EeZeBILT Triton on the left, and Curlew on the right.

more Keil Kraft boatskk boat

More Keil Kraft boats pictures by Ernie Webster.

HMS Revenge galleon seriesHMS Revenge box

These are pictures of HMS Revenge one of the Galleon series also done by Ernie Webster for Keil Kraft.
They came in 2 sizes, the Junior series at 6" long and the Senior series at 12" long.
There was the Ark Royal, Bounty, Golden Hind, Mayflower, Revenge and Santa Maria.
The one above is the Junior series Revenge.

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Dudley hard at work on the Keil Kraft Playboyplayboy box

Dudley Webster hard at work on a Keil Kraft Playboy

Keil Kraft Dolphinkk dolphin box

Keil Kraft Dolphin study by Ernie Webster

Keil Kraft Mini SuperKeil Kraft Mini Super 2

Two views of the prototype Mini Super with ME Heron power.
Note the square wing tips and fin and thinner wing than the production Mini Super.
The tailplane is mounted on top of the body and in production it was under the body.
Compare with the production one shown below.

mini super super 60

Keil Kraft Mini Super on the left and the Keil Kraft Super 60 on the right.
Compare this production Mini Super to the prototype above.
This one is more rounded and the tailplane is now under the body.
Also note the wing tip shape and fin shape.

mini super box

Keil Kraft Mini Super kit

kk super 60 pic

Keil Kraft Super 60 box art

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Keil Kraft Falconmy KK Falcon

Keil Kraft Falcon. Almost ready to cover. My Keil Kraft Falcon with Lazer .61 flew superbly! (Derick)

kk demon boxKeil Kraft Demon

Keil Kraft Demon


Cornerwise, designed by Ernie but never kitted.

Cornerwise was grey/ white/ yellow.  I`m guessing but I think it was about 36” span.

Cornerwise was a one off that dad designed and built around an Albon Javelin motor. 

This was the one that Eddie Keil saw and wanted to make into a kit but dad refused him! (by Dudley)


Keil Kraft Ranger Mk2 Keil Kraft Spectre

kk ranger mk2 boxkk handbook 1965

Keil Kraft Ranger Mk2 on the left and the Keil Kraft Spectre on the right.
As you can see, this was the photo used on the Ranger Mk2 kit box.
The Keil Kraft Handbook cover for 1965 shows the same diamond colour scheme Spectre as shown above
being started by, yes, Dudley!

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Keil Kraft Spitfire kitkk Spitfire box

Ernie experimented with backgrounds for the photos for the magazines and the handbook

The following photos taken by Ernie show the construction of the Keil Kraft Spitfire.
He would have built the model, taking photos as he went along.

KK spitfire 1kk spitfire 2

kk spitfire 3kk spitfire 4

kk spitfire wingkk spitfire 6

kk spitfire 7kk spitfire complete

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Ernie designed lots of models whilst he was at Keil kraft. These are just a few of them.
Radian, Firefly, Firebird, Marquis, Cyclone, Ranger Mk2, Joker, Demon and Mini Super.

keil kraft radiankk firebird


kk eze bilt terrierkeil kraft otterkk jokerKK Cyclone plankk marquis

kk firefly

I'm sure Ernie has our respect and thanks for these and the many others he designed whilst at Keil Kraft.

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kk handbook

Most of the EeZeBILT range was designed by Ernie both aircraft and boats.

Ernie was also responsible for the Galleon range and the EeZeBILT boat range

kk handbook ezebilt

Below is a sample of the kit list in the 50's

kk booklet

kk booklet 1950s


Study and enjoy!

I can't thank Dudley and Evelyn Webster enough for this wonderful material
and their help and co operation in producing this article.

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kk streak

streak 2

This is one model on the stand in the late 40's that I had not seen or heard of.
The Streak, a 32" span polyhedral wing pusher engine free flight model.
The wing shape being similar to the Slicker series.
If anyone knows more about this model, please let me know.

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Click the link below for more history of the Keil family at Canvey Island.

canvey island Keil history