Tuesday, December 20, 2011


It's hard to describe to someone the exact feeling that I had -- and I'm sure it's a similar feeling that a lot of other Monster Kids had --when I put together my first Aurora monster model. I have shared with you the experience racing to beat the clock to get my first-ever attempt at building a monster model (The Mummy) completed and down to Gilbert's Hobby Shop in Torrance, CA in time to enter the Aurora Monster Model Customizing Contest. Well, I got the model finished, but missed the entry date!

A full-page ad from FAMOUS MONSTERS OF
FILMLAND magazine promoting the
1965 monster model customizing contest.

A more vivid monster model-making memory of mine is not of this adventure, however -- it is during the making of my second model, The Wolf Man. In this recollection I can remember quite clearly the colors I used (light brown for his fur, gray for the rocks on the base, white for the teeth and a little red for blood on them!), how it went together (pretty easily for a 9-year old), and how it looked when it was finished (not bad, as I recall). The models are long gone but the fond memories remain.

A store promotional banner commonly seen in hobby shops across America.

The first model I ever put together on my own was not a monster model, though -- it was another type of Aurora figure kit -- The Red Knight. The knights were Aurora Plastics' first entry into the figure kit model market. As legend has it, Aurora execs weren't at all thrilled about gambling on the extent of the success of the figure kits, and when mention was made of putting famous movie monsters sprue on parts trees into the now-famous James Bama-painted Aurora long boxes, they shuddered. It took a miraculous bit of showmanship and wizardry, but a market test of prototypes shown at model sales conventions revealed that kids were fanatical with the prospect of seeing their favorite Shock Theater TV creatures come to life under their skillful little hands.

And the rest they say, is history. Advertised heavily in FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND magazine, monster models were a huge hit. They have even enjoyed a revival by Polar Lights, Revell, and other model makers within the last dozen or so years as well.

A typical ad in FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND magazine
selling the Aurora Plastic's line of monster models.

In honor of the 50th Anniversary of the first Aurora monster model -- Frankenstein -- and the resulting onslaught of kits to follow, MONSTER MAGAZINE WORLD is devoting this week to AURORA MONSTER MODELS WEEK. Today's post takes a look at the period just before the monster models were unleashed, when heroic knights in Testor's-painted shining armor walked the landscape of our fevered imagination. The pages are from AMAZING FIGURE MODELER #14.

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