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Interesting video on YouTube - good history on the Aurora, Monogram and Revell plastic models.


GregLaR
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I assume many of the members here were (like me) model builders back in the 50's, 60's or 70's. 

I built countless models in almost every genre available, cars, airplanes, ships, etc. But mostly car models and my favorites at the time, the Aurora monster models. I still have the full set in display cases in my garage but I'm ashamed to say they are dusty beyond belief right now as the attached photo will show. I think cleaning these will be my "make work project" until the UPS truck shows up with more car parts.

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Anyway, my point is that I found a pretty interesting video on YouTube a few days ago that gives some good history on the Aurora, Monogram and Revell plastics companies that built all these great models back in the day. So, if you have a little time on your hands... and I know you do right now, it's really worth a watch. Especially if you were one of those kids that always seemed to have some Testors model paint on your desk, table, T-shirt or fingers. Enjoy:

 

 

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I started building models in the '60's. My dad bought me my first one, an AMT Model sedan kit.Loved building and learned a lot about the cars I built, mostly older models '20's-30's. Ironically, when I became a teen, my dad would chastise me for "playing with those toys" which killed my enthusiasm, so I dropped the hobby for many years. I've since picked it back up with somewhat with a few "specialty"builds but still feel the guilt which still lingers even today! The hobby did spark my interest in antique cars and when I was 17, I started restoring my  real '28 Ford pickup! It's sad that kids no longer want to engage in hobbies like this, but want to play on their phones all day! It's also hard for me to adjust to model pricing today. When I started, a model car might cost $1.50 - $2.00, but know they range from $20 and up! I still have some old Tester paint bottles marked .10 cents on the lid!

Edited by jpage (see edit history)
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Model Builders? Now that's a loaded question. Here's a stationary Steam engine I built at the Tech Center in high school. 7 flues in the boiler. Double acting oscillating type. Boiler fires on propane.   

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I never got past building AMT and Monogram kits. My hat goes off to those who can scratch build a model with incredible detail. Some beautiful examples are displayed at the Mariner's Museum in Marine City MI. The P51 is complete down to ammunition belts and fully detailed engine and cockpit. The Titanic speaks for itself !

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I have made some models recently, noting super complex. It helps pass the time.  Somewhere in the basement I have a 1960s Monogram Duce 32 Ford hot rod model in 1/8 scale.  The glue is drying our and it needs more work to get it back to display ready.  If life in the slow lane continues I might have to get it out and fix it up.  
 

My son gave me this Ferrari model at Christmas.  It’s one of those pre-painted metal body versions.  Looks pretty good when finished.

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Edited by TerryB (see edit history)
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I have been building models since 1959 with the AMT 3 in 1 kits.  I still build, and love to restore old glue bombs, resin kits,  and collect promotional models. Living in New York, and staying home due to the virus, i have been in full gear building models.   Haven't lost the love of plastic. Thanks, John

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Although I built a few models as a kid I can’t say I ever got too crazy about it... there were real cars to play with and dad was always in the garage!  
 

That said, at the beginning of it being suggested that we stay at home a few weeks ago, something caught my eye at the hardware store and I made an $11.99 purchase to give my kids and I something to do with an evening.  First things first, a six year old cannot even help with this blasted thing.  Secondly: two evenings. 
 

 

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I built the 1/32 scale plastic antique car kits starting very young and had them on the dresser and head board of my double bed till Mom came in to dust using her vacuum...

Dad understood my frustration (aka anger) at that so made these two wood cases for me to protect the offending action in the future.

They range in quality from a young kid's work to a late teen.

 

They are still protected in my hobby room.

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At one point I had a rather large collection of 3/4-finished models that I eventually stopped moving from house to house and disposed of them. As with many things relating to full-sized cars, I just didn't seem to have the patience required to get things as perfect as I wanted them to be, setting up an unpleasant cognitive dissonance that couldn't be cured. After spending one particularly long Christmas vacation when I was about 15 assembling a 1946 Ford convertible model, to which I somehow decided I would add such details as spark plug wires, real red leather seats, and even little tiny keys in the ignition, I reached the saturation point and ejected from the process in a violent manner.

 

My hat is off to those of you who have the skill, patience, talent, and intestinal fortitude to achieve greatness in model building. It is an ability that is as alien to me as speaking to goldfish.

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In the mid1950's I came across an article in either Popular Mechanics or Mechanic's Illustrated (my Dad subscribed to both) for a Model Car built out of mostly cardboard, they showed measured patterns, pretty simple plans, my recollection from building it was that it was a 2 seat roadster style, rounded hood, disk wheels, likely circa 1910-1915 brass era, maybe generic. I remember building it, abou 8"-10" long. Lost it in a house fire in 1969. Browsed the internet for the article recently with no luck. Any chance some of you saw that article and/or built it?  I was about 10 or 12 at the time. Probably started my interest in building models, a passion I retain to this day.   

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Further to my post above, here are some of my miscellaneous built models. The 5  "Revival" kits are 1/20 scale, mostly metal from their Grand Prix series, come out of Italy, some of these date to the 80's, nand involve quite a bit of time consuming work to assemble, mostly with 2 part epoxies. The Pocher Fiat is 1/8 scale, one of the easier Pocher kits, only 800 pieces compared to 3000 pieces for some of their kits. Same for the Wrebbit Mercedes which is all cardboard. The Bluenose Schooner is a internationally recognized symbol of our province, also on our national dime, built it largely from scratch over 10 years. Of course more recently I moved on to full scale car rebuilding, but the challenges are the same, authenticity, fit and finish. 

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I built quite a few myself . My father started me off with the Balsa stick and rib former , airplanes but I was too young to do anything but watch. . Then in the early 1960's when I was still pre school he discovered the plastic kits. It was then something we could both do together. We both built quite a few , but then came along a couple of younger siblings as well as my father becoming more involved in amateur competitive sports

so he no longer had the necessary time. I carried on up to the age of about 20 , but eventually figured my time would be better spent on real machines. I still have a few of the survivors in a box down in the basement. When my father passed away about a year and a half ago some of his old ones also came to light from a box in his attic. They brought back some strong memories.

P.S. Gunsmoke, one of the last ones I built was that same G.P.  Fiat. The cost of that kit was what caused me to re - think the whole model car thing.

 

Greg in Canada

 

 

Edited by 1912Staver (see edit history)
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Built a lot of models years ago before I started playing with the real thing.  Still have a box of unbuilt kits that are probably aging nicely, maybe some scarce stuff packed away.  Somewhere there is also a box with a few completed models too, but it's been ages since I've seen them.  Maybe that's a good project while we are isolated at home.  There is one that is on display in my wife's MG case with all her MG stuff displayed that I built several years ago.

Some of the most amazing models I've ever seen are on display at the Newport News Mariners Museum here in Va.  That's where the remains of the Civil-War ironclad Monitor are displayed.  These models were constructed by August Crabtree and are some of the finest ship models you'll ever see.  When we first moved to this area, he was still living and was a regular at the museum, showing and explaining how they were constructed.  He made his own special tools to enable him to cave exquisite detail, and experimented with different kinds of wood to find materials that produced the most accurate results.  He even made tiny brass nails and things like hinges and latches to hold everything together.  The models are displayed in a dark room suspended within glass cases so it seems as though they are literally floating in air.  The glass cases have special magnifying lenses on them so you can see detail close-up. Simply the most impressive displays I've ever seen.

Terry

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We use to go to Florida every year around easter time from Maryland to Stuart FL on US 1. My two older brothers and I would keep asking Dad if we were close to South Carolina a few hours after we left home.  Just over the NC/SC line is SOUTH of THE BORDER. A great stopping point for lunch and best of all FIRECRACKERS! Black cats, M80's Cherry Bombs everything a kid needed. We would buy our annual supply.  When we built a model ship or plane we would put one or two inside along with a pipe cleaner sticking out somewhere.  When we were tired of that model we would light the pipe cleaner the ship would start to burn then BANG blowup.  Great fun and always a surprise when it blew.  

I'm sure someone is thinking pyro but it was just being a kid with a firecracker.  Now I wish I still had some of those ships.  

Dave S 

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Cannot tell you how many model cars and boats I have built. I LOVE doing them and I still have a TON of untouched models in a back closet. Maybe I will get to them. Here is a whirly-gig that I made for my folks. The schooner rocks on the waves and the copper sails flop around at the same time it spins in the wind. It was the first one I ever made and I may make more of them. I modeled it after my Grandfather's triple masted schooner the J.T.Wing in Detroit.

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Edited by keiser31 (see edit history)
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I'm a long time model builder...the hobby is actually thriving. We have lots of clubs and conventions...just this past October, my family and I drove from my home near the CT border in NY all the way to Toledo Ohio for a model show...the largest show in the world is the NNL East in Wayne, NJ, which averages 2500 built models on display and three basketball courts full of vendors. People literally come in from around the world for it. It's in September this year, due to the virus. Normally in April. It's the 34th annual show. 

 

90% of the interaction I have on Facebook is with modelers. I joined the modeling community in 2000, when I was 15 years old, and never left. 

 

I'll post some of my builds shortly. Don't have access to post pictures on mobile.

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Cleaning up this Corgi Jaguar Mark X and this Lesney Matchbox 1913 Mercer today.  Hood and trunk open on the Jaguar and originally it also came with luggage for the trunk.  That is long gone.


 

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1 hour ago, keiser31 said:

Cannot tell you how many model cars and boats I have built. I LOVE doing them and I still have a TON of untouched models in a back closet. Maybe I will get to them. Here is a whirly-gig that I made for my folks. The schooner rocks on the waves and the copper sails flop around at the same time it spins in the wind. It was the first one I ever made and I may make more of them. I modeled it after my Grandfather's triple masted schooner the J.T.Wing in Detroit.

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whirlygig.jpg

JT Wing.William H Newcom.jpg

OMYGOSH-The J. T. Wing!!!!  Remember it well.  I was very young and my parents lived in Port Huron. We had family in Detroit.  I vividly remember going with everyone to Belle Isle to watch the ship being burned.  It was originally a maritime museum but fell into disrepair due to lack of funding.  To get rid of it, it was loaded with old tires, a couple thousand gallons of fuel, and some marksmen from the local police department then shot at it until it ignited.  I'll never forget the sight of that magnificant ship burning.  

Terry

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Wow, thanks for the link to the fascinating informative video! A lot of stuff I didn't know.

 

It seems that the video sort of de-emphasized what I perceived as the bulk of the plastic model industry back in the day: cars, especially race cars and customs. I get the feeling the presenter has a strong preference for military aviation models. Planes were of great interest to kids back then, but the hot rod era, followed my the tail fin era, followed by the muscle car and NHRA era made cars the most popular models in the '50's, '60's and early '70's I think. Whenever I went into a hobby shop it seemed to me that the model cars outnumbered the plastic planes and ships by a substantial margin. Of course, I was a little biased towards car models when it came to plastic kits, so maybe my perceptions are wrong. NASA and the moon landing probably created great demand for aerospace models, too.

 

I got the impression back then that model cars were most appealing to 12 to 15 year old boys who weren't yet of driving age, and the baby boom produced a whole lot of those boys. Older more serious modelers often modified the kits rather than just assemble them. Once those early teens were of driving age, the appeal of modeling kind of waned. The rise of video games in the late '70's probably didn't help either, so it makes sense the industry declined. Glad to see that models are still available at Hobby Lobby whenever I go in there. Great video! 

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45 minutes ago, Billy Kingsley said:

I'm a long time model builder...the hobby is actually thriving. We have lots of clubs and conventions...just this past October, my family and I drove from my home near the CT border in NY all the way to Toledo Ohio for a model show...the largest show in the world is the NNL East in Wayne, NJ, which averages 2500 built models on display and three basketball courts full of vendors. People literally come in from around the world for it. It's in September this year, due to the virus. Normally in April. It's the 34th annual show. 

 

90% of the interaction I have on Facebook is with modelers. I joined the modeling community in 2000, when I was 15 years old, and never left. 

 

I'll post some of my builds shortly. Don't have access to post pictures on mobile.

I think the hobby is indeed thriving.  The guys behind me at this years Tidewater Region AACA Swap Meet were from the local Tidewater Modeler's Society and they had quite a display of items built, unbuilt, and in process.  The vast majority of the guys there were old-timers who had at one time played with the larger versions of the cars they were building.  Their work was simply amazing to see.  Wish I'd taken some photos.

I think that as we age and no longer want to crawl under a car, or man-handle heavy parts, there is a tendency to gravitate to (or return to) the younger days and build dream cars from our youth.  Only problem is good eyesight and steady hands are required and that's something that usually begins to deteriorate.

Terry

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1 minute ago, Terry Bond said:

 

I think that as we age and no longer want to crawl under a car, or man-handle heavy parts, there is a tendency to gravitate to (or return to) the younger days and build dream cars from our youth.

Terry

 

Very true, Terry.

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4 minutes ago, Terry Bond said:

OMYGOSH-The J. T. Wing!!!!  Remember it well.  I was very young and my parents lived in Port Huron. We had family in Detroit.  I vividly remember going with everyone to Belle Isle to watch the ship being burned.  It was originally a maritime museum but fell into disrepair due to lack of funding.  To get rid of it, it was loaded with old tires, a couple thousand gallons of fuel, and some marksmen from the local police department then shot at it until it ignited.  I'll never forget the sight of that magnificant ship burning.  

Terry

Yes. Sad....the ship was the last wooden hulled triple masted schooner to sail the Great Lakes. It supplied lumber from northern Michigan to the auto companies for the wooden body structures. You can see the name of my Grandfather's company (Braun Lumber Corporation) across the street in the Chrysler car lot photo.

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Braun Lumber photo.jpg

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At the senior center I attend we did an indoor car show using model cars.  It was a big hit.  I also brought along a bunch of my sales brochures to make a backdrop.  We have also done drag racing using HotWheels and HotWheels track.

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Here are some of my builds. I've built more than 300, not all of them are worth looking at. 

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1953 Ford, built 2018.

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1969 Dodge Daytona, also built 2018

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1979 Ford Pinto, also built 2018

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2001 Porsche, built 2010

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This 1930 Packard I built in 2010 unfortunately did not survive very long. I should be able to fix it at some point. 

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I know we are supposed to only talk about factory stock cars on here, but hopefully this won't cause too much trouble, since no real cars were harmed in it's construction. I built this in 2019. 

 

A lot of what I build is NASCAR...

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1992 Terry Labonte, built in 2016

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Here's a photo grid style display I experimented with, this is Ted Musgrave's 2001 truck which I built in 2011. 

 

This is probably the most popular model I've ever built:

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which I built from a resin Modelhaus kit back in 2006.

 

My proudest moment, however, was when one of my builds was used in a half page ad for the model company that issued the kit in Model Cars Magazine back in 2007. 

2vcVe6HWx2zUmm.jpg 

I took the photo, and the company's art designer added the brand logo and smoothed the plane it rests on. 

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16 minutes ago, Terry Bond said:

I think the hobby is indeed thriving.  The guys behind me at this years Tidewater Region AACA Swap Meet were from the local Tidewater Modeler's Society and they had quite a display of items built, unbuilt, and in process.  The vast majority of the guys there were old-timers who had at one time played with the larger versions of the cars they were building.  Their work was simply amazing to see.  Wish I'd taken some photos.

I think that as we age and no longer want to crawl under a car, or man-handle heavy parts, there is a tendency to gravitate to (or return to) the younger days and build dream cars from our youth.  Only problem is good eyesight and steady hands are required and that's something that usually begins to deteriorate.

Terry

 

I'd bet the guy who ran that both is named Jerry Quick. He invited me to their show a while back but it was a little too far for me to go at that time. 

 

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I'm part of two scale modeling clubs. The Town of Newburgh Model Car Club, founded in 1980, is based in Newburgh NY. I joined in March 2002 and it's the best thing that could have ever happened to me in the hobby. We don't host a show on our own but we do co-run a show held by the local oldies radio station. At this point in time, our most famous draw is the diorama of the Newburgh Drive-In built by two of our members. 

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Ron, in the blue shirt, is one of the two guys who did most of the work and is the caretaker of it. (You may notice my 1953 Ford convertible in the photo)

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Did I mention the show I took these photos at was held in center court of the Poughkeepsie Galleria? :) 

 

The Drive-In is requested by several full-scale car shows every year, and is a staple at the Orange County Antique Auto Club shows, which Ron is a member of, he has a 1923 Ford TT Stake truck.

 

I'm the official photographer of the Town of Newburgh Model Car Club. https://public.fotki.com/ElCaminoBilly/tnmcc/ is our official photo archive. Our Facebook page is currently our website (which I also run) https://www.facebook.com/TNMCC/ 

 

The second club I joined is the Hudson Valley Historical Miniatures Guild, based in East Fishkill, NY, which is not just cars. It covers all forms of modeling. We host a judged show every October in Poughkeepsie NY, and as of 2019 I am now head automotive judge. That sounds like a fancy title but all it means is that I have to find a group of people to judge the classes, lol. We actually have a website, http://hvhmg.org/ and a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TheHVHMG/

I joined the club in 2009 after attending the annual show in 2008 and having a lot of fun. Actually got me to build some non-car builds as well, like this:

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SNJ Texan, which I build in 2012, and let me tell you, digitally removing my hand from this image was not easy! :)

 

Unfortunately, both clubs are on hiatus due to the virus for the time being. Perhaps it will allow me time to build some new models...my current project is a 1970 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, factory stock black-on-black.

 

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Here's a photo from the NNL East in 2012. This isn't even the most crowded year! And there's two more rooms, 3 basketball courts worth of vendors, not shown! The circular building in the diorama section in the bottom middle is actually mine. The only diorama I've ever attempted, although still unfinished...started in 2003. 

2vjaVdnnx2zUmm.jpg

 

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Wow, you do some fantastic work!   Don't know who manned the booth there but one of the guys was an old friend who used to build real GTOs that I'd not seen in a long time.  We had a great time visiting.

Terry

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46 minutes ago, Billy Kingsley said:

Here are some of my builds. I've built more than 300, not all of them are worth looking at. 

2v2JRRDsSx2zUmm.jpg 

1953 Ford, built 2018.

2v2JTWjcFx2zUmm.jpg

1969 Dodge Daytona, also built 2018

2v2J46vWWx2zUmm.jpg

1979 Ford Pinto, also built 2018

2vLdRJgjx2zUmm.jpg

2001 Porsche, built 2010

2vgbTs7Gx2zUmm.jpg

This 1930 Packard I built in 2010 unfortunately did not survive very long. I should be able to fix it at some point. 

 

2v29KyRPFx2zUmm.jpg

1992 Terry Labonte, built in 2016

2vdFZHmyx2zUmm.jpg

Here's a photo grid style display I experimented with, this is Ted Musgrave's 2001 truck which I built in 2011. 

 

This is probably the most popular model I've ever built:

2vqFNu8zx2zUmm.jpg

which I built from a resin Modelhaus kit back in 2006.

 

My proudest moment, however, was when one of my builds was used in a half page ad for the model company that issued the kit in Model Cars Magazine back in 2007. 

 

 

 

Billy, those models are great! I can see why a model company used your work for their ads. Professional quality!

 

I even like the Pinto wagon. Don't see things like that very often. I'd bet that isn't an easy kit to come by nowadays.

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I just picked up some model planes to give me something to do while locked down, maybe I should order some cars too! It's really amazing what some people can do with the kits.

 

Now I just need to find a company that sells a Rambler kit...

Edited by AL1630 (see edit history)
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  • Peter Gariepy changed the title to Interesting video on YouTube - good history on the Aurora, Monogram and Revell plastic models.

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