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Monster Models & Kits

In the hobby of plastic model building, monster models and kits represent a diverse model genre. The process of creating or collecting models and toys that imitate creatures from movies and television gained popularity in the 1960s. From classic Universal monsters, such as Dracula and Frankenstein, to unstoppable movie villains like Michael Myers, monster model kits continue to entertain.

Which Aurora monster models were initially released in the 1960s?

Aurora Plastic Models cashed in on their success with WWII model airplanes during the 1950s and wanted to capitalize on a new wave of interest in the early black and white films that featured Universal monsters. Aurora struck a deal with Universal Studios, and they released Boris Karloff's Frankenstein kit in 1961. Bella Lugosi's Dracula and Lon Chaney Jr.'s Wolfman models soon followed. The release of these kits proved to be very popular, and other models based on movie monsters were then released. This first wave of monsters in plastic from Aurora finished with two model kits that represented monsters not affiliated with a movie. The list of Aurora model kits that follows is organized by year and by the monster's name:

  • 1961: Frankenstein
  • 1962: Dracula and The Wolfman
  • 1964: Creature From the Black Lagoon, Dr. Jekyll as Mr. Hyde, Godzilla, King Kong, Hunchback of Notre Dame, and the Phantom of the Opera
  • 1965: The Witch
  • 1966: The Forgotten Prisoner
What major model kit and toys manufacturers have released monsters?

Aurora eventually went out of business, and their molds were used by Monogram and Revell to re-release the Universal series that featured Boris Karloff's Frankenstein kit. Eventually, Polar Lights, LLC used these molds for another round of re-issued model kits. Many of these same companies have also produced model kits of these monsters in new sculpts and scales. Kits with a theme that more represented toys than model kits were released by these companies in a series of monsters, like Frankenstein, driving various vehicles. Bandai of Japan has released many kits representing monsters such as Godzilla and Rodan. Airfix, Revell Germany, Tamiya, and others have not focused on model kits with a horror or monster theme.

Are monster kits made from materials other than traditional plastics?

Yes. Many kits are released made from materials other than the traditional model plastic. Some kits are produced from a vinyl plastic that gives the model kit better detail but makes the model harder to work with. The models from these kits are heat sensitive, and the model kit requires cyanoacrylate glue (super glue) to put the kit together. Another commonly used kit material is resin for model kits. Kits made from resin are heavy and usually require pinning parts of the model together as well as gluing the model parts. Resin model kits are highly detailed and more expensive than plastic kits.

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