September 4, 2013 – 3:41 pm
Return to kits for sale
By Alan Bussie Google+ profile
I wish to thank artist Mike Boss for locating Gayle Yarnall, who is one of Ray Gaedke’s daughters. Gayle, I thank you and Bernice for the main biography body. Without you this article would not exist. Rae, thank you for locating and scanning all the photographs. To all three daughters - Rae, Peggy and Gayle – thank you for your timeless memories of your father.
Please visit Gayle’s blog at gayleconnected.com
Plastic model kits were off to a shaky start in the post-war United States. The first US kits came out in 1946, and the hobby shops did not know what to do with these colorful little gems. As a result, they put them on the ‘high shelf’ or another secondary location. Current model builders, the skilled craftsman who were used to the wooden ‘solid’ or stick and tissue kits, had no interest at all and were critical of such prefabrication. The handful of manufactures feared this was a product with no audience.
The target audience was present but had simply not been identified. Once plastic kits were marketed in a few mainstream stores, plastic models began to sell very quickly to younger children and adults who were tired or scared off by time-and-talent consuming wooden kits. But success created a new problem. Kits in mainstream stores had to compete with highly established toys, games and other products. To attract the buyer’s attention, they needed ‘visual shelf appeal,’ which translated to eye-popping box artwork. Raymond Gaedke was one of the pioneers of this ‘modern’ model box artwork.
Ray’s incredible Winnie Mae (late 1950s)
It is difficult to say who did the first popular series of full color box art in the USA. The current candidates are Ray Gaedke or Jim Cox from Aurora.
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