By Justin Humphreys
© Justin Humphreys - 2010
For the last seventeen years, model kit aficionados have seen a steady stream of superb replicas of Aurora Plastics’ iconic styrene monsters, from warhorses like the Frankenstein Monster to heretofore un-reissued rarities like Dracula’s Dragster. But one of Aurora’s 1/8th scale beauties has been passed over without fail whenever reissuing time rolled around: Dr. Jekyll as Mr. Hyde.
Why is the good doctor never returned to hobby store shelves? Did that flask that Dr. Jekyll’s chugging spook parental watchdogs into thinking that it would inspire impressionable young chemists to poison themselves with some unspeakable brew? Where’s the logic here? Why has this kit been out of the legitimate kit market for over thirty years?
“No one did it earlier as they said it wouldn’t sell,” says Frank Winspur, president of Moebius Models. “At Polar Lights, they thought it wouldn’t sell enough to make it break even.” Larger kit manufacturers, he says, “felt it was a crappy kit, hard to build, and no one remembered it with any fondness! Crazy stuff, in my opinion!”
At long last, Moebius is re-releasing Aurora’s rendering of Jekyll transforming into his hirsute alter ego. The kit is once again available in two versions, one in the first-issue Aurora-style oblong box and a glow version in a square box a la Aurora’s own glow reissues. Both boxes preserve James Bama’s glorious cover painting of Fredric March’s Hyde.
The brilliant minds at Moebius have also engineered a few new features to make the kit “much easier to build,” Winspur points out, including grooved seams, which eliminate the need for puttying and create a surer fit. Along those lines, “We also changed the legs from four pieces to two pieces,” he adds. But most of these improvements are eclipsed by the clever touch of casting the cobwebs bedecking Jekyll’s lab table in clear plastic, giving the modeler “so many options for painting.”
With more splendid horrors on the way, Moebius seems to be taking on Polar Lights’ mantles as Aurora’s heirs. One questions remains: why “Moebius”? It has a lot more to do with Aurora’s oval logo than with the French comic artist, right?
“The logo was a consideration, for sure,” Winspur explains. “Our first couple of names got shot down by the Trademark Office, and I was looking for something that’s name itself has a connection with the oval. Moebius as a mathematical term can take the shape of an oval, so I thought that it was the winner!”
A winner, indeed, just like the company it represents.