Monogram Plastic Model Kits – A Brief History

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By Alan Bussie    Google+ profile

Many thanks to numerous KCCers and John Burns for their detective work. Without you this would have been impossible.

Introduction and Early Years 

The name Monogram is synonymous with quality in model kits.   The founders, Jack Besser and Bob Reder, had a clear vision of what constitutes an excellent model kit and how to transform that into mass production.  Not surprisingly, Monogram was a well-run company and proved to be profitable for many years. In 1945 the company began producing stick/tissue aircraft kits and solid wooden kits of ships and cars.  Monogram’s very first aircraft was kit number C-1, the Whirlwind – a gas powered control line kit.   The first car kit was the R-1 Hot Shot Jet-Powered Racer.

 monogram-c-1-whirlwind.JPG   monogram-r1-hotshot.JPG

C-1 Whirlwind and R-1 Hot Shot (Click either photo to enlarge) 

 The ship line consisted of a US BattleshipDestroyer, CruiserAircraft Carrier and Landing Craft (#B1).


Although the wooden ship line was not expanded, the Jet Races line eventually included the Hot Shot (from above), R-3 Mono-Jet, R-4 Midjet, R-2 Terr-Jet and B-6Aqua Jet (for operation in water)

Monogram seized the injection molded plastic initiative early and produced what we would call multi-media kits.  The legendary line of flying and non-flying kits were called Continue reading “Monogram Plastic Model Kits – A Brief History”

Aurora Plastic Model Kits – A Brief History

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By Alan Bussie Google+ profile

Many thanks to John Burns, Tom Graham and the innumerable number of collectors who have helped to compile this information over the years. Without your tireless attention to detail, this would be impossible.

Aurora was one of the most prolific names in American Modeling from 1952 to 1977. The line was very diverse and included military and civil aircraft, shipstanksmissiles, figures (monster and many others), science fiction, automotive, animals, guns, totem poles, HO train items, electronic kits, “Coppersmith” sets, prehistoric scenes and more.

The Early Years – The Brooklyn Era
In 1950, Abe Shikes and Joseph Giammarino created Aurora as an injection molding job-shop. Injection molding was booming in post-war American and business went well. In 1952, they hired a salesman named John Cuomo. The three produced many toys but quickly realized that plastic model kits were the wave of the future, so they banked Aurora’s future on it.

Kit production started in the Brooklyn Plant in late 1952. These kits were in one-piece flip-top boxes and carried the circular logo and the “U-Ma-Kit” slogan. The first two kits were the 1/48 F9F Panther Jet (kit #22) and 1/48 Lockheed F-90A (kit #33).  These first two kits carried no landing gear or missiles and had minimal rivet and panel line detail. Box art was simple and used two colors. There was no price extension after the kit number.

First Issue Aurora F-90A #33

Issues exist with the instructions printed on the inside of the box and with the instructions printed on a separate piece of paper.

If you have the early Hawk releases of the F9F or F-90, Continue reading “Aurora Plastic Model Kits – A Brief History”

Save Those Old or Yellowing Plastic Model Decals

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by Ken Friend

Nothing is more discouraging than watching decals yellow with time after they have been applied to one of your favorite models. Well, maybe there is something more discouraging; spending your valuable allowance on an older model kit only to find the decals are almost useless from discoloration. The following article might help. Discolored decals can be used to generate new decals that stand a much better chance of maintaining their true colors and clarity.

The example below shows the original decal sheet from an AMT XB-70 kit released in 1995. The clear film between colored segments is discolored. Obviously, this will show dramatically Continue reading “Save Those Old or Yellowing Plastic Model Decals”