The Aurora Monsters: the Model Craze that Gripped the World
The Aurora Monsters is a documentary chronicling the rise of monster model-kits as a hobby and collector item and solidifying its place in Americana. It is hosted by Friday Night Horror movie host Zacherely, and his Muppet-looking dragon, Gorgo. (from the NY area late 1950’s – 60’s)
It is a series of interviews with those who began at Aurora Model Kit Company, worked on projects and designed the kits, as well as, newer model-kit designers and collectors. The hosting shtick is a bit silly and seemingly geared toward children but the interviews are informative and entertaining. Among the interviewees are: Artist, James Bama — Andrew Yanches, product manager of Aurora models in 1960’s and 70’s — Ray Meyers, sculptor of the famous kits, Godzilla, The Bride, and Ghidrah — Dave Cochram, artist and sculptor. All of these men were players in the original monster model scene.
There are also interviews with newer model kit makers and aficionados, including: Jeff Yagher who sculpted models that looked closer to the film characters, quite often by using Bama’s original artwork as his guide. Actor, Daniel Roebuck shows us his collection of model kits from the early Aurora models to some newer kits. Frank Winspur of Moebius Models tells the story of how he was a fan of the kits when he was young and later went on to purchase many of the original molds to save them from the scrap heap and to re-issue many of the old monster model designs. Matt and Tom from Sideshow Collectibles discuss the Aurora influence on the items they produce and sell.
If you are interested in the evolution and history of monster model kits, or are inclined to start your own collection and want to get familiar with what is on the market, this would be a great place to start. For me it was a nostalgic look back to my childhood. When the other kids in the neighborhood were excelling at sports, I had my model kits to keep me busy.