The Aurora Monsters (2010) – movie review

aurora models documentaryThe Aurora Monsters: the Model Craze that Gripped the World
documentary (2010)

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 desigAurora James Bamaned 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 GhidrahDave 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 Aurora ZacherelyBama’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.

Aurora Ray Meyers Aurora Daniel Roebuck

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Horror Art – Aurora Model Kit box art

aurora universal monsters 2

Horror Art – Aurora Model-Kit box art

The box art of the original Aurora models painted by artist James Bama, have become prized collector items. Bama was commissioned for the newly emerging line of Aurora Horror Models creating the box art that many of us know. His oil paintings of the classic Universal Monsters really brought the kit boxes to life. Dave Cockrum took over much of the duties in the 1972, painting the box-art as well as designing some of the models. His reign in the art department developed the Monster Scenes line in the mid-1970’s.

The Cro-Magnon Woman original art recently sold at auction for $2,000. For much of the Aurora Prehistoric Scenes, the box artist is unknown. Some of the original design sketches are credited to HMS Associates and B. Brown but it is unknown if Brown did the actual box art. These kits were designed and released between 1970 and 1972 – after Bama left the illustration field and before Cockrum had began working at Aurora.

the horned dino

Here is a look at some of the great artwork from the Aurora model kit collection, as well as a few Aurora Fantasy Boxes and the Aurora Prehistoric Scenes line.

Gallery 1



Some companies have commissioned new artists to paint Aurora style boxes of model-kits that many of us wished were made, in what are called, Aurora Fantasy Boxes. So you can find a box for Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, but realize the model was never made; the box is new artwork made in the old Aurora style.

Gallery 2

The Prehistoric Scenes became my favorite collection just because of the size and scope of the models.

Gallery 3

Credit for some info relayed here attributed to: