I ran across something on YouTube that gave me a flashback to my boyhood.

Who here is old enough to remember plastic models? Mine were mostly planes and ships, with a string of the Aurora warrior figures. Revell, Monogram… 

Who remembers the tiny bottles of model paint, and the distinctive smell of airplane glue before it became a substance of abuse? 

Walk down memory lane is here:

or watch video here.

It has some excellent commentary on that particular industry and on marketing that would make it worthy of Forbes or the Harvard Business Review.

Hey! What’s this stuff doing on a gun blog? Well, Revell made model guns, and Aurora made model artillery pieces, and…

…and I just felt like it.


  1. A have to wonder whatever happened to my model collection. Between the moves and kids I guess they’re all just pieces. The one I really miss was a properly painted SB2C Curtiss Helldiver I got while in the hospital. One of my kids managed to get a hold of it………

    Once upon a time I bought 2 of the 20 mule team freight models with the intentions of putting them together, one for each kid. Once I looked inside the box, I put them in the attic and forgot about them until about ten years after the house sold. The kits were intended for very serious model makers and far more complex than I expected.

    For you youngins that don’t know what I’m talking about, find an episode of Death Valley Days and watch the opening. 20 mules (with posable legs), the borax wagon, the feed wagon and water tanker plus all assorted tack.

  2. Oh wow, yep I was there!! Ships, planes, cars, and even the Universal Studio monster collection.. Boy, those were great times… thanks for the trip back to my younger days!!

  3. I remember the smell most of all. We had to do them outside in the garage. All the little pieces but it was pretty cool when you finished.

  4. I remember all those things
    Built planes and ships. Got the glue and paint on my fingers. Remember the water soaked insignias that I put on the modules.

    • They are in fact leaps and bounds better than they were back in the day, in engineering and accuracy.
      You’re also not going to be able to get one on a week’s allowance, but that’s how it goes.

  5. I remember those brands, little bottles of paint, tiny brushes, and eventually decals for the wings and fuselages of the many WW2 planes I used to build. This brings back many fond memories

  6. I remember, though it does seem a very, very long time ago. My cousin was very meticulous and made some very nice ones. I was never patient enough with hands-on stuff. I turned out to be good at building relationships as opposed to building anything of plastic, metal, or wood.

  7. For those in “our” generation, I’m curious who doesn’t remember them? I still have three or four cars I built. I also have my Pinewood Derby car!
    Cheers, be safe… Tom

  8. You can post whatever you like!!! I loved the 2 fashion videos you did. I wear cargo pants, I just don’t have that much stuff in them, lol! The only videos I ever watch all the way through are yours. Keep up the great work, hope to see y’all around town soon.

  9. I remember those, but my activities were mostly model cars and a very few airplanes. Of course, I’m 72 now, so I was around in the model building hey-day. My grandson (6 bout to be 7) is a great Lego fan. He really likes to take them apart and use the pieces to make his own creations.

  10. Put together dozens of airplane models in my youth, ironically, only to blow them up with Black Cat firecrackers after I got annoyed with them! Boys will be boys!

    I still have an F-86E Sabre model I need to finish (from years ago), and a good assortment of Tester’s paints. My Uncle flew the E-model Sabre in combat during the Korean War. I want to finish the model in his squadron colors with the A/C Bureau # of his ‘assigned’ A/C. I just need to find a round ‘tuit’ to get the job done. Currently, the big box blue and orange stores are all out of them, and I haven’t been able to find one on Amazon! Lot’s of other pre-summer projects (Generator Transfer Panel and [4] Mini Split AC installs) keeping this old man busy for now. 🙂

    Love your blog as always Mas. Keep ’em comin’.



  11. I remember and still have most of my 1/48 scale WWII airplanes. Indoor educational fun during Wisconsin winter’s.

  12. I do. For me it was Soldiers and military gear. I’d build a model Jeep and heat up
    a plastic soldier until I could mold him to fit in the Jeep. Long time ago.

  13. I can’t believe I watched the whole 47 minute video. I rarely built plastic models. Probably less than 10, but the story of the companies was well presented and very interesting.

  14. Built a many of them in my youth. Another bygone era I suppose.

    Models and the small string controlled gas engine airplanes.

  15. One of my first models was JFKs PT boat. Of course that led to reading up on wood war patrol boats and onward to the USS Wasp and her history. Excellent hobby for a too quiet boy

  16. Remember this well. Kid of the ‘60s. I built the big boats of Dec 7-41. Lots of warbirds both plastic and balsa. Lots of cars. Grew up, moved out and my little brothers reduced all of the models to bits and pieces.

  17. I recognize a lot of these models. Making plastic WWII airplane models got me interested in aviation. I used the models for my “show-and-tell” in English class in high school. I got an associate degree in Aeronautical Science at Nicholls State U (thibodaux, La), and was on their Nat’l Intercollegiate Flying Ass’n team competing against the likes of AF Acad, Embry Riddle, OSU, Illinois (carbondale), and other 4yr programs ~ our 2yr program was in top 10 for years, often top 3. I placed 2nd nationally on the “whiz wheel” (flight computer circular sliderule). I instructed in the program while finishing my journalism degree. Although I didn’t make flying my career, many of my compadres did ~ going on to majors, FedEx, UPS, etc.
    All that to say…
    You just never know where “sniffing glue” will lead you… grin.

  18. I built Revell aircraft models while in the Air Force, 81-86. I had a B-29, F-15. ( the greatest fighter ever!!), a MIG 25, and a P-51, and P-47 ( the best fighter of WW2)

  19. The Helldiver was mfg. in my home town. A few years later the Corsair was flying close air support for us on field support.

  20. I remember noticing boys in television situation comedies having models in their rooms and me thinking, “I’m a boy — is this something I’m supposed to be doing?” It seemed to be a cliche’ plot piece where the little brother would sneak into big brother’s room to play with the models and break one.

    I built a few. I don’t think I was very good at it, but the results looked impressive enough. But I though, “If the model planes don’t actually fly, and the model boats don’t actually float, then what’s the point?”

  21. I have a Revell kit of an F102A. The airplane I worked on in the USAF. Someday I will put it together. I recall building the F100, F104, F105 and Grumman Cougar aircraft. Memories eh?

  22. I remember. Must have made twenty planes, plus a half-track and Dracula. To this day, I love the way WWI aeroplanes look. If I was a film maker, I would film The Red Baron’s Fokker triplane strafing cars and people in NYC with paint balls. Lots of fun.

  23. Thanks Mas! Good memories. Few Aurora models in our area of Columbus, Ohio but Revell and Monogram in abundance. Testors was the model paint, still good for pistol sights. Modeling gave a lot of us an eye for detail and motivation for our various kid jobs to be able to buy a kit. Good times!

  24. My first was of HMS Hood, an Airfix if memory serves. This project was to shape my growing years and beyond in ways I never would have imagined.

  25. My departed Vietnam Vet Big Bro’ and my Dad used to do the glue and paint planes; then evolved into the big models you could fly by remote after you finished putting them together and painting them? I remember the scent of the engines and the hot, colorful expletives from Dad when the big scale gas model propeller snagged his thumb or whatever unfortunate digit got in the way of progress.

  26. I built a lot of those cars and combat aircraft models from all three companies. From around 1975 to 1982. Testors got into the business also. Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Mas.

  27. As a “resurrected modeler” I share the nostalgic feeling you describe every time I build a kit now. Evan a little historical patriotism due to many of the lord being WW2 aircraft (I volunteer at Yankee Air Museum at Willow Run Airport inMI). Fun post, thanks Maas!!

  28. It wasn’t called “Airplane Dope” for nuthin’ ” Yes, Testor’s model glue was great stuff. I remember making army models, then, come 4th of July, blowing them up with M-80’s with a neighborhood pal. Oh, yeah… remember the “decals”? That was making a statement on “your” model”. I fondly remember the models of the Frankenstein creature, Wolf Man, and especially “Rat Fink”!
    Thanks, Mas, for some memory recall from past, “easier” times.
    Hope you and Gail had a pleasant Happy Easter.

  29. I remember AMT and Lindberg Line kits as well. AMT’s George Barris customs won me a few contests. I have a Revell P-38 that was built by a squadron mate of my wife’s late uncle who flew that fighter in the Pacific (with Maj. Richard Bong.) It’s painted in the correct color scheme of their unit.
    Fond remembrances of a nicer time.

  30. Growing up we had a family friend who worked for Aurora, in Hempstead, NY. I had all kinds of plastic models, as well as Aurora HO slot cars. Dracula, Wolfman, Frankenstein, the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

  31. I spent hours, over many years, building models. My favorites, however, were the monster models by Aurora. The Wolfman, Dracula, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Phantom of the Opera, Frankenstein, I built them all, usually several times. My dad was an amateur artist, and did Frankenstein, it was awesome. It was then I realized how amateurish my attempts were, but I still tried. I found $2 in the street once near school, I went right to the candy store and bought a model and 8 Testors paints.

  32. I built many of those when I was a wee sprout. Mostly aircraft and ships. I had ubcles who fought in WW11, and hears a fw of their storis, then the war films began pouring out making it all come alive.
    I thtink my fvourite model was the REvelle of the Cuty Sark, the old Britich tea clipper. She was over three foot sem to stern, with a rahter lng bowsprit. the mit had all the spars and such but that wasn’t enough for me. I actually made my own rigging sanding and running, and the whole project took me off n on the beter part f a year. Came home on Christmas break my firs year of college and my younger brothers had apparently sent heer off to batle and she los.t… dismasted, holed, would have sunk except for only sailing the treacherous waters on the top of my dresser. Sigh…. I also remember the Mayflower, the Bounty, and Columbus’ Niña, HMS Beagle…. had a soft spot for the sale tea, still do.

    Hearing this story if the major comoanies, their history, product lines, and the men who made them tick was absolutely fascinating. I was not really aware of where Venice is, but now realise I grew up about fify kiles from there.Revelle were my favourite kits, and their ship models were excellent. I remember well ine aircraf carrier model, perhpas a foot and a half long, had detailed it nicely, brought it to a friend’s house ne onschoolday where we floated har on the larfe fish pond, cincrent lined, in his big bckyard. He grought out a cherry bomb nd we set a cigarete time delay fuse on it, tucked below the flightdeck bout id-ships. I had my camera handy, and timed the shutter perfectly to catch the flash of the blast and the deck just beginning to lift up and clear of the hull. I had one chance, and the timing ws perfect. Prolly could not do that aain, ever.
    Funny thing, that experience as a kid building the models (and some scratch-made things from bare wood pieces) helped me gain a good sense of how things go together, and the skill with my hands to make it happen. Fine detail, careful placement, etc, have he,ped me learn how to rwork with my hands, which I still do for my living. big things that do real work.. like carsand boats and trucks… they’re all only bits and pieces,after all. Except the wires and solid state nonsense is not nearly as simple…. sigh.

  33. Yes, I remember. I was born 5 years after WW2 ended, My father was a WW2 vet and I built mostly WW1 and WW2 war birds and WW2 naval ships, WW2 tanks, and a few model cars and square rigger ships. Had the model planes hanging from my bedroom ceiling. All my allowance and work money went to all three companies and others, as well. No idea where they are all today. I suppose most ended up in my hometown landfill when my folks moved in their eighties. Today I am retired (mostly home bound) and have often thought about getting back into it with WW2 naval vessels in larger and more intricate kits – maybe. I have always had a deep interest in WW2 military history and still watch many WW2 documentaries on YouTube today. However, despite my interest in the WW2 era, I am forever thankful that I was not in it.

  34. I remember well building the Revell Nautilus submarine, the first nuclear ship. There were rumors afterward that the model was a bit more realistic than the nuclear secrets folks would have liked. However, they rightly thought that making a fuss over it would have brought more attention than they wanted. It was far from the only model I made back then.

    Thanks for the memories.

  35. I have no idea how many models of cars, World War II ships, fighters and bombers, as well as the early jet fighters and bombers I built as a kid. I think my favorites were the P -51D and the P-47 Thunderbolt, but I built everyone I could afford to buy. I’d probably still have them today, but my old man got mad, threw them out in the yard and stomped them to pieces. I never forgave him and doubt I ever will.

  36. I had a model building addiction from about age 7 to 32 or so, then fell away from it. I still have 20 or so unbuilt kits stuffed away in the closet of a back room and the ceiling of that room is almost covered with aircraft models literally hanging by thread with the ship models lining shelves plus several more here and there. I think my first was a tiny yellow convertible from a manufacturer I can’t remember, but my next one was a US Airfix A-4 Skyhawk. Over the years, I built many, many models, but the highest quality kits I ever bought were the MRC/Tamiya brand. A hobby shop employee once told me that Tamiya would not send replacement pieces that were “missing” from a kit, such was their confidence that there could not possibly be any missing pieces. Although the variety of kits available today looks to be magnitudes higher than back when I was younger, the price of them has risen too. As far as best smelling paint, my favorite was Pactra Mandarin Red.


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