September 30, 2015

Toys in the Attic: Aurora Monster Models of the 1960s Part 10 'The Aurora 13' The Bride of Frankenstein

"The Aurora 13" No. 11 The Bride of Frankenstein 

Original Kit Issued: 1965 - 1966 as Catalog #482
Re-Issued: 1969-1975, 1997, 2000

The Bride of Frankenstein, along with the Witch  appeared on the scene in 1965, at the height of Aurora's Monster Kits' popularity. These kits were larger and more intricate, featuring more fully realized dioramic "sets" than the previous kits. The Bride is a beautiful kit, replete with all the arcane trappings of the mad doctor's lab and a killer Elsa Lanchester likeness. The stone walls and wooden structures lend great texture to the spooky scenario, and the gizmos and body parts keep things sufficiently gruesome.

A defect in the molds for The Bride limited the number of original kits issued which is why this is the hardest of the 13 to find in it’s original packaging. Scrapped in 1966, the damaged molds prevented its reissue in the Frightening Lightning and Glow series three years later. Polar Lights did a spectacular job of recasting this kit, which is virtually identical to the original. They also attempted to make up for the previous mishap by releasing it in a Glow-in-the-Dark version, which is now a highly sought-after edition from 1997.

Toys in the Attic: Aurora Monster Models of the 1960s

Web: "Collecting Aurora Monsters" Dennis L. Prince
Web: Professor Plastiks "Aurora Monster Kit History"
Print: Aurora Model Kits by Thomas Graham

September 27, 2015

Toys in the Attic: Aurora Monster Models of the 1960s Part 11 'The Aurora 13' The Forgotten Prisoner & The Witch

"The Aurora 13" No. 12 The Witch
As Halloween draws closer we continue our look back at the monster model craze of the 1960s with what collectors refer to as 'The Aurora 13'. The Aurora classic monster models are probably the most important and influential monster products ever made.

The Witch (aka The Salem Witch)
Original Kit Issued: 1965 - 1966 as Catalog #430 
Re-Issued: 1969-1975, 2000

One of the last of the original line-up, and lacking any film or comic tie-in, the Witch kit nevertheless sold fairly well. The elaborate "dressing" of the "set", and the archetype of the main subject may be why. There is just so much going on in this kit. The knick-knacks and scattered arcana make for a painter's dream. The peak of popularity for monster figures had been reached in 1965 when The Bride of Frankenstein and The Witch hit toy store shelves. Both kits featured intricate dioramas with more tiny accessories such as bats and bottles etc. than their more modest predecessors had. Unfortunately, the molds for The Bride were scrapped due to damage in 1966, which led to the lack of appaerance of that kit in the reissues of the monsters in the Frightening Lightning and Glow series three years later. 
The Witch Glow in the Dark

1970-75 Reissue of #468
Plastic: dark brown/ light green / luminous
Square box format
Box art: Harry Scheme

"The Aurora 13" No. 13 The Forgotten Prisoner of Castel-Maré'

Original Kit Issued: 1966 - 68 as Catalog #422
Re-Issued: 1969-1972, 1992, 1994, 2001

Since the sales had been declining for the monster models, the last kit to be issued as a Long Box item was the 1966 Forgotten Prisoner of Castel Maré, which wasn´t actually based upon a classic movie character. The model had been developed and copyrighted by the staff of the Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine. A magazine with which the Aurora company had been cooperating during the monster craze in the mid-Sixties when the monster boxes included coupons for free sample issues of the magazine. 

The magazine also sponsored a contest where kitbuilders were to customize the Aurora monster kits. The results published in #32 of FMoF magazine revealed that most builders had created elaborate dioramas with plenty of accessories. A fact that Aurora had in mind when they created The Witch and The Bride. Despite this, no more monsters were to be developed until 1971 when the controversial Monster Scenes series was issued.

Forgotten Prisoner of Castel Maré Frighting Lighting Strikes Version
Issued 1969 only as  #461

Forgotten Prisoner of Castel Maré Glow in the Dark
1970-75 Reissue of #461/481
Plastic: Brown & luminous
Square box format
Box art: Harry

Toys in the Attic: Aurora Monster Models of the 1960s

Web: "Collecting Aurora Monsters" Dennis L. Prince
Web: Professor Plastiks "Aurora Monster Kit History"
Print: Aurora Model Kits by Thomas Graham

September 23, 2015

Trench Runner Review: Justin Skrakowski checks in with a look at AK's new Tanker Magazine

View AKI-4810 Product Page

Editor in Chief – Kristof Pulinckx
Produced & Distributed by – AK Interactive
You know that most famous of scenes in Roman Polanski’s Chinatown where Faye Dunaway admits her incestuous relationship with her father to Jack Nicholson and Jack tries to knock her back into making sense during her babbling? “She’s my daughter!” SMACK “She’s my sister!” SMACK “Daughter!” SMACK “Sister!” SMACK… well that’s what I was like when I got the first issue of TANKER yesterday. “It’s a book!” SMACK “It’s a magazine!” SMACK “Book!” SMACK “Magazine” SMACK (my fiancée had the dubious task of slapping me back to sense), but nonetheless, “This,” I thought, “Now this is how to put out a magazine for modelers!” You bind it the same way that most of the new modeling books are bound, but sell it cheap, and put issues out just as often as magazines! To put a magazine in such a great format is nothing shy of brilliant forward-thinking on the part of AK Interactive and Editor-in-Chief Kristof Pulinckx.

I mean, as modelers, and as I’ve said before, I think that about 75% of our obsession is as collectors. We love our built models, and we love our models that are waiting to be built. We love our paints that we’ve accumulated, and our favorite tools. And one of the things that we love and pride most (at least, I certainly do) is our reference libraries that we’ve amassed over the years. But there’s just something so unattractive about having your regular, run-of-the-mill, folded & stapled magazines on the same shelves as say, a gorgeous, hardbound, 14 x 10 inch encyclopedia of WWII German armor: it is just not aesthetically pleasing.

But honestly, when I was first seeing TANKER in the new releases sections of my favorite modeling sites, my initial thoughts were, “Really?! Another whole magazine on rust?” This didn’t mean that I still didn’t have to have it, but it did seem that the market was getting pretty oversaturated with the same types of magazines over and over, and this once again by AK Interactive, whom already have plenty of “rust” themed books/magazines under their belt, seemed gratuitous at best…

But there I was up until 4 in the a.m., reading this magazine from cover to cover in one sitting, and even re-reading many articles many times. I can’t decide whether it is an entirely new approach to theme magazines or if maybe it’s the fact that now that this “New School” of modelers has gained SO much traction in our world, that they don’t have as much explaining to do of “why” they are doing what they are doing (as with any new branch of any hobby/art when they are first coming out with new techniques that are turning old ideas on their heads), which has left them free to just emphasize (and mainly enjoy) what they are doing and have created, rather than having to constantly be on the defensive about their reasons for doing these ground-breaking things.

And I think that’s what grabbed me instantly right from the masthead, was that there was no longer this sort of apologetic/defensive tone for what they have been doing to the modeling world, and instead this great liberty to just say, “This is how you have fun with these great new ideas that we have been perfecting (and standing up for) for the past decade or so”… and it’s incredibly refreshing.

And if you are a fan of, say, Weathering Magazine, then TANKER is just really going to knock your socks off. Instead of adding to the seeming glut of magazines all about the same topics; this magazine is all of those ideas and themes, along with the great format, and wonderful page layouts, along with killer pictures and easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions, that have honed the model-theme magazine construct to an edge sharp enough to cut down any competitors.

Click to enlarge
Another thing they’ve done that I have yet to see, is that in some articles they’ve added these really great graphics with information bubbles tied to very specific areas of each build highlighted in the book. For example, one of the greatest builds in the book is the one you can see on the cover of the rusted out van with the broken glass in anarticle entitled “Cargo Van: XTREME OXIDATION,” and in the final part of this article they have great resolution pics of the build from many angles, with circles around, say, the window, or a particular deep rust dent, and then the corresponding line and text shows how to do this one piece of the build, so that you don’t necessarily have to follow the step-by-step guide if you just want to get to the one part of the build you are looking to replicate. It’s a great way for those who are already more advanced in their modeling practice to not have to wade through all of the information presented if all they are looking for is the how-to of just one part of the whole article… a very cool way to give both novices (like me) and professionals alike a reason to pick up this magazine.

Hell! There’s even a “Rust Reference” section near the back of the magazine, that gives great pictures of different kinds of rust in different kinds of environments. OH! And I also forgot to mention that every article is based on a certain type of rust, and within these intros they go into why this type of rust occurs from these types of environments/reactions, even down to the chemical level. Maybe this seems like overkill just hearing about it, but trust me, knowing why the effect you are wanting to create is the way it is, can only add to you being able to make more realistic effects with your models, and to make more informed decisions of why you are using the techniques you will ultimately be using.

Click to enlarge
My one and only complaint, just as with my last review of MIG’s Encyclopedia of Aircraft Modelling Techniques 2: Interiors and Assembly, is that they really need someone to go over the damn English in the book! Now, I am not near a grammar-Nazi, I don’t even know what a subjects and predicates are (thanks Texas public schools!), but some of the instructions can be hard to follow because they are missing words, or they are obviously translated by Google Translate, which is a far better way to come up with some formless poetry (if that’s your thing *>:P phbbbbt), but it’s not really helpful in making a clear and easy to follow working methodology. But other than this (and this honestly doesn’t happen near as much in this AK Interactive production as in some others), but it can still be quite distracting…

But overall, an absolutely stunning magazine that shows that this is not just another piece of scrap to be employed as tinder to get your coals going for your next barbecue. This is a magazine that—as the format of it being bound like a book suggests–belongs on your shelves right next to your most prized reference materials. A truly new experience in model magazine publishing, and if you have any interest in these subjects whatsoever I’ll go as far to say that TANKER is a must-have for any self-proclaimed Tanker! I eagerly await future volumes… Awesome!

September 22, 2015

And we are back......

And we are back......
Of course nothing in tech goes easy and a 24 hour move to a faster, more secure server took 4 days. But it's done and we now have a state of the art secure site! Find us at and Thank You for your patience...

September 20, 2015

We are on the move!

We are in the process of moving our website to a new faster and more secure server and will be off line during this move. The links on this Blog pointing towards products on our site will not work until we are back on line. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Please call us at the shop anytime if you need help: 1-888-642-4862

September 17, 2015

MTSC's Caption This Image #100 Winner

Caption This Image #100 Winner
It's Thursday so...We have a winner for last weeks' image. Roger Morris is this weeks winner of the most coveted prize in the Image Captioning sport which in honor of our 100th Caption gets a whopping $100 Gift Card from Michigan Toy Soldier. 

September 14, 2015

Trench Runner Review: Encyclopedia of Aircraft Modelling Techniques 2: Interiors and Assembly

Ammo of MIG Encyclopedia of Aircraft Modelling Techniques 2: Interiors and Assembly by Diego Quijano
Review by Justin Skrakowski

I know there are people out there who can take their skills learned from armor modeling and apply it right over to building model aircraft… I am not one of those people.
Not at all.

I sort of see building aircraft as a highly detailed version of modeling the main armament barrel on a tank, at least when you are dealing with the kits that come with the barrel in two halves instead of one single aluminum barrel that most kits are either coming with these days, or most modelers buy as their first aftermarket accessory for whatever tank they are making. And to me, nothing is harder than getting that damn fuselage to come together, same reason I’ve bought plenty of aluminum tank barrels before I’ve even gotten my hands on the next tank kit I want to build.
And that’s just the beginning of my woes with aircraft modeling—and before we get any further, let me just state that I am in no way disparaging model aircraft. In fact, I think it is way more difficult than building any tank model I’ve ever gotten my hands on.

And that’s how MIG AMMO’s new Encyclopedia of Aircraft Modelling Techniques has come into my life. After my third Me-262 that I’ve ripped apart mid-build I decided to start at the very, very beginning. And I know that one can own the best tools, have the best education of any subject in the world, the most expensive aftermarket accessories, etc., but when it comes time to start putting the model together, all that other stuff can go right out the window (along with the shoddily put-together models themselves in my case) if you don’t know how to apply the use of any of those above mentioned resources. So, just the mere fact of reading some of the best books on the subject does not a great modeler make… but it sure can’t hurt now can it? And that’s what I like about this series of books is that for each subject undertaken, they take you to the very beginning. I like to use this familial anecdote when discussing things of this nature: So for years people had been trying to show my Dad how to use a computer. Not in the most earnest of ways, but in that way where we would sort of click the mouse around on different things, then get real frustrated that he wasn’t getting it, then everyone involved would walk to opposite ends of the house so we wouldn’t choke each other. Now, the problem did not lay with my Dad being impatient, it really started with us starting from too far a point down the computer road for him to be able to even get what was going on with the thing. This was until I saw some video or read somewhere about how difficult it was for people of the generations before mine (I’m 33, so whatever generation I’m considered to be in, the generations of people just older than me and then my Dad’s age and older) to understand computers given that they’d never worked with any machines that stayed on for the most part of their (the machine’s) lives. Think about it, up until about 15 years ago, there was no such thing as ON/STANDBY for machines, it was always an easily delineated ON & OFF. So the article or show (or whatever it was) that taught me how to teach older people about computers said to start with showing them how to turn the thing on, and then by telling them that under most normal operating conditions, you never touch that button again, especially to turn it off!

And this is where this encyclopedic set starts in similar terms for models: Removing parts from the sprue (this is actually in the first volume of this book series dealing with cockpits, but nonetheless, if I see something that actually starts from the beginning-beginning of something, then I feel like the authors have proven to me that they are not just pedantic authors about to write some overly technical treatise that will ultimately end up being useless and nothing more than a difficult read wherein I would have rather spent my time at least practicing my modeling skills on a real model, rather than just reading about it in something that I can hardly understand anyway.

And, maybe to go back a few steps, let me also say that I am a huge sucker for “How-to” books, especially when it comes to models, and especially when they are fun to read. And already having read a number of MIG/AMMO books on many different subjects at this point, I was ready to dive into this set of encyclopedias as soon as I heard of its upcoming release, given that the MIG/AMMO “How-to” books that I have already purchased have been invaluable to my growth as a modeler up to this point, and if they can help me not want to Hulk-Smash my next outing with aircraft models, then the quicker I can get my hands on each volume the better!

Now, the only things I have problems with when it comes to these MIG/AMMO books is that they are obviously not originally written in English, and a lot of times the text seems to have been clumsily typed into Google Translate, and then not gone over by a single native English speaking person before going to press, and this to me is just lazy and even somewhat disrespectful to the customer. I mean, a lot of books on model-building are full of typos, spelling/grammatical errors, and just plain crappy writing a lot of times, but sometimes in these MIG/AMMO books I have to actually read some of the lines with a Spanish accent in my head, trying to imitate the way I think someone from Spain would try to say these lines as they are written, simply for me to be able to understand the point they are trying to get across. Amazingly, it works, even if in my head it sounds like, “De pirst athing to athink ov wheng assanding jour mottel ees to”—you get the idea. But for the price they are asking for each volume of this series, I shouldn’t have to make my head sound like Ricky Ricardo half the time just to understand what they’re trying to get at. Luckily, the pictures and information are so tremendously helpful that it actually (somehow) manages to overcome this annoyance.

And, maybe the greatest reason to purchase this book in particular (Volume 2), is that it is the single greatest book I have ever read on the subject of scratch-building, hands down. In fact, I think the subtitle of Volume 2 should be “An Introduction to Scratch-Building” instead of “Interiors and Assembly.” And I’ve looked for books specifically about scratch-building before and have come up short every time, so to find such an in-depth and easy-to-follow guide to scratch-building hiding out in this one book was seriously like getting two books for the price of one to me.

So even if you feel that you don’t need the whole set of five volumes in this encyclopedia series, each one (as of reading the first two) are amazing stand-alone volumes, on top of the fact that Volume 2 doubles as an indispensible reference for “Interiors and Assembly” as the cover says, but I’ve also learned more about beginning scratch-building from this one book than I have combing the internet day after day, and that is quite a feat for one book to outdo the internet!
All the best,

September 10, 2015

MTSC's Caption This Image #100

This is our 100th "Caption This Image" 
In order to mark this game changing milestone the winner of our 100th Caption will win a $100.00 gift card from Michigan Toy Soldier Company. 

Just think... you get free stuff and you get show off your comedic charms that will fly around the world via our social media. We will post the winning entry right here next Thursday. Post your entry here or email your entries to:

September 08, 2015

Another Somewhat Daily Dose of Useless Tidbits for September 8, 2015

Found on Facebook
Nice collection of Napoleonic dioramas mostly made from commercially available pre-painted figures. Artmabigo Guy

The Art of the of the Toy Soldier #94
Conte Collectibles GIs

Good Viewing
Ken Burns' 'Civil War' returns to PBS... 
Restored HD version started last night.
The best ever is even better now! A must watch!

Just around the corner....

Followed by...

September 03, 2015

Labor Day 10 + 10= 20% off Sale Starts TODAY!

ENDS Monday September 7, 2015 @ Midnight
Here's What You Do to Get 20% off Your Order* 
- First Login (or register) and get your everyday 10% Preferred Customer Discount 
- Next enter the promo code 20150903 in the box: 'If you have a Promotion Code enter it here' when you check out for another 10% off. 
- That is 10% plus 10% = 20% off your order 
Don't want to register? The Promo Code will still get you 10% off.
Complete Details Here:

MTSC's Caption This Image #99 Winner

Caption This Image #99 Winner
How to Impress Girls 101!
It's Thursday so...We have a winner for last weeks image. Jefferson Rigby who entered via email is this weeks winner of the most coveted prize in the Image Captioning sport which of course is a $25.00 Gift Card from Michigan Toy Soldier. Thanks to Jefferson and everyone who entered. 

September 02, 2015

Another Somewhat Daily Dose of Useless Tidbits for September 2, 2015

I know it's right here somewhere on my bench!

Links, Web Gems & Other Digital Delights
Like historical wargaming? Enjoy painting tiny armies? Check out the You Tube channel sponsored by Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy magazine. A young lady named Christy has a significant number of excellent How to videos on painting small scale WWII, Napoleonic, Romans and a lot more.   Lot's of great tips! HERE

For more on Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy magazine visit

Links, Web Gems & Other Digital Delights

Here's one from the "You can find anything on the internet department! A blog post on...

from the same blog "Mary Evans" is a post on WWI toys.  Lot's of other interesting and weird posts about WWI.

Is Now Available for Download

from the publisher..
Issue 28- I must say we have a stonking issue for you this month (that’s a good thing for our non-UK readers J). We have four brilliant tutorials from the likes of Thor Studio, Justin McCoy and a massive one from Fernando Ruiz.

We also take a close look at miniatures from Demented Games, Savage Forged Mini’s and Aradia as well as Deluxe Materials Create & Shape. Event reports for this years Iron Painter online painting comp and that geek mecca, Gen Con 2015. But, to kick us off we have a chat with the world famous Danilo Cartacci who is the focus of the Insight Interview.

STILL THE BEST DEAL ON THE WEB! FPM is available as a downloaded PDF for less then $2.00 a copy.  FPM is a independent magazine dedicated to sculpting, painting, displaying, collecting and gaming with miniature figures from all genre's. The magazine has details on new releases, reviews, interviews with the industries t