THE BASEMENT BOOK SHELF: “Movie Monsters in Scale: A Modeler’s Gallery of Science Fiction and Horror Figures and Dioramas

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Growing up, I loved monsters and always thought that the various plastic model kits offered by Aurora, Monogram and Revell were very cool. Though I did have some of these growing up, and had an absolute blast building them, I just never was able to paint them. My finishing skills on these kits were severely lacking and I found myself very jealous of the results some of my friends were getting with the very same kits.

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Not being able to complete a kit with a killer paint job didn’t stop me though. During the 90’s I had a friend in California who would build and paint kits for me just for the experience of putting the finished piece in his portfolio. All I had to pay for was the kit itself. In the end though I found these kits to be dust collectors and displaying them was difficult. Dusting was difficult because of how fragile some of the kits were. To display them properly I would have needed a glass-enclosed display case and since I didn’t have one, and regular dusting was a pain, I decided that collecting these model kits was just not for me. It didn’t mean though that I didn’t think they were pretty amazing to look at.

 

Over the years I have gone to many comic book and monster conventions and one thing that I have always gravitated to were the built up model kits vendors were offering for sale. Not because I wanted to buy them but because I thoroughly enjoyed looking at people’s creativity, especially when it came to adding bases and dioramas. This artwork has always fascinated me. Now if I could just have a book that illustrated these great kits so that I could admire them whenever I wanted. Oh wait…

Upon receiving this book, I wasn’t fully sure as to what to expect. I was assuming that this was a photo book of various model collections by various people. In the end though, the book was about the author’s collection AND many ways on how he built the kits shown. This book ended up being much more than expected and that is a very good thing.

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Since I was never really a modeler myself, I found reading about Mark Glassy’s techniques to be not only informative, but fun. I like that he often had to figure things out on his own and he came up with some great solutions to any issues that would arise. Though I full anticipated a coffee table picture book I enjoyed reading about the processes as much as I enjoyed looking at the pictures of his finished kits.

The book is divided into two main sections. The first covers the modeling process and Glassy goes into detail of not only the materials he uses but the methods he uses to achieve the amazing results he has gotten. I like that he states that the products he uses are tried and true for himself and may not be the preferred products of everyone out there. When he started modeling there were no books out there on how to build and paint them for the best results so his methods are based solely on trial and error.

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From there he goes into the models themselves, broken down by the decade for which the model is based. These sections are then divided by movie and in most cases, multiple models are shown representing the same character from said film. For each kit he lists the sculptor and manufacturer. He then talks about the kit and the scene it is based on. Most individual kits are also shown from different angles which is a huge plus.

Though the majority of the pictures are in black and white, keep in mind that many of these kits are based on movie monsters from black and white films. My favorite section is definitely of the color photographs but I do realize that to do this book in full color would’ve been cost-prohibitive.

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Like most releases by McFarland (check out website HERE), this is a quality book that you will find yourself looking at again and again. This book came out in 2012 and runs 268 pages, most of which are chock full of photographs. This book is highly recommended, whether you are a model maker or just a fan of the monsters these kits represent. It is fun and very informative and one that I am very happy to have in my book collection.

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~David Albaugh

 

 

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