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As It Used To Be

Modeling as it Used to Be...
Photos by Mike Barlow and Mark S. Gustavson

You know, we surely have a wide range of great model building supplies and products these days. From instant adhesives, to polyester putties, to catalyzed paint sealers, to photo etched and machined parts, we've got it easy now. Maybe too easy.

But what of the time 40 years ago when our hobby was being born? Old magazines show us the remarkable work of those earlier modeling pioneers as they blazed a trail and set trends that still reverberate today. But what was it like to BUILD models then?

Well, at the Museum, we can come reasonably close to finding out. Because we have a wide array of original paints, putties, supplies and vintage kits, we can go back in time – sort of – and try to recreate the experience of our pioneering fore bearers. Thanks to the generosity of dozens of donors, including Dick Groenheide and Don Emmons who have both donated a considerable collection of AMT spray lacquers, we have a good selection of hobby paints, Revell tube glue, Pactra putty, vintage flocking and spare parts.

About five years ago, I acquired a full set of the old AMT 1961 Styline customizing kits (Valiant, Ranchero, '61 Ford, Corvair, Thunderbird), and donated them to the Museum. With Mike Barlow ready with the camera, I decided to build the first of these models using only supplies and materials available to any hobbyist in 1961. It was a daunting task since I remember my awful experiences building really crude models in the early Sixties. Still, the challenge was intriguing, so I culled through the Museum supplies and pulled out a can of AMT metallic green (#PM-3) and spray primer (#PS-6), a tube of semi-soft Pactra putty, a tube of Revell glue, and some modern sandpaper (we had no vintage paper and using contemporary sandpaper didn't seem to violate the spirit of this effort too much).  Bare Metal foil was used because Bob Paeth proved to me that an aftermarket adhesive foil product ("E-Z Trim") was available in the Sixties from Model Accessories Co., PO Box 42074, Portland, Oregon. 

Unfortunately, many of the photos of the construction process were misplaced when we moved the Museum last summer, but enough survive to give you a flavor of what this experience was like. Ranchero photos.

The newest project is the Styline Valiant, we'll keep a much better record. Check out the following photos.


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