Sunday, March 9, 2014
The Busts and Model Kits of B-Movie Creature Features (Part 1 of 3): Big Bugs and Mad Science
Throughout the decades, horror and sci-fi fans have shown their appreciation of their favorite titles and franchises in a number of ways: customized action figures, cosplay, fan fiction, fan clubs, and so on. This three-part series of posts will focus on one particular form of fan devotion: fan-made busts and garage kits.
According to Wikipedia, "A garage kit or resin kit is an assembly scale model kit most commonly cast in polyurethane resin. ... Originally garage kits were amateur-produced and the term originated with dedicated hobbyists using their garages as workshops. Unable to find model kits of subjects they wanted on the market, they began producing kits of their own. As the market expanded, professional companies began making similar kits. Sometimes a distinction is made between true garage kits, made by amateurs, and resin kits, manufactured professionally by companies. ... Because of the labor-intensive casting process, garage kits are usually produced in limited numbers and are more expensive than injection-molded plastic kits. The parts are glued together using cyanoacrylate (Super Glue) or an epoxy cement and the completed figure is painted. Some figures are sold completed, but most commonly they are sold in parts for the buyer to assemble and finish."
What particularly fascinates me about the creature feature busts and garage kits (aside from my usual obsession with finely detailed miniatures) is how they range from monsters that have appeared in well-known movies to monsters that are very obscure. Classic Universal Studios monsters have been immortalized in various action figure lines and Aurora model kits, while monster franchises from later decades have ensured their longevity through merchandising licenses with companies such as Sideshow Collectibles and NECA. But when if comes to monster from a lesser known films--say, low-budget Atomic Age drive-in fare--fan-made busts and garage kits are one way that these obscure oddities keep themselves known in horror and sci-fi circles.
I've searched the Internet for pictures of the busts and kits for inclusion in this post series. Some of these bust and kits are fan-made while others have been made and produced by collectible companies; most of them display the name of the creature feature (often in the same font and coloring that was used in the feature's poster) to identify where the monster originated. Click below to see examples that represent two subgenres within creature features, Big Bugs and Mad Science.