The first models offered by Aurora were their “Famous Fighters” aircraft kits. However, Aurora’s “figure kits” proved to be their biggest sellers. After releasing the series, “Knights in Armor”, among other historical figures, Aurora acquired a license from Universal Studios to create a series of kits based on Universal monsters. This was a wise business move as the Universal monsters became Aurora’s most popular offerings.
In 1961, Aurora issued the Frankenstein kit. Twelve other monster figures followed. The company used their rights to issue and reissue these figure models in different versions through the early 1970s. Aurora also acquired licenses for other figures based on characters from movies, TV shows and comic books.
Creepy Magazine from 1967 advertises the first in a series of NEW FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND Hobby Kits. Of course, the ad touts Aurora as the greatest name in all-plastic assembly kits.
The first in the series according to the Creepy Magazine ad is The Forgotten Prisoner of Castlemare. The Prisoner is 8 3/8″ high and 4 1/2″ wide. “He may never make the best-dressed list, but what a kit!” This guy could be had through mail order for a measly 98 cents! Plus 27 cents postage and handling, of course.
Also available in 1967 was The Witch. The ad says, “And which kid isn’t awed by The Witch kit? Go to work and assemble a witch’s brew. This kit includes everything you need for some good, gruesome fun! Once you’re the boss of this witch, you’ll be the envy of all your friends.” All this for a buck forty-nine.
Also available was Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. “Watch the transformation take place before your very eyes! Why not? You do it all with the eerie, jeery monster kit…your hands make Jekyll play Hyde-and-go-seek” for a dollar forty-nine.
And The Bride of Frankenstein proves that “not all ladies are monsters except the scary new Bride of Frankenstein, all decked out, in this Monster Kit, in her terrible trousseau. Regular cut-up (on the lab table). Have fun for $1.49.”
One classic kit advertised in 1967’s Creepy was The Hunchback of Notre Dame. “As you start to build this greatest of all Monster characters, you will see not only the physical ugliness, but the beautiful soul that made Lon Chaney’s performance a great classic. Quasimodo, the horrible, is on the block in the town square. A vicious rope hangs around his neck. His hands are in chains, his throat is parched with thirst. He looks up in ghastly fear of his tormentors.” This kit’s only 98 cents, plus another quarter for postage and handling.
Another 98 cents would get you the Wolf Man monster kit. “In all his gory splendor, arms upraised, ready to clutch his next victim. Complete in every detail, this kit when you assemble it…before you run out of the room, is a detailed scale model of ‘Wolf Man’ surrounded by his favorite playmates.
In 2007, the family of Joseph Giammarino announced that Aurora Plastics Corporation would again manufacture hobby kits. They stated they would begin with aircraft and figure kits from their original 1960s line. We’re still anxiously waiting…
Monsters of The Movies Series
Monsters Series 1
Forgotten Prisoner- GITD
Jekyll and Hyde