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The First Time

How many remember their first time? No, not that first time, but the first time you sat down with a model kit. Well here is my first time. I was about the age of my avatar when my mother purchased this Aurora kit for me.

It was the late 1950s in Valdosta Georgia, when mom stayed at home to help me build this model at the kitchen table while my father flew practice radar intercepts in F-89s out of Moody AFB. I remember the thrilling excitement and sheer delight over the inviting prospect those dark green parts held for me and the amazing detail of the engine and figures.

I remember the neat, small patch of turf that had those strange looking protuberances that later turned out to be wheel chocks. I remember marveling at the then large figure hand-propping the plane, something I would do many times over later in life. That figure can be seen in the lower right hand corner of the box.

I remember the glue all over my hands and my mother's patience with my frustration over not being able to assemble the parts to my satisfaction.

I still have problems assembling the parts to my satisfaction. But today I look at my Wing Nut Wings Albatros kit and cannot help but marvel how far we have come, me and the model industry.

I found this beautiful, pristine example of the old Aurora kit on eBay.

Since everyone was watching the Superbowl the day and hour of the auction, I got the kit for the very reasonable opening bid. I found the shadow box frame for seven dollars that was perfect for the display. There is a sheet of clear plastic glued over the parts that keeps them in place.

Now the kit hangs on the wall next to my avatar, reminders of how it began so long ago.

As the old cigarette commercial used to say, "You've come a long way baby."

2 additional images. Click to enlarge.

31 responses

  1. I don't remember the first kit I got, but I do remember getting a 1/32 Revell P-51B in Don Gentile's markings for Christmas when I was about 9 or 10 years old. It amazed me that there was a full engine and cockpit. It probably took me half a day to build and I have no idea how many missions I flew in it.

    Great post, G. Lots of good memories.

  2. What a neat way to display the memory of your first kit. I'm takin' a chance here trying to recall MY first kit (I say that because I've been known to forget why I walked into the next room - much less what my first kit was) any rate, I think it was the Monogram open-wheel Offenhauser "Midget" racer - the red one. At least that's the oldest one that I can actually remember. Testor's tube glue/no paint and probably a mess - I might have been around 13-14 at the time. AND...I can STILL mess 'em up with the best of 'em.

    As for that other "first time", I remember who, but not much else - and I probably messed that up, too. 🙁

  3. What a great remembrance. A Hawk Gee Bee might be the first for me.

  4. I remember building the exact same Albatros kit... I was about 8 years old at the time. I had most of the Aurora kits back then.

    Here's my first...

    I tried to glue it together using "Ambroid" glue for balsa wood models. It didn't work... 🙂
    My Dad took me back to the hobby store and we bought the right glue. Then I was scraping off the old dried on Ambroid glue and putting it back together.

    No painting and I twisted the parts off the plastic trees. I got glue all over the canopy.

    I have been in love with the P-40 every since then...

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

    • This was also the first or second kit my dad and I put together back in 1980 when I was five. (We had gotten this issue and a 1/72 Monogram F-14 at EAA and I don't really remember which we built first but those were my first models! He also built a Monogram F-8 Crusader with my brother.) I did love the artwork on the P-40 box and I still have the top in a sleeve in a scrapbook but to a five year old the best part was the retracting gear and opening canopy. Revell did a pretty good job of making it work and not have it look too toy like. Having the covers come off the engine was cool too!

      • I ended up building another one just before I joined the Army. It survived and I still have it today, still wearing Flying Tiger markings and all. It could stand a restoration though. Part of me wants to leave it be as it is. Partially because about 15 years ago I ended up purchasing another one ! It's a much later release and has different markings. It's still sitting in the box... now I'm waiting for Chuck to start up his new Group Build next year. I'll build it then as part of the "first time" GB.

        What an excellent idea Chuck ! I still say go for it ...

    • THAT P-40 was not the first, me and my brother were putting together Aurora's and Lindberg's for years already. BUT it was the first realistic model I ever did. I distinctly remember the evening, at the old Great Eastern store (anybody in the east remember them?) spying this on the shelf. One of the all time great box arts, maybe the best. So it was up against 1944 vintage Bettys, who cared? All I read about or cared about was that WW2 and I pictured AVG Hawks tearing into the enemy over Rangoon. I had to have it, I know it was way out of my newspaper route money range to I resorted to begging my dear old Dad for it. Bless his heart, he got it for me. First model I ever painted right (brush of course) decaled right, and even weathered. Had it for many years and treasured it, until that same beloved Dad of mine gave it to my 3 year old to play with. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. I have since bought another one, just to look at the box art and paw through the parts once in a while and remember...

  5. My first kit I do remember, like Louis I was 8 years old also, my dad got this for my eighth birthday: The Monkee Mobile by MPC in 1/25th scale, George Barris's custom GTO used in the show by the band in the mid 60's. Enjoyed the show, built the kit, but did it my way and forgot that you build the engine first not the car. Lol, oh well...You know not this year but. I do have an idea for a GB in 2019. Your first kit GB, the idea is to build once again your very first kit the 2nd time around. If you can remember and even find it...just a thought.

    1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

    • Chuck I think you are on to something here with this idea. I think it would fly ... I think after the current group builds are completed, then it is something that would really take off.
      If you decided to make it happen you could count me in. I have a newer release version of the Revell 1/32 P-40 that I would build as a part of the Group.

      • I remember watching the show too. Along with the "Banana Splits" and HR Puffinstuff. Last year I got to see a George Barris car in person. It was the Batmobile. Looked really cool ! There were two of them there ... both were supposed to be the "original " one.

  6. Airfix Boulton Paul Defiant for me in a clear bag with the artwork/instruction sheet header ,built with my mum, we didn't know how the decals worked so I cut them out and stuck them on with glue !, I'd have been about 6 or 7 ,in fact that must be one of my earliest memories around 1971.One of my first posts here when I first discovered iModeller was a rebuild of the same kit with a very similar write up,spooky.
    Cheers, Neil.

  7. For me it was the same kit as Neil, Airfix Defiant in 1/72 scale, all black with the shark mouth. In fact it was that specific detail that made me ask mum for the kit. Must have been around late 70’s or early 80’s. Glued in the kitchen table it was a mess alright.

  8. I vividly remember my first kit, assembled by my dad at the kitchen table in 1958 (60 yrs ago wow!)
    BTW i am a young 38 in my avitar

    3 attached images. Click to enlarge.

    • Amazing! I do not remember seeing this kit. That is odd because this is one of my favorites, in fact I have two in my to-be-built collection. The only realistic details missing from this wonderful out-of-the-box build are glue smears and crooked decals.

  9. Nice jog down memory lane G. I had to be about 6 when a couple of local hardware stores started caring plastic kits. The first one I picked out, for whatever reason, was a J-3 Piper cub. Can't remember who the manufacturer was but it was molded in yellow plastic. Probably around 1954/55. Was disappointed that when I glued the wings on they a major droop to them. Consequently I flipped it on it's back to get them somewhat straight until the glue set. What fun times.

  10. I was 6 years old in 1957. My infant sister had a fever and the Dr. told Mom to go to the drug store to get a certain medicine. The nearest drug store was 8 Detroit city blocks away and Mom didn't drive so she put my sister in a stroller and off we walked. At that store my Mom bought me a little Comet kit of an F3D Skyknight. It was my first kit. Ten years later, after getting my drivers license, I talked Mom into letting me use the car to go to a new hobby shop I had heard about. Warbirds Hobby was in the exact location as that drug store.

    When I built my hobby room I set it up to look like a 1960's hobby shop.

    1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

    • Upstaged again! Very nice display to bring back so many memories. It works for me just looking at the photo.

      Memories are pretty much all that's left when the middle-aged start calling you "old." My mother died last year at 94 and my father turns 93 in a few months. That is what "old" means to me now as I continue peddling as fast as I can towards the end of the runway.

      I note Craig Breedlove's jet car on the display case. When I first saw it, the only thing I could think was why did he leave the wings off?

      I'm not sure if this is the Spirit of America or Fireball XL5 after Steve lost control departing Space City.

  11. There's my first (I think) kit, Daryl...bottom left!

  12. Lindberg Corvette, my big brother was home on leave from the Airforce for a few days. I promptly spilled a bottle of Testors flat black on the dining room table while trying to paint the tires. This was 1965.

    1 attached image. Click to enlarge.

  13. Hey, G. I remember my first time. Her name was Pam, in Edinburgh- 1980... she bought me a 1/24 airfix P51D.

  14. Around 1981, a helicopter, Westland Scout. Result... orrible...

  15. 'Westland Scout' - odd name for a girl. And in a helicopter...

  16. Wow, does this post take me back. I think mine was an M-60 Patton tank. I remember talking to my dad (while on a business trip) about which muzzle break to put on it.

    Never thought about spray paint back then, everything was brush painted. We’ve come a long way gang.

  17. I still have my first kit . Its also my oldest at forty three.

  18. Lee-Anne from Texas.

    OOPS! IF memory serves, my 1st model was a Cessna on floats, moulded in silver-gray plastic. It was Revell or Monogram. (Easy guess, right?) Airfix, Lindberg, and Aurora were about the only aircraft models available to me in the very late 50s/early 60s when I ATTEMPTED my 1st model. Of course, AMT had plenty of auto models around but I wasn't much interested in them until I got my driver's license learner-permit about 5 or 6 years later. I remember the Mustang that Dad built for me which started my love of all things pertaining to the P-51 - the still awesome "Phantom" P-51D with motor and bombs you could actually drop using the little levers on the red display stand! I don't know if my memory is right or faulty, but didn't the wheels retract & lower as well? Later, a silver plastic (non see-through) version, made from the same moulds was also available.

    Aaah ... sweet memories.

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