Monday, October 3, 2011

28 Days 'til Halloween: Lawn Prop Homage to the Aurora Frankenstein Model Kit

As a kid in the 70's I grew up building all the classic Aurora Monster kits, not to mention their snap together Prehistoric Scene models too.

I have a very clear memory from the day I finished making the Frankenstein model. That night I placed it on my bedside table and drifted off to sleep thinking how cool he looked silhouetted by the hallway light.

This weekend, I made a life sized version of that kit's gravestone base for the Halloween display. It's fun to incorporate it, not just as a fond memory, but because the Frankenstein Monster has become the main character greeting Trick or Treaters on our front porch every year.

It was actually easier to make than I thought it would be. Thankfully, although the kit itself is a very old one, it's never really been discontinued. Revell now sells it and I bought one to use a reference (and yeah, maybe recapture some of my youth making it again one of these October evenings).

First thing I did, after feeling nostalgic just seeing all the pieces, was to scan the gravestone parts. I scaled the images up to the size I wanted the prop to be (30" wide) in Photoshop. This gave me an instant blueprint with measurements to build from.

I decided to make it out of foamcore board because I had some and like working with. I needed a template for the name. I created one with a similar font seen on the grave. I printed it out and spray glued in place on board. Then cut out the letters.

Next I made the whole gravestone. I added the cracks and damage seen in the model last. The larger chunks removed were refilled with expanding foam and carved away once dry to look like broken stone.

From there I coated with patching plaster and painted. There are a few imperfections in the craftsmanship I still have to fix, like some seams and plaster blobs (I found myself excited to see it finished and rushed things a bit here or there). But overall I'm pretty happy with it and look forward to putting in the display. If I get time, I'm also hoping to make the two small pillar pieces seen in the model.

Here's a pic of the finished prop with the original tiny model kit tombstone.

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