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Classic Kits: Collecting the Greatest Model Kits in the World, from Airfix to Tamiya Hardcover – October 1, 2004
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Top Customer Reviews
Ward loves Airfix. It showed in his solo work on that firm's kits, he was on task. The personal stories and anecdotes were on-topic, and the work was coherent.
This book is...frankly....a huge mess. It's nearly impossible for me to see how it was published. First, unless you're a huge fan of Frog, or Airfix 1/72 airplane kits there's nothing here for you. Most of the companies (regardless of size, importance, or the number of kits they produced) get only a couple of pages. Frog and Airfix are the lion's share of pages here, and most of it was done first and better in Ward's book on Airfix. Also, even though Ward's "airplanes only" bias is kept somewhat in check in the Airfix book, it's rampant here. Builders of armor, autos, and ships have some pictures to look at but nothing in the way of text that is worth your time. Plus, I don't feel that I needed to pay good money to hear which companies his (non-modeler) friends and neighbors remembered. The side stories here are painful.
To be fair Aurora, Tamiya, and Revell get decent coverage...problem being they get more and better coverage in single-company books by other authors. To me, the reason to get a book like this isn't to read about the kit companies you can still find represented in the local hobby shop, but to see and remember (or discover) the lost past of the hobby.
Slim pickings here. Go buy some more kits instead, or back issues of vintage hobby magazines. There's no meat in this sandwich....
Mr. Ward lays down the purpose of this book himself in the book's Introduction: "...the focus of the narrative is a survey of the most famous and enduring kit brands.", and not the kits themselves. Chapter 1 deals with the History and Development of model miniatures through the ages, the rise of plastic model kits after WWII, and how many companies evolved into manufacturing plastic model kits.
Chapter 2 is the bulk of the book and reviews the Classic Brands of plastic model kits from their beginnings to their ultimate demise, either through acquisition by other firms or outright dissolution. For those companies still in existence he offers opinions on why they have remained in business and optimistism for their future success. Chapter 3 deals with kit Genres (military, figures, aircraft, ships, cars, etc.) and the reason many modelers choose one genre over another.
Chapter 4 is devoted to Kit Collecting, or why modelers often become kit collectors by default because they buy more kits than they will ever be able to build. One collector he interviewed for the book has over 12,000 unbuilt kits in his collection! Chapter 5, The Future, offers a very short discussion of the future of plastic scale modeling.Read more ›