originally appeared at PCModeler.com
Scale vinyl model kit by
Design/Max Factory Custom Craft
Kit #VHO 50
Size: 1/35 scale; just
a hair above 8 inches tall
Out of production and
Kit Review by Alan Nadel
| Watch the original
1933 version of the movie King Kong and you'll see a film with special
effects that are laughable by today's standards. What sets this classic
apart from other "effects films" however, is a great story, some excellent
characters and an 18 inch tall stop motion puppet with acting skills exceeding
those of his human co-stars.
| I've been a
big fan of the movie since I first saw it on TV in the 1960s. Unfortunately,
there's never been a really good model kit of the big guy. The classic
Aurora kit is the first to come to mind, at left. Even in the best of recent
figure kits, Kong's appearance is so stylized that all resemblance to Marcel
Delgado's actual creation is lost.
Click on the above image
the full instruction booklet
| In the 1990s,
GEOmetric Design/Max Factory Custom Craft produced a licensed model kit
of the mighty ape. Thanks to the wonderful sculpting of Izume Takabe, GD/MFCC
has produced an excellent likeness of the Eighth Wonder of the World in
a model kit.
packaged kit comes in nineteen black vinyl parts, six of which are optional.
The instructions include an assembly diagram, building tips and a basic
painting guide all contained in a nice glossy "collector's booklet." The
booklet also has four pages of behind-the-scenes and rare photos and a
wealth of Kong trivia provided by none other than Bob
Burns (the Ninth Wonder of the World).
| Detail on the
kit is exceptional, especially the face which is a beautiful reproduction
of a roaring Kong. The kit itself is easy to work with and wonderfully
engineered. The hard vinyl softened nicely under hot tap water and excess
vinyl was easily removed with a hobby knife. Parts are numbered and clearly
marked "L" and "R". The warm parts popped together firmly and easily at
the joints which are all circular to allow rotation. These joints include
the neck, waist, hips, shoulders, elbows, wrists and ankles. What one winds
up with is an eight inch tall, fully articulated figure.
| The kit comes
with what the instructions call the "Fay Wray option." This includes a
manacled right hand and a figure of Ms. Wray as Ann Darrow dressed for
the New York scenes. The four piece figure, which measures three inches
when assembled is nicely executed. It consists of top and bottom body halves
separated at the knee and separate arms which attach at the shoulders.
Once again, detail is excellent including the face, gown and delicate little
| Puttying and
blending the seams is a challenge because of the kit's furry texture but
with a little patience and a pointy object, I was able to blend in the
seams at the joints. I used epoxy putty with a 4-hour cure time for maximum
workability. My sculpting tool would be a 3/8-inch wood dowel sharpened
to a point using a pencil sharpener. Extra putty was needed at the backs
of the hip joints to hide what looked like "panty lines." Ambitious modelers
may want to sculpt extra fur detail onto the backs of the hands and to
re-texture both upper arms (parts 4 and 5) which seem to be less sharply
detailed than the rest of the kit.
| Painting Kong
was simple enough. The instructions recommend "rabbit fur brown" as the
original Kong puppet was covered in brown rabbit fur. Since the movie was
in black and white, I decided to take liberty with the colors. I chose
to use a darker brown for the fur and flesh to try to capture the coloring
of a real gorilla.
A base coat
of 1:1 flat brown and flat black Tamiya acrylic was sprayed on with a Badger
250 mini spray gun. Lighter mixes of brown were then dry-brushed on over-all
and finally a mix of brown, white and yellow was dry-brushed on to add
highlights to the fur. Kong's face is large enough to make painting his
eyes and mouth easy.
| When finished,
I had spent about nine hours on Kong: one hour building, five hours filling
and texturing seams and three hours painting. The finished model looks
just like the real Kong, even down to the dramatic facial expression. The
kit is easy enough for modelers new to vinyl figure kits and because it's
poseable, it can be placed in any scene or setting.
Pros: Excellent likeness,
easy to build, poseable
Cons: Fay Wray figure
way out of scale, detail on forearms softer than rest of the kit
Worse than that: this
kit was discontinued long ago!
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