I don’t know how most modelers get started in this hobby, so I don’t have anything to compare to. I would imagine, that like me, that some got their start with a bit of influence from their father. My pop liked to build models when he was younger and by the time I came along, he was building and flying cable controlled airplanes.
The first model pop bought for me was an Aurora Robin. I even remember where we got it… Hillcrest Drugs, a local “dime store,” as we used to call them.
So, pop was my first influence.
Later on, I built various different models including space related stuff, like the Apollo Lunar Module (this was the late ’60s when the space program was really hopping,) assorted military aircraft, cars, and even motorcycles. But what really got me going and was the turning point for an lifetime interest (off and on, mind you,) was this item right here:
In ’76 a friend of mine introduced me to Monogram Armor. He had one of the Monogram Models Tips On How To Build Dioramas that Shepard Paine did. The one he had was the M4 Hedgehog. He let me have the tip sheet and I literally wore that thing out reading it over and over, while eyeballing the photos. That clinched it for me.
During a trip to the local Sprouse Reitz store, I discovered that they carried Monogram models, including the Screamin’ Mimi. My mom got the kit for me and I never looked back. This kit was the one that solidified my interest in armor, and for quite a few years, that is all I built. As a matter of fact, I have just recently ventured back into military aircraft. A couple of years ago, I was telling my son about the above kit and how much I enjoyed building it. A week or two later, a package arrived. It was this kit. A reissue from the late ’90s I think. He looked it up on Ebay and ordered it for me.
When I cracked the box, a wave of nostalgia hit me. Surprisingly, this old mold was still pretty decent, and I built it straight from the box. It now sits in a place of prominence on my shelf, and graces the header of this very blog.
Now that I think about it, it is kind of cool that things have come full circle. The kit that got me hooked in ’76, is the same kit that got me re-hooked now.