to my favorite websites
I have found that in plastic modeling, no one tool or material can do every job. In the same way, no single web site has all the information, items for purchase, or services I might require. Over the years I've amassed a large assortment of favorite web sites (much like my stash of model kits!). I've pared the list down to those I think are the most useful, and arranged these links in loose gropus so you can sort through them more easily. Click on the images or the text links and tell 'em I sent ya!
These folks make or sell better detailed and innovative parts for when you want to build outside of the box!
Cult of Personality was a rich source of aftermarket parts for many figure models. Sadly, we lost Tom Parker in 2016. I have left the link up in honor of a good man and a great friend to the hobby.
What model makers lost from Cult of Personality has been regained with Todd Powell's Escape Hatch Hobbies. The site is a cornucopia of aftermarket parts for monster models of all types!
JT Graphics has a wondeful assortment of aftermarket decals that will spruce up any kit, as with my Robin buildup. Jeffrey Waclawski knows just what decals you need.
ParaGrafix's banner says it all. I can only add that I have several of their photoetch sets for some Sci-Fi models I have in my stash.
I met Matt Lawrence, the owner of Starlighting Projects, at WonderFest 2014. I've never met a nicer or more imaginative guy; Matt does for the figure modeler what all the other aftermarket light kit makers do for the Sci-Fi vehicle builders. You have to see his products to believe 'em!
Founded by the late, great Henry Prentiss, TSDS is another company that has more products to offer than I have room to write about. All kinds of lighting and resin accessories, decals, and two-dimensional interior sets for a variety of Sci-Fi subects and scales are available to help you build the ultimate vehicle! Oh - did I mention their sound systems?
Forums For Modelers
Plastic modeling can be a solitary hobby. These web forums give you great interaction with other modelers: you can share tips and techniques, discuss modeling and related issues, and see the work of other modelers. Many of the hobby sites listed below also have forums; be sure to check them out!
The Clubhouse branched off from the Polar Lights modeling forum years ago. It's logo only begins to describe all the great resources it provides for Sci-Fi/Horror modelers!
In the late 1990s, as I was still learning how to use the Internet, I stumbled across the HobbyTalk Modeling Forums. A lot has changed over the years, both me and HobbyTalk. But it's still a valuable resource for sharing ideas about modeling tips, techniques, materials, tools, kits - you name it. The administrators keep the conversations civil, which cultivates a real sense of family on the boards.
This group is on Facebook; the name says it all!
Manufacturers Of Model Kits
These are some the outifts that create the models we love to build.
"Variety" is the word that describes Atlantis Models! The kits they reissue, the parts, decals, supplies, and tools they offer almost make their website a one-stop shop. Don't miss this site!
Joshua Swift is that rare breed of modeler who isn't satisfied merely to build models. No, he has to produce them as well! He spent 18 months learning how to cast in resin and set up his own business, Crimson Pool Productions. He has created an ever-growing string of 1/4 scale resin busts, the quality of which rivals anything else you can find on the market. And the subjects he has chosen to produce are extremely rare - check out his web site and see the busts for yourself!
Originally conceived to help keep the tradition of producing fantastic figure kits in the Aurora style, Moebius Models has gone farther, introducing new kits of our favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy subjects.
While I prefer to patronize my local hobby shops I know that not everybody has one and that brick and motar stores may not carry everything one needs. So here's a list of good places to shop online for kits and supplies. I've done business with all of these retailers.
If you can read this, you can read THE CORE's banner - it says it all! This is your comic book home away from home. The owner, Mike Blanchard, also hosts a ginormous annual Halloween party at the store. If you're ever anywhere near Cedar Falls, you need to stop in!
Steve Iverson's CultTVman's Hobby Shop has a huge selection of model kits, aftermarket parts, photetch sets, lighting, you name it. And then some.
Mega Hobby carries models, accessories, glues, paints, tools, books, toys, and more. You can shop by kit type, scale, manufacturer, etc. It's simple, folks: if Mega Hobby doesn't have an item, you didn't need it in the first place!
Monster Hobbies has got models, it's got gaming supplies, it's got things that fly, run on rails, and in slots, it's got pop culture stuff, and Hallowe'en items too! It's even got a street address: Monster Hobbies, Unit 42 B - 11th Ave SE, High River, Alberta, Canada. If you can't get up there to meet store owner Trevor Ursulescu in person you can visit his Facebook page.
Helpful places for the busy plastic modeler who needs specialized tools and materials for the hobby.
Aves Celluclay is a wonderfully versatile papier-mache product that I use to coat rigid materials like cardboard or Styrofoam to make structures and landscapes.
Badger's line of airbrushes is legendary, as is it's customer service. I've used their airbrushes for years.
Krylon spray paints come in a wide variety of colors, finishes, and textures. They're readily available at many retail outlets, and are an economical alternative to pricier hobby finishes (flat black, silver, etc.). Their sandable primers do not obscure fine details if they're applied in thin, mist coats and can even be used over vinyl kits.
Durham's Rock Hard Water Putty is just that, a water based product that sets like plaster of Paris, but is much lighter and harder. It's also useful for making a scenic base, reinforcing hollow vinyl model parts, etc.
Rustoleum, which currently owns the Testors brand, has drastically cut back on their line of oil-based hobby paints. Well, I've been using them since I built my first model in 1963, and I won't give up on Testors products 'til there ain't no more!
These sites contain all sorts of information of interest to the Sci-Fi/Fantasy figure modeler. I may have listed some of them already; that's because many of these sites have multiple functions. Enjoy!
AMAZING FIGURE MODELER is the leading genre magazine for Sci-Fi/Fantasy modelers.
CultTVman's Fantastic Modeling should be the very first stop on any Sci-Fi/Fantasy modeler's tour of the Internet. There are photo galleries, how-to articles, links to other genre-related websites, his enormous hobby shop, and more stuff than I have room to tell you about here!
Rob Mattison's Monster Model Review starts as a series of short, well-produced videos that take in-depth looks at model kits both in the box and built up. But there's so much more to the MMR site - see for yourself!