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Crypto-Modeling: It's a Big Hairy Deal


Well, its the dead of summer and you know what that means . . . campfires, swimming at the lake, ghost stories and of course, Bigfoot hunting.  At least as far as cable TV is concerned, there are few more worthy past times than running around in the woods with an inconspicuous lighted selfie body cam rig and shout-whispering to large groups of certified morons, "Did you hear that?" all in the name of Sasquatch identification.   Well, save yourself the trouble . . . I got your Bigfoot right here, plus a lot of other "cryptid" models.


In the unlikely event that you don't know what a "cryptid" is, it's a biological entity trapped somewhere between science and folklore like "the Greys," the Loch Ness Monster, the Yeti and so on which may or may not inhabit our physical world.  And there are a lot of plastic and resin renderings in the model kit world.

(Source:  https://www.modelcars.com/model-kit/amt-bigfoot-monster-kit.jpg


The first cryptid model I know of is the Bigfoot kit that  came out around 1970 when AMT/ERTL tried to find an edgewise entry into the booming monster model market that Aurora exploited so well.  They made some gains with their Star Trek kits (including one with Mr. Spock phasering a three headed snake that kept every kid wondering which episode they missed), and perhaps even more interesting, their "Gigantics" line featuring a giant mantis, tarantula, wasp and scorpion which evoked movie monsters without requiring a license. 

The original kit came in 34 four pieces including some glow-in-the-dark eyes, teeth, bone, skull and a weird pool.  For a long time, these were really scarce, but back around 2010, the kit was re-released by Round2 Models, a company that acquired many of the old AMT molds and eventually merged with Polar Lights.  Round2 produces lots of cool Star Trek kits, aurora reissues and even an Alien kit, but sadly Bigfoot is out of production again--though it can be had on eBay among other places if you look around. 


In recent years, one of my favorite companies, Resin Realities, has added three great kits to the subject.  The first is the Sasquatch bust (right).  It is a massive piece of resin that occupies a good bit of shelf space and was sculpted by veteran Mick Wood who has emphasized the possible human traits.  It is still available for $150 and comes in two parts. 

Another great Resin Realities kit is based on the art work of Ken Kelly, the reknowned comic artist.  The kit (seen below) features a foot tall Sasquatch with an optional Mohawk crashing through the woods.  Sculpted by Joe Laudati, it is a unique take on the fabled beast. It is no longer available, but I happen to have one and it is coming up soon on my bench so you may see it here soon!




Another very cool take on the subject, again from Resin Realities, was done in conjunction with cryptid hunter Lyle Blackburn whose quest for the Arkansas creature known as the Fouke Monster.  It was made famous by the film The Legend of Boggy Creek and the kit is based on the poster from the movie.  It was sculpted by Jean St. Jean and really captures the creepy essence of the poster.  Sadly, this too is out of production, but if I find one I will snatch it up fast. 


The Beast of Busco


Before we leave Resin Realities, there is another kit I am very sure features a subject never done elsewhere, the Beast of Busco.  In 1898, a farmer reported a giant turtle living on his property in Churubusco, Indiana which supposedly resurface half a century later.   This real life Gamera was sculpted by Wayne the Dane Hansen and comes in eight solid resin pieces.  It is 1/9 scale, which means the actual creature would be huge.  According to unknownexplorers.com, the "Beast of Busco's shell was as big as the top of a car, its neck the size of a stove pipe, a head the size of a child's."  Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of lots of people, the Beast was never found.  However, the kit is still around and can be had for $155.  For an extra ten bucks, you can get glass eyes.


This summer, I had a chance to go through Point Pleasant, West Virginia and visit the town where all hell broke loose (perhaps literally) in 1966 when a pair of young couples spotted a massive creature with red eyes and large bat wings.  The head and neck were not distinguishable and it had the peculiar habit of rising straight up into the air.  While no description really resembles a moth, the name stuck once it got into the newspapers and the rest is cryptid history. 

The model kit here comes from Alternative Images, a kit company that has been around a long time.  The model comes in seven resin pieces and when completed stands close to 15 inches with an 11 inch wingspan.  It is part of the "Crypto Creatures and Urban Legends" series which includes a Yeti, a Woods Witch, a Mongolian Death Worm and a Jersey Devil.  All are available for $120 or less from Alternative Images.

The Jersey Devil


Another company with a crypto line is John Dennett's  Moon Devil Studios.  The Jersey Devil dates back to the mid 1700s when a woman supposedly cursed the birth of her 13th child.  As Moon Devil's site says, "Mother Leedsí 13th Child was an abomination, a creature with an elongated body and tail, a distorted horse-like head with horns, a pair of large bat wings, cleft hoofs at the ends of kangaroo-like legs and a body covered in scaly patterns and patches of dark fur."  The kit to the right does an excellent job of capturing that horrific images in 11 resin pieces.  You can pick it up from the website for $140 plus S&H.


Loch Ness Monster


Perhaps the best known cryptid of all time, the Loch Ness, as found its way to the resin kit world more than once but info on old kits is almost as mysterious as the creature itself.  Apparently Dallas based sculptor Jeff Johnson released a crypto series around 2006, and there are plenty of plesiosaurs out there.  However, the only kit currently on the market also comes from Moon Devil Studios. The kit comes in eight resin pieces and when completed is 11 inches from nose to tail.  It combines the "water horse" description with more prehistoric details to provide a very cool kit.  Like the Jersey Devil, you can get it for $140 from the website.


The Greys


Finally, I want to take a look at a couple Grey Alien kits.  Perhaps cryptid is not quite the right category--especially if they come from another planet or dimension--but the image is ubiquitous in pop culture these days.  Though there are variations,  the basic description of these midnight invaders and careless saucer pilots is a creature with gray skin and huge almond shaped eyes on a misshapen humanoid head.  They tend to stand between four and five feet tall and are frequently have elongated features and three fingers. 

The figure to the right is the first Grey model ever released which initially came from Testors models as a stand alone kit, but has been repackaged several times with various flying saucers by both Testors and Lindberg.  The kit can still be found on eBay and even Amazon, but it is not currently in production to my knowledge.  The image comes from Steve Budd's review at modelmadness.com.


Personally, however, I never cared for this kit.  It just looks too soft and goofy.  In contrast, a really cool kit producer, Collapse Industries,  has a supply of nasty aliens ranging in price from $135 for the larger kits to busts as low as just $10.  The series features all kinds of creepy space critters but I have chosen three busts below to tempt you, all three created by Josh P. Crockett.  To the left is "Interloper," a Roswell variation that can be had in gray resin or semi-transparent for $40.  There is also a 2.5 inch version for just $10! To the far right is "The Visitor," a bust that can also be had in opaque or semi-translucent resin for under $40.  But the one that really terrifies the soul is the centerpiece, "The Architect."  There is a quality of imperial coldness that is, well, just really cool!  It stands nearly a foot tall on its pyramid base and can be had for $95.