Celebrating the Unpopular Arts
Things I didn’t get into

Things I didn’t get into

Comic books of the Silver Age were, of course, rife with ads and many of them sounded so amazingly cool. X-ray spectacles! A tank full of tiny sea monkeys! Foolproof ways to throw my voice! I never had the money to spare but Mail-Order Mysteries answered my questions about what I’d really have gotten if I’d ordered that stuff.

One thing I didn’t see the appeal of? Putting models together.I’m not saying “this sucked!” or that there was anything wrong with the kids who did buy them, just that it didn’t strike me as a fun way to spend my time. I did get a Phantom of the Opera model from Aurora — I think it was a Christmas gift — but I never finished it. It was cool-looking (and glow in the dark!) but I wasn’t keen as a kid on doing things with my hands. Superhero models looked even cooler — — because I knew who these characters were whereas I’d never heard of the Phantom of the Opera. I would quite happily have picked up completed figures like those above for my shelves but I’d no desire to put one together. Despite which I always read “Cap’s Hobby Hints,” one of the Henry Boltinoff comic strips that could be either humorous —— or helpful. Not to me, obviously, but I still read them.Not being into war comics or military adventures unless they involved knights in armor I didn’t get into the original G.I. Joe either. Though they certainly sounded impressive in the ads.I think the only time I got interested in action figures was a few years later with Major Matt Mason, “Mattel’s Man in Space.” My brother had some so I’d go out to our sandbox and have them fight unstoppable sand monsters. That was about it.

Trains were a fringe case. I had no desire to have a train set myself but I did enjoy watching other people’s elaborate layouts.Obviously enough kids were into these things to keep those ads running for several years. But that’s why YMMV is a thing.



  1. Le Messor

    I agree with you about war things and GI Joe, but I do like putting together model kits; I do like working with my hands somewhat. (Drawing, mostly.)
    Model’s aren’t a big hobby for me or anything, but I have a few (almost all gifts).

  2. Jeff Nettleton

    Bah; GI Joe was awesome! Of course, I got mine as we were hightailing it out of Vietnam, so it was the GI Joe Adventure Team.

    Let’s see; I had the pilot GI Joe (adventurer, not a military pilot), Geronimo, from the Johnny West line (cool western figures with tons of accessories), Big Jim with karate chopping action (and his camper van), Col Steve Austin, Evel Knievel and his stunt cycle (and van, with a ramp so you could jump it), Mego Superman, Batman, Robin, Captain America, Aqualad and Dr Zaius and a Gorilla Soldier, from Planet of the Apes.

    My brother had a train set and did some model building and I built a few, when I was older (F-4 Phantom, Draconian Raider, Darth Vader’s Tie Fighter, The Phoenix, from Battle of the Planets, a panel truck).

    My dad used to design and build rubber band-powered airplanes, using balsa wood and tissue paper. He once also took out encyclopedia set and sketched out a plan to make an aircraft carrier, from wood, cut the shapes, put it all together and painted it, then presented it to me as a surprise, as I was fascinated by them, after seeing the film Midway. He grew up on a farm, during the Depression, and was a very good carpenter (used to do work in the summers) and had been a Air Force mechanic for a B-36 bomber squadron, then an agriculture and science teacher. He could pretty much do anything he set his mind to and passed on a lot of that to us, in varying degrees. he picked up hobbies left and right and did them well: square foot gardening, model building, sketching, woodworking. He kept a log of the books he read, over the course of about 5 or 6 years and had read something like 300 books, usually checking out 3 or 4 at a time, from the library, then going back for more within 3 or 4 days.

    I didn’t work as much with my hands, but did do some cartooning and writing. For a while, I was painting designs on hockey masks, for Halloween use and just for the hell of it.

  3. jccalhoun

    I also never got into building models. I did a few but the fun is in the building and then what do you do with it? Same with toy trains. I was always more into building based toys.

  4. John King

    When I was young I did put together models – mostly from Airfix – typically of planes. I did try a ship – the Discovery – but I don’t think I ever finished that.
    The only ones I made which were not vehicles were a giant scorpion and a giant preying mantis – though only the scenes they were in with the destroyed buildings showed their size.
    The last models I made were a Cylon fighter, a Colonial Viper and Darth Vader’s Tie Fighter.

    I did get an action man (with “gripping hands”) though only got a limited selection of stuff for him.

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