By Tom "The BeeMaster" Stead, #39989 

What About Box Art?

Hi gang! Time to break out the bug repellant, don the sting proof clothing and start kickin’ the damn nest again! Remember great box art? And what happened to it? Years ago, I remember how we used to live vicariously through those images on the AURORA (REVELL, MPC, MONOGRAM) kits we used to build. I remember vividly an old MONOGRAM P-38 Lightning kit with a Jap Zero going down in flames in the distance, as the P-38 banked with guns blazing for the next kill. Or shivering in unnamed fear as my cousin showed me the “Forgotten Prisoner” from AURORA. Ah, those were the days.

Then, suddenly, the world was full of idiots and fools, and lawyers eager and ready to represent them both.

That Lightning art had to be changed, because that Zero in the distance wasn’t included. They eliminated Swastikas, because somebody found real history to be offensive. That drag racing painting that got you to grab the kit off the shelf (surprise!) somehow didn’t include the light tree, officials, quarter mile dragstrip, officials and stands filled with screaming fans. Funny, but even as a kid, I was pretty sure they couldn’t fit all that stuff in the box. And I was damn sure that the kit said “P-38 Lightning”, not “P-38 Lightning and A6M2 Zero-sen”.

Suddenly, cool box art was replaced by a photo of the finished kit, garnished like a wilted salad with warnings like, “glue and paint not included”, or “your kit can be assembled to resemble that shown on the box cover” or even “assembly required”. Look, as kids we might have done stupid things, but did you ever buy a model KIT and NOT think assembly was required?

Years have gone by, and at last box art seems to be making a comeback. HASEGAWA and REVELLOGRAM have tops worth framing, along with photos of the assembled kit on the sides or bottom of the box. But some things are still unchanged. I mean no swastikas or kill markings. And you still don’t see many enemy aircraft being flamed anymore. I guess some people are still sensitive to the fact that, in war, some people die.


October 2003