On The Bench 254
Moebius Models has just put out The Munsters House,1313 Mockingbird Lane, home of Herman and Lily Munster. It is a kit that everyone has wanted for a very long time. It really is a kit that Aurora should have produced, but never had. And here you will read the secret story behind the kit and how it came to be.
Our story begins in 2003. I’d been bouncing ideas for various garage kits off a number of friends. We all liked the idea of doing Aurora style monster kits. We’d put out a couple figure kits starting in 2001, notably The Fly and The Morlock, sculpted by S.M. Clark, released by Creature Arts. Polar Lights had reissued the Aurora Addams Family House in the late 90’s and followed up with the Bate’s Mansion from Psycho. We felt the obvious follow up would be The Munsters House.
Our first challenge was to find reference materials. This was quite difficult in 2001. The internet was still quite young so you couldn’t just go out and search for photos. And most of the photos you could find showed the house as featured on the Universal Studios back lot tour, considerably altered since the original series. DVD’s were not around and the show had never been released on VHS. Tapes of the show from various broadcasts were not easy to locate, and the quality was not very good when you could find them. Even when you had tapes, the house was usually shown at night, in a storm. Photographs were similarly difficult to locate and many of them were small, cropped, or poorly reproduced in magazines like Famous Monsters.
I reached out to Scott Alexander, who had produced the original Bate’s Mansion kit in resin, which was later used as a pattern for the Polar Lights kit. Scott had worked around Universal Studios and I hoped he had some references he could share. He didn’t have much.
That was it. Two photos. This is where we started.
Clark volunteered to build the pattern, and he created these diagrams for the kit in March 2003. We wanted the kit to be HO scale, just like the Addams house and the Psycho house.
But that is about as far as he got. The project was quite challenging and he was not able to make further progress.
At Wonderfest in May 2003, Marc King offered to pick up the project. I passed him Clark’s diagrams and the few photos we had. Marc was able to find some additional images and proceeded to build a prototype. He are pictures of his work during the construction.
Marc’s pattern was a bit more developed than the set on the Universal back lot. The actual standing set only depicts the front of the house. It had no back side, or any depth. The pattern was built assuming this was an actual house, allowing for at larger interior with a living room, kitchen, bedrooms, etc.
The pattern was built in such a way that it could easily be dismantled for casting. The quality of workmanship was so good that you could “snap” the house together without any glue. Marc had the completed pattern at Wonderfest in 2004. We actually offered it up to Dave Metzner at Polar Lights, but he wasn’t interested.