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Polar Lights Model Kits: Superhero Modeling Favorites

posted by JamieH 8:42 AM
Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Superman-comparison The popularity of mainstay pop-culture characters can be tracked back to the earliest instances of licensed merchandise. Superman debuted in the comics in 1938 and less than a year later, the first merchandise was offered to the burgeoning crowd of fans. The Supermen of America Club supplied members with a button and official membership card. Supermen of America rings were offered to new members in 1940 and over time have become one of the most sought-after collectibles ever. In the early years, trading cards were introduced. They were followed by nearly anything that could have a Superman logo applied to it from lunchboxes to puzzles, books and records, action figures and of course… today’s Superman model kit.

Characters like Superman change with the times, but still resonate with every generation. As sensibilities evolve so do the characters and the various Superman-figuresinterpretations of them. Technology allows our look at the characters to become more defined. In the comics, the original interpretations offered on pulpy page stock by his creators Joe Seigel and Jerry Shuster gave way to the visions of Mort Wiesinger and Curt Swan (among many others) to the more contemporary renderings by Neal Adams and John Byrne to the version offered on today’s glossy page stock or the subtle glow of a tablet. The big and small screen offered a range of interpretations from the shorts created by the famous Fleischer Studios which put still images into stunning motion in a series of cartoons to the live-action serials starring Kirk Alyn to the TV series starring George Reeves to the most fondly remembered depiction supplied by Christopher Reeve in four films to last summer’s blockbuster film.

Every time we see a character depicted in a new way, we are biased (whole-heartedly or in part) by the previous interpretations of him. Some people are die-hard fans of the old stuff, the stuff they grew up with as kids and have loved ever since. Some people are coming to the party late and they latch on to the version being offered at that time. Some are into it for a while and eventually let it go. Others are life-long fans.

For sci-fi and pop culture modelers, I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. You know if you like Star Trek better than Star Wars. You know if you like STAR TREK: The Original Series better than STAR TREK: The Next Generation. You know if you like the Curt Swan interpretation of Superman better than Jim Lee’s. Classic TV show Batmobile or the Tim Burton version?

Our recent Superman and Wolverine super-hero kits were created with the mindset of appealing to the widest audience possible. The Wolverine kit offers optional heads to appeal to guys that want something a step closer to the recent movie versions. We chose the costume to depict his iconic early appearance, but it was engineered to allow easy modification to create other later versions. Superman depicts one of his most iconic comic book covers, but with a little adapting he can look more like any of his various incarnations.

So, my question to you, the modeling public, is what do you like? (Please don’t misinterpret the question as “what do you want?”) Did you like the Man of Steel movie? Did you like The Wolverine? Do you like what Marvel Comics is doing right now or do you like DC better? Are you into the Arrow TV show or are you more excited about STAR TREK: TNG being remastered to be released on bluray? While you are at it, let us know what you think of our recent figural model kit releases. Feel free to let us know by responding here on the blog or on our Facebook repost.

15 Responses to “Polar Lights Model Kits: Superhero Modeling Favorites”

  1. This is an easy one!

    SUPERMAN: I was brought up during the Curt Swan era; his drawings were clean and easy to read, yet still realistic. At that time, our image of a live-action Superman was George Reeves. While Mr. Swan denied that he based his drawings on the TV Superman, their two interpretations meshed well; both portrayed a slightly older, more adult hero. Much as I enjoyed Christopher Reeve’s performances, he always seemed a bit too young in the role to me.

    STAR TREK: The franchise was fine up until the ENTERPRISE series, when the producers seemed to lose their grip on the Star Trek continuity. The ship and crew’s uniforms looked as though they belonged closer to Picard’s era than Kirk’s. And the last two films seem to have parted company with everything that had gone before. I find it hard to understand why Star Trek had to be “rebooted”, when there were so many story possibilities left after ST:VOYAGER had run its course. And TOS has been remastered with excellent computer-generated images that are faithful to the original effects shots, proving that the designs of yore can be made to work with modern movie technology.

    Fortunately, we do have Polar Lights and AMT models of superheroes and Star Trek ships, which allow us to mold our fantasy worlds into the shapes WE want them.

  2. I love the superman Kit i just wished you would have done the cape as a one piece instead of two pieces, what i would love to see you do now is Batman in a Iconic What comes to mind is him standing with his hips and cape blowing in the breeze.I liked the Superman movies All of them, not a marvel fan per say but am enjoying the cinematic universe. love Arrow

  3. ModelMan says:

    Models of objects over figures. I’d rather see a fortress of solitude or batcave than the resident homeowner. Marvel over DC. Star wars over trek, but you don’t have the license even though you have the old MPC tools. Those MPC SW tools could be turned into something good. Some few key minor and semi-major mods on some kits here and there and you’d have a whole new line for the 21st century.

    How about the Godzilla license and refining the TRU edition as all the seams flatten the natural ridges horribly, a major disappointment, add clear back scales for lighting and clear breath cone, also for lighting. He’s a bit big for companions, but a Ghidorah to-scale would be like a 350 Excelsior to me. Or a smaller Minra at his side or Jet Jaguar. Larval Mothra is not a money maker, imo. The old PL G line is not good. Those long box kits don’t need to come back. How is the King Kong license going and can that tie in with G? (Not that that was a high point of the G franchise to emulate, mind you.)

    Marvel, fill out the ‘standard’ XMen line with Night crawler w/optional clear “bamf” smoke that replaces a limb or portion of his body, one Storm or another, Colossus, a Jean Grey Phoenix would be hot (NPI!), phase-changing Kitty Pride with optional bisecting wall or ceiling piece, Cyclops, Xavier and so on, not to discount any given enemy such as the Brood would make a sweet model that visually ties into Alien. Aliens Ripley power loader or 1/12 Marines diorama?

    With Wolverine’s juggernaught head as the starting point, how about intersecting base plates for each character, though they’d have their own tableau, just that the base plates are configurable for custom modeler arrangements. Do you guys have an SR-71 in the stable and how tough to configure for Xmen? Any other Marvel vehicles come to mind? (Wonder Woman’s invisible jet!)

    As to objects over figures and star trek less than star wars; as you don’t have SW how about Trek sets? The famous ‘Matt Jeffries Lost Set’ is what I want and it would have to be mounted on a wall it would be so big.

    Each section of the ship as laid out on the Desilu shooting stage, all done at the current AMT Bridge scale to fit with a partial/mock hangar bay to house the remastered Galileo. Each section of the ship is its own model kit, (or grouped i.e. Transporter, Rec Room and some hallway while Engineering and all fo Sickbay might be their own releases) released every year once production is cranking, rather than one massively big single kit of an undertaking for modeler and producer, amortized over time.

    As there is so much to do, I think the hobbyists could give a wink and a nod to not being millimeter accurate. As accurate as the current new bridge is would be the baseline. These would need a relatively fast, non-agonizing-decision-making releases to be effective. Get some solid measurements and cut the tool. The Galileo is an exception to this notion and one we are all very glad you are taking the time to do right! (Not to forget other Bridges at the AMT scale as well.) Is that all of the ‘classic’ 70’s AMT Trek re-released as of now? Still hoping you will finish off the tin box editions.

    A consistent, mid-scale starship line. The 1/537, 650 and 420 lines should be reconciled to one. For the heft and that so much was done with Reliant, it’s 537. The AMT 650 kits are not modern enough quality to base off of. 1/537 doesn’t need ‘all’ the ships, leading with a few choice pieces such as an Excelsior (as we are unlikely to get a 350), Grissom, a ‘new smoothie’, the TOS 1701 would be a good sale (and scale!) compromise for builders who can’t justify the size and/or expense of the 350, the D7 and RomBoP to complete the “AMT 3” at that scale. After that, as it goes. I expect some would want Voyager if it can be done at the various scales. I’ll just say “Equinnox”. While at it, a K-7 at 1/1000 or 2500 as well as a Regula 1 which double for another station in TMP. Speaking of TMP, how tough would the repetitious Drydock design be at 350, 537 and 1000 to do? It is an invaluable piece to add for Refit fans, most especially if it can be hollowed for lighting!

    If the 1/350 Trek line continues, I’m torn between Reliant and KTinga as viable options. The Excelsior is always on the back burner. But more than those, if there is only one ‘big kit’ budget every other year or so, then it must be a 22″ Eagle Transporter with all options. A 44″ Eagle would be golden (NPI), but not likely as big a seller for the size and volume of it (and likely the cost.)

    Brass or aluminum tubing throughout (don’t forget premium spun aluminum engines), you guys engineer the modular cage fittings, encasements and hull in plastic. An injected plastic cage would be inferior for the effort, precut aluminum or brass tube segments all the way. I’ll warn that the cockpit could be as big or bigger a compromise headache as the Galileo. The set was built completely different from the model, or vice versa.

    That’s off the top of my head. I’ll think about it some more and let you know. 😀

    PS. With the TopGun tomcat and a possible XMen Blackbird, don’t forget that a Harrier was in True Lies and like the movie car line, there is room for aircraft/movie licensing as well as military (Oddball’s tank from Kelly’s Heroes, ex.)

  4. phicks says:

    For comics, I was a Marvel fan growing up in the 70s, but I mostly buy DCs these days. Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) is my favourite character, so after many years of waiting, the movie was a bit of a letdown. I am currently reading JLA, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern, Silver Surfer, Daredevil, Uncanny X-Men, Manhattan Projects, Walking Dead, Black Science, and I’ll try just about anything that’s well drawn.

    For Star Trek, I loved TOS, TNG, and I think DS9 during the Dominion War was the best Trek ever. Voyager and Enterprise never really grabbed my attention.

    In other stuff, I love Space:1999, Alien, and dinosaurs (will the Lindberg JP dinosaurs get reissued?).

  5. Doug says:

    Love that Polar Lights has reissued the classic Comics Scenes model kits for Spider-Man and Captain America. I would snatch up reissues of the classic Aurora Batman, Superman, Lone Ranger, and Tonto complete with the comic book background. You do great work.

  6. Dinsdale says:

    I like what Marvel is doing with their movies these days, but not so much with the comics. I don’t have time or patience to keep up with all that continuity, and comics have gotten way too expensive by catering to the “fan only” market. That said, I have fond memories of the characters from the late 1970s.

    As such, I really like the classic Wolverine kit you guys put out, and I’m building it right now. I’d love to see more Marvel heroes in that scale and style. I was looking forward to the Thor kit, but haven’t seen any news lately . . . any updates? Or is he going the way of the Wicked Witch?

  7. Brandon says:

    Arrow & The Walking Dead are about the best things going on TV right now.

    Classic Twilight Zone could use some attention. Maybe something to go with your C-57D, or something totally new.

  8. Dave says:

    Never really had time or inclination for modelling figures.
    I think that the Marvel films are getting better and better – the latest Captain America was amazing.
    Started watching Arrow last year but found it a bit same same, and am actually more interested in the Blu ray Star trek TNG releases.
    Hoping for some future 1/1000 trek stuff and still hoping for a 1/350 K’Tinga.


  9. BatToys says:

    Hi Jamie, I can’t wait for the second Batmobile and King Kong kits. Please make the climbing Batman kits large scale. At least as big as the Aurora Batman.

    On this page the Facebook and Twitter buttons nearly cover all the page . Please remove them.

    Frank Model Scene.

  10. Tomh, Esq says:

    I enjoy watching superhero movies, but I don’t read comic books and I’m not interested in modelling.

    Marvel has definitely done a much better job than DC with the quality of their films, but the Richard Donner Superman is still one of my favorites.

    I prefer Star Trek over Star Wars, and modelling vehicles as opposed to figures.

    Although I have an Xbox 360, I don’t seem to spend much time playing console games, but I have been playing “Clash of Clans” on my iPad for about a year and a half, and have recently started playing “Boom Beach.”

    The classic Alien kit was a welcome surprise. I’m definitely a fan of the first two films.

    I’m looking forward to hearing what you guys come up with at Wonderfest.

    Keep up the good work!

  11. David Weimer says:

    I would like to see 1/1000 USS Grissom Equinox and
    I would like to see !/537 USS Enterprise Movie class.
    I would like to see 1400 scale of USS TITAN.
    I would like to see 1400 scale USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D Three engines soon and USS Excelsior names on the
    I would like to see TOS Klingon D-18 Gull class 1/1000 scale
    and USS Larson Federation Destroyer and the USS Loknar Federation Frigate class ships.

  12. Brad says:

    Have to admit that, as a far as superhero type stuff goes, I’m currently enjoying the Marvel Movie-Universe stuff, so anything from those movies would be welcome, though I can understand potential licensing issues.

    As far as Trek goes, I’m liking anything in 1/1000 scale. Keep it coming! 🙂

  13. George Starkey says:

    I know you said “like to do”, not want, but…I’ve always loved Neal Adams’ portrayal of Batman, and this image captures (in my mind) him best in a very dynamic pose, not doing anything silly.

    I love the massive 1/350 scale ships, have wanted the TOS 1701 since seeing Capt. Kirk holding the model in a publicity photo when I was a kid. Thank you again for going to such lengths to make it happen. I like working on big models, and brother, these qualify!! When they get this big you can really get into small detail fabricating and painting, my favorite part of modeling.

    My favorite thing to build is starships. The more the merrier, and your 1/1000 scale is great for that without adding rooms onto my home. The 1/2500 series seemed too small at first, but the beauty of them is economic quantity- a fleet doesn’t cost hundreds of dollars- and they make great additions to dioramas with larger ships. Forced perspective is our friend!

    I think there’s a consensus out there that having models in scale with each other is very relevant to our wants- you’re hitting it out of the ballpark with the 1/350, 1/1000 and 1/2500 series Trek ships. When you release the new 1/32 Galileo, please consider a whole series of shuttles from Trek to go with it. It would make for some GLORIOUS displays.

    Keep on Trekkin’…

  14. Dear Sirs, Thank you so much. For sometime now I have had the Polar Lights model kit of Superman. The other day I findlly opened the kit. WoW! I was impressed. I would like to see more DC Comics heroes made. Aquaman,Flash,Supergirl or Green Hornet and Kato. Tv please or Tv’s Green Hornet’s car Black Beautry 1/24 sc. Lastly, I would love to see a plastic model kit of my fav. superhero Captain Marvel / SHAZAM! I hear a new SHAZAM! movie is coming out in 2019. What better time to make a new Captain Marvel model kit. Thank You Again, On Angel’s Wings and In His Love, (mscreature) Rev. Melissa S. Holder

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