So, many years ago, I bought a two pack of model kits on eBay for my kids for Xmas.  One was the Hulk, and the other was Spidey.  I remember these ads from the backs of silver age Marvel comics, but I never bought nor built one.


My kids turned their noses up at the kits, and I still have them, unaopened. So recently i bought some airplane glue/plastic cement, and decided to take a whack at them.

Spidey is first up...since I figure all i have to do  is paint in his blue elements, and leave the red plastic alone, right?  Wrong.  The kit is entirely white plastic.  Arrrrggghhhh!

So, I'm about to start painting with orange that I have left over from something else...and I am looking for images of Kraven, laying on the floor, and I find them with a Google search, except everybody has painted him differently..... blue pants, green pants, tan pants, orange pants.

Now I'm beginning to wonder whether this scene actually appeared in any comic book I could reference. But the image search has turned up an 8-page Aurora kit comic with the splash page reference for the kit....BUT it's not in  my kit.

What's going on here?

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OK, so I've been working on my Spider-Man model kit each night when i get home for a half an hour, or until the fumes get to me.  I've learned a couple of things:

First, trim off all the flash as you remove each part.  It's a bitch trying to paint over the stubble,, and you have to touch up anyway.

Second, Assemble the legs and arms and torso before you paint. Glue them. Glue solvent disolves the Testors Model paint, and you'll have to touch up!

Third, Kraven has a mis-shapen body. It's smaller than Spidey, and as such, his hand is smaller. Don't confuse the three hands! LOL!

Kravel also has a weird elongated set of fingers on his right hand.

Fourth, close up each paint, glue or whatever as soon as you're done with them. And store them upright. The more air in the bottle, jar, whatever, the faster they "turn over" and harden. I lost most of my old paints this way. I had to buy more of them. Buy only the individual paints, and avoid buying the ones shrink wrapped to a cardboard card for hanging on a peg. You can save enough money to afford another bottle of paint or thinner, if you shop for price.

Nothing beats a collection of paints that perfectly suit your model, and you can get some assemblages that work for particular themes well... model cars, military, etc.  But you'll probably have to mix and blend your paints to get the right color for some of Kraven's costume. Enamel and Acrylic paints don't mix!

If you're buying singles, you'll want a tray or small box to store them in between sessions.  Wives and co-habitators don't appreciate smelly paints, drying parts nor dozens of small glass jars/bottles all over their dinning room table. Build yourself a small carrying tray for your paints. I used a spice rack modified from the Goodwill store to hold mine.  Another idea was to modify a small wood kit from Lowes (mail holder) into a wooden box/tray. You can carefully cut, glue and assemble your own paint carrier, but you'll never have enough space for when you outgrow the small tray. (Still, how many paints can you use at one time, and they do go bad over time, don't they?)

Six, Krave wears different costumes in each appearance. Oh sure, they're basically the same, but no two are exactly alike. Even the coloring is changing. So enjoy yourself. Make comprimises, mix your own blend, but make sure you have enough.

Seven, buy some extra paint brushes to ruin, clean, ruin, re-use, curse, re-use, clean, and ruin again.

Eight, clean your brush after every paint.  If you pause or stop, clean out that brush.  Set your brush aside and up high to dry out the thinner.  Don't spill thinner on the dining room table.

Nine, Paint and assemble on newspaper. You'll thank me for it.

Ten, Your model will never be done. You'll continue to touch it up, repaint it, and modify it as long as you haven't glued it.

Eleven, a small sharpie micro tip black pen works well for drawing in spiderwebs.

Twelve, Plastic spider-webs look like crap. Be inventive, find another subsitute. make your own webbing.

13) Do you REALLY need a name plaque to tell you that this is Spider-Man?  Really?

Looking good! A lot of those lessons are ones I learned back when I was painting a lot of kits when I was a teenager and hadn't thought about since. I bought a packaged box of paints and stood them up in the box, and added the same number of specialty ones, so I had two rows to pull from. I dabbed the color on the cap so I could see them all without pulling them out to find one. I don't want to know how you learned that one about not spilling paint thinner on the table.

Another tip: Wipe off the top of the bottles and the grooves before you close them, or the paint will dry around them and seal the cap, and you'll need pliers to get them off. 

I think you're going to find it was a mistake to pain the "mane" on Kraven's back first. Always start low and work up, and start with light colors and go darker. It's easier to cover up a light mistake with dark than vice versa.

I'm looking forward to seeing it completed. Did you open the Hulk yet to see how much green you're going to need?

-- MSA

Not yet. I have this feeling that I've got the recent Polar Lights re-issues, based upon the white plastic of Spidey. I don't know if I'll tackle Hulk until maybe X-mas break.

BTW, I see you went with the traditional blue rather than the concept of black-so-shiny-it-looks-blue. Then there are also those occasional purple versions. I did an entire column on Purple Spider-Man once, to show you how arcane I could get when I needed a new topic every week. Fortunately, I waited until they began running my pages in color to do it.

-- MSA

I was the culprit who brought up the purple-and-red-orange early days, which you tackled in your column. Shortly after that I attended the San Diego Con and Stan Goldberg (aka Stan G) said in a panel that their color palette changed when they changed printers.

Mr. Silver Age said:

BTW, I see you went with the traditional blue rather than the concept of black-so-shiny-it-looks-blue. Then there are also those occasional purple versions. I did an entire column on Purple Spider-Man once, to show you how arcane I could get when I needed a new topic every week. Fortunately, I waited until they began running my pages in color to do it.

-- MSA

I picked the red and blue off the shelf, and also an orange tan and brown, because my old acrylic set seems to have dried up. At least some have.  The green worked well enough...the blue is actually Krylon that had worked well on an old model. But the cap was sealed on in place. (So I drilled a small hole through the plastic cap, just enough to fit a fine paint brush through, and then sealed it up again with a plug of plastic cement.)  It was all I needed out of that color.

Now I have to find a way to mix Kraven's flesh tone, and how to finish his tunic and sandals.

My daughter figured out how to do the webs on Spidey's costume with a Bic paint pen, and I guess I've done enough on his chest logo, though the back design needs some touch-up.

I've got the wife thinking about spidey's webbing. She may have some black mess netting from an ol' potato sack or something similar to contribute.  I'm not going with the plastic web and I'd not sure about the translucent spider-signal behind yet.

After quite a bit of touch up, I've got the webs drawn in on the body of Spidey and the hair moustashe and eyebrow of Kraven done.  I still have to do his feet, hand and torso including belt. 

Not yet. I have this feeling that I've got the recent Polar Lights re-issues, based upon the white plastic of Spidey. I don't know if I'll tackle Hulk until maybe X-mas break.

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