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Aurora Monster Models

Aurora Monster Models – turning every boy’s dream into a nightmare!

The first of the Aurora monster models was Frankenstein, although the kit was, of course, of the Monster.

From a sculpture by Jack Lemon, based on a Marx’s wind-up walker toy, the original prototype was shown at the HIAA annual convention in January, 1962. No orders were received until the last day of the show, when industry representatives were allowed to bring their families. On that day, Chicago distributor Al Davis’s sons Glenn and Fred wandered into the Aurora exhibit. Instead of grabbing the planes, cars or trucks, they made straight for the Monster, and Davis placed an order. A couple of California distributors saw this and placed orders too.

Aurora monster models Frankenstein instructions

Instructions for the original Aurora Frankenstein monster model

Aurora shipped the kits, and a few days later the phone started ringing: ‘Can we have some more monsters?’ As it became obvious that the Frankenstein kit was going to be a huge success, the rest of the line-up was rushed into production. Dracula came next, followed by the Wolf Man, both of these being in stores in time for Christmas 1962. The following year saw The Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Mummy and the Phantom of the Opera, with the Hunchback of Notre Dame, King Kong and Godzilla coming in 1964. Dr Jekyll as Mr Hyde was not released until 1965. Later that year, the Bride of Frankenstein and the Witch went into production, but it was a miscalculation by Aurora; girls tended not to buy model kits, and female characters don’t appeal to 10 year old boys.

Aurora monster models James Bama box art

 Iconic Aurora box art by James Bama for The Mummy, Wolf Man and Dracula – these were the original, non-glow-in-the-dark editions in oblong boxes

The last of the line of Aurora monster models was The Forgotten Prisoner of Castel Mare, which was created in association with Warren Magazines. The story of the hapless prisoner was told in the August 1970 edition of Creepy. As famous as the models today is James Bama’s fantastic box art, and a mere glimpse of it recalls fantastic childhood memories for many an ‘old boy’.

Aurora monster models Famous Monsters ad

A typical Aurora monster model double page advert from Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine

As sales dwindled, Aurora attempted to revitalise the range with their ‘Frightening Lightning’ and ‘Glows in the Dark’ series in 1969, which featured new, square boxes (the originals had been rectangular) and an extra sprue with some phosphorescent plastic parts. The move worked, and once again the monsters racked up sales from a new generation of 1970s kids.

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    Kendall Square
    August 30, 2014


    Richard Harland
    December 11, 2014

    Are any of these models still available?

    Kevin Woodhead
    January 12, 2015


    We currently have an unmade AURORA “THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA” Glow in the Dark Monster Model Kit (missing phosphorescent plastic parts) in its original box for sale on Ebay – just in case you are interested.

    Robert Ursillo
    March 13, 2015

    They need to bring them back

    April 1, 2015

    I loved these kits as a kid growing up in the 70s. I got mine as re-issues and I just wrote a post on my blog specifically about Aurora’s King Kong models. Thought I’d share a link here:

    Grant H
    May 12, 2015

    @ Richard Harland
    YES, you can find these babies available all over the internet. I wish I could show mine here. I have about half the series again and am ecstatic! As a youngster, I had all but four, I think, and over time they were all lost. Now my growing collection stands above my desk.

    Doug Freeman
    October 28, 2015

    I built EVERY one of those models in the series, even the Witch, when I was a kid. The years were 1973 through late 1975, so it was the square box, ‘Glow-in-the-Dark’ versions. I carefully packed them up when we moved in 1977, but the models never made it to the new house. Perhaps my parents thought all the waded up newspaper there to protect from breakage was a box of trash and unknowingly threw them out.

    Kevin titley
    January 14, 2016

    Has anybody got the classic universal monsters keyrings that came free from Kensington n roller crisp packets in the 70s

    Michael Raff
    January 15, 2016

    I had them all, except for the Prisoner and the two girl models. My room looked like a chamber of horrors. I lost them when we moved to California, but a few years ago, I purchased my favorites, Frankenstein Monster and the Mummy and how they hold a proud place in my curio cabinet.

    Chris Wolfenden
    September 4, 2016

    Had frankly. Built him and displayed him

    As a kid was brilliant

    October 29, 2016

    I had both series of models. The Originals, and then the phosphorescents. I don’t have any of them left but I’ll remember them till the day I die. It’s great to see this article. Thanks!

    November 14, 2016

    Had all of them (glow in the dark)….then blew them apart one day with a BB gun…would love to re-aquire them…..

    Clay Cortinas, San Jacinto, CA USA
    November 15, 2016

    I bought and assembled every one of them (including the Bride & the Witch). They were great fun and a source of pride on my block. I still possess the original King Kong and Wolfman models from the 60’s. I also assembled the Hawk Plastics Co. “Weird OH” kits. What a great childhood, both then and now!

    November 23, 2016

    I had them all, except Bride of Frankenstein. And that was only because I never knew she was available (no internet, nor Toys R Us back then!).

    Charley Brady
    November 24, 2016

    This article — and this site! — brings back some wonderful memories.

    I started building the monsters in either the late 60s or early 70s, around the same time that I discovered the Classics on a late night show on a Scottish TV channel called ‘Don’t Watch Alone’. They showed six ‘Frankenstein’s followed by four ‘Dracula’s, two on ‘The Mummy’ and so on. It was the beginning of an obsession that I never grew out of.

    I remember being so excited by my first purchase of The Frankenstein Monster that I built it before I bought the paints. After that, I learned patience.

    Many thanks for the memories!

    Eugene Wilkes
    January 23, 2017

    I have everyone of these still from my childhood I have had them in a showcase for 40 plus years some of them. I noticed some on ask if they could maybe find some to put together I know a company named Polar Lights makes some and are real close to originals. I love my universal Monster That is what started me in the Haunted House business Thanks for sharing.

    January 31, 2017

    Thanks for the great article on the Aurora Monster Model Kits! It brought forth my childhood memories of being alone in my room, painting and building them, and then, displaying them proudly (still in the bedroom. The parents forbid them from the rest of the house and didn’t understand my passion for monsters….alas!)
    Maybe another article on models could be posted based on monsters like the Dark Shadows kits featuring Barnabas Collins and the Werewolf. Or the Vampirella and torture rack with victim playsets that were quickly removed from shelves after parents complained of their sadistic appearance.
    Keep up the good work!

    Chris Kostolefsky
    May 29, 2017

    Had all of them. Won some competitions with them. I wish I had held on to them. I spent a lot of time building monsters in my basement!

    Carl Hancock
    June 5, 2017

    Carl UK

    I remember being maybe 7 or 8 years old in 1967/8 and visiting my cousin and who had Frankenstein and I really wanted one but for some reason never did until 1972 when I got the glow in the dark Frankenstein and that started the passion for these wonderful model kits I had them all over the years and I still have a few now. many hours of fun painting and gluing in the back garden on a summers day.

    Mike Hardenbrook
    September 29, 2017

    I purchased all the primary monsters, put them together and painted them with a non gloss paint that smelled like Pine Sol.
    After a Navy westpac to VietNam. Mom & Dad lost the house and all my model’s and comics were gone. I heatd there was a fire at the Aurora factory and the molds to those Monsters were distroyed. I found them at a Hobby Shop in the 1980’s so I bought them back. Originally they were $1.50 per model in the 60’s. Now they were $15.00, I didn’t care. Still have them unopened on a shelf in my study. Universal Monsters were big in the 1960s, Famous Monsters of filmland.i still have a few. Loved those innocent days of youth. My paper route money them paid for this stuff. I gotta find that same flat color paint and do it again now that I’m retired. Good to hear others loved those things like myself.

    October 10, 2017

    Mike, Hobby Boss makes a wonderful flat paint additive. When you combine it with even gloss paints, the result is flat, flat, flat! Interestingly, it comes in two types of smoothness if you want to add a little texture.
    I add this to everything I build for my 1/12 classic monster dioramas and the result is richly atmospheric.
    You may have to special order it over the internet… I live in Japan and they have it everywhere here. Don’t know if it’s available in shops overseas.

    Dave m.
    October 11, 2017

    I have an original 1962 aurora wolfman sealed in box. Any interest out there?

    John Lidwell
    October 13, 2017

    I was one of those kids in the 70’s that couldn’t get enough of them! In the past 7 or 8 years I have found these again and started building them like I did as a kid, only now I’m a whole lot better at it! Love them!!

    arthur j O'Rourke
    October 18, 2017

    had all themonster models back in 1960’s, still have them today! at the ageof 62, just bought ” the invisible man”!

    Larry Canter
    October 22, 2017

    The first monster model I ever had was DRACULA. I was in the fourth grade and It was Christmas and we were exchanging gifts in my class. I a traded a model car for it. The girl that gave me the car wasn’t really thrilled, but it started a life-long love of monsters and models that’s lasted to this day.I doubt if the girl still remembers me OR the car,but I never forgot the model.

    March 16, 2018

    My cousin had several of the Aurora kits in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s some ‘Original’ and some with the “Glows In The Dark” feature.

    Joth Gambold
    July 14, 2018

    I excitedly bought The Wolf Man in the square box from Bud Morgan’s Model Kit shop in the Castle Arcade in Cardiff for my 11th Birthday. I had been given a Eumig Sound Projector and the Castle Films 200ft title, Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man and was desperate to get the Aurora Model. The film is still in my possession; the kit unfortunately not!

    Joth Gambold
    July 14, 2018

    Of course a very important Dracula model features in the brilliant Tobe Hooper 1980’s TV version of Salem’s Lot. I really thought the Art Designer had secretly taken research shots in my bedroom!

    Rick Schweiger
    August 11, 2018

    I remember seeing an ad in a comic book for a snap together Frankenstein model and bought it from Rexall drug store. Turns out I purchased the Aurora Frankenstein instead.( the comic book ad was for the Frankenstein in the Dr. Deadly set which was a snap together). I cried most of the evening because I was unable to put it together. My dad told me to stop at the dime store the next day after school and ask for a tube of air plane glue. Unfortunately they wouldn’t sell a seven year old air plane glue in 1968. Over the next couple of years I purchased all twelve monster models( The Bride Of Frankenstein wasn’t available during the “Frighting Lightning” re-issue). I still have them and are displayed in two bookcases. ( most have been repainted due to the origainal painting of a seven year old.

    Nicholas green
    August 15, 2018

    Do you know of anywhere someone can purchase these monster models or newer reproductions of them to build that doesn’t cost an arm or leg , 70.00 to 100.00 dollars or more just seems to expensive to me . I had these when I was a kid and had lots of fun building

    August 15, 2018

    I pretty much had them all, glued and hand-painted with the love and respect they deserved! Also, couldn’t wait every month to get the newest issue of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine!! Will always have those childhood memories – used to watch all the classic movies on the Morgus the Magnificent show out of New Orleans while living in Biloxi. MS.

    August 18, 2018

    I make all of the Aurora monster boxes long boxes, frightening lightning, glow boxes, monsters of the movies, monster scenes, monster rods, prehistoric scenes and even TV movie related boxes. Pasttimetoys at yahoo

    Don Place
    August 28, 2018

    I had all these kits as a kid and loved. loved.. painting them and building them. I remember making a special display table made just to showcase these childhood monster favs. I also loved every movie that ever came out that featured Frankenstein, Dracular, Wolfman and the like. I have recentley purchased the original movies in a DVD package that have every movie I grew up with. Those we’re fun days and great memories,

    Rob from Italy
    September 4, 2018

    I remember them. I lived in Italy and I had King Kong, the Mummy and Dr Jekyll, while one of my best friend had the Witch and the forgotten prisoner. I wanted to collect them all, but they were too expensive for me, and I hadn’t money. Their price was £ 3500-4000 lire, that’s around 3-4 dollars a box in the 1970s, but you could purchase an icecream or a chocolate with ony 20 cents. Thanks for your webpage. Rob.

    Joseph Torres
    October 15, 2018

    Love them when I was a kid

    Robert Goode
    October 17, 2018

    I’ve still got seven (Frankenstein, Godzilla, the Wolfman, the Creature, King Kong, the Mummy, and the Hunchback) of them that I built in the early 70s (thanks for not throwing those away, Mom!) and 4 others (Dracula, Phantom of the Opera, Dr Jekyl, and the Forgotten Prisoner) that I’ve built more recently from the Polar Lights kits.
    You can usually find the Polar Lights kits on eBay for about $25 plus shipping.

    James Ealey
    October 21, 2018

    I have 7 of these I put together in 1969, when I was sick with phemonia, making them 48 years old now that I still have as good as new. Dracula, Mummy, Frankinstein, Wolfman, Forgotton Prisoner, Hunchback of NotreDame, Jekell as Hyde. What a memory these are.

    Marc Ferrari
    November 14, 2018

    Are you by chance selling this models?

      Classic Monsters
      November 21, 2018

      Hi Marc – we don’t sell the models, but if you shop around on auction sites you can probably still track them down.

    Brian Hall
    December 23, 2018

    Funny, I just woke from a dream that had these monster models in it. I had most of the glow in the dark versions when I was a kid. Great childhood memory – I was always so excited every time I got a new kit. My bedroom was a glow in the dark horror movie site! Great childhood memories.

    Woody Woodrum
    January 16, 2019

    I loved those monsters and had both sets, the original and then the “glow in the dark” set. I don’t think they made the move with parents in 1970 to our new home, a real shame as I would love to have them now! I also love the fact that so many other subscribers to Classic Monsters also were “Monster Kids” in the 1960s and 1970s. The older boys in our neighborhood did a Haunted House one Halloween in the 60s, and featured many of the monster kits these high school age boys used (along with spaghetti “worms” and jello “brains.” Everyone of them were also Monster Kids, which raised our young opinions of these teens! Great memories!

    Jeffrey Thomas Elks
    February 11, 2019

    I had the entire collection of original issues. The first one I bought was Dracula at a cost of 98-cents US. As the series grew, so did my collection. I loved painting and building every one of them. I had an entire wall in my bedroom displaying them proudly. I even had the “Giant” Frankenstein monster complete with moveable arms and chains. Fondly remember all of them as I spent many hours experiencing the fun of building something I enjoyed so much at the movies.

    Gary Henault
    May 14, 2019

    Had the entire set beginning in 1961 with Frankenstein. Still have them…. but not the boxes….who would have known the boxes would be so valuable. My Creature from the Black Lagoon is currently in a museum. The International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland Maine. Donated it a few years ago. Has been interesting over the years to see websites about these models and the stories behind the art of the boxes etc.

    Jarvis Young
    June 2, 2019

    I remember when FAMOUS MONSTERS had a customizing contest. Seems like just about every kid that I knew had an entry…some very creative. I also remember that the ultimate winner had a King Kong model destroying a miniature City scape complete with an electric train. Great memories !

    Barry Gellman
    June 29, 2019

    they left out the invisible man , probably the besr diaroma of them all I have one sealed , need a king kong to complete my collection . Built them with my dad now again with my son

    Heather Borland Wallace
    August 16, 2019

    I simply loved these models as a kid. I had the ‘glow in the dark’ ones, Frankenstein, Quasimodo, Dracula and the forgotten prisoner. I’m female and found it interesting reading about the witch and Frankenstein bride as I never added them to my collection. Sadly I outgrew the toys ( not really toys) and must have given them away. Shame. I should have held on to them fir my own grandkids now!

    David The Monster Bidwell
    August 28, 2019

    Love this!

    Terry Noon.
    September 16, 2019

    I absolutely loved those models but never owned any. My childhood friend did and I was mesmerised by them. He used to paint them so brilliantly as if James Bama had done them himself..!! Thank you so much for this web page, you’ve made an old man very happy.

    October 3, 2019


    I had most of these when I was a kid and wish I still did. I was one of the few boys that actually liked the witch (not bride of Frankenstein).

    Is there any plan to bring the whole series back? I would be first in line!


    October 12, 2019


    Thomas short
    October 20, 2019

    I had these when on holiday in America, myself and my two cousins had the vampire, mummy, frankenstein and wolfman models , if i remember correctly you had a choice of putting on a “ normal “ head , hands etc or glow in the dark ones? Plus paint toadd colur , we were very young and i remember being scared by the “ glowing” figures, that and a vivid imagination and a sadistic big cousin lol
    Great days

    Ron Able
    November 12, 2019

    I’m so glad that the ones that I built in my youth, I still. With, extra pieces/parts, instructions and of course the boxes with the amazing artwork of James Bama. I’ll be 53 in December and I still love the Universal classics as much ad I did 50 years ago. I’ll never grow up…Thank God!!

    Gary Stanley
    January 15, 2020


    James Matysiak
    January 16, 2020

    Used to love building these Monsters in the 60’s.

    Then blowing them up with fireworks on the Fourth of July.

    Total Fun

    Stephen Van Zandt
    February 28, 2020

    I have 9 completed, beautifully-painted Aurora monster models that I built in my youth in the late 60’s to early 70s. The monsters (and the date stamp on their bottoms) are as-follows:

    Frankenstein 1961
    Dracula 1962
    Wolfman 1962
    The Creature 1963
    The Phantom of the Opera 1963
    The Hunchback of Notre Dame 1963
    Godzilla 1964
    King Kong 1964
    Forgotten Prisoner 1966

    If anyone is interested, I can be reached at

    Steve VZ

    June 12, 2020

    Great stuff

    June 12, 2020

    I had all of them as a kid. Painted them and now all these years later I don’t know were the ended up.

    Michael Dinsmore
    June 17, 2020

    I had Frankenstein, Creature, Wolf-man, Phantom of the Opera,Hunchback and Dr. Jekyll in the 60’s. Later my older brothers friend kept teasing me about it so I took them outside one day and smashed them all with a hammer. I saved all the parts in a box under my dads workbench still wanting to keep them secretly and found out when I was in my late 30’s that my dad found them and thru them away thinking it was just junk. Boy was I crushed. I went and bought the re-issues. This time I added Dracula and the mummy but no Phantom, Hunchback or Dr. Jekyll. Still in the box. Someday I will rebuild them. Just the box art is incredible. Aurora Euphora.

    Mike Blette
    July 11, 2020

    I had most of these models from the 1960’s series. My oldest brother did a great paint job on Frankenstein. My brothers got me into the classic Universal monsters by showing me Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein at a young age, and I did the same with my kids. At any rate I was afraid of the models (although I loved having them), and hid them away in the alcoves of our attic. Somehow they all disappeared over the years. I would display them with pride if I still had them today. I was also a huge fan of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine.

    August 26, 2020

    I had several of these models . I used to watch Shock Theater and enjoyed Frankenstein , Wolf man ,and the mummy .

    Danny Brown
    September 5, 2020

    Still have my original 1962 Frankenstein model which is on proud display. Still have The Phantom, King Kong, and Hunchback too. Somehow lost parts to the Creature, Bride of, Mummy and Wolfman/Dracula, which I just recently trashed due to missing parts. I held on to them for years as I loved those models!

    Lewis H Mikulecky
    September 10, 2020

    I had all twelve on display in my room as a kid. I talked my mom into not making me dust them off and that added even more old creepyness to them. I packed them up when I joined the Army an left them in a storage locker, unfortunately they ended up being trashed or auctioned off when my girl friend detailed on the rent. I remember them very well and would love to see them come back so my boys and I could enjoy putting them together and display them for our favorite holiday, HALLOWEEN.

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