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American Bison from Atlantis Models

By Aaron Skinner
Published: December 14, 2011
MOD-PL0112_Bison

Product: During modeling's golden age in the 1960s, Aurora was at the top if it’s game, producing a lot of kits across a wide spectrum of subjects. On top of aircraft, ships and armor, the company made top-selling kits of characters from movies and television. It also produced a line of wildlife kits.


Atlantis Models has been re-popping some classic Aurora kits and one of the most recent is the American Bison.


Molded in heavy, brown plastic, the kit’s 24 parts exhibit good engraved hair and fur detail. Most of the animal’s body parts are broken into halves. The kit includes a scenic base, two prairie dogs and a nameplate.


The two-step, color instructions combine exploded-view drawing and text directions that make the construction sequence clear and easy to follow. There are helpful modeling and tool tips for beginners. The back page has a list of suggested colors, as well as brush cleaning and dry-brushing tips. The front page has a description and natural history of bison.


Performance:
The large parts fit OK, but test-fitting is essential to ensure proper alignment. I flooded the major seams on the body, head and legs with Testors Liquid Cement, waited a few seconds, then pressed the parts together hard pushing glue out of the join. The use of rubber bands or clamps were crucial to getting snug fits. After the glue dried overnight, I shaved off the bead of excess glue with a hobby knife.


The large parts fit OK, but test-fitting is essential to ensure proper alignment. I flooded the major seams on the body, head and legs with Testors Liquid Cement, waited a few seconds, then pressed the parts together hard pushing glue out of the join. The use of rubber bands or clamps were crucial to getting snug fits. After the glue dried overnight, I shaved off the bead of excess glue with a hobby knife.


Using two-part epoxy putty is essential when building figure and animal kits. I’ve used Milliput in the past; on the Bison I used Apoxie Sculpt. Both putties work in similar ways. I mixed equal measures of the two parts, then pressed it over the joints, especially around the belly and chest parts. Wet fingers can be used to sculpt and contour the putty. I used the tip of No.11 blade to replace hair lost to sanding. Apoxie Sculpt is easy to sand.


I primed the bison with Vallejo brown primer, repaired several blemishes revealed, then sprayed another coat of the primer. I sprayed black Vallejo primer on the shoulders and head. I airbrushed thinned black in the shadows in the rear and a lightened version on the high points and upper sections.


I sprayed a little Panzer dark yellow on top of the shoulders and feathered it down the sides toward the legs.


Dry brushing and washes gave the fur and hair depth. The eyes are Tamiya gloss black and the nose is semigloss black.


The fit of the prairie dogs’ halves was less than perfect, but they look good after painting. The base has molded-on rocks and grass that benefit from careful painting, followed by washes and dry brushing. It could benefit from some model railroad scenery items, such as static grass and gravel.


With everything together, well, it looks like a bison.


Marketing:
This kit has a lot going for it. The parts are fit pretty well but offer a few modeling challenges that allow newcomers and youngsters a chance to expand their skills. It would be easy to paint with simple patches of blown and black, but it really benefits for careful airbrushing. It would make a good first airbrushing or figure-style subject. The large spaces are easy to freehand and there’s less concern with trying to get flesh to look right as there is with a large-scale human figure.


This kit has a lot going for it. The parts are fit pretty well but offer a few modeling challenges that allow newcomers and youngsters a chance to expand their skills. It would be easy to paint with simple patches of blown and black, but it really benefits for careful airbrushing. It would make a good first airbrushing or figure-style subject. The large spaces are easy to freehand and there’s less concern with trying to get flesh to look right as there is with a large-scale human figure.


Emphasize the educational bent of the model. It might make a good project for parents and kids and may be something to push for school projects, especially if your store sells plastic models and science project supplies.


Given the small number of parts and low price, this kit might appeal to non-traditional modelers, much as the original Aurora kit was designed for. Consider hosting creature-building and painting seminars or demonstrations featuring the bison.


VITAL STATS
Product: American Bison
Maker: Atlantis Models
Scale: 1:16
Stock number: AMC-2002
MSRP: $22
Availability: Visit www.atlantis-models.com


BOTTOM LINE
Fun, educational build
Expands modeling skills
Good looking model