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tim boyd

Update...re the Backstory behind the new book "Collecting Muscle Car Model Kits"

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The Story behind my new book "Collecting Muscle Car Model Kits"

 

Nearly two years ago now, I was alerted by the then-Editor of Scale Auto magazine that the car book publisher CarTech wanted to talk to me about a new book project they were considering. 

This was interesting, but truth be known, I had no intentions of writing any more books about model cars.  I was disappointed with how my first book, "Collecting Model Car and Truck Kits" was marketed upon its debut in 2001, and while the book sales were OK, they were not sufficient enough to justify a second or third print run.  

CarTech had recently published Scotty Gessen's title "Show Rod Model Kits" and they were happy enough with the sales to want to do a follow-up, this time featuring muscle car kits.  Having seen my model kit history articles in Scale Auto magazine, they were convinced I was the guy to write this new book.  

Discussions followed, and the CarTech guys shared my strong belief that any such new model car book needed to be sold in the "Transportation" (Car) section of major booksellers, not the "Hobby" section where my first book landed with books on Needlepointing, Dollhouses....and, well, you get the point.  

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Eventually I gave in and agreed to write and photograph the new book, to be called "Collecting Muscle Car Model Kits".    I developed a simple book proposal with an outline and chapter heading list.  Here is what it looked like:

Introduction 
Chapter 1: In the Beginning: The Origins of the Model Car Kit Hobby 
Chapter 2: The Four Waves of Model Car Kit Evolution and the Envy Factor 
Chapter 3: Laying the Groundwork for Muscle Cars: The Pre–Supercar Era 
Chapter 4: The Supercar Is Born, Part 1: Pontiac, Oldsmobile, and Buick 
Chapter 5: The Supercar Is Born, Part 2: Chevelle and El Camino 
Chapter 6: Dearborn Responds: Ford and Mercury Performance Intermediates
Chapter 7: It’s All about the Packaging: Chrysler and AMC Supercar Intermediates 
Chapter 8: The Pony Car Brigade, Part 1: Mustang and Camaro
Chapter 9: The Pony Car Brigade, Part 2: Everything Else
Chapter 10: Smaller in Stature, but . . . the Story of Junior Supercars 
Chapter 11: Flash, Space, and Grace: The Family Supercar 
Chapter 12: The Domestic Sports Car 
Chapter 13: Today We Call Them Tuners 
Chapter 14: The Model Car Kit Collector 
Chapter 15: Afterword 

The outline was promptly approved by the CarTech team.  The book contract was signed in December, 2016.  

What happened then? 

The next task was to prepare a sample chapter.  In this case, it became Chapter 7, on Mopar B-Body intermediate muscle cars.   The entire chapter was researched, written, photographed, and submitted by early February, 2017.   The CarTech guys loved it.  Full speed ahead! 

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How was the research done?   

Much of the research and chapter content came from some early work I had done on a different book proposal in 2002/3 called "The Golden Age of American Autos in Miniature 1949-1974".   By the time two different publishers eventually rejected the proposal, I had already assembled a series of notebooks with the needed reference material.  The new CarTech book content paralleled much of the earlier stillborn book’s content, so that was an important head start.  

Next, I made a list of all the key original issue kits of the cars that would be covered in each chapter.   Days spent in my reference library called out the necessary detail on the actual full-sized cars, and research in my kit collection revealed how the cars were translated into kits.   

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Then each chapter was written in rough draft form, and the photography (all done in my home studio, with exceptions as noted below) was completed.   From literally several thousand images, I chose just over 400 all-color, high-res photos for the book, and prepared captions for each photo.  

At this point, I had invested nine months, and thousands of hours in the project.  The final transmission to CarTech took place in August, 2017, and then they began desiging and building the final book look and layout.  A rough layout review followed late in 2017, followed by a final edit around February of 2018.  I got a first look at the final project on my 64th birthday. Personally, I think the CarTech team did a fantastic job with the design, layout, and photo processing of the final product. 

Are there any Special Features in the Book? 

Glad you asked.  First, for most chapters in the book, at the end of each section I've created a "Missing In Action" sidebar, which is a listing of all the great muscle cars that have never been kitted, or else desperately need a modern era kit to be developed.  

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Second, with the help of Mike Hanson of Arizona, a full-size car restorer who also builds model cars to client specifications, and several other well-known modelers like Dean Milano and Bill Coulter, I assembled a "Scale Showroom" section showing how built versions of the kits in each chapter look when assembled and painted by experts.  

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More special features are Sidebars resulting from interviews with model kit development engineers John Mueller (AMT/MPC/AMT-Ertl) and Bob Johnson (Revell and Monogram).  In both cases revealed are new, never-before-known facts about several of our most cherished model car kits.  Other sidebars touch on recap “Model Car Kit Fun Facts”, a brief History of Model Car Kitmaker Lineage, and “What about Import Sports Car Kits?”

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OK, so how do you know all this information is correct and accurate?  

Two huge assists here were the reference book “The Directory of Model Car Kits, Seventh Edition from Bob Shelton and Bill Coulter, and kit expert extraordinaire Mark Budniewski (a frequent poster on this Forum) who meticulously reviewed each chapter upon completion for content and accuracy.   Without these sources, the book could not have been completed.  

Any final thoughts? 

You bet.  I set out to make this the most complete, informative, and interesting book on model car kits ever published.   With over 95,000 words and 400+ color photographs, this is a book that will entertain you for many days to come.

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As some of the early book reviewers have pointed out, the book really is about the entire model car kit industry from the late 1950’s through today, answering many questions like “Why has this annual kit from the 1960’s never been reissued” to “Why did the kitmakers move away from those fantastic kit box illustrations of the 1960’s and early 1970’s”? 

The book is available for $29.95 retail plus shipping from Car Tech Books, Amazon, Model Roundup, AutoWorldStore.com, and local retailers like The Model Cave in Ypsilanti, Michigan, and Pasteiner's in Birmingham, Michigan.  Click in this link for the exact web order addresses from these retailers, as well as a number of pictures from the book: https://public.fotki.com/funman1712/the-story-behind-my/the-story-behind-my/ 

Heads-up…

The book publishing business today is much different than in the past.  Books typically have short lifecycles and often do not go into a follow-up print run.  Those that missed my prior book are now looking at prices of up to or over $100 (which I think is crazy!) to get it from old book sellers.  Bottom line? 

1.    If you are thinking about buying the book, do it now!  Do not wait!   

2.    If this book sells well, the publisher has expressed an interest in doing at least one or maybe even two follow-up titles.  That all depends on whether you all buy this book and find it to be of value to you now and in the future.  

Finally, it is my fondest hope that you will find the book to be a fun and enjoyable read, and a valuable reference, for and years months to come.  

Best Regards and THANKS! for your interest...TIM

Edited by tim boyd

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When I saw this book I knew I wanted one. Haven't gotten one yet but I hope to get one soon. I always enjoy your articles in SA so I know this book will be a fantastic reference guide as well as great reading. Thanks for sharing all of your knowledge and the hard work you do with all the research.

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Oh, boy... I'm a pretty indiscriminate kit history nut: Monogram, Revell, Airfix, Heller, Frog.... I have 'em all. Which is why I bought this. Because I never, ever buy or build kits of American cars (the Europeans and JDM keep me busy, for sure). And especially not Muscle Cars... not interested. Honest.

Well, it's a great read. Your kit history plus industry insights are really well written, and fascinating commentary. Unfortunately, though, I'm a sucker for really high-quality kits, whatever the subject, and wittingly or no, you provided me with shopping list...

And now look what you did:

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Not including the Chevelle SS, 67/68 Camaros and 66 GTO that are hiding in other corners of the stash 'cos they'll fall on the floor if they don't...

Now, I appreciate I may be unusual in not having so many in the stash already as other potential avid readers, but that's BY FAR the most expensive book I've ever bought: I think I must have added $400 of kits to the shelves in the few weeks since I got it, and that's WITHOUT the hard to find ones (Still looking for a Monogram Judge and a good Stingray this side of the pond...).

So, Tim... thanks... I think.

Seriously... buy it, it's a great book.

best,

M.

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I liked your first book so much I have two copies!  Congrats Tim!  Their book on Showrods is great, so I'll definitely pick this up.  I'm actually more of a hot rod guy, honestly, but if you don't show publishers that there's interest in model related titles you wont get any more, so...

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Very well done sir.  I read it as soon as it arrived and it is worth every penny.  This book should be in every hobby store (the ones that are left).  The only problem is it makes me sad that some kits will never return but it does not stop me from looking for them.

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I agree with you Matt. I'm as interested in the history of our hobby and the companies that supply our kits as I am the actual building and I suspect our book shelves look quite similar. I also agree with you on your suggestion that everyone who is interested in model cars needs to get this book, it is that good.

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I'm about 1/3 through reading my copy,it's a great read so far!maybe a history on truck kits/semi's would be a great next book!!.

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I know I looked far and wide before finding a copy of your first book. I really enjoy and treasure it.
Thanks for sharing the information about your new book.
I'll be looking to obtain a copy of it too.

Jimmy

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Ok Tim,  I just ordered mine!  Looking forward to the read!

Guys, get yours now... it's just the price of one model kit!   

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I looked through a friends copy and this is a wonderful book, very well researched, chock full of information. Tim did an impressive body of work on it. I will be purchasing my own copy in the near future. It is a must have.

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Tim,

  I just ordered my copy.  I can see what subjects to focus on as a resin caster with this book.  I can say that Dwayne L is going to keep me busy for a good while with four door police subjects.  I know Mike Hanson.  I make parts for him.  He's not much of a people person, very private.  He has had some high dollar cars in his shop to work on.  A 64 DB4 and a 2000 something Ford GT come to mind.  Mike was very encouraging to me about my resin parts.  When I first met him he told me my parts are as good as any Modelhaus parts.

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Tim (somewhat) makes it sound as though lots of editing and corrections were necessary...not so.  I never compared the copies of each chapter in "rough" form to the finished book, but I don't remember being surprised by anything in the latter.  What I saw, and made extremely minor suggestions on, was pretty much what you see in the finished work.  The photos (which I didn't really see in the same context as their final presentation) and sidebars make it even more of a must-have.

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Received mine today , surprise , surprise , spent about 2 hours just skimming through , looks like it's well worth the time it'll take to absorb all that information .

Well Done , Tim !

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I'm glad this was posted as I had forgot about the book. There's a Barnes & Noble not to far from me that has it on the shelf. I'm gonna try and get it Thursday. If not I'll be ordering it online. I look forward to reading it.

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As noted before, I brought Tim's latest book shortly after it came out. And also as before, I liked the book right away. I read the book right away, and have pulled out the book several times. Using for reference and enjoyment. As recently as just a couple of days ago. If you haven't bought one yet, your missing out on one best model car books ever offered. It's that good. 

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I received my copy today. Leafed through the pages, and am anxious to start  reading it.
It's always fantastic reading your magazine articles, and a whole book of your thoughts and insights is really
great!
Keep up the great work Tim !

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 GOT MY BOOK AT PASTINER'S  AUTO ZONE ON WOODWARD AVE TWO DAYS BEFORE THE CRUISE. IT IS FANTASTIC! I'VE ONLY GLANCED AT IT . I'M SAVING THE REAL READING FOR THOSE LONG, COLD , MICHIGAN WINTERS. THANK YOU TIM FOR THIS EXCELLENT AND COMPREHENSIVE BOOK ON MUSCLE CAR MODEL KITS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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I have Tim’s book and can’t put it down. This is probably the best researched material available for a model guy. Don’t hem or haw with this one, get it!

Tim honored me by signing my copy, too!

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Thanks everyone for your positive feedback and kudos.  Really, really glad to hear you are all enjoying it.  

All the Best....TIM 

 

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