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Best Plastics Corp. Indianapolis 500 MI. Champions


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Best later sold the tools for those kits to Aurora.  The Best versions are earlier and probably harder to find.  The ones pictured might be store display models.  I don't know if they were offered as assembled models to the general public, but I would guess not.  Keep them as-is, resist any temptation to rebuild or "improve" them otherwise they'll lose value.

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What you have are pre-built store display models, which were quite common back in the early days of plastic model kits.  It's hard to believe nowadays, but back in the 1950's, selling plastic model kits was often a "missionary sale"--adults at the time didn't understand them (after all, molded plastic anything aimed at kids were seen merely as toys--why have to assemble them, huh?) so several companies offered, on a one-time basis, built examples of their newest kits, some (such as Best, and Revell) mounting them in cheap store counter plastic showcases such as this, while Aurora and Monogram offered them to retailers fastened to heavy, lithographed cardboard display bases. While Best Plastics faded from the scene by about 1956 or so, their model race car kit tooling winding up at Aurora Plastics Corporation, and Revell discontinuing this sort of promotion after only a few boat and ship model kits, both Monogram and Aurora offered them, on a one-time basis well into the late 60's, Monogram with plastic model military airplane models, Aurora with their very famous (and popular for the time) Universal Studios movie monster kits, and lastly, their Prehistoric Scenes dinosaurs.

How were these marketed?  Very simple:  Plastic model kits originally came in lots of a dozen per carton, and with the announcement of the pending availability of a new kit, model companies would advertise, pre-release, a one-time "baker's dozen" (that meaning 12 kits, plus a builtup Point of Sale display model) as a deadline-specific buy for retailers.  Weber's,  the hobby shop where I worked my way through college 1964-68, and later as assistant manager in charge of plastics and model railroading, hung on to every one of these, stored up on the second floor of their downtown, Main Street store.  While i never experienced any Revell POS display models, I sure did see many Monogram POS displays, most notably the 1/8 scale model car kits--and virtually all the Aurora Movie monster figures.  Monogram's model car POS display cars were almost always devoid of any paint, their 1/48 scale aircraft POS displays always had at least some camouflage pattern, but on just the right-hand side of the model, the left wing was almost always inserted into a diecut slot in the upright portion of the display.  Aurora's Movie/TV Monster series of figures were much more detailed in their factory paintwork, even down to "spray masked" colors (the way multi-colored, 2-tone diecast model cars are painted to this day), with such as eyes, lips done by hand at the factory.  Even their Prehistoric Scenes dinosaur kits of the late 60's/early 70's were done this very way.

(Oh and BTW, the Best Models Indianapolis winner kits, while crude, did inspire me to begin building model Indy cars -- I live just an hour northwest of the Speedway), their line including not only the Bill Vukovich Fuel Injection Special, but also the 1920 Monroe (Real cars were designed by Louis Chevrolet, and built up by him and his brothers), the 1931 Miller Special, 1935 Gilmore Special, and the 1953 Fuel Injection car you show.  Those kits also inspired a very young Chris Etzel (who was a weekly customer at Weber's back in the late 60's as a 6yr old kid!) to ultimately create his line of 1/25 scale resin & white metal kits under the Etzel's Speed Classics name.)

Art

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