New versus Old Robin

(left) reissue of Robin model by Revell, and (right) original 1966 Aurora issue.

When Aurora folded for good, much of their tooling was sold to Monogram.  A typical set of molds to create an injection styrene kit represents an investment of many thousands of dollars and a lot of time, so acquiring an existing set of molds can be a wise business decision.  When Monogram received the lot, they sorted through and sold as scrap metal the ones that were worn out, damaged, or just plain didn't interest them to produce.  There is a widely held belief that a train wreck while the molds were being transported destroyed a lot of these, and the wreck did occur, but most of the now missing molds were probably the result of the sorting process in the warehouse.

Another thing Monogram did was eventually retool some of the molds, for whatever reason.  This means favorite old models like Superman, Batman, and Robin are not identical to the original.  Since I happened to have an original Robin unbuilt in box, I decided to compare this one with the recent reissue by Revell.  Below you see every part that is in any way different from the original.  The ones on the left are the Revell, on the right is the Aurora.


The first thing I noticed was the original parts were molded in an off-white or ivory color, the reissue was bright white.  This may be due to the age of the older plastic, though.  Since my Aurora kit was sealed inside the box until I opened it (yes, I removed the cellophane, I was getting ready to build it, and was surprised by the announcement of the reissue), then it's likely all these kits are this color.  That's one way of telling the old from new parts.

Here's a complete rundown of the differences between the parts.  Part of the retooling was a change in some part numbers, so I've referenced the two.

Aurora#   Revell#    Name of part         Difference                                                      

1+2           1+2         head parts               face and hair redone (see pic below)
4               4              front body half        missing R on Revell part
25             22            equipment panel     missing ON/OFF and dial detail
19             32            lab wall panel          missing START/STOP  (see pic below)
24             25            chemical unit           missing grill and dial detail (see pic below)
20             31            railing                      slot missing on Revell
18             33            base                         tabs added for opening to chemical testing unit

A closer look at some examples:

 I actually like the new head (left) better, with the side part and redone face.  All the heads for the reissues were redone, for some reason.  The new Superman head is terrible, it's huge, way out of scale compared to the old one.

 An obvious missing detail in the Revell lab wall on the left, I used a label maker to put in the lettering on my reissue.  

The reissue just doesn't have a lot of the small detail, as in the chemical testing unit panel shown here.  The Revell part on the left gives you smooth bumps where dials are supposed to go, and eliminated an inset screen.  

What to do about the missing detail and other changes?  Well, if you ask around on the Net there are people who actually, believe it or not, care enough to cast replacement parts in resin and will sell you a set of the most obvious ones.

But to the casual observer, it's still the old Robin model we baby boomers built way back in the days of "Same Bat time, same Bat channel."  Just don't look too close.

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