When I was in my mid-30s, model kits were mostly memories for me. I’d slapped together a bunch of Aurora monster kits when I was little, then played with them until they fell apart. After that I spent a few years building sci-fi spaceships and hung them from my ceiling with kite string. Got interested in cars, not models but the real thing. Mom and Dad bought me my first auto — a ’66 Mustang GT in need of a lot of work — when I was 15 and so I started working on the car. I built only two model kits during the next two decades.
Jump to October 2001. All grown up, married, father of one little girl, employed. We stopped in the local Toys “R” Us store just to walk around a bit with our baby and passed a clearance table. My eyes were drawn to a handful of familiar-looking model kits. I saw an Aurora Mummy, Creature from the Black Lagoon, King Kong, Rodan and a few others, all of which had been “repopped” by Polar Lights. They were priced around $2 each. I picked them up, showed them to my wife, smiled a lot, then put them back down and prepared to walk away. Lisa encouraged me to go ahead and buy one. It was only a couple of bucks and I plainly liked them a lot, so go ahead.
I was persuaded, and selected the Mummy. That night, I dug out glues and paints and I started building model kits again. First I finished a Monogram Dracula that I’d purchased years before at Wal-Mart and barely done anything with. Then I did the Mummy. Then Lisa came home from Toys “R” Us with four additional Polar Lights kits. I loved them all and wanted more, but not many were available at local stores.
I discovered eBay, then garage kits, and before I knew it had dozens of kits and not enough time to build them.
“Resin the Barbarian” was born in February 2006. At the time, I was features editor for The Daily Sentinel in Grand Junction, Colo., and many of my responsibilities were geared toward growing the paper’s website. To be honest, other than getting breaking news online as quickly as possible, we didn’t really know what we needed to do to draw a bigger online audience.
We were told we should have more blogs and I was game. I created “Todd P.’s Blog” and started out writing about myself. It was BOOOOORRRIIIIING and I was quickly running out of things to say. So I thought I’d do a weekly entry about my hobby. Even more, I’d make it an actual article, a Q&A with someone involved in creating and/or selling a model kit. I liked a Young Frankenstein bust offered by Forbidden Zone, so I got in touch with Mike Allen and asked if he’d let me send him some questions. He said yes.
I wanted a name for these weekly entries that would have an appeal similar to “The Garage Kit that Ate My Wallet,” the title of a wonderful hobby book by Amazing Figure Modeler Publisher Terry Webb. What I came up with, “Resin the Barbarian”, is nowhere near as good, but I stuck with it.
After the interview with Mike, I did articles about Mad Dog Resin and GEOmetric Design. Then I had a Q&A with sculptor Jeff Yagher and it became obvious that my blog’s “Resin the Barbarian” entries were drawing many times the traffic of my other posts.
So, fine. “Todd P.’s Blog” became “Resin the Barbarian” and all I wrote about was the hobby. The blog drew good traffic to my employer’s website and I got to indulge the shameless fanboy parts of my personality. Every week I did a new article about someone involved in the hobby. Some weeks I did two or three entries.
But I pretty well burned out on it by the end of 2006. Not because I stopped enjoying the subject matter, but because I had other responsibilities that required my time. So I quit blogging for the Sentinel, accepted a generous offer from the Clubhouse to give my blog a new home, then did a couple more entries over the next year or so.
Now, time has passed and my situation has changed. I started missing the barbarian and decided it was time to revive him, on a site I’m building myself and on a once-a-month schedule I should be able to maintain.
If you’re already a builder of model kits, I hope you’ll find something here that interests you. If you’re not a kit builder, or if you haven’t been one for a long time, I encourage you to give it a try.
Thanks for visiting.
— Todd Powell
P.S. A note about the archives: Garage kits often have very limited production runs of only a few pieces. These are products created by fans, for fans, and done on an extremely limited budget. Some of the producers I wrote about are no longer making kits. Many, possibly most, of the kits are no longer available.
Another note from early 2012: In case it’s not obvious, my “one a month” goal worked out great for a while, but then I ran out of time for even that much. These days I have my hands full producing my own kits for Dedham Pond Designs, and doing my day job molding and casting fossils for a paleontology lab. I’ll do a big update and organization of ResinBarbarian.com when I get a chance and hope to return to profiles someday down the line.