Monday, October 5, 2020

Halloween Countdown Day 5: The Strange Changing Vampire, 1974


An image used to come to my mind every so often, so vague from the years gone by that it seemed it could have only been my imagination. A fearsome vampire in a casket would somehow change to a decayed skeleton if you closed the lid and reopened it. Whenever this image came to mind, I'd Google every search term I could think of, without any success. I was ready to write it off as a dream or an invented memory, but a very persistent one.

Then accidentally one day I ran across the words "Strange Changing Vampire" on a model kit site, and the clarity started to rush back in. Another search promptly yielded a boxtop image and then suddenly I remembered Dad putting this together when I was about six.

I then remembered being amazed by Dad's careful and precise detailing, and the fact that he mixed paint colors to get exactly what he wanted. It was a combination of exactness and flexibility that had an influence on me, though the memory of him making the model was dormant for so long. I can't describe the emotion I felt when I found one some time later on eBay and snagged that sucker.

Assembling it was bittersweet. The pvc was slightly warped, and some of the moving parts had weakened over time and eventually broke. I tried several fixes including molding parts from polymer clay and making a casket lining from cloth. It didn't work as well as it did 1974 but it looked pretty good I think. Pardon the photos, taken with my phone in 2009.

Just a few years later, this kit was rereleased by a company called Round 2 Models, and I got one just in time for my kids to put it together. I think since then the kit has been discontinued.

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