Victor Hugo's The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Doll and Hobby GA is a specialized hobby distributor focusing on science fiction, fantasy, and comic related model kits. They carry the latest releases from Moebius Models, Round 2 (AMT, Polar Lights, MPC, Lindberg) and more. They focus on subjects like Star Trek, 2001, Space 1999, classic monsters, and comic book heroes. Their warehouse is located in Lawrenceville, GA, just east of Atlanta. Owned by Steve Iverson who purchased the company from Frank and Joanne Winspur in 2018. Steve Iverson might also be familiar since he also owns CultTVman’s Sci-Fi Modeling.
Their first kit was the Land of the Giants Snake Diorama that was originally released by Aurora in 1968. This release featured new box art and a two sided backdrop to display the completed model. Their second release was the Lost in Space Cylops and the Chariot Diorama that Aurora released in 1966. Their third release was the 1/64 Spindrift sub-orbital ship from Land of the Giants. Other releases will include ex-Aurora kits The Guillotine.
Victor Hugo’s Hunchback of Notre Dame is the fourth release from Doll & Hobby. The Hunchback of Notre Dame was written by Victor Hugo and published in French in 1831, originally under the title of Notre Dame de Paris. The story focuses on a deformed bell ringer at Notre Dame named Quasimodo. This unrequited love story also features a French dancer named Esmeralda who is love with Captain Phoebus de Chateaupers. Quasimodo’s adoptive father, the church’s Archdeacon Dom Claude Frollo, is also hopelessly in love with Esmeralda as well. The book was very popular and was adapted to stage, and later movies. Lon Chaney starred in the 1923 silent film (the seventh silent movie on the topic) with Patsy Ruth Miller in one of the most successful silent films of all time. Charles Laughton was in the 1939 version with Maureen O’Hara. Anthony Quinn starred with Gina Lollobrigida in 1956 and was the first version in color.
The Doll & Hobby Special ArtBox Edition of the Hunchback of Notre Dame is packaged in a plastic slipcover that contains all of the text of the box. The box underneath is only the beautiful box art, unencumbered with any titles or text. The Aurora variant of this kit was first released in 1964 with a copyright date of 1963. The copyright for this kit was not renewed and the kit entered the public domain in 1991. Polar Lights reverse engineered the kit in 1999 to produce new molds and this is the plastic sprue from that effort. The head is somewhat close to the Lon Chaney Sr. movie version. Different heads in resin are available that depict artist’s impressions of Charles Laughton or Lon Chaney Sr. if so desire.
This kit consists of 25 pieces of light tan injected plastic styrene. The completed kit is nearly 6” in length sitting on a square base that is about 5” square. A full-color printed background is also included, with one side showing the towers of Notre Dame on a red sunset background and the reverse side with a view of the main entrance to Notre Dame.
The color instructions provide a detailed assembly with some color call-outs. I started the build by washing all parts in Dawn and warm water to remove any mold release. I can’t tell if it is really needed on this kit, but once you have had paint peel off because you didn’t wash the parts is as good as a reason as any. Next was planning on how best to paint all the assemblies given that seam work was going to require a good amount of putty and sanding. I ended up gluing all body parts with the exception of his hands together and initiated the seam work. Attaching the four ropes presented a challenge, but I ended up using a razor saw to cut the ropes at the iron ring. This provided a minimal disruption to the four ropes and still allowed painting. The ropes required a substantial amount of flash removal along the entire length of the ropes along with the iron rings.
While body putty work and sanding was ongoing, I assembled the base. I applied a bit of Vaseline to the circular platform bushing (Part 3) and glued it to the circular platform (Part 5) through the pedestal (Part 4). Two name plates are supplied with the kit: A Classic Name Plate (Part 1) and a Decorative Name Plate (Part 24). Once the figure and platform were assembled, everything was primed with Tamiya 87042 Light Grey Surface Primer.
I airbrushed the figure assembly exposed skin with Vallejo Model Color 70.845 Sunny Skin Tone. The pants were airbrushed with Vallejo Model Color 70.938 Transparent Blue and the shirt was airbrushed with Vallejo Model Color 70.936 Transparent Green. I then followed up with hand brushed both colors to try to achieve some sense of fabric. The figure’s boots were painted brush painted with Vallejo Model Air 71.409 Zaschitnyyi Khaki and Vallejo Model Air 71.025 Amarillo Panzer Dark Yellow. The belt was hand brushed with Vallejo Model Air 71.418 IJN Medium Brown. I used a variety of Vallejo Flesh colors thinned down to provide some variety to the skin color. These included Model Color 70.815 Basic Skintone, Model Color 70.937 Transparent Yellow, and Model Color 70.917 Beige. I tried out some new paints as well, Scale 75’s Instant Colors line. These are very thinned paints that you can build up the color density as you wish. In this case I used Instant Colors SIN-17 Phoenix Egg, SIN-41 Savage Beige, and SIN-24 Rotten Pus.
I saw a note where Lon Chaney had played the hunchback with red hair and went with it. I used Scale 75’s Instant Colors SIN-37 Frenzy Orange for all hair. The open mouth, tongue, and lips was built up with thinned Vallejo Model Color 70.926 Red and Scale 75 Instant Colors SIN-39 Salmon Fury. The few teeth were painted Vallejo Model Color 70.820 Off-white and then washed with Scale 75 Instant Colors SIN-41 Savage Beige to give them a bit of a yellow tinge. The one open eye was painted Off-white. The Iris was Vallejo Model Color 70.964 Field Blue and highlighted with Model Color 70.961 Sky Blue. I used Scale 75 Instant Colors SIN-19 Evil Root and SIN-30 Salmon Fury to line the eyelids. Evil Root and Salmon Fury were also used on the lash marks on his shoulder and back. I added a bit of Future on his left eye and fingernails.
The Platform assembly was airbrushed with Vallejo Model Air 71.418 IJN Medium Brown. I used Tamiya Panel Line Accent Colors (Pink-Brown, Brown, and Black) to add some variety to the Platform assembly. The metal ring on the Circular Platform (Part 5) was painted with Vallejo Metal Color 77.712 Steel, as were all the other metal rings on the ropes and the wrist manacles. I dry-brushed Vallejo Metal Color 77.717 Dull Aluminum and 77.723 Exhaust Manifold to provide some visual interest on the metallic parts.
I spent about and equal amount of time with putty work on the figure seams with the other half being painting. I spent a lot more time on this model than I thought I would, but that is part of the fun. I am still not satisfied with the green shirt and the blue trousers, and I will probably continue to play with their color. I was really pleased with the Scale 75 Instant Colors and thought they worked out very well with their ability to build up color. Overall this was an entertaining journey where I got to try some new paints with the Vallejo transparent colors and the Scale 75 Instant Colors. The best thing is this classic kit is available again and its not at collector’s prices. The bonus is the two sided background that really adds to the kit display and the special boxing.
The heavy paper reversible background is a nice bonus that really helps to display the kit.
My thanks to Doll & Hobby / CultTVMan and IPMS/USA for the chance to review this great kit.
Highly Recommended !!!