Addar Apes Models

Addar Planet of the Apes Models

Too Good to Be Forgotten, by Dave Ballard

In 1974, a company by the name of The ADDAR Plastics Co managed to snag the license for a series of plastic model kits based upon the Planet of the Apes franchise. I haven't managed to find out very much about the Addar Company itself, other than it was the short-lived brainchild of an ex-Aurora employee by the name of Abe Shikes.

They produced kits including Evel Knievel, Jaws, and the Scene in a Bottle line, but today ADDAR are mostly remembered for their Apes kit line, in which they emulated the style of the AURORA figure kits with character sculpts on dioramic bases. Sadly, Addar never enjoyed true success and soon went into liquidation.

To help preserve their memory, here is a detailed look at part of their legacy The Planet of the Apes kits.

WAVE 1

The first wave featured six models: Dr. Zaius, Cornelius, Zira, Caesar, General Ursus, and General Aldo. Riding on the crest of the Apemania wave, all six found their way across the pond and for a short while were readily available. Hell, I bought mine at a local newsagent! The kits were something of a hit-and-miss affair, combining both surprisingly accurate touches and equally surprising inaccuracies. The poses all suffered from being somewhat static and unnatural, no doubt due to the moulding technology of the time, and the facial sculpts vary wildly from the excellent to the truly awful. Where they really scored were the well thought-out diorama bases that added a certain something to each and every figure, though they too were sometimes odd choices. The suggested paint schemes, reflected in the box cover art, were often way off!

What follows is a mini out-of-the-box review of each one highlighting the good, the bad, and sometimes the downright ugly.

Cornelius:

This first kit perfectly sums up all the typical pros and cons of the Addar range. The facial sculpt is excellent. You can't see Roddy McDowall, but as a generic chimpanzee, even by today's standards, it's top notch. Costume details are accurate, with the bizarre inclusion of open-toed sandals (complete with hairy feet!). The pose is awkward, stiff, and unnatural, while the diorama base is a nice little representation of the subterranean remains of New York City (from Beneath the POTA). An odd choice, because the Cornelius character never went there. (Perhaps its a mutant illusion!)

Zira:

The facial sculpt on this one is poor, which is a shame, because the costume details (this time with proper footwear) and pose are good. The diorama base is an excellent representation of the inside of Zira and Cornelius's love nest. (A sentence I never thought I'd write!) It's a shame, though, no one thought to give Cornelius a similar interlocking base as an extension of the house, which would have worked better than the ruins of New York. Some pre-production designs show an alternate version was once considered with Zira standing in front of a lectern and microphone, probably inspired by the Presidential commission inquiry scenes from Escape from the POTA.

Zaius:

Perhaps the most successful of the Addar kits, Zaius boasts a quite respectable facial sculpt, a decent pose, and accurate costume details (right down to his wearing his expedition suit) The diorama base is an excellent representation of the doomsday bomb trigger device from Beneath the POTA that lends itself to some customisation. The only letdown on this kit was a wildly inaccurate painting guide!

Aldo:

A bit of a mixed-bag this one. The facial sculpt is excellent. Costume details are accurate, with the odd exception of the omission of the self-styled General's studded collar (the only thing that set his costume apart from those of his soldiers). The pose is pretty decent, and the diorama base accurately depicts some of the hasty fortification from the climax of Battle for the POTA. An odd glitch on this kit is the rifle, as Aldo holds a 40th-century design rifle. Battle took place much earlier in ape history, and in the movie, Aldo favoured a 20th-century Thompson machine gun—remember this glitch, because I'll be coming back to it in a moment.

Ursus:

Like Aldo, this too is something of a mixed-bag. The facial sculpt is excellent, and costume details are, for the most part, accurate. The character wears the studded collar (omitted from the Aldo sculpt), along with a General's helmet and armoured gloves, but entirely missing are the distinctive carved pistol and the armour plated battle jacket that, had it been included, would have elevated this sculpt into a mini-masterpiece. Out of the box, the pose is a little awkward, what with it being hard to tell what the right arm/hand are supposed to be doing. (I re-posed mine.) The diorama base is nicely done, but the house ruins don't seem to represent anything ever seen in an Apes movie. A somewhat ironic glitch is again the choice of weaponry.

The character is holding a 20th-century Garand style of rifle, which would have looked more at home in Aldo's hands. General Ursus should be holding either the 40th-century rifle (that Aldo is holding) or a 40th-century carved sub machine gun. (An easy swap and fix, of course, but these are out of the box reviews)

Rejected pre-production concepts show an alternate version of Ursus in one of the subterranean subway tunnels—that would have been cool!

Caesar:

Another near miss. Costume details are accurate, complete with chimp-style finger boots. The pose, based upon a well-used production still, is pretty good, and the diorama base is a lovely representation of the character's treehouse home. The big letdown is a pedestrian facial sculpt that does the kit no favours at all.

WAVE 2: SUPER SCENES

ADDAR's second wave of Apes kits featured three kit-in-a-bottle dioramas, which appear to have reached the stores both home and abroad, but in far fewer numbers. Even back in the '70s, these three kits would have been hard to find. Each of the dioramas (Cornfield Round up, Jail Wagon, and Tree house) featured a small 1/32nd-scale plastic kit of the main focus of attention, along with a number of cardboard cut-out figures that were all, once assembled and painted, housed inside a plastic bottle. It was an interesting idea, but executed in a somewhat underwhelming and lacklustre manner, but they remain fun items nonetheless. These days, they still turn up occasionally on the auction sites, with prices ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous.

WAVE 3

Which brings us to the last of the ADDAR ape kits, and if you thought the bottle kits were hard to find, I challenge you to find the Stallion and Soldier. This kit is ultra-rare I've never even seen one for sale on these shores and only occasionally on the US eBay, where it inevitably goes for silly money to someone who will no doubt never build it.

Everything comes to him who waits, and I have managed to obtain one, but that will be the subject of a separate article. Again, what follows is a simple out-of-the-box review.

The head for the gorilla rider uses exactly the same parts as the Aldo kit, but it isn't marketed as Aldo on Horseback, so I'll work on the basis that the character is a generic gorilla. Costume details are accurate, and the pose is a nice representation of the iconic Ape-holding-a-rifle-above-his-head stance. The base is untypical in that it is purely functional and not really dioramic. The horse is caught in a nice, fluid, mid-gallop pose.

SUMMARY

Each of these kits is clearly a product of its time, and so shouldn't be judged too harshly or by today's standards. They—glitches and all—build into nice little displays.

A few years back, Polar lights re-issued four of the original six ADDAR kits (Cornelius, Zira, Zaius, and Ursus), but all the other kits remain hard to find. If you do find them at a reasonable price, they can be a lot of fun.

Completed Addar Models by Mike Rutherford


Cornelius

Dr. Zira

Dr. Zaius

General Ursus

Caesar

General Aldo
Unused Model Prototypes—Contributed by Michael Meyer

Michael Meyer sent these photos, with this description:

I also really enjoyed the other memorabilia, some of which I'd never seen before, so I thought I'd pass this on to you. I ran across it for sale on eBay awhile back, so I don't recall how much it finally sold for. The seller claimed the drawings were for a prototype kit for the Addar model line that was never released.

It looks like the figure was going to be General Ursus, with backgrounds similar to those in 'Beneath'. I guess someone was supposed to make a final decision on which one was going to be used with the figure before they decided to scrap the whole idea. Still a pretty cool item, though.

Unused Model Prototype
Unused Prototypes for a General Ursus (?) model
Unused Model Prototype
Unused Prototypes for a General Ursus (?) model

More Addar Design Sketches—Contributed by Dave Ballard

Zaius design sketch
Dr. Zaius design sketch
Cornelius design sketch
Cornelius design sketch
Rejected Zira design
Rejected Zira design
Rejected Zira design
Rejected Zira design
Bottle Caesar design
Unused Prototypes for a Caesar bottle model
Bottle Aldo design
Unused Prototypes for an Aldo bottle model
Zira sketch
Zira sketch
Aldo background sketches
Aldo background sketches


Copyright © 2016, Hunter Goatley. All rights reserved.
Last updated 2-SEP-2016 10:24:31.69.