“Build and Be Happy!” says the website for Atlantis Models, a company that has rescued many of the ship, airplane, and car models that American kids grew up building for generations. “Building models can be an artistic discovery and a journey through history.”
Atlantis was found in 2009 by the former owners of Megahobby.com, Peter Vetri and Rick DelFavero. In 2018 they bought the die-cast molds for many historic kits you may have bought as a kid from Revell, Monogram, and Aurora, the big model brands that suspended operations as the companies and their assets reorganized. Many of these dies, going back to the 1950s, were unused and were stored in a warehouse in Elk Grove, Illinois. Vetri and DelFavero moved the molds, some weighing as much as a ton, back to Deer Park, New York, along with much of the original cover art and archival blueprints that could still be used to re-create missing dies.
I visited the Deer Park factory on Long Island a few days ago and will write more on it later. For now, here is a glimpse of the facilities of a company that has preserved elements of an all-American activity for the future.