Spotlight Hobbies

Let's see now...

Jack's Drug Store, Dearborn Heights - had a stack of kits in the back corner with the puzzles and coloring books. When we were in there, it was usually for a prescription, which meant a visit to the doctor, which could usually be leveraged for a kit. For some reason, there was a stock of flat box Monogram, as well as flat box Revell. At the age of 4, I recall being blinded by the chrome in a window box '62 AMT kit there, too, creating the childhood deficit I'm still chasing. Predictably, Dad said no, it looked like an awful lot of parts. In the '70s there were some dusty '67-8 AMT that Mother's Worry and I cleared out with some snow shoveling money.

Ace Hardware on Telegraph, very early in my modeling career, about the same time. We'd moved to a new(er) and larger house in a different subdivision, but the previous owner was a poor repairman. There were weekly jaunts to the store a few blocks up the street. There was a central 'island' where the kits would be piled. The owner had them all tied with string, and prices were marked with a big wax crayon. Last kit I remember from there was the Edsel "Unreal" Funny Car, which made my dad just shake his head.

The bigger ACE (now ACO, or was) on Michigan Avenue in the second mall east of Outer Drive. Bigger and nicer and cleaner than the little storefront place, they had a huge toy department, with all the latest kits. For no good reason, I can remember getting the '64 Chevy with the working lights - I did some of the assembly, Dad wired the system. I recall it working one night, and that was pretty much it.

EJ Korvette in Redford MI was nirvana for me. The entire upstairs was sporting goods, models, toys, and records (much later) This was the first place that I found the exotic new MPC kits, which were a real step from the AMTs of the era. After some cajoling we got the '66 Bonneville in that gorgeous purple box. I built it carefully with Dad to show to my Uncle, who'd just purchased a 2+2 (many years later he told me the whole story.) I had it proudly displayed - for a day. My 3-year old sister decided to emulate this behavior, took the glue, and applied it liberally all over the surface and glass. Heartbroken? You have no idea.

You've heard about Harbs, which was close to my middle school, and the go to for any 'serious' materials not sold at the above retailers. There was a place called "Pepper's Variety" that had a few kits - picked up a Deora, but left the "Mach Won" maybe even went back for the Wynn's Cougar (AMT) - my skills and the poor fits conspired to make sure that kit never got finished. I bet Mother's worry still has the box somewhere.

Joe's had a few stores around Detroit and later, the suburbs- that was the 'expert' place, my Binks airbrush came from there. They had beautiful displays of gas engines, props, etc. It was on Wyoming Ave. at Warren, I distinctly recall the eerie glow of the ex-DeSoto plant, with the rail head that ran through the shop.

Squadron Shop was on 6- or 7-Mile east of Telegraph in a small commercial strip. The neighborhood was changing pretty rapidly, and we didn't go there very often after the early 70's. They were exclusively aircraft and armor, maybe some ships. They carried the import kits like Airfix, Hasegawa, etc. But that was a passing fancy and we didn't hit them very often. ( I think there had been a shooting in the area, which meant it was all off limits.)

Two that I just remembered were Meri-Five in Farmington which had kits for box price plus a dollar for each year older they were. Really the first "collector" HS I recall. Got the '68 Galaxie there, maybe some others.

The other place was "Models Hobby" in Ferndale, MI. Now it is a used book store - but for a while, they had stacks of annuals and slots that I still dream of. Someone told me a long time ago that it was all up in their attic, and back then there was no return policy to the mfr - keep marking it down until it's gone. Imagine seeing a dozen '66 Cyclones for $2 each... I could probably name every kit I got from there if I thought about it long enough. Made the mistake of telling another collector about it, and in only a few months, they were cleaned of vintage to the walls. In the 80s, they sold off a lot of their trains, and kits that had been returned for some reason.

There were others, but visited infrequently. Nick Zuk and Dennis Doty will probably remember them better than I can - Five Points (?) in Redford, Wayne Hobby in...Wayne, Town and Country in Westland ... west side Detroiters probably have a dozen more from the era that were in the city before the Southfield and Jeffries Freeway projects cut up the neighborhoods and turned them into islands.

Hope these triggered some good memories for the Detroiters!

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