To long-time Aurora-philes, Andy Yanchus is a familiar name, the man behind many of the favorite kits and toys that came from the company's design table and onto store shelves. For years, Andy has been sought out by those craving inside information regarding Aurora's products and processes. The ease by which he cites even the most arcane of details has made him a valued contributor and reliable archivist of Aurora's feats (and failures).  

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Andy aimed high in his pursuits. As a young student at the Brooklyn Technical High School, Andy set his focus on Aeronautical Design. As he ended his Senior year, though, he realized he had become more interested in constructing model airplanes rather than designing real ones. He proceed to the Pratt Institute where he shifted his studies to Industrial Design, realizing he wanted to work for a model kit company. He was recognized as top in his class in Production Methods and consistently achieved high marks for his craftsmanship in most other classes. 

He joined Aurora Plastics Corporation in 1965, securing his position with the Research & Development team. His earliest work included drafting and pattern making for the Model Motoring HO Scale slot cars.

Concurrently, although HMS Associates of Pennsylvania had been contracted to provide designs and patters for the model kits, Andy was instrumental in verifying test shots. Additionally, he was involved in checking instruction sheets, preparing build-ups for photography and licensing, sales presentations, trade shows, and television.

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Ultimately, the partnership with HMS was phased out and Andy ascended to  a role of Hobby Kit Project Manager, now responsible to coordinate all efforts for specific kit lines, from initial concept through approval of production start.

Key contributions / coordination in toy and model kit lines:

Model Motoring HO slot cars

Cigarbox and Speedline cars

K&B Collector's Series aircraft kits

Scene Machines

Monster Scenes

Prehistoric Scenes

Comic Scenes


Classic Science-Fiction TV reissues

Of course, he also constructed many of the box art build-ups for the final reissues of the WW I aircraft kits (a fitting nod to his original pursuit of aeronautical design).

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Andy left Aurora in early 1975, opening the door to pursue another hobby-turned-occupation -- comics.

He joined Marvel Comics as a freelance colorist, proceeding to become Coloring Coordinator and on to Staff Colorist. Ultimately, becoming a contracted colorist, allowing him to work from the comforts of home as a freelancer yet still enjoyed almost all of the staff-employee benefits.

Over the course of his 17 years with Marvel, he worked on notable titles including X-Men, The Incredible Hulk, Alpha Flight, Dr. Who, New Warriors, and reprints of Spider-Man and Dr. Strange. Additionally, he lent his talents to the Marvel Universe Handbook and Marvel Masterworks

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For his many accomplishments, Andy has been a highly-sought and regarded expert in his fields of interest. Over the years, has as contributed reports, articles, and interviews to many hobby-, toy-, and comic-based publications. His words and writings have appeared in Kit Collectors Clearinghouse, Toy Collector's Journal, Model & Figure Collector, Starlog, Fantasy Modeling, and Collecting Scale Models.

Besides his current contributions to this "From theVault" feature, Andy has also interrupted his well-deserved retirement to provide consulting services to the new Atlantis Model Company.

...and there's no telling what he could be doing next.


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