Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Revell Put-Together Model Horse Kits

Every so often a Revell "kit" model horse turns up in one of the vintage model horse groups on social media. Here are some examples of advertising and newspaper articles on them; they date from 1962 to the 1972.

Prior to the late 1950s, it was common to see horse figurines marketed to boys and men as well as to girls and women, as a hobby. An Associated Press article in April 1963 noted that Revell had seen such success among girls with its kit horses that it had developed the Palomino model to market specifically to females.

Revell, Inc. was based in Venice (Los Angeles County), California in the early 1960s.  It specialized in scale model kit airplanes, trucks, boats, and cars for boys to build, and in the early 1960s the company discovered that girls "dig horses." 

The fact that Roy Rogers' Trigger and "Mister Ed" were on television back then, had helped improve the Palomino's visibility, to say nothing of the dozens of golden horses that took part in horse shows and parades around the country.

But I suspect the understanding of the connection between girls and horses had started in 1962, when Revell released a horse kit modeled after Blaze King, the star of the American television series "National Velvet."

Blaze King's success led to kit horses of several other breeds, including the Palomino.

The kit horses didn't look quite like the art on the boxes, but they had their own particular style and charm. The tack was also quite detailed for its day. One of the palominos turned up at an estate sale last year, in a group of other model horses; I saved this picture of it from the sale ad. The Palomino is at the top right, next to the old Breyer Race Horse. 

By 1964, Revell was producing Appaloosa, Quarter Horse, American Saddlebred, and Palomino kit horses.

This ad for the Quarter Horse Kit by Revell ran in several newspapers around the country in March 1964. The horse is painted with an Appaloosa pattern.

By about 1971, the "Blaze King"/Palomino mold was being marketed as "The Jumper" in brown, with appropriate tack.

Here is an ad from Horse Lover's Magazine, May/June 1972, in which a collector could enter to win a real Palomino horse. One hundred runners-up would receive a three-pack of one of each of the horse kits. All one had to do was write in 100 words or less, "Why I want to win a Palomino Show Horse" and enclose the end panel from one of the horse kit boxes. 

Many thanks to Melanie Teller for loaning me the issue of Horse Lover's, so I could copy the ad.


  1. I see that my raging against putting silver on the fender centers of a parade set (that's where your legs are, this does Not Happen, this should Never Happen, Foam At Mouth), has got a far longer pedigree than I realized.

  2. It's interesting that I & my husb were just speculating on the roots of the girls-love-horses thing. This is fascinating, Thank you for sharing!