Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Revell’s Rembrandt

Jack Leynnwood was the Rembrandt of Revell plastic model boxes.
Leynnwood was a teacher at Art Center, where I went to school, but I don’t think the school administration valued him enough at the time. In my day, the only place he taught gouache painting was at off-campus seminars, where I had the privilege of watching him paint a demo of a red car.

In 1965, the Revell company turned to Leynnwood to paint the box cover for their model of the Army Air Force B-24D.

When Revell switched to using photos instead of paintings on their boxes, I lost interest in plastic models. I didn’t want truth in advertising. I wasn’t just buying a box of plastic parts. I was buying the whole fantasy. And no one understood how to deliver that fantasy that better than Jack Leynnwood.

Read more about this painting and the aircraft shown at The Box Art Den, link.

15 comments:

jeff jordan said...

As you said, Jim, I, too bought into the whole fantasy on Revell kit boxes. I spent hours and hours attempting to copy those images, and count them as as huge influence. I'm still a great admirer of aircraft art, although at this point I think the whole genre has been run into the ground--no pun intended.
Thanks for another great post, Jim!

Frank P. Ordaz said...

Jim,

You are shocking my fading memory synapses. I remember LynnWood and seeing him demonstrate. He was one of the more sane individuals there .

craigstephens said...

I remember those models and the images on the boxes from my youth as well. The painted images definitely sold them in my eyes. I sometimes wouldn't even build the things but I loved those boxes!

Scott Murphy said...

I agree, so many of those boxes made me really want to buy the model. Those beautiful paintings were a big introduction for me to illustration and realism as a kid. Long before art classes in high school! They definitely made me realize the potential of art as a real career. It's a shame that things like this always turn to photography out of convenience...I feel the same way about National Geographic too. Thanks for the reminder of this dying art form!

Jeremy Elder said...

Yup, it is so sad that photos replaced the amazing illustrations that used to be the bulk of advertising. Not only are there less jobs for talented illustrators to fight over, but art is slipping from mainstream culture. I love going to other countries and seeing their hand painted signs.

Random York said...

Amen Jim

Jeff Z said...

Ohmigosh, thanks! I used to build tons of these models, and I always cut the covers off these boxes and hang them on my walls because they're so gorgeous. Nice to have a name to attach to the art!

scott said...

I liked Roy Huxley myself, but his stuff was a bit looser:

http://www.flickr.com/search/?ss=1&ct=5&w=61941044%40N00&q=huxley&m=text

S. Weasel said...

I wouldn't mind reading a lot more about gouache technique. It's a booger of a difficult medium, and those commercial artists of the mid-Twentieth Century could really make it sing.

Johan Derycke said...

Oh my... it's been about 25 years I think since I last saw one of these boxes. Used to decorate my room with them :)

In those days I was really looking forward to birthdays and such, coz I knew I'd get another box as a gift.

jeff f said...

Man does that bring back memories.
I too was a avid model builder.
I had the Battle of Britain on my ceiling complete with cotton for clouds. I built Focke-Wulfes 109's and Spitfires and used the covers to help guide me when painting the models.

Pete said...

I was a sucker for great box art too! I wonder if sales fell off when they switched to photos?

I also loved the diorama instructions by the great Shep Paine that where in the Monogram models. He handled those scenes much like an illustrator would. He has a new book coming out: http://www.sheperdpaine.com/

Terry Daniels said...

How odd that I never made the connection between my current occupation (art) and my favorite childhood pastime. Maybe it's because as a kid, fantasy was such a regular part of life that I never considered the box art as a product of someone's skill and work? And yet, I too remember disappointment when model companies stopped using paintings on the boxes.

I remember Hasegawa had some good paintings on their boxes - really dynamic stuff. The models of Bf 109s usually featured backgrounds of African desert, or waves of Allied bombers.

I'll have to check out the link in depth!

Anthony said...

Jack Leynnwood was one of the most influential teachers I had at Art Center in the early 1980s. The techniques I learned from his Marker Indication for Storyboarding class were put to use directly after graduation to support me and eventually my family as a commercial storyboard artist. I miss his dry humor and occasional off-color jokes.

Interestingly, he once commented in our class that if he had to do it all over again, he would have been a film major. I don't know if he really meant it or if he was just showing a little mercy to all us film majors who were forced to take his class. (I was an illustration major before that, so I loved it; but I felt bad for my fellow film types who absolutely couldn't draw but had to take the class nevertheless.) Thanks for reminding me of him, he was wonderful.

enb said...

thats so fascinatingly true- I had never thought of it that way- nor during my time of building models- did I ever imagine my modeling skills even approaching the level of the professional model makers on display. As you, and many of your readers, I too discontinued the building. Which was something I now see as a sad day.