This automotive model review covers the 1940 Ford Fire Chief Car 1:25 scale MPC kit #815/12. The copyright date on the inside of the body is 2014 although kit has been released before. This is a Skill Level 1 “Snap-It” kit for modelers eight years and older. It includes parts molded in red, tan, and black with chrome, clear and transparent red parts and waterslide decals.
This kit is designed to catch the eye of a youngster and be simple enough to build to keep their interest long enough to finish the construction. This kit does that very well being molded in color with positive placement points and clear directions. It can easily be built that way with no additional work and will turn out to be a “first” model for the budding hobbyist that they will be proud of. The box art shows how this would look as an out-of-the-box (OOB) build. I would consider it an excellent transition kit because it includes waterslide decals. This gives a novice the chance to put together a nice looking kit and learn the techniques of decal placement. I have to give Round2 credit for bringing this model back around and providing the sample for IPMS to have reviewed.
Not to take anything away from the original intent of this design but I thought I could add a few touches that would make it look a little more appealing to the intermediate modeler. It is available most everywhere and at an MSRP price of $23.95 there is room to add a few aftermarket items, but I just worked with the main kit and some common modeling supplies. As you can see, the finished model can look quite different from the OOB construction.
This kit comes in an attractive “retro” style package with three trees of parts along with the body, chassis and accessory items. This is a “curbside” kit so there’s no opening hood, trunk or doors. The interior tub is very simple with molded in seats and door panels but the surprise here is that there is no back seat. Just a flat panel similar to the old business coupe models but we’ll call it a true roadster for effect. The only other parts for the interior are the dash panel and steering mast with all those features molded in. The body is in two halves with the fenders separate from the cabin. The chassis is also one piece with the features molded in and I chose not to detail that part and used it as is. The wheels are molded in two halves from styrene, like the early days of modeling, but at least they have Goodyear branding and raised lettering.
Construction and Detailing
For its age this kit is remarkably free of flash and the parting lines are normal. I decided to paint the car fire engine red with some rattle can spray so I first cleaned up the parting lines at the four corners of the fenders on both halves and then I removed and filled the mounting points for the dual flashers. I opened up a hole in the middle of the top to accept one of the bubblegum units and then washed all the parts in mild detergent. Spray the body with primer and after that dries follow-up with your color coats.
You can assemble the wheels with the logos facing in or out and highlight them with some flat white dry brushing to give the model that “street rod” look to match the stance and side pipes. Don’t be afraid to use the plastic axles – they work just fine but if they get a little loose just use a drop of glue to keep the wheels in place. Put them into one wheel then slide the axles through the chassis into the other wheel.
Snap the body into place over the fenders by starting at the front. Insert the front bumper brackets through the holes in the fender section and then just locate the posts on the frame through the holes at the rear of the car. Now snap on the grill, headlights, sirens, bumpers, exhaust pipes and running boards. At this point it is easier to add some more of those details before you go on. I used a silver marker to highlight the taillight bezels on the lower fender section then the trim on the upper body. Now install the bubblegum light, spotlights, trunk handle with plate and radio antennae. Everything just snaps into its location.
I added a little color and detail to the interior by spraying the tub flat black and brushed the seats and dash brown and picked out the gauge recesses with a little thinned flat black. Snap the dash into place and then feed the steering mast through the loop at an appropriate angle. Place the window glass securely into the cabin portion over the posts provided. Now add the interior right on top of those posts and snap the whole upper assembly onto the fender section. There are four posts on the lower section that locate on bosses in the upper and you might find it necessary to sand them a bit to get a good fit if you’ve painted the body. There are some large snap latches that protrude through the lower body at the base of the running boards. Put some firm, even pressure on the top of the car to engage those latches.
The decals are simple but eye catching and are pretty thick and durable for young modelers. You really can’t soak them too long and the contours they have to go over are subtle so they will just float on and look great for this subject.
There were no surprises with this kit. Very little flash, thick chrome, good fit, and easy to follow instructions. All the bosses and tabs were in the right place and worked as a snap fit should. The decals were sturdy and bright and this kit can be built by a youngster in under an hour. It also gives them some sturdy decals to learn how those are applied. With a little extra work, an intermediate builder can make this kit look really nice for a shelf display. This is a great starter model and is perfect for the intended age group as well as those who want to add some more detail to of a great subject car.
Thank you to Round 2 Models for supplying the kit and to the IPMS USA for the chance to review this fine model.