1969 Dodge Charger NHRA Funny Car - Chi-Town Hustler
Revell has come out with an all new tool kit of this iconic late 1960’s funny car *, with the offset engine, hood, and chassis all faithfully reproduced in the kit. Based on the reproduction of the actual car, the kit consists of 90 parts, with chrome, body, and clear parts bagged separately from the others. The new mold is impressive: the fiberglass body is a spot on reproduction of the ‘Mini- Charger’, and the chassis frame is delicately molded in one piece with a fully detailed offset cockpit and roll cage. Details are crisp, fit is Tamiya-like, and the model looks great when completed. Rated a “3” in terms of difficulty, experience with small parts is a must. I built the major sub-assemblies: body, engine, chassis frame, suspensions, and cockpit following the 9 page instructions. Here are my notes and comments:
I washed the body and hood with an old toothbrush and mild dish detergent. After air drying, I gently sanded, removing each seam on the rear roof pillars and the seam running down the right and left side of the body. I then glued the hood to the body from the bottom, and attached the front spoiler. I sprayed several light coats of Tamiya fine grey primer, sanding lightly between coats. The underside of the body was sprayed with a coat of flat black acrylic paint, and then completely masked off.
I airbrushed the body with 8 coats of Cobra Colors’ GM magnetic red metallic basecoat. Between coats I checked for dust, and lightly sanded. After drying for 5 days I airbrushed 6 coats of GM mid coat red metallic, a ‘candy’ color, inspecting for dust between coats. After drying for another five days, 6 coats of Cobra Color’s ultra-clear gloss were airbrushed. Lastly, I masked off the body, and painted the front and rear bumpers with Testors’ buffable aluminum lacquer.
After drying for one week, the body was sanded with 3200, 4000, and 6000 sand paper cloths. I then used Tamiya rubbing/polishing compound followed by Maguire’s Swirl Remover 2.0 (# 9), applying each with a moist cloth.
The kit decals are opaque and thin; however, make sure you are prepared as there are 8 large decals that cover over half the body! Take your time and organize everything you will need: tweezers, large flat paint brush, setting solution, swabs, paper towel. I floated each large decal into position using lots of setting solution and water, gently moving each into its proper resting place.
The ‘flame’ hood decal needed extra attention due to the compound surfaces: it covers the flat hood and the round blower cover. The most difficult decals were those for the windshield frames. I could not get the 4-sided decal in place on the rear window. I would suggest cutting this decal (as well as the front window decal) into 2 - 4 pieces for easier application. Instead of using these frame decals, I masked off each window, and painted the frame with Testors’ exhaust metallizer lacquer.
Final body work included attaching the aluminum lacquer painted cockpit shroud, panel and front bulkhead, and the clear windshields. The shroud, panel and bulkhead fit superbly, but be careful with the front windshield! I had to sand the inside edges of the windshield as it did not fit flush with the body, possibly due to the build up of numerous coats of paint.
The 426 super charged Hemi is a monster! It assembles easily. I painted the block and transmission with Alclad aluminum, the super charger, rocker covers and transmission pan were sprayed with Alcad polished aluminum and chrome. I used stretched sprue from the sprue gates for distributor wires, drilling 4 small 0.016” (#78 drill) holes in each rocker cover and 8 holes in the magneto.
Mounting the engine to the chassis frame is tricky, dry fit and dry fit again to make sure everything lines up correctly! I recommend using white glue as you need time to align the engine and headers properly.
First off, I added a .04” piece of sprue to the left (driver side) engine mount, as the engine tilted slightly to the left side. Next (and contrary to the instructions), I glued the right (passenger side) header exhaust with pre-drilled needle points to the engine. I left off the oil line, and also sanded the rear of the transmission to provide more room for the driveshaft. Then I glued the driveshaft to the rear axle.
The engine was then carefully mounted to the chassis and driveshaft, and checked for alignment. I made sure the right header exhaust tips were 90 degrees to the ground, per the diagram in the instructions. Once the white glue was set, I attached the oil line, and carefully glued the left header exhausts to the engine with pre-drilled needle points, making sure the exhaust tips were also 90 degrees to the ground.
The oil and fuel tanks are mislabeled in the instructions. The large tank is actually the fuel tank; the small is the coolant tank.
The frame was carefully removed from the sprue gates, and lightly sanded. I then sprayed a light coat of primer to highlight any areas that needed further sanding. My Flex I File sander got a work out in the tough to reach spots. The frame was then re-primed and painted Testors Chrysler engine red.
When dry-fitting, I discovered the axle was a smidge wider than the chassis frame attachment points. I simply stretched out the frame to meet the axle, but it would have been better to add a piece of sprue to each side of the frame’s axle attachment points.
The shocks were installed after the rear axle was glued to the chassis, and needed to gently flex each shock as I inserted its tip to the axle. I glued each wheelie bar to the wheelie bar cross member, and then glued this assembly to the axle.
The slicks were sanded on a sheet of 400 grit sand paper. They looked great when the seam was removed! I carefully fitted the 2 piece rear wheels to each slick. First, the inner wheel half was inserted through the front of the tire and the leading edge popped through the tire opening. Next I clicked the outer wheel half into the tire, and it sat perfectly flush on the outer edge of the tire.
I needed to detach my glued tie rod, as it interfered with the trailing arms. I flipped it over and the problem was solved. So make sure the tie rod is attached in the lower position!
The 4-piece roll cage was carefully dry fitted to make certain the 5 attachment points properly met the cockpit bucket. The 4-piece cage was then glued together. I sanded hardened cyano glue to smooth the right and left side cage attachment points to the front cage.
The steering column and support was attached to the cockpit, after the cockpit was glued to the chassis frame. Otherwise the column will be unsupported. Lastly, the fragile steering wheel was glued to the column.
I placed the body on a towel, with the inside facing up. Turning the chassis over, the rear pins were carefully inserted into the body pivot brackets, gently prodding each pin into the bracket hole. After breathing a sigh of relief and placing the car back on its tires, I said “Wow!!” In the closed position, the car’s smooth racing lines looked great with the injectors lining up just right under the hood opening. When the display support bar is used, the exposed body and chassis frame detail is super cool!
This Level 3 kit is highly recommended for intermediate and advanced modelers due to the delicate nature of the chassis frame, and the engine and suspension set up. Read the instructions, and by all means dry fit and dry fit again, before squeezing out glue on any part. Super detailers will have a field day enhancing this kit! Thanks to IPMS USA and Revell for the opportunity to build the Chi-Town Hustler funny car!