This review covers the Carl Casper Cosmic Charger 1:25 Scale Model Kit #826. A 2015 release, this model is a reissue with some brand new parts and updated decals. It is rated a skill level 2 kit for the 10 year and older builder although I think this is a bit conservative, and a level 3 rating is probably in order. This is due to the large decals and delicate frame construction. It is molded in white, clear, and chrome pieces with waterslide decals and instructions. Two versions can be built; either a front or top blower configuration are included. This kit features a highly detailed rendition of the 426 Hemi V-8, 15 new parts and pad printed drag slicks. The completed dimensions are Length: 12” Width: 2½” Height: 2¼.”
Construction and Detailing
This kit comes in “retro deluxe” packaging and has great looking box art. It also includes a miniature model box and a full color display card. The color graphic decals were seen on the front blower version of the actual Cosmic Charger. In this build, however, I combined the top blower with those graphics. Not historically accurate; but totally awesome looking!
I began the build with the wheels. I assembled the front rims and tires. Here’s where you must remember to remove the chrome plating from glue contact points. Assemble the rears with the pad printed side out and leave off the brake calipers. They will cause a clearance problem at the wheel well later in the build. The motor assembles easily per the instructions. Here you choose the top or all-new front blower option. You’ll see that some of the sprue connectors are pretty heavy and will leave some of the chrome parts with an attachment void. Touch it up with a sliver marker or foil for the sake of appearance. The valve covers have an “Imperial” script on them from a previous kit version. They won’t be seen under the body anyway unless you convert it to a lift-off style. I added a homemade magneto for detail as an option because you still get a peek at that under the cover. I left the headers off to be installed after the motor is mounted. Finally, install the steering wheel, the steering shaft and crossbar mount.
Sub-assembly construction of the wheel pants, and main body pieces and chassis starts with flash and sink mark cleanup and repair. This is an older kit so you have to expect some extra work to get at the great subject matter. Following that, spray them with a primer along with the frame parts. I painted the frame tubing gloss black and the inside of the cockpit walls aluminum. You’ll have to take your time and test fit often to build the frame. You’ll also need as many arms as an octopus to put it together. Follow the illustrations closely and test fit all of the components. I suggest deviating slightly from the direction build sequence by gluing the two outer walls to the rail frame and allow that to dry. There is enough give in the walls when glued and dried thoroughly to allow the transmission mount and rear end to be glued in place (the rear end axle shafts go through the holes in the cockpit walls). Once the transmission mount and rear end are in place glue in the rear cross member part, the inner side walls, and set the drive shaft/rear end gear cover in place and using some masking tape to hold the whole assembly together until it dries. After that, add the seat, gear shift, gas pedal and brake pedal to the appropriate locations using tweezers.
At this point, I taped the body panels into position for a mock-up and discovered that the header and engine openings need to be enlarged to provide clearance. This is where I discovered the brake calipers caused the rear wheels to be too wide for the available clearance. Paint the body panels with your choice of color coat now
Assemble the fuel tank and forward frame cross-member. Add the fuel tank, pump and fuel line to the chassis then glue the whole assembly to the bottom half of the body. Put a little weight on top of the frame to keep it place while drying. Open up the slot on the body and add the front axle assembly. After that’s dry, snap the wheels into place and add the steering rods. Place some glue on the mating side of the headers and work them into place through the body openings and secure them to the block.
Add the upper nose body section with some slow setting glue then align and test fit the remaining sections making note of where the contact points are for adhesive. Tape them into place and set it aside to dry thoroughly. Glue the canopy glass in with some white glue and add that to the body.
The decals are huge and you’ll need some setting solution to get them to lie down and form to the contours. They go together in a sequence because they overlap so follow the instructions carefully. Don’t forget the one on the front air foil and wheel pants if you decide to use those. Then add them to the front axle to finish your build.
I love building the reissued kits of my youth but they are a little extra work. You’ll need to work on some flash injection tabs for a nice build. The frame parts could use better contact points so they are fragile and finicky to assemble. Careful test fitting, mockups and tape will help overcome those issues. The tires, wheels, engine and body panels are all nicely detailed and got together well. And though the decals are gorgeous, they are a trick to put on so you’ll need some setting solutions for a good application. With some patience and care this is a great looking kit with updated and corrected parts and decals! A big thanks to Round2 for re-issuing this iconic dragster kit and the IPMS for letting me review it!