Don Garlits’ Swamp Rat XXX Dragster

Published on
Review Author(s)
Scale
1:25
MSRP
$29.99
Product / Stock #
H7152
Provided by: Atlantis Model Company - Website: Visit Site
Box Art

This review covers the Don (Big Daddy) Garlits’ Swamp Rat XXX Top Fuel Dragster 1:25 Scale Atlantis H7152. Saved from oblivion Atlantis has reissued this model. It’s made in the USA and soon to hit model retailers everywhere.

In the drag racing world, they don’t come any bigger than “Big Daddy”. He helped make changes for safer racing and his designs live on in the modern era. He’s a legend to his fans and his numerous championships, speed records and innovations made drag racing what it is today.

Originally issued in 1987, I don’t think it’s been seen in decades. This brand new re-release from Atlantis Models has 77 pieces, molded in white, chrome and clear with vinyl drag racing tires and nice-looking waterslide decals. Included is a replica figure of Don Garlits.

Construction starts out adding pieces to the one-piece frame. That helps keep things straight but there are a lot of braces, etc., that are added and it’s best to assemble as much as possible prior to paint. Mark the indents and bosses with a pencil and use CA glue to add the cross members and braces to the frame first. Keep things square as you go along. The arrows point out the out the steering shaft in the photo and you can see that most everything can be assembled out in the open.

The seat has some molded-in seat belts that are pretty easy to detail. It fits perfectly into the frame. The armor plate attaches to the frame behind the seat.

The engine is a nice rendition of a supercharged 426 HEMI. A little black wash to bring out the highlights and the addition of an aftermarket ignition set really make the powerplant standout!

The rear frame section is squeezed together on the differential. You can scrape off the paint and lower the engine mounts down onto the frame's top rail for perfect alignment. Then add a drop of thin CA glue to the joints between the frame and differential and driveshaft to keep everything in position.

One of the critical joins in the build is mating the front and rear frame halves. The parts use bosses and receivers for the join and if you scrape off any paint, and use some CA gel, you can position each side separately for an accurate alignment.

At this point in the build you’ll see the model coming together and realize that it’s over a foot long!

The canopy frame fits nicely and adding the glass with a little clear glue provides a sharp look.

The tires assemble easily and pop onto the axles. Scuff the “tread” area and remove the center parting line for authenticity

Once the canopy is dry you can add the decals to the model. They’re very colorful with good register and faithfully mimic the box art run of the Swamp Rat XXX.

I saved adding the rear wing, chute, and wheelie bars until last, as they inevitably get knocked off while handling the dragster when applying the decals.

You get a small version of Big Daddy in the kit. Immortalized in 3” of styrene, he’ll look great standing next to #30 on your shelf!

You’re’ gonna love this blast from the past and a chance to flashback to the golden age of top fuel drag racing. You’ll instantly recall the flames, the roar, the smell of the burnouts, and the thrills from your local dragstrip in the 70’s and 80’s. Flame on “Big Daddy”!

When you’re done the final dimensions are~ L-14¼” W-2¾” H-3½”.

Addendum

Swamp Rat XXX appeared in 1986 when Big Daddy set a Top Fuel record at the Florida Gator Nationals. With a new enclosed cockpit design and a 3,000HP supercharged 426 HEMI, he topped 272mph, setting the NHRA speed record in the quarter mile. That run set the bar for the future of quarter-mile competition. Swamp Rat XXX was so groundbreaking it was donated to the Smithsonian Museum.

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