Ed Roth's Outlaw
Ed “Big Daddy” Roth was one of the greatest hot rodders of all time. Starting in the early1950s, his customs and show cars have become the stuff of legend. The Outlaw was his first use of fiberglass and, when it hit the car show circuit in 1960, it became an instant sensation. Thanks to Roth’s deal with Revell, the Outlaw lives on along with many of his other creations. Revell has seen fit to release it once again; let’s take a look at it.
The kit is molded in white, with an extensive chrome tree; there are probably more chromed parts than there are unchromed. Four soft vinyl tires, a decal sheet to replicate the custom paint job, and a sheet of acetate for the windshield round out the list of parts. As an added bonus, the kit includes a 6-piece car show trophy, a signboard, and 6 stanchions so you can make up your own custom car display. The engraving on all the parts is still crisp, but the tooling is starting to show its age. Seam lines are prominent, and there is a fair amount of flash, especially on the small, delicate, chromed pieces (of which there are many). There are two particularly bad seams running down either side of the back of the body. In addition, the parts are molded very close to the trees, leaving no room to get a set of nippers in to cut them off. I had to revert to using my trusty old hobby knife to remove the parts.
The instructions are standard Revell fare: good line drawings with part numbers and names and paint call-outs. A template for the windshield is also included, as is a set of drawings showing where all the decals go. There are several inaccuracies, however. In step 2, the tie rod is shown upside-down and, in step 3, the left and right exhaust mufflers are shown being attached to the wrong side of the car. The left and right exhaust trees are similarly mislabeled in that same step, and the way they are shown being installed is incorrect (more on this later).
The chassis builds up out of 5 separate pieces. Getting these assembled square and true is critical, as everything else on the car builds onto the chassis. After dealing with flash issues and getting everything together, I had to set a book on top of the assembly while it dried to keep it lined up properly.
The engine is a showpiece on this kit. It consists of 24 pieces, most of which are chrome. While it all fits together well, the instructions do a poor job of indicating which way the intake manifold should go. Look at the carburetors and which way they point. The bottoms of the carburetors are heart-shaped, and the pads where they attach to the manifold are also heart-shaped. Get the hearts pointed the correct way and you’re good to go. One major problem with the carburetors: the sprue attachment point is on the top, right where it is most visible. Touch-up painting or rechroming/Alclad are your only options to repair the damage you’ll cause.
The front suspension is the typical spidery-delicate early Ford setup. Assembly is made all the more difficult by the fact that nearly all the parts are chromed, as well. It took several days of attaching one or two parts, getting them lined up, and then letting them dry before I finally got the whole thing together, and even then it came out just a tiny bit cock-eyed.
The rear suspension is less ornate but no less tricky. It attaches to the frame in only three places: the top of the spring, and then ends of the (chrome) shock absorbers. I had to install the engine along with the rear suspension so that the drive shaft could be kept in proper alignment by the transmission. I would also recommend a slight deviation from the instructions at this point: install the exhaust mufflers before installing the rear axle. The mufflers don’t interfere with the axle, but the axle does a pretty good job of hiding the attachment pins for the mufflers. And speaking of the mufflers, the way they and the exhaust trees are assembled is shown incorrectly, as well. The exhaust trees have a long D-shaped pin that fits through a similarly-shaped hole in the frame; the exhaust mufflers are then attached to the part of the pin that protrudes on the inside of the frame.
The wheel assemblies were fairly simple. The super-skinny front tires seem to be too narrow for the wire wheel assemblies, but the rear wheels and tires fit together well. The only problem I had with the rear tires was with the whitewalls. These had to be painted on with acrylic paint, but when I pressed the wheels into the tires, the sidewalls flexed so much that the paint cracked! I was able to touch up the whitewalls without them looking too bad, but I would advise others not to paint them until after the tires and wheels have been assembled.
The body consists of three parts: the main tub and the wild, two-piece radiator shell. The body tub had to be carved a bit on the inside to allow the interior sides to fit snugly where they met the dashboard. The radiator shell seemed to fit together pretty well, until it was time to install the grill. This had to be installed from behind, but the back of the opening wasn’t large enough for the grill to fit through. There appeared to be a lot of excess plastic in this area and, after a few minutes of carving, I was able to pop the grill in place nicely.
The interior is molded as a tub with the seat in place. A two-piece steering wheel and the clutch and brake pedals are the only things to be added. No complaints here, except that the edges of the tub need to be cleaned up. I also drilled out the holes in the horn ring and painted the crossbar on the steering wheel black. Contrary to the instructions, the steering wheel is actually white and turquoise, and the hydraulic unit is white in my reference photos. The windshield frame has the rear view mirror molded in, but on mine, the mirror is tilted up and to the right at a crazy angle. Perhaps it got bent over at some point during construction, but I can’t see any marks to indicate that.
For me, construction started with the chassis and the engine block. Once those were assembled, I painted each as a unit. After some filling and several light coats of primer, the chassis, body, and front end got several coats of flat white, followed by a coat of gloss pearl. I masked off the dashboard before the gloss pearl, because I wanted it to match the pure white of the upholstery. The gauges on the dashboard were fairly lightly engraved, so I foiled them and then applied a black wash to tone down the background while letting the raised markings stand out a bit. Meanwhile, I brush-painted turquoise on the appropriate parts of the interior tub and gave it all a coat of semi-gloss clear.
The next step with the body and chassis was the application of the decals. These went on okay for the most part, but with all the compound curves they had to conform to (especially on the front end), there were a lot of creases. MicroSol helped some, but didn’t get everything out. Getting decals 6 and 7 to line up with the large side decals 1 and 2 was quite a challenge; had I realized how these decals had to mate up, I would have installed the large side decals first. Once all the decals were applied, I sprayed a final gloss coat over everything to seal and protect them.
Aside from the difficulties mentioned elsewhere in the review, the build went pretty well. Be aware that most of the small holes in the various parts will have to be drilled out larger to accept the pins that are supposed to go through them. For that matter, most of the bigger holes (for the axles) will have to be drilled out also. I did have trouble with a couple of items. First, the instructions don’t really show where the bottom ends of the windshield supports attach. From looking at my photos and the box art, I decided to attach them to the frame right about where the engine mounts are. The other issue I had was with the exhaust pipes. These are supposed to run from the cylinder heads to the ends of the exhaust trees that I talked about earlier. There are even indentations in the backs of the exhaust pipes to indicate where they are supposed to mate up with the trees. Needless to say, mine didn’t line up quite right. It may be that I had the trees on the wrong sides of the car (remember the instruction problems in that step?). In the end, I was able to get the exhaust pipes connected, and they even look like they’re properly lined up; they just don’t attach to the exhaust trees in exactly the places they’re supposed to.
Attaching the front end was another difficulty. With all the layers of paint (and probably partially due to the castings themselves), the front end would not fit on to the chassis without quite a bit of scraping, sweating, and swearing.
The final touch was the display. I painted the trophy and sign board pieces as directed, but I thought the trophy didn’t look right painted all black with silver (Krylon chrome) accents. I added some gold as well, but if I had to do it over I would also consider maybe a wood brown instead of black for parts of the trophy. The stanchions were sprayed with Krylon chrome, and then the bases painted with flat black. Some red #5 pearl cotton floss serves as the ropes. I made the stand from an old plaque (5 years of service for a former employer!) and a piece of vinyl tile that was left over from our mudroom. A little sticky-tack on the bottoms of the stanchions holds them in place, but will let me remove them easily so I can display other models on the base as well.
In the end, I think the kit came together pretty well. It has its problems, but nothing that one would not expect from tooling that must be close to 50 years old by now. If I had it to do over again, I would paint the body plain white instead of pearl white; paint the whitewalls after installing the wheels; be a little smarter with installing the decals in the right order; and be a little more careful with the exhaust trees. I would also consider replacing the solid chromed front springs with ones made from silver wire for a more realistic look.
This kit is definitely not for a beginner, but if you keep in mind that this is old tooling and plan for the typical problems associated with such, you should be able to get a nice build out of it. My thanks to Revell and to IPMS/USA for giving me the opportunity to build this kit.