The Grim Reapers description on Revell’s website sums up the premise best, “The baddest of the bad is back and hotter than ever. Tom Daniel's devilishly designed Grim Reaper still has that mean, classic look 40 years after it was designed. The Grim Reaper starts with raked, custom, square-tubular forks and cool, dual-square headlights. Then, there's the "coffin" shaped gas tank on the custom frame with custom stitched seat, and "Iron Cross" medallion. It's all powered by a classic V-twin motor with down-swept chrome pipes. Kit features tons of chrome parts, flexible tubing for wiring, swing out kick stand, and soft black tires”.
This review covers the 2016 re-release of the Grim Reaper Chopper 1:8 Scale Monogram Kit #85-7541. It’s a Skill Level 5 kit for the advanced builder due to some intricate assembly but there are no decals in this kit. This is a rerelease of the kit with a different box art from the original. Revell has also released this kit as the Harley Davidson Freedom Chopper. There are 80 pieces molded in white, chrome, clear, with black flexible tubing and black soft tires and very well laid out instructions. Overall dimensions are~: Length 14¾”, Width 4”, and Height 5¼”.
Construction and Detailing
Construction of this kit begins with the frame and fork but because the frame is used to trap the forks into position you’ll have to repair a sink mark on the inside of the frame near the rear wheel hub and remove the light longitudinal mold lines on the frame tubing. Be careful to add glue to the contact points and ridges indicated in the instructions to trap the forks pivot points. It helps to use some CA glue and accelerant here and as it sets up keep moving the forks to ensure freedom of the radial movement. You’ll also find that a visible seam on the top of the gas tank when the frame halves come together. Use some putty to fix that seam so it doesn’t show. After that you can paint the frame. Additionally, I used some foil to wrap the square tubing of the forks prior to installation.
At that point construction of the kit becomes straight-forward and there are no surprises. This version has some nice soft vinyl tires compared to the two-piece tires in the older motorcycle kits. The wheels match up nicely and look great when assembled. Just manipulate the wheels onto the hubs with a little separation pressure being careful not to break the glue joints. The frame parts are pretty straight and any slight warpage is remedied when you glue the parts together. Use a low pressure clamp or rubber bands to keep the frame in position while it sets up.
The dual rectangular headlights were a nice touch and with a little clear amber they add a little color to the mysterious black or dark purple “required” for this build! The “his-n-hers” custom seat is also distinctive and the Iron Cross at the top of the sissy-bar is a nice highlight.
The engine is pretty nicely detailed and goes together well following the precise instruction sheet. One thing to note is that the spark plug paint callout indicates a red color and red wires are suggested but there is only black wiring/tubing supplied in this kit. You might consider aftermarket red tubing or painting the sparkplugs black instead. All of the tubing and wires fit onto their respecting locating pins nicely but if you find it to be a problem warm the tubing up and flare the ends with point of a compass or pin to stretch it a bit larger to receive the pin. One issue came up in that regard with my sample; the bottom locating pin of the oil tank was broken off. I simply drilled out the locating pin and used a small thumb tack glued from the inside to replace it.
Tom Daniel had great eye for design and this kit is no exception. The mystery of the Grim Reaper and the custom touches incorporated here make for an outstanding model. This is an old design for sure and the split gas tank molded into the frame would surely be a separate piece nowadays. The model built easily and quickly thanks in part to the great instruction set. There is a little extra prep time involved in removing the frame parting lines as well as the gas tank seam and frame sink marks but after that you can build it quickly. The only other thing that was a negative for this kit is that there were no decals. A subtle image of the Grim Reaper for the gas tank and a couple pinstripes would really enhance its display. Still, I would like to thank Revell for bringing back these classic kits and also IPMS for letting me share the review with you.