Tom Daniel's "Cherry Bomb"
Fans of 60's and 70's custom show cars will recall that prolific period when it seemed that every week a new car – prototype and/or model – rolled out on display. Many of these vehicles were designed to augment a popular TV show (The Munsters Coach and Dragula, the Monkeemobile, Batmobile, etc); others hit the show circuit, and still others landed on the shelves of our friendly hobby shop where hordes of kids (like me) spent our allowances. Tom Daniel's Cherry Bomb falls into that category. I'd never built it the first time around so I jumped on the opportunity to do so this time.
The kit actually contains three vehicles – the gas turbine-powered car, a surfboard-derived trailer, and a chopper style motorcycle whose gas tank replicates the explosive device in question, which launched many a boys' room toilet seat when lit and flushed. (Or so I hear).
My intention was to build the kit OOB but I found a few areas where I felt compelled to meddle to overcome an issue or add my stamp to the project. These will be pointed out in the review.
Let's start with the trailer, as this is simply two parts. Given the age of the mold, I recommend removing all of the alignment pins and simply attaching the upper and lower halves, aligning as you go. Even after doing this there were still some steps in the wheel well area but these will be covered by the tires, so I simply let them go. Gunze Mr. Surfacer 500 was used to fill any remaining visible gaps. A quick sanding and we're ready for paint.
The car itself is also very simple, built as a curbside with minimal detail. The one-piece chrome turbine engine is trapped, along with the interior, between the upper and lower body halves. I chose to add a flat black wash to the turbine, just to give some definition to all that chrome, before installation. Likewise, the interior looked a little “blah” to me so I took the liberty of finding some 1/32 instrument panel decals from my stash and adding them here and there. The two chromed joysticks are easy to miss on the sprue; be mindful as you're cutting.
A word about chrome, especially chrome parts on older re-releases such as this one. The molds deteriorate over time and flash seeps out during the injection process. On a part that's going to be painted, no big deal – remove by scraping or sanding and paint. On chrome, it's not that easy. I scraped flash as minimally as possible and due perhaps to the red base color of the plastic, got away without touch-ups in some cases. When I couldn't hide a sprue attachment point. I used some chrome silver paint and a little gentle buffing to bring up the luster of the repaired area. Not perfect but close enough.
The “stalk” headlights are a prominent feature. Each consists of a clear stalk, a body-colored cover, and a chrome bezel and headlight. I wasn't happy with the results after assembly – the clear stalks, for instance, are really molded poorly with missing material and a big seam line. I elected to paint everything but the actual lens area in body color, so I spent a lot of time with putty and superglue trying to fair everything in. If I built the kit again, I would mount the stalks to the body, attach the chrome to the covers, do my blending, and then attach the headlights to the stalks after painting is complete. As it happened, I cleverly neglected to mask the headlight lenses (don't ask) so I used BareMetal Foil to replicate them after the build was done.
Other than this, assembly of the car was straightforward. A few seam gaps were filled, the engine and cockpit were masked, and the entire body was shot with Testors Ruby Red Metallic out of a rattle can, followed by a clear coat of DupliColor product. Because this was build for a review, I didn't spend as much time polishing out the paint as I might have and this shows in the photos.
After paint, attachment of suspension and trim parts takes about 2 minutes. I chose to meddle again and decided that offsetting the front wheels would add a little character to the finished car. I did this by cutting off the stub axles on the front suspension, drilling into the resulting area at an angle, and installing new axles from scrap tubing in my parts box.
All of the vinyl tires in the kit (8 total) had some flash and shiny treads. A few minutes spent sanding the tread area removed the flash and gave me a uniform appearance. However, some of the tires started shedding their tread! (Maybe Monogram is using retreads?) I “solved” this by rotating the worst part of the tread to the bottom.
The chopper bike is actually the most complex part of the kit, and is mostly chrome except for the frame and seat. I dealt with the chrome issues as noted above. I departed from the kit build sequence by not trapping the chromed fork/handlebar into the frame. Instead, I cut away most of the center strut on the fork but left enough material that I could snap it into the frame after painting. This was a trial cut-and-fit process but worked well for me. I figured out that the blob molded to the top of the cherry-bomb shaped fuel tank was supposed to be a fuse, so I ground that off, drilled a hole, painted a piece of Plastruct rod with Chrome Silver, and glued it in. The chrome engine doesn't fit very well on the frame, I sort of back-pedaled this by installing the chain and exhausts first and then using them to locate the engine. I used 5 minute epoxy to make sure it stays in place. I used a red Sharpie marker on the inside face of the clear taillight and then glued it into the rear fender with white glue.
Finishing up was pretty straightforward. I departed from the original graphics because I thought the car looked better without decals. The clear bubble top for the turbine engine was laid in place and I “wicked” Future polish around the perimeter, using a paintbrush, to fix it in place without risking glue marks. The bubble top for the car itself doesn't fit great, and if you try to install it using the molded-in hinge rod, I guarantee you'll break it trying to force it in. I took the same approach as used for the front fork of the motorcycle and cut off enough material to leave two stubs that could be coerced into the hinge pocket without forcing them. The finished, 3-piece model is a nice departure from my usual genres and looks nice on the shelf!
Thanks to IPMS/USA and Monogram for the opportunity to review and build the kit. And on a personal note, having been the guy who established the Reviewers' Corps lo these many years ago, it's a hoot to be back!