Tom Daniel's T'rantula - Wild Digger With Drag Chute

Published on
March 2, 2011
Review Author(s)
Product / Stock #
Company: Revell, Inc. - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Revell, Inc. - Website: Visit Site
Box Art


When Monogram released the T’rantula in 1968, I was interested - another Tom Daniel design of a cool but hot rod. Problem was, I would have had to mow an extra lawn or two for the money (probably a whopping $3 or $4 back then) since my budget was quickly spent on Vietnam era aircraft and armor kits that I could watch on the news. I was pleased to see Revell re-release this kit in December 2010 so I could finally satisfy my curiosity.

My thanks go out to Revell for re-releasing and providing this kit for review and to IPMS USA for letting me do the review.

In the Box

Inside the box are 66 parts on 5 sprues of citrus green, chrome and clear, 4 tires, instructions and a decal sheet of dash instruments, racing logos and a spider web. One of the things that caught my eye as a kid were the options to either display the finished T’rantula doing a ‘wheelie’ as if coming off the starting line or slowing down after the race with a fully deployed drag chute. For the Wheelie, there’s a support to hold the front end up (molding in clear) and for the slowing down option, there’s an ‘open’ drag chute pack to use with the open chute. There’s also a fierce looking 1¼ inch diameter spider included.

The Kit

The instruction sheet is folded and printed strangely so you’re going to be turning and flipping them over occasionally but it’s no big deal. The recommendations for finishing and painting are on the back (?), uh, front (?), uh, opposite step 1 on the same page but upside down, but either way, you might want to look at them first because you’ll want to finish some parts before assembly. For example you’ll want to pre-paint the dash board and apply decals prior to assembly, etc.

Injection molding technology then wasn’t what it is today. You have to be careful removing the small parts when they’re surrounded by fat sprues as they can easily be squeezed into breaking. I had to rebuild the steering wheel since I tried to separate it with some chubby clippers.

Some of the chrome parts have a particularly heavy coat of plating on them. Need to make sure you scrape it away completely where parts are to make contact. The thickness of the chrome on some parts is enough where it can create a gap too wide for joints to make good contact.


Construction of the T'rantula was straight-forward and fast. The engine, body and cockpit were all built up and finished in sub-assemblies and fit together well. The axels and front suspension and steering rods also fit together nicely but you need to carefully scrape that chrome off very small areas to get the glue to hold. It was kind of tricky with my fat digits trying to get the instrument panel set just right but it went in. It's important to scrape the chrome away from the little pins and sockets on the front axle where the tie rod ends connect to the steering arm and where the long steering rod connects to the top of the steering arm. I stacked up some paper for a jig, pressed the axle into place and glued the tie rod ends and steering arm in place and left it to dry completely before proceeding. It's pretty sturdy.


The suggested colors Mr. Daniel had in mind are included in the instructions. I used Testors One Coat Lacquer since they go on thick (covering small imperfections well), have that metal flake finish look and are quick to dry. The 'Lime Ice' green on the body and the 'Fiery Orange' on the engine block and heads gave the desired effects. I over-sprayed the chrome parts (except for the 4 wheels) with clear black 'window tint' which knocked down the intense chrome shine and at the same time pulled out the details. I was surprised and very pleased with the effect. I used a foam sanding block of 80 grit to take the shine off the tires and rough them up a bit - gave them the 'burnout' look.


I had a blast one weekend starting and finishing this kit and was real happy with the results. Tom Daniel hot rod designs have intrigued car enthusiasts for several generations. Monogram and Revell kits have brought these replicas to kids of all ages where they might not have otherwise been able to experience them.

I highly recommend the T'rantula not only for the young, up and coming gear-heads out there but also for the experienced modeler and the guys looking for simple relief of AMS. This is an excellent kit for those with a little less modeling experience that yields a quick build that looks good on the shelf with minimal finishing.

Thanks again to Revell and IPMS USA for the chance to review it.


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