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Replicas & Miniatures'29 Model A Roadster Transkit


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#1 Bernard Kron

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 02:08 PM

I just received a package of parts from Replicas & Miniatures Co. Of Maryland including their ’29 Ford Roadster Model A Kit (RMCM Part Number B-8). These are my initial impressions of this kit.

This is a transkit based on the Revell family of ’32 Model Fords such as the recent Tudor Sedan, the Goodguys 3-Window Coupe and Goodguys Roadster. All these kits feature the same basic chassis and suspension and this kit, which consists of the parts to build a ’29 Model A Ford Roadster as a highboy up on ’32 Ford frame rails, uses the driveline parts, steering and miscellaneous parts from any of those kits. No wheels or tires are provided.

The transkit consists of the following parts :
1 ’29 A body shell
1 modified Model A engine cover (integrated hood and sides)
1 ’32 Ford grill shell with 2 radiators, but no grill.
1 modified ’32 Ford frame set
1 3 piece tuck and roll interior set.
1 interior floor.
1 2 piece firewall set.
1 set of door handles and rumble seat handle.
2 sets of modified windshield and dashboard with 1 piece of clear acetate.
Detailed instructions and descriptions for the use of the parts in the transkit.

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The main body is based on the AMT ’29 Roadster, which is actually a very well detailed shell. The AMT kits can be readily obtained on e-Bay for around $25.00. Unfortunately, the molds for the AMT kit are several decades old and the kits are a nightmare of flash. The plastic was often molded in odd colors and the body has to be be sealed to paint it. The rest of these kits are horrible late 70’s street rods with poorly made engines, goofy wide front tires, and crude “hot rod” suspension parts. It doesn't even come with a dropped front axle! What one buys these kits for is exclusively the body. For this reason, as you will see, the RMCM kit is quite interesting, being based on a far more contemporary approach to plastic kits and modeling in general.

The first thing you notice when you examine the kit is the very fine quality of resin casting. The resin is exceptionally thin, indeed I would say that the parts are far more fragile than the equivalent parts found in the Revell donor kit. The result is an exceptional fidelity and crispness of detail. However the parts all require very careful handling. In fact there are two sets of printed instructions referring specifically to the thinness of casting. The first is advice on storage of the kit if you aren’t going to use it right away. The advice is to store the parts on a flat surface, not on top of other parts. To quote “ We cast our bodies and other parts thin, but this means the resin is susceptible to being pulled out of shaped by gravity.” Additionally there are painting instructions indicating that the parts could be distorted by differing shrink rates on paint surfaces on the inside and outside of the part, so that you should paint both sides with equal numbers of coats of paint.

I would say that the parts in this .kit are superior in appearance and finish to any equivalent styrene kit I have seen, such as for example the Revell ’29 Model A Pickup kit. Surface quality of all parts, large and small, is immaculate, with no pits, lows spots, or distortions that I was able to find. There is very little flash, and what there is very thin and will require very little effort to remove, leaving no damage to the underlying surface to clean up. In fact I detected several places where the body and frame had already been gone over and some surfaces cleaned up! Very impressive.

The kit is engineered to be a fenderless highboy. The gas tank has been removed and the rear frame horns shortened so that they are tucked inboard of the stock rear body valence. The kickup of the frame rails tucks in behind the wheel well panels and the body rests at the front squarely on the frame rails. On many highboy kits the front of the main shell at the firewall sits just outside the frame rails, so it is clear that when the frame was narrowed to fit the body shell, specific adjustments were made to provide for a perfect fit. Again, very impressive!

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On the original AMT kit the windshield is vertical in relation to the firewall whereas the Revell Pickup in its roadster version, features a slightly raked windshield frame which is very attractive. Unfortunately this thin, delicate part cannot be easily adapted to the AMT shell. RMCM, however, has included two sets of windshield/dashboards, one with the two integrated into one piece, and then one set where each part is separated. In both instances, the windshield is slanted back slightly, about 11 degrees. The dashboard itself is completely blank, allowing for whatever gauges you wish to use.

The Hood and engine side covers are cast as a single piece with a fine accent line cast in on each side to mark the joint between the side cover and the hood. Otherwise they are completely smooth, without even a hinge joint down the middle of the hood. For me this is one of the few weaknesses of the kit. I understand why this approach was taken – after all it is designed for the advanced builder. But the basic appearance of the hood and sides is plain to a fault. It would have required very little to include at least a hinge line down the middle of the hood, and perhaps some nice 3” louvers on the side!

The full height grill shell comes with two radiators, again proportioned for a highboy application. Both radiators are finely detailed on both sides. One radiator is detailed to accommodate a single coolant pipe as used in modern engines, while the second radiator is designed for a Ford Flathead. There is no grill. The shell is engineered to accept the Model Car Garage p/e grill MCG-2091 or MCG-2092). If you want to use the stock grill from the Revell donor kit you will have to remove a small ridge on the inside of the shell which positions the MCG grill.

The firewall comes in 2 pieces. There is a finely detailed exterior upper firewall patterned after the original Model A piece. It attaches to the outside body edge and determines the placement of the hood. The second main firewall is patterned after the Revell ’32 Ford piece and is blank. It attaches behind the other firewall on the interior of the body via locating strips molded into the body.

The kit comes with 2 tiny resin cast door handles and a tiny rumble seat handle. These need to be painted or plated. Holes are drilled in the doors for the door handles, and an indentation in the underside of the body can be opened up for the rumble seat handle.

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The interior is extremely simple, consisting of two tuck and roll side panels and a simple tuck and roll seat. The side panels are designed to be glued directly to the body sides. The seat is located by a strip of styrene which you glue to the underside of the rear of the passenger compartment so that half its width is revealed. You then glue the seat back to the strip.

The interior, while not objectionable in any way, is certainly very basic, although in keeping with the classic hot rod approach of the kit. To my eye the heavy wide pleats of the seat don’t match the side panels very well. If you want to use some other seat or use bucket seats, you will probably face a fair amount of fabrication.

The floor piece is textured to resemble carpeting and has a nicely made floor hump to accommodate more contemporary transmissions. It has indentations to receive the clutch and brake pedals from the Revell kit. Two holes match up to locating pins in the chassis top to accurately locate the floor and interior in relation to the body and chassis.

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The chassis is very finely cast and very clean with no low spots. It includes a crossmember which must be glued in and engine mounts which appear to be placed to use the Ford engine from the Revell Highboy or 3-Window kits. As mentioned earlier, the frame assumes you will use the entire running gear from your Revell donor kit.

The chassis is the other area that I consider slightly disappointing. While the front suspension of the Revellogram ‘32’s is just fine, the rear suspension has always left something to be desired, with it’s funky little airbag doo-hickies. Given the decidedly old-school flavor of building a ’29 highboy in the first place, one would have thought that they would have redesigned the rear to use a transverse rear leaf spring. The answer lies in the fact that the RMCM ’29 A Roadster kit was originally released in October of 2000 when the Revell ’32 was a very welcome new tooling indeed. Since then RMCM has had Rik Hoving master a lovely revision of the Revellogram ’32 frame (RMCM Parts number RH-418) which accepts the front suspension from the Revell Model A kits and uses a combination of the Revell Model A rear suspension with the ’32 traction bars. Substituting something like a modern rear axle trimmed to fit is a pretty simple conversion. I wish RMCM would offer a revision of this kit that includes a narrowed version of the Hoving chassis.

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Overall I am delighted with this kit. The construction, engineering, fit and finish are exceptional on initial examination. The highboy implementation is flawless. My intention is to build this kit “OTB” in the sense that I will stick pretty close to the kit plus Revell donor kit approach. I plan to build a highboy, to use the Revell driveline, and the only concern I have right now is with the engine. I have never liked the Revell Ford particularly and it’s tempting to put something more interesting under the hood – perhaps a nailhead Buick. Also the hood and sides, which I would like to use, will require some work. The interior represents enough additional work that I will probably retain it as is. As regards the rear suspension, I have a copy of the Hoving chassis which I could narrow but I don't plan to use it on this initial build. It’s lovely but appears awfully fine and fragile, so I think on my first build I’ll leave the Revell setup in place and worry about something more authentic for later! Here’s a picture of the Hoving chassis:

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Edited by gbk1, 03 May 2008 - 05:28 AM.


#2 Lyle Willits

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Posted 02 May 2008 - 04:39 PM

Nice review. This is nitpicking, but I just want to point out that a '32 model B simply indicated the '32 Ford with a 4 cylinder engine. Therefore, there is no such thing as a Model B frame or Model B grille shell. They were simply '32 Fords, with the same frames, grilles, firewalls, fenders, suspension parts,etc. etc. I believe the V8 models were designated Model 18's.

#3 Bernard Kron

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 05:30 AM

Nice review. This is nitpicking, but I just want to point out that a '32 model B simply indicated the '32 Ford with a 4 cylinder engine. Therefore, there is no such thing as a Model B frame or Model B grille shell. They were simply '32 Fords, with the same frames, grilles, firewalls, fenders, suspension parts,etc. etc. I believe the V8 models were designated Model 18's.



Thanx Lyle. Nitpick no more - the term "Model B" has been banished from my review! :lol:

#4 theflame

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 01:33 PM

Thanks for the review Bernard - I've probably got 20 of these Revell 32 kits lying around here - might be fun to build one with this transkit? Great detailed review, just the kind of thing I like to read. Thanks! :o

#5 Bernard Kron

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 02:07 PM

Thanks for the review Bernard - I've probably got 20 of these Revell 32 kits lying around here - might be fun to build one with this transkit? Great detailed review, just the kind of thing I like to read. Thanks! :o


'29's look cooler than '32's IMHO, at least with a '32 grill - it has something to do with the more "primitive" surface development, sort of the best of both the Model T and the, uh, Model B that replaced it. Interestingly the Model A evolved in its appearance and the '31 Model A is almost a model B because of the simplified cowl, and in this it crosses the line and you might as well go with the more refined elegance and integration of the Model B.

Just my two bits...

#6 Raul_Perez

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Posted 03 May 2008 - 05:46 PM

Very articulate and comprehensive review!! You should be writing kit reviews for MCM/Gregg!!

Thanks, and I can't wait to see you build this one!!