Subject: 1959 Cadillac Eldorado convertible (pink)
Media: Injection molded styrene
Price: US$10.95 , but probably higher in other places
Detail: 9 (ascending scale 1-10)
Accuracy: 9 (based on other expert commentary) (ascending, 1-10)
I'm a aircraft builder and history major, therefore I' m qualified tocomment one everything (watch out for dripping sarcasm). In July, my employer talked me into doing a contract piece for a retiring friend of hers, and - with the blind, stupid confidence of one who has built for over 25 years, I agreed to do so.
She wanted an older model Cadillac, and I couldn't have chosen a better kit than the Monogram issue, period. Although I can offer expert testimony to the accuracy of a 1986 Subaru GL-10's cooling system (and not from building a small scale replica, either), I can only speak as to the ease and apparent detail of this kit. That said, the engine detail seems only to miss ignition wiring to look like the real item. I wish you could find a Rolls Royce Merlin aircraft engine in a kit to look half as good.
The whitewall tire and wheel units were easy to assemble and looked great. The vinyl tires do have a molding seam along the center of the tread that needs to be trimmed, but sanding the tires with 400 or 600 grit sandpaper camouflages the trimmed areas with a scale-like wear effect. The chassis underside has well-executed molded detail and is complemented with additional suspension and drive-train parts. Installing the shocks will take a little dry fitting and tweezer work to do right.
Since this was going to be a curbside diroama, I built the bodywork with a closed hood and painted it before additional assembly (saving the engine for a future project for my neighbor). Painting was a base coat of Testor Flat Gray Primer (I'd use Flat Gull Gray the next time) was followed by four coats of Testor Black Pearl Metallic, with 600 and 10,000 grit wet sanding between the primer and each of the first three color coats. I know I should have used wax, but a rub-out with a cotton handkerchief on the final coat still worked well.
The passenger cabin basically falls together, but I'd paint the individual door sides and main pan separately before assembly. The dashboard has good positive location points (a big change from when I built a few car kits back in the early 1970's), and the three-piece steering wheel and column look great. You get a choice of bench or bucket seats for the front. I chose bucket seats, and covered the metal framing and trim with Bare Metal Foil.
Separate sun visors, windshield wipers, rear-view mirror, door handles and a rear-mounted radio speaker also add to the completeness of this kit. (Maybe they'll apply to same philosophy to future aircraft kits?). You can build her closed or open-topped, with the housing for a folded top provided. Bumpers, mirrors, and all other chrome parts fit well, although there is a lack of positive location for the chrome cones on the inner fins. One their proper location is determined, they fit fine with the stop-light housings. The only real problem I had was fitting the windshield clear part into its frame. Take some time and make sure it fits before gluing.
Monogram provides a sheet of foil for the abundant chrome panels and trim on the body, but I used Bare-Metal Foil instead. (Better the devil you know). This isn't a reflection on what Monogram offers; I just had to be certain because this was a contract project. I did use the foil visor mirror, but replaced the kit license plate stickers with 1961 Virginia plates made using Aldus Pagemaker software at work. That artwork was shot onto PMT photo paper in my employer's print shop. A similarly-produced inspection sticker and city sticker were printed on bond paper and stuck inside the windshield with 3M Spary Mount adhesive (Yes, it was as hard as getting a real inspection sticker inside a windshield!) The separate wipers allowed insertion of a 1961 Norton, Va. parking ticket made from bond paper colored with a tan Prismacolor pencil
She was mounted on a curbside scene in a large-size AMT/Ertl display case, using Elmer's Carpenter's Wood Filler for asphalt, Evergreen styrene sheet for the sidewalk, various strip for the curb and storm drain grate and plenty of scribing, paint, India ink and drybrushing to reproduce asphalt and concrete. Also, two parking meters were scratched from styrene strip, brass rod and tube.
Monogram has also issued a hardtop Eldorado, and most of the comments apply to that kit. If you want a change of pace, this kit may persuade you to broaden your horizons from just airplanes.
I'd build it again in a heartbeat.
- Mike Still
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