Monogram 1/24 Folger's Monte Carlo

KIT #: 2734
PRICE: $4.35 at the BX in 1986
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 1986 issue

HISTORY

Tim Richmond (June 7, 1955 August 13, 1989) was an American race car driver from Ashland, Ohio. He competed in IndyCar racing before transferring to NASCAR's Winston Cup Series (now Sprint Cup Series). Richmond was one of the first drivers to change from open wheel racing to NASCAR stock cars full-time, which has since become an industry trend. He won the 1980 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year award and had 13 victories during eight NASCAR seasons.

Richmond achieved his top NASCAR season in 1986 when he finished third in points. He won seven races that season, more than any other driver on the tour. When he missed the season-opening Daytona 500 in February 1987, media reported that he had pneumonia. The infection most likely resulted from his compromised immune system, which was weakened by AIDS. The disease drastically shortened his life. Despite the state of his health, Richmond competed in eight races in 1987, winning two events and one pole position before his final race in August of that year. He attempted a comeback in 1988 before NASCAR banned him for testing positive for a banned substance; after NASCAR insisted on access to his entire medical record before reinstating him, Richmond withdrew from racing. NASCAR later stated their original test was inaccurate.

Richmond grew up in a wealthy family and lived a freewheeling lifestyle, earning him the nickname "Hollywood". In describing Richmond's influence in racing, Charlotte Motor Speedway president Humpy Wheeler said: "We've never had a race driver like Tim in stock car racing. He was almost a James Dean-like character." When Richmond was cast for a bit part in the 1983 movie Stroker Ace, "He fell right in with the group working on the film," said director Hal Needham. Cole Trickle, the main character in the movie Days of Thunder, played by Tom Cruise, was loosely based on Richmond and his interaction with Harry Hyde and Rick Hendrick.

THE KIT

Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s, NASCAR kits were a really big thing. For a while, some kits were valued at well over $100 and one of them, a kit I still have, the Bill Elliot Coors Thunderbird, was selling from specialty shops for $150. Part of this came from model kit makers no longer doing cars with beer or tobacco advertising for the fear that if little ones saw them, they would immediately hanker for a brew and a smoke. However, like Beanie Babies, the bottom fell out of the market and even rare kits can now be found for considerably less than what they were valued in the hey days.

This kit is Tim Richmond's 1986 fastback Monte Carlo and like other kits from this time, at one time sold for about $75. Now you can find them for as little as $20 from vendors at shows. This particular kit was sealed and not opened until I wrote this article so is in pristine condition for a 27 year old kit. Monogram decided to mold this in a maroon plastic, apparently to aid in either painting or in building the car without the need for paint. Nice for kids and something a bit different for the more mature modeler. I was pleased to see that the decals were in excellent condition, undoubtedly thanks to my careful storage of my kits to prevent issues from heat or moisture. While Monogram decals from this time period tend to be a bit thick and also a tad transparent, with the use of hot water, they do conform well. Not really an issue when it comes to these slab sided NASCARs.

It seems that just about all these kits have very similar chassis. The roll bar configurations  and general layout seem to be identical. Of course, since these folks were using the same rule books, that is not so difficult to understand. There is a full roll cage that includes the upper sections as well as the side pieces. The instructions for assembly of this part of the kit take up almost a third of the sheet, and seam clean-up is a major building issue.  Also quite similar are the engines and again for the same reason. These are actually quite nicely detailed and though perhaps not up to today's standards, are still very nicely done. Those with the will and the skill will find them easy to wire.

About the only difference in these kits is the body shell and clear bits to match. The body is not a complete shell, but has a separate nose piece and the bumper section is also separate as is the rear deck spoiler. However, it does attach to the rest of the chassis as a single unit so it means that painting it will not be an issue. Note, however, that the clear bits fit from the outside making painting even easier as there is no masking.

The kit also has a fair amount of chrome. Not like you would see on a street car, but for wheels and a few engine bits. The chrome is very nicely done, though removing the parts from the sprue and cleaning the seams may well remove chrome you do not wish removed. Thankfully, Alclad II Chrome is really chrome bright and can be used once the parts are stripped for repainting.

I have already mentioned the decals and though I am not sure of availability, there used to be a raft of aftermarket NASCAR decals from Fred Cady and the like.
CONCLUSIONS

If you are a fan of NASCAR past, when the kits flew hot and heavy, then you may want to think about looking about for this one or one of the dozens produced by Monogram or AMT during the time. They are a nice change from the usual and kits that add interest to your display shelves.
REFERENCES

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Richmond

December 2012

My thanks to me and my now quiescent kit collecting genes.

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