Monogram 1/24 Jet Powered Racer 'Firebolt'

KIT #: PC-51
PRICE: around $15-20 on the used kit market
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: Reissue from 1959


It is interesting how things have changed in the last 50-60 years when it comes to model kit. Back when I was a youngster, model companies prided themselves on accuracy, hence things like Revell Authentic Kits being a big banner on the company logo. Now we know that these were not really what we'd call accurate today, though most of those kits did have the proper shape. I say most as anyone building an old Aurora kit today can attest that accuracy was often general in terms. These kits were frequently to whatever scale fit the box and often were not only covered in golf ball size rivets (at least in terms of aircraft) but frequently had the areas for decals embossed on the surface.

Then there was a perceived requirement for play value. These products were strictly aimed at young makes under 14 or so and needed to have working parts or something similar so that one's hour of gluing and painting could be followed by imaginary play time. Many think that this lack of imaginary play is what is seriously lacking in today's parent-programmed youth, but that is another subject.

Unsupervised outdoor activities were the norm in most parts of the United States and what is looked upon in horror by modern parents who wish to keep their kids in a safe bubble, was simply part of growing up as a child in the 1950s and 60s. One of those were things like CO2 powered cars. CO2 cartridges were available at every drug store for a quarter or less and the model makers adapted a number of kits specifically for this purpose. These cartridges were designed for inflating life preservers, but someone thought it would be cool to have them power toy cars.This is one of several kits produced by Monogram that were adapted to this feature.


Not that long ago, Revell-Monogram thought it would be a neat idea to reissues classic kits from the 50's and 60's in their original packaging. The first batch of releases were not clearly marked as reissues and several unscrupulous people took advantage of the rubes by offering these on e-paid as originals. This is one of those early releases.

The kit itself is quite minimalist in terms of parts. An upper and lower body, four three piece wheels, a driver, steering wheel and canopy complete the kit. Not included are the bits to attach the CO2 bottle . These cars could also be powered by Jet-X solid fuel rocket motors (also easily available back then), but this adapter is also missing from this particular kit.

Instructions are straight from the original including a notice that the CO2 cartridge and the Jet-x bits are available from your local dealer. There is a single decal sheet included that is basically numbers and stripes. This kit's decals have not fared well, and may be unusable, but then finding a suitable replacement may well be as close as your spares stash.


Unless you put a TON of work into this one, it will remain little more than a glorified toy. It will have a huge opening in the back and its plastic wheels and tires will not be up to standards. However, if you want a really quick build and a bit of a trip down memory lane, or the basis for a very cool custom car, then you should seek it out. A quick google showed a bunch in the $15-20 range.

July 2017

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