Revell 1/25 'Jungle Jim' Vega

KIT #: 4288
PRICE: $24.95 SRP
DECALS: One Option
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken


'Jim' Liberman began drag racing in the Stock division at Fremont Raceway in 1964. He made a huge jump up to funny car in 1965, driving a nitromethane injected Hercules Nova. Later that year he started on the national scene as the driver of Lew Arrington's supercharged Brutus GTO Funny Car. In 1966, Liberman went out on his own in his first supercharged Chevy II. In 1967, he went on a tour that established him as a household name within drag racing circles across the country. Despite making eight second runs in his Chevy when other top dragracers in factory-sponsored cars made runs in the seven second range, he gained a large fan following. Liberman was more interesting. Liberman won the hearts of the spectators after he did wheelstands for the full length of the track in a two race match race against Don Nicholson.

Liberman's growth in 1967 prompted him to run a two car team in 1968. His choice as the first driver in his second car was Clare Sanders. Others drivers using Liberman's cars included Ron Attebury, Jake Crimmins, Roy Harris, Russell Long, Pete Williams, and former partner Arrington. Liberman's team went on to include a Steve Kanuika-owned and sponsored nine-second heads-up '69 Camaro and a Dutch Irrgang-driven '72 Vega Pro Stocker.

Super Stock & Drag Illustrated had a story idea that required the total disassembly of a Funny Car down to the last nut and bolt for a true exploded-view picture. Nearly every leading driver in the category turned down the magazine's request. Liberman complied, and the resulting publicity only added to his legend. Another one of his strengths was that Liberman was the main Chevy banner carrier.

Liberman toured with a woman named "Jungle Pam" Hardy. Liberman met 18 year old Hardy while she was in high school. She toured with Jungle Jim wearing skimpy outfits and provocative on-track actions. She helped him back up after he did burnouts.

She described Jungle Jim: "All that showmanship was his true personality. He just didn't turn that on at the track and then became normal like everyone else at home. He had that sort of flair even when we were just at the house or went out some place. You could always feel his presence wherever he was."

Liberman concentrated primarily on match races while touring the United States, not on racing on the NHRA circuit. He had one national event win in NHRA competition at the 1975 Summernationals at Englishtown NJ. His second car was driven by Clare Sanders to victory at the 1969 Winternationals.


Revell has been embarked on a program of doing some very nice new mold car kits and I'm pleased to see that they are adding some funny cars to the mix. This particular one is one that Revell did in their big 1/16 scale series many years ago. 

Molded in white plastic, the detail on the parts is first rate, as one would expect of a modern 21st century kit. And it should be as car kit prices seem to escalate a dollar or two each year. Of course, this may well be due to all the licensing as this one had to get it from GM, the NHRA, all the sponsor logos as well as from the estate of Jim Liberman for the likeness of the model and the name. It means a $25 car kit and one wonders how much of that is licensing fees.

Anyway, the kit comes with a complete one-piece roll cage/frame, something that will surely speed up building and help to keep things level. I'm not looking forward to seam scraping on the cage, but it is nice to have it all done at one time. The chrome parts are superbly done, though I'm sure many of us will be de-chroming many of the parts and repainting them in aluminum. This would be particularly true of engine parts. I notice that the front wheels supplied are the 'solid' type with a lot of bolts. Unlike the 'Chi-Town Hustler', this car has a very straight forward frame with the engine on the centerline. I am thinking that perhaps Revell will be using this same frame for similar cars in the future as many of these cars were built by just a few constructors. Four nicely molded rubber/vinyl tires are included and the clear bits are well done with no stress fractures that one sometimes sees. The body is designed to pivot at the rear and a body support is part and parcel of the package.

Instructions are very well done with clearly done construction steps. In areas where alignment might be an issue, there are detail drawings. All of the parts are named and colors provided, something that I know I appreciate. The car is to be painted an overall gloss blue metallic with a black frame and gold inner panels. Decals are very nicely printed. Modern Revell decals are quite good and these appear to be equally well done. 


As one who likes these sorts of cars and has seen them run, I knew I had to get my hands on it when it was released. If you are into go fast cars from the early 70s, then this is one for you.


October 2011

My thanks to for the review kit. Get yours at your favorite shop or ask them to order it for you.

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