Polar Lights 1/24 Mach 5

KIT #: 804
PRICE: CAD$18.00
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Pablo Calcaterra and son


I was a Speed Racer fan since I was a kid (Meteoro, in Spanish) and as such, always wanted to have a good model of his famous Mach 5. Finally, with the movie (not very good to capture the spirit of the original cartoon) Polar Lights issued this kit. I built some of the parts of the kit with my son for him to start to get into the hobby.


It has more than 70 pieces, some of them already chromed (mirrors, wheels) and several options can be displayed: saws, jumping jacks, messenger bird, hood with engine (behind the cockpit!!!??) and a complex mechanism to move the front wheels thru the steering wheel. Of course, decals options are for only one example! There are two kits, one easier to build (snap and with stickers) and this one, that requires glue and has waterslide decals.


After doing some research in Internet about this kit, I read that there are several accuracies. I managed to confirm that these facts are right, using the short parts of episodes you can watch in YouTube.

One extra disappointment is that one of the wheels halves was missing so I was forced to copy one in resin, and then paint in chrome silver.

We then built together the cockpit, seats, and I painted everything in red, with some details in black or silver. I must say that the kit has lots of them, including the lap seat belts.

With this part ready, we put together the engine, tanks and exhausts. Now, if the original Mach 5 had had this arrangement, then Speed’s little brother and chimpanzee would have had a very “warm” trip in the trunk…as there is no floor for it. This part of the kit does not make sense at all. The engine should be under the hood, and the interior of the trunk is missing completely. But anyways, for my son to have some fun and for him to build something easy, we put together the engine and everything behind the cockpit, having previously painted them (gray for the engine with some red/brown dust drybrushed, blue for the oxygen tank, silver for the 2 exhausts)

The tail fins are curved but they should be straight, so I corrected this error. Talking about another error, the wheels should have 6 holes instead of the 5 that the ones in the kit have. This is really hard to correct so I decided to leave them as they are.

Top and bottom of the car were glued together and a coat of light gray was airbrushed to find errors and parts to be sanded.

My son wanted to place the car sitting on the jacks and with the saws on, but it would not have looked very nice. So I took the base of the jacks and glued them in place. I left the holes for the arms of the saws untouched.


I had to give the car 5 light coats of White Gloss Acryl paint, until I was able to cover the light gray (dark gray was given to the underside, with some struts highlighted in a different shade). I masked the chromed parts (lights, wheels) with the Vallejo masking solution…an awful product that it’s very thin and very hard to remove as it breaks very easily. Removing it is a nightmare. Once ready and satisfied with the finish, we applied the decals. The “5” on the doors are too small. The “M” is just perfect.

The license plate is missing so, following directions I found in another website, I made it with my printer and glued it with white glue to a little piece of plastic. Then I protected the ink with a light coat of Future applied with the airbrush.

The oval grids on both sides on top of the dashboard were painted in black and then drybrushed in red.

The air intakes beside the cockpit and under the nose were painted in black with a brush.

The messenger bird, painted in chrome silver, was glued in it’s compartment before the windshield.

Wheels were added; light bulbs were glued in place. The glass that covers them (glass) are clear so I painted them with a mix of Future and yellow Acryl paint, using the airbrush.

And finally, the windshield was glued in place.


I am happy with the way it looks, but not too much. Those minor errors like the size of the “5”, and the overall proportions (the kit is too long and narrow, compared to what can be seen in one of the opening scenes on the presentation of the show. And Polar Light claims that they had consulted and got the correct dimensions from the Japanese team…there must be a mistake somewhere). Finally I have my Mach 5, the first and last car that I will ever builtd Nothing can be compared to building planes!



Pablo Calcaterra

April 2009

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