Polar Lights Jetson's Car
|NOTES:||Easy and fun|
The Golden Age of Television Cartoons gave us the Jetsons in 1962. It gave us a comical look at what the possibly not all that distant future might be like. It was the first program to be broadcast in color on ABC, and like another Hanna Barbara cartoon, The Flintstones, it was originally aired in prime time.
Twenty-four episodes were created in its original run and it would continue to rerun on Saturday mornings into the next decade and is still in syndication today. In the mid-1980’s a new series was created for syndication with most of the original voice actors returning and another fifty-one episodes being created along with an animated film. There has been talk of a live action film or series for some years now, though nothing has yet materialized.
While clichéd in its own way and now anachronistic in some of the ideas presented or the manner in which they were depicted, the show really did predict the future in some ways with computers becoming more and more integrated into daily life, instant food products, an increasingly “pushbutton” society, video chat, remote learning, robots (even robot “maids” in the from of Roomba and similar devices), and more. Some of these things may not look the same or be the same in form or function, yet they have actually become a part of our modern society for better or worse. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, their iconic flying car is something that had not yet materialized, though more and more companies seem to be taking a serious look at the idea. That is the subject of this review.
Released by Polar Lights in 2001, the kit consists of only around twenty parts including the Jetson family figures. I loved the Jetsons as a child and initially was interested in the kit for its nostalgic novelty. However, not being a figure modeler, I was a bit concerned about this aspect of such a build, feeling that I would likely disappoint myself.
That changed when I saw one in an open box at an IPMS model show and saw the figures of the Jetson family were fully assembled, pre-painted vinyl figures, including the loyal family mutt Astro. I had just about decided to purchase the kit that I was looking at when I my number was called during the raffle, and low and behold, I won one. Deciding that it must be fated for me to build it, I happily collected it and brought it home.
The parts are very minimal and simple, but well molded in apple green plastic, and designed fro snap fit. There were upper and lower hull halves of the saucer/bubble car, a large clear plastic bubble dome, seats, and some external parts for the exhaust for field generators, propulsors, or whatever they were. You get a tall clear stand and base with detail to look like and asteroid or moon, replete with craters, emblazoned “the Jetsons” it in raised letters matching the television logo. There is also a part for and exhaust cloud of some sort to be placed at the back of the vehicle. However, I have rarely seen this used on completed model. I have it some thought, but did not like the look and discarded it. The only one that I have seen that look good with this part was a photo on the internet where someone had taken this clear part and dipped it in something glossy, probably Future and then added it. Has I thought of this at the time, I might have gone this route.
The evening that I acquired the kit, realizing that it would be a quick and simple build, I dove into it. The first thing that I did was get out my dvd set of the original Jetsons series and put it on in my shop to set the mood and to get a look at how to paint it. As far as the interior of the machine is concerned, I quickly noticed that there is no right or wrong to painting it.
The interior color is not consistent throughout the series. Sometimes it is more of a brown, other times more magenta, as well as some other colors that I noticed. I chose to mix and match it a little. For the interior carpet area and seats, I went with magenta. Being primarily a military aircraft, ship, and real spacecraft modeler, this was not something that I had on hand, though I had the makings of it. Knowing that this was something that I would never be using again, I simply mixed it up from Testors Purple, Tetsors Dark Gloss Red, and splashes of Gloss White until I had a color that I was satisfied with and sprayed it on.
The “dash pad” that is molded into the upper hull was then painted in Tamiya X-5 Green. The control stick I often see painted in either green or silver. However, while not the same shape as the one from the television show, the color show for this in the show is the on consistency: always black. In this case it would be Tamiya Flat Black.
Now, with these first parts dry, the actual assembly would begin. All of the kit parts were cleanly molded and required only some cleanup with an X-acto. The kit is a snap together affair and the snap fit actually works on this one, mostly. There were two areas that I had to use actual gluing in and a couple where I chose to err on the side of caution.
The control yoke-stick-thing snapped in place in the floor board. Then I turned may attention to the tail empennage. The triangular part snapped together, but with a visible gap and seam that was filled with CA glue and snaded smooth. The lower propulsor units also were glued together, smoothed out and glued in place rather than relying on the snap fit.
I was going to gamble on the hull fitting as planned, so I set about painting it. The entire lower hull was sprayed in Tamiya X-5 green. While this dried, I masked off the dash pad and sprayed the upper hull in Testors Apple Green as well as the vertical fin. One everything was dry, I mated the two sections together and found that I had a very positive and clean join. I then painted and accented the rings and tips of the propulsor units on either side with several metallizers (Testors Aluminum, Steel, Copper, and Brass) until they “popped” enough to satisfy me. The exhaust ports were painted in Testors Aluminum.
I could tell that this was going to be very top heavy on the tall stand. To deal with this, I glued a 4oz. spoon shaped surf fishing sinker in the hollow of the base with five-minute epoxy. When this was dry, I sprayed the asteroid section of the base in Testors Flat Grey. One dry followed up with a heavy wash of Tamiya Flat Black in denatured alcohol to accent the pockmark craters. The clear support was fitted in place and given some thick CA glue for good measure.
While the lettering on the show credits are shown in white, and usually depicted as such on this display base, I had some Model Master Turquoise that I wanted to use for this. This was brushed on the raised letters by hand and I think that the color gives it a nice look appropriate to the period from which the Jetsons hails.
Now I unbagged the figures of the family and put a small drop of glue on each to ensure that they would stay in place on their mounting points. The only addition that I made was adding a small piece of silver music wire to the back of Elroy’s cap, as this antenna (actually more complex, with rings) can always be seen on the show.
The clear bubble is nicely molded, but does have a mold mark dead center at the top, though since it is dead center, it looks as though it is supposed to be there. I addressed this by gluing a little whip antenna to it, though this keeps coming off and getting lost. In retrospect, I should have given the whole thing a dunk in Future, but only cleaned mine up with Windex initially. (I may give it the Future treatment, maybe right after I finish this even. And fit a new whip antenna!)
It is designed with twist lock mounts that work quite well, but allow it to be removed easily if one wishes. All that I had to do was snap the tail into the slot, give it a twist, and it was done! Meet George Jetson!......
This is a nicely molded, very simple kit that can be completed satisfactorily, without painting in less than an hour due to its excellent design, layout, and construction plan. It would make a great introductory kit for that fledgling junior modeler. It can also be detailed with just a little work and really stands out.
As for why Polar Lights no longer issues it with the entire lineup of Jetsons family figures is a bit of a mystery. To me, while still presentable, the car looks a bit empty with only George and Astro. Jane, Judy, and Elroy add a great deal of splashy color to the model really compete the vibe. I hope that they will once again be included in future releases.
While I did not time this build, It was finished over the course of one evening. I would estimate that there was no more than two hours, and actually working time probably something in the order of minutes rather than hours. It was simple and fun, which we do not get enough of in this hobby these days.
The Jetsons - Wikipedia
8 November 2022
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