Revell 1/25 1951 Henry J

KIT #: 4515
PRICE: $25 - $30.00
DECALS: Two options
REVIEWER: Scott Van Aken
NOTES: 2021 reissue


The Henry J was an American automobile built by the Kaiser-Frazer Corporation and named after its chairman, Henry J. Kaiser. Production of six-cylinder models began in July 1950, and four-cylinder production started shortly after Labor Day, 1950. The official public introduction was on September 28, 1950. The car was marketed through 1954.

The Henry J was the idea of Henry J. Kaiser, who sought to increase sales of his Kaiser automotive line by adding a car that could be built inexpensively and thus affordable for the average American in the same vein that Henry Ford produced the Model T. The goal was to attract "less affluent buyers who could only afford a used car" and the attempt became a pioneering American compact car.

To finance the project, the Kaiser-Frazer Corporation received a federal government loan in 1949. This financing specified various particulars of the vehicle. Kaiser-Frazer would commit to design a vehicle that in its base form retailed (including federal tax and retail delivery preparation charge) for no more than $1,300.00 (US$13,984 in 2020 dollars). It was to seat at least five adults, be capable of going at least 50 miles per hour (80 km/h) for sustained periods of time, and available for retail sale no later than September 30, 1950.

A compact car design proposal was made by Howard "Dutch" Darrin that utilized the already approved future Kaiser, but with a shortened wheelbase. However, Henry J. Kaiser wanted an entirely new car and decided on a design developed by American Metal Products, "a supplier of frames and springs for car seats." In an attempt to improve the appearance of the car, Darrin contributed a "dip" to the beltline, windshield, and rear window as well as adding little tailfins.

Sales were disappointing as people were willing to spend a couple of hundred dollars more for a car with more standard features and 1954 was the last year of sales. The Henry J's small body made it a favorite for drag racers who were looking for ways to field the lightest car as possible.


Initially tooled in 1969, this is the fourth boxing of this particular kit. Molded in while plastic, the molds have held up well over the decades and is fairly free from flash. However, it is very much a 1969 kit. For instance, there are no clear bits with the windows needing to be made from clear acetate. It has a nicely done interior with a roll bar and two choices of inside panels with one being 'bare' and the other upholstered. The kit also includes a rear seat, which I guess was required of the class.

The doors are separate items and are designed to be able to be operable. A chassis is separate and one has to build up the suspension pieces. A supercharged V-8 is included to be installed in the chassis. Tires are vinyl and are attached to the suspension. An interesting addition is that the chrome grille is attached to the radiator piece. Front fenders are in separate sections and are attached to the hood. This whole assembly is able to be opened; hinged from the front. Finally, door handles, headlights and tail lights are installed.

The instructions are well done and provide generic color information. There are three livery options, though you are not limited to what is provided if you wish to customize your car. The decal sheet is nicely done and while a bit thicker than some of us are used to, should work just fine.


It is nice that Round 2 is reissuing some of these older car kits, especially ones that haven't been around for a while. They are no longer $1.98, but what is.


January 2022

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