Lots of parts in this kit as it’s a 2 ’n 1 edition of the 1929 Ford Model A.
Buick Nail Head engine includes options for Hilborn Fuel injection or 6 single Stromberg Carburetors.
Wheels are common steelies with optional chrome rings and chrome hub cabs.
Of note, there are no options available to do a stock Ford Model A, this is a hot rod version like the recent Revell Stacey David ’32 Ford Rat Roaster or Revell Ford ’29 Rat Rod Truck. Also of note, the white plastic this kit is molded in is extremely easy to work with; carves easily, sands well and reacts nicely with liquid solvent style glues.
As I started to contemplate my plans for building this kit I spent a few evenings researching ’29 Ford Model A roadsters, Buick nailhead motors, and comparing the box art and instructions to what I had found. I also went out and purchased a second kit so that I could do a comparison build between the High Boy and channeled version.
For this review I will be using Tamiya green liquid cement, Tamiya white rattle can primer, Tamiya acrylic paints, and Alclad II metallic paint. For the channeled version finger nail polish with Duplicolor specialty reducer is the body color.
For the novice hot rod builder let me explain some differences between a High Boy and a Channeled hot rod. High Boys essentially means that the body rests in the normal stock location upon the chassis rails. (Photo #1)The suspension is usually of normal height on these builds but might also be lowered or raised at either ends, or just one. It is common to see High Boys with a stock rear suspension and the front lowered through what is called “Suicide” where the front axle springs are hung in front of the normal frame rail position. (Photo #2) This will lower the front end dramatically.
Sometimes the front ends are raised by changing the stock curved front axle out for a straight axle. This will give the vehicle the look of a “Gasser”. Gasser is a term for Drag race cares of the 50s and 60s where by raising the front end you preload the rear tires for a front-end-up launch at the drag strip.
Channeled hot rods have a narrowed frame (stock or custom) which sits hidden within the factory body. (Photo #3) Quite a few custom things have to occur. When you bury the frame rails within the perimeter of the automotive body it causes for the need to remove depth from the interior. Essentially you are moving the interior floor up the width of the frame rails. To lower the rear of the chassis often the rear frame rails are cut and re-welded into a “Z”. (Photo #4)
Up first is the channeled ’29 where I followed the kit instructions from step one to finish with only two deviations. In typical fashion the build starts with the engine and for my channeled ’29 I chose to use the Buick with the Hilborn fuel injection system. I took the liberty of adding a Morgan Automotive Details pre-wired distributor and scratchbuilt ignition coil.
At step 2b I would highly recommend adding the lower radiator hose and not wait until after the engine is installed. It is near impossible to locate the hose once the engine is installed within the frame rails. I will in the future be pinning this hose in place so that it is not lost upon engine installation.
At step 4-5 on page 7 this is my first deviation from the kit instructions. In researching this project I found that if you follow Revell’s instructions to the “T” you will create a mechanical bind under the car where the exhaust crosses beneath the trailing arms. This can be seen if you review the photos on the side of the box where it shows the mufflers/glass packs bound between the trailing arms and floor pan.
To avoid this bind on the channeled version I chose to cut the nubs/exhaust attachment points off of the engine headers. I stripped the chrome, filled the hole, polished the surface, sprayed with Tamiya gloss black acrylic, and then lightly coated with Alclad II chrome. Tamiya clear yellow and blue added highlights to the weathered looking headers. One mechanical bind avoided. At this time I also drilled and shaped out the header ends for a more realistic appearance.
My second deviation to the instructions is at step 6b on page 9 which could easily show you to cement the rear axle solidly to the frame rails. (Say what?) There is a cradle for the nicely molded Ford 9” rear end on the frame rails. Please remove it at this step so that there is actual clearance between the rear axle and frame. Second mechanical bind avoided.
It is actually pretty cool how Revell engineered this kit as the parts you need for the High Boy and channeled version are all on their own separate sprues. This is also true of the chassis and interior tub piece. They’re kept together to eliminate confusion and make it easier to find the corresponding parts for the version you are building. One more item of note there is only one interior floorboard used in this kit although there are two supplied. Part 62 works well and part 13 will not work at all. Be wary.
In the interior assembly phase you will notice two dashboards of which only one, part 12, will work. The gauge decals are super tiny so be careful here as to not misplace or loose one in the water bowl. Both the steering wheels provided are pretty well made. Included are a standard custom 3 spoke and a much racier looking classic sprint car style 4 spoke. On the channel version I chose to use the 4 spoke. Of note, the Buick engine comes only with an automatic transmission attached, so think automatic when installing the shifter. The little “H” decal would be inappropriate. I chose to use the little eyeball decal and it conformed well to the shifter call with a little coxing from Micro Sol. Revell only provides one set of foot pedals and appropriately left out the unnecessary clutch pedal.
Of note, there is only one bench seat option for this two-in-one kit, which you can fit high to the interior railing or place slightly lower to get the seat completely into the cockpit. I think it would have been nice to have some bomber style rat rod seat options here. Unfortunately the bench seat fully blocks the view to the battery and fuel cell in the trunk. I recommend saving parts #134 and #135 for future modeling project unless you plan to scribe open the trunk, otherwise these parts are lost in the build.
The steel wheels provided for the kit are the only wheel options but can be built plain, with chrome rings, and or chrome Ford hubcaps. As always, I added bench made valve stems to the wheels. Small #74 bit holes were drilled in the location where Revell had made a sad attempt at replicating valve stems. Here I inserted a 2-3 mm length of stripped #28 wire and super glued into place from the tire side of the wheel. Once the glue has hardened the wire are trimmed and filed to the appropriate length, sanded flush on the backside and painted the desired color. My go to wire for this is twist ties from the local market with the paper sheath removed. This wire is easily cut, filed and painted to simulate these valve stems.
The front rubber is pretty non-descriptive but the rear rubber is somewhat like the dirt track tires used in the ’40 and ‘50s with a circular groove and diagonal cross hatch cut to the groove. I found these tires of interest, as they are something I have never seen modeled before. For my wheels on the channel version I chose to leave off the hubcaps and chrome rings.
So far I have described how I built the channeled rendition of the Ford ’29 Model A and many of the common features and pitfalls to the two variants.
On the second vehicle built I tried to use opposite options from the previous version. I set out to build this 29 Ford as a classic High Boy with a six carburetor Pontiac Nail Head and a white and red paint job reminiscent of the So-Cal Speed Shop. I was even able to obtain a few So-Cal decals from a fellow Las Vegas Model Car Guy, one for the front license plate and one to hide deep in the firewall. Thank you Brian Schmidt.
What stands out most with the High Boy build was running the exhaust under the chassis and out the rear differently than Revell shows in the instructions. In order to avoid the previously described mechanical exhaust vs. trailing arm bind you need to position parts #16 and 17 inward and parallel to the trailing arms. I replaced parts #145 and 146 with the appropriate size of solder connecting the solder to the headers and then to the mufflers on the inside between the trailing arms and drive shaft (Photo #5 and 6).
Using the kit parts #145 and 146 as a jig, I was able to get the approximate length and bends to the solder and then adjusted them to fit the new location under the transmission loop. This connection comes approximately in the round hoop portion of part #76, the transmission mount, so the exhaust never runs underneath the trailing arms and instead runs parallel towards the back of the car. Check again photo #6 to see how this is accomplished in comparison to the photos on the side of the Revell box which clearly show the mechanical bind.
One other slight change I made to the High Boy was to cut down the front windshield roughly 4 scale inches. This gives the vehicle a more hot rod expression than the full size window. In fact, I think you could get away with cutting the window and frame in half and still look hip. Mirrors were left off on both versions because…well they’re hot rods.
Each of these classic Revell 1929 Ford Model A took approximately 20 hours to build; this includes additional hours for figuring out the difficulties in the Channeled and for manufacturing the custom exhaust system for the High Boy. A very pleasurable and entertaining subject and I’m looking forward to more releases like this one from Revell.
I hear of the release of a 1930-31 Ford Rat rod sometime in 2016 from Revell. For me, I have already started on two more versions of the Revell 29 Ford Model A for a club challenge here in Las Vegas and I am planning a fifth. Can we get a Cadillac 500 CID motor in a 1929 Ford?
Thanks to Revell, Dick Montgomery, Dave Morrissette, and the rest of the IPMS Reviewer Corp assistants and IPMS/USA for the chance to build and review this subject.
Lastly, Larry and MJ please rest in peace.