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Revell 1/25 Chip Ganassi's Target Reynard
(kit 85-2325) & Revell 1/25 Dan Gurney's AAR Castrol Reynard (kit 85-2328)

By Norm Cabana

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Introduction

In 1978 the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) organization was formed. The then team owners of what were called Champ Cars founded the CART organization. The Champ Car or Champcar, as it is now known, is arguably the epitome of auto racing in the Americas. In terms of exotic technology and equipment sophistication it is second to only Europe's Formula One series. However, when it comes to racing entertainment, it is second to none!

The Champcar is a single seat, 100-inch wheelbase, open wheeled car with wings that weighs about 1525-1550 lbs. There are four different engine makes but all engines must be a maximum of 161.7 cubic inches/ 2.6 liters of displacement with a maximum of 8 cylinders. These engines produce 800+ hp through the use of a very sophisticated engine management system, methanol, and 40 inches of turbocharger provided boost. The Champcar races on paved ovals, street circuits and natural paved road courses. The only time they run on dirt is if the driver makes a mistake!

Chip Ganassi's Reynards have been one of, if not the, dominant car in the CART series for the past five seasons. Target drivers Alex Zanardi and Jimmy Vassar were frequent winners and Alex Zanardi was the CART Driver Champion for 1998. Dan Gurney's Castrol Reynards, on the other hand, have not won a single race but that situation appears to be changing. The Castrol team has been heavily involved with the development of the Toyota engine and their win record suffered as a result. Now that the engine has reached it's potential the Castrol team can concentrate on beating the competition.

The Kits

Both kits use the new style flip-top box and have great photos of the cars in action. With the exception of instructions, decals and wheels, these kits are identical. Because the kits are virtually identical I will use the Castrol Reynard as the base kit and refer to the Target Reynard kit only when differences need to be noted.

The kit contains an 8-page instruction booklet, a decal sheet, slick racing tires, black metal axle, small bag with four trees of parts, large bag with four trees of parts and one small bag with clear parts. In the Castrol kit you will also get a tree with BBS wheels and other minor bits in white plastic. In the Target kit, there is a chrome-plated tree with the O.Z. wheels and other bits that is not bagged. The Target kit has a bonus set of racing rain tires. My general impression of the kits is that they are well done and while they are curbside kits (no engines) they seem reasonably detailed. To my eyes, unfortunately, the detail and general molding of the parts lack crispness. Let's look at the kit contents in detail.

Both sets of kit instructions are cleanly done, well-written, easy to read and understand and quite detailed. The major difference between the instructions is the description of the cars and the decal placement. Getting the decal placement right is critical as these cars have very intricate decal requirements.

Both sets of decals are crisply done, have vibrant colors and have virtually no excess decal film. The decals are reported to have been produced by Cartograf of Italy and the decals state that they were printed in Italy. For the Castrol car there are two versions of the eagle head, for speedway and roadrace configurations, and decals for either the 98 (Alex Barron) or 36 cars. The driver decals are only for Alex Barron. The decals for the Target car have decals for car 12 (Jimmy Vassar) and car 1 (Alex Zanardi) but driver decals only for Jimmy Vassar.

The tires have no sidewall detail and manufacturer markings are by decals. The tires with the tread pattern are Revell's representation of a Firestone Firehawk rain tire. I am not certain how accurate the tread pattern is but it doesn't look bad. Since the Castrol car is the only car of the series that is on Goodyear tires, I have to assume that Revell did not want to spend the money to mould a set of treaded tires for one car. Purism aside, I can not, at a glance, tell the difference between a Firestone and Goodyear rain tire and I do not think that many modelers can either.


Loose in the bottom of the Target kit is a chrome plated tree with four O.Z racing wheels (two fronts and two rears), two front wheel pins, and two mirror surfaces. The wheels are nicely done and the plating is very smooth and bright. In my kit there was some scuffing of the chrome on the wheels from parts movement in box. I anticipate a small application of clear gloss will take care of the problem. My recommendation to Revell: put the parts in a small plastic bag.

The lower body is a fairly complicated molding and from the description given in the instructions, will be challenging to paint properly. Very little clean up is needed on this part but there are four ejector pin marks on each lower A-arm that will need to be filled because they will show. Revell has molded a copyright mark on the bottom of the body, that will show if you do not remove it, as well as a full copyright notice on the inside of the part.

The cockpit halves are cleanly molded with the shifter on the right half and the weight jack levers on the left half. Caution is needed when cleaning these items as it is extremely easy to damage these levers. Removing the seam formed when these parts are glued together will be challenging, at best. There is no seat belt detail molded in nor is any seat belt material provided. Instead, it is molded into the driveršs torso. The instrument panel detail is nicely engraved and the foot pedals have clean detail as well.

The speedway and road course wings have good detail of rivets and fasteners and the ejector pin marks on the bottom of the aero surfaces are hidden from view. The remainder of the parts covers the suspension and other sections, and all the parts are cleanly molded and have crisp details. Some parts, however, have very visible ejector pin marks that will need to be filled, including some in difficult locations. Problems like this appear to be a recurring theme on these kits.

Then there is the driver. He is separated into pieces, with the torso, legs, arms, and head/helmet all being separate. Detail appears good and pay particular attention to the molded in seat harness detail. Looking at the helmet, it will be difficult to paint the face and you might instead tint the helmet visor with some transparent blue or yellow paint. There is a small plastic bag that contains the windscreen and mirror combination and the helmet visor. I like how they molded the mirrors into the windscreen because this leaves me one less thing to mess up.

The last part of the kit to be discussed is the upper body. The engraving on this part seems a little fuzzy. Serious cleanup is needed to remove a big ol' parting line right down the middle of the part. When they molded this piece, the two halves did not line up perfectly so the whole thing looks a little out of alignment. One of the distinctive features on this piece is the 'shark fin' at the back. If you look at the box art you will see that neither car has this item installed. I did a little research and found that the Target Reynard did indeed have this fin, but only for the Homestead Spring Training race. I could not find any instance where the Castrol car used it in 1998. I would recommend removing it.

Conclusion

Although these kits are curbside, which means I will not get to do a lot of detailing, they look like they will be fun to build and the decal layout will be a challenge in itself. I would like to thank Revell for producing these kits. There have not been many models of modern racecars produced and it is nice to have an opportunity to model some of the best racing cars in the world.

Sources

There are many online sources of information about these cars but the most informative sites are: www.cart.com, www.goracing.com, www.indyphoto.com, and www.champcar.com.

I also found a lot of useful technical information from Racer and RACECAR ENGINEERING magazines. The June 1999 issue of RACECAR ENGINEERING has a special insert on the 1999 CART season and there are some great photos of the cars as well as the suspension pieces that will be a great help in building these kits.




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Air Intelligence
1999 Modelers'
Reference Guides

1/32 Scale Guide $18.00
1/48 Scale Guide $25.00
1/72 Scale Guide $25.00
HH-43 Huskie Color
Reference Guide $15.00

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