This kit is to represent the 1999 Scott Pruett driven Arciero-Wells Pioneer Reynard. Frank Arciero a long time race enthusiast born in Italy, has owned many a car and crossed paths with such greats as Phill Hill, Dan Gurney, Al Unser and Bobby Unser. Call Wells was the man behind Toyota's great off road racing program here in the 'States. Toyota wanted to enter the CART series and the British Reynard chassis with its impressive resume of CART championships and Indy 500 victories was a natural choice. Throw in a sponsor or two and voila the Arciero-Wells Pioneer/MCI WorldCom Toyota Reynard team is born. Boy that's a mouthful, did we get everybody in?
The kit contains 56 pieces, with the main pieces molded on seven white sprues. There is a sprue of chrome plated wheels, a clear tree with windshield pieces, and two black rubber trees of tires. That's right, two sets of tires – Firestone slicks and rains. The kit also contains two sets of wings for the speedway version or the road course version. So that's two different rear wings and two different front wings. You pick and choose. Make sure you choose the right pair as clearly illustrated in the instructions. Remember the rain tires were only used on the road course. The kit provides a driver figure and helmet/suit decals for Scott Puett. The decals look of high quality with little carrier film, produced in Italy. The decals provide the white areas of the cars livery. The kit is rated by Revell as a skill level 2. You know 10 and up, some skill required etc etc.
This kit is Revell's 6th or so variation on the CART series of kits. I applaud the subject matter and love to see all the variations possible. Even the two sets of wings and tires, there are so many versions to build. The kit is a real bargain and can build into a fabulous looking model. Having said all that and not trying to look a gift horse in the mouth it isn't without its drawbacks. Not all of the drawbacks will bug everyone but some of them just drive me crazy. First off the scale, it just seems a tad small. I know the difference between 1/24th and 1/25th isn't that much and some kits actually scale up to 1/25th when measured, but it just doesn't seem right. Revell's current line up of NASCAR kits is 1/24th.
One other drawback, to me, is in its basic build engineering. The kit is spilt down the horizontal center of the car. Meaning the driver figure/upper half of the car and lower half of the car/chassis/floor pan must be assembled together in two main pieces. This will leave a huge seam mark down the longitudinal center of the build. The paint scheme does not lend itself to this type of seam camouflage well. To boot the front suspensions is molded onto the lower half of the monocoque. What all this means for those of us with the perfection bug is a little bit of creative engineering.
I have seen this problem tackled in a number of ways. All of them remove the front suspension and assemble the top and lower half of the car together. This can then be filled and sanded up, removing the nasty seem and then painted. The extent to which you either prepare the driver figure before all this or cut the bottom of the floor pan out, seems to be up to a matter of choice. I myself will probably forgo the driver figure, rig up the seat with some out of scale belts and do up the helmet to rest on the side pod or something. The front suspension will have to be re-attached and the ride height will need to be set up. I also think the recommended color of 'gloss dark red' won't get you very close to the actual color of the car.
I mentioned the drawbacks I see with the kit but some of them may actually turn out to improve my building skills and problem solving. The kit can also be built nicely right out of the box, if you can look past a flaw or two. So who's to say its really not a great kit that can work for all types of modelers.
On a personal note, I couldn't wait for this kit to be released. I spent quite a few years racing competition karts in my formative years. I was fortunate to race against Scott at a couple of big nationals, honing my driving skill against the best including Scott Pruett. Let me tell you this guy was fast way back in the early '80's behind a kart. They were 2 cycle 100cc karts and Scott and his father used to put out a 2 cycle kart racing oil that was fast, called oddly enough, Pruett Racing Oil. I have followed his career ever since. He has gone on to win the IMSA GTO championship in í86, the SCCA Trans Am championship in '87 and '94 was on the winning team at LeMans in í94. Add to that a few champ car victories and this year a NASCAR ride and you have one impressive racing resume and you can count me as a BIG Scott Pruett fan. I figure this CART kit, next to a Slixx Trans Am Mustang Scott Pruett conversion and a Scott Pruett NASCAR conversion will make a nice tribute to racing in America in all its various forms.
My thanks to Revell-Monogram for the review sample.