Monogram 1/24 Kurtis Kraft Racer
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Selected Subjects Program (SSP) release|
Kurtis Kraft was a designer and builder of race cars. The company was founded by Frank Kurtis who designed and built midget cars, quartermidgets, sports cars, sprint cars and USAC Championship Cars.
Kurtis Kraft was started when Kurtis built his own midget car chassis in the late 1930s. He also built some very low glass-fibre bodied two-seaters sports cars under his own name in Glendale, California between 1949 and 1955. Ford (US) running gear was used. About 36 cars had been made when the license was sold to Madman Muntz who built the Muntz Jet. In 1954 and 1955, road versions of their Indianapolis racers were offered.
Kurtis-Kraft created over 550 ready-to-run midget cars, and 600 kits. The Kurtis-Kraft chassis midget car featured a smaller version of the Offenhauser motor. The National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame describes the combination as "virtually unbeatable for over twenty years." Kurtis-Kraft created 120 Indianapolis 500 cars, including five winners. This kit is a representation of one of those Indianapolis roadsters.
Kurtis sold the midget car portion of the business to Johnny Pawl in the late 1950s, and the quarter midget business to Ralph Potter in 1962.
Frank Kurtis was the first non-driver inducted in the National Midget Auto Racing Hall of Fame (U.S.).
The FIA World Drivers' Championship included the Indianapolis 500 between 1950 and 1960, so many Kurtis-Kraft cars are credited with competing in that championship. One Kurtis midget car was also entered in the 1959 Formula One United States Grand Prix driven by Rodger Ward. It was not designed for European-style road racing and with an undersized engine it circulated at the back of the field for 20 laps before retiring with clutch problems.
This is one of Monogram's earliest kits having been molded in the 1956 or so time frame. I say that as the car kitted won the Indianapolis 500 in 1955 and 1956. I've seen several moldings of this car over the years in various color plastics and this one is in yellow to match the box art. Though a rather simple kit, it does come with a full engine, working steering and a driver and mechanic figure. The car itself is fairly accurate as things go so should build into a fairly nice replica.
I was quite pleased at how well the molds have done over the years. There is little in the way of flash or sink marks. The driver figure is quite basic and the inside of his legs and arms are hollow. There is nothing really in the driver's compartment aside from a steering wheel, instrument panel, and seat so perhaps it would be prudent to fill the inside of the legs and arms with epoxy putty and form something that will look proper. The engine is little more than two halves and a place on which to attach the exhaust. I'm sure most builders will cement the engine compartment shut. A sheet of clear acetate is provided to make the windscreen. A template is provided and you have enough for several attempts.
The instructions are modern day Revell types with the parts names and any colors needed so indicated. The decal sheet is quite well done, but from what I can tell, is totally fictitious. Fortunately, there are places that make markings for this kit so you are not doomed to the kit offerings. The instruction sheet comes with an addendum sheet as there were a few glitches and omissions, even on a simple kit like this one.
OK, so a 50 year old kit isn't going to be a modern wonder and it is probably a bit pricey for what you get, but the truth is that these sorts of things sell well and really are not that bad.
Thanks to me and my fondness for kits nearly as old as I for this one.
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