by: Rowan Baylis [ ]
BackgroundThe Del Rio was introduced following the decision by Ford to discontinue its first entry into the sport wagon market, the Parklane, after just one year in production. Five new styles of station wagons were produced in 2- and 4-door editions, with the Del Rio boasting:
“A big, stylish work-and-playtime partner for busy families. Its long, low lines are a joy to behold... its luxurious interior holds everything - from 6 big people to “cargo unlimited”.”
“Cargo unlimited” meant fold-down rear seats to form almost 9ft of load-space - which the brochure of the time described as a “safe corral for youngsters”. With kids loose in the back and, obviously, no seat-belts, the Del Rio probably wouldn’t even get onto the drawing board in the modern “health and safety minded” world...
The KitI spotted the 1:25 Del Rio whilst browsing supermart USA’s listings on Amazon recently and was instantly taken by the 2-tone willow green/white colour scheme on the boxtop. The kit is marked as Monogram on the boxtop but, beyond that, it’s really Revell all the way, with the parts and decals carrying the latter’s logo, and an address for Revell’s US customer services on the instructions. The kit is produced in China, with ZhongShan marked inside the floor pan.
The Del Rio arrives in an attractive top-opening box and, typically for this series, it’s so deep it’s actually a little bit hard to open. The parts are neatly packed and everything it my example reached me in perfect condition. The kit comprises:
103 x white styrene parts
26 x chrome-plated styrene parts
11 x clear styrene parts
4 x clear red styrene parts
4 x soft tyres
4 x metal pins
Despite the depth of the box, the first thing that strikes you when you open it is that it’s absolutely stuffed with parts. There are no less than 12 white sprues alone, plus the body, floor and chassis. I imagine this is down to Revell planning kits around a core set of parts to work across a range of Fords from this period, mixing sprues as needed.
The kit provides parts and decals for two options - a standard Ranch Wagon, or a police patrol car. Extra sprues are included for the second option, with a radio transmitter/receiver, an aerial and lamps for the roof, door and front wing.
The moulding quality is pretty good throughout. There’s a touch of feathery flash here and there, but nothing serious. Something I like is that the kit has been designed to keep the parts reasonably thin to avoid problems with sink-marks - e.g. the chassis is hollow-walled. The body shell is highly polished and, at first glance looks ready for painting straight from the box, but close inspection reveals faint lines from the multi-part mould needed to capture the contours, so a little gentle sanding and polishing will be in order.
The instructions are produced as a 16-page booklet with clear b&w illustrations. Construction is broken down into 16 basic stages and the sequence looks very logical, so I can’t envisage any particular stumbling blocks. Typically for the kits in this series, there aren’t any sprue diagrams, but Revell do include a list of parts. This might make locating parts on the mass of sprues take a little longer, but it does mean you can identify what they represent when you find them, so there’s a small educational element to help learn what makes cars tick.
Construction begins with a nicely detailed 24-part engine, complete with a couple of fuel lines. This sits on a 1-piece chassis, onto which attach the transmission, exhausts and suspension. After my experience with the 1940 Ford Coupe, I recommend paying particular attention to ensure the engine is seated square on the chassis - I fell for the trap of taking its fit for granted, only to realise later that it was quite lob-sided and needed to be cut free and re-cemented.
There’s a separate 2-piece fuel tank to install under the floor, not only looking more convincing than if it was moulded integrally, but precluding sink marks as noted above.
Turning to the passenger compartment, there’s a 14-part interior. Construction looks very straightforward, with quite simple controls - a gear-shift on the steering wheel column, and pedals attached as a group on the back of the dashboard.
Decals are provided for the speedometer and gauges, a choice of steering wheel logos. The dashboard doesn’t include a radio, which I presume was an optional extra on the real car, but it wouldn’t be hard to add one with a little creative “gizmology”. The steering wheel lacks the inner ring which is visible in all the shots I’ve found online of the full-sized car and I imagine is the lever for the horn, so I’ll definitely add that from wire.
A neat touch for anyone who doesn’t fancy masking the 2-tone interior colours is that Revell include coloured panels for the seats and sidewalls as decals. There’s a fair amount of texture on the parts, so you’ll definitely need to apply the decals over a gloss coat and use plenty of setting solution - but it’s nice to have the option provided. If nothing else, you could use the decals as a guide to making masks if you prefer to paint the parts or go for a different colour scheme to the one featured.
With the passenger compartment built, attention returns to the engine bay with a radiator, complete with hoses, plus a battery and air filter.
The soft "rubber" tyres feature nicely moulded treads. Apart from the sprue attachment, there’s a small tab to remove on each wheel. This will need care to remove cleanly, but a plus-point is that there’s no nasty seam on the tread, so the finished wheels should look good. The civilian option features whitewall tyres, and they are provided as decals. I must admit I've never tried applying a decal to this type of material (vinyl?), so I can't vouch for how well they'll adhere. My gut instinct is that they could prove troublesome, especially in the long term, so I'll try applying them onto a coat of Kleer, before sealing everything with a matt coat.
The wheel hubs have some good detail and the wheels attach with metal pins. The wheels are rounded off with chromed hub caps, plus decals for their Ford logos.
The windows all insert into the openings in the body shell from the inside, and the windscreen includes sun visors and a separate rear-view mirror. There's even a roof lamp provided. Separate wipers are included for the windscreen.
The bonnet (hood) is hinged to show off the engine, but the doors are moulded firmly shut and it's a little disappointing that the tailgate isn't separate. You could probably slice it open, but it would require some serious surgery (for starters, it’s a split 2-part affair) that’s best left to the experts. It’s a shame, because the Del Rio would make an ideal centre-piece for a ‘50s camping/hunting diorama and it would add a lot of extra “life” to have the back open and full of kit and provisions.
The chrome fittings are good quality, but the sprue attachments aren’t well positioned. It would be much better if they’d been placed on the back of the parts to avoid the need to hide the blemishes.
The large sheet of decals looks very good quality, with pin-sharp registration on the thin, glossy items. Excess carrier film has been kept to a minimum, which should help ensure items like the speedometer and gold exterior trim snuggle neatly into their recesses.
Fully one half of the sheet is taken up with a plethora of optional police department logos. There are at least five different options, only one of which is illustrated in the instructions. Revell don’t give any guidance on how to use the rest of the decals, so I guess you can mix and match them as you see fit unless you have references for a particular unit.
ConclusionI’m impressed by Revell’s ‘57 Del Rio. It looks like it should be a very enjoyable build and represents good value for money - particularly at the price I found it. Construction looks straightforward and shouldn’t present problems for anyone with a little experience.
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