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Revell-Monogram 1971 Nash Bridges 'Cuda convertible

February 2004
RELATED TOPICS: 1970S | PLASTIC | MONOGRAM | REVELL
Kit no. 85-2381
Model Type: 1/24 scale injection-molded plastic kit
Molded colors: White, clear, chrome-plated
MSRP:$16.05
Pros: Accurate proportions, easy to assemble Cons: No up-top, extremely simplified components, hood doesn't close properly Reviewer: Mike Soliday
That thing got a Hemi in it? You betcha! Plymouth built a mere seven Hemicuda ragtops for the domestic-market in 1971, and of those, only two four-speeds were delivered. Talk about rare muscle. Who wouldn't want one?

In 1996, CBS premiered the high-action drama Nash Bridges. Nash, the lead character played by Don Johnson, is a sharp-dressed police investigator working the streets of San Francisco with his faithful sidekick Joe Dominguez, who is played by Cheech Marin.

And what did our star choose for his character to drive? Yup, a '71 Hemicuda convertible. Only on TV! Still, you gotta love a show that has a rare, extremely cool muscle car as one of its stars!

This 1/24 scale kit was first released in the early 1980s as a hardtop under the Monogram brand, and has been re-released several times since. To match Nash's ride, Revell simply had to remove the top and added a convertible boot to the kit.

Opening the kit brought back a flood of modeling memories from my teenage years. The kit has an amazingly low parts count, partly because many items are molded together. The age of the kit shows in other ways too; I had to remove a fair amount of flash from the parts.
Like the rest of the model, the engine is simple in detail and simple to construct. The valve covers, alternator, and twin Carter carbs had to be dechromed before painting. The hood would not close snugly when the engine/chassis assembly was mounted properly to the body. My remedy was to sand the bottom of the carbs to about 2/3 of their original height. I like the bonus of engine compartment decals, but the rest of the compartment looks rather sparse.

Working on the chassis will make you realize how good you have it today. The exhaust is molded to the chassis, making airbrushing virtually impossible. Further, the exhaust manifolds do not reach the exhaust pipes when they are properly installed on the block. Finally, the leaf springs are molded to the rear axle, and the drive shaft to the pumpkin, making detailing a chore. Arrgh! I added the typical Chrysler body-color overspray and painted the exhaust, brake wires, and gas tank before I added the front and rear suspensions.

The door panels and dashboard are separate pieces, but the rear seat and the center console are molded in the interior tub, which makes for some careful painting. The interior is fairly easy to detail, though, thanks to the console and dash decals. To match the TV car, I painted the carpet and dash black, and the seats, door panels, and boot white. As a side note, the seat pattern is not correct for this car.

The body looks more accurate to me now that it's a ragtop. It might be a smidge too thick in a few areas, but overall the dimensions are good. Builders might choose to remove the drip molding on the windshield frame and run a thin chrome strip around the front edge of the grille for more detail.

I don't like how Revell-Monogram chose to treat the mounting of the lower valance to the body. It mates horizontally, just below the front bumper, and runs to the front of the wheel wells; the full-size car's front unit runs diagonally down from the corner - nowhere near the wheel wells.

Although it's not accurate for the Nash Bridges 'Cuda, I airbrushed my model's body with several thin coats of Testor's Bright Yellow (no. 2717), which is close to Plymouth's Curious Yellow. To replicate the show car's Lemon Twist paint, you can use MCW Automotive Finishes' no. 7053.

I finished the body with the side marker, rear panel, and license plate decals, then foiled the wheel well, lower side panel, and windshield frame trim. Decals are included for Goodyear GT radial raised white tires and black HEMI side panels, as well as the spoiler held over from earlier releases.

As with most kits from this era, the car's stance is too high. Lowering the front and moving the rear wheels back a bit would do a lot for a proper stance.

Although the Nash Bridges 'Cuda might not have the same level of detail as many of today's kits, this 20-year-old survivor is still a pleasure to build, and it's a kit that's sure to spark some old-school nostalgia in your car modeling.

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