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FROM THE February 2011 ISSUE

Revell Ferrari California Open Top

Revell Ferrari California Open Top
Ferrari California Open Top
Revell No. 85-4291
Model Type: Injection-molded styrene
Molded Colors: White, clear
Scale: 1/24
MSRP: $24.94
Pros: Body molded well; nice wheels
Cons: Tight body/chassis fit; packaging issues; hood fit problems
When it comes to the Ferrari California, most people will tell you they either love it or hate it. Doesn’t matter if it’s the regular version, or the open-top. I really like them, and I thought it would be a fun kit to build.

Revell recently released the Open Top version to the US. It appears to be the same kit as the Revell of Germany offering from a year ago.

The only drawback to that is now that it is packaged in standard Revell packaging, the front windshield frame really gets pressed down because it’s wrapped so tightly in its plastic bag. I propped a plastic tube under the frame for a few days to allow it to slowly get bent back up. Between doing that and installing the inner frame and the actual windshield during final assembly, it ended up not being an issue.
Ferrari California Open Top
The body and chassis are molded in white, along with several other trees in white for the rest of the model. There is also a chrome tree, clear tree, and a small set of decals.

The body is molded well, capturing the look of the car nicely. Front and rear fascias are all molded into the body, eliminating any bodywork. The hood and side mirrors are molded separately. There are only a few small mold lines on the body along the fender tops, and they can be cleaned up easily. I used Scale Finishes 2009-2010 Ferrari Rosso F1 Red, along with PPG clear.

The chassis builds up fairly straightforward, but make sure to follow the assembly sequence. The wheel tubs trap the main uprights for each corner. These must be mounted fully in their slots, and everything has to fit tightly.

There is also a fairly simple rear end unit and engine unit, but these are almost invisible once the body goes on. Almost all that shows of the engine is the upper air intake.
Ferrari California interior
Because it’s an open-top car, it’s especially important that the interior looks right. The lower shortened tub gets a back panel and two sides added, as well as the rear seat panels. The front seats are made from a front and back, and require a bit of work to ensure there are no seams or gaps that will show later. The dashboard is also made up of two pieces. A little detail-painting, along with several kit decals, will make for an attractive dash.

Final assembly was where the fun ran out on this kit for me.

Getting the interior to line up inside the body, as well as trying to squeeze the chassis and wheel tubs into the body all at once, was difficult. The body fits to the chassis so tightly, it’s hard to get it opened enough to get everything stuffed in there – especially while trying not to mess up the paint or chip the fenders.
Ferrari California headlight
The other area that suffers is the fit of the hood. Its hinge gets captured inside of the body, and after the body is mounted to the chassis, its movement is restricted – it won’t shut all the way.

The chrome tree includes thin-spoke five-star wheels, and a nice set of soft vinyl tires. I felt the kit wheel mounting squares had the car sitting a bit too high during mockup, so I went on my own and removed the mounting pegs and glued the wheels on directly.

This was a kit of highs and lows for me.  I enjoyed the body painting and interior work, but it was frustrating that the fit of the chassis and body was so tight; it took the enjoyment out of it to have to force things together so much.

In the end, I thought the car looked nice; I just don’t think I will be in a hurry to build one again anytime soon.


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