Build Diary: 1998 Chev Monte Carlo, Dale Earnhardt

Build Diary: 1998 Chev Monte Carlo, Dale Earnhardt

I had this Revell/Monogram 1:24 scale kit jammed up the back of the stash for years. After throwing together one of Revell’s ‘Pro Finish’ NASCAR kits (see the Build diary HERE), thought it about time I tackled one of Revell’s proper NASCAR models.

This kit depicts Dale Earnhardt’s Richard Childress Racing Goodwrench Chevrolet Monte Carlo from the early season races of 1998, which included the Daytona 500 that Earnhardt famously won.

Kit components. Everything is molded in white, except for the clear windows and rubber tyres
Not sure if this is just a bad example, or whether it’s typical of Revell-Monogram kits – there is a LOT of flash on parts and heavy mold lines. It was a lot of work to clean up every part in this kit.
Flash around the front of the bonnet (sorry, the *hood*)
This is supposed to be one of the roll cage bars with padding
I used a marker pen to identify the mold lines and imperfections that needed to be sanded and/or filled before painting
I use Tamiya putty for filling gaps and sink holes. Unfortunately it shrinks as it dries.
After initial putty and a hit of primer, it’s time for… more putty.
Left: an original kit tyre. Right: Tyre with the tread sanded to remove mold marks and give a bit of a ‘roaded’ texture.
All the rims required the outer edge to be cleaned up. The wheel on the left has been prepped; the one on the right was the worst of the lot as many of the slots had to be cleaned and opened up as well.
All parts are now prepped and the body/chassis/floorpan primed.
The decal sheet includes the silver & red lower banner that runs around the bottom of the car (though the decal is not silver, but white with lots of tiny black dots…). I decided to spray the silver, then cut and use just the red part as the separation.
Masked and ready for silver.
The silver was then masked ready for the gloss black body colour.
Basic engine in flat aluminium (oops, aluminum) colour.
The instructions call for “Chevy Engine Red’ as the colour for the roll cage. It’s at this point I realise this model is most definitely not of the Daytona 500 winner. Earnhardt’s ‘500 win was at the wheel of a car with grey interior and very different grill mesh arrangement on the nose. This kit’s box art depicts red interior, so I went with that. I found the colour at Autobarn and got lazy and used direct from the can. Big mistake! The spray is far less controlled and far heavier than a Tamiya TS rattle can. It was very hard to do light mist coats to get things started, but the initial coverage didn’t look too bad and was reasonably smooth and glossy while still wet. However, it looked far worse once dry. See the sandy look below.
After (or during) drying, a weird ghostly residue formed on several areas for no obvious reason.
The residue seems to have rubbed out ok with a soft cloth. These pics also show how bad the paint job is. I really should have decanted this and run it through the air brush, or mixed some TS to get the right shade. Oh well, it matches the quality of some of the moldings… 😮
Progress on detailing parts and fitting out the chassis. Engine is pretty much done. Main body has had it’s first coat.
Roll cage starting to come together after the two main side pieces are fixed in place. Interior pieces have to be fitted before any more bar work gets in the way.
Roll cage starting to come together after the two main side pieces are fixed in place. Interior parts have to be fitted before any more bar work gets in the way.
The real car has a fine red line around the rim edge, The kit does not include this, so I had a crack with a paint pen. It's not too bad, but too thick for the scale. Wheel hub and lug nuts have been detailed by hand.
The real car has a fine red line around each rim edge, The kit does not include this, so I had a crack with a paint pen. It’s not too bad, but too thick for the scale. Wheel hub and lug nuts have been detailed by hand.
The kit does not include any method for locating the rear parcel shelf at the correct angle. After lots of dry fitting with the body, I used a temporary brace to set the angle while the glue dried.
The kit does not include any method for locating the rear parcel shelf at the correct angle. After lots of dry fitting with the body, I used a shortened toothpick as a temporary brace to set the angle while the glue dried.
These race cars have basic trailing arm rear suspension with coil springs as mandated by NASCAR. The kit includes belt-driven pump.
These race cars have basic trailing arm rear suspension with coil springs as mandated by NASCAR. The kit includes belt-driven pump off the front of the diff.
At least there's one part of this kit I'm happy with - the dashboard! I used a really fine brush to pick out the needle, face markings and rim of each gauge (the detail is cast into the part), then used Kristal Klear for the lense. $2 coin gives an idea of the size.
At least there’s one part of this kit I’m happy with – the dashboard! I used a really fine brush to pick out the needle, face markings and rim of each gauge (the detail is cast into the part), then used Kristal Klear for the lenses. $2 coin gives an idea of the size.
Underside taking shape. Once the diff was in, I fitted the tailshaft, then the engine. The instructions call for the tailshaft to go in last, but that would have been impossible because, with a mounting pin at each end, it's longer than the available space. Revell-Monogram label this a 'Level 2'kit, but if a novice builder just followed the instructions, they'd get this messed up.
Underside taking shape. Once the rear end was in, I fitted the tailshaft, then the engine. The instructions call for the tailshaft to go in last, but that would have been impossible because, with a mounting pin at each end, it’s longer than the available space! Revell-Monogram label this a ‘Level 2’ kit, but if a novice builder just followed the instructions, they’d get this step messed up.
After the final coat of black, this pic looks a bit Days of Thunder with the chassis in the background. Once decalled, I had planned to clear coat the model with Tamiya TS13. As I’d not used Revell decals before, I thought it would be a good idea to test an offcut with TS13 first. Glad I did – the TS13 destroyed the decal! As such, no clear coat over this one.
I started using Alclad polishing cloths, then finished with Tamiya compounds
The paint’s not perfect, but it is reflective!
Black on the window surrounds was hand painted. Permanent marker was used on the retaining straps.
Done! The wheels are designed to be pressed on, however I glued them with Araldite which allowed me some time to set wheel camber, especially on the right-front (outside on the ovals), that the kit does not make an allowance for. The righthand wheels were painted & decalled as per kit instructions.
The left hand wheels, however, were not. Notice the added red line.
The body is a lift-off item, not glued to the chassis
Lots of the decals are rubbish. Despite going on nicely and settling down well, many of them later silvered (such as the Chev emblem on the bonnet, above. A member of my local model club tells me this is quite common with Revell kits of this era). I don’t expect the decals to have a long life on this model. There is no clear coat on this model, and while clear would help decal longevity, it would not help the silvering. The decal material is actually quite tough. Despite copious amounts of softener, it was almost impossible to get them to contour around corners or into crevices.
All windows were fitted using Krystal Klear. Note the silvering of the ‘Plus’ bonnet decal?

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