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Old 03-01-2004, 11:06 PM   #31
Layla's Keeper
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The Revell "Deuces"

They're some of the most incredibly popular model kits ever released. When Revell tooled up the first of these beasties in 1996, they weren't prepared for the onslaught of positive feedback, inflated sales, and all around good times the '32 Ford 3 Window Coupe, '32 Ford Highboy Roadster, and Dan Fink's Speedwagon.

First and foremost, one must understand that these kits were the first accurate renditions of street rodded Deuces EVER. The AMT Deuces, which had been around since 1959, had been sectioned a scale 3 inches (nobody really knew until someone took measurements) and the exhaust was molded onto the chassis. Monogram's Deuce coupe was all wrong, but their roadster was okay having been derived from the 1/8th scale Big Deuce. Still, its chassis was buggy sprung with a torque tube, and its engine was a blase nondescript Chevy small block. Yawn. Bleah. and Puke.

But Revell made good in 1996. They put in a call to Pete & Jake's Hot Rod shop to get the downlow on what makes a good street rod. They suggested a very basic straight axle chassis with a dropped front axle and transverse springs up front, and airbags, coil overs, and a beefy Ford 9 inch out back. A stock but smooth body, and big & little American Racing Torque Thrusts on beefy Goodyears.

They then, in later reissues, added a roadster version with littler and bigger Halibrand wheels, and a replica of the Dan Fink Speedwagon woodie phantom.

The Deuce Coupe is still in the Revell catalog, and the Speedwagon and Roadster are still plentifully available. Now, onto the reviewing.

Engine

This is easily one of the kit's jewels. All three kits share the same basic engine; a gorgeously engraved and accurate Ford 302 comprised of no less than 20 parts (23 in the roadster and coupe kits). The roadster and coupe share a single four barrel intake manifold, (an Edelbrock-knockoff piece, if not an out and out Edelbrock), two piece four barrel carb (chrome), and chrome pie pan air cleaner. The Speedwagon gets a simplified but well done two piece Mustang Cobra style EFI setup with a K&N style conical air filter.

Other great engine parts are the serpentine belt with separate AC pump and alternator (both chrome, but that's common on street rods. Just look in the engine compartment of the Junkyard Dog on American Hot Rodder). There's a separate oil filter. Separate tranny pan for the automatic transmission. Even a separate breather cap for the passenger side valve cover.

These are beautiful renditions of Ford 302's. However, if you're not happy about them, then you'll be happy to know that's it's DAMN EASY to swap engines in these kits, and that's because of the kits' great.....

Chassis

Ooh boy. If you build street rods you're in absolute heaven when you go over this selection of parts. Separate brake discs at each corner (with nice calipers). Big Currie style Ford 9inch rear end on airbags out back, dropped beam front axle and transverse leaf spring up front. Modern four-link radius rods line up everything up. The delicate looking front radius rod and steering linkage setup (three pieces, total) looks fragile, but holds up marvelously. The only fit catch at the front end comes from the little shocks, but it's just a matter of being gentle with the superglue. The rear coil-over shocks line up just fine, though. And they look good too. A finishing touch is the exposed rear fuel tank and it's teeny separate chrome fuel cap.

There's also a great option in the coupe kit; you can either mount some nice chrome spreader bars between the frame rails at either end, or mount up the bumper horns and have some nice full smoothie bumpers on your Deuce. Great move!

The exhaust system is neither molded in place or obtrusive. It's just a simple pair of pipes with some slick Cherry Bomb style mufflers. You don't like 'em? Swap 'em out. That's the idea with this kit.

Interior

It's a little simple in here if you get the coupe or roadster. You've got some nice tuck & roll upholstery engraved onto all upholstered surface. There's a nice bench seat, two nice side panels, and a great dashboard. If you're freaked by the fact that there's no engraved gauges, don't fret. Revell's slick solution is decals that attach behind the dash panel so that you can add some clear acetate for gauge lenses. The steering column perfectly replicates an ididit piece and a slick banjo style steering wheel. Everything is finished off with two round pedals. That's that.

On the Speedwagon, since it's a different body style, you get a back seat, two high back heavily bolstered bucket seats, and totally redone side panels. It's a great interior either way.

And if you don't like anything it's easy to swap stuff out.

Body

Well, three bodies, each with their own unique dimensions, all deserve some nice commentary. The coupe, which started off this series of kits, has the ONLY accurate rendition of the Murray 1932 Ford three window coupe body in plastic. The kit has some easily dealt with mold lines on the rear pillars. That's it as far as imperfections. The coupe's separate hood side panels have the stock vertical louvers. Why is this so important? Well, because you've got some choices if you get the other two kits as the roadster has staggered retro style mini louvers and the Speedwagon has smoothed out modern panels. Any panels will work on any other kit, so feel free to switch around to suit the style of your build. You've also got two options of headlights; oversized King Bees or stock sized. There's a dropped headlight bar and a stock one, which you can use if you opt to build a full fendered Coupe. If you go fenderless, they mount on top of the shocks. This is actually accurate for a deuce.

The unfortunate thing is that the fenders aren't an inlcuded option in the highboy roadster kit, but the Speedwagon or coupe fenders are a direct drop in, so don't fret.

There has been some talk that the Speedwagon body isn't 100% accurate, but it looks good. I can't necessarily confirm this, so you takes your chances if you're building a Speedwagon replica.

The coupe has some nice flame decals, as does the roadster (which also contains a neat checkerboard motif and some classy scallops) while the Speedwagon has all the wood decals you need to finish out its wooden sides.

Of course, if you don't like any of these body options, most any US resin caster has an option for the kit. In particular, Replicas and Miniature Company of Maryland has about twelve or so bodies available from a single inch chop for the coupe, to radical removable hardtops with Duval windshields. So if you're not happy, just swap.

Verdict

Well, it's hard not to like these kits. They have all the parts you'd want to build a 1:1 street rod, and all the ease of construction needed to really personalize your rod. You could build one box stock and be plenty happy, or you could build a gonzo highboy coupe with a blown Boss 429 and massive top fueler tires.

AMT/Ertl tried to cut into the Revell Deuce sales with their Phantom Vickie, but couldn't even with that kit's superlative detail and creativity. It's not a dig on any of the other Deuce kits out there, but there's a fundamental rightness to the Revell Deuce that earned the Coupe the Scale Auto Enthusiast Kit of the Year award in 1996, then got the Highboy Roadster the Reissue of the Year award in 1997, and finally earned the kits the recognition from the Scale Auto Enthusiast readers of being the #1 kit of the Millenium.

If you like cars, like modeling, and have an itch to be creative and expressive with a build, you can't help but pick up a Revell Deuce and like it.

Deuce Coupe
Accuracy: 3/3
Fit&Finish: 2/2
Detail: 1.5/1.5
Options: 1.5/1.5
Value: 2/2
Final Verdict: Perfect 10

Deuce Roadster
Accuracy: 3/3
Fit&Finish: 2/2
Detail: 1.5/1.5
Options: 1/1.5
Value: 2/2
Final Verdict: 9.5/10.0

Speedwagon
Accuracy: 2.5/3
Fit&Finish: 2/2
Detail: 1.5/1.5
Options: 1/1.5
Value: 2/2
Final Verdict: 9.0/10

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