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Testor's 1969 Dodge Charger R/T

February 2003
RELATED TOPICS: PLASTIC | 1960S | MUSCLE CAR
1969 Dodge Charger R/T
Testor No. 7126
Model Type: 1/24 scale die-cast metal and
plastic model kit
Molded Colors: Black, chrome plated, clear, translucent red
MSRP: $30
Pros: Generally accurate body, accurate paint colors and graphics, several building options
Cons: Vinyl top seams molded into roof, hood wouldn't close, raised door "vent" edges too large, tight-fitting glass difficult to install
Back in 1965, the Chrysler Corporation introduced a concept car to the American public called the Charger. It had fastback styling and was a sneak preview of the 1966 Dodge Charger that was due to appear in dealer showrooms later that year. The first-generation Charger was built on the mid-size Coronet's 117-inch-wheelbase chassis and was intended to go up against Ford's Mustang and the upcoming '67 GM "pony" cars in the showrooms.

The original Charger was only produced for two years before it was replaced by the second-generation "Coke bottle" Charger of 1968-'70. The Charger was completely redesigned to stay with current trends. The Charger's next styling change took place for the '71 model year. Dodge re-skinned the Charger again in '75, but the company dropped the Charger from its lineup in '78. Since then, the Charger name has come and gone on a variety of Dodge products (including a four-door concept car that was a big hit at the 2000 North American International Auto Show in Detroit).

Today, the early Dodge Chargers are eagerly sought and highly prized by collectors. Back in the "good old days," the most noteworthy features of the Charger were its stylish lines and an extensive list of available options that allowed customers to order what was essentially their own personalized car. Today, the wide range of Charger options and near-limitless number of option package combinations can almost be a nightmare for car show judges.

Available engines ranged from the 225 cid Slant Six to the Big Orange Monster - a 426 cid Street Hemi V-8 rated at 425 hp. Among enthusiasts, the 1968-'70 Chargers are the most popular. In fact, second-generation Chargers are plentiful enough that they are sometimes shown in their own class. These Chargers aren't the quietest-riding cars ever built, but that wasn't what Chargers were about - they were built to project an image of speed and power.

Through the years, many companies have made models of the second-generation Charger in plastic or die-cast metal, in both kit and builtup forms. Charger replicas have been offered in 1/82, 1/43, 1/32, 1/25, 1/24, and 1/18 scale. Dodge's Charger has been reproduced in stock, custom, racing, and Dukes of Hazzard TV show car guises. Because the Charger has such a unique and subtly sculpted body shape, it's a difficult vehicle to accurately replicate.
1969 Dodge Charger R/T
The level on interior detail is quite high, with good-looking engraved textures and just the right amount of chrome-plated parts. The instrument openings are too small, though.
The list of Charger model kits has recently grown by one entry, as the Testor Corporation has added a 1/24 scale 1969 Dodge Charger R/T to its Lincoln Mint series of die-cast metal-bodied kits. Although the Lincoln Mint kits come with painted and decorated die-cast metal bodies, just about everything else in the kit is made of injection-molded plastic.

The die-cast metal body is beautifully painted and clearcoated in accurate code R4 Bright Red topped off with a sharply rendered tampo-printed black R/T rear "bumble bee" stripe. The body also features opening panels for the doors, hood, and trunk. The injection-molded plastic chassis has lots of molded-in detail and features a separate exhaust system and suspension components with steerable front wheels. Also featured in the kit is a set of photoetched-metal rear top scripts and a choice of 426 cid Hemi or 440 cid Six-Pack V-8 engines. Builders are also offered a choice of stock Magnum wheels or chrome-plated, reversed rims.
engine
The engine compartment is packed with well-molded detail items. With so much black plastic, this is one area where detail painting can enhance the appearance of the model.
A wealth of separately molded detail items come in the kit, including heater hoses, a windshield washer bottle, inside and outside door handles, outside rear-view mirrors, chrome-plated trim strips for the top and fender openings, redline or blackwall tires, and an excellent decal sheet. Each parts tree is packaged separately - even the window glass and body are packed in their own bags.

Although the die-cast metal body is generally well done, it does have shortcomings. Seam ridges for a vinyl top are molded onto the roof, which is painted the same color as the rest of the body. The ridges are incorrect for a non-vinyl-top car, but builders who want to take advantage of this feature can paint the top and add the appropriate vinyl top trim. The leading edges of the Charger's characteristic door panel "vents" also protrude too far above the surrounding bodywork, and, try as I might, I simply couldn't get the hood on one of our sample models to remain closed.
Lincoln Mint 1969 Charger
Testor's Lincoln Mint 1969 Dodge Charger provides a good starting point for a detailed replica. The model on the left has had its roof, wheels, and grille painted. Try as we might, we couldn't get the box-stock buildup on the right to close fully.
The instructions are well-done, and assembly is simple. However, the one-pice window glass insert is a tight fit and can be broken easily if it's forced into place. The body has good proportions, but the completed model sits too high. Some of the assembly guide-pin holes have to be opened up slightly, but generally everything fits together well.

This well-detailed kit is an excellent choice for modelers who are just starting out, while experienced builders can engage in some advanced detailing to construct a replica that will make a superb addition to any "Rapid Transit" collection.

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