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MPC Jawbreaker

Jawbreaker MPC No. 821
Model Type: Injection-molded styrene
Molded Colors: White, chrome
Scale: 1/25
MSRP: $23.99
Pros: A great nostalgic dragster kit to build as-is or modify
Cons: Placement of some parts is vague; decals too fragile
MPC’s reissued Jawbreaker kit perfectly captures the nostalgic look of one of the more outrageous dragster styles: a 1930s sedan body perched on the back of a slingshot dragster.

The basic dragster is the MPC Ramchargers kit with a highly modified 1932 Ford body replacing the Ramcharger fuselage.

The kit has a ton of chrome parts, such as the 5-piece front axle and suspension, so I decided to leave as much of the chrome in place as possible and build my Jawbreaker as more of a 1960s Show-and-Go rod.

The instructions are a series of exploded views with a maze of dotted lines and arrows showing parts placement. In some cases the placement is not very clear, so study them closely and look ahead to see where attaching parts will locate. Few of the parts are named; that is a disappointment.

The five-piece frame is simple to assemble. Some minor flash on the edges of the frame rails became noticeable after the first coat of paint, but the overall condition of the parts is good, considering the age of the tooling.

The body required a little more work. You will need to use some putty and sandpaper if you don’t like the unsightly seam running from front to back. I glued small plastic tabs on the inside of the body to add strength where the body halves meet. Assembly, putty work, and primer was done in an afternoon, and makes for a much-nicer-looking model.

The tricky part is the “interior” of the body, which is a one-piece assembly comprised of the wheel houses and the panel surrounding the cockpit. This should be glued in as the body is put together; when that is done, painting it aluminum and the body an alternate color is difficult. I put it all together as a unit and painted it Testor’s Lime Ice.

The Chrysler Hemi engine has 23 parts, 18 of which are chrome, and it will respond nicely to a little added detailing.

The Ramchargers “zoomie” exhaust headers are still included with the kit, but I just had to use the wild three-piece headers that swoop out over the slicks. They look like chrome on the box illustration, but are molded in white plastic. I puttied the seams and added some chrome foil on the collector tubes.

When test-fitting parts, I was concerned about how the body would attach to the frame, but it snuggles right over the frame as it should. I did have to notch the upper nose piece to clear the fuel pump, and file the firewall a smidge for the steering arm.

Even though some of the parts are a little fiddly, (the butterfly steering wheel, for instance), if you take your time and get all of the parts where they belong, the model comes together quite nicely.

The kit includes soft, preprinted Good Year slicks, which look great! They are soft rubber, and it isn’t difficult to push the wheel rims right through the tire. Use a light touch with them.

The decals broke into pieces while I transferred them to the body. I shot a coat of Crystal Clear enamel on the sheet, and that fixed the problem.

You can build the Jawbreaker with or without the nose piece. If you use it, the upper piece can sit in place and is removable. That exposes the fuel line, steering linkage, and chrome fuel tank.

The wing above the body can also be left off if desired. It should be installed after the body is in place, and doing so is a delicate operation. It should sit higher above the roof than shown. I glued the rear support too low, but didn’t want to try to change it.
– Rick Hanmore


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