Wednesday, November 17, 2010

DOUBLE-BUBBLE DREAM CAR FROM 1955 - FUTURA BY LINCOLN, KIT BY REVELL







David Jefferis reports
The 1950s decade was an amazing era for technical progress. Fuelled by the demands of Cold War politics, civil and military advances went hand in hand, with aviation in particular going from straight-wing slowpokes to Mach 2 skyblazers. And that progress was matched by events on the highway, for it was the age of the Dream Car. Every auto show saw amazing vehicles displayed, many of them taking their inspiration directly from those fast jets screaming overhead.

Double Bubble Dream Car
One of the finest (to my eyes anyway!) of those Dream Cars was the Lincoln Futura, described at the time as, ‘A 250,000 Dollar Laboratory on Wheels’. Those fold-back bubble canopies were certainly shapes that looked absolutely great, as were the hooded headlights and shark-mouth grilles front and rear. Under the sleek bodywork, the Futura was powered by a modded V-8 engine and supported by a tubular steel chassis.

Revell Lincoln Futura
This reissue of the original 1956 kit takes you back to Revell’s heyday, at least where box art was concerned. Seated in the Futura are a handsome guy and gal, both smiling under the glasswork. And - smashing - we find the pair of them, sculpted in plastic by Revell’s best toolmakers. He's wearing a sort of casual evening jacket, while she’s in a very fetching halter-top and diamond-patterned slacks.

Futura assembly
The main components have survived the years well, though fit and finish are somewhat hit and miss - the kit has a multi-component bodyshell, which is hard work compared with today’s norm of a one-piece monocoque. The canopy is moulded in one piece, which is a bit of a shame - it would be so cool if each bubble folded back like the real thing.

Solid tyres
Here is a real golden-oldy oddity - the tyres are each supplied in two polystyrene halves. With careful painting, the result can be OK, but it’s a reminder of just how far things have moved on since those early years of plastic kits. Who expects a tyre made of anything but rubber these days?

What’s the scale?
As is so often the case with kits from this era, scale turns out to be something of a fit-the-box item. In this case, taking information from the Revell instruction booklet that indicates a wheelbase of 126 in (3.2 m) we get a pot-luck scale of 1:27. That’s a tad weird, but perhaps the Lincoln Futura could be parked in a 1:32 collection without too many misgivings. Failing that, it’s so great that it would look impressive as a standalone diorama display piece.

Summation
The Revell Lincoln Futura is definitely one for connoisseurs of that era, but if that’s you, then it’s a hugely rewarding kit to have in your collection - the box and instruction booklet alone are worth the price of entry.

We looked at this kit’s Batmobile connections earlier this year here.

Availability is not easy, but we found a reasonably priced one on eBay here. Be quick though, as the auction runs out soon.

The pictures show, top to bottom:
1-2 Revell Futura box and bits.
3-4 Publicity shots, with gorgeous gals I’d like to meet.
5-6 Bubble canopies were all the rage at this time - this is a Gerald Palmer painting of Anastasia, space hero Dan Dare’s private spacecraft, as featured in the pages of the Eagle comic. The model is a one-off, made by FX expert Martin Bower.