Kit review of Polar Lights' Black Beauty by Jim James .

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The Green Hornet's Black Beauty by Polar Lights


By Jim James - images & text © 1999

Value: 7
Molding Quality: 6 - little flash, but heavy mold seams.
Detail: 5 - there's just not a lot of it.
Accuracy: 5 - don't look too close if you know what it should look like.
Parts Fit: 5 - lay in extra putty and sanding sticks.
Ease: 5 - needs a lot of work just to get an out-of-the-box build done.
Instructions: 6 - not great, but not completely useless.
Overall Rating: 5- build this if you really like the subject. Otherwise, build something easier!

The Green Hornet was one of the many comic book heroes who made it to radio and television. Van Williams played the Hornet on TV from 9/66 to 7/67 with Bruce Lee as his sidekick, Kato. Both were aided by a converted black Chrysler Imperial loaded with gadgets and called the Black Beauty.

Polar Lights has once again done an incredible job of re-issuing an old Aurora kit.

[Side view, completed model] The problem is that it wasn't a great kit to start with. What you get is a model car that looks OK from a distance. Perhaps the biggest disappointment to me was that it's 1/35th scale and, therefore, doesn't look right alongside my 1/24th scale BTTF DeLorean, Ecto 1, Aston Martin and Batmobiles.



Is it accurate?

Overall accuracy is OK if you don't look too close. The headlights are the major flaw (the real Beauty had pairs of matching green tinted lenses the model has two different headlights). Other questionable areas are the hubcaps and the weaponry. Compared to pictures of a restored Beauty I found on the web, the model seems close but no cigar.

What's in the box?

[Tail end, with rockets and laser]The kit has 36 parts - 27 in a soft black plastic, 5 in clear and 4 soft rubber tires. No chrome parts or decals unfortunately. The tires have very little detail (no tread). The instructions are basically a reprint of the old Aurora kit instructions and, therefore, not very helpful. The painting instructions are also not very helpful (and often inaccurate). The box top painting is of no help at all.

The kit was free of flash but most parts have heavy mold seams that will need to be smoothed. Test fitting the parts showed that the fit was very poor and that positioning some parts would be mostly guesswork.

Assembly and Painting

[Road rage? I got yer road rage right here ...] Assembly is very straightforward and the paint scheme (95% black) sounds deceptively simple. However, there are few kinks.

I started by spray painting everything with Testor's Flat Black except the clear parts (of course), radiator, headlights, lasers and wheels). The radiator, headlights, lasers and wheels were painted with Testor's Chrome Silver and washed with flat black to bring out the detail.

At this point you can assembly the chassis, axles and wheels and set aside. I replaced the plastic axles in the kit with metal rods.

A Little Customizing

[Lil' Kato and Green] There's not much that marks this model as the Green Hornet's car so I decided to add figures. Here the model's scale helps - there are lots of figures available in 1/35th scale. The bad news is that they are all military figures. I stumbled upon a Tamiya truck set that not only had a good selection of seated figures but a head with a hat that could be converted into a trilby. Converting and painting the figures was not difficult. A little sanding and a combination of the right arms, torsos, legs and heads produced reasonable figures. I had to amputate both figure's legs since the interior was very shallow.

I fully assembled and painted the car interior using flat and semi gloss black with mid green for the instrumentation. Kato is all in black with a black mask and gloves. The Hornet's coat is a very dark green, while his hat and mask are a shade lighter.

Painting the Body

I assembled the rear window, rear bumper, main body and front rocket bays. I had to fill and sand the gap on the trunk. Next, I sprayed the vinyl roof and roof side panels with a semi gloss spray and when dry, masked off these sections. I finished the body with Testor's Gloss Black (the Racing Car Series finish).

Final Assembly

[Gonna be hard to run without feet ....]When completely dry, I glued in the windows (rear and main window assembly), juggling their position to cover all open areas. Next, I glued the interior in place - again juggling the position. There is a guide at the back of the car but I used a piece of sprue to give the front of the interior bucket something to hang on to. Then, I glued the chassis to the body. Some pressure and tape was needed to hold the chassis in place while the glue dried. The fit was very poor.

All that was left was to complete painting the rockets - black back, silver bodies, red tips - and assemble the front and rear rocket launchers, the headlights and radiator grill. Note that the front laser has an attached door that represents a section of the radiator. I added a short spike to each laser to make it more laser-looking.

And in the End . . .

The final model looks quite nice but there's a lot of effort that doesn't show. Build this if you really want a Black Beauty. If you're looking for an easy build, go elsewhere.

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