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MPC 1/25 scale “Bantam Blast” AA/FA Altered plastic model kit review

One of the best 1/25 scale drag racing kits, packed with detail
Kit:MPC993 // Scale:1/25 // Price:$31.85
Leading-edge details for a 1970s drag racing kit; great source of extra parts
Pronounced mold seams on body sides; small details require patience during assembly
Injection-molded plastic (white, chrome-plated); 101 parts (vinyl tires, metal axle); decals
While “Fuel Altered” cars have been part of the drag racing scene since the 1950s, they reached the peak of their popularity during the late 1960s to the very early 1970s. By this time, the genre had evolved to a format of fiberglass bodies replicating either Model T or American Bantam roadsters, short wheelbase tubular frames with the driver placed just ahead of the rear axle, and either a blown Chevy “Rat Motor” or Chrysler Hemi, both running a nitromethane fuel mix. This mix of attributes consistently delivered spectacular (and borderline out-of-control) performances across America’s drag racing strips. The genre was perhaps best typified by Wild Willie Borsch, who made an art form of his one-handed driving style. He rested his other hand on the bodyside while steering the car.

By the early 1970s, MPC introduced many drag racing kits, but most substantially lacked authenticity and quality. The net result was some very disappointed drag racing modelers. Thus, when we saw MPC’s replica of the “Wild Wille Borsch Fuel Altered” and the little-known derivative “Bantam Blast” kit a year later in 1974, many ignored these all-new model kits. This was to our detriment, as both these kits were actually a high-water mark for MPC’s drag racing offerings, easily ranking among the top drag racing kits of the decade as noted in the book “Collecting Drag Racing Model Kits” (available at Collecting Drag Racing Model Kits (

Now Round 2 has reissued the MPC 1/25 scale “Bantam Blast” AA/FA Altered plastic model kit, representing only the third time it has been released. (The second was a 2004 RHCTA Hobby Show special. The Bantam Blast incorporated several revisions from the Wild Willie Borsch kit, starting with the American Bantam Body, as well as unique valve covers, top hat, grille shell, front 12-spoke wheels, and a different above-the-roll-cage airfoil. The remainder of the chassis and powertrain matches the Wild Willie kit and MPC’s rare, never-reissued “Corvette Gasser.”

The five-part tubular chassis is tricky to assemble; use the interior floor pan (Part 8) as a jig to align the chassis parts as the glue sets. The left frame on my kit was slightly bowed; check yours and, if necessary, bend it back to shape before assembling the frame. The steering shaft (on Part 101) needs its edge clipped back about 1/32 inch to accept the Pitman arm (of Part 110). The front cross member (Part 17), is molded with the Wild Willie Model T radiator attached. Since a separate Bantam grille shell is provided, you’ll need to remove the Model T portion from the cross member by cutting it away just above the shock towers. Note that this step is not shown in the instructions.

Pronounced mold seams mark both sides of the body where they meet the rear fenders and will need to be addressed before painting. The rest of the kit parts show the tool — now 50 years old — to be in generally good shape with minimal flash on only a few parts; the only notable ejector-pin mark is the seat bottom cushion.

A newly expanded decal sheet provides brilliant colors and a range of very crisp, period-correct sponsor decals, but most of the flame graphics — rendered in both bright red and violet options — do not fit the contours of the Bantam body easily. Another new feature is the very sharp hollow and flexible drag slicks with “Goodyear” printing. For this reissue, Round 2 left all the tooling gates for the plated parts tree open, yielding many leftovers from the Willie Borsch kit that you can add to your model car parts box.

While there were no “white-knuckle” moments assembling this kit, some of the smallest parts — rendered perfectly in scale — lacked precise mounting tabs and required extra patience. And, as usual with older kits, meticulously check the parts fit and assembly sequences before breaking out your glue.

I invested about 25 hours building the kit, partly due to added paint detailing. My only addition was Bare-Metal Foil on the sides of the frame rails and top hat. Experienced, savvy drag-racing modelers should give this reissue a serious look. I’m certain you’ll enjoy building this little-known landmark in drag-racing kit development.
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