The Monogram Kurtis 500 Roadster is one of the first plastic Indy car kits produced. Despite it’s age, it regularly gets re-issued, including most recently in 2010. It can still be readily found in hobby shops. For those of you who have built this kit, you know it leaves a lot to be desired. The wheels aren’t quite right, there are vents on the side of the car that shouldn’t be there, and the right side of the cockpit does not come up high enough. The seat also leaves a lot to be desired. But with some tender loving care and some Indycals decals, this car can be turned into a gem. Thanks to Tim Jones, this is now even easier.
Tim has produced an update kit to make the job a little easier for you. The kit comes in two separate parts – wheels and tires, and body modifications. All parts are resin except where otherwise noted. The body modification kit comes with a firewall/gearbox, metal gear shift lever, new seat, steering wheel in white metal, instrument panel, body fill-in for cockpit side, body scoops, and new body side panels to replace the side panels with the large scoops that should not be present.
The tire kit comes with tires mounted on wheels, pressure plates and brake disks. Typical Indy wheels in the 1950s were solid magnesium and were a smooth, concave surface on one side, and a ribbed, 8 spoke pattern on the other. Depending on the car, either side of the wheel could be the outward facing side. The tires had two treads that were always on the right side of the tire when mounted. Tim’s wheels take these facts into account and you can use either side of the wheel as the outside facing side and still keep the treads on the right side of the wheel simply by placing the wheels in their correct positions for the side of the wheel you want to be on the outside. In other words, instead of giving you two identical front wheels and two identical rear wheels, he gives you four completely different wheels, which is exactly as it should be.
Tim does not use a vacuum pump when casting his resin, thus the parts are prone to air bubbles which you would have to clean up with some putty and sanding. I received a prototype set from Tim and honestly, the first set of wheels I got we’re not that good, but he was graciously open to criticism and suggestion and the second set I received was greatly improved. Despite any needed cleanup, these conversion sets will make your job easier and allow you to produce a nice, more accurate Kurtis 500 roadster than just building the Monogram kit straight out of the box.
Tim charges $15 for a set of wheels, and $15 for a body modification kit. Tim can be reached at TDJ1951@aol.com. Indycals offers many decal sets to work with the Monogram Kurtis Roadster: John Zink #6 (1955 winner), John Zink #53 (1955 winner as driven in 1956 by Troy Ruttman), 1955 Belanger Special (Art Cross), 1956 Filter Queen Special (Rodger Ward) and the 1954 and 1955 Hinkle Special (Jack McGrath) and we will probably add more with time.