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Monogram 1/24 Rommel's Rod Kit First Look

By Michael Benolkin

Date of Review September 2009 Manufacturer Monogram
Subject Rommel's Rod Scale 1/24
Kit Number 4260 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Best hot rod half-track in any scale Cons
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $22.95

First Look


If you were building models in the 1970s you'll remember a number of names like Big Daddy Ed Roth, George Barris, and others that appeared on kit boxes. Some of these names were full-scale customer car designers whose work would be miniaturized into kit form, while others worked in art concepts that would go straight into scale model designs, some of which would eventually be replicated as full-scale cars.

If these kits were in a Monogram box, one of those big names was Tom Daniels. Tom dreamed about designing cars as a kid and was accepted into design school before heading off to Detroit to live the dream of designing cars. Unfortunately, the reality was that it was rare to be able to design a whole car and Tom did designs for car and truck hoods for several years before heading back to California to work on designing parts for the Apollo space capsule.

Tom Daniels also worked for one of the hot rod magazines designing concept cars and this eventually led to a relationship with Monogram Models to help them create kits of his designs. Some of these designs and kits became so popular that others started building full-scale versions of these designs for the custom car shows. Over 70 designs would eventually find themselves recreated as kits and/or die-cast collectables.

Here is a classic from Monogram that hasn't seen the light of day in decades. This is a Tom Daniel creation depicting Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel's desert ride as a hot rod half-track. Rommel's Rod is custom limousine on a half-track chassis. The skeletons of Rommel and his driver are provided with the driver figure still driving and Rommel's figure still fitted with his service had and field glasses.

Molded in tan styrene, this kit is presented on four parts trees, plus separately packaged body, interior, and chassis. One tree of chrome plated parts and two rubber tires round out the kit.

While the kit is a caricature of a German staff car, it retains a certain degree of authenticity from the vehicle's 'Jerry' cans to the machine guns and pioneering tools.

The hood is removable to reveal an inline eight cylinder engine that looks pretty good straight out of the box, and will look better with a little additional detailing.

Considering the kit's age, the molds are in excellent condition as there is no visible flash or surface texture on the kit parts to reflect the true age and wear on these molds. Who knows when Revell-Monogram will re-release this gem again.

Markings are provided for the notional Afrika Korps staff car with some humorous (and irreverent) stenciling.

If you want to have a little fun, here is a fun project that will allow you some creativity without anyone telling you that it is inaccurate as the original Rommel hot rod staff car was not-so-mysteriously lost. After Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery acquired the vehicle in North Africa (thanks to the raid into Rommel's camp by the SAS), the car mysteriously disappeared again. Allegations were made against General George Patton, but divers never located the car in the area off Gibralter where it was supposedly dumped.