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      Your path: Home >> Wall-E's World >> Model Cars >> 1996 Dodge Viper RT/10
1996 Dodge Viper RT/10
Manufacturer: Maisto
Release dates: 2007(?)
Catalog number: Unknown
Date Purchased: December 2007
Date Completed: June 2009
Number in collection: 20

The Dodge Viper RT/10 was an immediate sensation when introduced in 1992 for several reasons. First, it differed very little in appearance from the concept car version displayed at auto shows a couple of years earlier. Another reason is that its aggressive styling and level of equipment that emphasized performance over comfort reminded many of a famous sports car from the 1960's named after a different species of snake. But more important was the performance from its 400 horsepower V-10 engine, the only one of its kind in an America made car. The Viper received its first significant updates for the 1996 model year. The wheels were changed to a new five spoke design. The interior received a new dashboard and steering wheel, with dual air bags. some new paint color and stripe combinations were offered. The exhaust pipes now exited at the rear of the car instead of the sides, which helped increase horsepower to 450. Lastly, a hardtop body style was now available.

This replica is made by Maisto, as part of their Power Racer series. Like all other cars in this series, it features a spring-loaded, 'pull-back' type of motor at the rear wheels. It has decent exterior details with opening doors, but is not an accurate representation of the changes made to the actual car for the 1996 model year. Aside from the exhaust pipes that end the rear, instead of the sides, everything else about this car is for the 1992-1995 version. This is most noticeable in the style of the wheels and the interior. Also, the tail lights are not the correct shape. Other than that, it has an acceptable interior, and the pull-back motor doesn't intrude into it. The chassis is a reminder that these are intended as toys, as it has no realistic detailing whatsoever.

I originally worked on this car long before I started photographing them. The 'before' pictures are not of my car, but ones I found on-line of cars that are in original condition, but in different colors. The 'after' pictures were of my car, but taken while I was originally writing this page.

Click to zoom Click to zoom
What I started with. Actual car I used for reference.


Pictures of car before any changes were made (click to enlarge)

Disassembly was started by removing two screws that hold the chassis to the body. The remainder of this process, as well as the resulting parts breakdown, is as follows:
  • The bottom half of the interior, with seats and console moulded to it as a single piece, in black plastic.
  • The front axle, with wheels and tires pressed onto the axle. This falls loose once the bottom interior is removed. I didn't see any way to remove the wheels from the axles without damaging them, so I stopped there.
  • The rear tires, wheels, axle and pull-back motor assembly. The motor snaps into the chassis plate. Once again, I didn't see any way to remove the wheels from the axles without damaging them or the motor assembly, so this is as far as I went.
  • A one piece black plastic chassis That has minimal and unrealistic detail cast to the bottom.
  • a steel spring that locates between three pins cast into the underside of the body. The purpose of this part is to allow the doors to spring back closed after being opened, and to hold them in place when closed.
  • The two doors, which are easily removed once the retaining spring is removed. These are painted the same color as the body, and have door panel detail lightly cast into the inside surface.
  • A black plastic dashboard and steering wheel. The steering wheel has a generic design used on most Power Racer cars. It is glued the dash, which I didn't remove so that I didn't damage it. This whole assembly was carefully pried from the retaining pins inside of the body.
  • A clear windshield, with frame, wiper, rear-view mirror, and hood vent detail moulded to it. It mounts to the same pins inside the body that holds the dashboard.
  • Two clear plastic head lights, and two cleat red tail lights. These are all attached by heat applied to moulded-in pins. I cut these bonds and removed the parts.
  • The die-cast body, painted white with tampo-printed blue stripes and emblems.

The biggest change I made was remove the very large mold lines at the rear of the car as well as to fix the incorrect shape of the tail lights. Unfortunately, this cost me the blue stripes printed on the white paint. After disassembling the car, I stripped the body with a chemical stripping gel. After a thorough washing, I removed seams from the casting with files and sandpaper before applying primer and paint. The remainder of this project was fairly easy. I used pictures that I found of the actual car to help with detailing the body and interior.

The following is a summary of the changes I made:
  • Wheels and tires: Sanded the tread surface with 220 grit sandpaper to simulate wear.
  • Chassis: Painted entire piece Testors acrylic flat black. Highlight the few moulded in details with Tamiya semi-gloss black.
  • Interior: Painted all interior parts Testors acrylic flat black. Highlighted seats, console, and dashboard with flat black with a small amount of white mixed in to add a bit of depth to an otherwise bland interior assembly. Remaining interior details were highlighted with appropriate colors, using pictures of the actual car as a guide.
  • Windows: Applied Testors acrylic flat black to windshield frame, base, hood vents, and rear view mirror. Detailed inside surface of mirror with Testors silver. Scratch built a rear window from clear blister package plastic.
  • Body: Removed all plastic parts and rear license plate decal, then stripped entire casting with gel-type paint stripper. as mentioned earlier. Sanded and filed all body seams. Enlarged and shaped tail light openings to look more like those on the actual car. Primed body with Rustoleum gray primer, then painted with one coat of Krylon gloss red. Painted underside of body Testors acrylic flat black. Applied Bare-Metal foil to tail light recesses, back of head light lenses, side marker lights, and rear turn signals. Filled in tail light recess with several layers of Elmer's clear school, allowing to thoroughly dry between coats, to replace incorrect light lenses. These were then painted with Tamiya clear red. Painted front park/turn lights, front side marker lights, and rear turn signals with Tamiya clear Orange. Testors flat white was used for the backup lights. Drew in body panel seams with a metal tipped 'quill' pen and black ink. Remaining exterior details were highlighted with appropriate colors, using pictures of the actual car as a guide.
Disassembled parts, before reassembly To the left is the car prior to re-assembly.

The car was reassembled by reversing the procedure used to disassemble it. No glue was needed.


Pictures of completed car (click to enlarge)


The proportions of the completed car look very close to the actual car. The table below shows how close they are.

Actual car 
(mm / in)
Model
(mm / in)
Dimensions of actual car based on model scale
(mm / in)
Calculated scale based on model to actual car
Length 4488 / 176.7 154 / 4.54 4485 / 177.0 1:39
Wheelbase 2443 / 96.2 67 / 2.62 2613 / 102.3 1:37
Width 1923 / 75.7 51 / 2.02 1989 / 78.2 1:37
Height 1194 / 47.0 32 / 1.24 1248 / 48.5 1:38

My calculations show that this car is a bit larger than the 1:39 scale moulded onto the chassis plate. They are close enough that I don't think the difference is very noticeable, if at all.

This is the first time I've really looked at this car in any detail since I completed it over five years ago. It was long enough for me to forget why I stripped and repainted it, as the original paint and stripes looked very good. It took looking at the pictures of the car in its original form to notice that the body seams on the hood and rear end were very noticeable. They were to me, anyway. I also noticed that the paint I applied seemed to dull over the years. I don't recall if I applied a clear gloss coat after the paint. If I did, it didn't do much good. The repainted finish isn't very durable, either. I also chipped some of the paint while I was handling it for the pictures that I took here.

I was unable to find any more information about this replica while doing the research for this page, other than the pictures I have shown in the 'before' section. Maisto doesn't show this car in their current catalog, but they do show two other first generation Viper's. One is the hardtop version of this car, and the other is the roadster without the body changes that this one has. Like most of the other Power Racer cars in my collection, I've never seen another one for sale in any store. Despite its inaccuracies, I feel fortunate to have bought this one when I had the chance.



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