Toy Review

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  • Reviewed Format: Plastic Model Kit
  • Manufacturer: Polar Lights/Playing Mantis
  • Retail Price: $11.99


Jane, stop this crazy thing!

By JEFF BOND     March 30, 2002

Polar Lights could probably keep all of us older genre fans happy by just continuing to reissue every model from the '60s and '70s that Aurora Plastics ever made, but no, the company has to be ridiculously good to us and also make new models that Aurora should have made in the '60s. Everybody can sing the theme to THE JETSONS, the '60s Hanna Barbera cartoon that was kind of the flip side to the prehistoric animated comedy THE FLINTSTONES. We all know the characters...George Jetson...Jane, his wife...daughter Judy...his boy dog Astro. They all lived in an elevated, bubble-topped space home and George jetted to work each day in an equally bubble-topped, percolating space car.

Model kits based on cartoon vehicles were uncommon in the '60s when THE JETSONS debuted, but there were a few made, particularly a series of kits based on the bizarre automobiles in the Hanna Barbera show THE WACKY RACERS. The Jetsons' "car" is both a natural and an odd subject for model treatment: a natural because it's iconic and cool, odd because it's an incredibly simple subject. But we can all give thanks that fate waited until now to get a kit of this vehicle made, because Polar Lights, the manufacturer, has saved us a hell of a lot of work in the process.


The Jetsons car is basically a plate (well, a flying saucer) with a huge bubble top, two mysterious, ray-gun-like energy thrusters, a central rear exhaust (at least on the kitI'm not positive that detail is "canon") and a big rear rudder. And, oh yesit's filled with Jetsons! The model kit comes with 22 pieces, five of which are Jetsonsfully painted PVC vinyl figures ready to have their butts plugged into the seats of the vehicle. Anyone who builds model kits and has lost patience with the hobby due to their age and infirmity will tell you that painting figures to go inside vehicle kits is the most painstaking and least fun aspect of the process, so I was overjoyed to see these figures had been finished for me.

That just leaves building the kit, which is literally a snap, and maybe a tiny bit of painting if you're one of those who just can't leave well enough alone. The model is molded in a leafy green color, and you could give it a nice two-tone paint job or pop out some of the minor panel details on the front. You'll probably want to paint the seats, and the entire interior is molded as one separate piece that will make it very easy to spray the seats with little or no masking. The kit comes with huge clear parts including the bubble top (everything is helpfully and carefully contained in bubble wrap to prevent scratching because you know everything in '60s Futurism was perfectly clean and unmarred), a stylized "planet" display base and a bubbly cloud of exhaust, which is cute but to me "slows down" the look of the finished model, so I left it off.

If you're not tempted to paint the interior you can finish this kit in about fifteen minutes and it looks impossibly neat on your shelf or desk. Playing Mantis (Polar Lights' parent company) is in the licensed action figure business so the painted figures of the Jetson family and dog are impeccable, and they really set the vehicle off. The only thing you can really complain about regarding this release is that it reminds us all that in the '60s we all thought we'd be driving around in flying cars and wearing v-necked shirts with magnetic fasteners by the year 2000. I live in Los Angeles and I want my flying car, dammit!


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