Discrepancies between the kit and the 1:1 car!
One of the first things that a careful builder notices about the venerated Monogram Predicta kit is that the completed kit doesn't look quite like the photos of the car from that era. The model generally represents the Predicta, but many of the measurements and shapes are in error. Without access to the construction and later photos, even a highly-motivated builder wouldn't have a good way to determine the important but subtle differences between the car and the kit.
However, here at Predicta Project headquarters, we have gathered into one place more photos of this car than exist anywhere else anywhere else! Those images are assisting us in assessing and identifying the dimensional errors in the kit for the purpose of creating correct bodies for both major versions of the car. With this unprecedented access to images and documents -- many of which even Mr. Starbird doesn't have -- plus the availability of every magazine and document which ever featured the car, it's going to be possible to finally produce an accurate kit nearly forty-five (45!) years after the kit was first offered. That accuracy is absolutely essential to the successful completion of The Predicta Project.
Here's a brief list of the dimensional problems with the kit:
1). The fins aren't tall enough and aren't correctly angled. The fin root is too far outbound, and doesn't angle steeply enough with respect to a perpendicular line drawn vertically through the center of the body. The fin needs to be cut loose from the body, and moved inboard and more steeply angled. Finally, a thin strip of styrene needs to be added to the top of the fin, finally tapering to zero mid door;
2). The incut character line on the side of the body (at the base of the fins) isn't deep enough, and is too high. The deeply radiused incut needs to be moved lower and incut more deeply into the body (below);
3). The front grille is mounted too high, and the fender/hood line above the character line. Additionally, the upper edge of the fin has a gentle convex radius toward the front of the car, finally straightening out at the back of the front fender. The kit doesn't include this feature;
4). The doors skins angle strongly inward, which radius increases toward the back of the door. The kit doors don't feature this strong angle;
5). Mike Good suggests that the kit wheel/tire are too "tall." Check out Mike's analysis which I think is right on the money:
The one thing that keeps coming back at me is that the original kit wheel and tire combo may be too tall. This might help explain the badly askew contours on the front upper fender and the nosebleed attitude of the model. Notice that the kit body, when looked at from a 3/4 front view seems to have a "peak" approximately above the front wheel. This is clearly not present on the real car. My suspicion is that the axle center lines are approximately correct, but the extra height of the tire has forced the pattern maker to raise the upper fender line a bit to accommodate the wheel. This would also help explain why the character line on the side front fender does not drop enough toward the front of the car. This angle may have been fudged, again to accommodate the oversized wheel and bring the other fender contours into an approximation of the appearance of the original car. This would also help explain why the front end was set too high on the body.
6). Mark Benton has pointed out that the bubble top sits too far reward on the model. Mark is onto something here; check out this photo and compare the same to the kit;
7). The rear grille shell isn't tall enough which leads, in a profile shot, to an inaccurate lower quarter panel shape which angles upward too quickly toward the rear grille shell ; and
8). The distance between the bottom of the doors and the bottom of the rocker panel isn't tall enough. When the car was restyled for Monogram, Darryl added a rolled edge to the bottom of the rocker panel which connected the rolled edge on the front and rear wheel wells.
The best way to determine, with absolute clarity, how to create an accurate body shell is to compare, digitally, a profile show of the car with an exactly-matching profile of the Monogram kit and then overlay the car with the model image. Mark Benton knows how to do this, and I'll be photographing the model for this purpose.
As work continues at the Predicta Project headquarters, we'll feature more photos about the process of building a correct body master for the first/second/third, as well as the Monogram, versions. Please send in any suggestions that you might have.