X-RAY: 1970 Oldsmobile 442, 1/25, Jo-han

For this X-Ray we’re looking at the Jo-Han 1970 Oldsmobile 442. This kit includes:

One set of tires/rims; custom grille and rear valance; well detailed interior; stock engine with no upgrades. Good: This rare kit is a good build; nothing extra needed. Bad: Box shows 1969 rear as part of the “features”; very little extras to go with custom front/rear; EXPENSIVE.

Price: ~$50+

X-RAY: 1967 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible, 1/25, Revell

For this X-Ray we’re looking at the Revell Chevrolet Corvette Convertible 427. This kit includes:

2 sets of tires/rims – one stock, one street; 427, V8; nice convertible interior; 2 side exhausts; extensive decals (with aftermarket 427 stripe not found in original Revell/Monogram kit. This kit has plenty of aftermarket goodies, including rims, hood, exhaust, and more. Good: Really nice convertible with a lot of parts options; 427 Corvette can’t be bad! Bad: Windshield surround makes for scary windshield installation; wipers are a bit big and bulky; both hoods are problematic fits.

Price: ~$18 (Hobby Lobby w/coupon)

’71 Plymouth GTX

This is a review of the Revell 1971 Plymouth GTX Kit#7608

This car has a story inside a story and it is a doozy. My son Aaron, who was born at just 2 pounds 18 years ago, was in an incubator for 46 days. It was a traumatic experience for my wife and I and is one we hope doctors will find a solution to for others. While there, I gave him a small Johnny Lightning car of a 1971 Plymouth GTX. It wasn’t anything special (as far as the car was concerned), I just wanted to give my new son something as soon as I could… just in case of the unspeakable. Suffice to say, he did very well in the wonderful WVU NICU and came home about the same time as his due date. He has had no real problems since and is now ready for college. I have since wanted to do a homage to the car in the bottle… so to speak… and this is it.

The above Revell kits have very little different and all come with the same decals sets. I think the only thing different is that the Revell Muscle has a few extras in it and the kit to the left is molded in yellow. All of these will give a sweet build though, and all should be around the same price. The two below are kind of evil stepchildren. The GTX is made by MPC – so not as good quality as the Revell kits – AND it is as rare as a rainbow-farting unicorn. The Satellite is a REALLY nice substitute for the GTX and has the sporty molded hood with the slots for engine numbers. It is molded in a horrifyingly cheap, black plastic and it is usually beyond expensive, but a nice kit/car nonetheless.


CAR BACKGROUND :: The 1971 GTX was an all new body from the very “rectangle” one from 1970 and there is a lot of discussion as to whether it is even remotely attractive. I happen to like the 1971-1974 Satellites and think that they are underrated muscle cars. The 1971 was the last high-power 440 GTX you could get – with the 6-pack thumping to the tune of 385hp. And like the others in the Mopar stable, the color selections were as vivid as a gay pride march. Not that colors mattered on the dragstrip. Punch the accelerator and this beast would rocket to 104 mph in under 14 seconds. Between the heavy growl of the 440 (which I know and love) and the intimidating ram air scoop rising up to inhale gobs of air, you’d be in heaven rocketing down the ┬╝mile everytime!

So.. obviously I had to go with the Hemi Orange that the toy car was. This paint job was more involved than typical, however. I started with a base coat of Flaming Orange and then topped it off with the Hemi Orange after the first coat dried. It made for a super glossy finish. I decided to not use the huge Plymouth decals for the rear quarters (as like the toy) because these GTXs didn’t come with them. I also like to save them for any Mopars that could use some sprucing up.. and this one doesn’t need it.

I’ve said it many times – my photography skills are GARBAGE! Trust me when I say that the black interior looks really nice with the wood moldings. This Revell is another quality one and comes with everything you’d need.

This engine bay looks like most of the Revell Mopars and that is a very positive thing. This was one I was going to potentially swap in a Hemi, but I decided to throw that into the Superbird instead and keep this one a 440-6. Can’t say that I’m regretting it either. Only thing I added here is a wiper motor to help the barren firewall, otherwise it is nice as is. Seems I forgot to paint the cowl drains in front of the windshield, but I’ll get it later.

I had fun with the bottom of this one and it helps that it is easy to work with . Everything fits well and there is little to have to add/fix. Only thing I did was add some GTX-style red-lined chrome tips at the back. These were prevalent on them and I love the look – especially with a red/orange car. I used the stock sport rims and gave it a turbo muffler look, but otherwise left the rest as is.

I can say that for all the reissues there were for these kits, they’ve still gotten super scarce. That, and the good build quality of this kit makes for an expensive purchase – usually upwards of $30+. It is also a good investment as the prices are just going upward day by day. Beyond that, however, this is a heck of a kit and a sweet car to display. Forget the shelf and put her to good use!

9.25 Excellent

’72 Chevrolet Chevelle SS

This is a review of the AMT 1972 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 1/25 Kit#

I have to be honest. Most muscle car buffs like the ’70 Chevelle the best of the namesake. I don’t. I like the ’71-’72. It isn’t the quickest (by a long shot), and not the most coveted, but I cannot get past the rear bumper on it. It is just sharp to me. Kind of a cross between a Corvette and Camaro, I find it far more attractive than the ’70. Past that, I also hadn’t made this car once, so it was time for a go.

Now.., it looks like there is a lot to choose from with this car. There isn’t. These kits, like the one I bought, are ridiculously rare. Because of that, the only one I’ve seen in person is the one I’ve done. I assume that the above kits have similar parts, but I can tell you there are differences simply because the one I made didn’t come with the giganto hood scoop pictured in the yellow kit above. Unfortunately, there is no Revell kit, and this one hasn’t been redone in ages.

CAR BACKGROUND :: Heavy Chevy indeed. The Chevelle muscle reign was over and the remaining LS-5 454 was down to a mild 270hp. And don’t bother looking up how tepid the 307 is! It was also one of the only years with the odd-numbered 402ci, V8 (labeled 400). Yes, the Chevelle was not the barnstormer of just 2 years previous, but the look was still there. Say what you like, but it is a very true muscle looking car. Broad haunches; cowl hood; dual exhaust; and an aggressive grille. Tight.

I hate this model with a PASSION. The front end is typically warped, the chrome can be suspect, and it needs a bunch of accessories. That said, like a mobile home with a Jacuzzi, it can be nice with some help. Painted in Testors De Ja Blue one coat, I am happy with the overall outcome. I had to add the side mirror since it is omitted from the kit and I would have loved to have a set of Heavy Chevy decals for the rear, but otherwise it works.

OH how I wish this had a Revell interior. It just wouldn’t fit. The AMT is lackluster and really has a shoddy mold, but you do what you can. I forget whether I had to add a rear-view mirror, but it does have everything else.

And, again, typical AMT yuck. I had to do a lot of helping here and still more could be done. I cut the sadly molded brake boost from the firewall and attached a Revell part from a similar year. I also tossed the LS-6 looking air cleaner for a Chevrolet “basic”. To me, the LS-5 doesn’t need the pomp and circumstance. And the yuck goes on – goofy straight radiator hose; no fan shroud; mediocre battery; and a pathetic radiator cap. Wires help, but it is still a shame.

This AMT’s underside is actually one of the kit’s high points. The exhaust is an easy fit and there is a good bit of detail. Like the 1970 AMT Chevelle, the only thing in need are better looking exhaust tips. I went with the stock rims/tires and painted the mufflers in a turbo motif, but this is an easy one to work with.

I cannot say that this kit was worth the money. I paid about $50 for it and it isn’t worth a third of that. Prices right now are climbing into the $70+ range and if you can get one for that or less, it is a good investment as there just aren’t many of em left. As a builder, however, there are so many ways that it can be a flop that you just have to breathe in and accept the pain of disappointment when it bites you. The chrome can be bad; the body can be badly warped; there is a lot to add/adjust; and the one I bought doesn’t even come with the stripe kit or Heavy Chevy decals that were found on these. But if you are a BIG fan like I am… you gotta have it.

4.5 Bad

FAN SUBMISSION! :: 1966 Chevy Nova SS Pro Stock AMT, 1/25

This is the first of my fan submissions! This is a 1966 Chevrolet Nova SS Pro Stock by AMT in 1/25 scale. Painted in Gloss Baby Blue (Krylon) with a Princess Purple interior, this is a very well done car by Jimmy Y. Minus the scoop and with the wheelie bars, this looks like a true runner. I like the rims especially, and I’m glad the “bee-hive” scoop was left off as it allows the dual quads to be seen. He also used Bright Chrome to do the engine bay and has it detailed pretty extensively. I hate to see things left half-baked, but this engine is far from it. Sweet.

The kit itself is a rather cheap one with some basic AMT fitting flaws. The chrome grille needs shaved in the back to adhere correctly to the front – as there is not a lot to glue to; the running-board trim is far too thick for the scale; the rear panel insert is cheap looking; and the overall feel is.. well, cheap. The kit IS inexpensive, though, and can be bought at Hobby Lobby for a mere $16 with coupon. Not my fave, but this is a nice build just the same. CHEERS Jim!

Panzer Kampfwagen II Ausf F/G

This is a review of the Tamiya 1/35 Panzer Kampfwagen II Ausf F/G Kit#TAM35009

For my next tank review I made the Panzer II. Tamiya seems to make very nice and easily built models, but don’t be fooled by the term “easy”. There are a slew of parts and some odd fitting, but the treads are nice, solid rubber, the guns are movable, and the overall look is really nice when done. Again, I do not use “people” in my builds, so they were omitted, but this kit does have a few of them with tons of options.

This tank had many design flaws early. The Ausf A, B,and C all had significant armor deficiencies and that lead to further redesign. The Ausf F was a much better iteration, but were still a placeholder so bigger, better tanks could be produced (Panzer III, IV). The Ausf F tank would likely have been used in recon missions, but this particular color scheme would have been used in Germany’s Libya campaign.

This light tank weighed only 9.5 tons. It carried a 1×2 cm KwK 30 L/55 autocannon, and 1×7.92mm Maschinengewehr 34. The engine was a Maybach (yes, that one!) HL62 6-cyl capable of about 24mph. For 1936, not shabby, but by 1942, this tank would be at a disadvantage.

Tamiya Panzer Kampfwagen II Ausf F/G

So, for paint, I used Model Master Afrika Mustard and it looks about right. This kit’s larger movable turret in the front is really bold looking. The fitting for the big gun is good too – allowing a pose or easy maneuvering. The top can be fussy to assemble to the body, but there isn’t a lot on top to worry about breaking as you press. I included a lot of the gear to the body to add some flair, but it also gives an idea of all the accessories that go with this. For decals I had to use some numbers off a different kit as the ones for this tank were ruined. I’m not sure about the correctness, but it looks nice. I also printed a couple of Nazi symbols that were not included. I understand the hate for them, but I wanted the authenticity.

The only thing I had a problem with was the top fitting (mentioned earlier). I recommend checking it before painting and final assembly. You can sand, or trim whatever you need to make it a smoother assembly. Not a big deal, but something I would have liked to know before-hand (and something veterans to tank-building might already know).

I can say this is another good tank kit. The parts are plenty, there are a ton of people and accessories, and a couple good decal choices. Overall a good buy as well, this can be bought for less than $25. Schnell!

9.0 – Very Good

X-RAY: 1963 Ford Hardtop (Galaxie), 1/25, AMT

This X-Ray is for a rare classic – 1963 Ford Hardtop (Galaxie) Customizing from AMT.

1 set of thin tires with two sets of rims; really nice detailed interior; 2 full chrome trees with many custom parts; 406ci V8 with chrome air cleaner; 2 hoods – one cutout; customizing pieces – grilles, front and rear valances, engine, exhaust. Good: There are few kits with THIS many optional pieces; more chrome than you can imagine. Bad: As much as you can add, this was never an exciting/fast car; some of the fit of the options is meh; pricey.

Price: ~$25+

X-RAY: 1956 Ford Thunderbird 1/24, Monogram

Here is my next X-Ray – a 1956 Ford Thunderbird from Monogram – 1/24th.

1 set of tires/rims with whitewalls (no options); detailed interior; front glass is tiny and has to glue to the chrome windshield trim; removable hardtop with glass; No street parts, no engine options. Good: One of a kind classic; cheap. Bad: Tough fitting glass; not many options; AMT fit and finish.

Price: under $20

2006 Ferrari F430

This is a review of the Revell Ferrari F430 kit#85-2033

I have to say that this is one of those cars that I liked from afar. Not something awe-inspiring looking – like that of an Enzo, or LaFerrari. Not world-changing like the F40 or eye candy like a 288 GTO. It was a replacement for an aging vehicle and it didn’t stray too far from its design, purpose and prowess. That said, I really do like this car and this is a good kit… with a large disclaimer.

There are a couple of F430 kits by Fujimi that look fairly impressive but I haven’t done any of them. The Revell kit is cheaper and has enough detail that I cannot believe the extra cost is necessary.

CAR BACKGROUND :: So what was wrong with the Ferrari 360 Modena? It was sleek, elegant, and went like stink. Well, time passes and like anything else, the successor must arrive. Built with a newer, more powerful V8 , the F430 betters its older stablemate in just about every category. Quicker, faster, nimbler, and a heck of a deal next to the opulent 600k Enzo. Road tests range from 3.5-3.8 seconds to 60 and a 198mph top speed. It was impressive some almost 15 years ago, but really those numbers are nose to nose with some 2020 exotics… and some of those aren’t as sweet looking as this stallion is.

Yup. Red. What else for a Ferrari? Well, I actually like whites, blues, and even a black, so I will be making different ones eventually, but for now, Tamiya Bright Red. Now, where do I start with the laundry-list of “disclaimers” I mentioned? For starters, there are the front lenses that have ZERO lip in which to glue. One bad step and the car will have disgusting “eyelids” where the clear lenses should be. Then there is the flat black detail work. The giant holes in the front are gaping and have tough lines to follow for a good painting. Then black paint around the door sills, the windshield, the rear hatch… you will be flat-sick by the time you get finished. Next boggle are the side vents. Each take either a piece of decal OR a piece of mesh material to cover. They are irritating to cut out, and never fit properly. Lastly, the fit is atrocious. The mid-glass fitting to the completed bottom of the car is a nightmare. You really have to make sure that everything is where it should be EXACTLY, or you’ll have to re-position (or worse). And PLEASE make sure you leave the exhaust tips off until the car is assembled. They will not like the joining process. Whew.

The interior is a fun undertaking, however. There are multiple ways you can do this and have it look pretty sharp. I went with the straight tan, but there are a half dozen other colors/combos that you can use. Half-and-half dash colors and the like would look great. This Revell kit delivers detail in spades though and the finished product is great to look at. BIG side-note here: if you are wondering how you can see inside the car, it is because I cut the glass for “windows-down” look. The side glass is one big piece that covers the interior, but if you are careful and use a sharp hobby knife, you can trim the glass where the pillar meets and insert just the rear triangular piece without having glass in front of the interior. It is slow work and if you rush it could ruin the important rear piece. It IS worth it though.

Anyone who has done an Enzo or the like and then this one will vouch for me when I say that this engine is not only a bit ho-hum, but lacks numbers-of-pieces. There seemed to be a lot of places they could have added things to make it more interesting, but it just turned into painting carefully on a few pieces for detail work.The end result is nice and looks great through the glass lid, but would have liked to put together more stuff than what they gave with the kit.

Something a bit different with the exotics that I will be reviewing is there will most likely not be an undercarriage paragraph because most of these exotics have a basic flat panel underneath. Not news-worthy. I WILL mention if there is something detestable with the bottom build, otherwise forgetaboutit!

Patience is a virtue when working/finishing this car and if you have little, you may want to by-pass this one. The time spent on the little things will drive you wonky and it may not be worth your time/money. This model is getting more expensive due to rarity everyday, but right now it is still a bargain. I’d pick one up for collectors AND one to build. This is too pretty of a car for the closet shelf!

8.5 Good

McDonald’s Firebird Funny Car

This is a review of the Revell Firebird Funny Car kit#7636

I can honestly say that when I was younger, the idea of building a kit like this would have made me chuckle. I’m not a BIG fan of drag racing – though I love driving fast – and the idea of never seeing one/driving one left me cold to build it. I am having a blast building some new stuff though and this is a really cool kit!

CAR BACKGROUND :: This is a model of Cruz Pedregon’s Firebird and it is one that he had some good success with. In 1992 he won the Funny Car Championship – one of two titles in his long career – and it was this blistering car that did it. We are talking some 9000 horsepower leading to a ┬╝ mile in 4.9 seconds at … 310mph! These aren’t for the weak of heart for sure and would probably have put me in traction!

So, obvious info out of the way.. I scrapped Mc’Ds for something I actually LIKE to eat. Papa Gino’s is a pizza restaurant near my home town of Attleboro, Mass and I thought it a better moniker than the big clown. It actually amused the heck out of me that the wedge shape logo fit perfectly to the point of the hood! Painted in Tamiya Bright Red, I did most of the decals like the instructions depicted and kept the rest basic. I also didn’t black out the rear “glass” because the red looked nice.

This engine gave me constant smiles through the build-up. The 500ci, blown engine is just fun to assemble and looks re-damn-diculous when done. There are a few nit-picky things, however. The front black hoses location was vague-as-heck in the directions; the driveshaft was incorrectly sized when in place (actually had to fix); and the triangular side sheets were an odd fit. Like I said… not big deals. The end result is something to behold (not for my skill, but for what it is).

I have to say that I really enjoyed the build. The kit is fun to work with, only has a couple of poor details in the directions, and has quite a few pieces. It takes you away from some of the typical monotony builds and gives you something to be creative with. The kits are a tad pricey right now, but I’m telling ya, it is worth the bit extra to try something really different. I can also say that it would be a reasonable investment grab… I don’t see the model company reissuing a 30 year old dragster.

8.75 Very Good