X-RAY: Lotus Esprit Turbo – Exotic Car Series 1/24, Monogram

This X-Ray is for a Lotus Esprit Turbo – Exotic Car Series by Monogram. This kit includes:

1 set of tires and rims; inline-4 turbocharged engine; very small decal sheet. Good: Lots of parts; Esprit is 80’s exotic need for collectors; nice tires/rims. Bad: Glass can be a gluing problem; 4-banger is “meh” for viewing; pitiful decals.

Price: $30+

’69 Pontiac GTO Judge

This is a review of the Revell 1969 GTO Judge kit #85-2072

My cursed kit…. The one I’ve wanted to build but never had. I’ve had this kit numerous times in the past and have had ZERO fortune in completing it. Not even very close. It is a kit that is possibly one of Revell’s worst made. It is one that hasn’t been remade in a few years and I hope it never is remade again. But.. after much coinage and perseverance, it has been done… but at a cost!

These are the only 2 of the 69 GTOs you’ll find. The one on the left is more expensive/rare and the other is molded in a hideous orange. I don’t think it quite the one from ’69, but it is over everything. It is so awful, that some of the chrome is blemished with it. UGH. The kit I did has a secret bonus set of parts. It contains the front and rear bumpers for the 1968 GTO – with decals included! It was a surprise – though I wanted the ’69 to be sure. IF you want the ’68, this is a cheaper way to go as the actual ’68 is getting stupid-expensive.

1969 Pontiac GTO The Judge Ad

CAR BACKGROUND :: Be it the hidden headlights, the squatted stance from the fastback, or the stripes/wings you could add, the Judge is THE goat of the goats. I’ve always been a GTO fan. There are few years where I shrug my shoulders, and more often than not, I’d mortgage the house for one. The Judge, however, is the one that just commands viewers’ attention. Not that the engine or burnouts wouldn’t make ya look either. With a 400ci ram-air V8, this goat turned low 14sec numbers through the quarter… and it looked awesome doing it. Something else of note – these Judges were mostly orange. The Matador Red was the most sold color, but I don’t think it looks like a Pontiac color to me. Everytime I see it I think “cool looking Mopar… oh, right… GTO.” I cannot stress how much I like these in the white, blue or green setups. Personal preference, but I think the red-orange is wrong.

Ok, so where do I start? Well, the car is painted Testors Blue Ice. A bit too metallic, but very close to the ’69 color. The red-orange that comes with the other kit is terrible when just “glossing” it. There are too many imperfections and scratches for to be right and as I said earlier, the color is lousy. So, back to the “curse”. I have had everything happen to building this car that probably can. I’ve had broken pillars, bad paint (the spray was defective), runny paint, rear bumper issues, bad chrome, bad glass… it has been a struggle getting this one done. Beyond my bad luck, the kits have been flawed, the build quality is one of Revell’s worst, and I am whining a bit too much for this article! Anyways.. the rims are stock, and I used the flat, un-detailed tires. I should have replaced them, but I stayed with the stock kit’s instead. It does come with a good side mirror and outwardly needs nothing else. BIG note – watch attaching the rear bumper/taillight piece. It attaches with a small area and can ruin the paint on the sides if not careful with how much used. You will need to scrape off the chrome off the back side as well or you may have problems getting it to stick – especially where it is angled downwards.

I can say that I am the turd in the punch bowl when it comes to this interior. I used a REALLY lousy can of flat black and it looks terrible. I have been using semi-gloss lately and have been very happy with the results. However, when Wal-Mart stopped making their cheap flat black, I had to do some experimenting with others … and this was a fail. BUT, this IS a good, quality Revell interior. The seats have deep detail, the dash is nice, and the remainder presents well.

Ok, ok… get past that the fan shroud s/b painted. I missed it. The remainder of the engine bay is one of Revell’s “meh” ones. There isn’t a lot of detail on the wheel wells, the 400ci V8 is far too small, the fan shroud looks like it’s out of a F-350, and the firewall is barren. With wires and a decal or two, it came out good, but this is NOT a favorite of mine…. Maybe the shroud being painted wasn’t a bad thing??

The bottom of this car is fairly good. There is good detail; the exhaust is hearty looking; the tabs for the wheels are big and stout; and there is ample room for slicks. I didn’t have any issues here with the overall build, but I will mention that the curved back bumper likes to encroach on the bottom of the car – further making it tough to get it to adhere well. I also used better looking tips as the stock ones were just “ok”.

I can’t say how much it cost me to make this car because it is embarrassing. At $40+ a kit nowadays, you can add up many failures and get a good idea. The hood is a bad fit (every time); the engine bay is mediocre, and the rear bumper is a gluing nightmare. Add to that poor chrome; tire-stained windshields; unusable decals; and ever-rising prices, and this car is one to skip… if it wasn’t such a damn GOAT.

6.5 – Mediocre

X-RAY: 1960 Chevrolet C10 Street Machine 1/25, AMT

This X-Ray is for a Chevy C10 Street Machine by AMT. This kit includes:

1 set of tires and custom rims; straight-6 engine; custom interior; small decal sheet. Good: Decent looking kit. Bad: Decals are awful looking and too few; basic straight-6 in a “Street Machine”??; ugly rims with “sport” tires; no stock grille; not enough custom parts (engine, exhaust, bumpers, etc..).

Price: $25+

X-RAY: 1955 Ford F-100 Street Rod 1/24, Monogram

This X-Ray is for a 1955 Ford F-100 Street Rod by Revell/Monogram. This kit includes:

1 set of tires and aftermarket rims; Ford 5.0 fuel injected V8; custom interior; dual exhaust; small decal sheet. Good: Revell quality; good truck bed build; cheap. Bad: Not a large amount of custom parts; decals are mediocre; rims are lousy.

Price: $20+

Display Cases – The Way to Go For Model Cars??

So, I have had a problem over the years. As someone who is disabled and has trouble doing things for long periods of time, I find it necessary to take short cuts – hence the need for the display cases. I was having to “dust” the cars every month or so and doing that to some 100 cars became a tiresome task! I decided to fix that problem…

This display case is sold by Factory Direct Display Cases (bestbuydisplays) and they are fantastically good. They hold MOST model cars and look good doing so. They open from the bottom and have a fantastic finish. I was doubly impressed with the shipping. The speed was impressive; the packing was amazing; and the ease of set-up was ultra-simplistic. I honestly don’t know how ANY company could ship any more safely. They are also sturdy as well. These bad boys weigh enough to be completely solid standing on their own, but not so heavy that you’d have to struggle. I really have to hand it to the company for producing a heck of a unit.

Now, I wouldn’t be totally un-biased if I left it at that. I have a few minor complaints with this particular case. The first is that the mirrored background can be a bit “loud” for a room. It also could be tough on people with MS or the like as it makes for strained viewing. The second is that it is bottom “loaded” and that can be difficult to use IF you do not fill the case from step one. You have to hold up the “door” and load the car because if you don’t it will bend over backwards and the door will snap off. This is tough for loading the original set of cars as well as you basically have to stand the unit against the wall at a tilted angle. If you don’t, the door is heavy enough to push the shelf over while you are loading. Lastly, I said above “fits most model cars” and that is very true – MOST. Some of the 1/24 scale exotics (Lambos, Ferraris, etc) will have trouble fitting their mirrors inside. I broke off the side mirrors to my Murcielago and Aventador. I got them to work, but they really don’t fit.

I can say, however, that I am VERY glad with my purchase. These are fantastic cases and bestbuydisplays takes great care of getting them to the customer. Their prices are slightly high, but fair – especially for the quality of the product. They also are good with concerns and questions, and have other sizes and scales to purchase as well (1:64, 1/18). I recommend these highly and would like input if you purchase them too.

Cheers! -Kev

’70 Ford Mustang Street Machine (Boss 429)

This is a review of the Revell 1/25 Ford Mustang Street Machine (Boss 429)

I love mustangs. Always have. I loved my 2006 GT and honestly there were only a couple made in its glorious history that I would run screaming from. With that, I have never made this kit before EVER. I have made numerous GT500/GT350s and a multitude of Mach/Boss 302 cars, but never the head dog 429. Now that I have… I can say I’m not that impressed… but with the car, not the kit. Huh?

The one I chose above is like the one here to the left, but I am not sure if the one here has the same fault as the one I made. The kit I did included decals but NOT the “Boss 429” decals! All that was included were the ugly black/red stripes that I’ve NEVER seen on a car. I made my own decals, but shame on Monogram for not including them. Humph. The other 4 kits are good and I believe all but the Hasegawa kit include the 429 decals. The Hasegawa kit MAY include them, but I’ve never bought/owned one, so I have no idea.

CAR BACKGROUND :: So I included the pic to the left for the Mach 1 because I’m not sure if it is a blunder by Ford or if it is correct because the Boss 429 is actually deemed a Mach 1 with an engine option. I say “blunder” because the Boss 429 IS the quickest Mustang produced in the muscle car era. I have seen everything from mid 13s in the quarter all the way down to mid 11s! The test I’ve seen – and the one I think is closest to truth – has the 375hp nightmare running 13.6 @ 104.65. That IS quicker than any Mustang NOT track ready. There have been a slew of 428 drag cars that easily run into the 11s, but they aren’t factory street legal… this one is. So, if it is an option on the Mach, than the ad is good, but if not…. oops, Ford! Beyond the hype, numbers, and exclusivity, the car is just awesome. Your hair WILL stand on end when it is fired up and don’t think for a minute that it has had exhaust treatments. If it has… your hair will fall out. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t want this one on a track like Silverstone. The front is SO nose-heavy that you’ll be beaten by a mere Boss 302 almost every time. It is also a guzzler like no other. Stomping it around can produce mpg readings in the FOURS – it is quite ridiculous. BUT, it is a monster of a muscle car and a rare one at that. Shame… the god-sent ones always are.

Back to lousy car? Well, what I meant was that the car is lousy as a kit because it is 97% a Boss 302. As an example, if you made a Challenger R/T, you can then buy a Challenger T/A and the cars are VERY different – spoilers, stripes, exhaust, hood, AND engine. This one has a small decal and hood scoop.. and the decal didn’t even come with my kit! Well, part of the love for this car and kit are the bragging rights and this one has it in spades.

I went with Emerald Green for this one and as you’ve already guessed… not a stock color. Well, two parts to that. The first is I am making as many muscle car kits as possible without duplicating ONE color. The second is I LOVE me a green Mustang. So much so that I painted my ’68 GT500 green as well (review to follow soon!). This was a nice paint but does take a couple coats to gloss over like this one looks, so be prepared. The only other things not “stock” are the mag rims and exhaust.

Oh, and like the other Revell Mustang kits, this one has the windshield rear-view mirror. ANNOYING.

Here is another brilliant example of ALMOST the same as other Mustangs. To the right is the engine bay for the ’69 GT500 with the 428 cobra jet. Obviously, to the left, is the Boss 429. Only the valve covers tell the tale and honestly, I think the 428 looks just as nice. Oppositely, when you put a 426 hemi and a 440 next to each other, you can tell which one is the HEMI – no guessing or questions needed. These two, however, are just about interchangeable. Now the good side with that is the Revell engine bays are VERY good indeed. Both have everything you could need and are very detailed. I just realized I forgot the radiator hose on mine, but I assure you it IS included in the kit. I would suggest painting the bay black (for either car) if you want pure authentic, but I like mine painted.

*Self high-five! I am getting better at photography! (My skills still suck, but I’m learning). Also, like the GT500 or Boss 302, the interior is very detailed as Revell typically does. I don’t think I added anything here and am happy with the extra detail present. No better than the other Stangs, but who cares?

Well, I am happy to report that the Boss has an easy chassis to work with. It is a bit better than other Mustangs as the terrible wrap-around mufflers have been replaced by a regular single-bend exhaust. The ends are from a ’67 Revell Charger, and as I’ve touted before, are AWESOME for this scale.

All complaints aside, the kit is really good, has a LOT of custom pieces to use, has almost ZERO flash, and is a fantastic display when done. These ARE getting pricey since the reissue was a while ago and they’ll only go up from here. I unfortunately cannot say this is a better build than the ‘69 GT500, or Boss 302 and the 429 is certainly more expensive. What I can say is that it HAD to be on my shelf… where else for the fastest Stang?

8.5 – Very Good

X-RAY: 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 1/25, Revell

This X-Ray is for a rare 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1, 1/25, Revell. This kit includes:

1 set of tires and rims; supercharged V8 engine; nice interior; hood with glass insert; metal exhaust tips. Good: Really nice exotic kit; plenty of parts; very little flash to trim. Bad: LOTS of glass to glue/ruin; decal sheet is mediocre especially instrumentation (too light); cost <> return.

Price: $35+

X-RAY: 1968 Pontiac Firebird 400 Ram Air 2’n1 1/25, Revell

This X-Ray is for a 1968 Pontiac Firebird 400, 1/25, Revell. This kit includes:

1 set of tires with slicks; one set of Cragar rims (no stock Pontiac rims); 400ci, V8 engine; detailed interior; drag car THUMPER II parts – blower, decals, etc.; large stock/race decal sheet. Good: VERY customizable; race setup looks killer; decal sheet is awesome; chrome typically excellent. Bad: Rear valance is POOR – light holes are wrong size and badly molded; rims are TINY compared to other Revell kits (I’d replace immediately); price is getting ridiculous.

Price: $45+

Star Wars Y-Wing Fighter

This is a review of the Bandai Veh model #005

I figured I’d take a small hiatus from cars and such and, as I am a BIG Star Wars fan, I thought I’d go over some models as the year progresses. I cannot say I am very knowledgeable of REALLY good S.W. models, but I am going to do some here and there for those who are as big a fan as I am.

The Y-wing is a fun design, but I can say it isn’t as movie-popular as a tie fighter. It makes appearances here and there, but I find it is a fun little design either way. The original movie versions don’t have a LOT of the detail on them, but the one to the left is close to what they would have.

The Y-Wing comes in a very VERY light grey plastic and I think it looks a little too sterile. I used a Tamiya Light Grey to spruce it up a bit and I think it works. The stripes are another story. They are GARBAGE. They are actual stickers vs. water decals and they look awful no matter how precise the placement. They don’t work well over the little “dots” of detail here and there on the ship and they are tough to use altogether. I used Testors Tangerine and a darker grey for the stripes and I promise it looks better than the decals. The glass is semi-gloss black and I used silver/dark red for the “R_” unit. Kinda like R4, but there wasn’t a true “R” unit for this ship in the movie series. There is a LOT of wiring and hoses that could be colored too, but no pics on line really show what they should be EXACTLY, so I left it all grey like in the film.

Something of note as well, the skeletal spindles are an annoying fit to the ends and are VERY breakable. I appreciated the way they did the design to include a couple more pieces than they could’ve done, however, I think they sacrificed stability in this case. The directions for these Bandai models are on the far side of terrible as well. They are TINY, and they aren’t very specific as where the pieces finally lay. Thankfully, there aren’t too many pieces to have to contend with, but they are still crap… and not for the very novice.

The box is tiny, the parts are slightly small in number, the decals are JUNK, and the directions are abysmal. However, the kit IS really easy to build, the kit is really inexpensive and the end result is perfect for a Star Wars fan with little shelf space.

9.0 – Very Good

’65 Chevrolet Impala SS396 and… what??

This is a review of the Monogram 1965 Chevrolet Impala SS Kit#2470 X2

What the hell does the title mean?? Well, I like to keep things a bit variable on here, so this is a lot different than my typical blah blah review. I AM reviewing the kit to the left, but I’m also reviewing the FOOSE kit to the right. I have always liked this kit and aside from the front grill being a true bastard to get in place, it is one of the best kits made – IMHO. I say the review is different because I made two cars… one bone stock and with the Iris color that matches the box, and the other…. welllll…

Ok…. so the one in the bottom right… the red one… the one with the scantly clad girl. I CAN’T say enough about how much this ruins most of the respect I have for Hasegawa kits. I don’t even know where to start! The fact it is a 1965 and the cover says 1966? That they have the name on the side of the car, but couldn’t take the extra step to call it an “Impala” – rather “Coupe Type I” on the box? Do I dare mention the un-needed trollop on the hood of the car for no reason whatsoever? And why the heck do we only get the girl’s figure?? Where’s the rest of her?!!? Anyways.. the three above are really the only options for building and I cannot vouch for the AMT. You’ve seen in my reviews that Revell/Monogram will ALWAYS beat a MPC/AMT, but I honestly can say I have no idea on this one. I can say that the AMT is so costly, that I’d buy the Revell anyways. The FOOSE kit comes molded in white and has a few more custom parts than the stock kit I made, so it’s good too.

CAR BACKGROUND :: Not sure if EVERYTHING around you will be different (like the ad touts), but if you had a cheating wife, lousy job, and a kid flunking High School… you may have given it a try! Kidding aside, the ’65 Impala is a bit like my other ’65 fave – the Galaxie 500. Both are large, comfortable and come with good engines, but are more-or-less forgotten in the muscle/collector world. Which also means – to some degree – to the modeling world. It was only due to FOOSE getting their paws on the car this that the model was reissued. With that, I can say “fooey!”. This is a really splendid looking car with fancy lines, a handsome grille, abundant comfort, and a set of engines that can take the car from the sublime to crazed lunatic. The kit I made has the 375hp V8, and though it would only produce a high 15sec quarter, would still leave most of the bigger cars in its wake. But, look at it! It is stylish like a lot of mid-60’s cars dream of. Just great!

Ever since I saw the cover, I HAD to make this one in Iris. Alas… there is NO Iris paint available unless you go to GM themselves. I was NOT paying $40+ for the color, so I went shopping. What I found was that Krylon Gum Drop looked super close to Iris! $6 and some clear coat and voila! – instant Iris! This Revell kit is also fantastic with all that comes with it. There is literally nothing you need with building this one. Even the exhaust tips are usable… though I did change em out.

Now, for the Impala’s ugly, evil stepchild. The custom Impala I made is a mishmash of parts from everywhere. Outwardly in this pic, the door handles were deleted; the tires and rims are from FOOSE; and, obviously, the Hot Magenta color isn’t stock. Because this was set up for FOOSE, the suspension was an easy fix. Not like other fun stuff, though!

To the left, I went with the stock white w/black interior and had a ball doing the chrome. The Monogram kit has amazing detail and I had fun getting it done. On the other hand, the custom one was rather fun too. The steering wheel is from another kit (and is very race oriented); I added a Hurst gearshift; went full-chome on the dash; added a custom directional; and used a pink/white motif.

Now I know what you are going to say… Yes, the one on the right is a BIT more impressive. So much so, I use it for my header on this website. NO, it isn’t the greatest engine ever (it isn’t even wired), but I like how the chrome looks in front of the pink. It isn’t a 396 either. It is a blown 454 from a Chevelle. Not too much had to be done for placement either… SO worth it! The other engine is the 396 I mentioned earlier and it still looks stock-perfect. I could’ve chromed it up a bit more, but it looks like the typical “sleeper” in your dad’s car!

The chassis is also top notch. The stock pipes are really nice and fit well. And, like I already mentioned, the exhaust tips are fine, but I needed more chrome. Really good detail and easy engine placement make this a 100%, A+. That isn’t to say that there is no room for improvement. For the custom I scuttled the stock exhaust and went with a more formidable one. The muffler section is from a Mopar; the ends past the axle are off a Ford; and the tips are from a Murcielago! You can also see the tire difference from the stock 15″ers, to the 20+ inch FOOSE rubber.

Whether a 500+hp blown 454, or a purely stock cruiser, you’ve got a heck of a kit here. There is nothing to add (unless you go crazy custom like I did), and it wont cost a truck-load to buy because of the recent reissue. I wouldn’t wait for the price to skyrocket though.. actually, I wouldn’t wait at all!

9.75 – Outstanding