As model builders, we’ve all had times where we’ve looked at the model kit and thought – “that is gonna be awesome” – only to be disgusted with the build later on. Well, here is a small list (probably one of many to come) of models that are HIGH on my do-not-buy list. There are in no numeric order, but are a must pass… I think?

#5 — AMT Ford Mustang Mach 1

This is one of the worst kits I’ve ever built… and when I say built, I really mean “put together in the best way possible, only to throw it away soon aft”. And there is a lot of reason to hate this one. The suspension is rubbish; the plastic is very cheap feeling; there is more flash than needed; the engine is small for the engine bay; the mach one scoop/shaker doesn’t work with the hood; and the decals, IMHO, are terrible. It was like they had ZERO quality management in the production of this one and it shows with each step.

OPTIONS : Revell makes a 69 Mach 1, but it can be pricey. It IS worth the extra to buy it, however. You can also buy the Revell Boss 302 which is very similar to the Mach 1 CHEAPLY at Hobby Lobby.

INVESTMENT : This one has been around for a while, but it does have a few iterations, so for now, it is only a medium level investment. However, it is a better investment than a build by leaps and bounds!

#4 – AMT 1971 Ford Mustang

Mustang again, huh? Yup. This one is truly an abomination. I’ll start by saying that the front end is all wrong. If you look at the pics below, the light housing looks more like a ’73 (left) and so does the grille shape, while the directionals look like the ’71. The grille is also too small; disproportionate to the directionals; and the symbol isn’t quite right.

Add to that an engine bay that is a cavernous hole with the small block; a poorly detailed interior; and an awful decal set, and you have a model that isn’t worth the price to advertise it. All of this would be enough, but the rear taillights and grille setup (yeah, the 71-73 Mustangs had a “grille” of sorts in the rear) is also oddly shaped, positioned incorrectly, and flat-out ugly to look at. About the only good thing about this one is that there aren’t many ’71-’73 model kits out there (Revell has none). That said, it is also a shame not to have a better example of this killer ‘Stang.

Options : Really… none. The ’73 made by MPC/AMT has front issues too and the rear-end is just as bad (see pics below) – the valance is too thin; the lights aren’t curved enough; and the gas cap looks as big as the taillights (give credit to Randy for making the best – and best I’ve seen – of this garbage model kit). There just aren’t any others to find out there. I would give good money for anyone who knows of a spot-on kit for the ’71-’73 Mustangs.

Investment : Well, the fact that it is a sham of a car means nothing to non-auto enthusiasts, so the ’71s becoming more and more scarce should make for an “ok” investment. The ’73s were just reissued recently and unfortunately they didn’t change any of the problems with the poor design quality – so not a good investment either.

#3 – Revell 1968 Pontiac Firebird 400

You will not find too many Revell model kits on my list of “not-buys”, but this is one I’d stay clear of if possible. The biggest reason is the rear taillights. They are shaped COMPLETELY wrong for the scale and I’ve tried to get it right for years with no luck. They made the holes so they have to be trimmed to fit the red inserts and when done, they are just TOO big for the rear panel. On top of that, I’ve had problems with missing pieces (on open kits), hoods with improper fit, rims being too small, and overall quality. It is a shame as there are few Firebird kits to choose from anymore, and this is a heck of a car IRL.

Options : There aren’t any. If you want a model of this car, you are stuck with this “fair” kit. I’ve seen worse, but it really doesn’t look right when done. I’d recommend the 1969 AMT Firebird over this one for an authentic look.

Investment : Giant win here. There just aren’t that many left AND there are only 2 or so versions produced. Right now they are $25 or better and I’d wager they’d be in the $40s or more in the next 5 years (unless there is a reissue). They are just that rare.

#2 – AMT 1971 Plymouth Duster Street Machine

This one is a bit different than the other kits. The kit itself is a relatively good facsimile of the 1971 Duster 340 kit made by AMT. However, this kit has a fun surprise to it. Most “street machine” kits have add-ons to stock pieces, but for the most part, you can build the stock vehicle. This one does not. It has a 488ci Dodge Viper motor, Viper rims (which look terrible), 90’s era tires (which look truck-like), and so on. This is a FUN kit if you are looking for something different and super custom, but for stock… this is a lemon.

Options : Obviously just buy one of 4 AMT ’71 Duster 340 kits. They are everywhere and at reasonable prices (Hobby Lobby will sell ya one for $18 with coupon).

Investment : The good news for this one is that I believe it is a great collector item. There aren’t many of them and they made only one “run” of them. I can’t see them not being collector items in the future.

#1 – AMT 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

This one is a piece of crap in sheep’s clothing. One of THE most coveted Vettes in history, the ’63 split-window, is a gorgeously awesome ride. This is NOT an gorgeously awesome model kit, however. The one above, a recent reissue, is worse than the original. The plastic is cheap, full of ruts and flash, and its overall fit and finish is near bottom rung. I’ve had issues with the chrome, the wheels, the tires, and the glass too.

Options : My choice was to buy the 1965 non-split-window with the 396ci V8. It is NOT as cool, but because it is a Monogram, it is a really decent kit. The ’67 427 coupe by Revell is also fantastic. The AMT ’63 Convertible is a shade better, but not by a mile. It seems to have a few less flaws with glass fit and finish and has easier overall fit. If you HAVE to have a great copy of this year, you may want to look for a dealer promo or a die cast.

Investment : POOR. They just reissued this car recently and they are like spiders in Australia – EVERYWHERE. Between the poor quality and numbers, it just isn’t good right now. What it IS, is a super cheap build if you need one.

So there you have em… five kits I think you can stay away from building. Some ARE good investments, but I think they are terrible builds – such that they will not been seen on here. I have other kits I’ll mention in the future and I’ll be posting other reviews for kits that ARE terrible, but are good enough to build just the same.

Comments or questions, just let me know!


6 Comments on “Five model kits to avoid like the plague! Or not?

  1. Hello!
    Too bad I find I have four of these five to build!
    I’ll have fun regardless!


    • LOL, well, these are ones that have frustrated, but can still BE fun. I think they shouldn’t cost too much to fool with, but since you have em… give em a go – AND SEND PICS WHEN DONE!

      P.S. I went against my own article and built the 1963 Corvette… is one of my best, funny enough!


  2. Totally agree with the Mustangs.

    I built the Firebird but the taillights got by me. I’m not sure about the AMT/MPC 69 Firebird though. The windshield looks like the observer opening on a Sherman tank. (I think the roof line on the top of the windshield is too low).

    I like the ’63 Stingray. But I will cast a critical eye toward one of the three I have.

    Not sure about the Duster I never liked the real thing. That should not determine a model kit build but the Duster is probably less hateful than a Ford Granada.

    I like the list though. But a bit unfocused. Make a list of models with 1)poorly executed panel lines tail lights and grills like the Mustangs. And 2) Models that cannot be built without throwing them at the wall.
    For 1) the top of the list is the AMT ’55 Belair………..Can’t fix the grill, can’t ignore it.
    For 2) the Revell old school ’55, ’56 & ’57 Chevys (opening doors etc) way over engineered.

    May dad was a brick layer. He said: “If you can’t flaunt it, hide it. If you can’t hide it, flaunt it”. Apply that to model cars and it would be “If you can’t hide it or flaunt it, don’t build it”. The two Mustangs on your list matches that precisely.
    Model on!


    • I thank you for your criticisms and input. It is rare to get any on the internet and even more so to get valid messages as well, so THANKS.

      That said, I’ll touch base with your comments.

      Firstly, this is NOT the “TOP 5 EVER”. It plainly is titled – 5 cars to avoid – with the ending asking “or maybe not”. I assure you there are a LOT of kits that are suspect and lousy for one reason or another and I can think of 2 or three off-hand that are much worse. Also, the list IS focused as it actually covers FIVE lousy kits to avoid AND does so with proper explanations.

      I totally agree with the ’69 ‘Bird. The glass just seems SMALL. Not a favorite car either.

      The Duster is one of my favorites and one I owned – to each their own. I can honestly say the idea of not being able to build stock OR not mentioning that on the box is annoying. Viper engine is cool IF you wanted it – I would not. For clarification, however, they never made a 1/24th scale Grenada.

      Also totally agree with the tri-five and their doors. Aggravating and not needed. If I wanted an open-door model, I’d buy a die-cast.

      Regarding the ’63, I am somewhat of a hypocrite since I built one recently… it came out splendid… and I minded the kit a lot less. It is still REALLY flawed, but not as I originally wrote. Look for a full review in the near future. The car is a top 10 all-time muscle car IRL, but the model kit… still isn’t, however.

      Lastly, your dad IS correct. In my mind – if it cannot be made well, don’t fool with it… kinda the whole point of the article. I can honestly say, however, it matches all FIVE precisely.



  3. Yep. I like your critiques. If we were to use the number system that is placed as a guide on the model box, 3 (“advanced”) should be applied to any model that requires skill and experience to correct the flaws. Like the AMT ’55Belair and Nomad. Excellent kits, EXCEPT for that awful flat grill treatment. I tried to correct it but there is too much to adjust. Maybe only after five tries. Ha ha ha


  4. Pingback: 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray | The Model Car Showroom

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