Reviews, pictures, hints, and links 1/24, 1/25 car kits
’69 Oldsmobile 442 W-30
This is a review of the AMT 1969 Oldsmobile 442 W-30 Kit#8232
Probably my favorite Oldsmobile of all time, the ’69 Cutlass/442 makes for a handsome model. Thankfully AMT has done a better-than-usual job of replicating this beast of a muscle car and I finally got it to where I was completely happy. This also harkens back to my early childhood where I completely botched a Olds Hurst. Mind you, it was displayed proudly and is fond memory, but botched nontheless. I had made another Hurst more recently but seem to like the plain 442 better. Plain is such a silly word for the 442, but oh well.
The above kits are really carbon copies of each other and have little differences. The Hurst Olds has extra parts for the “Hurst” design, and the gold decals, but is otherwise the same kit. Well… almost. Another difference is the engine, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
CAR BACKGROUND :: Why the Hurst Olds needed to be developed when the 442 was already menacing is beyond me. The W-30 had a 360 horsepower, 400ci engine and would easily run high 13s past the lights. But this was more than just a sprinter. The Cutlass was a very opulent, comfortable-riding, cruiser and would be at home with a Sunday drive as a 100ft burn-out. About the only downside to the opulence is that it didn’t have the fancier decal/add-ons that the Mopar guys sported. Tough to argue boldness when you’re wearing a Go-Mango paint job and giant decals. Too bad too when the Olds beats it to the end of the strip!
This Olds is finished in Tamiya Mica Red (not quite the “Crimson” of ’69, but who cares??) and I think it is one of my favorite model paints. You have to be careful of being too heavy-nozzled and getting runs, but it is just a fantastic color. I used just about everything stock except for the side mirror – this one was from another 442 tree that had better chrome.
In true AMT-failing, the interior on ALL 442 kits are just terrible. They have dull finish, lack detail and the fit is usually loose to the body/chassis. I got this one to “stand-to”, but it isn’t the bragging point of this car by a long-shot.
So, I mentioned before that the Hurst had a different engine than the 442. Well it did… and here it is. I snuck the gargantuan 455ci out of the Hurst I was scrapping and plopped it here. That makes this a 380hp 442 with – hang on to your hats – 500lb-ft of torque. I’ve heard Hurst Olds 455s and they are absolutely demonic – even at idle. With that, this REALLY isn’t a W-30, but with the 455 it is faster and more powerful. In actuality, I usually hate cars that have “396” badges and sport a lousy 350, but in this case… I love the bigger engine. This bay is actually halfway decent too. Big radiator wall, well-defined firewall, and nothing really to add. There is a bit too much space around the engine – like in most AMT kits – but otherwise it is pretty nice.
The underside of this car is a mix of good detail and horrible design. The lines and grooves are really great to look at and there are bunch of parts – especially for an AMT kit. The fit, for the most part, isn’t too bad either. The big downside is the exhaust. The fit is already suspect, but the ends fitting into a molded bumper is a really shoddy design. If everything isn’t right, you’ll be adding on exhaust pieces to make it work and it is a headache. After 3 or so builds of this car, I’ve gotten the hang of getting it close, but if it’s your first try, be careful of fitting the exhaust.
There are a few other things as well. The exhaust tips aren’t flared like the a true 442; the chrome is lousy in every other kit I’ve seen; the rear bumper is a gluing catastrophe waiting to happen; and the moldings around the windshield/glass aren’t defined enough for better detail. Some nit-picking to be sure, but I wish it was a better kit all around. That said, I’d build another in a heartbeat. These are everywhere as they were just re-issued (see orange box above), so not the greatest of investments. It is a heck of a car though, so just build it instead.