Reviews, pictures, hints, and links 1/24, 1/25 car kits
1978 Chevrolet Corvette
This is a review of the MPC Chevrolet Corvette 25th Anniversary kit#1-3708
**CORVETTE EXTRAVAGANZA** cont. –> I have always had a love for the C3 Stingray, so I wanted to do this kit. I had already made this kit in a maroon that was similar to the one from ’78, but it was not a great paint, so I needed a re-do. And… here we go.
I will say this from the get-go, the Revell/Monogram kits are better than the AMT/MPC kits. They are quite similar, however, and the AMT/MPCs WILL work in a pinch. The AMTs have more flash and trimming and they have less pieces, but otherwise give the same look when completed. Better than nothing at all, I figure.
CAR BACKGROUND :: The 1978 Corvette is one of the slowest Corvettes made… almost slower than the ’53 pictured left. Worse still, there was no big block option. No dual exhausts. Not even a turbo. Even still, with less than 200hp, it was still one of the faster cars of the late 70’s (not saying a lot since one of the quickest vehicles of that time was a Dodge truck). That said, you can’t deny that it’s one of the better looking Corvettes. The long nose, large fender curls, and low profile make the car look ten times faster than it actually is. It was a car that begged to be noticed around every corner.
Like I mentioned earlier, the maroon had to go. Not only was it a lousy paint, but I feel it looked poorly on the Vette. This Light Blue Pearl not only turned out to be an easy paint to spray, but looks fantastic. It closely matches the Corvette Light Blue of that year, but I think it to be less like a toddler’s outfit and more like for a sports car than the actual. Most of the exterior is right out of the box save for the side mirror. I used this one off of an earlier year Stingray and it is far better than the poorly-molded plastic ones that came with the kit. I also used exhaust tips off of a ’63 Cobra and added a “Corvette” plate in the front to cover the gaudy, cheap looking “VETTE” molded into the middle of the front valance.
I had gone with brown in the maroon car and decided to keep it for this one as well. The interior is pretty good for an AMT and does include the rear storage compartments and straps. The only thing I had to do here is substitute a better rear-view mirror – as the one from the kit is mediocre at best. I can say that there isn’t a lot of room in these cars. I test drove one in the early 2000s and can honestly say that this Corvette is not for the donut-loving customer. You get this impression while working on this interior. I just finished a ’65 Bonneville and the comparison would be like a battleship to a bass boat.
Unlike my last article – where the engine was a giant bonus for the kit – this one is on the “meh” side. The stock 5.7 has been made a tad better with the addition of a chrome air cleaner, but this is a yawn of a motor and engine bay. The 185hp, 350ci looks as tepid as it performs and there is little to do to make it better. The bay itself is decent, but is also missing a battery. I added one behind the left wheel well, but shame on the kit for not having one. It is also missing a proper radiator setup; the engine is a bit small inside the bay, and the firewall instructions don’t work in the slightest (they say to glue the firewall to the chassis, but if you do, it doesn’t match up to the car – leaving a major gap). It turns out ok, but not the talking point of the kit. I think I may eventually re-re-do this kit and when that happens, I won’t do the paint, I’ll swap in a 454 instead!
In all fairness, my review of the chassis is a but unfair because of the late 70’s poor performing cars. This disgusting wrap-around, single pipe is not only a terrible look, but would be choking this poor 350 to death. I REALLY should have swapped a better engine and an exhaust from one of the $8 90’s kits I have. I helped the look to some degree by switching out the droopy tips for some sport ones from a ’63 Cobra kit. In theory, they would look better on the AC, but I have decided to not build the 289 and just do the side-exhausted 427, so these aren’t needed. As if all the above wasn’t bad enough, the chassis is another floater. There is enough play that you could pose this model as a car with hydraulics. With just a push here and there the body would drop and raise as if bagged… and it is terrible. You can fix it with some glue at the wheelbase, but I don’t like gluing cars permanently… to tough to re-do and makes cleaning too much of a chore.
Like almost all AMTs, the 25th Anniversary Vette suffers from fit and quality issues. The problems for this kit are easily side-stepped and, because it is cheap, it isn’t a heart-breaker if it goes wrong. If you can afford the difference, I would buy the Revell versions. They are just better. I bought this one as it is still cheaper and I was replacing one I had parts for but otherwise I would buy the one of the other kits. These ARE getting to be good investments as they are getting tougher to find, so I would get one sooner than later. Better now then when they are $60.