This is a review of the AMT ’69 Cougar Eliminator kit#38553

I have made this kit a few times more than I probably ever should have – as it is a terrible kit to try and make correctly. It is a shame as well because this is one of the best Merc muscle cars FordMoCo ever produced. The biggest thing to come away with from this review is to make sure you at least buy a grey or white bodied one to give one thing less that has to be figured out, because the rest… will drive you nuts.

Yeah, AMT is the only maker of this year Cougar and that means that there are 10+ versions of the same LOUSY kit. I can say the REPLICA kit is the same thing in the “store acquired” motif and I think the street machine version has some extra parts, but make no mistake… these are all the same FAIL in different colored hats.

CAR BACKGROUND :: Cute. I’m not sure what is funnier – the fact that the “sports car” is wearing ZERO stripes and base wheel covers, OR that the Cougar was more than just a simple sports car? I think a bit of both, really. See, the Cougar was NOT just a sports car. If it was, the Mustang, Firebird, and even Camaro were better sports car values. The Cougar was a comfortable, well-appointed, sports car and, in that, it was the best OVERALL value. The other thing missing from this AD are the stripes, wings, and rims that a “sports car” would have. It isn’t that the car is lifeless without them, but one can argue that it looks more like a “sleeper” in this garb than a true hungry muscle machine. And the Cougar had many tasty options. This was one of the few muscle cars that could give you equal fun in small-block and big-block flavors. You could get the 302ci – like in the Boss – for a potent 290hp (and better front weight), or you could opt for the 7-liter 428 Cobra Jet with 335hp (and enough torque to kiss your tires goodbye). Either flavor, you had a comfortable car that ran neck-and-neck with any Stang or Camaro on the road… and felt cushy doing so!

Like I said above, I have made this car too many dang times and it all has to do with the lousy moldings that this kit has. I’ve run into bad paint, bad covering (of the molded color), bad glass, useless decals, and overall lousy outcome. I cannot stand to spend extra money on cars that I don’t REALLY care about, but spending a lot on ones I do, still hurts. This one seemed to make it through and I’m glad to be done with it. It is painted Tamiya Brilliant Blue and I opted for the white ELIMINATOR stripes. Note**: The rear wing has a terrible 3-piece setup that can make you pull your hair out, and the side mirrors are about as badly molded as you’ll find.

I used the 302ci engine for this kit, but it honestly looks a ton like the 428ci anyways, so it is a handsome, good-sized motor. I’d like to say that the other aspects of the bay are outstanding, but really they are about C+ level. Everything is there… it’s all just underwhelming.

I have to mention the interior quickly as well. I didn’t take any pics as the flat black and slanted dash make for a very dark pic, but I can say it isn’t too horrible. However, the doors could use more detail; the 2-piece Hurst shifter is garbage; and the tub fits like me wearing one of Shaq’s basketball shoes (floats inside the body). I’d be nice to have an AMT that didn’t have that type of poor-planning finish for once.

The underside is also something I would like to burn and never see again. The bottom texture is very “toy-car-esque”; the exhaust is terribly awkward to line-up, the axles are undefined and have little to assemble, and the tires/wheels belong on the “$10 tires for sale” rack. It is NOT the worst I’ve had to fool with (look at the AMC Rebel for one of the kings of crap), but I’d prefer not to work with it again just the same.

Mercury muscle cars are few and far in between, but Merc muscle car kits are even more rare. This is one that WILL build you are cool looking car AND won’t break the bank to do it. It is replete with problems in assembly, quality, flash, and decals being worth spit, but a lot of the times you CAN get by. They are still a dime a dozen, so they are cheap to acquire. I’d get em now before they become a “Cyclone Spoiler” and charge you a couple hundred for the privilege!

6.75 – Mediocre

One Comment on “1969 Mercury Cougar Eliminator

  1. Pingback: X-RAY: 1969 Mercury Cougar 428CJ (Eliminator) 1/25, AMT | The Model Car Showroom

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