Reviews, pictures, hints, and links 1/24, 1/25 car kits
1966 Buick Wildcat
This is a review of the AMT ’66 Wildcat kit#38457
Buick kits are a tough thing to find unless you are a Riviera fan. There just aren’t enough of em out there. A ’69 Skylark GS would be a heck of a model, but alas, not meant to be. This is one that I’ve wanted to build because a childhood acquaintance in my neighborhood owned one. I also needed another Buick in my stable – besides the GSX – so here we are.
There are very few options for this Buick and they aren’t great to begin with. The three without the bimbo are the exact same kit I built save that they look fancier. Mine had the same outlandish custom parts, they just decided a ugly yellow stock version was the way to go. The Hasegawa kit is expensive and lower quality from what I’ve been told. If you know different, let me know, but I think it is insulting enough of a cover to stay way from anyways.
I wanted to add a side note about the ’66 Wildcat kits and I believe it has to do with AMT being lazy again. This kit is of somewhat poor quality (which I’ll mention the downsides later), but more than that, it has other problems with being an accurate representation of the car – specifically, the interior. The dash, steering wheel, doors, and even seat are all for a 1965 Buick Wildcat. I’m not sure if the company just got lazy, wanted to be cheap, or made an honest mistake, but this is NOT a 1966 Wildcat dash. The steering wheel is also not the one seen here and is definitely from a ’65. The first time I decided to build this one, I sold it because of this, but I wanted a replica of this car, so I stuck it out with the incorrect interior. If I REALLY wanted to, I could look into a resin option or the like, but I didn’t want to shell out a bunch of money to fix it.
CAR BACKGROUND :: Wow. Even when new in 1966, Buick decided to specifically market toward the “older” clientele. Why not just offer some free Gold Bond with every purchase? It is a shame too, because even though Buick has built some handsome, lively vehicles in its day, but they are still considered the “old-folks” car. The GSX, GNX, Grans Sport, and Regal Turbo were all fierce driving cars, however, they still get snubbed too often as boring. This Wildcat is no slouch either. Sporting a 360hp Super Wildcat engine, this land-yacht would run mid-15s in the quarter. Imagine grandpa pulling up next to a Mustang and putting the smack-down on it? No… I’m not saying against a GT-500 mind you, but this isn’t just a pretty face. Beyond the speed, the car looked classy as hell, had chrome for days, and would be one of the more comfortable cruisers at ANY car show. Unlike the new commercials, THIS is a Buick.
One of the first repeat colors I’ve used, this one was done in French Blue and came out great. The whitewalls were pulled from another kit (as they are straight black from the kit) and a side mirror didn’t come with this one, but otherwise the exterior was a nice finish. I cannot say the rest of the car is anything but cheap garbage, but the end look IS fantastic.
One of the worst I’ve had the “pleasure” to work with, only the 425ci engine itself is worth writing home about. To start with, the radiator looked like the pic right originally. NICE straight plastic junk! There is no radiator to insert between the pin circles in front of the fan. That is it. UGH. I pulled out a radiator from the parts bin and fit it between to give the bay a bit better look. Had to replace the original fan too because it was too thick to put anything in front of it. Like a lot of my builds, you won’t get this look from the stock kit. The battery is a bit generic; the firewall is barren; the brake boost is a joke; there is too big a gap in the wheel well (and this was a pinned chassis!); there is no washer fluid bottle; no decals at all; and no radiator cover. It is just a hot mess. I’ve made it palatable but do not look for “special” here.
So, I went with a champagne interior to look like that of the beige that came with that year Wildcat. It is ok, but considering the inside snafu, I wasn’t too concerned with being 100% amazing with the interior build. Again, if I owned this car IRL or wanted a super accurate facsimile, I’d need to go resin shopping and maybe not find everything in the end. The kit’s gated shifter is also laid out incorrectly; there is no directional stalk (which I need to add at some time); and no rear-view mirror. All really disappointing.
I didn’t take any photos of the underside as there is very little detail; the pins make the car look very fake; the writing on the muffler about “used with Buick copyright” nonsense makes it look like a Matchbox; the exhaust is molded and not defined; there is NO extra pieces to attach (springs, shocks, axle, etc); and the engine has the hole in the bottom for the axle pin – which looks grotesque. I would NOT display the bottom of this car on a dare… it is just awful.
There are worse models out there, but this one is a doozy. You CAN make it what it needs to be and even fairly authentic with some extra money (I assume), but overall, this is a flop. The Wildcat hasn’t been reissued in a while, so kit values are starting to creep up in value. Some are more rare than others too, so get em for an investment while you can… just don’t bother building them.