’71 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler

This is a review of the MPC 1971 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler Kit#7124

I finally got one! I had been wanting one of these since I knew they made the kit (maybe 3 years now). These baddies are RARE, but they are of a muscle car that I think is cool as heck and fast enough for the track. The kit to the right is the only other one I know they have made and from what I’ve seen, it is molded in a horrific maroon. Either way it is expensive.

CAR BACKGROUND :: The “Spoiler”. Sounds like something that will ruin your day! Honestly, if you saw this big lummox drive up beside you at a stoplight, you may not realize that it just might! Even with the side stripes, the car is somewhat sedate looking compared to the utter ferocity that it can bring to bear. No, not the dreaded 351ci in the pic left, but the ultimate in Ford performance – the 429. At top trim level, this engine churned out 370hp and a whopping 450lb-ft. Enough brawn to make Mustangs run and hide to mama. Low 14 second times were a thing of ease and it did so with a comfort level not seen in the typical Roadrunner. The Cyclone also had a style that was as far out of the norm as the first set of bell-bottom jeans. That amazing nose-cone with the built-in reticle in front?! All it needed was a fighter helmet and a set of M-16s on the hood! It was a style that didn’t last long, and by 1973, the Cyclone was all but a memory.

SO PSYCHED to get this one done. And SO GLAD to be done with this one as well. Painted in Tamiya Camel Yellow (a close facsimile to the Competition Gold of that year), the Cyclone was a BEAR to make, but finally came out just how I need it to be. I scrapped the tires that came with it in favor of the red-line ones I had on hand and used the stock rims. I also scrapped the chrome garbage that MPC called side mirrors for the ’69 Cougar ones I had lying about. I created a stripe kit to match the one for 1971 and I think it works nicely. There were no stock decals with this kit – only race ones – which I thought was a pity. I can, however, recreate these if someone needs them as well.

MPC did a decent job here, though I think it a recreation of a 1970 Torino/Fairlane more than that of a Cyclone. It is fairly detailed and comes with I nice console insert. The kit needed a rear-view mirror and a directional stalk, but the remainder of the interior was good. One big note: the glass, which was ruined due to a horrible tire mark, was also a bit long and made the joining of the body to the chassis a little impossible. You may need to trim the bottom of the windshield carefully to get the interior tray to sit correctly. BTW – I believe a ’69 Olds 442 windshield fit perfectly as a replacement.

The engine/engine bay is a bit garbage, unfortunately. The brake boost was a TINY spec on the firewall, so it was cut and replaced. The air cleaner – though stock ram-air in nature – looked badly molded and had to be trashed. The headers were replaced with ones from a 428CJ because they were giant and didn’t match the smaller stock dual exhaust. AND, finally, there was no radiator hose. You WILL NOT get the look to the left from the stock kit.. not by a long shot! ALSO, the radiator is poorly detailed, the firewall has almost nothing on it, and there are no engine braces running from the fenders to the firewall. This came out as good as I could make it, but it is a poor offering by MPC nonetheless.

The underside is nothing to right home about, but fortunately isn’t a fiasco either. I can say that the exhaust is good for how half-baked the rest of the kit is. There is just enough detail to make it worth while too. Another issue with the chassis is that it is one of the MPC/AMT kits that kind of “floats” underneath and never sits completely evenly without some coaxing. I cannot imagine why they couldn’t make a groove or two for everything to sit in for a tighter fit. Again…very half-assed.

I cannot stress what a terrible deal this kit is and how you should run screaming the other way. A dozen or so parts, fixes, and issues later and it still could use some extras. I also didn’t want this for a track car and in that fashion, this car may have excelled more than the stock variety, but that isn’t the point of the review. I can say that IF you need this car in your stable – like I did – it WILL work. However, just be aware of the hair-pulling days ahead to get to this point… and spending some $150 for the privilege!

5.75 – Poor

X-RAY: 1970 AMC Rebel “The Machine” 1/25, Jo-Han

BIG TIME RARE X-Ray today with this 1970 Rebel Machine! This kit includes:

1 set of split wheels (WHY??) with one set of stock rims; V8 engine w/cross ram intake; no exhaust (molded SINGLE exhaust); stock hood – optional scoop w/tach; fair detailed interior; full stripe kit. Good: SUPER RARE kit; unique muscle car with power to back it up; low amounts of flash. Bad: molded single exhaust; not many parts to assemble; SUPER HIGH PRICE TAG!

Price: <$100

X-RAY: 2002 Lamborghini Murcielago 1/25, Fujimi

This is my first exotic car X-Ray and the first real look on my site at a FUJIMI kit. This is a 2002 Lamborghini Murcielago, 1/25. This kit includes:

1 sets of huge tires/rims; fairly good interior w/decals, V-12 engine. Good: Engine displayed; rims are a treat; gorgeous car to display. Bad: Prices are climbing at an unreal rate; engine has 3 pieces; hate the multi-piece body.

Price: $65+

1987 Porsche 959

This is a review of the Tamiya Porsche 959 kit#24065

As long as you aren’t afraid of trim and detail, this is one of the easiest exotic cars to build out there. I had built this one 4 different times and have loved every one of them. I built the exact same blue seen in this review, a maroon, and then this one (with one fail on my part), and I cannot stress how good it is. The only part that is hokey in the slightest is the engine area (I’ll get to it later), but the remainder of the car… well..

There aren’t many kits to choose from if you are looking for this beauty. The kit with the red border is the same as the above with a differently designed front cover. The two on the left are Gunze and Revell and look fairly the same. They are static kits of what appears to be the prototype of the car, so there is no engine, detail looks lousy, and it wouldn’t be what you’d see in a car show today. The last one is a design for the rally racing the 959 participated in, however, it is also a Gunze and has the same low-detail/no engine as the others. Honestly, the 2 Tamiyas are all you have… but they are realllyyy good.

CAR BACKGROUND :: If you had to list Porsche’s best vehicles over the past 100 years, this is one that would *still* be at the top of the list (maybe not first, but up there nonetheless). It was NOT a corporate win-fall in sales as the car never sold for what it took to produce it, but is was more what was produced that made the car a success. It was light.. really light. It was technologically advanced as well: all wheel drive system, tire-sensors, twin-turbo engine, super-light magnesium wheels.. there wasn’t anything on the road more advanced. In fact, the car cost Porsche almost 3 times their asking price just to make it! What you got was almost 450hp, a 195+mph top speed, and a 0-60 time close to the three and a half second mark. This was in 1987! Yes, you can buy a Dodge Charger today for about fifty grand that has more horsepower, but you cannot imagine those figures back when 5 seconds to 60 was considered “elite”. Moreover, the 959 paved the way for Porsche using an AWD system on their standard vehicles – which did nothing but improve performance across the Company’s line. Like most things in this world, its reign as the fastest, most advanced car in the world would be toppled pretty quickly, but not before its mark was left on the auto industry.. a mark that I will never forget.

Like I said earlier, I used a simple Testors Light Blue for this model and I think it really brings out Porsche’s lines perfectly. I didn’t even need a gloss coat. There is a myriad of flat black trim to do, a bunch of tight painting with the front and rear lights, and even the grey-plastic wheels will need some work, but just detail nonetheless. The rest of the model is a joy to work with. There is a bit of assembly wiggling that you’ll have to do to get the engine in and the wheel wells to sit properly, but it has worked every time for me.

The interior is standard Porsche fair, but with the plastic glass, it is tough to photo and give justice too, so omitted here. Safe to say it is a GREAT duplicate of the actual car. The dash sports a decal of the gauges that are very detailed and authentic. The seats and doors have a lot of grooves and lines that add good detail and there is nothing missing. I went with a three-tone grey interior, but I would have done even more if the glass wasn’t there.

Something I think Porsche gets a failing grade for – in general – are their engines. No, not for power or even sound, but for looks. Aside from some of the very newest ones, Porsche’s flat-six engines look a bit like a dorm-room mini fridge in the back end. Don’t get me wrong, it is also very precise and compact, and they can churn 600hp or better, but they look kinda pathetic compared to even a Testarossa. My issue with this model’s engine has to do with the turbo/exhaust lines. They are multi-pieced and HAVE to connect exactly or they will have to be removed and re-glued. That said, you can also not give a rat’s ass and leave most of that stuff off if you really wanted to because you can’t see it from the “millimeter” opening in the rear hatch. Not that it isn’t correctly molded, there just isn’t much of an opening to see the engine’s components.

Tamiya have done their typical-good job on this one. The pieces fit easy and save for a bit of fiddling with the exhaust, will give you a fun build. IMHO, this is my favorite Porsche and one of my top cars of the eighties without even a hesitation. This is also a favorite kit of mine and is one that – even now – will not break the bank. I’ve seen these as low as $18 on the web and they seem to still be plentiful. They could also possibly be a good investment too as I don’t see them re-issued again anytime soon. Super car… super kit.

9.5 Excellent

X-RAY: 1957 Chevrolet Corvette, 1/25, Monogram

This X-Ray is for a 1957 Chevrolet Corvette, 1/25, Monogram. This kit includes:

1 sets of whitewalls with two sets of rims (you can flip the tires for non-white look); V8 engine; decent convertible interior; some aftermarket parts – grille, bumpers, etc. Good: These kits are UNREAL cheap!; lots of parts to work with; Monogram goodness. Bad: Windshield is a tricky glue-together; not quite enough street parts for a beast; no decals.

Price: >$15

Calling all Cars!

This is a notice to everyone that I am buying model collections out there!! I want un-built cars, trucks, boats, military, and some planes. If you have a collection, or know someone/business liquidating their collection, please feel free to contact me!!

Be safe!

T—Kev

X-RAY: 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona, 1/25, Revell

This X-Ray is for the 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona by Revell. This kit includes:

1 set of tires, one set of rims, 440 magnum, V8; very detailed interior; good decal sheet w/3 stripe types for trunklid. There are no street/aftermarket parts. Good: LOADS of parts to assemble, 200% better than AMT’s Daytona, awesome muscle car. Bad: Tricky rear wing/decal; ZERO race parts; NO HEMI.

Price: ~$30+

’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.

8.25 – Good

X-RAY: 1965 Chevrolet Impala SS 1/25, Monogram

Today’s X-Ray is for the Monogram Chevrolet Impala SS. This kit includes:

1 sets of whitewall tires, one set of rims, 396, V8; very detailed interior; small decal sheet (no race). There are no street/aftermarket parts. Good: Excellent model kit that has few problems; not a typical build makes it more exclusive; lots of chrome. Bad: Front bumper/grille is touchy fit; side vent glass tricky to glue; somewhat pricey.

Price: ~$25+

X-RAY: 1968 Plymouth Roadrunner Hemi, 1/25, AMT

For this X-Ray have a 1968 Plymouth Roadrunner Hemi, 1/25, AMT. This kit includes:

1 set of tires, two sets of rims; 426 Hemi, V8; spartan interior. No street pieces save for some aftermarket air cleaners. Good: One of the most iconic muscle cars; BIG hemi engine with lots of detail; Bad: Terrible hood fit; not much customization; taillights have poor detail.

Price: ~$20