McDonald’s Firebird Funny Car

This is a review of the Revell Firebird Funny Car kit#7636

I can honestly say that when I was younger, the idea of building a kit like this would have made me chuckle. I’m not a BIG fan of drag racing – though I love driving fast – and the idea of never seeing one/driving one left me cold to build it. I am having a blast building some new stuff though and this is a really cool kit!

CAR BACKGROUND :: This is a model of Cruz Pedregon’s Firebird and it is one that he had some good success with. In 1992 he won the Funny Car Championship – one of two titles in his long career – and it was this blistering car that did it. We are talking some 9000 horsepower leading to a ¼ mile in 4.9 seconds at … 310mph! These aren’t for the weak of heart for sure and would probably have put me in traction!

So, obvious info out of the way.. I scrapped Mc’Ds for something I actually LIKE to eat. Papa Gino’s is a pizza restaurant near my home town of Attleboro, Mass and I thought it a better moniker than the big clown. It actually amused the heck out of me that the wedge shape logo fit perfectly to the point of the hood! Painted in Tamiya Bright Red, I did most of the decals like the instructions depicted and kept the rest basic. I also didn’t black out the rear “glass” because the red looked nice.

This engine gave me constant smiles through the build-up. The 500ci, blown engine is just fun to assemble and looks re-damn-diculous when done. There are a few nit-picky things, however. The front black hoses location was vague-as-heck in the directions; the driveshaft was incorrectly sized when in place (actually had to fix); and the triangular side sheets were an odd fit. Like I said… not big deals. The end result is something to behold (not for my skill, but for what it is).

I have to say that I really enjoyed the build. The kit is fun to work with, only has a couple of poor details in the directions, and has quite a few pieces. It takes you away from some of the typical monotony builds and gives you something to be creative with. The kits are a tad pricey right now, but I’m telling ya, it is worth the bit extra to try something really different. I can also say that it would be a reasonable investment grab… I don’t see the model company reissuing a 30 year old dragster.

8.75 Very Good

’69 Chevrolet Camaro Z28

This is a review of the Revell 1969 Chevrolet Camaro RS kit#7457

My first Camaro was a ’68 by AMT and I really liked the kit. Since then I have built two of the Revell ones and can say they are better kits by a good margin. This kit is both good and cheap but THAT wouldn’t matter… if it wasn’t a Camaro.

As you can see from above, there is no shortage of Camaro kits. Convertible, 427, 396, Yenko, SS, RS… the list goes on. The above kits are all of the same quality and give a lot of options. Obviously the 427s and convertibles are a step further than the straight coupe, but they all will give a good finished product. Most are molded white, have a slew of extra parts and are relatively inexpensive.

Beyond the Revell armada is the AMT fleet. I think that the discrepancy between Revell and AMT is least skewed with the Camaro than any other model kit. The AMT Camaros are very good. That said, I’d still opt for the Revell when possible.

CAR BACKGROUND :: Well, the Mustang completely destroyed all competition in one foul swoop. GM and Chrysler were playing catch-up in a way that has never happened since. Thankfully for Chevrolet that the Camaro was a gorgeous, potent, inexpensive alternative to the Stang, and ate up the Pony’s sales faster than Pac-Man swallowed ghosts. With 302, 396, and even a brutal 427, the Camaro was a match speed wise as well. The 302ci in my Camaro would have developed 290 underrated horses and would launch past the ¼ in high 14s without too much effort. Sure, you could opt for the 427 from the Yenko boys, but that behemoth under the hood meant that the Camaro cornered more like a Volare than a muscle car.

You’re not going to find too many models built with this scheme, but I love the damn thing. I’ve recently seen one at Rash’s Auto Repair (great set of mechanics/pros here in the Pittsburgh area) and I fell in love with the look. The Maroon and white is just mesmerizing. This is Tamiya Maroon, and though a tough paint to use (kept spotting on me), it shines like a diamond in the middle of a desert. I kept the cowl hood, but lost the spoiler, aftermarket rims, and kept the tires simple. Yeah. It really helps that this is a good kit and doesn’t give many problems, but I still love the look.

So the other half of the equation is the white and black interior. I cannot think of a muscle car scheme that sets the paint off more spectacularly. Revell did a nice job detailing this one too, but the two-tone brings it to life. I used the stock shifter and made the steering wheel wooden.

The engine bay on this one is a good one as well. There is plenty of detail, plenty of chrome, and nothing to add. I have to admit that the 302 looks kinda lost in the big engine bay, but it IS handsome. I am looking to purchase a 1969 427 Camaro to build, so I’ll have that engine bay as well.

This is a Revell kit that does have me a bit torn when it comes to the underside. The headers look too big for the rest of the pipes; the muffler is the wrap-around type that I’m not a fan of; the exhaust ends typically end too low to the ground; and the overall fit is just average. Some sports stars have an Achilles heel of sorts and the undercarriage is the Camaro’s. Not near enough to ruin the kit, however.

In the end, this is a great kit and a favorite color scheme of mine. The kit itself has very few flaws and needs nothing to build right. Best part about this kit (and the other 20 mentioned earlier) is that it is cheap. I cannot say any of the 1969 Revell Camaro kits are better than the rest, but I can say that this one will work big-time.

8.75 Very Good

X-RAY: 1969 Ford Mustang Shelby GT-500 (MCM) 1/25, Revell

This X-Ray is for a popular kit by Revell – the 1969 Ford Mustang Shelby GT-500 Motor City Muscle edition.

This kit has all of the creamy goodness as the other GT-500 kits Revell offered, but it also has a set of aftermarket wheels/tires that are not only nice, but not over-done. It comes with the 428 Cobra Jet (no options) with an optional high-rise dual intake. One stock hood, 1 set of regular tires (no slicks), high-detail interior (with roll-bar), and a decal set that includes 3 different stripe sets (black,gold,and white). Good: Exellent fitting kit; cheap cost; this version molded in white. Bad: Lots of extra detail needed to make right; not many speed options.

Price: ~$20

‘Walker Bulldog M41 U.S. Tank

This is a review of the Tamiya 1/35 Walker Bulldog Kit#3555-700

This is the first of many military/naval reviews and it is a really sweet kit. This is the late 40s Walker Bulldog. This is my first larger scale tank and only the 5th or so tank I’ve ever worked on. It’s one of those things you mean to try but never get around to it. Glad I chose this one to start with.

The M41 was developed as a counter to stronger Russian tanks. Between the end of the second World War and the lack of development funding, the tank was delayed all the way to 1951. Named after General Walton Walker (after he was killed at a demonstration), it was a competent vehicle and saw battle in the Bay of Pigs Invasion, Vietnam War, and was shipped to a dozen or so countries for support.

The tank weighed 23.49 tons and was welded steel. It carried a 76mm M32A1 cannon, a .30cal M1919, and a .50cal Browning. The engine was a 500hp, 6-cyl made by Cadillac and it could run up to 72.4km/h (45mph). Not something to outrun!

I painted the tank in Tamiya Olive Drab and added as much detail as I could. I do not have the paint skills for a “weathered” look, but I think the “new” look works good. I also do not like painting/working with crew/soldiers, so I left them out of the kit. I think that the vehicles look real enough, but I’ve yet to see a “person” look real at this scale.

Only downside to this kit I could find had to do with the wheels in the tread setup. They are supposed to “roll” so the tread can roll, but they want to slip off the posts without using a bit of glue. There are also two tread posts that have to be glued on and without using super glue or stronger, the tread will easily pull away from the sides because of the stress of the elastic tread. Some stupid design flaw (see fig. right). I fixed it using super glue gel and 12+hrs.

I can say this is a wonderful kit and is not only plentiful, but inexpensive ($20). I’d say the best part of this kit are the treads as they are made of a very solid rubber and look super real. It also has a nice set of decals for multiple looks. A must buy in my book.

9.25 – Excellent

DECALS : 1973 Ford Falcon XB Mad Max Interceptor The Road Warrior 1/24 Aoshima

Here is my first decal set for purchase. These are replacements for the Aoshima kit Mad Max Interceptor : The Road Warrior 1/24 kit. The headlights are typically garbage on this kit, so I decided to make sure I had good replacements for them. The lights are done on clear paper as to look right on the glass and the others will be done on white. If you are interested, message me with the request. I can send ANY of these or the full set if needed.

–Kev

’62 Chevrolet Bel Air 409

This is a review of the AMT 1962 Bel Air kit#8716

You are looking at one of the top THREE best AMT kits there are. Not possibly good… not maybe-sort-of… BEST. From start to finish, you will be amazed with the fit, finish, accessories, and upgrades. And, it is a heck of a car too.

All of the AMT ’62 kits have the same pieces and can build the same Super Stock drag car, but these are separated by the famous drag racers that piloted their certain versions. They are all molded in the typical medium-to-light grey and all run about the same coin to buy… very little.

CAR BACKGROUND :: “She’s real fine, my 409.” The definitive sleeper of the 60’s muscle car era. The bubble top Bel Air was a stripped down, light, and potent car in a straight line. Though the 409hp, 409ci Chevy only tripped the lights around the high 14sec mark in the ¼mile, it became an early 60’s legend in the drag circuit. With mid-to-high 12 second times, it was a formidable car against anything brought to the strip. It was also a gorgeous car. Long lines; graceful top; and just enough chrome to get you noticed. Bet the guy with the Chrysler 300H wished he hadn’t messed with the granny-lookin’ Chevy!

I’ve made this car around seven times, so I can say that it looks good in a lot of colors, styles, and layouts. I can also say that this is a favorite color of mine. It is Nassau Blue with a light gloss coat and it looks just CLASSIC to me. I have made this into a drag car three different times and wished I still had the orange one I made a decade ago. It had a dual high-rise intake and some beefy slicks. Loved it. I also wish it wasn’t so perfect of a drag car because I love the stock look, and don’t have room for both!

AMT does seem to do a nice job on some of the interiors of the older year kits, and this ’62 is no exception. I decided to do this one in a lime gold look and I think it looks grand with the blue exterior. It looks a bit more “gold” because of the yellow light bulb I have, but I never said I was a photographer.

409 cubic inches. 409 horsepower. 409 cars probably smoked by its owner. This is one of AMT’s top three engines as well and a personal favorite of mine. The curved valve covers, well appointed bay, and that dual-carb beast make my day every time I build one. I used the Nassau blue for the air cleaner even though it probably was black, but I just think it rocks. NOTHING needed as well.

This IS the best AMT underside you’ll ever work with. The exhaust fits well and has a ton of glue points – then ends with behind-tire drop-down pipes (I added tips); has more detail than you could shake a stick at; and never fails. Only drawback? Not a lot of room for meaty tires. Can’t have everything, I guess.

I said it before and I’ll say it again.. TOP THREE. Maybe not even just top three AMTs, but top three best car kits you’ll find! I really cannot say enough about it. Best part is that these kits are STUPID CHEAP! Beyond the 37 different drag names, there was also a recent reissue, so you can honestly get them for under $20 almost anytime. I wouldn’t put one aside for an investment, but it wouldn’t cost a lot to do so if you did.

10 – Astonishing

X-RAY: 1967 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396 1/25, Revell

Next X-Ray is for a favorite of mine – 1967 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 396 from Revell.

1 set of tires with one set of rims (no options); really nice detailed interior; front glass has separate side vents; chrome wheelbase trim; 396ci V8 with chrome air cleaner; stripe set (black & white) NO street parts or tires. Good: One of the better fitting kits; 100% better than the AMT kit. Bad: Lousy blue mold makes for a lot of cover-up.

Price: ~$25+

’66 Ford Fairlane GT/GTA

This is a review of the AMT ’66 Ford Fairlane #6926 (from the Muscle Cars three-pack)

One of my favorite classic/muscle cars is the 1965 Galaxie 500. I owned one for almost 6 years and loved it. I especially loved the lines/style – to me it just looks fantastic. The Fairlane received similar upgrade looks the next year and I think it is almost as good. It, unfortunately, is kind of a hit-and-miss kit, but I’ll explain more later. I purchased the Muscle Cars kit as the other 2 cars are great as well and it makes for a great deal.

These are the typical kits you’ll find for the Fairlane and, save for the “427”, are all very similar. They are all molded in white/off-white grey, have a good amount of pieces and not a truckload of flash. The “427” is a very dramatic car and is getting very rare. I can’t say the fit and finish is any better, and I think the others are a more true representation of what was readily available for sale than the 427 drag car.

CAR BACKGROUND :: The ’66 Fairlane was shaped with the ’65 Galaxie in mind. See, for ’65, the Fairlane had the side-by-side front lights, but in ’66, they were stacked like the Galaxie. Rear lights were tall and thin like the luxo-cruiser as well. Unlike ’65 too, the ’66 (and subsequent ’67) Fairlanes were given a major power upgrade. The base engine was still the venerable 289ci, but for more oomph, the 390 4-barrel was a box you could now check off. Rated at 335 horsepower, the Fairlane went from a growl-y coupe to a tire-shredding muscle car. Mind you, high 14sec quarter times aren’t the fastest you’ll find, but you’d still hold your own with all but the craziest drag cars.

BUILD NOTES : Like I mentioned before, this kit is a bit of a troublemaker. It shares most its parts with the ’67 Cyclone I reviewed recently (which had its own issues) and then it adds its own bit of tedium. Make no mistake, the kit is VERY do-able even on your first try. Biggest things to look for are the fit and finish issues and I’ll mention them as I go.

Easily one of the bright spots to the car, this 390 is an easy engine to build, looks good when done, and has a fully optioned bay to boot. Only things I did for this one is a chrome air-cleaner and added wires. The rest remains a very nice display and can be made further with some extra wiring and decals.

So, I have made this car a few times and I’ve always gone with a blue color scheme. I hate it in blue. It is a shame too, since I love it in blue. WTF? Lemme explain… I love the actual car in blue. It looks utterly as good as it gets. I have just never made a blue Fairlane model car I’ve liked. This one is done in Model Master Turn Signal Red and I think it is my favorite look to date on this car. I also decided to go with the Cragar mag wheels instead of stock because my Comet has stock wheels. Problem areas worse than the Comet?… The front bumper has little area to glue (which can lead to damaging the paint if not careful); the rear bumper is never really as straight as you’d like; the hood louvers need to be trimmed well before you try to insert them into the hood; and the rear lights can be a bear to fit into the chrome inserts. SIGH.

This is really a cute story of blunder-meets-innovation. When I purchased this kit – as part of the threesome – I realized that when I kept pieces aside, I must have missed the interior of this car. Thankfully, I had the interior of a ’67 Comet just sitting around. So, the interior, engine, underside, and exhaust are all from a ’67 AMT Comet kit! To add insult to this injury, the exhaust ends are from a ’67 Charger, and the wheels are off a different kit too! I also had to add a shifter (because the one in the Comet was an auto) and the side mirror (as the Fairlane doesn’t come with one). 1966 Mercury Fairlane??

The good side is that the Comet/Fairlane kits have a great underside. The pieces are tight, fit well, and have a immense amount of detail (especially for an AMT). You wont need a lot of effort to make this one right.

So does adding to the Comet’s idiosyncrasies make for a scary build? No. The car is still easier than a lot I’ve done. This kit just requires some fore-thought, careful handling, and a small bit of your parts-drawer. That said, the car is plentiful (with a recent reissue) and an be bought for very little ($20+) unless you opt for the 427. The three pack is a good option as well and with a little looking around, you’d get three cars for around $65. Not half-bad. As far as investments, well, you’d be ahead to get a GOOD three-pack or the 427 version as both are getting more rare by the day. The others aren’t really great investments yet because of the reissue. I’d get one anyways!

7.75 – Good

X-RAY: 1970 Chevrolet Camaro Baldwin Motion

For this X-Ray we’re looking at the AMT 1970 Baldwin Motion 427 Camaro. This kit includes:

1 set of tires (2 slicks) with one set of rims (no options); Baldwin Motion hood with buldge; large rear spoiler; 454, V8; fairly decorated interior; optional side exhaust; extensive B.M. decals. There are no “street” parts – slicks, rims, roll bars, etc. Good: Best looking 1970 kit you can buy. Bad: Horrifying green mold with “dimple” on most of the kit’s top – due to an inside dome light.

Price: ~$23

X-RAY: 1962 Pontiac Catalina 421SD 1/25, AMT

This X-Ray is for a 1962 Pontiac Catalina 421 Super Duty. This kit includes:

1 set of tires (2 slicks) with dog dish rims (no options); 421ci dual-carb V8; detailed (but plain) interior; thick glass; easy to follow directions. Decals are VERY slim and do not include the race decals for the racing versions. Good: Cheap and plentiful. Bad: Hood fit, and slicks-to-wheelwell fit.

Price: ~$20