1978 Dodge Monaco

This is a review of the 1978 Dodge Joker Getaway Car (Monaco) Kit#MPC890/12

This is a special review for me, because this car is not only an 80’s TV icon (A-Team, TJ Hooker, Dukes of Hazzard, Hill Street Blues, on and on and on), but also because I owned one of these. The car to the right was my 77 Plymouth Fury and I REALLY liked the comfort and view-ability. That car was liked everywhere. “Nice cop car” and “those are rare” were common and I only got rid of it because the 318 was knocking and didn’t want to spend the money getting the engine done on a car that wasn’t worth very much. I would imagine this won’t be the last review of a personal car, but I try not to build the cars I had because I miss them too much. I would also LOVE to have another non-black-and-white Fury/Monaco again someday.

This car, because of its popularity and overwhelming use, has been reissued twice lately. Bottom right and the one I did have been reissued lately and are really good. The Joker car was the issue when Batman (Keaton’s) came out and is the same as mine – minus the Joker figure. TJ Hooker’s car is becoming more rare by the minute and would be a great investment (though getting pricey). The other kit is one of a half dozen Yodel model kits and they are STATIC (no engine). Not sure of the quality, but they look cheap as well.

CAR BACKGROUND :: Like the Crown Vic of the 80’s+, the Monaco and Fury have been synonymous with 70’s and 80’s police cars despite being everyday road cars. The doldrums of the muscle car scene did a number on police cars as much as the hot rods themselves. The 440s were down to a lethargic 195hp and would have trouble keeping up with a Honda Fit today. That said, the cars were almost unbreakable, had enough torque to spin the tires, and actually had a reasonably good look to them. Biggest problem nowadays is that they have been destroyed in almost every way conceivable. Flips, crashes, explosions, and even a demolition derby or two have whittled these away as badly as the slaughtering of humpback whales.

MPC The Joker Getaway Car (1978 Dodge Monaco)

Mine did have the white top, but I decided to try and keep the blue with blue motif. This is Krylon Short Cuts Medium Blue and it works very well. Some of these Krylon paints have questionable quality, but this one did very well. The rims are from a different Dodge car and the rear tires are a bit wider than the stock kit, but otherwise the car is right from the kit. Note** : the hood is a TERRIBLE fit almost everytime. I’ve done two or three AND a cop car or two, and ALL of the hoods fit like crap. They are usually warped and need a lot of trimming. I’ve also had the cowl be poorly molded/warped and it will make the fitting even more difficult. It IS fixable, but it IS a headache.

MPC The Joker Getaway Car (1978 Dodge Monaco)

Well, it IS a 440, but I cannot say it is one of the better 440 engine bays I’ve done… and NOT because of my shortcomings. AMT/MPC bays leave a LOT to be desired. I’ve made this one work, but it is a lame duck compared to a Revell kit. I replaced the garbage air cleaner and added a decal, but there is a lot of wrong with it. The radiator wall is low-detal; the fender arches are flat plastic; there is far too much room between the fender and the arches – leaving a gap; the firewall is barren and has too small a brake boost; and there is far too much empty space toward the grille. I like this as it is clean and attractive, but it is still disappointing. I would like my next Fury/Monaco to have the 440… the 318 I had was even more of a slug on the road.

MPC The Joker Getaway Car (1978 Dodge Monaco)

For an AMT kit, this one looks the part with a vengeance. Again, where I drove this car for over a year, the interior is a nice facsimile. I don’t remember if the column shift had to be added or if it came with it, but it is here. There is nothing else to add here… unless you want a shotgun from the Joker part of the kit.

MPC The Joker Getaway Car (1978 Dodge Monaco)

I didn’t take a pic of the underside, but needless to say it is a bit on the boring side. Like a lot of AMT/MPC kits, there is a post-with-holes axle – with raised and regular holes – and the axle itself is a one-piece. Low number of pieces and mediocre detail is the story. Adding insult to injury is a molded, single exhaust with catalytic converter. This bottom piece, or at least the design, is used with many mid-seventies MPC mopar kits and for those who’ll have nothing but dual pipes, it is a drag. I added a second full line on the driver side and tips out the back. It came out rather good, but was annoying to have to do so. Bummer.

MPC The Joker Getaway Car (1978 Dodge Monaco)

Idiosyncrasies aside, the car is pure reminiscing magic and should be built by anyone who loved a police show or two. I like mine as the fun sedan I once had, but the Joker car is really fun, and the police car is spectacular. It is also still relatively inexpensive (as long as Shatner isn’t on the box) and a favorite of mine. If only Revell had made the kit… It’d be perfect.

8.75 Very Good

*** MAJOR model car sell-a-thon!! ***

I have acquired a VAST number of model cars, boats, and planes from a collection. These are VINTAGE, rare, and – for the most part – in excellent shape. Visit my items for sale on Ebay @ Volarerr to see what is listed currently and if you are in need of something specific, let me know and I will see if I have the part/car/etc. THANKS!

–Kev

X-RAY: 1995 Dodge Viper RT/10 1/25, AMT

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This X-Ray is for a 2005 Dodge Viper RT/10 from AMT. This kit includes:

1 set of tires and rims; 488ci, V10 motor; tiny decal sheet.

Good: When right, the Viper looks bad-a$$; EXTREMELY CHEAP to buy; V-10 is a great swap for another muscle car.

Bad: Decal sheet is laughable; multi-piece body is a pain to get even; rims look tiny.

Price: $10+

X-RAY: 1969 Mercury Cougar 428CJ (Eliminator) 1/25, AMT

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This X-Ray is for a ’69 Mercury Cougar from AMT. This kit includes:

1 set of tires, and 1 sets of rims; 428ci, V8 motor; decal sheet with 428CJ and Eliminator decals.

Good: Choice of 428CJ or Eliminator versions; reasonably good AMT with no Revell option; chrome is almost always good.

Bad: Still has AMT drawbacks; no speed parts (slicks, engine opt, etc); getting pricey for quality of kit.

Price: $25+

Check my review here: ’69 Cougar Eliminator

’66 AC Shelby Cobra 427

This is a review of the Revell Streetburner Shelby Cobra 427 (S/C)

I have ALWAYS loved this car. It IS the definitive symbol of what happens when American brawn gets matched with European style. This kit is a wonderful replica of really either the road going cruiser or the track ready rocket. There are a lot of ways you’ll need to tread lightly, but the end result is astounding.

This build is actually a combo of a couple of the above kits. I think I started with the top left (with Carroll), and added the Metal Flake and the S/C above. Altogether, I ended up with the final result below. The kits above have good and bad qualities, but all of them are the same racing goodness. Some have better decal sets (like the S/C I had) and the one top-middle is molded in a horrifying metal flake motif. You can bet that they are all pretty good quality, however, and I’ve never failed building this one yet. There is also an AMT 1963 AC Cobra 289 that IS actually a good kit and very comparable to the Monogram/Revell, however, they are getting rare and pricey AND do not have the 427 as an option.

CAR BACKGROUND :: So why Carroll and AC fused their collective goodness and came up with the quickest road car of the day is a story for another time. There have been books, stories, quips, cartoons, movies, and so on about the grandness of this car. Suffice to say, the car is a bottle rocket handling machine with the 289, and an otherworldly force with the 427. Rated at a laughable 485hp, the AC was propelled through the 1/4 mile at speeds in the 110-115 mph range and times in the low 12s. There was nothing short of drag-ready cars that could even read the license plate off the back end. I’ve seen recent tests from Car & Driver and Road and Track with quarter times closer to the 13s, but I honestly think they were short shifting the really expensive cars and not breaking them loose like they could have. My belief is the 2000lb speedster could trip the lights in the low-to-mid 12s with zero effort. These cars were GORGEOUS though and had the style and appeal of European contemporaries while having the fire-breathing, American 7.0 liter, V8 under-bonnet. These suckers are now requiring some $500k or better for the real deal and some $80k or better for the knock-off/repro. To me, they are utterly priceless.

Revell 1966 AC Shelby Cobra 427 kit

First time I made this car, it was the 289 version with dual exhaust out the back and was painted Testors Green. It was actually way better than others I had made back then and was a favorite of mine. This one is painted Tamiya Mica Blue, and though the paint is head-and-tails better than I had done back then, it isn’t the British Green I was hoping for originally. I love the finished product, but don’t be surprised if you see this one painted green and accented with racing splendor at some point. The remainder of the car as you see it is from the kit with no add-ons.

Revell 1966 AC Shelby Cobra 427 kit

Right off the bat, you CAN see an add-on to this kit’s engine. I decided you use a dual carb intake (off a ’68 Shelby) and double air cleaners. The single enclosed air cleaner that comes with the car is really nice too, but I wanted more visual appeal for this snake. The remainder of the bay is fairly good and rather stuffed with engine! How they got it in, made it work and made it handle with ’60’s tech is beyond me, but it looks mint!

Revell 1966 AC Shelby Cobra 427 kit

Thankfully having a convertible makes for easier pics. This interior is quaint but looks sharp in the end. I should have done a different color for the carpet – even an off-tan, but the whole thing looks the part of this stellar racer: sparse, but with purpose. Big worries here include the glass being glued to the frame, glass being glued to the side windows, and the whole thing to the car. It is a possible clusterf*** waiting to happen and I’ve come close on two different occasions to ruining the whole sha-bang. NOTE**: Make sure to tape the windshield in place inside the frame and then glue. Let THAT glue set and then glue the whole thing to the body. THEN carefully glue the side windows to the extensions from the pillars. Like I said… can look beautiful, or be a gluing catastrophe.

Revell 1966 AC Shelby Cobra 427 kit

There is a lot that this car leaves to be desired. The tough windshield setup; the side exhaust fitting is lousy; the numerous tiny pieces that need fit to the body without fouling the paint; and the ridiculous knock-offs that refuse to stay on all make for a nervous build. When it is right, it is just amazing. These are also a good investment as these cars are “forever-legends” and will always be coveted. You ought to make one before they are $100 worth too.

8.0 – Good

X-RAY: Don Nicholson’s 1961 Chevrolet Impala SS 1/25, Lindberg

This X-Ray is for a ’61 Impala SS by Lindberg. This kit includes: 1 set of tires and 2 sets of rims; 409ci, V8 motor; very detailed interior; full decal sheet

Good: Excellent quality; fair amount of speed parts. Bad: Could use some engine upgrades for drag car; two piece front grille/bumper can be aggravating.

Price: $30+

X-RAY: 1966 Mercury Park Lane Hardtop 1/25, AMT

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This X-Ray is for a ’66 Mercury Park Lane form AMT. This kit includes:

1 set of tires (with slicks), and 2 sets of rims; 390ci, V8 motor; 2-hoods with one with hole for high rise engine. Good: Classy looking car; excellent custom pieces. Bad: Classy <> awesome or fast; AMT quality still shows; decal set is insulting.

Price: $25+

Car Craft 102

I can honestly say that some of these modeling tips MAY be obvious to some, but the point of this site is to help all types of builders – from novice to advanced. Hope these help!

TIP #1 – WATER BOTTLE CAPS –

If you are like me, you don’t spend the extra cash for huge palettes to mix paint and sometimes you just need to make that red a little bit more orange-y. The easiest, and cheapest way to do this is to use the top off of a water/soda bottle. I’m sure someone in the house drinks water/soda and the caps make a GREAT size to mix needed colors. Plus they are disposable, so no need to bother with cleaning. And, yeah…. I’m sure a beer cap would do the trick too…

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TIP #2 – MODEL CLEAR PARTS CEMENT –

So, I am writing about a tip that includes something already made for modeling? Yeah. Thanks to my friend Wade Phillips, I’m going to let you in on a really cool trick to help with dried out paint. Huh? Yeah! I have gone to my white paint jar numerous times to paint headlights or back-up lights and found it to be dried up. Screwed. TIL NOW. The cement to the left can produce decent looking headlights (see right). No more waiting til you can get to the hobby store to finish your ride!

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TIP #3 – WIPER STALK –

Here is a little helper I’ve found works well. If you have a LOT of extra parts, you’ll probably run into this beaut. If you take a wiper from just about any muscle car kit and hack off the end, you can use it for a directional stalk for your car that didn’t come with one. They are the right width and usually the right length. You can also make good use of unwanted antennas this way too. Necessity is the mother of goofy ideas… or something or other.

TIP #4 – EXHAUST RADIATOR HOSE –

This is something that MANY kits have a problem with – missing radiator hoses. Whether it is missing from an open kit you purchased or not included with the kit you are building, a proper engine bay has a hose joining the engine to the radiator. A simple trick is to use a piece of old exhaust to make one. Exhaust typically bend all kinds of ways, will be plentiful (as most sports/muscle cars have dual exhaust), are highly bendable, and are almost always the correct circumference for the size of a radiator hose.

Sorry it has been a while since I did my first Car Craft tip page, but here we are nonetheless. I hope you liked these tricks and if you have any of your own, please feel free to submit them. You’ll get credit for whatever glorious help you send my way! Keep modeling!

—Kev

1969 Mercury Cougar Eliminator

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!

AMT 1969 Mercury Cougar Eliminator kit

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.

AMT 1969 Mercury Cougar Eliminator kit

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.

AMT 1969 Mercury Cougar Eliminator kit

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.

AMT 1969 Mercury Cougar Eliminator kit

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

X-RAY: 1969 Chevrolet Corvette 429 (427) Coupe 1/25, Revell

This X-Ray is for an ERROR kit of a 1969 Chevrolet Corvette by Revell. This kit includes:

1 set of tires and 1 sets of rims; 427ci, V8 motor; nice interior. Good: Excellent quality; plenty of pieces; reasonably cheap. Bad: Terrible decal sheet; zero speed parts; zero custom parts.

NOTE** – This is an error kit where the front of the box shows a “Corvette 429”. The instructions show the correct size of the engine – 427. There wasn’t a 429ci engine for the Corvette.

Price: $25+