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.

AMT 1966 Buick Wildcat kit

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.

AMT 1966 Buick Wildcat kit

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.

AMT 1966 Buick Wildcat kit

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.

AMT 1966 Buick Wildcat kit

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.

5.0 – Poor

FAN SUBMISSION! :: Steve Lowe

The son of an aeronautical engineer, Steve has been perfecting his trade of building for decades, and there is a lot of attention to detail and heart in his work. I’m not a “body-man” myself (and not just in the waistline) and I can say HE is. The pic of his Viper-Jag called Fang is one of the better melding jobs I’ve seen.

He wasn’t just good on the hobby table either, He fabricated this Avenger GT-12 – GT40 lookalike – from scratch and made a fun driver for himself. The Green Bean, which honestly doesn’t give enough kudos for such a nice build, was something ANYONE should be proud of, and was a fun time for him. After 4 years, he parted ways with it, as trying to move and keep it was too much of a hardship at the time. I’d like to find ONE person who doesn’t regret having to ditch a car!

After many years, and some skill honing, Steve was able to re-fabricate the bean in most of its glory – this time in 1/25 scale. Again, it took some supreme work to get her looking a 10th as the real McCoy did. An amazing amount of effort and work went into making his car and I have to give it to Steve for his passion, ingenuity, and life-long hobby. Thanks to him for his story, and for his work. –KEV

X-RAY: 1962 Buick Electra 225 (Pro Shop) AMT, 1/25

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This X-Ray is for a ’62 Pro Shop Buick Electra from AMT. This kit includes:

1 set of tires and both hubcaps and uncovered rims; 401ci, V8 motor; body-only custom options (nothing for engine); small decal sheet.

Good: Very classy ride with some impressive custom body pieces; lots of chrome; cheap price.

Bad: Very “grandma” looking car stock; no whitewalls even though pictured on box AND instructions; decals are lame.

Price: $20+

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+