FAN SUBMISSION! :: Jonah Garner

I met Jonah… well, no I didn’t. LOL. I met Jared when he contacted me about selling his dearly departed father’s collection of model cars. A nice fellow from just north of me, he and I had a cordial visit and a very nice exchange. I’ve come to find him a nice person and wished we were actual friends, but distance sucks… I’ve learned.

That said, he had one story I wished to share.

You see, Jared’s dad, Ray Gardner, was an avid modeler and over the years built some beautiful masterpieces. His passion missed Jared to a degree but hit his grandson square in the face. Jonah has since built a bunch of his grandpa’s collection and from what I’ve seen, has become quite good in a short period of time.

To the left is a pic of the happy builder and his 1965 Impala that I believe

2009 Corvette ZR1 in red.

is one of his earlier attempts. The darker purple looks pretty good on the old Chevy! The 09 ZR1 to the left is a FANTASTIC kit that I’ve been putting off myself. Still looking for the right color and such. He’s got a good one going with the Red. The Hood hue matches the rest of the car and the glass has been carefully cared for. One of my favorite real-life cars, I hope to someday own/drive one. For now, my base C6 will have to do.

1965? Ford Mustang Fastback (GT-350
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Harley Davidson set by Revell

Jonah has also done a nice white version of a gen-1 Mustang fastback. With the color-correct 289, the white with blue “GT-350” motif is eye-catching. To the right is the Ford F-150 Harley Davidson set made by Revell that he did a splendid job with. I’ve sold 3 or 4 of these kits but this is the first I’ve seen built. The flareside, trailer, and bike make for a cool overall display. They are getting pricey, but for the scope of part amount, it can be totally worth it.

I was glad to have learned about the Gardner line of car builders and hope to eventually meet Jonah. If he’s 1/2 as cool as his dad is, and his grandpa sounded, he’s gotta be cool too.

Awesome!

–Kev

X-RAY: ☼RARE☼ 1962 Plymouth Fury 1/25, Jo-Han

This X-Ray is an rare kit of a 1962 Plymouth Fury by Jo-Han. This kit includes:

2 set of tires and rims; V8 engine; body molded in a horrifying orange.

Good: Fantastic drag car from the early ’60s; not a ton of pieces but lots of chrome, did I mention its drag racing prowess?

Bad: Jo-Han quality; that orange again; super pricey – especially for parts count.

$150+

X-RAY: Chevy Blazer 4×4 (Snap-Together) 1/25, Revell

This X-Ray is for a rare Snap-Together Chevy Blazer kit by Revell. This kit includes:

1 set of 4×4 tires and rims; molded-to-body V8 engine w/some add-ons; NO chrome; decal sheet.

Good: Very cool 4×4 truck that is snap easy AND has an engine bay for looks; VERY decent number of parts for a “snap” kit; reasonable amount of flash.

Bad: Grey color is BLAND; decals are super-70’s retro and ugly; no chrome means not very vibrant; pricey.

Price: $65+

Car Craft 103

AGAIN… these modeling tips MAY be obvious to the experienced builder, but the point of this site is to help all types of builders – from novice to advanced. Hope these help!

TIP #1 – UPSIDE DOWN PAINT –

Unlike gas prices, jars of paint have not gone up too much over the years and even during Covid. However, this tip is to save on a trip to the Hobby store more than the cost. You’ve been there – red has dried up; steel has congealed at the bottom and needs stirring; paint has separated – making a white and yellow swirl. The way I’ve learned to help this is to set the paint jars upside down every other time used. That way the globs can fall into the thinner and not bunch so much. It seems to help but isn’t foolproof. Yeah… spending the $1.89 is just as simple, but the drive to the store may not be for some.

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TIP #2 – CHROME PAINT PEN –

This particular trick is a two-parter::

The first trick is to use these for chrome detail work – whether around the window sills or for emblems – etc. The pens come in many sizes and can help a great deal with fine work that otherwise would look haphazard with a toothpick.

The second trick is a doozy. On a hunch, I found the bumper of the current project to be seriously faded. This is an EXPENSIVE kit, so not an “I’ll just buy another one and swap out” kinda kit. These chrome pens WILL refresh chrome pieces! I am not saying it is perfect, but the difference for me was night and day. Couldn’t have been happier to make a $200+ car look even better. NOTE:: Try this with an un-needed bumper before using it on a valuable one. I did and it made it less nerve-wracking to fix the expensive bumper.

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TIP #3 – SAVE THE UNUSED PLATES –

Ok, so why is it a good thing to keep these extras that the model companies give or from kits discarded? Well, frankly, they are a free piece of flat plastic to make many fixes to missing/broken parts. In the pic right, I’ve used a plate to make an axle piece that was missing from the kit I was working on. Using a tree-cutter, I was able to fashion the right size and it will work splendidly. They work for those small square inserts on some models that would have a hole for an axle pin to go through and you could even fashion custom ones to lower or raise the wheels in a car. Too many uses for something most kits include!

TIP #4 – BUY MULTIPLES WHEN BUILDING A CHEAP-O –

This should be a no-brainer, but after decades of building, I don’t think of it either. Let’s say you wish to build a 1996 Corvette Convertible because your dad owned one. At any time, they are prevalent on eBay for about $13 – about 40% of what a typical kit would run. Why not buy TWO? You get to have two bodies to paint (maybe even different colors for comparo), two sets of chrome, glass and other scratch/fade-ables to pick and choose from. It very much makes sense, but is often forgotten or overlooked. So, splurge on the other 13 bucks… my kind of “happy meal“.

Well, if this has helped ANYONE, my job here is done. I’d like to think that somewhere someone is getting a light-bulb above their head about something I’ve mentioned. There are too many issues with model cars and especially ones bought that are opened and have issues to not try and put these tips out there. Please comment if you have a care and feel free to get in touch with me with some of your tips – I might just use them in my next Car Craft!

—Kev

1977 Ford Mustang II

This is a review of the AMT ’77 Mustang II kit 099-38276

The ugly ducking… or in this case, stallion. This is another one of those that I actually bought and, unfortunately for me, sold quickly due to a badly bent frame and a sub-par engine. The car was fun to drive and got looks everywhere, but alas, was not to be. The model has also taken me a while to concoct for some reason, but it is done… and it is terrible. LOL.

1974-1978 model car selection of Mustang IIs.

For a car that is thought by most to be the most atrocious Mustang ever conceived, there are dozens of boxes and many, many iterations out there – though they are getting very scarce. 80% or better of the Mustang II kits out there are modified in some way – either the Cobra II form, or some drag/pro street version, but there are a good many that can be built o-natural.

NOTE: These Mustangs for the most part had the same style and features from 1973-1978 – with only slight changes to the car that the untrained eye would most likely miss.

CAR BACKGROUND :: I am one of the few crazies in this world who thinks the Mustang II isn’t the ugliest of the breed. It IS very close, mind you, but I still maintain that this can be an adorable car from certain angles…, and I think that is part of the problem with most Ford enthusiasts’ view of them. See, Mustangs were not built to be adorable, gas misers. They were “pony cars” and were thought of as fun-driving, free-spirited cars. After a time, bigger and extra-potent engines phased that image into one of muscle-car-dom and when Ford said they were making the new one to be enviro-friendly, well, nobody bought them. No. People bought them. People SWARMED to buy them. So much so that the 1973-78 Mustang II is still the second best-selling Mustang of all time and one that will most likely stay there for the remainder of its namesake. So why the cold shoulder by most? Well, the Mustang II is also the slowest Mustang ever built. At a woeful 80+hp to start with, the highest engine power you could opt for was a tepid 132hp, 5 liter V8. That doesn’t sound horrifying, right? I mean my 2020 Hyundai only has 147hp and still runs low 8s to 60 miles per hour, so it can’t be that bad, right? Well, yeah. The top line Mustang II Cobra with the V8 would, if not broken down getting to the race, run 9.5 sec to 60 and through the ¼ mile in about 16.8 seconds. Unfortunately, the Cobra doesn’t have the Hyundai’s 8 speed automatic, higher-quality tires, and traction control. The Mustang II I made has the V6 that was only rated at 93hp and that would raise the quarter into the upper 17s. Yup, about 12 seconds to 60mph.

Would this car be better thought of if it didn’t have the build quality issues and maybe more horsepower than a Prius? I suspect not. The car is an acquired taste to look at; has an odd driving position (I drove mine for a while and hated it), and with anything over 200hp, would probably be skittish to drive briskly. It is still one I have a soft spot in my heart for and potentially always will.

1977 Ford Mustang AMT kit built - red w/black
Picture from 2006-ish - my 1978 Ghia Mustang II. Frame bent, so I said bye bye.

My ’78 was a trunk-back (or Ghia) and I think it was the better look/design (looked way more cool with my son Aaron posing next to it as well). The hatchback to me looks more “Gremlin-y” and more economical. Anyways, this one is painted Italian Red and is a bit darker of a red than I had intended. It worked like I needed it to and I think it is a fine example of the kit and car. Missing is a side mirror (which I will be adding, and I used tires from another kit as the ones from this kit were very “truck-like”. To note: the hood is a lousy fit; will probably have a bit of flash to remove; may need carefully bent; will need care painting as the cut-out for the scoop is VERY thin and shows with some paints, and there is a TON of chrome to be done, so buyer beware.

1977 Mustang II 6-cyl

The engine bay actually looks respectable for an MPC-turned-AMT kit. The V6 fits nicely and has just enough detail to merit an open hood, but just barely. Well, it is NOW because of some mods I’ve made. There was NO brake boost AT ALL, so I added a Ford-looking one. The battery included also looked lousy… like that of a riding lawn mower (pic right), so that had to go too. Also pictured right is AMT’s half-ass attempt at a radiator wall. Sorry, looks more like an odd barrier for a tank to drive around than that of a holder of antifreeze. I don’t remember what this one is out of, but it does the job.

1977 Mustang II side view - red

The interior is standard AMT fare with reasonably detailed doors and dash, missing rearview mirrors and directional stalk, and a steering wheel out of a drag car. It matches as well as a 460ci engine would. Disappointing. I used one from a late-60’s car and it looks much better – even if still not stock-fare. I am sure some of the above kits mentioned have one that is better, but mine certainly didn’t.

1977 Mustang II undercarriage

This underside is also typical AMT/MPC garbage. The bottom of the car looks like a cheap K-Mart toy; there is very little detail; there are no extra pieces to attach (shocks, sway bars, springs, etc); the exhaust is lame and one-piped, and the only saving grace is the dual exhaust that I affixed to the end. YUCK.

1977 Mustang II rear view - red hatchback

It did come out exactly as I hoped. It looks about what I wanted for the fun little car. It is a shame that these kits are mostly junk and in need of help. The tires are off a pickup; the body floats badly; the hood is usually a disaster; the glass has scratches in all but the newest kits, and too many pieces missing. I know adding a piece here and there isn’t too bad, but overall I added a side mirror, rear view mirror, tires, rims, radiator, shroud, brake boost, exhaust tips, steering wheel, and a gear shift.

It makes for a very large sigh when you also have to plop down some $60 for a stock one and maybe $45 or so for a pro street version (to say nothing of the RARE ones for $100+). Thankfully mine was from a set of 400 I recently purchased (and will be selling soon on eBay), so I paid well under $60, but it still hurt to pay for a kit this crappy. If you need it to build it, I guess you’ll pay whatever (like I would), but if not, I’d pass on this one.

GREAT investment… and that is about all.

4.5 – Poor

X-RAY: SUPERFLY (1971/72 Pontiac Grand Prix) 1/25, MPC

1971/2 Pontiac Grand Prix model by MPC - RARE

This X-Ray is for a RARE SUPERFLY Grand Prix kit by Revell. This kit includes:

1 set of tires (not pictured whitewalls) and rims; big-block V8 (likely 455); bigger chrome tree; custom pieces

Good: VERY rare kit of an underappreciated Pontiac; Chrome -if good – is excellent to look at; lots of parts for an old MPC

Bad: MPCs are known for flash and poor fit; not a fan of the Superfly version; not as cool as a $25 Firebird; almost as expensive as the real McCoy.

Price: $185+

X-RAY: (Pontiac) Formula Sunbird 1/25, Revell

This X-Ray is for a RARE Sunbird kit by Revell. This kit includes:

1 set of (split) tires and rims; smaller in-line engine; small chrome tree; widebody pieces

Good: VERY rare body style/kit; widebody makes for an aggressive look.

Bad: Aggressive look does not mean aggressive performance; overboard on the look; pricey for what it is.

Price: $45+

2022 STARTS WITH KINDNESS…

So, 2021 was a very fun year as far as model car building and model sales were concerned, and even though the Covid numbers seem to be trending in the wrong direction, 2022 is already starting out with kindness and a bit of hope. How do I mean?…

You see, this nice man named Frank contacted me through my website and informed me he had some three dozen 1960s model cars to “donate” to a good home. I was floored. I am about to purchase another big lot (around 400 cars for a really charitable price), but this guy – a complete stranger – was giving these cars away. The above pic is just a sample of the cars he’s given (and ones that will be on eBay before too long) and quite frankly I couldn’t be more shocked and blessed.

Not every day someone drops $1000 in your lap.

My point to all of this besides that of a braggart? Well, there are a lot of unsavory things happening in America as a result of the past few years and I find little things like today’s gift are reminders of the goodness still out there from people like Frank.

In closing, I wanted to say Happy New Year to everyone and would ask that people remember to be as kind as they can – for tomorrow may never come for you to do a caring act – one that someone else will always remember.

Thanks Frank!

–Kev

*** 2021 YEAR IN REVIEW AND BREAK! ***

Well, this year has been a goofy one and one that is meant for modelers – as staying safe is a bigger concern than socializing. That said, it has been a busy month – with doctor’s appointments and moving (bought a new house).

I will be off writing until the New Year but rest assured I will have many new reviews and x-rays as soon as the holiday is past – so be on the outlook.

Also, remember to get in touch with me for a fan submission. I am always looking to praise the other builders for their best work. I AM NOT critical and will not embarrass anyone. Your work is appreciated as it continues my career and hobby. Thanks to all the viewers and have the best of Holidays!

X-RAY: Chevy Blazer 1/24, Monogram

Early Monogram Chevy Blazer parts picture

This X-Ray is for a rare Chevy Blazer kit by Monogram. This kit includes:

1 set of 4×4 tires and rims; V8 engine; lots of chrome; decal sheet.

Good: Awesome rare truck used in many TV shows and movies; square-body trucks are getting very popular and pricey IRL; nice molded color.

Bad: Molded color makes it difficult for painting; tires a bit on the fake looking side; decals are ugly and only work with certain colors/no stock decals; pricey IRL means pricier here too.

Price: $65+