X-RAY: 2009 Aston Martin DBS 1/25, Tamiya

This X-Ray is for a VERY RARE Aston Martin DBS kit by Tamiya :

1 set of tires and rims; detailed interior; small chrome decal sheet w/etched parts; Good: VERY RARE model kit of a Aston Martin; decent amount of pieces; etched parts. Bad: Engine is mostly cover; molded in an odd black-purple color; EXTRA EXPENSIVE!

Price: $125+

X-RAY: 1978 Ford Mustang II – MEAN STREAK 1/25, MPC

This X-Ray is for a VERY RARE Mean Streak ’78 Ford Mustang II. Kit includes :

1 set of tires and rims – including slicks; racing dual carb engine (likely 302); medium decal sheet (no stock decals); pro-stock type chassis; Good: RARE kit of an infamous (but lousy) Mustang II; LOTS of pro stock add-ons. Bad: Lousy Mustang to have to spruce up; flash/plastic quality issues; CAN’T build stock built without extra parts; EXPENSIVE. **NOTE – There is no date on the box – I am giving a date for saving purposes. This body style was made between 1974 and 1978**.

Price: $55+

’70 AMC Rebel

This is a review of the Jo-Han 1970 AMC Rebel “The Machine” kit #C-2670

Ok, I have said before that I am a AMC fan. To a degree, I like even the most usless of models they made – Matador, Hornet, and Pacer to name just a few. I do like em.. but they are as muscular as a field goal kicker in the NFL. In an effort to get a few AMCs for the collection, I have found a Rebel to add. There is something unique about this kit from all the ones I have posted… there is NO option for this car. There is NO other kit to buy… no better or worse… not even a crazy static kit. This is IT. Unfortunately, like the AMC AMX I reviewed a while ago, this one has a lot of problems and it doesn’t help that you could have to make payments on it just to buy it!

CAR BACKGROUND :: Only AMC would say in their ad that another car company was faster : “..it is not as fast on the getaway as a 427 Corvette or a Hemi..”. Only AMC. Could you imagine nowadays an ad that said – “Yes, BMW is more expensive”, or “Someday the Acura NSX will be fast!” Funny. But then, AMC has always been about quirky, odd names, looks, and styles. The Rebel was still a reasonably fair muscle car. With a 390ci, V8 carrying some 340hp, it would embarrass some other well-named muscle cars at a stoplight if the other driver wasn’t careful. No, it wasn’t as fast as a Hemi or as stylish as a Corvette, but it was cheap… and it would lay enough rubber to make anyone smile!

Like i said earlier, this one has issues. Oh it looks fairly well, but not for the kit’s prowess. Because of the kit’s garbage quality, I didn’t go with “The Machine” plan either. I decided to go with a standard AMC Rebel instead. With that, I painted it Tamiya Lavender and though it is off from AMC’s nearest color for 1970, it is a sharp look. I don’t do many with non-stock colors, but I liked the idea of this one. Outwardly, I used different tires (as the stock ones are two-piece plastic and look AWFUL) and rims, but the rest is out of the box. That is the END of the model kit’s goodness. What follows is a review from hell.

The engine bay is something out of a modeler’s nightmare. The fender wells are undefined and have odd circles atop. The brake boost is low; the radiator wall doesn’t fit solid according to instructions; and the firewall has a bunch of odd shapes… and not much else. Now where the AMX was basically a pro street model kit, this is supposed to be a stock Rebel Machine. The engine bay said otherwise and I had to fix it. It came with a cross-ram intake that you’d see in a drag car and NO stock air cleaner. SO… back to the parts bin. I used a Plymouth intake, a leftover carb, and a 428CJ air cleaner to make it look close to correct. I also had to add a hole for the oil filler tube and had to make a radiator hose – as the one with the kit wouldn’t match up to the new intake. YOU WILL NOT GET ANYTHING CLOSE to this look with what comes with the kit, and using the kit… you’ll have a mock-up drag engine instead of the standard 390.

The interior is thankfully better than the AMX, but it isn’t detailed THAT much more. The dash looks good and matches the actual car, but the doors are an afterthought. There are no inside door handles and there is nothing on the panels in the rear at all. The steering wheel also doesn’t have the trim (I had to manage without the trim line) and didn’t have the directional stalk. I can say that this is a lousy interior – more along the lines with a cheap AMT kit. SAD.

The underside is easily the worst part about this fiasco kit. The exhaust is not only fitted, but is a single exhaust that is supposed to be connected to a cross-ram, race engine! Even IF you wanted just the standard V8 setup, you’d still have to have a single pipe out the rear. I trimmed off the cross pipe and added a full second pipe down the passenger side. I then added dual exhausts from a Monogram ’69 GTO kit and I think it looks really good. In fact, the muffler only had one pipe exiting, it stopped against the frame, and didn’t exit the back of the car at all. Like I said earlier, I also had to replace the rims and tires and they were still attached to one of the worst front axle setups ANY model car ever had. I can’t even explain how odd the setup is and hope I never see one again!

NOT recommended at all. Not even something I’d give to an enemy. This is an outrageously BAD kit in almost every way. Add to that a price range in the $125-$160 range… YES… $125+ for this garbage of a kit and you’d want to pull your hair out. And by the way, it is a kit that also had suspect decals (for it’s age); a terrible front windshield (that I had to replace – including making custom window vents); and needed a dozen pieces to make correct. It is DEFINITELY an investor kit – as it is rare – and could eventually be worth 10X what it is currently going for. Better that than having to trudge through the build.. UGH.

5.5 – Poor

X-RAY: 1967 Dodge Coronet FOOSE 1/25, Revell

This X-Ray is for a Foose edition of a 1967 Dodge Coronet R/T. This kit includes:

2 set of tires and rims – including FOOSE edition; 426 Hemi engine (no option); medium decal sheet. Good: Revell kit at its best; lots of parts; no flash. Bad: VERY little FOOSE items in the kit; flat hood on box doesn’t match vented one in kit; not one of the famous Mopars.

Price: $30+

X-RAY: Lotus Esprit Turbo – Exotic Car Series 1/24, Monogram

This X-Ray is for a Lotus Esprit Turbo – Exotic Car Series by Monogram. This kit includes:

1 set of tires and rims; inline-4 turbocharged engine; very small decal sheet. Good: Lots of parts; Esprit is 80’s exotic need for collectors; nice tires/rims. Bad: Glass can be a gluing problem; 4-banger is “meh” for viewing; pitiful decals.

Price: $30+

’69 Pontiac GTO Judge

This is a review of the Revell 1969 GTO Judge kit #85-2072

My cursed kit…. The one I’ve wanted to build but never had. I’ve had this kit numerous times in the past and have had ZERO fortune in completing it. Not even very close. It is a kit that is possibly one of Revell’s worst made. It is one that hasn’t been remade in a few years and I hope it never is remade again. But.. after much coinage and perseverance, it has been done… but at a cost!

These are the only 2 of the 69 GTOs you’ll find. The one on the left is more expensive/rare and the other is molded in a hideous orange. I don’t think it quite the one from ’69, but it is over everything. It is so awful, that some of the chrome is blemished with it. UGH. The kit I did has a secret bonus set of parts. It contains the front and rear bumpers for the 1968 GTO – with decals included! It was a surprise – though I wanted the ’69 to be sure. IF you want the ’68, this is a cheaper way to go as the actual ’68 is getting stupid-expensive.

** REVISED:: Well, I have mentioned in my “About” that I am NOT the “all-knowing” guru when it comes to model cars. I’ve studied both cars and models for over 30 years, but I still get good info from modelers all the time. This time it is from Eric Kopa. He pointed out to me that the above Monogram kits do NOT come with the Ram Air air cleaner pictured here to the right. I NEVER even thought of it when I made the one you’ll see in this review because it wasn’t a necessity for me. It IS the correct way to go with a Ram Air GOAT, but the dual-snorkel one in the other kits will be period correct and look good as well. That said, if you want it to look exact – like mine does – you’d need the Revell Muscle version that I bought and not the others. Thanks again ERIC!

1969 Pontiac GTO The Judge Ad

CAR BACKGROUND :: Be it the hidden headlights, the squatted stance from the fastback, or the stripes/wings you could add, the Judge is THE goat of the goats. I’ve always been a GTO fan. There are few years where I shrug my shoulders, and more often than not, I’d mortgage the house for one. The Judge, however, is the one that just commands viewers’ attention. Not that the engine or burnouts wouldn’t make ya look either. With a 400ci ram-air V8, this goat turned low 14sec numbers through the quarter… and it looked awesome doing it. Something else of note – these Judges were mostly orange. The Matador Red was the most sold color, but I don’t think it looks like a Pontiac color to me. Everytime I see it I think “cool looking Mopar… oh, right… GTO.” I cannot stress how much I like these in the white, blue or green setups. Personal preference, but I think the red-orange is wrong.

Ok, so where do I start? Well, the car is painted Testors Blue Ice. A bit too metallic, but very close to the ’69 color. The red-orange that comes with the other kit is terrible when just “glossing” it. There are too many imperfections and scratches for to be right and as I said earlier, the color is lousy. So, back to the “curse”. I have had everything happen to building this car that probably can. I’ve had broken pillars, bad paint (the spray was defective), runny paint, rear bumper issues, bad chrome, bad glass… it has been a struggle getting this one done. Beyond my bad luck, the kits have been flawed, the build quality is one of Revell’s worst, and I am whining a bit too much for this article! Anyways.. the rims are stock, and I used the flat, un-detailed tires. I should have replaced them, but I stayed with the stock kit’s instead. It does come with a good side mirror and outwardly needs nothing else. BIG note – watch attaching the rear bumper/taillight piece. It attaches with a small area and can ruin the paint on the sides if not careful with how much used. You will need to scrape off the chrome off the back side as well or you may have problems getting it to stick – especially where it is angled downwards.

I can say that I am the turd in the punch bowl when it comes to this interior. I used a REALLY lousy can of flat black and it looks terrible. I have been using semi-gloss lately and have been very happy with the results. However, when Wal-Mart stopped making their cheap flat black, I had to do some experimenting with others … and this was a fail. BUT, this IS a good, quality Revell interior. The seats have deep detail, the dash is nice, and the remainder presents well.

Ok, ok… get past that the fan shroud s/b painted. I missed it. The remainder of the engine bay is one of Revell’s “meh” ones. There isn’t a lot of detail on the wheel wells, the 400ci V8 is far too small, the fan shroud looks like it’s out of a F-350, and the firewall is barren. With wires and a decal or two, it came out good, but this is NOT a favorite of mine…. Maybe the shroud being painted wasn’t a bad thing??

The bottom of this car is fairly good. There is good detail; the exhaust is hearty looking; the tabs for the wheels are big and stout; and there is ample room for slicks. I didn’t have any issues here with the overall build, but I will mention that the curved back bumper likes to encroach on the bottom of the car – further making it tough to get it to adhere well. I also used better looking tips as the stock ones were just “ok”.

I can’t say how much it cost me to make this car because it is embarrassing. At $40+ a kit nowadays, you can add up many failures and get a good idea. The hood is a bad fit (every time); the engine bay is mediocre, and the rear bumper is a gluing nightmare. Add to that poor chrome; tire-stained windshields; unusable decals; and ever-rising prices, and this car is one to skip… if it wasn’t such a damn GOAT.

6.5 – Mediocre

X-RAY: 1960 Chevrolet C10 Street Machine 1/25, AMT

This X-Ray is for a Chevy C10 Street Machine by AMT. This kit includes:

1 set of tires and custom rims; straight-6 engine; custom interior; small decal sheet. Good: Decent looking kit. Bad: Decals are awful looking and too few; basic straight-6 in a “Street Machine”??; ugly rims with “sport” tires; no stock grille; not enough custom parts (engine, exhaust, bumpers, etc..).

Price: $25+

X-RAY: 1955 Ford F-100 Street Rod 1/24, Monogram

This X-Ray is for a 1955 Ford F-100 Street Rod by Revell/Monogram. This kit includes:

1 set of tires and aftermarket rims; Ford 5.0 fuel injected V8; custom interior; dual exhaust; small decal sheet. Good: Revell quality; good truck bed build; cheap. Bad: Not a large amount of custom parts; decals are mediocre; rims are lousy.

Price: $20+

Display Cases – The Way to Go For Model Cars??

So, I have had a problem over the years. As someone who is disabled and has trouble doing things for long periods of time, I find it necessary to take short cuts – hence the need for the display cases. I was having to “dust” the cars every month or so and doing that to some 100 cars became a tiresome task! I decided to fix that problem…

This display case is sold by Factory Direct Display Cases (bestbuydisplays) and they are fantastically good. They hold MOST model cars and look good doing so. They open from the bottom and have a fantastic finish. I was doubly impressed with the shipping. The speed was impressive; the packing was amazing; and the ease of set-up was ultra-simplistic. I honestly don’t know how ANY company could ship any more safely. They are also sturdy as well. These bad boys weigh enough to be completely solid standing on their own, but not so heavy that you’d have to struggle. I really have to hand it to the company for producing a heck of a unit.

Now, I wouldn’t be totally un-biased if I left it at that. I have a few minor complaints with this particular case. The first is that the mirrored background can be a bit “loud” for a room. It also could be tough on people with MS or the like as it makes for strained viewing. The second is that it is bottom “loaded” and that can be difficult to use IF you do not fill the case from step one. You have to hold up the “door” and load the car because if you don’t it will bend over backwards and the door will snap off. This is tough for loading the original set of cars as well as you basically have to stand the unit against the wall at a tilted angle. If you don’t, the door is heavy enough to push the shelf over while you are loading. Lastly, I said above “fits most model cars” and that is very true – MOST. Some of the 1/24 scale exotics (Lambos, Ferraris, etc) will have trouble fitting their mirrors inside. I broke off the side mirrors to my Murcielago and Aventador. I got them to work, but they really don’t fit.

I can say, however, that I am VERY glad with my purchase. These are fantastic cases and bestbuydisplays takes great care of getting them to the customer. Their prices are slightly high, but fair – especially for the quality of the product. They also are good with concerns and questions, and have other sizes and scales to purchase as well (1:64, 1/18). I recommend these highly and would like input if you purchase them too.

Cheers! -Kev

’70 Ford Mustang Street Machine (Boss 429)

This is a review of the Revell 1/25 Ford Mustang Street Machine (Boss 429)

I love mustangs. Always have. I loved my 2006 GT and honestly there were only a couple made in its glorious history that I would run screaming from. With that, I have never made this kit before EVER. I have made numerous GT500/GT350s and a multitude of Mach/Boss 302 cars, but never the head dog 429. Now that I have… I can say I’m not that impressed… but with the car, not the kit. Huh?

The one I chose above is like the one here to the left, but I am not sure if the one here has the same fault as the one I made. The kit I did included decals but NOT the “Boss 429” decals! All that was included were the ugly black/red stripes that I’ve NEVER seen on a car. I made my own decals, but shame on Monogram for not including them. Humph. The other 4 kits are good and I believe all but the Hasegawa kit include the 429 decals. The Hasegawa kit MAY include them, but I’ve never bought/owned one, so I have no idea.

CAR BACKGROUND :: So I included the pic to the left for the Mach 1 because I’m not sure if it is a blunder by Ford or if it is correct because the Boss 429 is actually deemed a Mach 1 with an engine option. I say “blunder” because the Boss 429 IS the quickest Mustang produced in the muscle car era. I have seen everything from mid 13s in the quarter all the way down to mid 11s! The test I’ve seen – and the one I think is closest to truth – has the 375hp nightmare running 13.6 @ 104.65. That IS quicker than any Mustang NOT track ready. There have been a slew of 428 drag cars that easily run into the 11s, but they aren’t factory street legal… this one is. So, if it is an option on the Mach, than the ad is good, but if not…. oops, Ford! Beyond the hype, numbers, and exclusivity, the car is just awesome. Your hair WILL stand on end when it is fired up and don’t think for a minute that it has had exhaust treatments. If it has… your hair will fall out. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t want this one on a track like Silverstone. The front is SO nose-heavy that you’ll be beaten by a mere Boss 302 almost every time. It is also a guzzler like no other. Stomping it around can produce mpg readings in the FOURS – it is quite ridiculous. BUT, it is a monster of a muscle car and a rare one at that. Shame… the god-sent ones always are.

Back to lousy car? Well, what I meant was that the car is lousy as a kit because it is 97% a Boss 302. As an example, if you made a Challenger R/T, you can then buy a Challenger T/A and the cars are VERY different – spoilers, stripes, exhaust, hood, AND engine. This one has a small decal and hood scoop.. and the decal didn’t even come with my kit! Well, part of the love for this car and kit are the bragging rights and this one has it in spades.

I went with Emerald Green for this one and as you’ve already guessed… not a stock color. Well, two parts to that. The first is I am making as many muscle car kits as possible without duplicating ONE color. The second is I LOVE me a green Mustang. So much so that I painted my ’68 GT500 green as well (review to follow soon!). This was a nice paint but does take a couple coats to gloss over like this one looks, so be prepared. The only other things not “stock” are the mag rims and exhaust.

Oh, and like the other Revell Mustang kits, this one has the windshield rear-view mirror. ANNOYING.

Here is another brilliant example of ALMOST the same as other Mustangs. To the right is the engine bay for the ’69 GT500 with the 428 cobra jet. Obviously, to the left, is the Boss 429. Only the valve covers tell the tale and honestly, I think the 428 looks just as nice. Oppositely, when you put a 426 hemi and a 440 next to each other, you can tell which one is the HEMI – no guessing or questions needed. These two, however, are just about interchangeable. Now the good side with that is the Revell engine bays are VERY good indeed. Both have everything you could need and are very detailed. I just realized I forgot the radiator hose on mine, but I assure you it IS included in the kit. I would suggest painting the bay black (for either car) if you want pure authentic, but I like mine painted.

*Self high-five! I am getting better at photography! (My skills still suck, but I’m learning). Also, like the GT500 or Boss 302, the interior is very detailed as Revell typically does. I don’t think I added anything here and am happy with the extra detail present. No better than the other Stangs, but who cares?

Well, I am happy to report that the Boss has an easy chassis to work with. It is a bit better than other Mustangs as the terrible wrap-around mufflers have been replaced by a regular single-bend exhaust. The ends are from a ’67 Revell Charger, and as I’ve touted before, are AWESOME for this scale.

All complaints aside, the kit is really good, has a LOT of custom pieces to use, has almost ZERO flash, and is a fantastic display when done. These ARE getting pricey since the reissue was a while ago and they’ll only go up from here. I unfortunately cannot say this is a better build than the ‘69 GT500, or Boss 302 and the 429 is certainly more expensive. What I can say is that it HAD to be on my shelf… where else for the fastest Stang?

8.5 – Very Good