Panzer Kampfwagen II Ausf F/G

This is a review of the Tamiya 1/35 Panzer Kampfwagen II Ausf F/G Kit#TAM35009

For my next tank review I made the Panzer II. Tamiya seems to make very nice and easily built models, but don’t be fooled by the term “easy”. There are a slew of parts and some odd fitting, but the treads are nice, solid rubber, the guns are movable, and the overall look is really nice when done. Again, I do not use “people” in my builds, so they were omitted, but this kit does have a few of them with tons of options.

This tank had many design flaws early. The Ausf A, B,and C all had significant armor deficiencies and that lead to further redesign. The Ausf F was a much better iteration, but were still a placeholder so bigger, better tanks could be produced (Panzer III, IV). The Ausf F tank would likely have been used in recon missions, but this particular color scheme would have been used in Germany’s Libya campaign.

This light tank weighed only 9.5 tons. It carried a 1×2 cm KwK 30 L/55 autocannon, and 1×7.92mm Maschinengewehr 34. The engine was a Maybach (yes, that one!) HL62 6-cyl capable of about 24mph. For 1936, not shabby, but by 1942, this tank would be at a disadvantage.

Tamiya Panzer Kampfwagen II Ausf F/G

So, for paint, I used Model Master Afrika Mustard and it looks about right. This kit’s larger movable turret in the front is really bold looking. The fitting for the big gun is good too – allowing a pose or easy maneuvering. The top can be fussy to assemble to the body, but there isn’t a lot on top to worry about breaking as you press. I included a lot of the gear to the body to add some flair, but it also gives an idea of all the accessories that go with this. For decals I had to use some numbers off a different kit as the ones for this tank were ruined. I’m not sure about the correctness, but it looks nice. I also printed a couple of Nazi symbols that were not included. I understand the hate for them, but I wanted the authenticity.

The only thing I had a problem with was the top fitting (mentioned earlier). I recommend checking it before painting and final assembly. You can sand, or trim whatever you need to make it a smoother assembly. Not a big deal, but something I would have liked to know before-hand (and something veterans to tank-building might already know).

I can say this is another good tank kit. The parts are plenty, there are a ton of people and accessories, and a couple good decal choices. Overall a good buy as well, this can be bought for less than $25. Schnell!

9.0 – Very Good

X-RAY: 1963 Ford Hardtop (Galaxie), 1/25, AMT

This X-Ray is for a rare classic – 1963 Ford Hardtop (Galaxie) Customizing from AMT.

1 set of thin tires with two sets of rims; really nice detailed interior; 2 full chrome trees with many custom parts; 406ci V8 with chrome air cleaner; 2 hoods – one cutout; customizing pieces – grilles, front and rear valances, engine, exhaust. Good: There are few kits with THIS many optional pieces; more chrome than you can imagine. Bad: As much as you can add, this was never an exciting/fast car; some of the fit of the options is meh; pricey.

Price: ~$25+

X-RAY: 1956 Ford Thunderbird 1/24, Monogram

Here is my next X-Ray – a 1956 Ford Thunderbird from Monogram – 1/24th.

1 set of tires/rims with whitewalls (no options); detailed interior; front glass is tiny and has to glue to the chrome windshield trim; removable hardtop with glass; No street parts, no engine options. Good: One of a kind classic; cheap. Bad: Tough fitting glass; not many options; AMT fit and finish.

Price: under $20

2006 Ferrari F430

This is a review of the Revell Ferrari F430 kit#85-2033

I have to say that this is one of those cars that I liked from afar. Not something awe-inspiring looking – like that of an Enzo, or LaFerrari. Not world-changing like the F40 or eye candy like a 288 GTO. It was a replacement for an aging vehicle and it didn’t stray too far from its design, purpose and prowess. That said, I really do like this car and this is a good kit… with a large disclaimer.

There are a couple of F430 kits by Fujimi that look fairly impressive but I haven’t done any of them. The Revell kit is cheaper and has enough detail that I cannot believe the extra cost is necessary.

CAR BACKGROUND :: So what was wrong with the Ferrari 360 Modena? It was sleek, elegant, and went like stink. Well, time passes and like anything else, the successor must arrive. Built with a newer, more powerful V8 , the F430 betters its older stablemate in just about every category. Quicker, faster, nimbler, and a heck of a deal next to the opulent 600k Enzo. Road tests range from 3.5-3.8 seconds to 60 and a 198mph top speed. It was impressive some almost 15 years ago, but really those numbers are nose to nose with some 2020 exotics… and some of those aren’t as sweet looking as this stallion is.

Yup. Red. What else for a Ferrari? Well, I actually like whites, blues, and even a black, so I will be making different ones eventually, but for now, Tamiya Bright Red. Now, where do I start with the laundry-list of “disclaimers” I mentioned? For starters, there are the front lenses that have ZERO lip in which to glue. One bad step and the car will have disgusting “eyelids” where the clear lenses should be. Then there is the flat black detail work. The giant holes in the front are gaping and have tough lines to follow for a good painting. Then black paint around the door sills, the windshield, the rear hatch… you will be flat-sick by the time you get finished. Next boggle are the side vents. Each take either a piece of decal OR a piece of mesh material to cover. They are irritating to cut out, and never fit properly. Lastly, the fit is atrocious. The mid-glass fitting to the completed bottom of the car is a nightmare. You really have to make sure that everything is where it should be EXACTLY, or you’ll have to re-position (or worse). And PLEASE make sure you leave the exhaust tips off until the car is assembled. They will not like the joining process. Whew.

The interior is a fun undertaking, however. There are multiple ways you can do this and have it look pretty sharp. I went with the straight tan, but there are a half dozen other colors/combos that you can use. Half-and-half dash colors and the like would look great. This Revell kit delivers detail in spades though and the finished product is great to look at. BIG side-note here: if you are wondering how you can see inside the car, it is because I cut the glass for “windows-down” look. The side glass is one big piece that covers the interior, but if you are careful and use a sharp hobby knife, you can trim the glass where the pillar meets and insert just the rear triangular piece without having glass in front of the interior. It is slow work and if you rush it could ruin the important rear piece. It IS worth it though.

Anyone who has done an Enzo or the like and then this one will vouch for me when I say that this engine is not only a bit ho-hum, but lacks numbers-of-pieces. There seemed to be a lot of places they could have added things to make it more interesting, but it just turned into painting carefully on a few pieces for detail work.The end result is nice and looks great through the glass lid, but would have liked to put together more stuff than what they gave with the kit.

Something a bit different with the exotics that I will be reviewing is there will most likely not be an undercarriage paragraph because most of these exotics have a basic flat panel underneath. Not news-worthy. I WILL mention if there is something detestable with the bottom build, otherwise forgetaboutit!

Patience is a virtue when working/finishing this car and if you have little, you may want to by-pass this one. The time spent on the little things will drive you wonky and it may not be worth your time/money. This model is getting more expensive due to rarity everyday, but right now it is still a bargain. I’d pick one up for collectors AND one to build. This is too pretty of a car for the closet shelf!

8.5 Good

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