1989 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1

This is a review of the AMT 1994 Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 kit#6073

**CORVETTE EXTRAVAGANZA** cont. –> The C4 IS my least favorite of the newer Corvettes, and yet, I’ve built a few, read numerous articles on them, and almost bought one in 1999. Thing with this car is that model is cheap… I mean beyond dirt cheap. Between the numbers produced and the realization of the car’s mediocrity versus today’s Vettes, there isn’t a lot of desire out there to build em… which works for me. Scoring these kits (and other 90’s Vettes) is a true modeling “win” when you pay $9 a kit.

Most of these kits are of the same 1989-1995 Corvette ZR1 and with the exception of the front ends of the ’89s (the one in this review and the yellow one), they are all about the same builds. Really, the 35 or so horsepower difference will be of no matter from the earliest to latest, so take your pick.

CAR BACKGROUND :: In the late 70’s and through most of the 80’s, the Corvette was – at times – lethargic and pathetic (though damn good looking), and at times, adequate. Nothing special though. In 1990, the Vette returned to “very good” with its new engine. The stock LT-1 netted you 300hp and a top speed of 170mph. Not bad, but, not too far from the speeds of the Camaro/Trans Am of that year. However, in 1989, Chevrolet came out with the baddest Corvette since it’s inception in 1953 – the ZR-1. Named after a 70’s Vette with a strong 350 and excellent suspension mods, the 1989 ZR-1 toted a 5.7 Liter, DOHC V8 with a tire-shredding 375hp. That meant low 13 second quarter times at over 110mph. More than that, however, was an almost 180mph top speed. All of this for about $65,000. They called it the King of the Hill, and it was!.. until the new Viper hit the showrooms. Still, THIS was the Corvette that took the Corvette from just mere sports car to a true exotic.

Tamiya Cobalt blue. Looks a LOT like the Bright Aqua that came on the C4 Vettes. I’m actually not sure there was an aqua colored ZR-1 or if it were even an option, but this is the color LT-1 I test drove in the late 90s and I loved it! The hood looks a bit off in the front and that is because of AMT’s ignorant design. The nose has a small piece that goes across the front and is supposed to line up correctly with the hood. With work you get it close, but only the luckiest get this 100% right because it is just THAT poorly made. From various angles it looks spot on, but it is EASILY the worst aspect of this kit. However, the BIGGER problem with the ZR-1 is that, for the most part, the interior and exterior look almost identical to a 300hp LT-1. Mind you, when the car hot-footed past you, you’d realize the mistake you’d made, but otherwise, there wasn’t much glamour with the extra punch.

The interior is not half bad, but it is terribly difficult to bring out the 80’s bling. The orange dials, numbers, buttons, and needless lights were hit as best as possible, but it never really looks like the “2001 Space Odyssey” that IS the Corvette dash. It was a fun bit of nostalgia painting the interior of the car I had driven all those years back.

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Now the engine is a whole other subject altogether. The LT-1 is rather simplistic looking and very a-kin to a Trans-Am. This aluminum bada$$ has the extra bling that tells you there is a brick in the proverbial boxing glove. The engine bay is a bit of a pain because of all the blackout treatment you have to do (that long front end is ALL flat black), but it comes out looking very menacing.

The big takeaway here is that this kit – though flawed – is so stupid cheap, that you could almost do three before getting to some normal kit pricing. The chassis floats too much under the car; there is a lot of glass trim to do; the tires seem a tad big for the wheel wells; and the exhaust tips are among the most useless in the model car industry. That is ok as heck, because you just spent a total of $12 on the kit… and it just doesn’t matter!

7.5 – Average

2006 Chevrolet Corvette Z06

This is a review of the Revell Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Kit#2015

So, there are literally 60 years of Corvettes to choose from, which equates to literally hundreds of different kits. Why this one then? Well, this is a fantastic car that is not only a dream to behold, it is a killer performance value. The kit is really decent too. I had done this one years ago and I can say it is easy to work with as long as you are patient. There is only one production run of this model car to this point and it has two covers. They sport the same pieces, decals, and options and there is nothing else out there – save for a lousy snap kit.

CAR BACKGROUND :: If the C5 was the corner stone for the Corvette’s entrance into the technological arena, then the C6 was the fortress. The C6 Corvette was a performance icon – taking on Porsches and Ferraris in stock form and destroying them in ZR-1 mode. This done at 1/3rd or more of the competitions’ prices. The Z06 was the pantheon of cost cutting performance. For a mere $60,000, you got 500hp, a 0-60 in under 4 seconds, and a top speed of 190mph. Beyond that, you ended up with a ┬╝mile time that was on par with the ’05 Ford GT, Audi R8, and Ferrari F430 – @ just 11.9 seconds. Considering the average cost for the cars I just mentioned was around $220,000, you get the idea what a performance deal this car actually was. Beyond that, the car handled as good as anything on the road, was equipped with most comforts (save decent seats), and could go from 0-170 in ONE GEAR. Damn.

Mica Silver. I was thrilled when I saw the color by Tamiya. The “mica” colors had been fantastic for my builds to this point, so I thought – YES! Well.. not really. The color was far and away less glossy than I had hoped. It also wasn’t that easy to coat evenly. I can say I do NOT recommend it. Aside from my OCD, the car still shows well. I used the secondary 5-spoke rims (included in the kit) and had to add nothing. The black trim around the windows is a pain in the tookus and there is a LOT of glass that can be glue-ruined if not careful.

The interior is really good and detailed save for the console. They included the standard radio and such that would be found in a base ’06 Corvette. The Z06’s came with a screen and better dials. The remainder of the interior, unfortunately, is boring black plastic and carpet. It is a curse that the Corvette interiors are basic and unspectacular. Even the Bose system in my C5 is from a Pontiac parts bin and looks out of place in a car with the lowest wind resistance of ANY car that year.

Where I just trashed Porsche’s (and that particular 959’s) engine for it’s looks, the Z06 looks like it could run the front end off the car. It sits tightly between two walls of bottles, containers, hoses, and other paraphernalia. The red engine covers are a crappy fit and should have been designed better. Also when detailing the aluminum line that comes out of the side of the right cover, make sure to be sparing with the paint as it will run down the hose into other crevices of the cover. It will look terrible and you’ll be forced to re-do. There was also nothing to add here but detail, so “A-” at least for Revell’s bay.

I cannot come up with any other problems besides needing patience for this one. There is a lot of detail work and a lot of glass-work that can ruin this car. The rear fin is all red clear plastic, but needs to be painted mostly black. The front grille needs painted black, but is in a tough indented area with little room for error. The front lenses for the fog lamps are glass but need glued in place into a spot less than a centimeter wide. Like I said, tedium and patience. Anyways, the car will show well, is still a simple build, and will be easier to insure than the real thing! It also is a SOLID investment as they are becoming fewer by the day, so grab one either way!

8.25 Good

CORVETTE EXTRAVAGANZA!!

I have always been a Corvette fan… rather nut. I have collected a ton of memorabilia, driven some, and own a ’98 C5. The next 4 reviews are going to be an homage to the Corvette – the greatest American sports car. I know… the Hellcat, Mustang, Viper, and a slew of others can claim what they wish, but no other namesake has lasted this long, with this set of spec sheets. So sit back and enjoy the Corvette Extravaganza!!

—Kev

X-RAY: The Munsters Blueprinter: Koach & Drag-u-la, 1/25, AMT

This is an X-Ray of a different animal altogether! This is the retailer-only kit Munsters, which includes the Koach and Drag-u-la, made by AMT, 1/25. It includes :

2 full AMT kits! – The Koach and Drag-u-la are vintage recreations of the classic show’s monster vehicles. The Koach includes a set of tires with larger drag tires for the rear; an avalanche of chrome pieces – including some insane exhaust pipes; a 289ci Ford engine; and a small set of decals.

The Drag-u-la includes a coffin??… gold colored wheels with 2 different rims for front and back?? A dome for the driver???… a blown 289ci Ford engine; a tombstone?!!. O..k….

Good: Exclusive kit with 2 Munster favorites, fun oddities not in typical fare; awesome displays. Bad: Only a fair number of pieces; tricky glass to work with; it’s a coffin!??

Price: $65+

’71 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler

This is a review of the MPC 1971 Mercury Cyclone Spoiler Kit#7124

I finally got one! I had been wanting one of these since I knew they made the kit (maybe 3 years now). These baddies are RARE, but they are of a muscle car that I think is cool as heck and fast enough for the track. The kit to the right is the only other one I know they have made and from what I’ve seen, it is molded in a horrific maroon. Either way it is expensive.

CAR BACKGROUND :: The “Spoiler”. Sounds like something that will ruin your day! Honestly, if you saw this big lummox drive up beside you at a stoplight, you may not realize that it just might! Even with the side stripes, the car is somewhat sedate looking compared to the utter ferocity that it can bring to bear. No, not the dreaded 351ci in the pic left, but the ultimate in Ford performance – the 429. At top trim level, this engine churned out 370hp and a whopping 450lb-ft. Enough brawn to make Mustangs run and hide to mama. Low 14 second times were a thing of ease and it did so with a comfort level not seen in the typical Roadrunner. The Cyclone also had a style that was as far out of the norm as the first set of bell-bottom jeans. That amazing nose-cone with the built-in reticle in front?! All it needed was a fighter helmet and a set of M-16s on the hood! It was a style that didn’t last long, and by 1973, the Cyclone was all but a memory.

SO PSYCHED to get this one done. And SO GLAD to be done with this one as well. Painted in Tamiya Camel Yellow (a close facsimile to the Competition Gold of that year), the Cyclone was a BEAR to make, but finally came out just how I need it to be. I scrapped the tires that came with it in favor of the red-line ones I had on hand and used the stock rims. I also scrapped the chrome garbage that MPC called side mirrors for the ’69 Cougar ones I had lying about. I created a stripe kit to match the one for 1971 and I think it works nicely. There were no stock decals with this kit – only race ones – which I thought was a pity. I can, however, recreate these if someone needs them as well.

MPC did a decent job here, though I think it a recreation of a 1970 Torino/Fairlane more than that of a Cyclone. It is fairly detailed and comes with I nice console insert. The kit needed a rear-view mirror and a directional stalk, but the remainder of the interior was good. One big note: the glass, which was ruined due to a horrible tire mark, was also a bit long and made the joining of the body to the chassis a little impossible. You may need to trim the bottom of the windshield carefully to get the interior tray to sit correctly. BTW – I believe a ’69 Olds 442 windshield fit perfectly as a replacement.

The engine/engine bay is a bit garbage, unfortunately. The brake boost was a TINY spec on the firewall, so it was cut and replaced. The air cleaner – though stock ram-air in nature – looked badly molded and had to be trashed. The headers were replaced with ones from a 428CJ because they were giant and didn’t match the smaller stock dual exhaust. AND, finally, there was no radiator hose. You WILL NOT get the look to the left from the stock kit.. not by a long shot! ALSO, the radiator is poorly detailed, the firewall has almost nothing on it, and there are no engine braces running from the fenders to the firewall. This came out as good as I could make it, but it is a poor offering by MPC nonetheless.

The underside is nothing to right home about, but fortunately isn’t a fiasco either. I can say that the exhaust is good for how half-baked the rest of the kit is. There is just enough detail to make it worth while too. Another issue with the chassis is that it is one of the MPC/AMT kits that kind of “floats” underneath and never sits completely evenly without some coaxing. I cannot imagine why they couldn’t make a groove or two for everything to sit in for a tighter fit. Again…very half-assed.

I cannot stress what a terrible deal this kit is and how you should run screaming the other way. A dozen or so parts, fixes, and issues later and it still could use some extras. I also didn’t want this for a track car and in that fashion, this car may have excelled more than the stock variety, but that isn’t the point of the review. I can say that IF you need this car in your stable – like I did – it WILL work. However, just be aware of the hair-pulling days ahead to get to this point… and spending some $150 for the privilege!

5.75 – Poor

X-RAY: 1970 AMC Rebel “The Machine” 1/25, Jo-Han

BIG TIME RARE X-Ray today with this 1970 Rebel Machine! This kit includes:

1 set of split wheels (WHY??) with one set of stock rims; V8 engine w/cross ram intake; no exhaust (molded SINGLE exhaust); stock hood – optional scoop w/tach; fair detailed interior; full stripe kit. Good: SUPER RARE kit; unique muscle car with power to back it up; low amounts of flash. Bad: molded single exhaust; not many parts to assemble; SUPER HIGH PRICE TAG!

Price: <$100

X-RAY: 2002 Lamborghini Murcielago 1/25, Fujimi

This is my first exotic car X-Ray and the first real look on my site at a FUJIMI kit. This is a 2002 Lamborghini Murcielago, 1/25. This kit includes:

1 sets of huge tires/rims; fairly good interior w/decals, V-12 engine. Good: Engine displayed; rims are a treat; gorgeous car to display. Bad: Prices are climbing at an unreal rate; engine has 3 pieces; hate the multi-piece body.

Price: $65+

1987 Porsche 959

This is a review of the Tamiya Porsche 959 kit#24065

As long as you aren’t afraid of trim and detail, this is one of the easiest exotic cars to build out there. I had built this one 4 different times and have loved every one of them. I built the exact same blue seen in this review, a maroon, and then this one (with one fail on my part), and I cannot stress how good it is. The only part that is hokey in the slightest is the engine area (I’ll get to it later), but the remainder of the car… well..

There aren’t many kits to choose from if you are looking for this beauty. The kit with the red border is the same as the above with a differently designed front cover. The two on the left are Gunze and Revell and look fairly the same. They are static kits of what appears to be the prototype of the car, so there is no engine, detail looks lousy, and it wouldn’t be what you’d see in a car show today. The last one is a design for the rally racing the 959 participated in, however, it is also a Gunze and has the same low-detail/no engine as the others. Honestly, the 2 Tamiyas are all you have… but they are realllyyy good.

CAR BACKGROUND :: If you had to list Porsche’s best vehicles over the past 100 years, this is one that would *still* be at the top of the list (maybe not first, but up there nonetheless). It was NOT a corporate win-fall in sales as the car never sold for what it took to produce it, but is was more what was produced that made the car a success. It was light.. really light. It was technologically advanced as well: all wheel drive system, tire-sensors, twin-turbo engine, super-light magnesium wheels.. there wasn’t anything on the road more advanced. In fact, the car cost Porsche almost 3 times their asking price just to make it! What you got was almost 450hp, a 195+mph top speed, and a 0-60 time close to the three and a half second mark. This was in 1987! Yes, you can buy a Dodge Charger today for about fifty grand that has more horsepower, but you cannot imagine those figures back when 5 seconds to 60 was considered “elite”. Moreover, the 959 paved the way for Porsche using an AWD system on their standard vehicles – which did nothing but improve performance across the Company’s line. Like most things in this world, its reign as the fastest, most advanced car in the world would be toppled pretty quickly, but not before its mark was left on the auto industry.. a mark that I will never forget.

Like I said earlier, I used a simple Testors Light Blue for this model and I think it really brings out Porsche’s lines perfectly. I didn’t even need a gloss coat. There is a myriad of flat black trim to do, a bunch of tight painting with the front and rear lights, and even the grey-plastic wheels will need some work, but just detail nonetheless. The rest of the model is a joy to work with. There is a bit of assembly wiggling that you’ll have to do to get the engine in and the wheel wells to sit properly, but it has worked every time for me.

The interior is standard Porsche fair, but with the plastic glass, it is tough to photo and give justice too, so omitted here. Safe to say it is a GREAT duplicate of the actual car. The dash sports a decal of the gauges that are very detailed and authentic. The seats and doors have a lot of grooves and lines that add good detail and there is nothing missing. I went with a three-tone grey interior, but I would have done even more if the glass wasn’t there.

Something I think Porsche gets a failing grade for – in general – are their engines. No, not for power or even sound, but for looks. Aside from some of the very newest ones, Porsche’s flat-six engines look a bit like a dorm-room mini fridge in the back end. Don’t get me wrong, it is also very precise and compact, and they can churn 600hp or better, but they look kinda pathetic compared to even a Testarossa. My issue with this model’s engine has to do with the turbo/exhaust lines. They are multi-pieced and HAVE to connect exactly or they will have to be removed and re-glued. That said, you can also not give a rat’s ass and leave most of that stuff off if you really wanted to because you can’t see it from the “millimeter” opening in the rear hatch. Not that it isn’t correctly molded, there just isn’t much of an opening to see the engine’s components.

Tamiya have done their typical-good job on this one. The pieces fit easy and save for a bit of fiddling with the exhaust, will give you a fun build. IMHO, this is my favorite Porsche and one of my top cars of the eighties without even a hesitation. This is also a favorite kit of mine and is one that – even now – will not break the bank. I’ve seen these as low as $18 on the web and they seem to still be plentiful. They could also possibly be a good investment too as I don’t see them re-issued again anytime soon. Super car… super kit.

9.5 Excellent

X-RAY: 1957 Chevrolet Corvette, 1/25, Monogram

This X-Ray is for a 1957 Chevrolet Corvette, 1/25, Monogram. This kit includes:

1 sets of whitewalls with two sets of rims (you can flip the tires for non-white look); V8 engine; decent convertible interior; some aftermarket parts – grille, bumpers, etc. Good: These kits are UNREAL cheap!; lots of parts to work with; Monogram goodness. Bad: Windshield is a tricky glue-together; not quite enough street parts for a beast; no decals.

Price: >$15

Calling all Cars!

This is a notice to everyone that I am buying model collections out there!! I want un-built cars, trucks, boats, military, and some planes. If you have a collection, or know someone/business liquidating their collection, please feel free to contact me!!

Be safe!

T—Kev