’68 Chevrolet Corvette L88

This is a review of the Revell 1968 Chevy Corvette Kit# 2544

This is the one. The one I saved. The ONLY one I saved from the last time I sold my lot so I could start over. The reason?? It came out just perfect. I think that maybe someday I’ll give it another try, but I would surely have to break this one first. I can say the build quality of this kit made it very easy to build it right, but I think it gorgeous just the same.

These are the typical other models that you can get and aside from the one on the left being molded in red, they have most of the same pieces. I think these are utterly, and hopelessly STUPID 2 ‘n 1 vehicles. I admit, however, the one with the blower gives a good argument for it. But I believe this car is more for aggressive style, than blower-soaked dragster.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is image-33.png

CAR BACKGROUND :: I get a kick out of the advert to the left not mentioning anything about the previous model. The exceptional ’67 is one of the most stunning Corvettes produced – even to this day. I own a ’98 C5 and I can say with certainty that the ’67 is still (maybe by just a small amount) a more breathtaking looking vehicle. Ok, so what about the ’68? Well, I don’t think it has anything to be concerned with. I have always been in love with this car’s looks. It has a voluptuous curve all the way back to that sleek trunk-lid and it then falls off a cliff to one of the best rear fascias to grace Corvette-dom. Adding to the fantastic lines is a hood that covers the same L88 427ci that was in the last Vette. With 430 underrated horsepower, this thing rockets through the ¼mile in the low 13s at almost 110mph. We are talking “top 10” fastest of the early muscle cars! And it does so with the beauty to match.

This car was painted with Testors Bright Red and several coats of clear. I typically do not use clear coat because I do not have a paint booth and keeping fuzz and lint off for 2-3 more coats is just a nightmare. I then decided to use the stock rallye rims and the tires from the kit. Didn’t need to add a thing to this kit. It’s that good.

So, obviously a good interior needs to look even better when it comes to convertible cars because they are always on display. I generally hate them, but not because of that, but because the dust collects in them ten times faster. I really did like this interior, however, and can’t say enough for the detail. I could have taken a bit more time on it, but I was so stoked about the body being really good, I didn’t go the distance on the interior. Who cares, right?

So here she is – the L88. A 430 horsepower rating is laughable to anyone who knows Corvettes. This one looks the part, but I admit, I wished the wires were better on it. This was one of the first ones I made and I think it could be tidier. The remainder of the bay is quality stuff though. Like the ’65, I do miss the battery, but there is a lot of other decor to go ’round.

Undercarriage is also a good place to be. The exhaust is still the same annoying over-top type that most early Vettes had, but they look good when you get ’em where they need to be. There are straps, suspension parts, and axle pieces that could be chromed (or further detailed), but really, the bottom is hardly ever viewed and it looks clean anyways.

I adore this build. I adore the car. I seriously adore every bit of it. It is not the best model ever made, but it is one of my best. The end result DOES have a lot to do with the quality of this kit. There are no missing pieces and enough detail so you don’t have to add anything. The fit, save for the goofy chrome exhaust cut-outs, is epic. Moreover, you’d be hard pressed to find a kit this good, for this money. These kits are crazy inexpensive and all over the internet (try just over $20!). Get out and get one – ASAP.

10 – Astonishing

Car Craft 101

Heya! So, thus far I’ve shown off a couple of kits for review and had a few FYI posts, but honestly I wanted to do a model building 101 for noivices/newbies (MAYBE for veterans as well, but I’m not that good).

TIP #1 – DUAL THINNERS –

It is a cheap fix but I think it is a needy one. I have found that while working on model cars having TWO containers of thinner is key! You should use one for the darker colors and to flush the first amount of paint off the brush and then use the second thinner bottle for final rinsing and for whites/silvers. If you use a brush to paint the car itself, you’d be nuts not to use this technique, but I think you’ll get better life out of your brushes either way.

TIP #2 – JEWELRY CONTAINERS –

Ok, I haven’t lost my damn mind. These are jewelry holders that you can find at many craft stores. These are interlocking containers that will hold 80+% of your extra car parts and separate things so you can keep your batteries in different places than your air cleaners. Sounds ridiculous, but really, as someone who has hundreds of car kits worth of parts, you cannot go wrong having a holder of sorts. I have bought drawer boxes and can tell you that they are bulky, take up way too much room and make wherever you are look like a garage bench. These holders fit neatly in desk drawers or the like and take up little room. Great find, seriously.

TIP #3 – ROTARY DRILL –

This may seem a tad bit overdoing it for the every-now-and-again builder, but these are cheap and come in VERY handy. They can be used to make exhaust tips, but also work to make holes in the undercarriage if you need to make new ones and they are fantastic in axle repair. I’ve had at least 10 or so car kits that I’ve needed to fix/move the axle to work – either because of faulty parts or because of non-stock pieces. They are quiet, usually are USB powered (which is also handy) and come with multiple bit sizes.

TIP #4 – TREE EXHAUST –

What the hell am I on about, huh? Well, it is so simplistic that most builders will have seen/done this handy FREE trick. The chrome trees that come with cars have a natural supply of tasty exhaust possibilities. Everything from the smaller pieces working with ends of a normal exhaust, to larger ones being used for headers/side exhausts. You have to be leery of the flash lines that are on most of them, but a quick trim with a sharp knife gives you a LOT to work with. Some are long enough to give straight exhaust all the way down the car and that is fantastic!

That is my Car Craft list for February 2020. I will try to give some tips of the trade every so often to help those who need some advice. All others may bask in my unneeded ramblings and move on to more enjoyable pictures and such.

—Kev

’65 Chevrolet Corvette

This is a review of the Monogram 1965 Chevy Corvette Kit# 2925

Corvette kits are always fun to me because you typically are working with a car that in real-life is super expensive – even thrashed and garbage. I also have to admit that the Corvette kits are typically good as well. There are a few that are awful and you have to be careful not to buy a “snap” kit or a 1/8 scale kit (which are plentiful) unless you specifically want one. This car is in place of the ’63 split window that NOBODY makes a good model of. I am currently attempting to make the AMT ’63 split window (“Widowmaker” comes to mind because of the horrifying kit quality), but this one was made in lieu of it either way.

Now, the above kits are all of the same goodness except for the two black ones… being black. They are a horrifying bright black and every single piece is coated in it. You can definitely run into issues with bad chrome as well, but the black pieces are just terrible to cover. If you want black-on-black-on-black-on-EVERYTHING black, they are good, otherwise you want the red ones. I don’t remember what molding the two reds came in (white or red), but either color is easier to prime for painting. I believe mine was red and I was going for red anyways, so, yeah there’s that.

CAR BACKGROUND :: I really love these posters from the muscle car era! Anyways, this is the successor to one of the most expensive, coveted, and beautiful Vettes made – the ’63 split window Stingray. This car is still every bit as special and, unlike the ’63, has a fun big-block inside. Not quite the king of rock n’ roll, the 396ci worked like magic in the Vette. At 425hp, this tiny car was a rocket – running the ¼mile at over 104mph. This bad-boy theoretically had the same horsepower as the rompin’ hemi, but way better aerodynamics and less weight. My guess is that with better tires, the ’65 would run as fast as any hemi made. I actually like the hood of the ’65 more than the ’63 as well. The hood bulge is also fantastic and less “classic” looking.

This is a personal favorite. The Tamiya Bright Red is absolutely stunning and as glossy as can be. I actually used Camaro rims off another kit because i like the ’65 rallye rims vs. the wire wheels (with knockoffs) that came with the kit. I really wish I had whitewalls to put on this one, but regular tires it is. I really dislike the crisscrossed wipers and HATE them on this car because the wipers are glue-on and thicker than most other model kits that have them molded into the body’s plastic (which the AMT ’63 has).

LOVE the older Corvette interiors and this one is no different. I decided to go red on red and I think it looks perfect. This interior had a truck-load of chrome to do; a glove-box that is round and bi-colored; and a speedo cluster that is just great to look at. I also like the seat detail and there is probably more chrome strips and other chrome work that can be done past what I did as well. All good, nothing missing.

So, yes… not a 427 tri-carb. I get it. This IS a rather good motor with a ton of horsepower just the same. The engine is correct orange-red, has a nice radiator, and has chrome all over. I dislike Corvette engine bays as they have a hidden battery and to me it just makes the bay look naked. The bay does have everything you need though and even though it is smaller than most muscle cars of the day, it is very displayable. Honestly… you could, however, put the biggest 1/24 scale engine in this bay it is so cavernous.

The bottom of this car is good but typical Corvette oddity. The exhaust rounds over the gas tank and ends through the rear panel. The remainder is small everything – small exhaust, small rear end, and small driveshaft. There is also nothing evil underneath and the exhaust fits to the engine easily.

The final say is that this model kit is really good. There is a load of detail and the build quality makes the AMT seem a tinker toy. The Monogram cars are becoming more and more rare and are a great investment. There are a whole bunch of the ’63s to go round, but I still think that it is a waste of time and money (even if I did say earlier that I am trying to fabricate a car out of one). These are definitively a good build though and you should get one while you can.

8.75 – Very Good

’70 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am

This is a review of the Monogram 1970 Pontiac Trans Am kit #2794

Ok…, so I don’t really get too mad over bad model car decisions, but this one has me a bit vexed. I purchased this car about 3 years ago and paid about $40 for it. Not bad at the time, but failed in making it as the windshield got ruined. Time passed and I decided to give ‘er another try. See, I built this car when I was about 10.. yellow with white stripes (all but the trunk… I ruined that one!) and it was one of the better ones I ever did in that era. Sad to say it is long gone (though it would have looked ROUGH compared to what I do now), but I wanted to make the T/A live again. So, I found a couple of them at around $40-$50. Got one for about $41.55 and it came out.. well, you’ll see. This year, however, the car was reissued… less than $25 now. Ugh.

The kit to the left is almost identical to the one I did save for some extra wheels/pieces for custom. The one to the right is about the same to both except that it is the brand new reissue.

I’m not actually sure weather all of the above kits have the same flaw as the kit I made, but I’d like to point out another of modeling’s car factoid mistakes. So, the box of the model I built says Pontiac Trans Am with no year, so it is anyone’s guess. But here is the side leaf from the box ::

Well, 455ci engine sounds fantastic and things are square, right? Not even close. Firstly, Pontiac didn’t make a 455ci for the Firebird in 1970, it was a 400 Ram Air that produced 345, or 370hp. The 455 didn’t hit the Trans Am until 1971. Secondly, saying you wanted to make this a 1971-2 Trans Am 455, you would be stuck due to the grilles being different. See, this model definitely has the 1970 grille style (below left) and not the honeycomb you see in ’72 (below right). It also doesn’t come with the 455 H.O. decals (which makes sense, even if the box doesn’t).

CAR BACKGROUND :: Like I said above, the Trans Am didn’t come into legend until the ominous 455ci was dropped into it. Now, I have a small grievance with this notion. The T/A’s 400 Ram Air IV boasted 370hp and 445lb-ft of torque. The 455 was rated at a mere 300hp and 415 torque (yes, I get the goofy 71-to-72 rating differences). So, the bigger powerplant with the lesser rating gets the fame, while the identical looking, more powerful 400 gets little acknowledgement. Same thing for the ¼mile times. Both cars have 70’s tests that tout high 13s at over 100 miles per hour, but for some reason, the ’72 gets the nod. Honestly, having the 455 H.O. on the shaker looked amazing, but any of the ’70-’72 Firebirds are a treasure in my book.

This car does NOT photo well and I can’t understand why. It is done in Tamiya French Blue and looks a good bit like the Lucerne Blue of that year. Now, I know what you’re thinking… why a blue stripe on a blue car? Well, as I said before, this was an expensively rare kit and the decals were garbage. I barely got these to work, so blue it was. With that, I went with the flat black shaker as the white would have looked “off” and I didn’t want more blue on the car. This model had a bunch of fitting issues which I take as age and sitting vs. poor design, but I won’t know for sure until I re-do this one… and now that it is reissued… you can bet on it!

This is the interior of the last one I made, and it was so decent, that I just kept it. The interior is pretty Revell-standard detail and looks really nice when done. You can expect a two-tone white interior for my next build of this car. The only thing I needed to do is add a better gear-shift as the one that came with the kit was lame.

Another Vader-esque engine cover that hides most of the good stuff. The 400 is a nice engine to look at and I really like it. It IS incorrectly colored, as it should be the lighter Pontiac blue, but it is mostly hidden anyways. The next iteration will be correct. The bay is difficult as the fenders need to be painted and there is a lot of area to cover. Even still, there is a lot of detail; the firewall looks good; there is a lot of wiring to paint (if needed); and nothing to add.

The bottom of this car is REALLY nice. The exhaust is of the same loop-around that I dislike (both in models and in real life… to me it looks restrictive even if it isn’t in the least), but it fits nicely and looks good out the rear with the T/A tips that are included. They are tough to get straight and usually hang a bit low, but end up looking pretty cool when displayed. I think the tires were missing on this kit, so I used a Revell matched set to fix and used the stock rims.

.

In the end I can say that being “stiffed” never felt so good. The T/A is easily one of my favorite cars and this kit does it justice. The taillights will most certainly need trimmed; the back fin fits poorly; the shaker is tough to fit AND it has to fit through a hood that also fits horribly; the tires were missing; and the windshield looked as if it were dragged through gravel. I still love it. As far as a collector kit… it is officially a DUD with the reissue. Even the older ones have plummeted in value. The good news is that it is readily available to buy and put together. I will do a major update and revision when I re-do this one, but that is for 2021 (I guess?).

8.0 – Good

’69 Ford Mustang Shelby GT-500

This is a review of the Revell 1969 Shelby GT-500 Kit#2158

This is a bit of a pain in the a$$ – fantastic kit.. and it really is just because it is a special car. I just saw a $229,000, burgundy colored ’69 at a local custom car show and I can tell you it was astounding. It was also not worth half that amount of money (or more), but who’s counting? What it is… is a must have PITA.

I have worked on the two above as well and I can tell you two things. One – the convertible is just not as nice of a final product as the coupe, and two – the other kit is molded in one of the WORST yellows you’ll find in the model kingdom. It is all over everything and makes for some terrible re-coating to cover. All of the kits include the same pieces (save for the conv. items) and have very little in the way of “street” add-ons. The good thing is that I didn’t have to add a blessed thing to the whole kit.

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/56/ef/21/56ef217ef3b257a817032fc37e2c5881.jpg

CAR BACKGROUND :: Carroll Shelby sure made some waves in the automobile world that will stretch on decades after we are gone, but the ’69/’70 GT-500s would be an ending of a muscle car streak of badasses that started in the early 60’s. The name wouldn’t return until some 30+ years later. That did not mean that this car was devoid of performance. The GT-500 came with one of Ford’s best engines – the legendary 428 Cobra Jet. It was amazing to look at, had an amazing sound, and gave amazing performance. With the 4-speed, this horse would dip into the high 13s through the ¼mile and had the torque (some 440lb-ft) to turn tires to jelly. Now, I said before that the one I saw wasn’t worth a quarter million dollars, and I stand by that. I can say whole-heartedly, however, that if I had the money in hand.. I’d fork it over without a breath.

I have to admit that the Bug Yellow I used for this Mustang is a bit too bright, but honestly, it is close to the Bright Yellow (Grabber) from 1970. I really like the way this one came together, but I can also say it is not an easy finish to a nice build. The hood has tiny vents, the rear valance is painted black, the lights have chrome dividers between the sequential lights, the decals need holes cut around the stripes so they fit round the side markers, and so on. The kit is really good though. I’ve built this one a couple of times and haven’t had any issues besides my own shortcomings.

I didn’t get a great image of this interior and the black further does it no justice. There is a mass amount of detail all over the inside and little is needed to finish her off. I think I added a directional stalk, but everything else is there.

The underside of this one is good too. I’ve always hated the Mustang exhausts in most of these kits as they wrap around the axles and are more of a pain then a help. This exhaust is especially disappointing as the dual exhaust is attached to a bar that is supposed to connect the middle exhaust. It doesn’t, however, connect to the fancy tips, just ends before the back of the car. I’ve long thought of adding an extension to make it look more realistic but getting it right between the bottom and body of the car would be difficult to say the least. It is easily my least favorite look of this car.

.

Like I stated earlier, the engine is a sight to see in real life, and this Revell is a fine replica of it. It has more detail than most : brake boost; full size battery (though annoyingly molded); large fan; meticulous radiator surround with hood latch; engine stiffeners… it is grand to say the least. I left the bay yellow (as if a rotisserie resto) because it brings out the look further. They only downside is the firewall as it is as bare as a shaved cat… er.. horse.

I cannot say enough about this kit except to say it is a well designed model that needs a lot of detail attention. In the end, it is an exceptional kit that needs to be gotten – in either coupe or conv. form. The good news is that these kits are not only plentiful, but rather inexpensive. You can’t get these in the store anymore, typcially, but are still available online for $25 or so. It has been a few years since issue as well, so not a half-bad investment – especially since it is a great build.

8.75 – Very Good

’75 Dodge Dart Sport

This is a review of the MPC 1975 Dodge Dart Sport #M798M-200

Well, here we are again. A MPC (pretty AMT) with much missing and some annoying qualities. It IS one of my favorite body styles which started with the 1970 Duster, and died with the less-than-spectacular Aspen. I had done this model before – the blue AMT one below – and had reasonable success, but I really wanted to do justice to this car.

So, a quick thing about this model before going further. These wonderful decals are somewhat of a fraud. The car comes with a 360ci V8 (typical), and a 426 Hemi (not available in ’75). The air cleaner decal IS a 360 4-barrel, but there is nothing about the Hemi. Then there are the stripes… a 340 copy from the ’71 Duster kit. This car doesn’t have… nor came with a 340, AND there is no 340ci air cleaner decal, just the 360. Hmmph…

I have only made the blue one of these and the red is getting more and more pricey. They should all be around the same quality and include the same parts. The two here, however, have the crazy tunnel-rammed hood that you cannot get with the kit I did (though I also think that they are either attachable or you get a stock hood – so no worries if you think it daft!). They are also somewhat of a sham themselves, however. They both taut the name Duster in bold lettering, but if you look at the grille, D O D G E is clearly stamped across the front. That aside, you can still make handsome Dart models of these both.

CAR BACKGROUND :: Like so many cars in the mid-seventies, the Dart was going through “slowing-pains” to say the least, and it was becoming more and more just a commuting vehicle than a road rocket. Your best bet for 1975 was to order the 360 Sport with 230hp. The ominous 440 was reduced to a lethargic 215hp and weighed more than the small block. The 360ci Dart would most likely run the quarter mile in the high 15s – barely hitting 90mph. The days of stoplight drags were becoming myth and fantasy.

So, I thought I’d start with the engine bay since this one is a bit of a Frankenstein’s monster. The 360, though a nice engine, is very commonplace. It is also vastly under-powered for 1975. Thus the installation of a ’69 440 4-barrel. This engine, not only was available for ’75, but fits rather well. The remainder of this MPC’s engine bay is rubbish without help. The radiator is poorly detailed, there is NO master cylinder/brake boost, the firewall is incomplete and has little on it, and the battery has no “ledge” to rest on. Overall, the additions and fixes I’ve done has made this very palatable.

I decided to do this car in a rallye green motif, and even though it wasn’t a true ’75 color, I thought it looked right. It is Tamiya Park Green and it is a fantastic paint. I then went with the flat black (fiberglass) hood, the stock hubs, and used the nice white-letter tires that were included. I also made “440” numbers to go with the stripes. I cut the “360” and added the “440” to match the engine. I added a hood scoop off another kit (as the one provided is a BIT over the top), and a side mirror off a late-60’s Mopar since the ones that come with it are awful (the same generic ones as at least THREE other kits). I think I like this one as much as any I’ve made, but it is still a mess of a model kit (more to follow).

The Dodge’s interior is about as good as you’ll find with MPC/AMT models, but I wanted to really spice this one up. I went with a beige interior with brown accents and it really shows up well. I added a directional stalk, but it otherwise has a lot of good detail/parts.

Even with the exhaust being fused to the under-carriage, this isn’t a bad looking area of the car. I had to use some exhaust pieces to link the 440 to the rest of the exhaust, but it was really easy to do and – with headers – would be potentially easier. The axle-back pipes are a bit on the thick side and where they are attached, look kind of silly. They would probably be 5″ pipes with the size of them and if I hadn’t paid as much for the kit as I did, I might have cut them off and added new exhaust, but I didn’t want to chance ruining the bottom of the car. I also chopped off the turn-down tips and added chrome tips. The stock ones are far too oversized.

Liking this car and loving the finished product does not save it from being a pathetic kit. The stripes are fraud, the engine bay is abysmal, the missing pieces make for scrounging, and the “street rod” pieces are laughable. If you have patience and some know-how, you can certainly make this car into something terrific, but otherwise it is a flop. As far as being an investor car, the model was just reissued. However, there weren’t many “runs” of this car so they should become more valuable over a short time. It used to be for sale at Hobby Lobby, but has since been taken off the shelves. You can still find it for around $25-$30, though, so it is not “expensive”. It IS, however, a much larger cost when you consider the edits needed to make it right!

6.75 – Mediocre

UPDATE :: The exhaust was driving me nuts, so I cut it out. I didn’t realize it wasn’t part of the undercarriage, so it was an easy remove. I used the rear exhaust off of a ’69 440 Coronet kit and it looks a TON better! I very highly recommend replacing the axle-back pipes as soon as you start the kit. It really displays better and looks more realistic.

Five model kits to avoid like the plague! Or not?

As model builders, we’ve all had times where we’ve looked at the model kit and thought – “that is gonna be awesome” – only to be disgusted with the build later on. Well, here is a small list (probably one of many to come) of models that are HIGH on my do-not-buy list. There are in no numeric order, but are a must pass… I think?

#5 — AMT Ford Mustang Mach 1

This is one of the worst kits I’ve ever built… and when I say built, I really mean “put together in the best way possible, only to throw it away soon aft”. And there is a lot of reason to hate this one. The suspension is rubbish; the plastic is very cheap feeling; there is more flash than needed; the engine is small for the engine bay; the mach one scoop/shaker doesn’t work with the hood; and the decals, IMHO, are terrible. It was like they had ZERO quality management in the production of this one and it shows with each step.

OPTIONS : Revell makes a 69 Mach 1, but it can be pricey. It IS worth the extra to buy it, however. You can also buy the Revell Boss 302 which is very similar to the Mach 1 CHEAPLY at Hobby Lobby.

INVESTMENT : This one has been around for a while, but it does have a few iterations, so for now, it is only a medium level investment. However, it is a better investment than a build by leaps and bounds!

#4 – AMT 1971 Ford Mustang

Mustang again, huh? Yup. This one is truly an abomination. I’ll start by saying that the front end is all wrong. If you look at the pics below, the light housing looks more like a ’73 (left) and so does the grille shape, while the directionals look like the ’71. The grille is also too small; disproportionate to the directionals; and the symbol isn’t quite right.

Add to that an engine bay that is a cavernous hole with the small block; a poorly detailed interior; and an awful decal set, and you have a model that isn’t worth the price to advertise it. All of this would be enough, but the rear taillights and grille setup (yeah, the 71-73 Mustangs had a “grille” of sorts in the rear) is also oddly shaped, positioned incorrectly, and flat-out ugly to look at. About the only good thing about this one is that there aren’t many ’71-’73 model kits out there (Revell has none). That said, it is also a shame not to have a better example of this killer ‘Stang.

Options : Really… none. The ’73 made by MPC/AMT has front issues too and the rear-end is just as bad (see pics below) – the valance is too thin; the lights aren’t curved enough; and the gas cap looks as big as the taillights (give credit to Randy for making the best – and best I’ve seen – of this garbage model kit). There just aren’t any others to find out there. I would give good money for anyone who knows of a spot-on kit for the ’71-’73 Mustangs.

Investment : Well, the fact that it is a sham of a car means nothing to non-auto enthusiasts, so the ’71s becoming more and more scarce should make for an “ok” investment. The ’73s were just reissued recently and unfortunately they didn’t change any of the problems with the poor design quality – so not a good investment either.

#3 – Revell 1968 Pontiac Firebird 400

You will not find too many Revell model kits on my list of “not-buys”, but this is one I’d stay clear of if possible. The biggest reason is the rear taillights. They are shaped COMPLETELY wrong for the scale and I’ve tried to get it right for years with no luck. They made the holes so they have to be trimmed to fit the red inserts and when done, they are just TOO big for the rear panel. On top of that, I’ve had problems with missing pieces (on open kits), hoods with improper fit, rims being too small, and overall quality. It is a shame as there are few Firebird kits to choose from anymore, and this is a heck of a car IRL.

Options : There aren’t any. If you want a model of this car, you are stuck with this “fair” kit. I’ve seen worse, but it really doesn’t look right when done. I’d recommend the 1969 AMT Firebird over this one for an authentic look.

Investment : Giant win here. There just aren’t that many left AND there are only 2 or so versions produced. Right now they are $25 or better and I’d wager they’d be in the $40s or more in the next 5 years (unless there is a reissue). They are just that rare.

#2 – AMT 1971 Plymouth Duster Street Machine

This one is a bit different than the other kits. The kit itself is a relatively good facsimile of the 1971 Duster 340 kit made by AMT. However, this kit has a fun surprise to it. Most “street machine” kits have add-ons to stock pieces, but for the most part, you can build the stock vehicle. This one does not. It has a 488ci Dodge Viper motor, Viper rims (which look terrible), 90’s era tires (which look truck-like), and so on. This is a FUN kit if you are looking for something different and super custom, but for stock… this is a lemon.

Options : Obviously just buy one of 4 AMT ’71 Duster 340 kits. They are everywhere and at reasonable prices (Hobby Lobby will sell ya one for $18 with coupon).

Investment : The good news for this one is that I believe it is a great collector item. There aren’t many of them and they made only one “run” of them. I can’t see them not being collector items in the future.

#1 – AMT 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray

This one is a piece of crap in sheep’s clothing. One of THE most coveted Vettes in history, the ’63 split-window, is a gorgeously awesome ride. This is NOT an gorgeously awesome model kit, however. The one above, a recent reissue, is worse than the original. The plastic is cheap, full of ruts and flash, and its overall fit and finish is near bottom rung. I’ve had issues with the chrome, the wheels, the tires, and the glass too.

Options : My choice was to buy the 1965 non-split-window with the 396ci V8. It is NOT as cool, but because it is a Monogram, it is a really decent kit. The ’67 427 coupe by Revell is also fantastic. The AMT ’63 Convertible is a shade better, but not by a mile. It seems to have a few less flaws with glass fit and finish and has easier overall fit. If you HAVE to have a great copy of this year, you may want to look for a dealer promo or a die cast.

Investment : POOR. They just reissued this car recently and they are like spiders in Australia – EVERYWHERE. Between the poor quality and numbers, it just isn’t good right now. What it IS, is a super cheap build if you need one.

So there you have em… five kits I think you can stay away from building. Some ARE good investments, but I think they are terrible builds – such that they will not been seen on here. I have other kits I’ll mention in the future and I’ll be posting other reviews for kits that ARE terrible, but are good enough to build just the same.

Comments or questions, just let me know!

— kEVIN

’67 Mercury Comet Cyclone

This is a review of the AMT ’67 Mercury Comet Cyclone #6750

This is one of those models that I LOVE to hate. It is a car of small infamy and yet it is a design I’ve always been enamored with (more later). I have tried to build this one a couple times lately, but with issues with screwing up glass-fit and bad luck with paints, this has become a personal victory to finally finish it. My last successful one was years ago… it was red… and it was not that impressive. Times have changed a bit.

I have seen all the above kits – save for the drag looking antique kit. The remainder of them are of the same quality and piece-count as the one I did. And.. aside from the obvious drag version, I don’t think the others had a great deal of “speed” options.

CAR BACKGROUND :: So… my “like” for this car actually is a fraud. I owned a black version of this hot wheels car (pic left) when I was little. It actually is a Mercury Monterey that was thinner than it should be – thus looking more like the Comet. That said, I like the front end of the Comet anyways since I am a Galaxie/Fairlane fan. In some ways, the Comet was better than both in speed as well. The Comet with the 390ci V8 was faster than a Galaxie 500 (mostly due to heft) and – with the tests I’ve seen – was even a tic faster than the similarly optioned Fairlane. It’s numbers are low 15s at almost 95mph. Not blistering, but still relatively quick. However, sales-wise, the Comet and Fairlane did not fare well against the GTOs and 442s of the time. I like an underdog though!

Well…, here she is. I went completely away from the horrifying blue and dreadful red I’ve used and went with a Lime Ice. This is a bit brighter than the Lime Frost color of the year, but it is close enough for me. There are fitting problems all over the place for this model, but it came out just right this time. Would’ve liked to have a black “GT” stripe on the wheelbase, but the decals were ruined in my kit. C’est la vie.

The first of the fitting issues comes at the hands of the interior. The dash, doors, and tub are all fit together, and THEN to the under-carriage. This means the entire unit has to be fit into the body tightly – with the hood matching, the rear bumper fitting, and the interior sitting in the right place. It isn’t impossible, but it is a pain to get all aspects right. Add to that further underside issues and it is a LOT of work. The interior is very deatiled, however, and looks sharp when finished. I forgot to do a two-tone on either this or the Fairlane, so I may re-do one one of them to further accent the interiors. They are top-10 best by AMT (I know.. not saying much, but still..) and are very easy to get right.

The engine bay is also one of the better AMT ones made. The engine is a nicely detailed 390; has a lot of surround detail; nice battery; separate master cylinder; and is framed well. Aside from a boring (but stock) air cleaner, I have zero gripes with this one. And, like I said above, you will not find many AMT engine bays this well laid out AND well detailed.

This is also a decent place to be for an AMT model. The underside has “ok” detail, an easy fitting exhaust, and tight fitting tires. The exhaust tips are boring (replaced), the rims could be better quality, and the front axle pins are in a bad placement (They are either too high one way, or too low the other – i.e. jacked in the rear or almost a “fuelie” look in the front). I fixed this one’s front end so the look is very stock, but it is a tricky placement nonetheless. Not perfect, but not a fiasco either.

Being one of the better AMT kits does not make for being one of the best muscle cars of the day. Unfortunately, the Comet has the same fame issues like that of the Galaxie and even the Fairlanes of the time and are often “after-thoughts” when in the same pool as Camaros and GTOs. I really like this car, this model, and this build. These kits are still quite plentiful and are still at a reasonable price (between $18 and $28). Can’t say it is a good investment because of its notoriety, but it is a heck of an AMT build.

8.5 – Good

2020 Contest Cancelled

Hiya,

Well…, I figured that there may be a better response to leaving comments or contacting me by offering free merchandise, but that has backfired. Not ONE comment or message has been offered, so I am therefore closing the contest.

— kEVIN

’71 Plymouth Barracuda Hemi

This is a review of the Revell 1971 Plymouth Cuda kit#2943

I have NEVER understood the absolute love affair most car fans have for the ‘Cuda. I don’t know if it is the name, the look, the Hemi, or just “because”, but I have never understood most enthusiasts’ infatuation with the fishy sprinter. Biggest reason for my impartiality is that there are a handful of muscle car Mopars that have the same 426 Hemi and run the same ¼mile in the mid 13s, so it really boils down to to each their own… but that’s just me.

Because there is such a crazed liking for this car, there are a ridiculous amount of models to choose from. The above kits all have differing features – shaker hood, convertible, street parts, etc, and all have the ominous Hemi. There are more than the above and they have most of the same quality as Revell and Monogram are both typically good. You have to watch for molded-in-color versions, but little else.

CAR BACKGROUND :: The Barracuda had already been around for years and some had made large statements about being muscular, but none had quite the impact as the ’70 and ’71 ‘Cudas. The above chart-car gives a rainbow-rific idea to how many choices there were. Once you found that “snazzy” color, all you had to do was pick which mill to pair it with. Most chose lesser engines, but the ones that opted for the 426 and 440 V8s had one of the top 5 fastest muscle cars of the day. At 13.4 and 106mph (some Hemi tests say 13.2, some say 13.7… I split the differences), there was almost nothing out there that could match it. Granted, like I said above, most Hemi Mopars ran close to the mid-13 mark, but the crazy color paint and shaker hood really captured the imagination of the car world more than any other. Don’t believe me? Just check the price tags of Mopar Hemis out there and you’ll almost always see a ‘Cuda at the top of the list.

BUILD NOTES : Does the model live up to the hype, then? Well, mostly. The bumpers can be a tricky fit; the shaker is tough to get just right to fit in the hole; The exhaust is part of the bottom and is a tight fit through the rear panel; and that grille… UGH. But.., being a tough kit doesn’t make it a lousy build… just a tougher one. Side note – if you want a “street” setup, you’d better buy the one that says it is, otherwise there are very few aftermarket parts for this one.

I really love/hate this engine. The shaker is mischievous and is completely Vader-esque once you remove the hood. However, after working to make sure the wires are right, the engine is perfectly painted correct hemi orange, and the radiator hose is hooked up in the right spot, you are unable to see anything but the massive “hat” on top. Basically, the Hemi is a monster hidden under a cloak of hiding and it sucks. Don’t misunderstand me, if I purchased a ‘Cuda, you can be sure I’d get one with a shaker… but there is a rather large difference between 1/24th scale and the real McCoy.

This fish needed to be purple. I really detest the Plum Crazy paint Testors makes, so I used the Testors Purple-icious paint instead. It is very close to the 70’s In-Violet and is a much easier paint to use than the other one. There are a lot of fine detail chrome to do, but I patiently got em done. I don’t like the hood fit and as I said before, the exhaust fitting through the body is annoying. I also decided to not use the “billboard” Hemi decals. I’m not a big fan of them, but the black decals look terrible against the purple. I could’ve made white ones, but decided against it.

Like other Revells, this one is fairly well detailed. I went with the flat black interior with wood accents. Pistol shift, rear mirror, and directional stalk were standard equipment.

The underside of this one is like most Revell Mopars as well (no pic). Tight fitting wheels, nice detail, and nothing out of the ordinary. Aside from the exhaust (which is getting exhausting to mention), you’ll like this one. Speaking of this subject, the tips are – IMHO – smaller than they should be and aren’t chrome (sorry.. paint is NOT the same thing).

I can say that I really like this model. I can also say that it is NOT the easiest of models to do properly. They are slowly climbing in price (somewhere between $20 and $35), but they are also everywhere and in many forms. There are also a slew of 1970 Barracudas as well, so even more to choose from. NOT a good investment, but like the notoriety of the car itself, it is a popular model.

8.75 – Very Good