2020 SCALEMODELING CONTEST!!!

Hello all!

I started this blog/info website in June of last year and I have had some good success reaching modeling fans. I have yet to see a “like”, “comment”, or suggestion from anyone… so I am therefore going to sweeten the pot. I will be looking at the website for a full month and I will choose someone at random to receive a Model Car gift package!

This contest will run from 1/10/2020 through 2/10/2020. The winner’s post will be displayed on the website and I will send out a FREE gift package.

The package will include the following ::

  • One complete engine
  • One tire set
  • One rim set
  • Two sheets of decals
  • One Testors Spray Paint
  • One package Testors brushes
  • AND.. A GIFT CARD!

There is no purchase necessary; no number of times you have to post; no favoritism for “good” or “bad” posts; and no “post to Facebook” B.S. I would like to get repeat fans, interested modelers, and hopefully hear some feedback for the work I do here.

GOOD LUCK AND CHECK BACK ON THE 20TH OF FEBRUARY FOR THE WINNER!

———– kEVIN.

’70 Plymouth Roadrunner Superbird (Hemi)

This is a review of the Revell 1970 Plymouth RR Superbird kit# 4921

This is the first time I tried to make this model. Many years ago I tried to make an AMT Daytona – Superbird’s brethren – and… let’s just say it didn’t get very far. The AMT was NOT a good kit and I was much less experienced to work it. I HAVE always wanted to do one though since they are one of the most expensive, and famous muscle cars of the era.

The above kits, save for the Jo-Han, are all the same animal. I have not seen the “Richard Petty” version, but I assume you can still use the same decals as the others. Most are in the same price range too, but the Jo-Han is otherworldly priced due to rarity (I would guess). Revell also made a 1971 Roadrunner Superbird model, but I cannot speak to its quality. It also seems like it is molded in yellow.

CAR BACKGROUND :: The Daytona was created specifically for NASCAR in ’69, and for ’70, the Roadrunner was given the same treatment. Having used a wind tunnel (first in American history), the 2 cars were as smooth as a boxy muscle machine could be. The aero looks weren’t just for show either as the cars were equipped with both the 440ci and 426 Hemi engines. Though using the same engines as the ’70 Roadrunner, the Superbird was actually a tad slower in the ¼mile due to the heavier curb weight. That said, the ‘Bird could still fly through the traps in less than 14 seconds at over 100mph. More than this, however, the Superbird was much more stable at speeds over 70mph due to the aerodynamics and would likely been an entirely different car at speeds over 100. What a marvel.

BUILD NOTES : As I said before, the AMT Charger Daytona is a lousy build. Worse than the Charger kit they make, and even worse than the REALLY bad Dukes model they have. This is a tremendous kit – in comparison. The nose fits well, the tail wing has pre-drilled holes, and the finish is just plain better. The decals are typically good quality and I cannot think of a big problem with the kit. There are very few “street” parts, but this isn’t a good car for “hot-rodding”. There are enough parts and decals to make a “Petty” stock car, but that isn’t my bag. On that note – the decals for the NASCAR are also a bit B.S. as they include 426 c.i. decals for the hood and the kit ONLY includes the 440-6.

Didn’t I say this kit doesn’t come with a Hemi and yet here it is? Well, unlike most kits I build, I decided to give this kit a needed upgrade. This kit – and I believe all Superbird kits – comes with the standard 440-6 engine. This bad-boy has a 426 Hemi nested inside. This 426 is out of a failed Revell kit and fits PERFECTLY in this car. I affixed a Hemi decal I made and wired it properly. Like most of the Revell kits, the firewall stinks and I added a wiper motor to help it. The battery and washer bottles are both molded into the body of the car – so tougher to paint properly as well.

This model’s engine bay is also slightly flawed since the washer reservoirs aren’t the same as the real one (pic right). I think the 2-bottle setup is from the ’70 Roadrunner that Revell makes and they just transferred the same body over to this kit. Since the pics, I have detailed the radiator and battery as well. I love me a Hemi, but love it more in the Superbird… it just fits.

This car is painted Big Bad Blue – an AMC color that very closely resembles Corporation (Petty) Blue from 1970. I added the front light and back panel decals and added my own Roadrunner Superbird decals on the rear wing (as they weren’t included). Because the top was textured, I went with a black vinyl look. I really like the fit and finish of this kit – save for the hood. It took a long time to bend it enough to fit it flush and it still isn’t as perfect as I’d like. This is a LONG model as well. At 221in (real life), this car is as long as a ’72 New Yorker, and with 1/24th scale, is just GIANT.

Like most Revell Mopars, the interior is well detailed. I went with straight flat black and pistol shifter. I forget if I had to add a directional stalk.. I don’t think so. Rear view and side mirrors are included, however. It is also 100% better than the AMT Charger’s interior… dreadful.

You’d think the bottom would be a wreck with the non-stock engine… and you’d be mistaken. Because both are Revell, they match up rather well. The remainder of the bottom is very much Revell goodness. it is well detailed and the axles/wheels work fantastically.

This model is just great and is only lessened by the decals and lack of engine choices. In any event, you have one of the better models made AND one of the better muscle cars. It is starting to become a good collectable kit as well. The prices are already on the rise and they are getting harder to find by the minute. Better get one while you can still afford it. You surely can’t afford the $165,000 for the real thing, anyway!

8.75 – Very Good

’69 Plymouth Barracuda

This is a review of the AMT ’69 Barracuda from ’69 Muscle Car Superset

I have made this car a couple of different times and I swore I’d never fool with it again. Well.. here we are. I needed to buy the Torino more than once and these “sets” are cheap for three cars. They are definitely problematic, but cheap. I wish I could say this is a good kit, but…

The above kits are all of the same “goodness” and that is to say MEH. The only one of the bunch molded in color is the “Avenger” – and it is a brilliant orange. The “gold” one above has fantastic decals, but the rest have the same parts bin.

CAR BACKGROUND :: This Cuda body style was hitting its stride in 69 and was ready for a complete re-do. That said, this is a very sharp car. The fastback, full-width taillight w/back-up, split grille, and short stance made for a very coveted muscle car. The 383 wasn’t half bad too. At 335hp, the little Cuda would run the quarter right around the mid 14s.

Like I said above, I have made/tried to make this car a few times and for the most part, it is a POS model. This time I went with a bright Tangerine craft paint and it looks good – if a bit brighter than the ’69 original paint. I used the stock rims, but went with better tires from another kit. I also went with the hood scoop since the rest of the hood doesn’t fit well (something else to look at). I had to add a side mirror (off a 68 Roadrunner) and I made the 383 hockey sticks because the ones that come with the model were too wide. There is also something missing completely from this car – backup lights. If this IS a true ’69, there would be backup lights on either side of the plate. So… I could have left it as a ’68 or added rear lights. I added the backup lights, but I half wonder if this should have been a 1968 kit instead of a 1969?

Usually the AMT interiors leave a bit to be desired, but this one is fairly decent. The black and white really helps, but it is also better detailed than most. I had to add a directional stalk and changed out the lousy gear shift. I think I had to add a rear view mirror as well. This is definitely a “parts-bin” kind of car, but the interior especially needs all kinds of help.

The engine bay is a bit of hot-n-cold. The firewall doesn’t quite fit, the detail is low, the radiator is flat, and the battery is crap. On the upside, the engine has good detail; I added some nice pieces; and I created an original “383” air cleaner decal.

The underside is AMT-typical low quality. The exhaust is part of the bottom and has no “tips”. The axles require metal pins and there are no extra parts. Even the axles are hole-squares that attach to the sides vs. being separate pieces. It is simple, easy and boring.

These kits are everywhere and even though it is a less-than-average kit, it is still a nice car and can look great with some help. It was just reissued so not a fantastic investment kit, but building is the key anyways. Definitely not for the novice, but for $20 a pop, you can sure get in some practice.

6.5 – Mediocre

’69 Dodge Super Bee 440-6

This is a review of the Revell ’69 Dodge Coronet Super Bee kit #2363

I can remember some thirty years ago being at my best friend’s house (Kevin Randall), and seeing his Coronet 440 model he had put together. He hadn’t painted it but instead used one of the metal flake ones instead. The rest of the car was awesome. I coveted the damn thing – to the point of offering trades for ANYTHING I had. Well, years later, I decided to do my own and this was the kit I chose. This IS the only kit I am aware of that doesn’t come with the blue/metal flake molded. It is a substantial kit with a ton of solid pieces.

The above kits are are pretty much all the same and they are very good – save from the molded color. There are also a couple of older/antique ones out there, but these are the bread-and-butter ones you’ll find and at 1/5th the price.

CAR BACKGROUND :: The Dodge Coronet had gone through a bunch of changes from its inception, but 69 brought it closer to the Charger’s look than any other year. Bigger, and bulkier than the Charger, the Coronet was still a capable mover in its own right. The A12 (pictured here AND what I modeled mine after) was a rare option for ’69 that included a fiberglass hood, 440 six-pack V8, suspension work and more. With this setup, the Coronet would rush through the quarter mile in under 14 seconds at over 100mph. More than that, the car looked amazingly evil with the new colors and stripe sets available.

Well, here is the beast. A wired and ram-aired 440 six-pack. This engine bay – like most of the Revell Mopars – is very well done save for the firewall (a tad barren). The 440 decal works very well on the smooth air cleaner and it looks good slightly raised. No extras needed either, which is very refreshing.

I’ve only made this model one other time, and though the paint came out nice, the top took damage from too much glue toward the top of the windshield. This one is painted Clover Green – a craft paint that works well most of the time – and closely matches the original medium green. The hood is flat black and I used the Super Bee stripes included. Bee careful with the bee stripes as they need the side-marker holes cut carefully out before applying. It is something not realized until you try to affix them and there is a film over the lights.

I really like the Revell interiors that they use for the 67-70 Mopars. They just have a lot of detail and are rarely problematic. This one is the usual flat black with a wood steering wheel. I don’t remember if this one came with this shifter or if something happened to the pistol-grip one. I’d rather have the later, but oh well. Rear view mirror and side mirrors included, BTW.

The toy my friend made above WAS missing something like this one did. Exhaust tips. The kit comes with a nice exhaust setup that attaches easy to the engine and is a one-piece with the axle. However, the ends of the exhaust look fake and lousy, so I added chrome ones. The remainder looks great and there is a lot of extra detail.

This kit is still somewhat easy to get and the price is reasonable ($22+) as long as you don’t need the older collector’s edition. And, honestly, it much better than spending the $80,000 plus for a REAL A12. It also would be a good one to collect since it hasn’t been reissued as of late.

9.25 – Excellent

’70 Chevrolet Chevelle 454 SS – LS-6

This is a review of the Revell DONK ’70 Chevelle #2058

The 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle 454 LS6. Arguably one of the most coveted, most recognized, and fastest of the muscle car era. It was one I HAD to make. So, why a DONK special? Well… it was at a good price. The good thing about this kit is that it has everything for the stock badass – save for the stripes (which I didn’t care for anyways – more later). This (monogram/revell) kit is one of the better you’ll build as well.

These above monogram/revell kits are about the same in most respects. The blower kits above may not have the dual racing stripes and some are molded in blue vs. white. The first kit is a nice one because it has the Baldwin hood and decals, but isn’t really the LS6 that you want. The other 4 kits also come with the stock cowl inducted hoods even though cut-out hoods are pictured.

These three (and possibly 2 or 3 more) AMT kits are workable, but not as good as the Revell/Monogram counterparts. The front grille/lights are usually a lousy fit; the rear bumper is undersized and more fake looking; the interior is poorly detailed; and the engine bay is typical AMT-low detail. They WILL display well if built properly, but they are a nuisance.

CAR BACKGROUND :: As I said earlier, The ’70 Chevelle 454 LS6 IS a muscle car icon. The number of books, movie cameos, and outrageous price tags all speak to the car’s infamy. As if the styling wasn’t enough to make you devilishly grin, the engine prowess surely would. See… most Chevy’s came with the prestigious 454, but this one came with the “ultra” 454… the LS6. With an 800cfm Holly 4-barrel, aluminum pistons, and an 11.0:1 compression, the motor was lightly rated at 450hp and a thundering 500lb-ft torque. Quarter mile times were all over the place from one magazine to another, but you could rest assured to not only have a low 13s car, but one that could come close to the coveted 110mph trap speed. This is one of the top five fastest muscle cars of its era and one that had the aggressive looks to match.

BUILD NOTES : This model is – for lack of better adjective – great. The body and other parts have very little flash. The chrome is usually good, the glass is in its own bag (preventing tire rub), and there are a lot of detailed parts. The few grievances I have are with fit and finish. The racing stripes (when available) are lousy. They are especially thin and do not work well around the cowl hood. The hood’s vent is at a point and can cause breakage with the decals. I’m not a fan of the wheels either. No.. not the 26″ers, but the regular ones. They are unlettered and do not come with decals to make them so.

I have always liked the dark green Chevelles/Malibus more than any other color and I finally got the Model Master Fathom Green to work. It is a tough paint to work with because it loves to pool and can ruin a paint job easily. I didn’t have the racing stripes, but decided to go with a clean look anyways. The magnum wheels came out nice and the trim is easy on this one. This DONK pack also allows you to affix giant wheels and rims, hip-hop seat decals, and chrome plated exhaust. I think it’s all ridiculous considering the pedigree, but it’s all there and easy to use. There are blowers and such as well for a “street” setup, but not a lot of other add-ons. (no fins, slicks, wheelie-bars, etc)

This is one of my favorite interiors. The detail is high and the look is really sporty. I went with the black and white – with the floor and dash black and the rest flat white. This kit came with a nice 4-speed shifter and rear mirror. It already had a stalk (i think) on the column too.

.

This is where the AMT and Revell kits truly part ways. The Revell 454 looks pretty nice (Pic A), but its accents put the AMT kit to shame.

PIC B

As you can see from the AMT kit (See pic B – a handsome job done by Ray. Check out his site in my links section), the firewall is less detailed; the wheel wells are boring too; the radiator hose looks fake (too straight); the master cylinder is 3 sizes too small; and the radiator not only is a straight piece of plastic, but has no fan shroud. The only saving grace is a relatively decent looking battery – a tad better than the Revell. I think Ray did an outstanding job making this mutt look like a pure-bred, but I think the extra detail of the Revell make it the better selection.

The underside is a really good place to be on this model. There is a lot of chassis detail and a really tight exhaust system. I wish the fit to the motor was cleaner and there are no distinct shocks, but the wheels fit tight and it all looks good. Another small gripe – there are no exhaust tips. This is annoying as the rectangle ones on the real McCoy look awesome. I fashioned two good ones from another kit, but the round nubs that come with the kit are disappointing. Mind you the AMT ones are terrible as they are an odd oval on one side and flat the other.

When all is said and painted, the Chevelle came out splendidly. I can say that it is also a good buy, but a negligible investment – as there are just too many out there. With both Revell and AMT doing recent reissues, the cost for both are still around $25. In fact, you can get the AMT version at Hobby Lobby for $18 with 40% off coupon. Definite must have!

8.75 – Very Good

’69 AMC SC / Rambler

This is a review of the Jo-han 1969 SC / Rambler #GC-2500

This review is a bit different than I’ve usually done. This is more of a rant and dismembering than a review. The JO-HAN kits have a long standing of being rare, expensive, and good quality. This is NOT that type of kit.

I have long wanted to buy another AMC kit that wasn’t a pitiful Pacer, lethargic Gremlin, or abhorred Matador. This kit is readily on Ebay and sells for exactly one arm and two legs… around $65. I thought that I could make a good run at producing a nice looking model. What I didn’t realize is that the lovely folks at JO-HAN designed a poorly crafted fraud.

The big gag with this expensive B.S. comes from the car NOT BEING a 1969 Rambler. This is – IN FACT – a 1966 Rambler Rogue American. – And here’s why:

The rear end of the car has taillights that are wider than where the hood starts. The 1969 taillights end AT the hood. The only Rambler to have this is a 1966.

The actual ’69 Rambler SC had taillights like this one. The remainder of the rear is the same, but the rear valance is quite different.

This is the model car – and as you can see – the taillights do not match the ’69. This American also doesn’t have side markers like the ’69 – or any other emblems either.

Now, aside from being a fraud, the model car is quite garbage for numerous reasons. Like:

  • There is a multitude of flash to deal with – even with the chrome pieces. Some parts are even hidden on the tree because of it (Took me a third time through the trees to find the ignition coil because it was stuck to the tree with flash – hiding it completely).
  • The axles are made of round plastic that are difficult to use, roll, and insert. It is made worse since TWO of the wheel backs are made for a pin – which doesn’t come with the car. I had to use toothpicks to fix this issue.
  • The decals – being some 30 years old – were rubbish. Following the instructions, I wasn’t able to use two of them as they broke and crumbled from age. The side decals also don’t have cutouts for the door handles – making a terrible procedure of cutting.
  • The trunk lid fits about as well as a size 27 shoe on Richard Petty. The gap is outlandish and made worse by not being attachable for “opening”.

The hood had a chip in it; the wheels were whitewalls (not typical for these cars – more for a ’66 American); the headrests don’t have the texture needed for the tri-color look; and being a ’66 vs a ’69, the car should have a 327ci – since it did not come with a 390.

I painted the car Classic White, but wished I had used a ’66 American color. That said, I would still have had a misplaced hood scoop if I wanted to go more stock. I also painted the rims as per a SC, but think I may change them as the red side decals are toast.

There is a lot to be said for buying this model car and keeping it for an investment. It is already selling for $50-$60 and more. I find the model and the high sales of them despicable since it is such a hoax. It would be like buying a ’71 Hemi Cuda and finding out the kit was actually a ’74 with a lousy 360. As far as buying this as a model to build, it is among the worst I’ve ever purchased… and certainly for $56. It is a rubbish model with the taint of being misrepresented. I’ve seen a couple modelers build this car with the wrong rear lights; purchased a decal set; and tons of detail – just for a car that doesn’t match. I’d rather have saved all that mess and bought a proper model for half the price.

2.5 – Disastrous

’71 Plymouth Duster 340

This is a review of the AMT 1971 Plymouth Duster 340 #A1118M

This is a reissue of one of my favorite kits (see green box below). That isn’t just because it is one of my favorite muscle cars of all time either – this is a really good kit. There is very little to have to fix and almost nothing to add. There is NO “street” pieces and very little in personalizing, but for a good representation, it is tough to beat.

The above kits are are pretty much all the same. They all have the same parts and decals. They are also pretty much the same price – and right now a very inexpensive one (though the blue boxed one is more rare).

These two kits are not only on the cheap side (quality wise), but are also not what they appear to be. MOST kits out there that have “street machine” on them have most of the standard parts as well. These DO NOT. They have the shells enough to make a Duster, but these are powered by a cheap looking Viper engine. On top of that, you’ll have goofy wheels and un-matching Viper rims. Honestly, it is stupid as there is nothing else about the car to show 400+hp. No roll-bars, giant wings, no front spoiler… ZILCH. It is as unobtrusive as a Yugo with nitrous.

CAR BACKGROUND :: The Plymouth Duster (and sister car Dodge Demon) was one of the flashiest cars of the ’70’s. Sassy Grass, Moulin Rouge, In-Violet, and Curious Yellow were stunning colors that made the typical Satellite look like part of the landscape. That isn’t to say that they were slouches either. Though none officially received a 440 or 426, they were gifted a wonderful 340ci, with a very underrated 275hp. That was good enough for mid-14 second quarter mile times. More than that, though, the Duster also handled really well since it wasn’t carrying a big block up front. You may lose the drag vs. a 440 Charger, but wait til the first big corner.

BUILD NOTES : So, what does this really good kit give? Well, there is almost nothing to add. The engine bay is well appointed (more later); the underside is great; the interior has a TON of detail, and there are decals galore. There is nothing needed besides imagination and some really fun paint choices. About the only downside is that there are virtually NO customizing parts in this kit.

You are looking at one of my favorite engine bays. There is enough detail for anyone here and there is room for anything else you can imagine. Nicely detailed battery; wiper reservoir; wiper motor; detailed radiator; and master cylinder. The “340” decal is rubbish and doesn’t include the center piece. I made the one pictured and it was much better than the original. I also “wired” the engine – black – but you could even forgo it since the distributor in the back of the motor.

I’ve made this model three or four times and had only one “ruining”. I’ve done a couple of yellows and a moulin rouge (ruined one) but never green… which is silly since it is easily my favorite. This is Go Green – which is basically the same as the Sassy Grass, but there is no Sassy Grass model paint. I used the white stripes and decided to forego the black hood/hood decal. I used it with the other 2 builds and was just sick of it. I also didn’t like the quality of the “340” decal either. The ONLY thing I had to add to this car is better side mirrors. The ones that come with this car are absolutely abysmal. They have too small of a base to look right and are chrome – which is tougher to paint/have last. I used the typical side mirrors Mopar used for ’68 and ’69. I used the decent tires that came with the car and really like the rims. I also added the Duster decal to the hood because it looked good. Not stock, but I think looks nice. I also decided against the rear taillight surround decals. Again.., used them before and wanted a change.

This interior is one of the better AMT ones you’ll work with. Lots of detail and good, solid pieces. I added a directional stalk, but otherwise love this interior. I was debating on using white for the interior, but already had this nice black one built, so I went with it.

I love the underside of this car. The chassis is well designed; there is ample detail with shocks and sway bars; the exhaust fits well and the tips are as good as you’ll find on a Mopar. I wish the wheel fit were a little better, but really, it just all works.

This is a must have. Not just because the car itself is a legend, but also because of how good and how easy it is to build. There is nothing (besides maybe the hood sometimes) that doesn’t fit nice and tight. Right now, especially with the re-issue, these are everywhere. Hobby Lobby has them for $16 after coupon, but they are still $20 or less elsewhere. Not a real good investment, but one heck of a build.

9.0 – Excellent

The glassy way to do it!

I am going to go over some helpful hints when installing glass. For demonstration I am using a 1964 AMT Chevy Impala SS. This is a rather mid-range model and one that I will be working on soon, but for now it’s glass time!

This kit comes with a setup that is found in many AMT/MPC kits and can be tricky. The first thing to do is carefully detach the front glass from the tree. I’ve learned that if you bend it back and forth like a non-glass piece, you can splinter the glass back toward the viewable part of the windshield. Once that happens, you may have a new junkyard car. If you are comfortable with clippers, then cutting it free should be simple. However, you may want to use a hobby knife to slowly saw it free or potentially an electric cutter if you want to be sure there is no issue.

The next step is to cut the combined front/back windshields from each other. This step is very crucial for a nice build as the band that connects the two sides usually causes two problems. The first is that the connector is easily seen as you are looking into the car (see circle). It looks cheap and fake. The second is that most of these do not fit tightly in position. Most leave spaces that are problematic to glue. In my experience, it is cleaner and easier to separate.

Now, as much as I believe this to be a necessity, I also believe it can be tricky if you are inexperienced. I used an extra set of glass to show if you cut too close to the windshield, you can end up with a horrifying crack through the viewable section (I highlighted it as it was tough to see). The idea is to clip it at points that are thinner or at break points. Again, you can use trimmers if comfortable, but you could use all kinds of saws, drills, or hobby knives if you wish to be more careful.

When you’ve got it cut apart, you can easily install the pieces nice and tight. I will definitely trim these further back, but the gain I’ve shown is worth the effort. Another good tip is to use glue toward the corners and along the rear pillars as the plastic is thickest there. In the past I have had the plastic pulled down from the glue as big as the letter “E” on a keyboard. The glue sucks the top of the car/trunk (depending on where the glass ends) down and causes a real eyesore.

Another good tip for the novice is to use small pieces of scotch tape to hold the glass in place while gluing. The glass is the only un-repairable piece in the entire kit, so making sure you don’t ruin it is key. Using the GEL super glue is also good as it holds with a minimal amount of glue AND doesn’t run.

Last thing to impart with this task is that you want to paint/foil the trim around the windshield BEFORE installing the glass. I used to build much faster than I do now and I’d have to do the trim after the car was done. This lead to fingerprints, errors, and a lot of extra hassle.

Any questions, comments or suggestions – comment below! THANKS.

’57 Chevrolet Bel Air

This is a review of the Monogram 1957 Chevy Bel Air #2225

I have wanted to build one of these legendary machines since I can remember. I can honestly say that I am only a fan in as much as I loved the flip-nose matchboxes they made back in the 70’s. Other than that, I have never had a love for these cars at all. I do, however, think they are exquisitely beautiful and carry as much hot rod heritage as a Hemi Cuda. I chose the Monogram as I purchased an AMT recently and had the shock of a lifetime. The famous chrome fin in the rear was replaced with a decal… very ugly and fake looking. I didn’t even bother to sell it. That said… I was not overly happy with this one either – though it turned out to look very nice. Of note: this one is completely molded in red!

These two Revell/Monogram models should be duplicate kits of the one I did save for the “wheels” version having better tires. I have only purchased three of these cars in my lifetime (2-AMTs) and really cannot say how any of these other kits would be. From experience I can gather they are close and potentially better. They may be molded in something other than brilliant red “cheap-o plastic” too.

The above AMT kits (and two or three more) are not only prevalent, cheap and easy to find, but are some of the worst kits you’ll build. The fit and finish is BAD; none of them come with whitewall tires (though pictured); and the two I purchased only had decals for the chrome piece in the rear. They are cheap.. and end up looking cheap.

CAR BACKGROUND :: The 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air became the epitome of hot rod/muscle in the blink of an eye and is as coveted as any 4-wheel classic you’ll look for. As lovely as the ’55 and ’56 models were, it is the ’57 that has truly held the motorheads’ hearts in its hands. With a chrome grille made by the automotive gods, a set of fins that stretch on forever, and a fuel-injected 283ci, V8, the car was spectacular. Granted, the Bel Air (or 150, 210) was NOT fast by any stretch of the imagination. A ’57 with the highest carbureted engine (270hp) and a powerglide transmission only massaged a 17.5 second ¼mile for Motor Trend (with the speedo not even hitting 80mph!). To put that into perspective, the 2019 Toyota Prius takes 17.3 seconds through the ¼mile. Not very muscular. The fuel-injected version with the 3-speed manual would probably dip into the mid-to-high 16s, but let’s face the facts – this car is about style and image, not drag strips. That said, many owners have opted for 300-400 horsepower crate motors rather than stick with the 283.

BUILD NOTES : This Monogram model is as hit-and-miss as any model I’ve built. If a model is really bad.. it usually is from front to back.. not just in part. This one is completely nuts on one side and pretty nice on the other. Problems include ZERO firewall detail (more later), lousy undercarriage, questionable engine build, mismatched “street” parts, and missing parts of every kind. The good stuff… well – here we go.

The engine bay in this one is despicable. To start, the firewall not only has two gaping holes in it, but no master cylinder and ZERO detail. I filled the holes with cut pieces from the laughable hood scoop and it looks ok. However, no wires, no wiper motor, no heater box, or hoses of any kind is just awful. I added a full size battery (that I need to add some color to), and a master cylinder (from something much newer than the ’57). The engine shined up real nice, but I didn’t put too much work into this one as Monogram didn’t neither. If I built this one again, I’d swap out a 350ci from a 60’s Chevy or better still, maybe a 409!

With this one molded in red, I decided to not bother going to one of the other half-dozen ’57 colors and chose Tamiya Pure Red to match the ’57’s Matador Red. I have to say there is a dump truck load of trim to do and it had me cross-eyed by the end. I used the 5-spoke rims vs. the originals as this kit did not come with whitewalls and I didn’t have any in my parts bin. The “street” setup is ridiculous as well. There is an insane hood scoop and… that is IT. No slicks, race gauges, crate motor, headers.. NOTHING. Using the scoop would be like putting a spiked collar on a Pomeranian. The biggest gripe I have on the outside is that the bumper was too wide. There is a small gap between the bumper and the quarter panel and after painting, I cannot fix it.

I had quite a bit of fun with this interior. I used another Tamiya red and added the silver inserts. It seems silver and black were used a lot on these, but I liked the silver better. I deleted the powerglide stalk and added the 3-speed manual (the one from the kit is really, really nice!). The only thing missing was the rear-view mirror and I stole one from a early 60’s model kit.

From good to bad again, the underside is terrible. The exhaust is molded and doesn’t allow for exhaust tips past the bumper. I fitted some down-facing tips that look ok from the back, but it’d be nice to have them be more correct. There is hardly any other detail under here and it really could use some. It was kinda helpful as rigorous as the other detailing was, however, I wouldn’t bother with display glass.

I really love the finished product of this car, but I have to say that I will try and never do this one again. The amount of chrome detailing is crazy on this one and about wore me out. I think that the other Revell models may solve some of the above issues (red, missing pieces, etc), but they are also scarce and expensive. The above model is fairly priced (mine was $25), however, and is a relatively easy build. Just don’t expect to be proud of every nuance when you’re done.

6.5 – Mediocre

Last of the front-engined Corvettes sold. An American icon is dead.

The last front-engined Corvette sold for $2.7 million. The last of the true Corvettes. The next monstrosity will follow in Europe’s mid-engine motif and shows that our icon is no longer good enough to take on the world without following the crowd. The Corvette has had a plethora of fun engines in the front of the car with enough horsepower to make anyone stand at attention. And, as short a time ago as 2010, it was as fast around a track as Ferraris costing FOUR times as much. I’m sad that America’s top minds threw in the towel and have succumb to the automotive peer-pressure. Maybe someday the icon will be re-born. For now, I will enjoy my front-engined ’98.

*** This is a video of the first Corvette assembly line in 1953. Besides noticing the lack of safety and health equipment, it was fun to watch these men crafting this car by HAND. No sound, but interesting to any car fan.

R.I.P. Corvette