’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

’69 Pontiac Firebird 400

This is a review of the AMT 1969 Pontiac Firebird T/A 400 #8583

Unlike some other kits of awesomeness, this one could blip out of existence and I’d be fine. AMT/MPC is the only maker of this car, so I am forced to undertake this abomination. It is missing the rear-view mirror, side mirror, the tires are rubbish, and that’s just the start.

The above kits are slight differences to the Trans Am kit above. I don’t remember which of the above kits have the T/A decals – may just be #2. I have found them to be yellowed and haphazard when I’ve found them. The decal sheet in my kit were respectable. The fit and finish of these kits are ALL crap.

CAR BACKGROUND :: The Firebird was Pontiac’s image of the pony-car taken directly from the Camaro. For 1969, however, the Bird and Camaro went their separate ways. The Camaro was building on it’s superstar legacy while Pontiac was re-imagining the Firebird. Considered by some as a dullard, sales went down instead of up. It did come with a wonderful 400ci, Ram Air V8 with up to 345 horsepower. Mated to a 4-speed, this bird was more a phoenix with 0-100 coming in a brisk 14 seconds. Decent sheet-metal, and glowing performance aside, this iteration lasted just one year (like the AMT model should have).

BUILD NOTES : As I’ve said, the AMT Firebird kits are terrible. I am specific because not ALL AMT kits are atrocious. I just built a 67 Impala that was quite good. This one is not. The fit of the front grille insert is tricky. It wants to push the top of the front-end up so careful trimming is necessary. You also must check the fit before painting or risk trim/bending after a nice paint job. The hood, like other AMT kits (including a ’69 Barracuda I just built) is only a fit in as much as it fits the hole. I wish I could make it fit better, but it just doesn’t. The taillights are an odd fit, the Magnum wheels are mediocre compared to Revell kits, and the flash removal can make you cross-eyed. This is also not a true 2-in-1 car even though there is the T/A and 400 setups. There are decals and hoods to differentiate the two, but little else. There are also no real “street” items to make this unique. It is “stock” or.. it is “stock”.

This is a horrible engine bay all the way round. There is very little detail; the master cylinder is small and molded; there is way too much space; and the wheel wells have no detail. It is barren. I added a 400-4 barrel decal and a caution fan to help brighten things, but this is just crying for add-ons. At least it had a battery.

In all honesty, I have not made this car but twice and the last time was some twenty years ago. I picked Tamiya’s Electric Blue Metallic because the original one I made was also blue. This one came out much nicer, but it would be better if the kit were. I used the “400” hood instead of the T/A as I’m not a fan of the white and blue eyesore. The T/A hood also is molded where the holes are and to paint “holes” that large would look really bad.

For as lackluster as the interior is , this one looks pretty good. The sunk in gauges make them impossible to see from outside and the dash is not very detailed. That said, a brighter color than black will make this one palatable. I had to add a shifter (as the one included was awful), and a rear-view mirror. Door detail is below average as well, but the blue color helps.

Underneath you will find a whirlwind of ho-hum. There is very little detail and even the exhaust looks awful. The fit to the engine is poor, the detail around the axle is bad, and the exhaust end in an ugly stump. I added tips, but there is little you can do to help this aspect of the car.

I’d like to say “run right out and buy one”, but I really can’t. Pontiac model cars are few and far in between, so getting this one may be a necessity for you. It will almost always cost you over $20 as they are getting fewer in number all the time. The kits can be problematic too with bad chrome, poor fit, and scratched glass. They aren’t bad investments as they havn’t been reissued in a long while, but I can’t say they are a good build.

5.5 – Poor

’69 AMC AMX

This is a review of the Testors 1969 AMC AMX Pro Street (Dealer Special)

I really like AMC muscle and I’m kinda bummed about the lack of good car kits out there. This is one of the only AMX/Javelin kits that you can buy and it is not only a lousy kit, but VERY expensive.

There are a few race models made by Revell and a 1/20th kit that is quite easy to find, but there are just too few of these Testors kits out there. Even the un-muscle, uninteresting Marlin kits have become pricey and hard to find. The Jo-Han kit (left) is a facsimile to the above, but I’ve not built it to say better/worse. It is expensive if you find one too, however.

CAR BACKGROUND :: AMC was in its prime this year and offered the AMX, Javelin, Rebel Machine, and the SC Rambler. I will be reviewing the SC Rambler later, but I like the AMX best of the lot. Any of the above had a lot of oomph. The high-performance versions carried the 390ci, V8 that easily had more than 300hp. They were no match for some of the the other muscle in ’69, but still could manage 14 second E.T.s and would easily get to 100mph.

BUILD NOTES : I really dislike this kit and from stem to stern. The wheels that come with it are awful and the special “metal” ones are heavy and look odd next to any other model cars. It comes with a otherworldly hood scoop and typically has a lot of flash to remove. Add to that the need for a dozen pieces from other kits, and you are stuck with a AMC jigsaw puzzle. The “pro stock” setup is rather good if that is your kick, but with so few AMC car kits out there, you should persevere and make it stock.

The 390 that comes with this kit isn’t bad, but it is only setup for “street”. I therefore had to dip.. rather dive into the parts bin to help her out. The air cleaner is out of another kit, but I used one of the included carbs. I also had to swipe a stock intake from a ford kit as I did not want the cross-ram included. Because of the above, I also had to fashion a radiator hose as the one included was race-orientated. I decided on a green wire motif this time and had to add a proper brake boost and battery (as the kit didn’t include one). It all turned out ok, but do NOT expect this stock look from the package. I also made the 390 air cleaner decal to go with it as there are none with the kit – and frankly, none to buy either.

For paint I had to steel from the Mopar collection and use Sublime Green. They made Big Bad Blue for model cars, but not green. I sure wasn’t going to buy the real thing either.. I spend too much as it is and I was not buying a $20 spray bomb to do this car. Anyways, the color is very close and looks great on the AMC. I also stole proper magnum wheels from another kit and the tires to match. Besides that, I had to produce a rear view mirror, and a side mirror as well.

The interior is lackluster and has very little detail. There is no back seat (which the real thing didn’t have) and no center console either. Rather sparse for a mild muscle car. I used a different shifter and added a stalk to the column, but otherwise the interior was ok.

The chassis is going to give fits more than any other problem with the car. The kit is set up for big headers and deleted exhaust. NOT on my menu. I used most of the exhaust off of a 67 Charger, including the straight “ends” with nice tips. There isn’t a whole lot of other detail to see here. Both axles are molded and devoid of add-ons. No shocks, springs, joints etc. It came out ok, but is not the selling point of this kit.

If anyone knows of good AMC kits I would be VERY thankful. I have no need of Gremlins, Matadors (why the he## did someone think a Matador was needed???), or Pacers, so anything with a big V8 and looks will work for me. This one is NOT for the faint of heart and requires a lot of skill to make stock. It is also missing so much that unless you are a veteran builder with a parts bin, you’ll be out of luck in every area of the car. These kits are rare as heck and cost upward of $60 when you find em. It’s a necessity if you want a AMX… but an expensive one.

4.5 – Bad

’69 Ford Mustang Boss 302

This is a review of the Revell 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302 – ala John Wick

So, I’m going to do this review a tad bit different. I want to quickly explain the car before explaining the model. I have wanted to build this type of Mustang for a while, but ended up with problems along the way. Then… John Wick arrived on the scene. His whole life wrapped partially around a 1969 Mustang Boss 429. Well… that’s all well and good, but the car was not a 429… or a Boss for that matter. The car was a ’69 Mustang Mach 1 – with something under the hood that was NOT a 429. Granted – it is much more impressive mentioning a $120,000 car vs. a $50k car, but it was a bit too obvious. There is also a real good reason why I chose the 302 kit instead of a Mach 1 – more later.

On to the Boss. I really like this kit. There are a few things to watch for, but all-in-all, it is great. There is a bit of flash to have to trim. The back panel is tricky to place too. Make sure to hold the bumper up to make sure it is in the right spot. Besides the fixes to make this Wick’s beauty, there is little reason for the parts bin. Worst bit: the rear view mirror goes in the middle of the windshield. There is a peg where the mirror rests. Problem lies with any error resulting in glue problems. Solution – use a dab of Super Glue GEL (or generic). It doesn’t run at all and holds just as solid. Much less chance of a big glass fiasco.

The big problem with 1969 Mach 1 kits is that – except #3 (which is rare and expensive) – they all are TERRIBLE kits. They fit poorly, have small, shriveled engines, poor chrome, and missing pieces everywhere. I don’t believe they have the ram air scoop that is needed either.

Revell does make a ’69 Mach 1 (above), but it is also rare and expensive. The other Boss/Mach cars from Revell are ’70s models and are VERY different – as you can see.

CAR BACKGROUND :: The Mustang was in full stride by the time it hit 1969. There was no shortages of trims, colors, engines, and excitement. The Boss 302 was a handling marvel and sported an underrated 290hp, V8. It wasn’t the fastest in the stable, but round a track, it was the prime horse to ride. It was not slow, however, as the ¼mile was gone in under 15 seconds with the speedo pointing at almost 95 mph. Minus the cool Boss decals and the regular black-stripped hood, this is a Boss 302 from front to back.

BUILD NOTES : This IS a really good kit, nonetheless, and you won’t have to do too much soul searching to get it movie ready. If you desire a true Boss 302, you really only need to watch placing the decals. There are over a half dozen to get right and one screw-up will ruin the whole shebang.

The 302 has always been a fun engine to work with and this one is no different. The only thing I’ve had to add here is a Shelby air cleaner for a nice look. These were prevalent – even for non-Shelby cars. This one looks like it has two screws – like for a dual-carb. They actually made these for one carb with a single nut between the two. I decided not to hole the really good air cleaner, so it is missing the middle nut. Aside from that, the engine bay is as bad-ass as the man himself. It has a good size battery; a large brake boost; a hearty radiator group, and engine braces. I am going to add a “caution fan”, but am otherwise happy with this one. I didn’t even bother to “wire” it. Now.. why not throw in a Boss 429?? Well, two reasons. The first is that the car from the movie did NOT have one, so I didn’t see the need to use it. The second is that, even though I have one, I really didn’t want to shoe-horn it into this car just for the sake of mention.

I had to look for a while to find a color that worked well with his car. The Testors Graphite Dust was just perfect. And, thanks to the all-in-one, it needs no primer/gloss/etc. I did have to make some changes, however. First and foremost, the hood scoop is from a 69 Torino Cobra. Not that there isn’t another kit with one, but the size of this one is spot-on. I also had to make the ghost stripes. Mine are a shade too dark, but still came out well. I didn’t see any reason to use the side stripes either. Usually it is one or another, not both. There is another funny delete from the Wick Mustang. The rear valance of these Mach 1/ Boss cars had MUSTANG emblems across the back – above the lights. His were deleted and the stripes were finished on the back valance. I didn’t use the striped there as the decals would not have sat over the lettering very well. Any way you slice it, it looks pretty slick. Oh, and I also fashioned his license plate to finish the look (though I didn’t put one in the front).

The interior is very nice in this car. It is very close to the 69 GT500 that Revell makes and is one of the better ones you’ll build. There is a lot of detail in the dash and the doors/seats don’t suffer either.

There’s not a lot of hatred for the underside as well. The exhaust is OK, but fits good and has decent tips. The shocks are separate, but I just left them black. Wheels are the standard Magnum with Good Year white letter tires (which thankfully came with the car).

Beyond anyone’s need for John Wick’s Mustang, this Boss 302 is a hell of a kit. It is a rather easy build and only has a few flaws. I did say there was a reason for the Boss over the Mach 1. Quite simply… MUCH cheaper. This Boss 302 can be purchased at Hobby Lobby for about $18 (using their 40% off coupon). The only Mach 1 I’d buy typically sells for more than $35.

As far as a John Wick clone? It’s definitely worth a gold coin!

9.0 – Excellent