1981 Dodge Omni 024 – MPC

1981dodgeomni024 (1)Oh yeah, now this is a unique one, ain’t it. Every once in a while I enjoy building kits of supposed “great” cars, which ended up being failures or legendary for their unreliability, or in this case of the wonderful front wheel drive Chrysler K and L-platform era; “dull“. MPC made a fair few of these little kits in the early eighties, which included the L-platform Dodge Charger, the Dodge Omni/024(the predecessor) and the eventual Shelby Charger GLHS(Goes Like Hell S’more) that Carroll Shelby took a interest to and actually turned into formidable race and drag cars.

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All the way through the eighties, MPC made variations of the Omni and Charger kits, some custom, some factory stock but with the Shelby options. All in all, these kits were from a much stronger era for MPC, where the kits were packed with parts that would go together somewhat alright instead of what we can now only describe as “like AMT, but worse“. I’ve slammed MPC time and time again for producing lazy molds and kits that are a struggle to build, if not in some cases just not fun, but I really can’t ever fault them for variety. And with the Omni/Charger kits, they infact aced it on both variety as well as quality.

1981dodgeomni024 (3)This, though, is not a Shelby Charger. This is a ’81 Omni. There’s no mincing words about the quality of the car, especially this one which came with the legendarily slow 1.7L Volkwagen inline four(the ’81 onwards 2.2L I4 from Chrysler improved the ride and speeds significantly), but it was a direct answer to the second fuel crisis in 1979 when yet again the signs came out and burbling V6’s and V8’s roared around on gas station lots waiting in line. Along with the Dodge Omni Miser, Dodge Aries and Dodge Colt, the Omni 024 was meant to be European under the hood but American on the road. Fitting pretty much the entire idea of Detroit’s mentality at the time of “just buy an American car, it’ll be as good as a European or Asian car“.

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Granted, it was nothing like that. The car rusted terribly, the brakes were terrible but lo and behold, despite the heap of flaws, for the money you spend you did get a decent car and the I4 engine(whether 1.7 or 2.2) actually did what it was meant to. It saved you a ton of fuel, got you around and if you had luck, the car didn’t rust away on your driveway and could one day be your kids ride, it has flaws but it could always be fixed. MPC meanwhile kicked off 1980 and 1981 with two kits based on the Omni 024 – and both attempted to “cool” the cars up significantly, cause this was in the era that Detroit was very upset with itself, OPEC and Japan(holy shit were they pissed off at Japan, public destruction of Japanese cars, Japanese people being shunned, attacked and in extreme cases even killed, they weren’t great times).

1981dodgeomni024 (14)Forgive me for the history lesson, but with these little cars and the respective kits, this day and age, it helps to get some of the context on how these things came to be and how they’re actually really unique, if not a reminder of a dark time in automotive history.

Anyhow, little gritty racers is what the 024 and TC3 were meant to represent and MPC tried to do so with this kit, giving it the “Silver Bullet” treatment and the other kit was given what I can only describe as some absolutely ridiculous Pike’s Peak like front bumper scoop and giant wing. And like I said, Detroit wasn’t having it and to some extend, neither was the public – The car sold… poorly. Not awfully, just nowhere near the hopes. In the same year, the “Omni” name was taken off and given its own lineage and the car was now just the Dodge 024, which was about as catchy as a fart, but y’know, desperate times.

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This kit too had some extras, wire-wheels, louvers for the side windows(but not rear, weirdly enough even though the ‘other’ Omni 024 kit from MPC does have them) and all sorts of extra bits to make the car stand out more sporty. It’ll start to remind you of a slightly ‘Americanized’ Volkswagen Scirocco and honestly, nothing wrong with that sentiment. It comes with all the parts to make it a bog standard, simplistic Dodge Omni hatchback or turning it into the sportier slightly more custom 024. It even has some weird relic pieces where the tires of the car are both available in normal rubber, or casted plastic. But I digress, the quality is top notch.

There’s something odd about the eighties when suddenly kit production hit a new height in quality and detail from all the large companies, but AMT(once it became AMT Ertl) and MPC saw the biggest leaps. From somewhat low quality but still very detailed kits to high quality casts with good builds and loads of detail all around. The tiny, puny and now even downright forgettable engine has well over 15 pieces dedicated to it and even then there’s more to customize with, like chrome headers, turbo intake(on this I4 though? What?) and more.

1981dodgeomni024 (8)To an extend I did wanna show the kit some extra love cause it’s actually a really, really decent kit coming from the MPC guys so I for instance gave it a set of nicer wheels. A set of Foresight Ventures Indy 500 mags from Forward Resin, a reputable resin caster from the States that sells wheels for damn near nothing. Applied a coat of a Mercedes color, smoke silver with a few clear coats over it. Originally intended to go with red but then though, nah, this is sportier and prettier to a degree. Fashioned a spoiler out of the front air-dam cause the actual tail wing is… shoddily cast and hardly fits(it’s a typical MPC product, it’s meant to “sleeve” over the tail end but just gives two giant ugly edges you can see under) and just kind of shoved it together from there on.

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To be fair, it is a very simple build, it has three pieces for the rear axle, around five on the front and it’s all a little clunky when it comes to attaching the wheels and the engine rests on the trans-axle in a way I can only describe as resting a pallet of bricks on a twig. But despite that, it does all kind of go together well. Especially for a MPC build. Especially. There’s even some room for improvement; the headlight slots are completely open and you can easily replicate some square headlights with some translucent plastic sheeting, black paint, and some chrome backings fashioned from a chrome sprue. I don’t have any plastic sheets so I just rolled with it, but it’s possible so that’s nice! Finally non-chrome headlamps if you want it! Though it takes some effort on our end, but at least it is a possibility.

1981dodgeomni024 (17)On top of that, I used some decals from the ’68 Dart and ’69 Charger Daytona kits to give it a sliiiightly improved look that isn’t downright dull, in reality the cars have O24/024 decals behind the front door and on the tail gate but of course MPC didn’t add any of those when they created that uh, “Silver Bullet” design. No license plates either, so, figured a couple of classic “Dodge” logos on the side and the red logo plate on the back would make it look somewhat more finished.

The only two issues with the kit, the ones that stand out at least is the fact that the chassis and the body have severe issues meeting and this was meant to play out with the fender flares that I didn’t add, so it looks… a bit off with a bit of the chassis sticking out underneath. The second is that the hood floats on the body and just doesn’t fit, it doesn’t help that of course a thirty six year old kit has warped somewhat so the hood now doesn’t even meet the front.

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It’s a weird little time-piece. With the ’80 Citation X-11 I left it as stock as could be given that the box came with all the pieces and decals to make it so but on the Omni 024 it was hardly possible, it didn’t have the rear louvers to make it a 2.2 or even a DeTomaso(kid you not, Alejandro de Tomaso’s company did a styling package for this thing, the wheels are on the sprues even!) so it’s hard to make it into any of the more uh… “performance orientated” Omnis, Jesus Christ did I just type that about a freaking inline four rust bucket? Yup, I did. Anyhow, it’s to an extend a far nicer build than its distant cousin the Dodge Aspen/Plymouth Volare and comes out looking twice as nice even though they’re in reality only two years apart in terms of tooling.

’81 Dodge Omni 024 specifications:
Kit: M1-0710
Skill Level: N/A
Parts: 96
Molded in: Silver
Scale: 1/25

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1997 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 30th Anniversary Edition – AMT Ertl

1997camaroz2830thanniversary (1)The quadfecta’s complete. Or at least, for the time being until I manage to shrink down the ’11 40th Anniversary decals I’m cooking up in Photoshop lately. But what we got here is arguably the first proper anniversary edition Camaro. Back in ’97, car manufacturers were quite desperately clinging onto brand names and former glory cause give or take ten years before they more or less placed the gun barrel against the muscle car and gently pulled the trigger.

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So in 1992, the “Heritage” edition Camaro came through, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Camaro which first began hitting the market in June 1966 for the ’67 model year. While I’m quite fond of the third generation of Camaro, there’s absolutely no arguing that the generation was tainted beyond repair. The cars were sluggish, the Z/28 package was a nice chipper boost but even then it was meager as to what you paid for and while the IROC-Z was popular, it also quickly grew a bad reputation for various reasons, from reliability to the attitude of the Camaro driver itself. The third generation was put to sleep with that celebratory model, one I actually liked due to the nice contrast of the red on white(or black, which was also a choice) but generally it came down to just that. Some badges, spicy colored interior and unique color stripes for that year and MPC’s tooling felt very much like the equal amount of effort was given.

1997camaroz2830thanniversary (4)Now the fourth generation wasn’t particularly popular, I mean the cars still sold and they were actually quite reliable and decent on the speed department too, but a lot of people argue its the ugliest generation of the Camaro legacy, with elongated Neo Storm/Ford Probe like looks(inspired by the Pontiac Banshee concept, which is both a pro and a con at once) but before it got its facelift, 35th anniversary edition and the inevitable shelving of the Camaro until 2008, it got a 30th anniversary edition and this time you got something that made the car unique.

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And with that, this was the first time the anniversary edition made you think of the first Camaros back then, with the same arctic white paintjob and the hugger orange stripes, exact same color combination of the ’69 Camaro SS Pace Car. In fact, the ’97 Camaro did do the Brickyard 400 pace car job and the paint job was directly taken and slapped onto regular Z/28 models as a option for that year only. You got 30th Anniversary badges on every seat, one on the dashboard, the arctic white coat with the hugger orange stripes, white-out 5 spoke Camaro wheels and of course a LT1 350 cubic inch V8. Hell, at the time if you truly were mad and had a lot of money to spare, SLT Engineering took these Camaros in and took a SS LT4 V8 from the ’96 Corvette Grand Sport and hand-modified the whole car to accommodate the giant engine, which in turn would make it the fastest Camaro on the road for nearly two decades to come.

1997camaroz2830thanniversary (8)And serious points to AMT Ertl for nailing those details in this kit, honestly! The 1990s were great for AMT for as long as they used their own tooling and not MPC’s, you get kits like the ’95 Chevy S-10, the ’83 GMC Vandura, so forth. Really, really high quality, well fitting and amazingly good model kits of cars that are now quite forgotten. From the bottom up, this kit is wonderful and so are the kits this one’s taking its heritage from. Back in 1993, AMT Ertl along with Monogram released a kit to celebrate the new fourth generation of the Camaro and both are genius and complex builds of their own. AMT Ertl from there on of course like usual went onwards with the annual kit business; giving us a Z/28, SS or convertible version every year until 1997 where they ceased making Camaros until 2006 and left us with a sporty Camaro SS(pre-facelift) and of course, this kit we’re talking about here.

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I mean, there’s some legacy parts in here. For instance, something that led me to making a fair bit of a mistake, the tail lights are changed to the European style(with a orange indicator light) in 1997 but the kit still has the 1993-1996 all red ones and I should’ve Googled it better but I mistakenly made them to look like a pre-facelift pair. Ah well, but carrying on, some other legacy bits are the CB radio that was lets be honest, D.O.A in the nineties as it was. But other than that? Everything is crisp and proper to the ’97 Camaro.

For instance, the LT1 350ci V8 is beautifully re-created, I’d argue its even better than the Monogram version given the amount of extra detail that went into it. As well as the interior which has a ton of detail, and unlike MPC’s tooling; proper headlights!

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But despite all the greatness, it ain’t all rainbows and sunshine. There’s four distinct issues with this kit, though I reckon three of ’em are found in every one of the ’93-’97 Camaro(specifically the convertible) kits from AMT. First, the problem that may be unique to this kit, the wheels and backings do not fit the tires. The tires are too narrow, by a fair bit and you either have to adjust the entire suspension accordingly or trim the wheel backings to get them to fit within the wells. And even then, the tires just won’t stay on the backings cause they are just simply too small. The reason I think this is a kit specific issue is that the instruction sheet claims very specifically the wheels are a set of Goodyear Eagle GS-C’s but the tires with the kit are Goodyear Comp T/A’s, could be there’s a distinct difference in measurements for the tires, afterall I got the re-release of the kit from 2002, not the original 1997 release.

1997camaroz2830thanniversary (3)So I scrapped the entire rear and front suspension to make room for the wheels cause they otherwise stick out a good fifth of a inch, which is… just not right. I used some tooth picks and epoxy(did a similar thing on the ’76 Camaro and learned a thing or two from that) and created a little dingy suspension that makes the ride and the wheel depth look a bit more like the real thing.

Problems two and three are that, similarly to the issues with the fitting on the Monogram Camaro, it’s one giant intricate puzzle on the body-to-chassis relationship and if one piece doesn’t fit, none of them will. And the fit can get downright infuriating at times, so much so that I was thinking of buying another AMT Camaro kit just to get the hardtop version and spare me that specific part of misery, but alas. And the fourth problem is the suspension set up is… nothing short of clunky. While it’s supremely detailed and super fancy, it’s a damn hassle.

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In the end, the only thing that matters is that the kit exists and that despite the issues, it is still a freakin’ great one.

 

’97 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 30th Anniversary Edition specifications:
Kit: AMT31807-MH1
Skill Level: 2
Parts: 101
Molded in: Gray
Scale: 1/25

1980 Plymouth Volaré Road Runner – MPC

1980plymouthvolareroadrunner (1)Ahh MPC, how rocky a relationship we have. I talked about how MPC’s model kits have this odd, cheap and unfinished feeling to ’em and how it damn near ruined the hobby for me in the 1974 Plymouth Road Runner article, a kit I can now describe as “similar” to this one. How’s that? Well this kit has a myriad of issues, a MPC staple. It has annual re-release woes, also an MPC staple. But there’s also something that I actually truly adore about MPC model kits; they’ve made kits of nearly every American car you can name that aren’t already covered by other manufacturers.

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I mean, while Revell Monogram made a ’81 Chevrolet Citation kit, at least they have the excuse of being part of the hype machine that eventually threw a rod and self destructed in a massive joyful explosion of bad brakes, rust issues and leaking radiator hoses, in some cases, a literal explosion, actually. But I digress, the point that I’m trying to get to is that MPC is the annual model kit release company. AMT kept up until they were taken over by Ertl in 1982 but MPC has released a yearly version of damn near any “mainstay” GM, Ford and Chrysler vehicle.

And I’m on a bit of a spree with Malaise era car kits and holy Christ does the Plymouth Volaré count. Introduced in 1976 to replace the Dodge Dart, it was the start more or less of the “lets slap all our cars on a single platform”, cause that worked out perfectly in the end, didn’t it? Weirdly enough, in that same year, Motor Trend gave it the Car of the Year award… Though they weren’t allowed to include foreign cars and with that logic in mind, yeah, it wasn’t exactly picking from a series of true winners that year, was it.

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This kit is based on the dying breath of the Volaré and while they were at it, the final dying breath of the Road Runner – the 1980 Volaré Road Runner. MPC, as per usual MPC modus operandi: a oddly cartooned up car kit with gargantuan list of oversized and in most cases downright ugly parts and a weird eye catching name, suddenly re-released with new extras, which is Round 2’s(MPC’s father company) way of saying “Yeah, that’ll make it a worthwhile kit!”. That being said though, the two things that are new are the Goodyear GT Radial stamped tires and a new, fresh decal sheet and they’re both honestly pretty damn sweet, though it has to be said that it’s the “basic AMT tire” issue, in which I mean that all of their pad printed tires are of the exact same size and in no kit with these that I’ve encountered, the wheels and their backings properly/snugly fit, they always are about to fall out. However, everything else is still the same old MPC schlock as always.

1980plymouthvolareroadrunner (13)For instance, is it so damn hard to mold some clear headlights instead of making ’em all chrome pieces? Revell, Monogram and AMT have been doing it since the seventies, what the absolute hell is keeping MPC from doing it? Oh right, simplicity and short-cuts.

Anyhow, lets get down to brass tacks in terms of whats a pain in the ass with this kit. First of all, what the hell is the engine? It’s a 318 V8 from the looks of it at least, even down to the mold lines underneath the rocker covers, quickly “turned” into a V6 according to the box, even though the only V6 available on the Volaré was a Slant-6 225. It is very clear the kit is a 1977 Volaré with a new grille and tail lights, even the instruction sheet hasn’t been updated for the changed tail lights. And speaking of which, the tail lights are… off, they don’t look right. Even with the reverse light added in there, there’s something wrong with the proportions still.

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None of the bumpers actually fit and holy shit did I wish I’d have known about it before I began building this thing, cause honestly just one or two little plastic lips and it’s a smooth fit all around. No-one at MPC gave this any legitimate thought in terms of a clever construction, hell it’s become less of a puzzle and more of a horrible hassle. The exhaust pipes that lead down from the manifolds are meant to just… hang onto the manifolds with no underneath support. The engine block itself is also just meant to float on two vague engine arms and a flat piece near the bland molded in driveshaft.

1980plymouthvolareroadrunner (14)I kept the red paint job the box showed for the 2-in-1 option, the car was available in several colors and honestly the black suits it but I figured I’d go with a more subdued red. To make it a little nicer, I used some leftover Road Runner decals from the 1974 kit which I honestly prefer over the giant eighties ones and kept the T-tops “painted” on, the kit does offer separate T-tops and cutting the ones out of the body is very easy but just doesn’t look pretty when they’re out, the removable tops are just as solid as they were in the first place and it just looks janky and it really still shows that its a D.I.Y. job.

But I digress… It is a time piece. Granted, MPC is one of those brands that forever feels like a “we had a quantity quota to reach so to hell with quality” brand, but even then, the body is pretty damn pristine and all things considered, as I said earlier, it is thanks to them going full on annual releases that we have so many forgotten cars still having somesort of legacy through a model kit.

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I mean, the Volaré was a truly terrible car(even though the Slant-6 engine lived on to be ultra reliable, though shame the car around it digested itself to dust), it is only thanks to MPC that I can add another Malaise era victim to the line up. And like most of MPC’s kits, it is fully capable of being turned into a neat model with enough effort, I just think it’s such a damn shame that it has to be such a challenge to even get to look on par with a bog standard Revell/Monogram or AMT release of the same era.

’80 Plymouth Volaré Road Runner specifications:
Kit: M843-200
Skill Level: N/A
Parts: 78
Molded in: Off-White
Scale: 1/25

 

1987 Buick Regal Grand National – Monogram

1987buickregalgrandnational (1)Monogram haven’t made many Buick kits, only a couple of ’em across the board. I wrote something on the GNX kit a long time ago before I knew what the hell I wanted to do with this website, but in a way the kit is essentially entirely the same. For three decades, it’s just been the Grand National, GNX and GSX and they’ve made a fair amount of variations of them. The Grand National has seen around eight separate releases, two already in ’88 and one was actually really sweet and boy did I wish I could’ve gotten that one instead.

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It was the GNX and it was part of the High Performance series which included flexible radiator hoses and engine wire plus instructions on how to use ’em, which for a in-box extra is incredibly nice. The other one from 1988 is the one I got here, which has the unique box art that upset GM quite a bit as it shows a Buick Regal out-dragging a Chevrolet Corvette(just imagine this, step-above Regal could out-do the flagship Corvette, just imagine what a GNX was capable of), which was fixed in a 1989 re-release by putting it in front of dull, boring old fashioned boxart. But anyhow, as I said, this kit is in general 100% identical to the GNX kit, just with slightly less parts and the standard Regal wheels(and not the Turbo-T wheels, sadly) instead of the GNX wire-wheels.

1987buickregalgrandnational (4)And boy this kit shows that just like the car itself, it was peak turbocharger hype, V6 engines that produced equal power to big block V8s and the end of the muscle car era all at the same time. The Regal was one of the few late eighties cars that could preform all the while being a good car and the engine itself was nothing short of a masterpiece(its direct competitors were the Cutlass, Grand Prix, Thunderbird and Monte Carlo and… that was about it). Well, okay, it was also falling back onto old habits cause man, it sure as hell wasn’t fuel efficient. But Buick did try to innovate, there’s no faulting them there. They took the Buick 231 V6 from ’78 and took it on a tour of duty through the eighties, slapping a gargantuan turbocharger onto it and giving it the appropriate name “Turbo Regal”.

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I mean, it took the second generation of the Regal nine years to hit peak greatness, going out with a last take on the turbocharged up Regal, simply called the Grand National once again, a car that could keep up with Corvettes of the day. Though it has to be said, the order sheets were very lenient and you could very well just order a plain silver colored or white Regal with no outer markings besides the 3.8 SFI on the raised hood and have quite frankly a severely powerful sleeper. And on the subject of powerful, there of course was the wider, more badass, all black and vicious GNX that could even keep up with Ferrari F40s and Porsche 930’s in terms of acceleration and top speed. No other coupe in ’87 could claim they had this pedigree, not even its sister car the “look at how NASCAR I am” Monte Carlo Aerocoupe.

1987buickregalgrandnational (5)Though unlike the real car, this kit does have a few woes that linger. Despite the fact that this kit is one of those late eighties new tools from Monogram that trumped all expectations with crisp as all hell molding, beyond high quality engine bay and engine itself and a good eye for quality on the body, there are moments where it goes together like shoving a round peg in a square hole. For instance, while the superb detail is there, the side marker lights for the headlights are a God damn nightmare to get in place. They hardly fit and when they do, they “float” on nothing but the backing.

The chassis sits against the front and rear bumpers and you have to keep mashing it back and forth to find the exact spot where it won’t tear one or the other off its brackets. Some of the turbocharger and intercooler hoses have weird positioning, I mean it’s true to the car of course, but the way you’re meant to mount ’em in the kit is awkward to say the least. And speaking of the intercooler, it floats awkwardly on the front sway bar and is only truly connected to the car by the radiator hoses.

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But man, it does make for a nice kit. Revell was kind enough to re-release this and the GNX kit a few more times so the legacy lasts a bit longer at a not-being–gauged-silly purchase price, though I’d advise that if you’re going looking for this kit, get the 2012 re-release of the GNX kit, it is essentially the same as this kit just with the performance package suspension and powertrain set-up, the bits that make the exterior a GNX are separate and you get a much better decal sheet. Though you don’t get the Grand National steelies, sadly, however Fireball Modelworks has a set of appropriate ’84/’85 Grand National resin wheels if you prefer those.

As you can see, I figured I’d go with the semi-sleeper appearance with the blacked out wheels but regular Regal color and Turbo-T blacked out trim. It doesn’t look quite as good as a GNX, but I like the difference enough! The Eagle GT lettering(thanks to Fireball Modelworks) on the tires make it look less dingy and more menacing and the silver makes it more civilized despite it rocking a turbocharged 231 cubic inch V6.

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But as for the car in real life, just like its sister Monte Carlo and rivals, they all saw their muscle pedigree vanish with the turn of the nineties to become either front wheel drive luxury cars, mere ghosts of their former selves or in the case of some like the Cutlass 442; vanish all together.

’87 Buick Regal Grand National specifications:
Kit: #85-2765
Skill Level: N/A
Parts: 93
Molded in: Black
Scale: 1/24

1980 Chevrolet Citation X-11 – Revell

1980chevycitationx11boxRevell, just like AMT Ertl and MPC, has a bit of a history of making some really interesting models that were relics of a era where the US vehicle industry was on the verge of bankruptcy and throwing out vehicles left, right and center to attempt to re-capture the US domestic market all the while laying off so many people that it broke records. Chrysler had the K body cars, GM had the “brilliant” all-new X-body Chevrolet Citation.

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Sales wise the car was very successful, in 1980 over eight hundred thousand of the Citations were sold. And honestly, on paper, it looked like an alright little car! And y’know what, screw it, here’s the obligatory joke: this model kit lasts longer than your average Citation, plus it probably has better brakes than the actual car. The whole reason of the Citation’s failure lies with GM(and most other American car manufacturers at the time) being stuck between rushed innovation and desperately trying to cling onto a consumer market that decided that for the same money, American built cars just weren’t providing nearly as much working car as say, a Toyota or a Volkswagen.

1980chevycitationx11 (4)The downfall of the Citation was swift, within five years the car’s sales had dropped nearly 90% as recalls for faulty brakes, radiator hoses leaking that could lead to fires, rust issues, interior bits just popping off randomly and general lack of quality tore apart what actually was a functional little car that could’ve saved GM a giant amount of financial woes. The saying “too little, too late” stuck ’em hard though, as the Citation was the proverbial drop that filled the bucket past its rim: after the Chevrolet Vega was well underway of becoming GM’s last ‘blunder’, the Citation quickly proved that it could get worse.

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I’m really torn on the real subject matter, cause when you look at the car purely on paper, it was a frickin’ good plan. A east-west positioned engine, interior as roomy and comfortable as a full size Chevy Malibu of the same year, wasn’t actually hideously styled as some other similarly ill-fated cars of the eighties and above all: it fixed most of the issues that arose from the fuel crisis. So what the hell went wrong? Well, part is the rush for such a car to exist and part of it is GM’s mentality at the time being nothing short of legendarily stupid.

Firstly, what could’ve benefited the car the most was a brand new four cylinder engine. Instead, the base version got a clunky retro-fitted Iron Duke I4 that was outdated half a decade before the Citation was even a idea on a napkin. Second was the utter rush, which caused the car to get recalled three times in its short life span and had the car’s longevity rated at “just until the warranty expires“. The only sensible option GM put out was the optional transverse 2.8L 60 degree V6, which laid the ground work for two decades to come and even more. Sadly, again, too little, too late. GM tried to make amends by bringing out a updated Citation in ’84, the very cleverly named “Citation II”, which lasted a year and only sold slightly over five thousand times.

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Anyway, enough history on the real thing, onto the kit. Back in ’81, Monogram released two Citation model kits. One sort of based on the 2.8L V6, just with a fake turbo and such, and the second being a custom “X” variant, which I can only describe as a European inspired “tuner” of that decade, y’know, the decade in which cars had difficulty even operating on their own accord. But I’ve been going on this trend lately of gathering the kits of the attempts of Motor City to try and get off the horrible rollercoaster that was becoming their financial sheets, with the ’81 Dodge Omni 024, the ’80 Plymouth Volare and of course, this little monster.

The kit I got here is the 2002 re-release of the kit as a lowrider, which honest to God – who the hell thought of this? Lets turn a failure from the early eighties with the looks of a shoe box with Malibu tail-lights that rusts within a matter of years to having it rain inside the car as well, into a lowrider!

1980chevycitationx11 (10)Though luckily, a theme of the lowrider kit series is that it’s always a 2-in-1 kit with plenty of options and thanks to that, this is the best version of this kit you can possibly get. It has the options for the X-11, the 2.8L V6 and the lowrider version, with Goodyear Polysteel Radial decals, two sets of X-11 decals and a whole stripe set for the custom 2.8L Turbo version. And to get it outta the way quickly; the lowrider version is hilariously ugly. The decals for it are low-res, the woman for the hood decal is vague at best(I think its a topless blonde? Honestly cannot tell) and it has the same ugly-as-sin outwards wheels that are on every lowrider kit from Revell during this time. (The ’92 Thunderbird, ’92 Mustang, ’84 Coupe Deville, so on, all have the same whitewall tires and wire rims and such, which are awesome quality and seriously well cast but just… ugly).

So while it has all the right decals to make this a X-11 from 1980 or a X-11 from ’82 onwards, which is actually really impressive given the source material. Though, oddly, the only year the X-11 wasn’t offered in the “club coupe” notchback is what the box claims it to be; 1981. Which y’know, is odd, but we’ll overlook this I suppose. The notchback is arguably the prettiest of the Citation family and somehow kind of held a bit of a legacy among folks while the hatchbacks rust away at derelict car graveyards, despite that at the time of the car actually hitting the market, the notchback just refused to sell at all and was dropped in ’84.

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Someone at Revell really put this whole kit through the motions. As I said, it has all the decals to make it a replica of every year and the mold quality is freaking amazing. The only two places it is a letdown is around the exact places you’d expect ’em to be in a Monogram mold: the engine bay has the “bleeding” effect in which pieces such as the battery, engine struts and so on are molded inwards, which honestly is just lazy. On the other hand, the engine quality, the interior quality and the body quality, all are just… amazing. Hell it is insane how highly detailed the interior is for a 1980 mold, especially knowing the source material was a literal plastic slab with “trim”, which was just ripples and fake stitching. Yeah, the real Citation skimped on nearly everything, especially on interior quality.

I figured I’d give the little engine some extra love and wire it up, even though the weird aircleaner set-up that Monogram was so fond of in the 1980s does kind of ruin the aesthetic. Yeah, weirdly enough I’m in favor of the circular snorkel air cleaners!

1980chevycitationx11 (13)It all goes together really well, too. Which is hardly surprising from a Monogram kit, they always had the tendency to go together supremely well, the only downside was that they were also super basic thanks to said simplicity, though that really isn’t the case here. Hell, even the instructions are crystal clear with reference pictures to get some of the more complicated set-ups done right from several angles.

All in all, despite the insane choice for a lowrider, this kit is one of the best replica kits Revell’s done, it’s up there with the ’83 Hurst/Olds Cutlass and even to a degree, the ’69 Dodge Charger Daytona, in terms of it letting to recreate the original plus more.

’80 Chevrolet Citation X-11 specifications:
Kit: #85-2378
Skill Level: 2
Parts: 110
Molded in: White
Scale: 1/24

1980 Dodge Ramcharger – Revell

1980dodgeramcharger (1)Chrysler Corp sure knew how to pick names for their cars over the years… Granted, many of ’em were catchy because Ford Motor Company came up with really “manly”, if not animalistic sounding names for their cars like Mustang, Thunderbird, Cougar, so on. Chrysler on the other hand? Charger, Challenger, Barracuda, Demon, Ram and such… And among them was the “Ramcharger”. The direct Dodge competitor to the Chevy Blazer and Ford Bronco, though those were around since ’66 and ’69 respectively(which were responses to the International Harvester Scout I).

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Monogram first released a Ramcharger kit in 1981, a year after the SUV actually got a bit of a revamp by turning into a shorter, higher Dodge Ram pick-up, although now I type this, it always was exactly that . But it’s pretty much everything the first generation had to offer; quad headlights, rear bench seat, 400 cubic inch V8, so forth. Now in ’81 it was released as a “High Roller” kit, just like the GMC Sierra back then, a moderately detailed kit front to back that goes together rather well start to finish.

1980dodgeramcharger (6)It has kept some legacy pieces from its two iterations since 1981, for instance the ’81 release had a giant light bar on the roof, while the lightbar’s gone, the headlamps for it still are on the glass sprue. In ’91 it was re-released as the “Gone Fishing” set with a giant motorboat on a trailer, though this version was actually the first Ramcharger that looked somewhat like a factory stock vehicle. The only changes besides that were more decals and a new set of wheels and tires to reflect it becoming somewhat more grounded in reality. And now cue 2016, suddenly Revell re-releases it under the “Trucks” line, kind of out of the blue.

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Though holy hell do I appreciate it. The kit’s gotten some serious love from Revell, with the inclusion of two totally different yet still somewhat realistic versions. One’s the normal two tone Ramcharger, with the decals to properly do all the plastic trim on the side that separates the colors and the second is a very eighties three stripe set-up in the lovely shades of brown, red and orange(y’know, quintessential late seventies/early eighties colors!) on a white background. But they added some really nice extra’s too besides the trim, indicator lights, side-lights, emblems, so on.

I adore it when Revell re-releases kits and properly updates them through and through, with a fresher quality plastic that isn’t brittle, less flash on the sprues and a massively updated decal sheet. Round 2 models could learn something from ’em honestly.

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From the get-go I wanted to make this an all satin black car, without any chrome left and to offset the black with giant white letter decals on the tires. I uh, I’m beginning to realize I seem to do this a lot with late seventies and early eighties cars, the ’78 El Camino and the upcoming ’78 Monte Carlo, but hey, it just makes it look mean in my opinion. Though, regardless, the intention was to make it look like a brutal all terrain machine that could take bumps, scrapes and even wrecks and just brush it off.

1980dodgeramcharger (15)But like I said earlier, it is also a quintessential Monogram release. Pretty awesomely detailed on the body, great engine, pretty alright interior and meh engine bay. But there’s some things I kind of wished they had bothered with. Like for instance, clear tail lights would’ve made a huge difference and some more detail on the 400 cubic inch V8 engine would also have brought out the engine detail some more. I should actually take back the “meh engine bay” comment for this model as actually this one has some significant engine bay detail but less on the actual engine. I didn’t bother wiring up the engine cause I just found it a tad bit too simple looking to go through the effort on but meh, that could also just mean I’m a lazy ass.

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The kit has a lot of cross-love with the ’77 GMC kit, for instance the frame’s the same(even has the prongs for the GMC’s quad suspension set up), the transfer case and driveshafts are the same and the tires are too even though luckily the wheels are not. But generally the design’s the same; interior bucket sits on the frame as the top of the chassis, the body sits snugly on the interior bucket and they’re all kind of held together by the bumpers which are connected to the frame as well as the body. And just like the GMC, the car is massive. I mean, holy crap, it is a giant ride. Of course, part due it being 1/24th in scale and part due to the Ramcharger being massive(but short) in real life too, but I put it next to a similarly scaled El Camino for reference. It’s huge!

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There’s hardly any bad things I can say about this kit. It’s simplistic, yeah, but that’s not really a bad thing. It is kind of clunky in terms of how the frame is attached to the interior tub, but it does work in the end. The front is so heavy that the wheels actually bend inwards some, but it doesn’t really detract anything from the finished model, so even that’s not worth complaining over. It might just be one of those kits that just… feels right, goes together right and looks right once finished, no matter what you do to it.

’80 Dodge Ramcharger specifications:
Kit: #85-4372
Skill Level: 4
Parts: 96
Molded in: White
Scale: 1/24

1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 – Revell

1970mustangboss302 (1)By the late sixties, the definitive muscle car was the Mustang. It invented the term “pony car”; long hood, big engine, short rear and low price. And by 1968 every single large car manufacturer had a variety of the pony car. GM by then had the Firebird, Camaro and Barracuda, Ford re-invented it by going deeper with the Mustang(fastback and coupe) and let Mercury in on the fun with the Cougar and AMC came with the Javelin. Late entries to the fun were Chrysler with the Challenger and the updated ‘Cuda in 1970.

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However, by the turn of the decade the pony car was actually beginning to influence the whole world. In Europe, Ford brought the Capri and to Australia they gave the Falcon, while GM was dealing out the Vauxhall Firenza, or more popularly known as the Opel Manta. In Japan, Toyota brought in the Celica to begin to compete on the playing field too.

1970mustangboss302 (18)And kit manufacturers have been really generous with the original muscle car. Every single generation’s had every single edition covered, some better than others. Monogram brought out the 1970 Mustang kit way back in 1981 and has since been improving upon it. It’s been re-released around twelve times since, every time in a different jacket; some were the Boss 302, some were the Boss 429, some were both, hell some even came as the famous Mach 1 and in 2007 Revell released them in the same box under their excellent “Special Edition” line. Which comes down to the mold being a lot more crisp and more detailed, a much much better decal sheet and of course having all the bits to go fully one way or the other.

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Now a long time ago I bought the Mustang Boss 429 kit on the cheap with this kit in mind; the 2 in 1 of this kit is so good that it warrants a whole separate kit for spares. I wanted to build both version that come with this kit, the Mach 1 and the Boss 302. And look back in the future for the Mach 1, but for now back to the Boss 302;

The whole kit changes accordingly, the engine size, the decals and the wheels. One thing worth noting straight off the bat is that the 302 did get a nice extra set of decals in white, which I promptly used. The white stripes were rare on the car, only coming with black paint jobs, though sadly the Mach 1 didn’t get the same treatment and only has the black 351 stripes. The other neat little changes are spare grilles for either version since the Boss didn’t come with the grille lights.

1970mustangboss302 (16)The legendary 5.0L engine that Ford Mustangs are still asciociated with to this day, the 302, is replicated fantastically. Down to the little Ford emblems on the rocker covers, the little breathers on them, so on. The decals help, a lot. But it helps that Revell put effort into making it crisp, just like the Charger engine molds, these will look good for a long, long time to come, though sadly its 1/24th scale likely means the engine won’t see a lot of use cross-kits from here on out. But still, it’s a fantastically molded engine block. The “custom” bits, like the so called “Cross Boss” intake manifold(fantastic Trans-Am goodie made by Autolite back in 1969, rarely if ever seen on a stock 302), is fantastically done for this kit and is a nice legacy piece.

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But some things haven’t changed since 1981, even if the box claims new and improved tooling. While on the outside, the car does have few to no mold lines at all, on the inside it’s a different story. I mean, they’re cleverly hidden this is true but the injection marks are… significant on this model. So much so that you have to trim them before building cause they will get in the way of the structural integrity of the whole model. This is especially bad with the rear bumper where the chassis is forcing it outwards due to the two giant injection lumps.

Though, other than that, it is a perfectly done kit. It’s one of those Monogram legacy kits that stands the test of time thanks to Revell re-tooling it. It’s fantastic, pretty and goes together really well, with some work here and there. I bought a can of metallic blue paint(a color not available in ’70 with the white stripes, only with black stripes) and figured I’d try to get a nice and popping blue like the old ’65 Shelby GT500 fastback, used some Goodyear Eagle GTII white letter tire decals to get the wheels to stick out more and wrapped it up.

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It’s a shame how little Fords I’ve built over the years, since nearly any model you can name has a really good kit attached to it by either Revell or AMT these days. But I’m gonna be changing that in the future, there’s a few Mustangs on the way.

’70 Ford Mustang Boss 302 specifications:
Kit: #85-4203
Skill Level: 2
Parts: 144
Molded in: White
Scale: 1/24

1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda 440-6 – Revell

1970cuda440_6 (1)Last year I built the wonderful ’70 Plymouth ‘Cuda by Revell, and it was and still is arguably one of the best they put out. I know, I say this often but just think of it like this – they set a bar and consistently reach it with more and more releases, this one included. And yet again I find myself thinking “Damn, if only I could’ve done it differently”.

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Then I realize, oh hey, eBay exists! And Keith Marks exists! And I got loads of spare parts to make what I wanted to do for a while now actually happen! The ’70 ‘Cuda release actually isn’t even all that old, hailing back from 2013 as a totally new tool with the 426 HEMI engine, which incidentally is also a new tool and not taken from the Charger kits. And the thing allows for two different builds by itself, the good ol’ 426 HEMI powered ‘Cuda with the roaring and rumbling shaker hood and this sleek all-body-color AAR-ish ‘Cuda with giant rims and such with the ram-air hood.

1970cuda440_6 (17)I built the 426 HEMI in apple green and left it for what it was, nothing extra about it. Since then I’ve been pining to make it a soft-top 440-6 cubic inch equipped zinc yellow(or “lemon twist” if you wanna go by brochure names) ‘Cuda that I once saw at a car show in Germany. I also had the awesome opportunity since to work on a 1973 ‘Cuda since then, with the very same 440 Six Barrel engine underneath so it’s only been growing on me to get started on this kit. Sadly, the kit only comes with the HEMI engine for either option, the only part dedicated to something different is two different air cleaners.

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So I wanted to make it a proper six barreled 440, I had a set of 440 R/T engine blocks from 1968 and 1969 Charger kits and some spare bits from the 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T kit that came with a Six Pack engine but then it struck me… Shit, that was a small block 340 cubic inch V8 with the Six Pack carbs on top(and at most a 383 Magnum, still nowhere near the 440). I at this point had a choice; buy a 1970 Dodge Coronet kit from MPC/AMT Ertl just to grab the engine or go down the same route that I did with the 1969 Camaro SS 396 and just roll with the in-box engine(HEMI in this case) and just make it look on the outside that its a 440-6. I uh, I did the latter.

1970cuda440_6 (19)But despite it having the wrong engine for what I wanted, I figured I was gonna use the extra customizability of the vehicle and not glue the air cleaner stuck to the model cause the ‘Cuda 440 also had the choice of a Shaker or a simple air-cleaner. Instead I was gonna glue the carburetors to their cleaners and be able to swap on the fly if I so desired. The kit definitely allows this and thank God for it cause making my mind up was hard, I love the shaker hoods on the early seventies Chrysler cars and the twin ram-air hood is fancy and all but nothing beats the brutal look of a loose shaker on a engine poking through. Hell, shakers are loved so much that it even saw a comeback on the modern Challenger as a popular aftermarket part. But, since the hood for the Shaker was warped some, for the sake of pictures and looking cleaner, I for now got the ram air hood on there.

cuda_decals.jpgThanks to Keith Marks, I got my hands on the final piece that allows this kit to be a 440-6 instead of a HEMI on the outside at least: the iconic hockey stick stripes. Handily, the decal sheet also covers higher quality side marker lights, logos and so forth but the 440 decal is what completes the picture. And it helps to have some spare air cleaner decals for the future!

I also took the wing from a spare ’71 Cuda kit I had sitting around(though the scale is one step larger and is a bit… too big but it matches) and the wheels from the ’69 Charger Daytona kit. I am a huge fan of Magnum 500’s and boy do I hate the standard Chrysler wheels from the seventies, they are the definition of boring for me but luckily I had spares lying around. I felt the same way when I made the ’71 GTX kit and applied the Magnum 500’s, it made the car look a hell of a lot sportier, same with the ’71 Cuda kit though that one I messed up fiercely paint-wise. Ah well… I also applied the same wheel treatment as I’ve done to nearly any model kit these days and attached some Road Hugger Radial G/T tire decals courtesy of Fireball Modelworks to give ’em some personality.

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One thing, or two things I did mess up was my first attempt at getting a vinyl top using the painters tape/masking tape method, which is simply layering the roof with masking tape, cutting away the extra and painting over it with satin black paint. There’s advanced methods to this but I already screwed up the most basic way so I figured, y’know what, it doesn’t look horrible, I’ll roll with what I got.

Gotta say, the ’70 ‘Cuda kit might be one of my favorites. It’s got loads of customization options, it looks utterly fantastic, has the beautifully gargantuan 426 HEMI engine and well, I might be somewhat biased due to the 1970 and 1971 ‘Cudas being my favorite car, bar none. I adore Camaros and Mustangs, but none came close to the ‘Cuda, especially once it moved away from the Plymouth Valiant platform. Sadly, the car was ‘too good‘ for its own good in real life, being too expensive to compete with the cheaper Camaro, Firebird and Mustang and coming in too late to deal with the already very established brand names.

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And then of course, the 1973 fuel crisis nailed that coffin shut and the ‘Cuda name was put to rest forever along with the E-body Challenger in 1974. Luckily, this kit keeps some of the legacy of one of the most badass and impressive muscle cars in history very much alive.

’70 Plymouth ‘Cuda 440-6 specifications:
Kit: #85-4268
Skill Level: 3
Parts: 149
Molded in: White
Scale: 1/25

1983 GMC Vandura – AMT Ertl

gmcvandura (1)Ohhh yeah, the eighties. The TV shows during that period were and still are some of the wackiest, best and craziest by a far stretch. It was a era of masculinity(which sadly came with a fair bit of misogyny), filled with guys blowing crap up left, right and center. Every big action star had a trademark car to go along with and a theme tune to ride to. I mean, movies had their car stars but on TV series they stuck with their cars for nearly a decade in some cases.

Magnum P.I. had the Ferrari 308GTS, The Dukes of Hazzard had the Dodge Charger R/T, Knight Rider had the Pontiac Firebird T/A, Miami Vice had the Ferrari Daytona Spider and Testarossa and so on, all quick, spry and definitely eye catching rides. Then came along the likes of The Fall Guy, which had a lifted GMC Sierra Grande and A-Team had the big, tough brute that’s gonna be the feature of this article – the 1983 GMC Vandura.

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The car of one of the four(or five) leads, B.A Baracus, it was meant to be as imposing, wide and tough as he was and to be fair, Chevy Vans(and their sister GMC vans) were quite hard to kill, always ready to do another hundred thousand miles. And only half a year after the TV show’s premiere, AMT Ertl put out a GMC Vandura kit during the time Ertl bought AMT in 1983, which in many cases made for a golden age in model kits for them.

gmcvandura (4)Based on a mix of previous Chevy G-Series vans from the late seventies and early eighties, this kit has a giant parts amount. And when I say giant, I mean you can theoretically make this into whatever freaking version of the G-Series you want: a GMC Vandura, a Chevy G-series with stock features, the G-Series with deep wheels and custom options like side-pipes, giant headers and exhaust manifolds, it goes on and on.

It has the quadruple lights front, but also the dual headlights Chevy front, standard wheels with hubs, spotlights, brush-bar, the list just keeps on going. It’s so damn impressive that this kit not only goes together well, it also has a metric ton of options. Though of course, it’s the GMC Vandura A-Team kit so my guess here is gonna be that most folks with me included, will build that one.

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Now this kit was pre-owned and already opened, back in 1984. So the decal sheet had the properties as cigarette paper that laid in the desert for three decades, so I ended up having to paint the iconic stripes on myself with some tape-work and lots of Google searches. I already knew that the van itself was two-toned with gloss black and a dark metallic gray so that saved some hassle(something many toy makers didn’t apparently notice), but there’s always a issue with TV shows that go on for years – the cars’ supply runs dry eventually and “stunt” versions become the mainstays in some cases.

Some had the red GMC logo on the grille and on the rear door in the first seasons, some didn’t. Some had the sunroof, some didn’t. Some had BF Goodrich Radial T/A tires, other had Cooper Cobras or All-Terrain T/A’s, the list goes on. Based on the differences, lack of decals and personal preference I just did the generic set-up: red GMC logo, Radial T/A tires(thanks to Fireball Modelworks), and a pair of Georgia plates that I had spares of, boom, done.

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But to get back to the kit’s giant parts count, there’s a odd thing going on with the kit that I suppose was done for the builder’s enjoyment – the kit packs a very detailed 350ci V8(the same you’d find in a late seventies and early eighties Camaro for instance!) with all sorts of optional parts, detailed hoses and under-hood extras. Then you realize, oh that’s right, the hood on the body is molded in and doesn’t open. The firewall does have slots for little arms that would normally allow the hood to slide in and open whenever desired, this one just… doesn’t have that.

gmcvandura (9)Though like I said, might be for the builder’s sake of having a complete model and not just a empty hole where the engine would be like most Japanese curbside kits. There’s some other things about this I thoroughly enjoyed and wish was more common in the designs; the sprues have # through # sorting which makes life a helluvalot easier given this kit’s got over 200 parts easily and you get a good six or seven parts to increase the stability of the chassis with thick chunks of plastic(or crossbeams in the real world counterpart), which in the end just makes the van’s weight feel more balanced and a hell of a lot more stable.

There’s some things that didn’t age so well, however. Like the decals, some of the plastic didn’t stand a chance in the open box for over thirty years, the bottom side of the front warped outwards some so the fender flares don’t meet the front fascia, the tires are the awful variety that plagued AMT kits in the eighties and are arguably twice as big as they should be(AMT was and still is fond of the “one size fits all, make it work” approach with tires). That being said though, this kit was re-released in 2004 with much better options: chrome parts for starters, a wider decal sheet with the appropriate license plates, stripes and so forth, clearer instructions and much, much better fitting tires, but to my personal dismay, still no damn clear headlights.

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It’s also a giant, giant model. Of course, makes sense, given the real van’s a damn house on wheels too, but just for scale I put it next to the ’91 Syclone. Look at that freakin’ beast. It’s huge!

’83 GMC Vandura specifications:
Kit: AMT6616
Skill Level: N/A
Parts: 208
Molded in: Black
Scale: 1/25

1992 Ford Thunderbird Super Coupe – Revell

92tbirdsc_boxRevell has made a few “annual” kits in the early nineties with some Ford and Mercury cars, like the Thunderbird and Cougar in specific. From ’89 through ’93, each year they put out a updated version of the model kit. In 1992 they put out the original which this kit was based on, a simple Thunderbird SC with the typical 2-in-1 treatment with a gargantuan body kit, no spoiler and a second set of wheels, oh and some extra decals for good measure.

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Now with the turn of the century, Revell grabbed a bunch of old molds and turned them into “lowriders”. There were some hilariously odd choices for lowriders(a culture I personally can’t stand but hey, more power to turning classics into something… else) like a 1991 Chevrolet S-10 pick up(a rare kit turned into a even rarer kit), a 1981 Chevrolet Citation, 1978 Chevrolet El Camino, the 1992 Ford Mustang Convertible and less silly cars like the ’92 Mercury Cougar, ’93 Chevrolet Impala SS and the ’84 Cadillac Coupe Deville to the logical ones like the ’77 Chevrolet Monte Carlo, ’63 Chevrolet Impala and so on.

Some of these are easily the weirdest choices I’ve ever seen, I mean, who the hell’s bells would take a notchback Citation and turn it into a lowrider!? Speaking of which, that kit’s coming soon!

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Anyway, the kit’s a combination of Lowrider Magazine’s uh, inspired look, together with Revell’s early nineties stable: the whole array of lowrider parts plus the neat bodykit stuff from the original 2-in-1 however, it also comes with extra decals that allows you to make it a much, much better “sporty” Thunderbird. That being said though, holy shit are the wheels fifty shades of ugly.

92tbirdsc (5)I mean, beauty lies in the eye of the beholder and all that, but whose brilliant idea was it to give the “sport” version Thunderbird logo dish wheels? On top of that, I wouldn’t say the default OEM T-Bird wheels are by any means pretty and it’s amusing to know that the supposedly sporty T-Bird had a bunch of hideous tear-drop hole wheels, but would it have killed someone to add some five spoke wheels, even a direct steal of the Mercury kit? I won’t go into depth about the lowrider even though the kit’s package shows it so proudly, but I’ll say the kit’s entirely the same besides the decals and color choices for the most part. And of course, the wheels. I wanted to attach some Pegasus wheels, which wouldn’t fit and as a second plan I had the 1994 Impala SS wheels ready and set, but the wheels were too wide to even come close to matching the body.

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But enough about the prettiness of certain aspects, the car other than that is actually crisply molded and quite pretty. I ended up adding a wing to it which I personally think would’ve completed the sportiness of the car. Stole it from the ’84 Cutlass kit I built a while back but used a gurney wing on instead, it’s not quite as fitting as I would’ve liked but it still sits pretty.

92tbirdsc (12)Other than that it shows the shared roots with the Mercury Cougar kit(just like in real life in which the Cougar, T-Bird and the Lincoln Mark VIII shared the MN12 platform), same interior for the most part and same chassis though a key difference on this car’s very evident: it’s got the supercharged and inter cooled 3.8L Essex V6. Normally, I’d be raving on about how V6’s are nice, quick and adaptable but nowhere near as brutal, quick and roaring as a V8… ’til 1992 in which Ford proved that the T-Bird Super Coupe with the 3.8L V6 was 2 seconds faster to the 60MPH mark than both the 5.0L Windsor V8 equipped T-Birds and Cougar XR-7’s.

In kit form, the engine is still largely the same as the 5.0L V8’s found in the ’90 Mustang and Cougar kits, the inter cooler duct was updated to show the respective engine size and such but still 99% the same other than that. That being said though, there’s always something so nicely cluttered about the early nineties Ford kits, especially with the Windsor and Essex engines.

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There’s some pitfalls though that got carried over from either kit, for instance the bumpers are incredibly difficult to attach to the body and the chassis can be a stupidly awkward fit at times and trying to get it to meet up with the body is as always a nightmare. Though unlike the Cougar kit on which the wheels stayed perfectly, on this kit the wheels are attached by little prongs that should normally clip open in the wheels so they don’t de-attach anymore, however this quite clever design… doesn’t work.

92tbirdsc (8)But what the hell, it all came together in the end! Another ever-so-forgotten tried-so-hard-but-got-nowhere early nineties car finished. I do really quite collecting these types of kits of cars that were meant to be so much more than they were and building them gives me a nice glimpse in what Ford had going on at the time. It’s a shame both the Cougar and Thunderbird are now just near forgotten vehicles of a near forgotten time.

Speaking of which, like I said; the 1981 Chevrolet Citation is coming up soon, talk about forgotten. Or wanting to be forgotten.

’92 Ford Thunderbird Super Coupe specifications:
Kit: #85-2832
Skill Level: 2
Parts: 137
Molded in: White
Scale: 1/25