2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE – AMT Ertl

2017CamaroSS1LE (1)AMT’s the proud license owner of the latest Camaro molds and tools, as of 2016 they’ve been responsible for getting the newest Camaro models to the market in all shapes and forms, some are full kits, few others are pre-painted snap-tite kits, but in general they’ve all been quite remarkably nice kits with supremely detailed suspension and interior parts. That’s pretty much the gist of it. Last year it was the 2016 SS and a early release of the 2017 SS “FIFTY” along with two snap-tite versions of the ’16 SS, this year it was a 2017 Pace Car version of the FIFTY, a snap-tite version of the SS 1LE and to close the year off; a full kit version of said SS 1LE.

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And they’ve been “listening” to the builders across the world and they actually learned, albeit at a step-by-step speed. Though by the time this kit came around, I’d say they had fixed most of the problems but at the cost of introducing some significantly worse ones. For instance, some quality of life improvers were made like including side marker light decals and making the tail light lens dark gray instead of chrome which made it a ton easier to detail the lights and get the stark contrast of black-to-chrome/white looking right, they included some decals for the interior and so forth.

2017CamaroSS1LE (4)That’s great and all and honestly, it’s a good feeling that manufacturers listen to their customers to some extend, however, boy oh boy this is one cheap-as-shit kit. You see, the wheels are quality additions, they’re accurate, they’re solid, the tires are good rubber but oh man did they take cheap shortcuts on just about everything else. Again, it’s got the same pre-detailed glass and pre-colored tail lights, which is also amazing and I’m happy that they’re a thing but… I cannot stress the point enough that they literally cut corners on everything else. Though to go back to the tail lights, while it’s supremely nice that they’re pre-detailed, they also look somewhat… odd. It’s possible because you can see into the red through the clear, making it look “soft” on the inside, I would argue it would’ve been a thousand times better if the reverse/indicator lights were separate(think Tamiya’s Nissan Skyline R34, with separate lenses for the inner and outer lights).

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But to go back to the point I keep talking past; this is a cheaply manufactured kit. There’s no beating around the bush on that one, there’s no making up for it, it’s just one fricking awful showing on AMT’s part. The plastic comes pre-colored in the injection process, which is fine I suppose, this is the status quo for most of Asian manufacturers and it’s beginning to bleed into US and European kit makers as well, totally okay. What isn’t okay is the sheer crap quality of the plastic. It’s this cheap, flaky, thin-as-fucking-sin plastic that is somewhat flexible but just… It’s so thin, that even with a coat of primer, light shines through the other side. The yellow its colored in is also this weird, dirty yellow instead of the intense yellow featured on the real deal, it’s just… cheap. What doesn’t help matters is, given that most folks will just primer the hell out of it and do the coloring themselves so that’s not a giant problem, but as I said, what doesn’t help matters is the giant, hideous, crisp mold lines that run over the roof, over the rear quarter, over the fender, over the bumpers, it’s just immense how rough the body is.

2017CamaroSS1LE (11)So I kind of went in with a semi-defeated attitude, having come to terms with the trade-offs with the quality, to just build it and have one last kit finished before the turn of the year into 2018. I mean, despite the rough body, cheap-ass quality plastic and shortcomings in total, it’s still mostly the epic new tool from AMT from 2016. Like I said, the suspension build on this kit is nothing short of legendary, it’s well over forty parts for the rear suspension alone(and weirdly enough, just 8 or so for the front) and while most modern cars sadly hide their engines under some synthetic engine cover, AMT Ertl’s tried to maximize the detail under the hood despite it all. The 6.2L LT1 V8(shared with a Corvette these days!) is detailed supremely well and the whole engine bay just… looks good. I mean, for the sake of modeling, nothing beats the raw engine bay of a late sixties/early seventies engine block but, y’know, given how well engines are hidden under plastic these days, they did pretty good on that part.

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The hood on the SS 1LE is completely blacked out, bit like the old Dodges and Plymouths, which they provide a decal for but hoooo-boy, it just doesn’t A) fit, B) look right and C) sit correctly without rippling like crazy. I mean, they tried. But you’re just better off spraying the thing semi-gloss black. For the rest, they got rid of the chrome parts all together when they made the swap to gray headlight lenses so you get these dull medium gray exhaust pipes which were… disappointing looking to say the least. But luckily there’s things like chrome spray paint that make it look pretty damn close to the real deal, so thank goodness for that.

2017CamaroSS1LE (15)For a last 2017 build, it was semi disappointing. I mean, it’s still a perfectly fine kit but given the standards they achieved in 2016 with this kit, it’s odd to see them take the cheap-as-chips plastic route with the weird half-metallic half translucent yellow paint and sprues with so much flash on them that you spend a third of the time chipping bits of plastic of the parts so they frickin’ fit. I mean, Monogram nailed the process in 1983 for Christs sake, it shouldn’t be so hard to get a decent quality plastic for your kits. But ah well, it’s just all that, still a fine kit all in all.

’17 Chevrolet Camaro SS 1LE specifications:
Kit: AMT1074
Skill Level: N/A
Parts: 112
Molded in: Yellow, Black & Gray
Scale: 1/25

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Blog Update #005 – Year in Review II

It’s been my second year here on this website, something that kinda still is just my on the side hobby combined with some showing off and writing about it, it’s still fantastic to find out that there’s actually quite some folks out there that are interested in this!

Being able to spread the love for the detail this year was a good highlight, with the “Modeling Supplies” page getting a ton of views and the storefronts of the folks I adore for making the model world a little more unique with every item sold, they’ve been getting a fair few extra clicks! The variety of models I’ve been capable of doing this year was nothing short of tremendous, from getting all the Anniversary Camaros, to a handful of Malaise era victims, to some Japanese domestic market vehicles like the Hilux and the Silvia S13, and of course a ton of good ol’ American powerhouses.

Another thing is that since a month or so I’d been making and selling my own decal sheets, something that I’d wanted for over a year and finally managed to dive into and whaddya know; it friggin’ well worked out! Goddamn do I love this hobby and I hope that my love and desire for this hobby helps you out, whether it is creatively or through the assets of what I created, either way keep on building!

Jesus… It just hit me as I’m editing the image table that I built 59 just this year alone. Well, holy hell. Anyhow! Here’s hoping the third year will be just as eventful, fun and good for us all. God knows I’ve got well over thirty kits sitting around ready to be built and five of which are being worked on as we speak.

 

92pontiacfirebirdformula-2 68elcaminoss396-5 90cougarxr7-6 76camaronew-1
92camaronew-2 1997camaroz2830thanniversary (4) 2002camaro35th (7) 2012camaro45th (21)
2016camarossfifty (8) 1987camaroirocz (15) 1981camaro (1) 84oldsmobilelsx442-10
2003nissangtrr34 (10) 69oldscutlass442w30 (13) ralliartlancerx-11 1979camaroz28black (11)
1973cougarxr7 (8) gmcsierra1977 (4) 1968dodgechargerRT440_daytime_cloudy (19) 92tbirdsc (3)
gmcvandura (10) 1970cuda440_6 (23) 1970mustangboss302 (20) 1980dodgeramcharger (14)
1987buickregalgrandnational (16) 69dodgesuperbee-10 1980chevycitationx11 (11) 1980plymouthvolareroadrunner (2)
1981dodgeomni024 (9) 1970AAR_Cuda (18) 1993chevrolets10 (13) 1976spiritof76_dodgedart (4)
1970GSX_raised (4) 1980firebirdtransam (4) 1991silviaS13 (5) 1971superbee (23)
1979novacustom (18) 69novayenko-5 1987MonteCarloAerocoperedux (22) 1971plymouthduster340 (14)
2005cadillacescalade (7) 69chargerdaytonahemi-4 2012chevycruzeturbo (17) 1977montecarlolandau (5)
1987ElCaminoSS (8) 1970dodgecoronetsuperbee (18) 1990mercedesbenz190E_2-3_16v (15) 1990chevyberettaGTZ (18)
1994toyotahiluxdcab_4wd (16) 2009fordf350SD4x4 (27) 1970dodgechargert426hemi (11) 1980montecarlo (13)
1983chevycitationx11 (25) 1970plymouthGTX440_6 (10) 1974ChargerRallye (18) 2007dodgechargersrt8SuperBee (20)
1991GMCSycloneMarlboro (19) 1993JeepGrandCherokee (19) 1984oldshurstolds (15) 2017CamaroSS1LE (8)

Merry Christmas and a happy new year y’all!

1970 Dodge Charger R/T 426 HEMI – Revell

1970dodgechargert426hemi (1)Christ, we’ve all been awaiting this one since it’s nephew kit, a kit I’ve had half-finished since late 2016, appeared on the market. Which in reality was a ’69 Charger with the 1970 front end(the non-R/T and 500 version in 1970 kept the same tail lights as the 1969 Charger), based on Fast & Furious’ Dominic Toretto’s ’70 Charger – which too was a 1970 Charger in some scenes, a 1969 in others, a ’69 500 edition in some movies, a open-grilled ’70 in others – it was a shapeshifter car that was a nightmare to pin down by toy manufacturers for the simple reason that Vin Diesel’s car changed more often than the tone of the series itself. So Revell stuck with the first movie, in which the car generally had the 1970 grille with the headlight doors stuck open and the non-R/T trim the car genuinely had, therefor a ’69 tail end.

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So eagerly we all awaited a true, proper updated version of the Revell Charger tooling, which debuted in 1997 under the Pro Modeler line, with to put it mildly, friggin’ epic detail. The engines(it came with a 440 Magnum and 426 HEMI) in all three versions of their kits(’68, ’69 and ’69 Daytona) were seriously, right there and still today, the highest quality Mopar engine cast out there. It’s seen use in all of the Charger re-releases as well as the spectacular 1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda kit and it’s back yet again in this kit, though sadly only with the 426 HEMI. The whole kit is centered around the sole engine choice, the proper black hood stripes have white HEMI print on ’em and the tooling’s been updated to only fit the HEMI engine for the time being(you’d have to do a tiny bit of tinkering to allow the transmission to fit the slightly updated chassis).

1970dodgechargert426hemi (7)The whole kit is a welcome upgrade on the tooling of twenty years ago, the unnecessary turnable wheels have been taken out in favor of one-piece front suspension, which was probably done to fix the common issue of the structural integrity of the whole front being horrible at best due to the wheels being attached to two little tiny arms and the weight would bend ’em in a second. The rear suspension’s been fixed up to better show the ride height and wheel depth, which was a bit too deep on the ’69 and ’68 Charger kits. The whole front end was updated to fit better, which was also a problem source on the other Charger kits, here it fits together a lot better due to… well, the front valance no longer is forced into the sway bar and now connects directly to the body. The decal sheet’s been updated a ton, giving full dashboard decals and arm rest wood decals instead of having us paint a mediocre copy of wood, the wheels come with optional red line tires(which actually weren’t available on a 1970 Charger at the time, unless you special ordered them at a dealership, go figure) but I substituted them for BF Goodrich Radial T/A’s from Fireball Modelworks.

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The one thing they went backwards on? All four wheels are attached by little metal pins to the axles. Revell has this weird obsession with metal pin wheel set-ups and just like my complaint with Round 2/AMT/MPC who force the same two tire sets on every single kit they re-release: It. Doesn’t. Friggin’. Work. God. Dammit. A good example is the 2010 Camaro SS kit, which I transformed into the 2012 Camaro RS 45th Anniversary edition; the wheels on that kit are also attached by the metal pins and I physically can’t touch the model today or the wheels pop off at high speed like they’re trying to escape Hell. And here’s no different, the fuckers won’t stay on and metal and plastic don’t mix when it comes to staying connected so I’m always forced to fill ’em with epoxy in hopes of giving it enough strength to stay together for a change.

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But y’know what, so be it. While I wish there was no friggin’ metal pins for the wheels but the old functional system of plastic pins, my true wish would’ve been that the kit also packed or instead packed the at the time new engine option for the Charger, one that became highly popular – the 440 Six Pack. They gave us the right air cleaner already, all they’d needed to do was update the 440 Magnum from previous years slightly and wham, done and done. But alas, suppose it would be too much to ask. Maybe in the future, who knows?

1970dodgechargert426hemi (15)The 1970 Charger was the last of the Coke bottle shaped Chargers, before it got slightly fatter and slightly slower. I mean, I love the ’71-’74 Charger and I wish AMT would update the ancient-as-sin ’72-’74 kits from MPC using their ’71 Charger tool so I can complete this series at last, but man I am still utterly happy that Revell finally has given us the perfect, or well, near-perfect ’70 Charger. MPC has had one on the market since 1970 and it… wasn’t amazing. It was the only source of a ’70 grille, which most people just manhandled onto a Revell ’69 Charger kit to somewhat moderate success. But to get back to the point, the ’70 Charger didn’t go out without a colorful bang.

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Like I said, it finally too got the 440 Six Pack engine option on top of the already powerful powerhouses available at the time(340, 383, 426, etc), another first for the Charger series was that it also got access to the high impact colors that were a lot more common on Chrysler vehicles from 1970 onwards, like the crazy lime, orange, yellow, pink and purples. At first I wanted to do it in the bright pink like the one on the box, as not only is it a unique color, it actually… suits it. There’s something amazingly alluring about a totally wild pink Charger, or hell any sporty Dodge product of the time. But I eventually went with the “sublime” hi-impact color, which is basically just a mix of the “yellow-green” RAL color and Duplicolor’s fluorescent lime green spray paint. Used it before on the 1971 Plymouth Duster 340 kit and it actually really looks good so I rolled with it once more!

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It goes together so much better than it ever did before and I’m glad the now twenty year old tooling has gotten a well deserved upgrade and I genuinely hope they keep on using this tool to great effect, maybe a Charger 500 some day? Who knows! All we need now is more engine options, a 1/25th 383ci V8 or 340ci V8 from Revell would be friggin’ amazing.

’70 Dodge Charger R/T 426 HEMI specifications:
Kit: #85-4381
Skill Level: 5
Parts: 117
Molded in: White
Scale: 1/25