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

2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS FIFTY(50th Anniversary) Edition – AMT Ertl

2016camarossfifty (1)AMT’s totally new tool Camaro from last year was a pretty damn amazing model, all around. It was one of the few, hell perhaps even the only new tool release from Round 2 in a long time that was totally worth it.

It had a very, very complicated suspension and axle set-up with well over 40 pieces just dedicated to that and the mold was fantastic.

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And at one point or another, they decided not only to turn it into an annual release, they also did some improvements here and there. We’re not all the way there yet, but we’re gettin’ there. Think of omissions like side light decals, brake caliper decals, so on, the little things, and AMT’s gone on to say that it’s on their “to-do” list for 2018. But I’m getting off track here, back to the bad boy in question.

2016camarossfifty (8)Cue the 2017 Chevrolet Camaro SS with it’s 50th anniversary edition package, a wholly metallic dark gray beast with the trim level between the LT and 1LE packages, with large original rims, beehive air intakes and raised spoiler. For the sake of creativity, while the stripes and color make it unique among Camaros, for the kit, the FIFTY edition is also the least exciting; a whole black leather interior, few FIFTY badges here and there and that’s about it. At least the regular SS version has colored interior options and whatnot.

But I digress, it’s not all that bad that it’s pretty much one shade to the car. In some ways, the all black interior and the dark gray exterior accents the orange in the stripes a lot more and the car itself looks a hell of a lot more sinister.

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Speaking of which, the whole kit’s actually molded in color. The body, hood, spoiler and mirrors in the respective dark gray metallic(which really longs for a clear coat as man, it is mighty dulled out), the rest of the kit in semi-gloss black and pieces that were previously plated like the exhausts, headlights and rear-view mirror are now in a slightly flat gray that is quite freakin’ ugly all things considered, knowing that the previous version of this kit had ’em in chrome.

Though, the headlights not being chrome does work and makes the front end look less2016camarossfifty (5) goofy and more like the real car. The rest on the other hand, I really would’ve still liked ’em in the chrome finish.

This kit sits in a weird middle ground of AMT’s modus operandi where it’s got the benefit of the snap kit it’s completely painted(though still requires some painting and clearcoating for it to look as good as it does on the box), but it’s still the full glue kit with the nearly 100 parts and has no snap kit alternative. And AMT’s next release in its Camaro line is the 2017 Camaro 1LE, which weirdly enough a snap kit without an accompanying glue kit.

All in all, the kit’s pretty much unchanged besides some fit improvements here and there. Like the front grilles now sit much better, especially with the two on the left and right sides, the whole engine block goes together better now and the stance of the car has been improved a fair bit. If you’re gonna build the 2016 Camaro, this kit is much better than previous release in terms of fit and finish, though you’d be missing the SS wheels and stripes, the build is a heckuvalot more pleasant.

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For a moment though, I feel like I gotta flog the dead horse that has been flogged many times before: Chevrolet has got their editions wrong, sort of. Or at least, off by a few years. camaroanniversaryeditionsfull (4)While technically yeah, in 1967 Chevy came with the first Camaro on the market and 2017 would mark the fiftieth anniversary, but it’s also odd knowing that Camaro has technically only existed for 43 years as a car, from 2002 through 2009 there were only concept cars and no Camaro was sold until the beginning of ’09.

But y’know, it’s still been 50 years since that awesome, awesome rival to the Mustang was delivered to the market and that’s what counts, the name, even if the Camaro car itself was down and out for 7 years.

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It’s a very, very nice kit based on just as nice a kit that came just a year before. And it’s nice to have a complete line up of anniversary edition models with the FIFTY joining the line-up looking freakin’ awesome.

’17 Chevrolet Camaro SS FIFTY(50th Anniversary) Edition specifications:
Kit: AMT1035M/12
Skill Level: N/A
Parts: 107
Molded in: Dark Gray Metallic, Black & Silver
Scale: 1/25