1975 Chevrolet Camaro RS – MPC

1975CamaroRS (1)So, last year I built the ’76 Chevrolet Camaro that was done by AMT back in the seventies. Specifically, it was somekind of one off version done by American Hatch Corporation in 1976 for the 1976 and 1977 model years called the Camaro AHC-100, where they did some… well, there’s no kind way of saying it; half-assed rip off of the more popular and more desirable Pontiac Firebird, the Trans-Am even. It was a truly weird set of choices made by AHC, the odd egg-shell off white paint job, the weird(albeit totally 70s) color choices for the bird on the hood(that they so eloquently called “the Black Bird”), the stripes that didnt follow the curves of the Camaro, the ugly font for the AHC-100 call-outs, it was just a strange, strange thing. Though it was the earliest example of a semi-licensed Camaro with T-tops, so there’s that!

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And I now truly regret not having made it the AHC-100, instead I half-assed this 1976 Camaro together with a Z/28 inspired thing going on from 1974… So I effectively doubled down on the weirdness factor. Though, that being said, now that I have the 1975 Camaro done by MPC, I can conclude quite easily that the MPC version is not only twice as good as the AMT version, it’s actually the most accurate mid-seventies Camaro kit out there. I always felt that something was off about the nose of the AMT version and having the MPC one in my hands, I could easily spot it now – the headlights aren’t just misshapen on the AMT kit, they’re nowhere near as deep as they should be.

1975CamaroRS (8)I bought the kit for two reasons, one is that I desperately wanted an accurate Camaro kit to design the decal sheets off, two was that I desperately wanted a damn good Camaro kit. And well over a year later, on eBay I accidentally stumble over a second hand Camaro kit from 1975, the box all ripped and quite frankly, rotten beyond belief. But whoever had this thing sitting around since 1976, did me a big solid. He unpacked it, clearly but he then put the parts(that were all just in one giant soggy bag) in separate baggies and… just left it be. I am 100% certain that the baggies that he put them in were at least 30 years old as even under cardboard they’d turned a nice shade of smokers’ beige. But this prevented the typical 1970s kits woes; the rubber wheels melting into the plastic parts and the clear plastics turning into a misty milky white.1975camarors-9.jpg

However, the decals had gone totally off. But who gives a shit, they’re MPC graphics from the 1970s, they at best had some Hooker Headers and Hurst logos and a few NASCAR inspired door numbers. Shrug! Gotta do a little D.I.Y. with these kits of AMT and MPC from back then, Keith Marks had already made the 1974-1977 sets and I did my own takes on them as well but there were no available decals to turn it into a bit of a call back to the stripes of the first generation, not to mention a hint of Bumble Bee in there. So I figured, fuck it, I’ll do it then. Added all the side-emblems for the ’74 through ’78 years and wham, there we go. Really makes it stand out, though were these damn kits a bit more common I’d have bought another one to turn it into a proper 1975 Rally Sport version. But I’d thought that with the stripes, the emblems, some Firestone Firehawk white letter tire decals and some badges I’d make it look a hell of a lot better than it would’ve been otherwise.

1975CamaroRS (15)Speaking of which, “Rally Sport”, the arguably most sporty Camaro of ’75 truly didn’t deserve the name “sport” in there, did it. I mean, Jesus wept that thing had absolutely the worst and lowest power output of all the Camaros, ever. The 350ci V8 produced 155HP. There are bog standard VW Jettas with that amount of horsepower. Though, yeah, in Chevrolet’s defense, they were trying times. They were the days of unregulated growth and interchangeability. Your ’68 Camaro is starting to show its ripe age of seven years, rusting to the bolts, engine popping about like someone’s firing machine guns in there and interior trim disintegrating upon touching? Well, you’re done paying for the thing so why not get yourself a new one. That was basically how cars worked back then, they were somewhat meant to be replaceable. Bit like the iPhones and Galaxy series phones of today, we are more than willing to lay down the same amount every so often to get the newer version, so it’s not such a unusual practice.

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But this cemented the ideology that cars weren’t meant to last and they certainly weren’t meant to get smaller and they had no real outside competition to show them other methods. And then the oil crisis came about in 1973, and much like today, the leaders of big corporations just didn’t understand change, even if their lives depended on it – and they fell the fuck down on their knees, tripping over the corpses of abandoned big block V8s that they just couldn’t ferry off to Europe fast enough for a buck or two, cause the U.S. population sure as hell didn’t want them anymore. They had to adapt, and they tried so damn hard. Well, they tried in ways they were familiar with; lets not necessarily change the root of the problem, lets just… adjust it. The American people still wanted American cars and what they represented, just without the hassle of blowing up animals with fumes as they passed, the hassle of not being able to fill up on tuesdays and standing in queues to fill up whenever it wasn’t tuesday.

1975CamaroRS (11)So while Lee Iacocca was fighting off Ford techs and designers to get the Mustang to be downsized to a Maverick(though it became a Pinto platform in the end), GM decided that it was about time to give the Camaro a revitalization with the upcoming changes in the… well, everything climate. Political, economical, world, food, you name it, it was a year of everything must go. The 1970 Camaro Z/28 with a for the 1970s quite ordinary 350ci V8 that did 250HP still did 0 to 60 in 7 seconds, had a fuel mileage of 12.6mpg(5.4km/l), which was uh… not good. Not 426 HEMI bad or 396ci V8 bad, but not great. The 1975 Camaro, fresh from the learning-a-lesson-fucking-hard school of corporate failures, had a similar 350ci V8 in the Rally Sport and it did, after all modifications for emissions and fuel saving was slapped on – 145HP. That’s damn near half. But fine, if it ended up saving fuel and was a hell of a lot less bad for the world, then good! Right? Well… While it did take 11.5 seconds to get to… 60MPH, it had a fuel efficiency 14mpg(5.9km/l). Well fuck it. Now I run up against the wall of idiocy with the excuse of “it’s a 350ci V8 man, for fuel economy you needed the 250ci V6!”. And guess what, even that excuse didn’t go well.. The 250ci V6 did an average 17.9mph(7.6km/l) – which is better! True! For 1975, that wasn’t awful! A semi-equivalent 1975 Ford Capri RS 2.3 V6 from the grand ol’ United Kingdom… did 32-35mpg(13.6-14.8km/l).

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Oh well then. Fuck it, it’s called the Malaise Era for a reason. A era of falling down and getting up, falling down while getting up and just appreciating the cooling and stress reducing cold floor in the end. Cause despite the failures of… well, most the big three of Detroit in the day, the mid-seventies Camaro is definitely one of my favorite muscle cars out there. It’s the definition of a somewhat subdued muscle car, reminiscent of the 1969 Camaro Z/28, just aggressive looks and some pep and it could all be doubled down on with the stripe kits and badges but deep down it still looked… somewhat subdued. Albeit, y’know, a Camaro, still.

1975CamaroRS (18)And MPC gave it a fair run for its money, the supposed “full detail” kits, which was early seventies marketing speak for “it’s not a dealer promo” were quite accurate. Even though the engine bay was very typical like all the MPC kits, even of today, barren and sad, the rest of the model like the body and the interior were quite good. Two of the definite improvements over the AMT Camaro kit is the fact that the grille and the bumper are just two separate pieces that are meant to slot into the body, so you don’t ever get that ugly ass drooping nose that AMT’s Camaro kits do get. Two is, the wider wheels that look a thousand times better than any of AMT’s offerings from back then. I was quite surprised by the crispness of the whole ordeal, clear Camaro emblems on the fenders, the tail lights quite clearly showed where the reverse lights would be with subtle patterns, the dashboard is well detailed and nicely raised, it just goes on and on. Stole some wing mirrors from the AMT Ertl ’70 Baldwin Motion kit to complete the look a little more cause they sure as hell didn’t come with the kit, or any kit from that era. The anemic as all hell 350ci V8 is nicely detailed too but it just looks… sad in the barren, empty engine bay. I did use a 5.7L Z/28 air cleaner decal on it to test it out and see if it would fit and, it did! Though of course the ’75 Camaro’s no Z/28, just wanted to test it out.

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Maybe if we’re truly, truly lucky, someone someday will put the mid-seventies Camaro to a full detail release. Given that at this point it’s literally the only generation(minus the late eighties) Camaro to haven’t gotten that treatment from the boys at AMT Ertl or Revell. Who knows, maybe I’ll be forced to lay down hundred dollar plus every time for the rest of my life. Either way… worth it.

’75 Chevrolet Camaro Rally Sport specifications:
Kit: MPC7519
Skill Level: N/A
Parts: 95
Molded in: White
Scale: 1/25

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1983 Chevrolet Camaro Berlinetta – Revell

20180302_103043Have you ever had the thing happen to you when you more or less blindly order something from say, Amazon, or some place and when the delivery guy gets to your door and they hold a box more aptly designed to transport a damn fridge and you quickly come to the realization that you may have made a mistake? Time wasn’t kind to this kit, or perhaps the owner but when the delivery guy came to the door, dude looked at me with despair in his eyes when he tilted it slightly and heard the noise that just sounded like someone packaged a broken vase. Well fortunately I already knew what I ordered had some pieces loose in the box but… that was odd, it sounded like it went from one far side of the three foot box to the other. There’s no way in hell there’s a little six and a half inch model in there. And lo and behold, a twenty five inch box comes out of the bigger one like some Russian nesting doll – Jesus, that is not a 1/25th scale kit, I thought to myself, I got myself a long out of production Camaro Berlinetta kit for 23 dollar and it’s also a friggin’ 1/16th scale one.

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So here I am, overjoyed and worried. I ain’t got shelf space for a 12 inch model but I do have a very rare subject that I absolutely wanted for so unbelievably long. I just never knew it was a 1/16th scale model, hell the box of the kit was in the worst state imaginable with corners torn and stuff that had delicately removed the 1/16th scale call-out from existence and honestly, I just always assumed it was a companion kit to the ’82 and ’83 Camaro Z/28 kits from Revell that were introduced along the new generation of the Camaro way back. The story of this kit goes that it was produced in 1985 as the “Custom ’83 Camaro Berlinetta” kit, weirdly enough of a car that just never really got any footing with the new generation, it got killed off in 1986, just a short year after Revell dedicated one kit to it.

83berlinetta (2)The Berlinetta was always meant to be the “upscale”, sporty, nicer and excuse my vomit inducing terminology; European. Berlinetta itself is an Italian term for ‘little saloon’ or ‘small saloon’ and was often found as a badge name for European cars destined to be grand tour coupes like old Ferraris, Alfa Romeos, Maseratis, Opels, MGs, etc. What did General Motors do with the name? They slapped it to a Camaro as a replacement type for the Type LT luxury model, which is appropriate I suppose. But then they generally did fuck-all with the exterior(other than different wheels, a “unique” grille and some extra chrome) and used up the whole budget on the inside. And in a way, that’s fine, right? Some people want a luxurious sport car that wouldn’t cost them an arm or leg, that’s mostly what drives Alfa Romeo these days so why not back then. It was a very popular option on the second generation models from ’78 on and was re-introduced along the new third generation as a upgrade package with unique gold spoked wheels, gold accented stripes and badges plus the whole shebang on the inside; velour interior, digital dashboard from ’84 onwards, all the electrical gadgets you could cream over in… well, 1983 and a restyled nose, cause while I just said, they did fuck-all on the outside, well they broke that trend in 1983 and gave the Camaro an overbite!

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It’s weird looking but sure, it catches the eye. It’s a different enough Camaro to warrant a turning of the head here and there, besides it was all about the inside. You could live like a Goddamn oil sheikh in there, it had all the cool stuff for a ’83 car like a clock on the arm rest, storage space in every nook and cranny, fancy ass radio and sound system, from ’84 it got that space age digital dash that broke after just four months and all that snazz. Not to mention, every damn inch of the car was carpeted and the velour would soak up all your humble scents and regurgitate them at any moment you weren’t sweating just so it could simulate as if you were. Yeah it was delightfully eighties. But it also carried a reputation, it was the gentleman’s muscle car edition – the Type LT and early Berlinettas had been the more sophisticated relic of the muscle car, with refined interiors, more subdued European looks about with with the wire wheels and the flat rear deck and the chrome inlaid tail light segments, so on. It also still could be equipped with a 305 and 350 ci V8 so it wasn’t just good looking in some respects, it still had some power to it.

83berlinetta (11)Though granted, this was the era that sporty American cars were advertised by their “superior ride” due to weighing as much as a fully equipped Mercedes Benz wagon. Weird times they were, and no that’s not my European superiority bleeding through, I’m a snarky shit but we can all agree these days that while being heavy allowed for a floaty ride, the last thing you need on your “sporty” car is 3500 pounds of weight(just for reference, a ’93 Mercedes 220E Estate weighs 3100lbs) but y’know… at least it was pretty. And the model kit does replicate this quite well, granted it’s easier to get the detail out there at 1/16th scale so it’s not like I’m praising it for being out of the ordinary, but you know, it’s still a pretty damn close replica of the real deal – a car so rare now that most Berlinettas that exist have either been parted into a regular Camaro due to replacement parts being so hard to come by you’d just have to go for other versions or have just… died, as so many cars from the eighties.

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Check out that warp-age on the tailgate/window, it’s absolutely sexy isn’t it.

So from the get-go, given its rarity and… size, I wanted to try and do it justice. I love me some all black Chevrolets so I figured I’d roll with the color choice of black on black, instead of the more common silver. All Berlinettas came with gold accented wheels, gold accented tail lights and gold stripes all around the body so I thought doing it in all black would only bring more attention to that lovely gold. The decals in the kit had gone all rancid(as did the tires, but more on that later) due to sitting in the open air since 1986, I was pretty much forced into re-creating the whole decal sheet myself. That being said though, this is in my opinion, a “custom” kit done right. MPC and to an extend even AMT Ertl, from the late sixties through the entire seventies and early eighties did one thing with every kit; make it look absolutely insane. Not the “wow, it’s epic” insane, its the “we the jury find the defendant” insane. I mean, hooray for choice but generally it’s just a waste of effort on the designer’s part as they’re just too insane, granted it was the period and it made perfect sense given the customers wanted the eyesores but they aged… poorly. Whereas the ’83 Camaro they did here, well it may as well have been a factory standard option.

83berlinetta (13)It looks really subdued all things considered, it’s totally a thing I see people get to using thinking it looks better than the actual Berlinetta stripes, which were just some golden accented stripes that were hard to spot even in normal daylight. But figured I’d roll ol’ stock for funsies and getting the whole thing in black. As I said, I had to re-do the whole sheet but I thought I’d expand on some omissions like the dashboard dials, the armrest clock, the nosecone badge, the giant air cleaner decal and the likes. So all in all, some stuff to get the best detail on the body with. The problem with the 33 year old decals is that they were… milky, to say the least. Hell, they required a literal washing to be any sort of usable whatsoever so the two decals I did use(the Camaro license plates) required like twenty minutes of rubbing and touching up like some demented puppy to get all the paper backing, milky substances and all the other old gunk off. That being said though, for a early eighties kit, well middle-eighties, the decal sheet isn’t all too bad, it comes with all the Camaro and Berlinetta badges, no dials and no front Camaro badge but even then, the mold quality is high enough to simply fill in the badge yourself by hand.

83berlinetta (9)Now earlier I said that time did a number on this kit and not on just the decals, like the tires for instance. They had gone all white, fuzzy and looked very much like a rotten apple, which is just the rubberizing agent seeping out the tires which is the downside of old, old rubber, but apparently I mended it by just spray painting it gently with some satin black after scrubbing the more gunky stuff away. What I couldn’t mend was a problem of a slightly more painful nature; the tendency for shit to warp. The chassis had warped like a Goddamn banana, which made getting it into the body stupidly difficult. There’s now also the downside that the engine sits a quarter inch higher than the rest so I can’t close the hood without removing the air cleaner, but it’s all fine. It’s a 33 year old kit, it’s fine, it can be busted up, broken, fucked up, it’s just age doing its thing. That being said though, this kit is… really, really good, especially with age in mind.

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I built one other large scale kit before, which was Revell’s 2010 Ford Shelby GT500 Mustang in 1/12th scale and the only thing I truly recall from it was that similarly like this kit, it built and finished up like any other 1/24th scale or 1/25th scale model just with sharper detail and much easier to do so thanks to the larger pieces but this one does have an edge on the Mustang; it comes with opening doors, opening trunk and moving seats. Sadly though, that extra amount of moving parts truly fucked it all up even more cause the trunk doesn’t close, the doors don’t fit any longer and the hood is literally the only moving part that isn’t botched due to the warped body, chassis or parts. It also stands on three wheels due to the warped chassis however the very soft, bouncy tires do allow for some more uh… “realistic” weight on them so it only looks a little bit off with the tires being pushed down some.

83berlinetta (8)It’s just one of those things that I always wanted, and weirdly enough surprised me in the best of ways. I got my rare edition Camaro kit, I got to try a 1/16th scale kit and all of this without the hassle of having to sell a child into slavery or rob a bank to afford it! What a hell of a kit. That being said though, I do seriously still want to find an affordable ’82 or ’83 Camaro kit by Revell, or the ’82 Firebird brother, just to see what the detail level would’ve been at a 1/25th scale. Shame those kits are as rare or even rarer than this one.

’83 Chevrolet Camaro Berlinetta specifications:
Kit: #85-7491
Skill Level: N/A
Parts: 89
Molded in: Off-blue & Black
Scale: 1/16

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

1987 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z 20th Anniversary Edition – MPC

1987camaroirocz (1)Apparently, back in 2016, Bloomberg claimed that if you were to invest in a Camaro one way or another your best bet would be a mid eighties third generation Chevrolet Camaro. Specifically, the IROC-Z variant of the Z/28 Camaro which was unique to the third generation exclusively. Now this wasn’t a new trend as similarly “ordinary” cars were becoming better long term investments without having to go ultra deep in the pockets. A Camaro of that era wasn’t exactly known for… well, being special. They were daily drivers for most and those that weren’t were just drag raced or wrecked to a unfortunate end, so the idea of finding one at a reasonable price in a good state and keeping it while all the other third gen Camaros falter away, not a bad idea.

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Hell, the 1985 Camaro IROC-Z was Car & Driver magazine’s car of the year and understandably so. The 1980s aren’t known for good cars throughout the decade, it was mostly a decade of a solid two thirds of the US having to come to terms that dad’s ’74 Chrysler New Yorker was genuinely killing the wallet and a new little Omni or Aries had to come in and replace it. It was a decade of failed prototypes, automotive giants slipping up and falling literally as they had just slipped and fallen down.

1987camaroirocz (7)And spontaneously through that decade, we got a series of revamped beasts we still owe our love to: the Buick Regal, the Oldsmobile Cutlass, the Chevrolet Camaro, the Ford Mustang, the Pontiac Firebird and well, it’s a honorable mention cause it was literally the first crossover, the AMC Eagle but y’know nevermind that I’m just getting side-tracked. Those cars were the sort of surprise successes of the decade and for the most part held up a lot better than their cheaper cousins. For the most part, at least.

What hasn’t held up well? MPC’s tooling of the updated post-1985 Camaro. You see, both AMT and Revell put out a 1982 Camaro Z/28 kit to coincide with the new generation coming to light and both of those kits were genuinely good. AMT’s kit had strong points and so did Revell’s, neither did a bad job whatsoever. Though fortunately AMT has re-released this kit once more in 2004 and it’s a upcoming release again for the last quarter of 2017, so knowing full well how good of a third generation Camaro kit there is, it’s all the more crappy knowing Ertl took their tooling and ran with it until 1992. I’ve built two of the kits so far and this is my third and there’s one tiny solace – the AMT released versions of this tool are slightly better.

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You see, Ertl bought MPC over in 1985 and began pushing out these kits under both AMT’s name as well as MPC’s. AMT Camaro kits of that generation were the ’88 Z/28, ’88 IROC-Z and ’92 25th Anniversary Z/28 while MPC put out the similar ’84 Z/28 for the ’85 year, ’87 IROC-Z and ’88 IROC-Z. All with the same engine configurations, all with the same interior and all with largely the same body just with different spoilers. And all were cast… awfully. I don’t really mind a shoddy kit so much anymore after having dealt with MPC’s glorious early seventies kits that were literal finger aches to build, I’m okay with it provided the outcome is somewhat decent and that’s largely true for them.

1987camaroirocz (9)However, with their take on the third generation Camaro, it’s just the body that is fine and even that is mediocre at best. The windows are just awkwardly glued to the frame, the rear window has no supports even whatsoever, the whole thing is brittle as all sin and has no reinforcements on the T-top part so the slightest push and it caves like a crème brûlée. The interior isn’t horrible, just plain. Horribly plain. The very faint details on the doors, the just featureless dashboard(although, the detail on the passenger side of the dashboard for some reason isn’t too bad) and once again, even though by this point not one single fucking company still did this: chrome headlamps instead of clear. I know I’m bitching my socks off here but you have the shapes, you have the tools – cast the Goddamn things in clear plastic! I suppose part of my problem is that for the most part this we do for fun, right? And it ain’t fun when it’s a frustrating mess that has no pretty reward when you’re done with it unless you give it some ungodly amount of attention that these, let’s be fair, just aren’t worth it.

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Though, despite literally all the flaws – I wanted it done. I made a decal sheet to mimic the 20th commemorative anniversary edition from 1987 but it came with none of the decals I needed even though they are on the box art model, and the ones that do come with it are so milky and badly printed that it became white blobs on the side of the model so I just… figured, screw it let’s just go without.

Under the hood, I did very little. The three configurations it can come with all are nice but go together about as well as forcing a round peg through a square hole so I just stuck with the default injected 5.7L V8. The other two, the twin-turbo carburetor and Weber carburetor engines are nice but just, man the effort that would go into getting those damn things to stick together is way too much. One of the highlights for once is the tires, even though the lettering on them is way too big, they are nice quality and could easily be white lettered with an acrylic pen.

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And the tail lights, while too embossed to match the squared yet flat proper tail lights are nicely detailed enough to bring the individual lights out. Plus, some spray painting on the T-tops and boosh, tinted glass. All in all, with some work on my end, it’s a somewhat if not reasonably if not at the very least a honest attempt at a 20th Anniversary Camaro. Even though that car is maroon… and a convertible… and twin-striped instead of single… and has IROC-Z logos on the doors… Well, you know what, I tried. And with this, I’ve completed the entire line-up of anniversary Camaros, so I got that going for me.

’87 Chevrolet Camaro IROC-Z 20th Anniversary Edition specifications:
Kit: MPC6202
Skill Level: N/A
Parts: 120
Molded in: White
Scale: 1/25

2012 Chevrolet Camaro RS 45th Anniversary Edition – Revell

2012camaro45th (1)Rick Wagoner, the CEO of General Motors ’til 2009 claimed on August 20th, 2006 that he and his staff weren’t completely braindead and would bring back the Camaro for real, no bullshit. He claimed it would follow the design cues of the ’06 concept that was unveiled at the NAIA show 7 months prior on January 6th. As timing would have it, Chrysler showed off the Dodge Challenger concept the same year at the Detroit Auto Show. And sadly, while all the winners of the muscle car eras got revamped, the Pontiac Firebird never came back, hell Pontiac as a whole got killed off to allow GM to actually survive for a bit longer in 2010.

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But I digress, we got the Camaro back in 2009 for realsies for the 2010 model year. Now, both AMT Ertl and Revell have been on top of the Camaro hype train for most of their existences. Both companies have been making models of their “new introductions” so to say, take for example AMT’s devotion to the ’67 Camaro kit that got released in the same year as the car itself and every year from there on out ’til 76. Then, in 1982, both Revell and AMT produced new tool Camaro kits for the third generation’s arrival. Same again in 1993, Revell-Monogram and AMT Ertl made their own versions of the fourth generation. So it’s not strange that yet again, both model kit companies would be all over this. It took both of them ’til 2012 to put out a proper 2010 Camaro kit.

2012camaro45th (5)And hotdamn did we get some variety. We got the Special Edition, which I got here, with the standard SS model but also a 1LE inspired look as an alternative, while AMT Ertl put out the normal ’10 SS as well but also some variants like a highway patrol car and the 2010 Indianapolis Pace Car so in terms of choice we got nothing to complain. However, when it comes to how well both of the new tools end up going together, I gotta hand it to Revell. I mean, AMT isn’t far behind, it’s just a fair bit clunkier all around. Nearly every aspect of it has something that won’t sit well or required some serious force to get into place.

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Now one of my first model car kits I’ve built since picking up the hobby again was the 2010 Camaro, though the one I got my hands on was the Revell of Germany re-release with a more… European touch to the whole ordeal. Small touch-ups here and there, some omissions and in the end just a smidge more European. Like Dutch, German, Belgian and French plates, bigger decal sheet, but also some stuff not being there like the entire body kit option and second pair of wheels. And back then, I first encountered something I absolutely frickin’ hate about Revell’s early 2010 and onwards kits; the way they handle the wheels.

2012camaro45th (6)They decided that for some reason, metal rods and little metal screws to attach the big heavy wheels to. So here’s the kicker; no wheel they’ve ever made fits on these things. On top of that, it’s real hard to force them on when the complicated suspension bits are literally millimeters thick at best so you’ve got no chance in hell to actually get ’em on properly. This all in the name of getting wheels that turn… And guess what! They still won’t after cause the Goddamn things will drop off at the slightest tiniest little bit of breeze coming near ’em.

So that explains why the stance of the wheels themselves is… crooked, at best. Like this it’s the only way they stay on, otherwise it’ll look like a Camaro left in early nineties movie Bronx. Just a car sitting on the axles. Speaking of stance, the gargantuan ride height is… well, I just don’t know how to fix it. The model has a lovely complicated suspension, it’s detailed and super well cast but it’s also incredibly hard to get the ride height down without omitting bits.

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But enough bitching for the time being, the kit, aside from those issues, is unbelievably wonderful. For instance, a thing I love – metal exhaust tips! Good stuff, excellent addition! Making the spoiler separate? Thank you! The incredibly detailed suspension? Hell yes, Revell, hell yes. But the strongest part, by a fair amount, even though everything else cast wise is impeccable? The interior. Sweet mother of God the interior has a quality that is on a level of its own. Granted, Revell is known for going all in on detail on every side and this is no different but there’s so much detail everywhere. The fit is rather good too, despite the wheel fit being an absolute pile of shit, the rest snaps and fits together supremely well plus it takes very little effort on your end to make this a very good looking model cause Revell did a lot of the work for us luckily with the decal sheet and the super crisp quality.

2012camaro45th (10)Though I had never considered to expand on the four Camaro Anniversary Editions, given they were actually as they were from the box with no outside help for the most part. Revell with the ’02 Camaro that has the 35th Anniversary decals and AMT with the ’92, ’97 and ’17 anniversary editions that were all proper renditions of the real deal. And one thing has to be said, I said it before in the article on the FIFTY Camaro; the Camaro has a weird anniversary going on… Technically, the Camaro is 43. Hell, 42 even but it’s 43 on a technical note that even though the Camaro went on sale again in 2009, it was for the “2010 Model Year” as car manufacturers call it. But the Camaro went shelved from mid 2002 onwards until then, all the while the Mustang kept going strong putting out a retro-inspired(much like our dear Camaro here) update that went back to its roots… in 2005.

20170630_133828So we’ve got the 45th Anniversary done with and the FIFTY as well, yet it has friggin’ 2 more years to do to even deserve the 45th one to begin with. But I digress… I was pointed towards Slixx Decals, a model car decal shop for just about everything decal related to any competition car you can name. And they rarely do stock decals, it’s actually super out of character for them to do this particular sheet which has the 2012 45th stripes and logos, the 2010 Transformer Bumblebee stripes and logos but also ZL1 emblems, the proper SS stripes and all of the super rare street version of drag COPO Camaros. And that inspired me to get one of these done now I knew it was possible without having to mess around in Photoshop and create my own sheet.

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Which I am doing for the ’87 Camaro 20th Anniversary Edition that’ll pop up on the website at some point or another. But the decal sheet from Slixx gave me 95% of the work pre-made on a nice sheet… The rest? Well, I didn’t have access to Chevrolet’s American line of paints so I took the next best thing and maintaining quality – I bought a can of Mercedes Benz’s metallic black paint, or rather “Obsidian Black/Obsidianschwarz” and used that instead. I mean, it may not be the right brand or even technically the right color but at least it’s a very good color nonetheless! And I gotta admit, I am a fan of the 45th Anniversary Camaro’s colors. The stripes are a really nice offset against the color and the bright red stripe highlighting the 45 does grab the attention rather well. On top of that I’m trying something new, Motip’s got this line of chrome-ish paints that are meant to replicate the proper chrome though I figured out that if you only do two coats instead of the required four to six, you get the perfect polished silver look on rims like most modern cars have these days. But I’m just harping on now…

2012camaro45th (16)In the end, even if it was a super unnecessary commemorative edition, I am happy as hell that it exists cause it allows me to expand the Anniversary collection from four up to 6. Though, the 20th version doesn’t quite count based on the fact that the only differences from the standard models was the little embroidered 20th Anniversary logo on the dash but meh, screw it, it’s gonna be a part of the line up.

’12 Chevrolet Camaro RS 45th Anniversary Edition specifications:
Kit: #85-4239
Skill Level: 2
Parts: 115
Molded in: White
Scale: 1/25

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

1979 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 – Monogram

20170404_171128A while back I built the 1981 Camaro by Fujimi and basically droned on about how the 1979 Camaro from Revell Monogram was better and went moping around about how I rather would be working on that kit.

So, I bought it! To be honest, I had already bought one before and built it as part of my all yellow Camaro line-up but never bothered to write about it(It was the second kit I built ever and it looks like ass compared to what I can do nowadays, so I’m a bit ashamed of it even) so cue me buying another one.

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So, it turns out these kits are rare as sin these days but I got lucky on bidding for a Monogram release from 1995 and figured I’d put it to good use. These Camaro kits have been around since 1985, first coming to the market then as the “Midnight Z” Camaro and has been largely unchanged since that first appearance. Even for the time it was a heck 1979camaroz28black (10)of a deal, a 3-in-1 kit from the get-go, with the Midnight Z appearance package, a secondary but similar “drag” version which had the parts but different wheels and the stock Z/28.

And they went all in on the choices being worthwhile; the blower kit and open hood look menacing, the interior options are nice extras(rollcage, extinguisher, so forth) and both sets of wheels for the custom and race versions look really good. I’ve always been more favorable to the stock options so I ended up with that route twice thus far.

What’s been changed since then? Well in 1995 this kit saw its ten year anniversary re-release, though being entirely the same. Still tinted glass, same decal sheet, same everything. Hell if they hadn’t updated the box, you could’ve fooled me that it was still a 1985 release. The only indication is the box showing 1995 copyright information, the whole inside’s straight from ’85. But anyhow, the kit saw another release in 2003, only this time things were beginning to change.

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The tinted windows were made clear(thank God for that, as tinted glass looks cool and all but by God can it look dingy and dull on bright color paints), the mold was re-done to be crisper and the inclusion of better tires, though the 1985 and 1995 kits have some really good quality Goodyear GT Radial tires, the drag and custom slicks are frankly awful. They also ditched the black mold color and rehashed the entire decal sheet.

From here on out, the 2003 and 2011 re-releases had this “StreetZ” for a custom option(designed to be on a yellow Camaro with pink letters), though the drag version was enhanced with some nice decals and more sponsors). The stock version? Well it got some love, but it also got rid of something for it. You see, the ’85/’95 release has the all black Camaro with the red/orange Z/28 stripes in mind for its stock version, which I adore. The ’03/’11 releases replaced this with the blue/gray and yellow/orange Z/28 decals. I love both of them, but part of me really wished the red/orange version still remained on the sheet.

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But I digress, in the end there’s some differences in versions even though overall it’s been largely unchanged. Like I said, this kit has tinted glass, which makes the already all black car even more sinister and I’m quite the fan of it. The only place where it looks a bit out of place is on the headlights and taillights where it just makes it look a bit off but despite that, it carries personality.

Despite it being a mid eighties mold, like nearly all Monogram releases it’s crisp as hell. The newer release is even better but for a 32 year old kit it’s a freakin’ great job on their end. However, something that’s also decisively Monogram is the following: fantastic body, fantastic engine, great interior, solid build all around, slab like engine bay. This engine bay in particular is victim of Monogram taking shortcuts on the engine bay detail, the coolant reservoir for instance’s gargantuan and goes all the way down to the chassis.

Other than that, the 350ci V8 is done beautifully, the dashboard and the rest of the interior got crisp as can be detail that makes me wish for some dial decals cause it looks this good that only a decal could finish it up making it look more real. And through the T-tops you can easily still see all this detail so, yeah it’s all good stuff all around!

1979camaroz28black (8)It is a rather simplistic build, I have to admit. The parts count is in the nineties but in reality, it’s no more than 60 per choice. I mean, sometimes simplicity isn’t all that bad and that’s definitely the case here but it would’ve been nice for to name something like… the brake-booster to be a part instead of being molded to the body. But those are just personal wishes, it’s perfectly fine as it is.

Bit of a history thing-a-ma-jig here; Towards the end of the second generation of the Camaro, Pontiac and Chevrolet were still in a fierce(despite being under the same brand; GM) competition for sales. Both the Firebird and Camaro were flagship “muscle car heritage” monsters, even though 1973 saw the muscle car being taken out back with a shotgun in hand due to the fuel crisis. I mean, the muscle car era was far from dead but if you look at efforts like the Ford Mustang Cobra II(sold well, but failed in every other department), the Plymouth Volare Road Runner/Dodge Aspen R/T(similar fate as the Cobra II, just… didn’t sell nearly as well), the Mercury Cougar XR-7 only became a more luxurious version of itself and far slower due to weight and the AMC Hornet AMX, the only legit actual attempt without being cheap; it hardly made any ground and AMC was running massive losses by the end of the seventies and bordering bankruptcy.

The muscle car era had some giant issues trying to come to grips that fancy decals, body kits and desperately reworking and resizing engines so they conform to emission standards instead of innovating upon smaller blocks, they weren’t gonna recapture that big block V8 era without cutting losses. But by the end of that generation, both the Firebird T/A and Camaro Z/28 were just… immense. Both touted great, quick engines, with the Chevrolet manning a 350 cubic inch V8, which is replicated very nicely in the kit. Both had the giant fender flares, front and tail spoilers, it captured the brutal, mean looks from the higher range muscle cars(like the ’69 Camaro and ’69 Firebird T/A) without being overly expensive, just like the original muscle cars!

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But here I am just going on about the legacy of the Camaro and why the 1978-1981 Camaro is my favorite of the bunch, apologies for the history lesson. Jesus, I only just spotted the length of this bastard. Anyway, I wanted to make it the black Camaro with the red/orange stripes already, so this fell perfectly into my plans. Otherwise, luckily Keith Marks has them available if I couldn’t get my hands on this kit. Though with how milky these decals get over the years and how rotten they can look, getting Marks’ set isn’t such a bad plan anyhow.

1979camaroz28black (3)I painted over the already black body with a high gloss black, added some BF Goodrich Radial T/A tire decals from Fireball Models and boy does it look menacing now. There’s always something so sinister about black cars, especially black cars with tinted windows and red stuff all over ’em. And lo and behold, the ’79 Camaro in all its glory.

There’s always a solid chance Revell puts out this kit again within half a decade or so if the pattern maintains, but as of writing this they’re becoming rare as hell and honestly if you can get your hands on one and feel like building a very, very solid Camaro model? This will make you happy as hell.

’79 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 specifications:
Kit: #85-2717
Skill Level: 2
Parts: 96
Molded in: Smoke Black
Scale: 1/24

2002 Chevrolet Camaro SS 35th Anniversary Edition – Monogram

2002camaroboxThe second to last generation of Camaro has received a lot of love from both AMT and Revell Monogram, especially by AMT who have been releasing a model of the car since the 4th generation kicked off in 1993 all the way through 1998, even though it was the same kit every year just with different wheels, trim level or sometimes even a convertible.

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Revell Monogram on the other hand picked and chose the ’93 model, releasing it as the ’93 Indy 500 Pace Car kit in the same year and Revell of Germany released the standard Z/28, which was the same kit just with less decals. However, while AMT was awesome enough to ensure the ’97 30th Anniversary saw a release in kit form(article coming soon!), it was Revell that produced two kits of the last 4th gen Camaro with the facelift. Technically three, if you count the Pontiac Firebird release from 1998, which is the same kit, different front end, updated engine, so forth, just like the real relation of the 4th generation Firebird and Camaro. In ’02 they released the 35th Anniversary edition Camaro kit(along with a regular SS/Z28 kit as a separate release), again, the same exact kit as the ’93 one, just with updated tail lights, front fascia and of course the updated LS-1 V8 engine, just like the Firebird.

2002camaro35th (6)The kit I got here is the 2010 re-release, only this time they made it a two in one kit. Even though it mentions on the front it’s 2’in’1 but it’s so subtle that I can believe most folks don’t even realize that the kit has half the decal sheet dedicated to either version and comes with the SS wheels as well as the SS Anniversary wheels!

I gotta give Revell credit though, normally I’d say it’s a bit lazy but expected that companies wear out their molds so that making it was worthwhile before going onto a new tool, but man this kit just goes together so well. It did on the 1993 kit, it did with the 1998 Firebird and it still does on the 2010 kit. It’s such a sturdy build, especially the body and the chassis. The way the glass is slid into place onto specific parts of the body and the way the weight of the chassis feels even, it actually comes into die-cast territory of just feeling tough and not a flimsy plastic model.

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It’s kind of amusing to see all the legacy of the kit still being a part of it, there’s still the little Firebird ram-air inserts, the ’93 Camaro rear brake light, the little prong that you needed to be able to place the lights deep in the front bumper and such.

2002camaro35th (11)The whole kit is really, really good. The mold quality is fantastic and of course the decal sheet has enough to cover either the whole 35th Anniversary edition or the Z28 or SS model(there’s little logos for all three of ’em and I will be the first to admit that the decal sheet’s usefulness lasted three years for me, with most third generation Camaros having the same Z/28 design and AMT doesn’t really do big decal sheets), plus all the logos, sheets and dash knobs for the engine bay and interior. Even four silvered ones for the seats, little extras that count!

Downsides? Well there’s a few, I mentioned in the other articles that the kit’s really prone to warping. Lots of the parts are meant to either connect or slip right into place and they sit perfectly forever, however if you got a older version of the kit and say the front bumper, chassis or rear bumper’s a bit warped? Shit outta luck. It’s gonna look off, sit off or just never attach correctly no matter the effort. Another downside is that the front axle’s real prone to bending under its weight too, causing the wheels to sit at a ugly angle.

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Speaking of the wheels, the car usually has a unnaturally high stance by itself, usually caused by the fact that the kit’s such a perfect little puzzle where all shapes have to match or it’s a total damn mess; the interior tub is molded slightly off, by 0.2mm at most, which causes the prong that holds it to the body to eventually buckle and let loose, causing the chassis plate to go a bit lower than it’s meant to, causing the wheels to sit hilariously high. This whole one-thing-leads-to-the-next issue was a problem on every single release so far and hedge your bets if you don’t wanna do the extra effort to get it to sit correctly. Oh and it has a giant negative impact on the front bumper/fascia, as you might’ve seen as it’s meant to sit perfectly aligned with the chassis to the body or… else the droopy front happens.

2002camaro35th (21)But to mend the giant ride height, I cut the rear coil springs in half, took out the sway bar and bend the axle arms by 40 degrees, only then would the wheels sit somewhat in their wells and not look like a raised 4×4 in a Camaro shell.

And another thing that may be considered a downside, but that’s totally up to how the builder sees it. The later Camaros got their good ol’ T-tops back… And the model was never updated to have ’em. Weirdly enough, the Firebird does have molded in lines for the T-tops but even then still resorted to two decals to “fill” them in. This kit has a giant decal slab you place on the roof to simulate the T-tops and boy does it look… off. I mean, it’s more a dated print quality issue cause you can clearly see the inkjet pattern even from a but of a distance.

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But I digress, it is a 2 in 1 kit after all. Molded in T-tops gets rid of the choice to have ’em or not and variety, I suppose. Regardless, it’s still a stupendously great kit that’s been on my to-do list for some time, and not to mention it fits in line perfectly with AMT’s ’92, ’97 and ’17 Camaro kits. Now all that remains to complete the Anniversary line is the 1997 Camaro Z/28!

’02 Chevrolet Camaro SS 35th Anniversary Edition specifications:
Kit: #85-4273
Skill Level: 2
Parts: 90
Molded in: White
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

1981 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 – Fujimi

1981camaroboxSoooo yeah, this is gonna be rough. This kit is a troubled one, to say the least but I’ll go into detail on how you really shouldn’t buy this one if you stumble upon it unless you already got a hold of either the Monogram ’79 Camaro 3-in-1 or the Revell re-release of the kit from 2011 or 2003.

Why? Well, first of all those make for fantastic models by themselves and they are already loaded with choice.

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The only reason why I would advise buying these two as a pair is only if you want to build a 1980/1981 Camaro Z/28 instead of a 1979 one. Cause one of the upsides to the Fujimi kit is that the body is amazing and has the appropriate Z/28 logo on the grille and the raised hood instead of the ram-air, it also has much better head-lights and tail-lights. That’s always a benefit of Japanese kits, the bodies and body detail is always superb and with some work you can easily make the chassis and interior of the ’79 Z/28 kit fit this Fujimi body.

1981camaro (3)Besides, I’d argue you get better wheels with the Revell-Monogram kit. And you get the engine bay detail, but Japanese kits are normally always without a engine/engine bay detail so I won’t hold it against Fujimi for going fully curbside.

So, anyway! What’s so terrible about this kit that I’d advise against it? First off, this kit’s based on a mid-eighties release from Fujimi as a R/C car that you can build yourself. And for that purpose, it’s pretty nice! Like I said, the body is amazing and I suppose for a 1/24th scale R/C car it actually has a fair amount of detail to it. This release still has the battery housing, the raised interior so the model can hold the batteries and the kind of silly and half complicated front suspension set-up so the car can steer accordingly.

It’s been turned into a model kit such a ham-fisted manner that it’s nothing short of legendary. The interior tub doesn’t match the body, not even close. The area behind the seating is totally open and doesn’t even come close to matching the rear window so you can clearly look into the rear wheels, which are also just entirely open so from the side you can actually look through the bottom of the car. Also the interior has a little slot in there that is clearly visible from whatever angle you look at where the steering wheel has to kind of be slotted into half-sunk cause of course the interior tub has no depth to fit on top of the batteries.

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The detail to the interior is really, really small and is mostly due to a shoddy mold job, which is odd given just how crisply molded the body and the clear pieces are. The chassis has little to no detail on it, I think so that the R/C model wouldn’t get hung up on everything and crash and the chassis is kind of awkwardly clipped onto the body that just screams “will come undone at the slightest touch”, but I digress.

And the fun doesn’t stop there, the rear wheel set-up is just a single metal axle that goes through a small hole, but the whole thing is offset so you get three little plastic bits to sort of fill up the space so that the wheels are actually sitting correctly. And even then, the metal axle is roughly twice the size of the hole in the wheels, so it doesn’t even fit to begin with.

20170216_133650So this kit sat around in my living room for close to a month and a half, nearly finished. I had spray painted the car into a smoked silver that I actually like a lot(it’s a factory Mercedes color, even), bought a Keith Marks decal set to make it more of a stock Z/28 instead of the “Underground Camaro” decal get-up of the kit(which is nice, I should say, it doesn’t look half bad in all silver with the Fujimi decals!) and did the body stuff like the tail-lights, details and trim. Then I came upon the chassis and gave up after screwing around with the wheels for close to three hours.

Here’s what I ended up doing to mend the situation, cause the original wheels didn’t fit and didn’t align properly and boy are the wheels you get with the kit strange looking. The tires, one of the really nice things about this kit, I put to new use with some of the spare rims I got from the two Monte Carlo kits I bought to make up for the missing pieces in the ’87 Aerocoupe kit. Apparently these wheels were available on the ’81 Camaro(N90 option) so hooray for authenticity!

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Then I straight up epoxied the wheels to the frame using toothpicks, screws and a lot of patience and re-adjusting. They don’t look right, they don’t fit right but the damn wheels are on and that for this kit is an achievement in itself.

1981camaro (2)I should point out that even though I painted the t-tops gloss black, the kit advises you to cut them out and replace them with the clear ones that are delivered with the kit. And while this is a really nice extra and should definitely be done if you were to use this body on the Revell Monogram kit, as I said earlier the detail on the inside is so laughably low that cutting out the t-tops only enhances the attention on the just supremely awful interior.

Though yeah, I am being really harsh on the kit and Fujimi with this one. But I feel like it’s justified, this kit goes for 19 to 25 dollar new on average and that amount of money can get you literally just about any recent Revell and AMT kit brand new and even some of the Aoshima kits. This kit has two racks of extra parts it doesn’t use so it’s not only a shallow box, it’s also bloated with parts you can’t really ever use in a different build. It’s really a full retail price kit with half the content and four times the work at the cost of damn near all the fun.

’81 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 specifications:
Kit: Series RSC: RS-73
Skill Level: N/A
Parts: 37
Molded in: White & Black
Scale: 1/24