1978 Chevrolet El Camino Royal Knight – Revell

1978ElCaminoRoyalKnight (9)The El Camino is downright one of my favorite cars to ever touch the planet, it’s such a wicked car all around. Or coupe utility vehicle, if you’re one of those people. I’d rather go with car, or ute. You see, I’ll defend the merits of a ‘Cuda until the sun goes down, or the value of Ford stumbling through the seventies keeping the Mustang alive, or how something like the El Camino should and needs to exist. Today, there’s no worldwide version of what is the quintessential muscle car with a pick-up for an ass.

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Holden, the last one to do ute’s with big-ass engines stopped producing new cars entirely as of October 2017, and as of writing Holden is still merely a importer of elsewhere built cars, predominantly Opels from German and Canadian plants. So even though the Australians have been the inventors and now the last to have enjoyed the rough and tumble big-block car-truck/pickup/coupe ute, they still could effectively buy a new ’17 HSV Maloo GTSR R8 with the Chevrolet 6.8L LS3 V8 that would churn out 570HP from a dealership today.

1978ElCaminoRoyalKnight (3)As for the rest of the world, we gotta make due with effectively the last of the El Caminos that date back to the 1980s, 1987 to exact or the equally extinct Ford Ranchero, which got ol’ Yeller’d in 1979. Since then, for the Americans and Europeans it was to either import a sweet chunk of Mad Max-ian deliciousness or take in a… well shit, might as well get it out of the way; through-out the decades it would’ve come down to a Ford Courier, Dodge Rampage, Plymouth Scamp, VW Rabbit/Caddy Pick Up, Fiat Strada, Subaru BRAT or something to that extend. And all of those are small, compact little pickups with the front end of one of their more popular cars, small engine and sustainable(unless it’s the Dodge or Plymouth, those rusted away in a few months time), but not anything that would make you wanna go “Fuck yeah, I’d take that over a Camaro!“.

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There’s no more of them unfortunately, and granted, it was always a niche market. Who in their right mind shears off the ass end of a car, hollows it out like a deranged coroner and puts in a solid floorboard, add a foot or so to the back of it and there you go; car-pickup hybrid. Though while the concept sounds odd in marketing terms, it actually had a very solid market base for most of the sixties. They might’ve been aimed at the reed chewing farmer of the middle of the 20th century(fun fact, the origin of this type of car lies with an Australian farmer who wanted a car that could both handle farmyard work and be used as a car to go to church with on sunday), with ads showing dudes in Levis shoving hay bales or those old milk churns in the back of what would translate to Chevrolet “The Roads” or Ford “Ranchers”, but in reality the farmer of those days had the Chevy C-series or the Ford F-series parked dutifully on base, while the El Camino and Ranchero found more love on the paved roads.

1978ElCaminoRoyalKnight (7)Why? Well in the United States especially at least, it just was timed incredibly poorly. The El Camino and Ranchero were briefly very popular in the mid to late 50s, but then it just kind of collapsed in on itself. They had three massive hurdles to overcome, one was that it was meant to do work all the while looking like a gorgeous car and it had trouble doing so. Two was a simple problem that other cars had to deal with too, take the Camaro – it had to co-exist with a more convenient, more powerful and in some ways more attractive Corvette, the El Camino and Ranchero had to exist alongside the very cars they were based off from 1960 onwards. The third? Well, they were appalling for the exact task they were designed, they were meant to be half pick-up, half car and in most cases it wasn’t even close to being a fifth as useful. Why spend 3800$ of your fresh 1970 dollars on a El Camino if you could get a fully equipped C/K 2500 for the same money that did everything the El Camino could, but better. Well, that’s kind of where these type of cars grew into their own; they gained a following for what they were. A utility built Chevelle with the same insurance quote destroying 454SS in the front? Hell to the yes, man!

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I mean, that right there is glossing over the point so thickly it should win an award for doing so, but in general that’s just about the gist of it. It worked though, the type of car grew into its own being and they lasted in the States for a reasonable while for the kind of fad they were, with like I said the El Camino lasting through 1987, it’s GMC counterpart, the much rarer and less liked GMC Sprint/Caballero and the Ranchero going on ’til 1979. Then there have been smaller editions as mentioned before, the ’82 Dodge Rampage/Plymouth Scamp took the throne as nippy pick-up and eventually even they died off to. At that point, it was just back to old fashioned pick up truck or car, nothing in between in the States and Europe. That being said, through-out its thirty year endeavor, there have been plenty of those weird editions that make you wonder what the hell the idea was.

1978ElCaminoRoyalKnight (10)You got the very much pretty Chevelle based stripes on the El Camino throughout the sixties, the Torino GT stripes on the Ranchero, the twin-stripe SS get-up on the seventies El Caminos, the Scamp GT and Rampage both having just overblown either totally black or super colorful stripe packages, the VW Caddy/Rabbit “Sportstruck”, whatever the hell that might’ve been and so forth on the US side of the story. And that right there was eight paragraphs of me rambling on about a car with a pick up for a booty and how it’s no longer part of our world as we know it and ho-boy does it suck.

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Luckily, there’s Revell, Monogram, MPC and AMT to keep us happy campers with the offerings of the aforementioned pick-up-car-things in kit form to keep some semblance of them in the world. Wait, what’s that? There’s only like nine kits as a whole in 1/25th and 1/24th scale? Well, Goddammit. Okay quick gander through the list; there’s Revell’s 1966 El Camino, Revell-Monogram’s 1978 El Camino, the ’57 Ranchero by them as well. AMT offers the ’59 through ’61 Rancheros and the ’59, ’63, ’64, ’65 and ’68 El Caminos respectively, while MPC dove deeper into the El Camino through the seventies offering the ’78 through ’86 El Camino’s as well as a one time why-the-hell-not run of the GMC Caballero. There have been plenty of cases where evidence got presented that any of the previously mentioned big two/three/four(depending on what decade you’re discussing) kit makers were planning on doing all sorts of these, the mid-seventies Ranchero, the ’73 El Camino, hell the ’70 El Camino was announced in print on multiple occasions and just… never happened.

1978ElCaminoRoyalKnight (15)Fortunately, there’s resin casters: Motor City Resin Casters has both the ’72 Ranchero GT and the ’73 El Camino in their repertoire. Jimmy Flintstone with the ’70 and ’72 El Camino bodies(although they’re entirely unchanged ’68 El Caminos with Chevelle front ends). There’s been plenty of coming-and-goers that offered transkit parts for anything from ’57 through ’86 and it looks like we’re never gonna truly run out of ways to whip up a mid sixties or seventies of either El Camino or Ranchero. On top of that, you got C1 Models’ excellent Golf-to-Caddy conversion kit so there’s some cross-continental love too. And I’m sure I’m leaving out a million more, it’s just to give some examples that while kit makers seem to have just forgotten about the American and even the Australian utility coupe, resin casters do their damnest to fill the gap.

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Right, to cut to the chase after give or take 1200 words of bullshitting on; this particular article should be about the ’78 El Camino. The Royal Knight El Camino to be specific, which has in fact been kitted before in 1978 by Monogram. It’s such a damn hard to find kit nowadays as while there are three entirely unique kits by Revell/Monogram based on the ’78 El Camino, the hardest one to find is by some definitions stock. In ’78 they released the Royal Knight kit(MPC did both the Royal and Black Knight versions but one could argue that quality wise the MPC kit… drifted behind a tad). Then in ’79 they re-tooled the kit – it now packs a massive turbo-charger and a modified hood to accommodate the gargantuan new air-sucking utensil in the engine bay. Oh also, they for some reason decided to add camper parts. Neat-o! But they did remove the stock engine and hood, bummer.

1978ElCaminoRoyalKnight (17)Then for twenty years, not a Goddamn thing. The first and as of writing last re-release of this kit was in 2000 which was this kit I’m talking about right now, the re-release with newly crafted lowrider parts and decals. Back then, apparently Revell was on a roll bringing back long-dead kits and pumping them full, full of life and doing a stellar and sometimes awkward job of it. The ’81 Chevy Citation is a excellent example; it’s a beautiful re-pop of the old kit, with all the re-release editions crammed into one, a gargantuan new decal sheet that allowed options that weren’t even thought of in the eighties. Same goes for the ’92 Thunderbird, ’96 Impala SS and so on. The El Camino is yet another odd-ball lowrider kit that has all the “optional” parts packed in along with the stock ones and it makes for a much better complete package that despite the weird lowrider addition is quite a nice thing of them to do. Given that these days you’d be lucky to get a kit with extras, having one that is essentially a “greatest hits” of sorts is absolutely nice.

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The kit itself on the other hand has aged quite poorly, despite Monogram being way ahead of the competitors on most areas like the sheer detail on the body, grille and all around crispness of the whole kit, it still has those old Monogram quirks. The engine bay is kind of a slab with droopy details(which essentially means, anything that’s a reservoir or a battery “bleeds” into the arches and goes all the way down), the interior is kind of plain with the inner doors having no detail at all and the seats are hilariously oversized. Though one can just grab the seats and dash from a 1/24th scale Monogram Monte Carlo and make due with those as they should fit just fine. Another thing is while Monogram definitely bucked that garbage ass trend of the ’70s with molded in chrome headlights, but they just swapped it around making the rear lights on the rear bumper chrome and not really recessing them enough. And on top of everything else, there’s some severe panel gaps; the bumpers suffer the most of this as you can clearly look into the model from the front and the back.

1978ElCaminoRoyalKnight (13)So it’s not all rainbows and sunshine, but it’s also miles ahead of the curve for this particular era of El Camino kits. The MPC kits weren’t terrible, by now means – they were just incredibly basic. While it has more interior detail, it lacks severely on the body and engine bay, and while the all around model has more variety with the tool(like the ’82 quad-light grille and the Choo-Choo Customs Monte Carlo SS nosed edition), it still very much on the outside comes across like a toy car with tiny wheels and a sunken stance. That being said, I personally would’ve preferred a middle-ground where Monogram did the body and chassis and MPC handled everything else, we’d have one excellent kit to work with – but alas, the best El Camino offering we have and likely will have for the foreseeable future will likely be a shared number one spot with this kit and the MPC/AMT ’86 El Camino SS.

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That being said though, I did try to make the most out of this kit as it’s still a very, very nice one to work with. Goes together like a charm, like all those Monogram kits of the eighties it’s simple, yet nicely complex in some areas and it all just… works. I re-designed the entire El Camino Royal Knight decal sheet for this endeavor, though looking back at it I totally screwed up on the body stripes as it’s meant to follow the curve over the door, onto the bed, but y’know how I am, a failure is just half a success, keep working with it. While I’m absolutely in love with how it came out to be, I should’ve gone for a darker paint. I wanted this delightfully suave end seventies Bordeaux red that would look bright, lip-stick red in the sunlight and subdued as hell in the shadows. Unfortunately it’s now semi-bright in the shadows and bright as balls in the sunlight, making the decals hard to spot in any reasonably lit environment. On top of that, the tires are pre-lettered with Goodyear Polysteel Radial, which is nice if you haven’t got decals, but I did and had to use the rougher, undetailed inside of the tire to accommodate the decals.

Ohhh well… Also, first non-mostly decal related post in 3 months, hooray!

’78 Chevrolet El Camino Royal Knight specifications:
Kit: #85-2979
Skill Level: 2
Parts: 101
Molded in: White

Scale: 1/24

1987 Chevrolet El Camino SS – MPC

1987ElCaminoSS (1)Last year I built the ’86 El Camino SS by AMT Ertl, the Choo Choo Customs version of the El Camino with the Monte Carlo SS nose instead of the flat one. And uh, well, it was a good kit! AMT’s re-released that kit give or take six separate times and they even did two more re-releases under MPC’s brand. Totally the same kit, just… different brand. But who cares! The MPC re-release is the most recent one of them, fresh from 2011 and the when you pop the box and compare it to the 1991 release of the kit, you’ll soon stumble upon the realization that its the same kit, but with different tires!

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Though that makes the kit infinitely better, as the ’91 release has the generic Polyglas GT tires from AMT Ertl that were massively popular with them throughout the eighties but were just stupidly chunky, over sized and were actually just kind of ugly. They hardly ever suited the size of the car, they were ridiculously over-done and the only kit where they even looked remotely right was on the giant GMC Vandura/Chevy Van kits. But I digress, this kit has the nicer newer tires that are of the one-size-fits-all type that is now current Round 2 modus operandi to shove into every kit for the sake of ease.

1987ElCaminoSS (7)Anyway, since I built that kit last year I’ve been pining to give it another whirl. Try get it done right this time though skip on most of the bits that made it a Choo Choo Customs, like passing on the sidepipes and the raised hood. I saw some ’87 El Camino SS’s that have the normal flat front(a front that does exist in kit form, though only on a single-release MPC kit from 1983…) that came in a two tone color set up and had a very similar graphics package as the 1987 Monte Carlo SS, with stripes, SS logos and such in a color that catches the eye.

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All of the bigger companies have made iterations of the El Camino, so it’s not exactly a rare subject matter. Nearly every year since 1959 through 1969 has been covered by MPC, AMT Ertl and Revell and sadly it kind of ends there, my personal favorites will forever be the 1970, 1972 and 1977-1981 ones but hardly any kits of those exist. You got the few rarities like the Revell-Monogram ’78 El Camino and the handful of MPC kits of the era, but of the ’70 through ’77? Well, at best a resin kit. That’s what makes having the ultra unusual 1986 El Camino in kit form so genuinely nice, especially with the fact in mind that it’s a very well executed kit too! It’s a superb mash-up of MPC tooling with AMT Ertl’s finest era improvements, something I wish they would apply to most of MPC’s kits nowadays before just showing the same old crap out the door and asking premium prices for it.

1987ElCaminoSS (8)Underneath, it’s a ’79 El Camino from MPC, simple chassis, very basic suspension, ultra simplistic interior and far too many floating parts like the awkward manner of how the radiator slides into the body and how the firewall is attached to the interior tub. However, AMT Ertl improved on this by cutting off the front end and tooling up a totally new Monte Carlo nosecone, with clear headlights and crisp-as-sin grille(the Chevrolet lettering may as well have been photo etched, that’s how fine it is) and gave it a new set of high quality wheels that were exclusive to the El Camino through the eighties. All in all, they took what they had and they improved it significantly. This is how it should be done, you don’t have to fix everything, just make it somewhat better.

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Hell, just like the model kits, the interest for the El Camino just kind of stopped existing near the coming of the nineties. Whether this was GM’s fault or the consumer’s fault, it’s not exactly clear given both were somewhat at fault. But in my opinion, it was the finest evolution of a pick up truck. I mean, it may be my European brain wanting the best of both worlds; half American muscle, half Australian utility. While Australia’s been carrying the torch on wards with the gorgeous Holden Commodore Ute, the US has been fixated on widening the gap between straight pick up truck and ordinary sedan. The last one of these things from the States to exist was this particular car, the ’80-’87 El Camino and like I am apparently been writing so often these days with MPC and AMT Ertl kits in mind; they did a nice send-off to go with the simple… disappearance of the car itself.

1987ElCaminoSS (11)The last few El Caminos that were special were crafted up by Choo-Choo Customs up in a factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee. These were little El Camino and Monte Carlo hybrids and the package was meant to be the same as the Monte Carlo upgrade; get a nice appearance package and some extra power for a bit more money, so you’d certainly stand out in the crowd. Though while the El Camino SS got the aerodynamic front and the stripes and even some brutal looking sidepipes, it didn’t get the L69(305ci/5.0L V8) engine upgrade like the Monte Carlo SS did, though the 350ci V8(which is the engine in this kit) was a option for both gas and diesels. Though, looking back at the last era of the car, you could tell GM was slowly shuttering the whole thing step-by-step, from bad feedback from customers to simply having better cars on the road from their own division. I mean, if you had a diesel El Camino, you’d be betting your income on maintenance. It also doesn’t help that while the car wanted to be a muscle car with a bed, that you only got a miserable 115 horsepower from a giant V8 was a obvious death sentence no matter how sporty you make it look.

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Like so many eighties misery pots from GM, the El Camino slowly faded into darkness throughout 1988. The only four survivors of the power era would be shot down to just two by that year, the Monte Carlo as it was known seized to be in ’88 too(before being resurrected as a sad shadow of itself) and by this point the Camaro Z/28 was beginning to have a bleaker future too now that customers were waking up to the thought that the Camaro essentially just was a more expensive and more annoying to maintain Beretta and perhaps equally as slow.

1987ElCaminoSS (17)But y’know, it’s 2017 and it’s always easier to look back and criticize than to actually do something about it, but that era is something worth remembering. And I suppose one of the biggest benefits of model car building is, no matter how shitty the car was or how bad the engine or how short the lifespan, if it was pretty – in plastic it lasts. And the ’86 El Camino is no different. Like I said, I wanted to turn it into even more of a Monte Carlo hybrid than it already was.

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So I started off with the idea of black and silver with a red line divide, like the Monte Carlo kits I’ve done before. Unfortunately, since the decal sheet was such a miserable bitch to work with, I only had the Aeroback kit’s decals left and had already used up the red lines. “However!“, I suddenly thought, I got two sheets with the golden stripes. I thought, “I can make this work“. Mind you, the decals still are true trash cause of the bad finish they were given back in the late nineties but with like nine layers of decal bonder I finally made ’em work. I embraced the metallic black-gold-metallic silver theme all the way from there on out.

1987ElCaminoSS (15)It all came down to the decals to make it work and I’m quite happy with how it panned out. The rest is all AMT Ertl, the kit just… works. It goes together decently enough with some extra improved reinforcements that keep the floaty bits actually in place some unlike the prior MPC El Camino kits. The only two issues I came across were typical MPC problems, like the chassis needing the strength of ten men to force and hold into place while overly strong glue attempts to connect the two and the fact that the front wheels are attached by a tiny bit of plastic and nothing more but pure good will keeping them aligned to the body.

’87 Chevrolet El Camino SS specifications:
Kit: MPC-712
Skill Level: N/A
Parts: 87
Molded in: White
Scale: 1/25

1968 Chevrolet El Camino SS 396 – AMT Ertl

1968elcamino-1Way, way, waaay back in the late sixties AMT brought out a celebratory 1969 El Camino kit alongside a regular 3-in-1 El Camino kit, or rather the “Chevelle El Camino ” as it was known back then, with the Soapbox derby for the running theme. Since then, AMT kind of left that thing be, bringing out it’s first and last ’69 El Camino in… well, 1969.

So! Cue the mid nineties, AMT Ertl starts producing a 1968 El Camino and holy hell was it good, it sat somewhat low and it was kind of plagued with mold errors but the idea of it, the way it build together, it was a really good model… And then cue September 2016 when AMT suddenly announces they’re bringing out a retro inspired ’68 El Camino in December of that year. It shares the box and name with the original 1969 release, appropriately naming it Derby Champions Kit II. Key difference of course, it’s a ’68 El Camino and it packs a sheet full of Auto World decals instead of the “Muncie, Indiana” ones.

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Also, it’s a vinyl top(which limits freedom without some effort but I like it!), packs a set of AR Torq-Thrust wheels and double sided pad printed tires, one side having a nice red line and the other having Goodyear Polyglas GT white letters. Though this has become par for the course with AMT, every release as of late or rather re-release gets this similar get-up; Goodyear padded tires, Torq-Thrust wheels and a “retro inspired” box. I gotta say right away that this is also a goddamn annoyance, the issue is 68elcaminoss396-5that these tires and the wheels are added as an afterthought extra and as a result they rarely if ever fit within the tire or the wheel backing. I mean, it’s an awesome extra but you can at least make ’em try fit before shoving ’em in there.

Other than that, it’s a pretty interesting and very, very clever build. For instance, the inner bed is actually separate from the chassis and the body, you’d think you’d be able to see even the slightest hint of this at the end of it all but no, it looks completely natural. Like many of the other El Camino kits, this one’s also build from the frame up, eventually coming up with a interior tub, the interior of the bed and the engine, then merely sliding on the body and hey presto.

Engine wise, it’s the ever so damn awesome 396 cubic inch Chevy V8, as shown on the grille with a SS396 badge. AMT is on par with the best when it comes to making the engines look good, at least for the most part. It also has the A/C system set up, a detail that more often than not goes a-miss.

That being said though, the fit isn’t all as snug as you’d like it to be. The engine block floats on the arms it’s designed to fit on cause the exhaust manifolds actually block it, the air cleaner is just a chrome piece with no real way to be slotted on the carb other than completely guessing and the frame sits too low so it makes the exhaust and outer ends of it visible at the rear, something that I was apparently meant to fix but it would’ve come at the cost of turning this already-low-as-hell El Camino into a lowrider, so figured nah.

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Aside from that, I mentioned it has a whole new decal sheet too. It has some really odd omissions from the decals though, take for instance another re-release kit; the AMT ’70 Chevelle kit, it had all the appropriate decals such as dials, air cleaner 396 logo and such. This one has none, just stripes and sponsoring.

68elcaminoss396-9But other than what I can only describe as annoyances or oversights, it’s a pretty damn great kit. Hailing from AMT’s finest era, inspired by a just as great era from nearly five decades ago and getting tooled and shipped in the newest one.

To be fair, it’s yet another re-release, something that Round 2 is known to do with their name being Round 2 and all. But that’s fine, for as long as the product is worthwhile and not say, the MPC ’79 Firebird T/A. An afterthought re-release of a kit that was practically a slab of ugliness unless a disgusting amount of effort was put into it. This one’s the opposite, a re-release that’s more than welcome.

’68 Chevrolet El Camino SS 396 specifications:
Kit: AMT1018/12
Skill Level: N/A
Parts: 97
Molded in: White
Scale: 1/25

1978 Chevrolet El Camino SS – Monogram

1979chevroletelcaminoss-1Recently I thought I’d start the next series of models I wanna complete, albeit without the same color palette across the board, and then it immediately hit me how hard that would be but also how fun it would be having drastically different El Caminos from the start to finish. The hard part? Well I don’t particularly like the pre-1967 El Caminos, then again that’s more of a me issue and less a kit issue as they go as far back as 1959 from Revell and AMT.

The hard part is that the 1970 one would require me sawing a Chevelle in half and frankensteining the front to a El Camino body, with a Monte Carlo bumper to make it more authentic. Same goes for the 1971/72, but then with a even rarer kit to find; ’72 Chevelle but at least no Monte Carlo bumper. Then there’s the issue that there’s just no 1973-1976 El Caminos available in kit form, 1977 and 1978 are both Monogram releases and the 1980s saw little to no change in terms of El Camino besides the Choo Choo Customs edition with the Monte Carlo front, which I already own.

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So cue the 1978 El Camino from Monogram. I’ve always been a total sucker for the de-chromed late seventies cars, particularly the Monte Carlo and El Camino, which look downright badass in all black. Hell same can be said about nearly all late seventies cars that used a lot of chrome in their fronts and rears, even a family car like the Chevy Caprice Wagon.

Should mention a couple of things before I really get into it though; this is a supposedly 1979chevroletelcaminoss-8“custom” El Camino or “Pro Touring” if you will, as some eagle eyed among us might notice from the giant hood scoop, Cragar 610C G/T wheels and front air dam. The kit’s actually a weird combination of cool and… well I can only describe it as late seventies weirdness. It’s a El Camino Camper, which is cool and all with the enclosed bed, but at the same time it’s a supercharged V6 with giant rear wheels and small tires. I mean, it’s cool! But it’s also so very odd to slap all that power equipment on a underpowered victim of the oil crisis that also doubles as a car you can dump your fishing gear in on a trip.

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But I digress, it’s nifty in its own right. The supercharger makes the otherwise rather average 305 cubic inch V6 look a bit meager but with the whole thing set up it’s actually quite huge. Though this kit was designed and molded in 1978 according to some folks, it has a ’96 copyright notice on the side of the box so there’s this weird duality going on with is it a classically designed kit like the other early eighties Monogram releases just shoved out in 1996 or is it just a very badly designed kit released in 1996? Cause it leans to the first, it has some serious panel gaps between the front and rear bumpers, like a good centimeter 1979chevroletelcaminoss-11clean open.

The engine bits fit about as well as shoving a round peg in a square hole, it’s super simplistic and lacks a serious amount of detail in the cab as well as under the hood. But as I said, if it’s a ’78 release then more power to it, it has little to no flash and the decals actually held up even though I didn’t use them for obvious reasons. Simplistic and under detailed isn’t a nail-in-the-coffin situation for a old kit, but if its truly designed in 1996 then… yeeeaahh, no.

But aside from the bare-ish detail and the engine fitting pretty poorly, the exterior and chassis frame actually went together really smoothly! I mean, there’s vicious panel gaps and the rear bumper was molded on a bit of a crooked angle so no matter what I tried it always sits a bit odd, but from the outside it looks superb!

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So in the end, it’s not technically a SS(even though it’s packing a helluva lot more horse power than one) and it’s not even technically a regular El Camino, but I still enjoyed making it greatly and its gonna look really good when it’s smaller scale brother, the ’78 Monte Carlo SS is finished, which will have the same paint job and all the trim de-chromed.

’78 Chevrolet El Camino SS specifications:
Kit: #85-2252
Skill Level: 2
Parts: 54
Molded in: Red
Scale: 1/24

1986 Chevrolet El Camino SS – AMT Ertl

elcamino1I always had a big affinity for late eighties cars, I don’t really know why. Even though it might be the worst time for cars since the 1973 Oil Crisis, the late eighties had boxy unimaginative designs across the board and giant engines that produced so little horse power that it was bordering insanity. But still, something about that era grabs me. Despite those things, it was a era of overblown luxury just like the fifties.

And the ’86 El Camino was no different.

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The kit itself is from the era that AMT Ertl made superb kits, really well detailed but often used recycled molds for say the engine bits and wheels. But this one is a custom version on all but the engine, the ’86 SS rims are there with the proper Goodyear Polyglas GT L60-15 tires, the 305 cubic inch V8, SS trim interior with optional CB radio(which is neat and odd at the same time, I like it!), the bed cover and the SS of course had the unique aerodynamic front end from the Monte Carlo which made it look pretty damn radical.

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And suffice to say AMT delivered back in 1991 with this kit, basing it off the Choo Choo Customs version of the El Camino SS with silver stripe trim and the huge SS logos. And like I said the kit does come with Polyglas GT tires but not the ones pictured, the ones I got
on there are also from AMT, though from a separate set they sell with L60-15 and F60-15elcamino_new-2 tires with padprinted logos on ’em, the ones in the kit are kinda rugged and haven’t aged well.

The only downsides to this kit are that the engine’s lacking the entire A/C system and that attaching the front wheels to the frame with the tiny prongs was a nightmare, but that’s it. Age warped the nose a bit so its slightly out of place on the right side but that’s no fault of AMT, and knowing this kit is 24 years old(came out in ’91) makes it all the more impressive and also makes me sort of sad. The kits AMT puts out these days are great but lack… the quality if not detail of their older ones.

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I absolutely love this kit, it was a joy painting it and putting together. Everything just fit too, which is really nice of a older kit too. Maybe I’m getting biased but both Revell and AMT seemed to do really, really well in the 1990s!

’86 Chevrolet El Camino SS specifications:
Kit: AMT6964
Skill Level: N/A
Parts: 98
Molded in: White
Scale: 1/25