2017 Ford F-150 Raptor – Revell

2017_F150Raptor (1)So this will be a short one, I reckon – SnapTite kits are a blast. That’s roughly the gist of it! Revell has done a lot of these types of little kits and generally they’ve been rather decent, especially if folks put in a lot of extra work on some of the lesser regions like the headlights/taillights, the interior, so forth. To name a few examples of Revell SnapTite kits that are beautifully done and are actually really, really solid kits even while they pack… only a handful of parts or so at best – the ’77 Monte Carlo, the ’70 Chevelle and what matters to this kit in general; the 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor kit. It’s essentially the forerunner to this one, it was really neatly detailed, contained nice, clear parts, was actually kind of fun to put together and all in all made for one neatly detailed model by the end of it.

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It’s been a few years since I built it though and lost the model along the way, but not before utterly annihilating it via crushing it under a big ol’ box. But it was honestly a great little kit, it reminds me of a full kit just without the glue. This kit on the other hand, is… not super great. I mean, it’s good but it’s literally half as good as the 2010 F-150 kit, and why? Well it’s simple, actually. The first big sinner is that everything is extremely simplified, the headlights already have a silver backing to it, the tail lights are no longer clear plastic, the whole interior is already assembled and so forth. I mean, it’s obviously a kit for the younger modeler or someone who doesn’t feel like turning their house into a glue sniffing den, but so were the other SnapTite kits.

2017_F150Raptor (13)But then again, we got a goddamn pickup truck kit in 2017. We got one. That’s basically all that matters. Back in the nineties, pick-up truck kits were everywhere, the Ford F-150s and Rangers, the Chevrolet S-10 and C-1500s, GMC Sierras, Syclones and Jimmys and so forth. They were everywhere and AMT as well as Revell were on their game back then, and prior to that MPC and AMT did just about every Ford, Dodge, GMC and Chevy truck for every year. Since the early 2000s, we’ve slowed down to a crawl and across the 2010s we’ve gotten literally around three modern ones, all in all. The wonderful 2010 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor, the MENG ’09 F-350 Super Duty and well, this one. And it’s weird that we’ve gotten so few of them, given the pick-up popularity in the real world has gotten quite insane as of late.

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I’m fairly sure I’m not alone in this one, there’s obvious interest from the consumer to buy those kits up something fierce, as per the MENG kit, there’s some serious desire and love to see a new Dodge Ram kit or a regular F-150 kit, or maybe a Chevy Silverado at last after all this time again. The old kits of the nineties were also supremely detailed, the Chevrolet S-10 kit was absolutely delightful and the GMC Sonoma was just as detailed, full engine, detailed interior, tons of extra parts, nice decals, so forth. The only full detail kit of a 2009-2019 truck is the ’09 F-350 for as far as I know. But here I am lamenting a bunch of paragraphs on how I wish there were more, but more on the kit, here we go.

2017_F150Raptor (15)In contrast to the unfortunately not clear-cast rear lights and not-silver backed headlights, the pre-painted body is absolutely wonderful. It’s reminding me of those AMT ProShop kits where it’s stamped on the body, which shows a slight of a faded edge but it still makes for a very clean painted body. The rest is all single color cast plastic, all in a matte black besides the wheels, which are semi-gloss. The tires are also another giant, giant plus to this kit, nice and thick proper off-road tires that sit on the axles flawlessly. The only thing this kit could’ve used, y’know, other than some more loose parts to make the painting process easier, is decals. The “RAPTOR” decal is stamped onto the side of the body, for the rest there’s no decals at all – no little metal transfers for the mirrors, no dashboard, nothing. Again, it’s made for younger modelers and for those seeking a neat low effort kit.

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So I made a little decal sheet for the kit to at least try and improve the model a bit, at the very least give it some reasonable looking head and tail-lights as those bugged me to no end, it’s still not as close to the real deal as I’d like it to be but it’s as close as I can get. Also, some incredibly basic red metallic paint to cover the body up. I liked the red but it looked somewhat dull, plus the interior color bleeds through the red plastic quite badly so I figured at least this way it’s somewhat less blotchy looking. My taping-off skills are nice and shit as per usual, but still – it looks alright! Now I’ve had this one sitting around for a while I’ve had the desire to purchase one of those 2010 F-150s again and see how it holds up against this bad boy. It’s just a very nice little rut-breaker of a kit, if you can get one on the cheap.

 

’17 Ford F-150 Raptor specifications:
Kit: #85-1985
Skill Level: 1
Parts: 18
Molded in: Red
Scale: 1/25

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1976 Ford Mustang II Cobra II – MPC

1976CobraII (21)In the article for the ’77 Mustang II by AMT I pretty much lamented the whole time that I wish I could compare it to a MPC kit and see how it holds up, cause I stumbled upon the realization that the AMT kits of yore were kinda slightly not entirely great, especially when held up to another similar product. And whaddya know, I got a hold of a similar product to compare it to! From the get-go I really, really just wanted to make a Cobra II model and just couldn’t ever get a hold of the appropriate Cobra II kit so I improvised by buying a Missing Link resin set for the MPC Mustang that mimic the parts from said kit so I wasn’t utterly screwed from the start on my little plan.

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Then around the same time I was designing the series of Mustang II decals among which the Cobra II so I had one printed in nice metallic gold as in my personal belief there’s only two downright beautiful Mustang II’s: one is the simple two-tone Mustang II Ghia and the other is the ’76 Cobra II in either all white with blue stripes or all black with gold. Cause, with all due respect, the Mustang II isn’t ugly. Not ugly per se, it’s a situation of ugly birth riddled with abusive parents, family and it wasn’t until it grew into its proverbial pants that it could shine once more as a fox body after being kneecapped in 1974. Judging it purely by looks, despite it being a Pokemon evolution like ordeal from the Pinto, it’s not half bad. Yes compared to the ones it once rivaled, the Javelin, the Camaro, the Firebird, the Challenger, so forth… Yeah, it looks like a jellybean that was left on a dashboard on a hot summers’ day, but again – it’s not necessarily ugly.

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Ford HQ, 1973.

As I said, in this rigorous defense of the indefensible, man what a hill to fuckin’ die on huh – the Mustang II originated from inside bickering, indecisiveness and of course good old fashioned panic cause of changing times. In the previous Mustang II article I described a scene in James May’s Cars of the People where he takes a few old employees of Ford, GM and Chrysler to drive in basically primo-Malaise era Mustang goodness and get their take on why it all just fell the fuck apart back then and the simple conclusion was lack of change – innovation came about slowly and no-one really cared for the sheer, utter greed these cars symbolized. They drank copious amounts of fuel, had more lengths of sheet metal than most boats and lets not overlook the grandiose idea of putting friggin’ lead into everything. Lee Iacocca, the grandfather of the Mustang way back in 1964 was also poetically the saving grace of the Mustang in general, he greenlit the downsized Mustang project for 1974. They literally were gonna bin the Mustang as it was to turn it into sedan very much how the Mercury Cougar started out and turned into a land yacht of luxury in 1975. So the project had one of two choices; turn it into a smaller, more Maverick-ey powerhouse of joy, or just… kill it. So this is where apparently we should stop drawing parallels between the Mustang and Camaros, Firebirds and whatnot and begin comparing the Mustang’s overall “decent-ness” to and get this; Chevy Monzas, Toyota Celicas, Mazda RX-3s, Ford of Europe’s Capri II and so forth.

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And that’s exactly where it went wrong and right at the same time, it once was the definition of a pony car, the quintessential muscle car and much like a one hit wonder rock star, it got yanked off stage and given a serious talking-to in order to get the thing to have its shit together. It began playing on a smaller level again, half the weight and size of what it was the year before, all the while its former competitors literally died off or carried on stronger than before, and that’s where the “wrong” comes in from before. The “right” was doing a drastic measure to save the Mustang from becoming a vapid shadow of itself, the “wrong” was not sticking with its guns. You see, the Camaro and Firebird had some changes but largely they stayed heavy-weight big-block powerhouses, all the way through and the Firebird especially. They kept high performance versions all the way through the seventies, largely no different from their pre-1973 offerings, just bottlenecked as all hell horsepower wise, but even from that they recovered by 1978.

1976CobraII (11)By 1975 the Mustang II was slowly growing back into its old self(despite its most successful sales coming from the bare bones Mustangs), getting the 302 V8 back, albeit at an absolutely anemic horsepower output. And in 1976, the first of the so called “Decal GT” cars began appearing. Being largely unchanged from the normal Mustang bar for some appearance stuff, the Cobra II was literally the least sporty “sports” car out there. It was basically the car equivalent of a overweight fellow in a velour jumpsuit. Don’t get me wrong though, I’d argue its the prettiest of that generation Mustangs, cause holy shit they went all in with the 1978 Mustang II King Cobra and it became a hideous amalgamation of body kit, stripes and stencils, shopping cart wheels and the amount of cobra bite equal of what you’d find in a plush toy. That being said though, I find it amazing nonetheless and am doing a decal sheet for it as we speak, but I digress!

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The wrong that the Mustang II committed was simply that they were not changing enough in either direction, they just weren’t accepting that the Mustang had died and needed a rebirth, either as the now ultimately hyper successful basic Mustang II or the power-wagon V8 from days of yore. Cause in the end, the AMC Gremlin was a better compact alternative(even Ford’s very own Maverick was too) and for old fashioned muscle you could just glean over to Chevrolet or Pontiac. They stalled for time for four years and didn’t gain any serious ground whatsoever on reclaiming the old Mustang name and spirit until 1979 when shoving a turbo onto everything and anything had Ford experimenting with smaller engines and maximizing their output via turbos. To be fair, it had some severe teething issues but it did pave the way for the stupidly successful and loved Fox body Mustang.

1976CobraII (10)But enough lamenting on the Mustang II’s existence. Back to the comparison, the AMT and MPC bodies are different. Very different. First of all, the AMT one is definitely the one pulling the short stick, it has deep sinks on several parts of the body, the assembly is nowhere near MPC’s and in the end, the whole interior was a silly afterthought to them, being flat and un-detailed to say the least. The shape is also… worse? I dunno, it’s in the eye of the beholder but I’d argue at least on the tail end and the grille especially the AMT one is far less accurate than MPC’s offering. The biggest sinner remains to be the wheel size on the AMT kit, which is hilarious to say the least. Engine-wise again it goes to AMT for having the worse of the two, though but no means a lot – the V6 engines offered in either kit are actually really neat, and it’s the V6 offerings that usually go completely unloved so its nice to see two nicer castings out there.

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Though yeah at the end of the day, the AMT kit loses out on just about every point – the MPC Mustang II kit is just miles ahead of the other, with just basic things being better like the tail lights being translucent and the quality being finer on the grille, steering wheel, so forth. But also in terms of the engine bay and interior, the MPC still lies far, far ahead. The quality is sharper, more accurately shaped scale wise and it just looks… right. It’s got hardly any flat detailing due to “who’s gonna see it anyway”, they put in a good effort. Today though, this is a unfortunate thing as the only thing that was re-released at all in the last decade or two was, you guessed it, AMT’s Mustang II kit. The MPC one, like so many, probably got changed to fit some horrible funny car design or pro-stock AWB tool and was irreversibly changed to accommodate those changes. Could also be that like the ’75 Dodge Dart it just lies in hibernation somewhere until someone’s like “Yeah, give that sucker a whirl, whatever right”.

1976CobraII (5)So, the biggest issue I had with this kit was the tires. They, much like everything back then, were just tossed in the box. Even though they were sort of rubberized and really, really nice for the time, they also had a horrible habit of melting into the plastic over the many years they’d lie untouched. Mine decided to mate with the windshield, rear glass and part of one of the seats and took some digging to get loose from those parts, so unfortunately I had no tires for this model. I did however have access to a nice little Ford Pinto kit with the mag wheels that were actually on a proper ’76 Cobra II! So I stole those tires and wheels and slapped ’em on there no problemo and of course, they were one-size-fits-all so they went on with hardly a bit of hassle. Put on the set of Firestone Firehawk SS decals I had prepared for ’em and done!

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Like, this is one of those builds I am actually really proud of. One of those cases where everything kind of just came together really, really well. The decals sit beautifully, the body kit from Missing Link I couldn’t have done without, the perfectly fitting Pinto wheels, so forth.

 

’76 Ford Mustang II Cobra II specifications:
Kit: I-7513
Skill Level: N/A
Parts: 94
Molded in: White
Scale: 1/25

1977 Ford Mustang II Mach 1 – AMT

77mustangii-1.jpgOh boy, oh boy, I finally got one. A second generation Ford Mustang kit, and not just any of them, the friggin’ AMT release. The Mustang II fascinates me to no end, for all the wrong reasons – lemme just get my sins out of the way. I like it for several reasons, one’s obviously the story behind the absolute US automotive disaster the Mustang II became to symbolize, the second is that I, and fuck me for saying this, kind of dig the way it looked, especially the more European styled Mustang II Ghia and third; where it ended up going. Cause the Mustang is basically the Elvis of the automotive industry, it came in and it essentially changed the whole game there and then in 1964. Then as it became to define success, by 1969, it started packing on some… weight.

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To put it gently, it got fat. Over the span of six years, the Mustang grew wider and longer, it gained more empty space under the hood for some reason, it packed on over 1100 pounds(that’s 506kg, or in automotive terms, that’s nearly a whole Fiat Panda or half a ’64 Mustang extra), the newly appointed Ford president Semon Knudsen greenlit the final of the heavy-weight boxer Mustangs in 1971, where it gained that final tally of weight and grew another 3 inches to accommodate the 429 Cobra Jet engine and then by 1973, as the United States entered the automotive dark ages, the Elvis horse left the building. It was slashed entirely for a revamped model done by legendary car designed Lee Iacocca who was partially responsible in breathing life into the original Mustang project to start with – kind of fitting, isn’t it. Iacocca initially had a Mustang concept based on the Maverick, something that reminds me of the AMC Gremlin concept that was based on a late sixties Javelin. But in the end, the Mustang II was gonna be based on a Pinto. Well then.

77MustangII (5)Obviously, something had to be done and Iacocca definitely nailed it on the head when he noted that the Mustang had to be downsized to ever stand a chance at living on, cause it didn’t just define the muscle car era, it also defined the horrible side of perpetual growth in the muscle car market. James May and his Detroit-oriented interviewees said it best in a episode of James May’s Cars of the People; to paraphrase it some – “Detroit had thirty years of no competition” and “the cars were designed to be replaced by the newer model a few years after, longevity was not on their minds“, and despite everything obviously this mind-set carried on for another twenty years at the least, a solid ten years past the Mustang II was deemed to be around. Granted, the Mustang II wasn’t a bad car, by no means. Hell arguably it was one of the better Mustangs to have been created, the Ghia was an attractive flat-decked coupe that screamed European something fierce, the hatchback wasn’t utterly ugly even though it was yes, just a overweight Pinto but it needed to survive. The economy-car popularity spike did allow the Mustang II to thrive something fierce, the V6 was gutted and produced the power equivalent of a old horse’s fart but its lightweight build did allow it to have some pep, something that was exploited once the economic crisis worries died off a little bit over the following years; they first re-introduced a V8 engine, the semi-legendary 302/5.0L option.

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Then, after that in ’76 they did a special appearance package to sort of re-live the old Mustang/GT500 mania with elaborate air dams, vents and spoilers, called the Cobra II but in reality it did… fuck-all to enhance the power, the anemic 302 still only produced little over 140HP, which to be fair, was somewhat on par with the competitors like the Camaro Z/28 and the Firebird with a 350ci V8 of the time, but still it was kind of clear that the damage was done by 1977 as the last two years of the II began. The Firebird was the most popular muscle car with the Camaro trailing a close second, in ’78 they gave it one last hurrah by chucking out a King Cobra edition which was just a weird, odd little edition meant to mimic the others. But fair enough, I kind of like the crazy revival of the King Cobra, it’s in some ways kind of exactly what muscle cars were all about; making you look their way.

77MustangII (14)In a way, the Mustang II might have been the best thing to have happened to the entire Mustang lineage. I know, hot take there Mr. Grumpyfuck, why don’t you go and worship some more European scrap, you cretin. And I’d say, you’d be right, I am that but still – look at the fox body Mustang that followed it in ’79. It was compact-ish, it was quick, it maintained the awesome hatchback design for most of its models, it was a nippy, lightweight… fox! And by some ways I like to imagine that the Mustang II’s downsizing helped that vision be realized, cause while the Camaro, Firebird and other muscle car survivors maintained their livelihoods, they stayed quite… large. Lengthy, at the least.

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But I digress… a lot. Both AMT and MPC made Mustang models through the seventies, MPC made several versions of the II, among a few being the Cobra II and King Cobra editions, some IMSA-ish looking beast and the bog-standard ’74 V6 hatchback. AMT sort of kept up, offering the Cobra II kind of(somekind of Matchbox edition) and the annuals from ’74 through ’77 with similar features everytime; opening hatch, same wheels, same engine and interior. And uh, yeah I wish I had a MPC ’77 Ford Mustang to compare it to, this kit isn’t especially great all in all but I just wish I could compare it and see how well it fares opposed to other seventies releases. Like, the kit’s glaring issues already start right away with the giant mold lines and the absolutely gargantuan tires. I mean, they are fucking massive. Stupidly, absurdly, to a degree of just damn silly large.

77MustangII (15)The body has fitting issues, there’s a sunken part on the tailgate right where the Ford lettering is, the mold lines are obscene, the hood nor the hatch will fit at all, the clear pieces slot in from the bottom, giving the illusion that the damn windows sit deep as hell and looks like someone glued plastic sheets in from the inside to cover the fact that the car came with no windows. The rims inside the stupidly huge wheels are also too damn big, the tail lights are unfortunately just chrome pieces, the whole chassis is just a flat plate and the suspension is absolutely huge and so weirdly shaped compared to the flat chassis, the interior is smooshed flat in a odd manner and just looks… wrong. The engine is a nice one though, goes together smoothly and the underappreciated 250ci/4.0L V6 is nicely detailed and it is one of the few quite well cast V6’s too.

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But again, it’s… from 1977. It’s old, it’s AMT, their Camaro offering opposed to the MPC Camaro offering wasn’t exactly great in comparison either, but y’know, letting it slide due to the sheer friggin’ rarity of the kits in question. It quickly becomes a matter of “it’s fine, it’s old” with these kits. Generally speaking, these kits are what I’d call “adequate”. It mimics the real body quite well, much better than the ’75 Camaro for sure. It’s just, at least from a purely looking-outside-in perspective arguably a worse model than the MPC kit(from other builds and box-content pictures at least), but it’s still nothing to scoff at. Though, there’s one other glaring omission, something MPC might’ve done overkill on during the same period – decals. There were none with this kit, or at least none that I got, at all. Yeah, my axles were also missing so for all I know they too weren’t put in but I believe there’s no decals based on the fact that the instruction sheet makes absolutely no call-outs for them, nor does the box. So, I made my own sheet for it, like I seemingly keep doing for every kit now.

77MustangII (19)And y’know what, in the end, who the hell cares right, with some effort and part sourcing, something I definitely didn’t get around to, you could quite handily turn this into a much better model than the box initially offers. Smaller tires aren’t otherworldly to come across, some wing mirrors aren’t too difficult to find spares of, the decals I’ve got for sale now so there’s those and you could do some chisel-work to the hood and tailgate to get ’em to shut properly. I love, absolutely love these misery cars from the seventies, for the lessons that were learned, for the slowly-growing appreciation for the Mustang II, for the overall perspective one gains looking into these things, from both the modeler’s side of things as well as the actual car, and how it held up opposed to other competitors at the time, now that we live in a facts-found-in-seconds world… Speaking of competitors, the next build I’m currently actively messing about with is the ’77 Toyota Celica LB-2000GT – Basically its Japanese cousin. Oh yes, oh yes indeed.

’77 Ford Mustang II Mach 1 specifications:
Kit: #T487
Skill Level: N/A
Parts: 90
Molded in: White
Scale: 1/25

2009 Ford F-350 Super Duty Crew Cab 4×4 – MENG

2009fordf350SD4x4 (1)One can say I’m on a bit of a pick-up streak as of late, starting with the I-wish-I-was-a-pickup ’87 El Camino SS, then Aoshima’s wonderful raised ’94 Toyota Hilux, got a ’91 Syclone kit underway ready to turn into the Marlboro version and now MENG’s first endeavor into model car kits, the 2009 Ford F-350. And it ain’t just any F-350, it’s the elongated Super Duty 4×4 with the crewcab… so it’s a nice and gentle 10 inches long. That, for the record, is easily one of the largest 1/24th scale car/pickup truck kits you can get. Hell later on in the article, I put it side-by-side with the ’05 Escalade kit from Revell which is also a 1/24th scale car. For real, it’s friggin’ gargantuan and I honestly came to the dilemma of “what the hell am I gonna do with this thing, it’s too big for any damn shelf!“, so now it’s awkwardly perched on a stack of books due to its ridiculous size.

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Right from the start I knew this was gonna be a fun one, mostly due to the hype that was built up by fellow model kit enthusiasts who hold this as a semi holy grail. Why? Well, by nature we’re a bunch of nit-picky pricks who scream for detail over functionality/build quality and fair, that’s what we strive for but while this kit has some errors here and there, it’s held up so high above all others for three reasons: 1), it’s a very unusual subject, especially for a company that literally never made model car kits before(in 2014, this was released, in ’15 they produced their second, the Hummer H1 and coming up in late ’17 – the 2017 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon) and it’s that exact seemingly random subject matter choice that related to so many of us who love building just… cars, regular old fashioned “you see this truck parked by Denny’s all the time” kind of car. Car, truck, you know what I mean. Ain’t nothing wrong with something slightly dreary or oh help me God, “regular” for a subject.

2009fordf350SD4x4 (5)2), it’s a super well thought out kit. Like, raise the bar some more why dontcha, MENG. Really, even Tamiya has hit a ceiling quality-wise and it’s still under what MENG has pulled out of their sleeves. The tooling is superb, it’s crisp, the planning is brilliant so that everything connects beautifully and best of all? Structurally sound. Once it fits, it sits. And lastly, 3), it’s riddled with detail. The engine bay is honestly the closest thing I’ve seen compared to the real stuff on any kit, the interior is crisp and done in such a manner that from a-far you couldn’t tell the difference, not until you see that none of the knobs have icons, the lines, the door handles, the little simulated light bulbs in the headlights, it’s all there and it’s all done perfectly.

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But about the truck itself, weirdly enough this is a truck we see quite commonly here in the Netherlands. Together with the ’11-’13 and ’15 Dodge Ram 1500, the ’08-’11 Ford F-150 and F-250 are quite common here, mostly driven by contractors as one would expect but for once other than the muscle cars I’ve worked on at the work place, I actually have seen this type of truck! Though boy, we only have the more recent F-series around here all the while the series has been around since 1948, for Christ’s sake. And even then, they’re kinda responsible(along with Chevrolet/GMC) for the shape that we know our pick-ups for today: square, boxy and long.

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The F-series truck is pretty much as American as it could possibly be, it’s been the best selling vehicle(yes, of all cars) since 1981 without any changes and the best selling pick-up truck since 1977, it’s always looked similar to the one that came before and for some reason, they just… kind of decided to last. Well, until the late eighties at least where they kind of ceased to last but, you know, at least if you had a ’78 F-series and it broke down somewhere, odds were you were gonna be lifted home by a F-series towtruck and the truck would be repaired in a jiffy, cause let’s be fair, parts for literally any generation of Ford F-series truck were about as common as grains of sand. Not to mention, while the trucks were hilariously unsafe(well, “unsafe” isn’t the right term, like most cars of the era, they were prone to being utterly fucked in case of a crash). They’re American culture through and through, and I can’t discredit its GM competitor brother, the Chevy C/K, for it too is just as much a icon.

2009fordf350SD4x4 (15)Though recently, and I don’t say this begrudgingly or anything, the pick-ups of GM and Ford have gotten… chunky. They weren’t ever the slim, nippy little trucks, oh no. Thats why we have the Ford Ranger and Chevrolet Colorado, the so called “compact trucks”, or under a tonne in weight, and to an extend the Dodge Ram but even at their respective sizes, the compact pick-up of the olden days is long gone. The Ranger is still mostly car with a bed attached but look at the smallest F-series, the F-150 and Jesus Christ that thing is frickin’ giant. They’re very imposing, like miniature Mack trucks with a giant, high slanted grille-hood, high seating compartment and just a ton of metal in between you and the world. But I’m just rambling on about unrelated stuff here, the article is about a train of a pick-up truck that also somehow can double as a nimble off-roader if the situation requires it so.

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Though, this kit is made to exact factory spec. It has OEM Continental Contitrac tires for ordinary highway use that, funnily enough, were all recalled in 2011 cause the tires would just fall apart after certain amounts of driving. Though in this kit, they’re awesomely produced and they are gorgeous quality. Nice, soft bouncy rubber, don’t get that too often. On top of that, it comes with two sets of wheels, the factory default ones and a set of 7-spoke rims that you could order on ’em at a Ford dealership, a very nice and optional choice that I adore. It also comes with a series of bed accessories(and a for now unreleased brush-guard and rollover-bar set from MENG, which is set to be released in November 2017) like a bed extender that reminds me way too much of an animal pen, it all goes to show that even for a very ordinary pick up truck kit, you can throw in extras that make sense.

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The real show, the true unique thing to the kit, is the absolutely massive 6.4L V8, the Power Stroke diesel engine, that has been replicated to a scary degree of accuracy. It’s huge, for starters, but the thing I appreciate most is that it’s like a 100% clone to the real deal, with perfect positions for the ignition wires and all, so I figured screw it, I’mma wire this sucker up and make it look… well, even more accurate. The only downside to the engine is the instructions(which are in a nice little colored-print booklet instead of a leaflet, thanks MENG!), which are vague as sin at best. There’s a intricate puzzle happening under the hood and boy it’s a shambles to figure it all out. For instance, the radiator coolant is meant to sit on the front radiator under the hood latch bar, I didn’t know this until long after I put it together.

2009fordf350SD4x4 (17)But you know what, screw it. While raggedy-ass, it looks pretty damn good still. Though I should point out a few more flaws, for one the connecting of the body to the frame is impossible due to the nature of the interior bucket and the windows, there was some trimming required to make it all meet and I didn’t know of this until long after I glued the damn things in place. The second thing is, the front bumper droops down and is already too low as it is. There’s also some missing bits that kind of stand out due to the immense detail, like there’s no steering box or the front suspension is missing the track bar, or that the decals incorrectly show “6.8L Triton V10” on the fender emblems instead of “6.4L Powerstroke V8“, that sort of stuff. I don’t particularly care though, as this kit is such a masterpiece despite that the flaws are just at worst some annoyances.

The kit’s pre-painted in dark, kind of a slate gray and that’s the color I decided to go with for two reasons, one is that dark colors are notoriously hard to primer away and two, I kind of dig the plainclothes look the truck still has with the semi-dull color, y’know, despite the 4×4 decal and the stupendous length. For the most part, the kit’s default color isn’t badly cast, some splotches here and there in the paint which were mostly on the inside of the fenders and the underside of the bed so they’re not obvious whatsoever luckily, but I reckon that can differ from kit to kit. The decal sheet, I should mention, is tiny but legendarily high quality. There’s no visible backing once they’re set plus they’re tough as hell and don’t rip apart easily.

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The whole kit screams superb quality, from the cast all the way to the box and the instruction booklet. Not to mention, it’s fun to have this ten inch tank sitting half-crooked on a stack of books due to lack of display space. Having finally built this kit, which by the way, quality increase means price increase as the RRP was over forty bucks even back when it came out, I can’t wait to see how the upcoming Jeep Wrangler kit of theirs will look like and come together. There’s a first time for anything, for me trying a new brand and for MENG trying out a new world of products after having only made tanks, figurines, planes and… dinosaurs, and holy hell, man it all worked perfectly.

’09 Ford F-350 Super Duty Crew Cab 4×4 specifications:
Kit: “Car Series”, CS-001
Skill Level: N/A
Parts: 122
Molded in: Dark Gray, Gray, Black and Chrome
Scale: 1/24

1970 Ford Mustang Boss 302 – Revell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1992 Ford Thunderbird Super Coupe – Revell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blog Update #004 – Year in Review

As I said a couple times before, I don’t generally end up blogging, given this is only the fourth time in well over ten months. Though when I think about it, it’s nice to have a nice overview over all the things I’ve ended up building this year.

And I gotta admit, it’s kinda nice knowing that the visits have picked up speed and that apparently, some folks like getting a look at what a kit’s all about without seeing the racks and all. I thank all you guys that ended up taking a gander, I hope it made your creativity spike some and such! Lord knows I’ve come a hell of a long way this year, from barely being able to get some smaller details down all the way to appropriately wiring up model cars. ❤

83camaroz28-10 70transam-9 1979chevroletelcaminoss-10 71gtx-5
20161128_084924 70superbirdnew_1-9 66gto_1-3 69camaross396-7
75grantorino-14 72oldsmobile442-2 2016camaross-11 71cuda_new-12
74roadrunner-5 elcamino_new-1 69chargerdaytona-9 71dodgecharger_new (5)
70cuda_new (4) 69pontiacgtojudge (9) alfaromeo155dtm (8) 98firebirdnew (6)
69chargernew (7) 70torino_new (1) challengernew (1) 1969oldsmobilehurst-1
70chevelleSS (2) 70challenger_new (2) 91chevy454ss-2 1977firebird (14)
68pontiac_new (2) yenkob 70buick_new (2) 79camaro
s10c 83hurstolds (8) 68dart (3) 90mustang (7)
87montecarlo1-3 2013camarozl1-1 70camaroz28_new nickey2

Merry Christmas and a happy new year y’all!

1975 Ford Gran Torino – Revell

75grantorinoboxRevell’s been making quite the living off making model kits of “famous” movie cars. Most of the tuner cars from Fast and the Furious, like the Acura, the Mitsubishi, so forth, then of course also the ’69 Yenko Camaro and the ’70 Dodge Charger. The ’68 Mustang Fastback and the ’68 Dodge Charger from Bullitt, as well as the “retro-inspired” special version of the ’08 Mustang GT.

Traditionally they’re above average in difficulty and not just to cash in on the licensing, so the effort on ’em is always rewarded! And for the first time in a while, this one’s made with new tools. First Gran Torino on the market for as far as I’m aware

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Though one thing needs to be said, unlike the others(or most others, rather), this one’s molded in color. The body parts molded in “tomato red” and the engine and chassis in black. In some 75grantorino-5sense they made building it a bit easier cause you won’t need to paint a fair amount, though as always it’s molded in semi-gloss so the paint looks more dirty than anything and you’ll end up clear coating it anyway.

But despite that, it still looks good. Getting the right shade for the red paint would’ve been hard anyway so I’m really appreciative of the molding it in color. Though of course it eliminates freedom, but with the raised suspension and rather unique wheels it’s not really possible to make a regular ol’ Gran Torino Brougham or something in that vein.

I bought a photo etched detail set from Model Car Garage for the model, the molded grille is great in detail but the PE parts make it come to life so much more. And when I realized just how comical side-emblem decals look compared to PE parts if they’re available while building the Oldsmobile Cutlass 442, I’m just really happy I bought ’em to make it look that much better.

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75grantorino-10The gist of the model I suppose is that it’s nice and very, very approachable. Folks would consider this a “get back in” kit, something with a very decent result with fairly little effort. It’s a great model kit to get back into the hobby again, it hasn’t got a ton of parts, they’re all already pre-painted so all you really have to do is either build it and have a nice curbside model or paint some of the trays so you get a very decent middle-of-the-ground model kit that looks really good in the end.

Interior detail is pretty high, it has some very good molding so most the details are clearly75grantorino-12 visible. Albeit all in one color, it does has some decals complimenting the interior detail, like the wood on the dash and glovebox as well as all the lock cylinders.

Engine detail is actually pretty high, I mean when you look at it from the trays or the box picture, it looks a bit meager, cause it gives off a “it’s all one big piece” vibe. But, it’s actually pretty damn good! I didn’t wire the engine up for once, felt like this was a nice build in between larger ones. The 351 Windsor engine’s replicated nicely with a fair amount of attention to detail. I mean, I would complain over it’s simplistic nature but I suppose that’s the exact appeal of the kit, so for what it is, it does look really good!

In the end, the kit’s really nice! Like I said, it’s great if you’re in a bit of a rut and feel like you wanna get back into the hobby but it’s just too much effort. Other than that, it still is nice to build at any given time, whether it’s in between builds or just cause it’s a nice car to have around in small scale.

’75 Ford Gran Torino specifications:
Kit: #85-4023
Skill Level: 4
Parts: 88
Molded in: Tomato Red & Black
Scale: 1/25

1990 Ford Mustang LX 5.0 – Revell

90mustang (1)This is one of those great kits that come up from Revell’s headquarters every now and again. The kinda kit that’s extra packed with options, extra detailed and in the end truly comes together like a showroom replica of the car itself. It’s a more difficult skill 3(or as it’s nowadays known: 5), packs more parts and comes this much closer to being the real deal, just smaller.

It’s also a rare case of a police car done well, without focusing on the over the top shotgun-in-the-back-CB-in-the-front obvious catches, it’s got all the checks requested by the California Highway Patrol for the Mustang SSP; spotlights on the window frame, a interior red light, two siren lights on the platform behind the rear seats, CB unit on the dash, chrome dishes on the blacked-out wheels, proper CA Exempt plates, it even has the in-itself extra of turning a regular CHP cruiser into a K9 unit. Hell the only thing that it’s missing, and believe me it’s a giant stretch when I say this, is a CB antenna. Don’t let the box art fool you, it’s even better than that.

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I on the other hand made it a regular LX 5.0, I like the car a lot more as a regular old90mustang (6)
Mustang. Just needed to be said just how unbelievably well Revell has done the CHP Mustang, one of the CHP’s favorites.

All in all, it was a pretty difficult build. In the good sense, that it’s very detailed in the interior, in the engine bay and underneath the whole thing. Complicated suspension, detailed engine, so on. Usually kits forego the suspension cause it’s usually not directly visible but this one? The 90mustang (7)whole package. The only thing about this whole kit I didn’t like is the stock wheels the LX 5.0 comes with.

I could’ve sworn the Mustang of that era comes with 5 spoke wheels, could’ve been the fastback version only having those, not sure. But I ended up replacing them with some absolutely giant wheels from the second version of the ’70 Cuda kit by Revell, which happened to perfectly fit cause both share the metal pins that go in the axle, they almost hit the wheel wells now but, somehow it still works.

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I’m still contemplating anodizing them so they’re at least no longer chrome, but for now it 90mustang (11)will do just fine. The interior detail is really, really strong too. Stronger in the CHP version obviously due to the extra little bits, but even then, with some paintwork it looks borderline real. It’s got a bit of a weird mount for the arm-rest but that’s just me being a nitpicker.

The engine bay on the other hand is also a thing of beauty, the V8 got the detail it deserved. The giant air-intake unit on-top, the distributor mount, it looks great with some decent paint work. I must’ve done something wrong cause my engine block is angled a bit backwards, it looks sorta odd but what the hell, it’s finished!

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Revell did a extraordinary job with this one, once the wheels are anodized this beauty gets the shelf space it deserves.

’90 Ford Mustang LX 5.0 specifications:
Kit: #85-4252
Skill Level: 3
Parts: 86
Molded in: White
Scale: 1/25

 

1970 Ford Torino GT – Revell

70torino1Revell’s made a bunch of Torino’s before and have made a couple since, the ’69 Torino Talladega, the ’70 Torino Cobra, the ’76 Starsky & Hutch Torino and then there’s this one.

Based on the older yet more correct version by Pro Modeler and Monogram, which featured their fixed take on a slightly older Monogram Torino kit which had a couple of errors on the body. But in typical Pro Modeler fashion it caught some really nice extras like extremely high standard molding and some photo-etched parts.

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This one’s the more recently published version of the kit by Revell, still including the photo-etched parts and the two in one build of the kit. The PE parts are the grille GT logo, 70torino_new (2)
the side trim line, Torino logo for the rear fender, the GT emblems above the side intakes and the honeycomb pattern over the tail light. These all could’ve just been extra decals,
but the fact that they’re PE just shows the extra effort they’ve made into making this one a step above the rest.

The 2-in-1 part of the build involves the factory stock version with the two-toned stripes that run on the sides(that I didn’t include cause the 1970 Torino didn’t generally come in black) for every factory stock color combo and a drag version with red/orange/yellow stripes and sponsor logos and such.

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There’s not a whole lot of optional stuff for the drag version but the bits that are there are very nicely detailed such as Ford Motorsport branded rocker covers, rollcage, raised rear suspension, separate set of rims and M/T sponsored drag slicks.

Interior quality is superb as well, with some decals for the wood paneling and all the dash panels. It could just be a left-over of Pro Modeler’s standards but man, this is really just a step above anything I’ve seen so far from Revell. Even the ’68 Dodge Dart wasn’t as detailed as this and I still hold that one as one of the best out there.

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The engine is a damn beauty to behold, the 429 Cobra Jet’s giant air filter’s there but you can also slap on the more compact drag alternative. It’s a nice and crowded engine bay that’s got all the bits and pieces that should be there, nothing’s left out.

All in all, this is one of the finest Revell kits I’ve had my hands on. Everything fit as it should, there’s a ton of bits and pieces to work with, it’s hyper detailed and it has nice PE parts as a extra which I happily take.

’70 Ford Torino GT specifications:
Kit: RMX-4099
Skill Level: 3
Parts: 139
Molded in: White
Scale: 1/25