2002 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am Collector Edition – Revell

2002FirebirdCE (1)For Pontiac, the early 2000s were a time of change and adaptation. Gently guided by the revamp of their lineup and the broadening of their market by General Motors in 2004, which saw legendary names like the Firebird getting axed in 2002(which had less to do with the revamp and more to do with the beyond terrible sales numbers for it and the Camaro brother), the Bonneville getting axed in 2004, the Grand Am in 2005, the GTO came back badge-engineered from an Australian badass that still lives today(as the HSV Commodore); the Holden Monaro and the last decade also saw the introduction of a few new ones like the Solstice, a fun and quite killer looking little two door, the G6 and G8 saloons and the… Aztek, which got replaced by a more sensible albeit a slightly fatter looking Dodge Caliber.

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And then… in 2008, GM finally ended their drunken stagger in financial misfortune by falling face first into their own puke puddle and realized it was time to either sell their puppies off of tell someone to get shotgun from the shed, either for themselves or the pups in question. Hell, Pontiac wasn’t the only one to go in that decade… Oldsmobile got shuttered in 2004 already even though their kill shot occurred in 2000. But anyhow, in mid-2009, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, GMC and Hummer were led in front of the wall and blindfolded as the GM execs debated and fought on which they could keep, sell or shutter, like some demented game of fuck-marry-kill. GMC got saved, likely cause American pick ups just sell like hotcakes regardless of brand. Saab got sold off, again, only this time to one of my country’s finest; Spyker Automobiles, a sale that legit got laughed off the stage here in the Netherlands and dragged Spyker to its knees in debt, shuttering Saab in 2012. Saturn got… well, I kind of liked Saturn’s brief 20-something year existence but that was a shot hardly heard around the world. Hummer too got shot down in flames in 2010 and Pontiac? Well Pontiac got shuttered all together, all operations ceased, the dealerships would sell their stock and get closed or rebranded and the only thing that remains today is the Pontiac trademark that has been updated every ten years, set to expire in July 2027 – and based on the somewhat melancholy attitude around Pontiac’s death, they’re likely to keep renewing the trademark every decade.

2002FirebirdCE_sunny (3)So, y’know, long story, but the last decade of Pontiac’s life was actually kind of depressing and the Firebird being killed off in 2002 didn’t help. But it got a nice little last hurrah if you will, being granted a “Collector Edition”, originally intended as a 35th anniversary which turned more into a final salute. Less than 2000 were offered, with options like a convertible or a T-top and by default the nice WS6 package which comes with the LS1 5.7L V8 that churned out a solid 325 horsepower, embroidered Collector Edition emblems into the seats and a number badge on the center console showing the build number of the car, two metal CE badges on the doors and a series of black, gray and silver stripes running along the rear quarter and across the hood. In kit form however, the ’98 Firebird wasn’t a Trans Am model but a mere Ram Air with the same engine block, mostly cause, I’m just assuming here, they didn’t get the rights for the Trans Am name as they didn’t manage to get them either for the ’77 Firebird. It also has the single exhaust set-up, so there’s that.

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Anyhow, last year I got the ’98 Firebird built and was quite pleasantly surprised. It’s like its real counterpart based mostly on the Camaro, with a fair amount of Camaro parts still being on the sprues, like the LT1 engine parts and the little stamper to get the fog-lights into the bumper, but it does have the benefit of its build quality which is quite awesome! It’s one of those nineties kits that was designed to be versatile and really, really detailed. It started with the ’93 Camaro Pace Car kit, followed up by the ’93 Firebird very shortly after and those eventually became the ’98 and ’02 Camaro and the ’98 Firebird, as the Firebird never got a final salute by Revell. This kit, is the one I suggested folks should get in the ’98 Firebird post, which is infinitely better! Well, I was wrong it turns out, it’s just somewhat better due to the choice of wheels, given the decals are still prone to being milky and will get ugly borders if the box has been opened before.

2002FirebirdCE_sunny (6)But that’s besides the point, the plastic is also of a somewhat increased quality, the T-top decals were once kind of matted glass-textured and now turned into literal black slabs, which in some cases can be seen as a improvement or considered to be a lot cheaper and worse, up to the builder I suppose, but y’know – it’s still a bit better. The only problem I ran into is that given the previous owner of this delightful little kit had opened it and somehow let it get squashed. The body warped outwards which I stupidly over corrected by squeezing it too far back inwards, causing the bumpers to no longer fit and the hood to no longer shut properly. This exaggerated the panel gaps on the bumpers quite a friggin’ bit… But oh well. That’s just how life goes whilst trying to be a cheapskate.

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Initially, I made a decal sheet for the whole thing that includes some interior things I didn’t get around to using like a pair of floor mats cause I tried to flock the interior flooring however the decals for the engine bay I did use to great effect cause Goddamn I am happy with how crisply they came out, especially the text. The tail light masks which in my opinion should’ve been a part of the kit in the first place given how weird it looks without make a hell of a difference too. Other than that, I genuinely wish the kit came with dual exhausts cause… the bumper has the two holes for it, it’s so strange to see the open exhaust port and just have nothing there. I genuinely don’t know if its because of the type of Firebird or if its just something they did to avoid Trans Am related bits and bobs.

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So, in the end, it’s really just another kit I built to try and test fit some decals onto, bit similar to the AMC Gremlin and Pacer of late and I dunno, it’s quite a success! The stripes look fantastic, the text based decals look sharp as hell and the whole thing kind of came out looking quite alright besides the fact that obviously, it was warped a fair amount. Not to mention I do friggin’ love me some special edition GM material, like the whole Camaro anniversary line up and sooner or later all the Firebird ones! Revell has made a 25th Anniversary edition Firebird and I’m in the process of making a version of the 30th – so at least there’s that.

’98 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am Collector Edition specifications:
Kit: #85-2159
Skill Level: 2
Parts: 102
Molded in: White
Scale: 1/25

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1980 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am – MPC

1980firebirdtransam_box.jpgOkay, imagine this. It’s January 1979, the new Firebird Trans Am just a few months prior was beginning to hit the market with the updated front end and darkened out tail and celebrated its 10th anniversary with style. Two years before, Smokey and the Bandit lit the fire under the Firebird popularity and made it go stratospheric, effectively making the Firebird the “go-to” muscle car of the late seventies. However, in April of ’79 the second energy crisis crippled the United States once more and even stricter regulations had to be made to curb the giant usage of oil they no longer could import.

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So cue 1980 coming around and the Firebird needed to be changed somewhat, all the while the hype train kept rolling. So they decided on the turbocharged 301ci V8 which was a smaller engine option on the previous Firebirds and the 305ci V8, the standard in the Camaro which effectively brought the Camaro and Firebird back to even lines on the performance front. Other than that, the Firebird stayed the same for the most part, some new wheel choices and a couple more color shades were added to the buyers’ folder. Part of the hype train was MPC with their annual kits, which was in the process of making another Firebird release that they had been dutifully doing since 1968. Though every new facelift or so, MPC would get a contract by General Motors or for General Motors, whichever the hell it could’ve been, to make promotional kits. Promo kits basically entailed a detailed body, somewhat detailed chassis and depending on the car; a detailed interior. But most importantly? Rolling wheels, oh yeah. That was a kicker. I mean, who gives a damn? Right, the folks who usually got these kits were the actual car buyers who were given one by the dealership for their kids to build or to “display” that they’re a proud you-name-it owner. Hell 99% of the time, it was pre-built in a little box, this ’80 Firebird T/A being a buildable kit apparently is a super rare occurrence.

1980firebirdtransam (5)Promo kits were pretty damn popular throughout the fifties and sixties but as the seventies rolled around, the divide between promo kits and just, regular kits, was beginning to get really wide. Promo kits by this point were just there to be given to the car buyers, and at most if it weren’t for that, had a mail order at the dealership where you could order one of these kits for two or three bucks.

Here I got the ’79 release for the upcoming 1980 Firebird Trans Am as a promo kit, which means it’s all molded in one color besides a couple of “accenting” bits and has screws that allow the body to be tightly secured to the chassis. It is entirely the same as the 1979 Firebird promo, down to the friggin’ box, but what the hell I can overlook ’em for that one – they’re meant to be flashy dealership pieces after all.

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Now, I should admit – I built the 1979 Pontiac Firebird T/A a year ago and… well, I won’t lie; it was shit. It’s one of those MPC releases that went the other of two ways. You see, MPC kits either go in the way that it’s reasonable by all means, not bad, not great, a kit you can have fun with and improve on to make great. Like the ’76 Dart, or the ’81 Omni 024. Hell, even the ’80 Volaré was pretty good in that way. But then you got the distinctively terrible ones, where the kit went the other way. Where it was meant to be a bland, unoriginal pile of wank that was no fun to build and certainly no fun to expand upon. For instance, the ’73 Cougar or the ’67 GTO. The ’79 Firebird was a kit I tried so damn hard on to get a reasonable result out of and… to no avail. I thought I could mend the situation of it and even with a ton of advice of those who failed with this kit before, I just couldn’t do it. It was becoming half a tube of epoxy and a bunch of sweat, blood and tears and it still looked like crap. So, I abandoned it. It was finished, yeah, but it looked half done. I was quite ashamed of the way it turned out and had hardly a positive word of it, so I didn’t even bother writing an article for it and the only evidence of this mess that exists is the picture on the Collection page.

1980firebirdtransam (2)Then I came across this one on eBay, all wrapped up for damn near nothing. And I couldn’t resist, I thought at first it was a pre-built promo model that I could dismantle and give a proper model kit freshener, but then I held the box and it made the noise of a bunch of sprues sliding about in the box. That was the first pleasant surprise I got from this model kit. The second pleasant surprise lies with the nature of this kit…

It’s a supremely easy kit, it’s 37 parts in total and that’s including the four headlights, tires, wheels and wheel backings. So in reality, it’s somewhere around the 20 if it weren’t for things like the fender flares being on separate sprues. But the surprise lied with the fact that this kit goes together fantastically. And it gave me a weird but positive lesson; MPC should do simple kits like this. The engines that MPC did in the 1970s were pretty damn awful, so awful that most modelers wouldn’t even bother giving it the 100% treatment with engine wires or would even go as far as to epoxy the hood shut. And this engine-less simplistic as sin build… it’s so smooth and goes together so nicely, it gives me nothing but feelings of all those MPC kits could’ve been so much better if it had gone down this road.

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But of course, who would pay full retail price for 30 odd part kits? Not a damn soul, I reckon. Anyway, this kit in particular could come in two color choices for as far as I’m aware. Either in black with the golden bird decals or in “Francisco red” with the same decals as well. The black one is ungodly expensive, while the Francisco red one is balls cheap. So I did what any reasonable soul would do; buy the red one and make Mick Jagger proud by painting it black all around. Granted, the rare red color is nice though and it would take hardly any work to get a nice red Firebird out of it, but I much prefer the all black one.

Another nice thing that this kit has that the normal 1979 full kit doesn’t is the Pontiac snowflake wheels, I love those and their omission in the ’79 kit was such a damn shame! Though of course, speaking of omissions, it’s lacking the frickin’ door mirrors. MPC has been known for the re-use of the same shape of door mirror since ’73 in several kits(most Mopar kits at least), and honestly having those would’ve meant that there was a set at least. So I stole a couple from a old Mercury kit I had lying around in shambles. One piece that was left from the 1979 kit that did turn out to be useful? The whole decal sheet. I made it red on white at the time so thankfully, I had the whole golden bird set left! The Trans Am scripts, the bird, so forth.

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I learned some things from that kit, too. For instance, I attempted to give the headlights some more depth and the tail light which in this kit is a solid black piece instead of a clear piece, I only used a red permanent marker on it and painted the fuel cap piece satin black to keep that subtle blacked out tail light looking dark, while red. So with all that said and done, I didn’t have and couldn’t find a similar color to the original gold-on-black color set up’s interior – anywhere I looked, the satin tan color was sold out. So what did I do? I just stuck with the good ol’ black.

1980firebirdtransam (13)Finished the whole thing up with some BF Goodrich Radial T/A tire decals, which sadly required me to cut off the very embossed Goodyear Polyglas GT tire letters off there to make space for ’em, though then I ran into issue numbero dos; the tires don’t actually fit the rims! So I luckily had some spare tires from a ’70 Mustang kit, a 1/24th scale kit and fitted the rims in there and lo and behold they fit exactly!

I like it this kit a fair bit actually, there’s something to be said about the utter simplicity of this kit also being it’s saving grace.

’80 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am specifications:
Kit: MPC78-8071-250
Skill Level: N/A
Parts: 37
Molded in: Francisco Red
Scale: 1/25

1992 Pontiac Firebird Formula – Monogram

92pontiacfirebirdformulaboxRevell-Monogram’s been pushing out 1/24th scale Firebirds since 1982, which marked the drastic change in how the car looked for the third generation.

Much like the Camaro on which it was based from here on out in both chassis as well as engines, it became boxier but also maintaining its meaner appearance due to the hidden headlights and darkened out taillights. And again, much like its Camaro brother it changed very little through its ten year lifespan before the even more drastically changed fourth generation would take over, but before it did; it spawned a model that would last for the last two years with a interesting and rather pretty facelift.

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Inspired by the Banshee IV concept car(The fourth generation of both the Camaro and Firebird actually got a lot of the design cues from these things, man if only the Pontiac Banshee happened) it was given a rounder body and that Banshee nosecone with recessed lights and a giant air-dam. Granted, the ’91 and the ’92 are virtually the same car just with some real world improvements for driver comfort but in the model world this means nothing and that’s why this kit also co-exists with the Revell release in 2007 of the “’91 Firebird Formula” with the exact same car on the box.

Anyway, I got my hands on a rarer re-release of the kit from the early nineties that isn’t the Revell one and doesn’t have the 2-in-1 options like the giant aftermarket rims, though it’s still technically a 2-in-1 based on the giant fiery Formula logos and literal Firebird decal for on the hood, but I didn’t bother with all of that – I went for a metallic blue Firebird Formula, simple yet pretty damn good looking.

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It’s still the same Firebird kit from 1992, but with all the modern improvements. For instance, the plastic is really sturdy and the detail is fantastic. And along with the expanded decal sheet(comes with two sets of dials, black and white, indicator/reflector lights for the sides, three colors of Formula logos, so on) it makes for a worthy re-release.

And like most Monogram releases of old, the kit goes together smoothly too. I mean, it’s still a bit of a chore to get body parts to sit where they’re meant to when other parts are sort of in the way, like the chassis for instance is meant to sit perfectly in a slit under the 92pontiacfirebirdformula-10inside of the headlights in the front bumper, though the chassis is free to much around until the bumper’s glued on so… Yeah, that’s a tug of war the bumper ain’t gonna win. But really, that’s the only niggle I ran into and it’s just a silly little annoyance.

Though of course, gotta mention that with nearly all Monogram kits, the engine bay detail is great but very… “slab-ish“. That’s a new term I sorta invented just there, but the idea is that important bits of the engine bay are usually molded in such a way that they sort of are elongated down to the chassis, for simplifying reasons I suppose. I mean, it’s hardly visible on this model cause of the giant 305ci/5.0L Tuned Port Injection V8 which is molded fantastically, but it’s generally always there and kind of just doesn’t look right.

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The bottom line is that this kit is freakin’ great. In every way possible, it’s just a fantastic little kit that goes rather unloved it would appear. It’s still readily available, very cheap and seemingly staying in stock for a long, long time. And I will say, I’m glad I bought it and used some extra stuff on it, like the BF Goodrich Radial T/A decals and the slightly fancier metallic blue paint.

’92 Pontiac Firebird Formula specifications:
Kit: #85-4012
Skill Level: 2
Parts: 78
Molded in: White
Scale: 1/24

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. ❤

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Merry Christmas and a happy new year y’all!

1970 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am – Monogram

70transam-11Another golden oldie of the 1/24th scale line up from Monogram, one of the later ones made by ’em in that particular era. And this one might’ve been the hardest for me to find. But Monogram’s been making great kit after great kit since the early eighties, from the best muscle cars to more daily driver type vehicles like the ’79 Chevy El Camino and ’81 Chevy Citation.

This one was cast and sold in 1991, which makes it one of the later Monogram releases and oddly enough, it’s stupidly hard to find. And like most of those kits, they later got a re-release in the early 2000s briefly under the “Motor City Muscle” line and then it just vanished off the map like most model kits.

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And like usual, the normal Monogram staples apply; excellent exterior detail, very nice interior, beautiful engine, above average engine bay detail and slightly limited decal choice that either hold their own over time or turn dingy yellow. But since the most important 70transam-9parts are always beautifully cast and made, one really can’t ever truly complain about the quality.

That being said though, it’s a nice and simple build. I didn’t end up wiring the engine bay up, I wanted to but the lack of spare time and well… I ain’t impatient, but I can be hella impatient, I figured I wanted this beauty set up and standing on the display pronto. And for a change, I even ended up mixing the Pontiac engine blue! Which was a hassle of trying and being absolutely idiotic, just mix some white, metallic green and metallic blue and poof, but no I ended up stirring a heck of a lot more in there.

But I digress, as I said a few times now, the body quality is awesome. You wouldn’t guess it’s a 25 year old model. Even before painting it. It’s got no flash, the details are crisp as hell and the only thing that didn’t go smoothly was the front valance just refusing to stay where it needs to stay. Which of course is an age issue, but y’know, can’t argue with a 25 year old kit being tightly wrapped in plastic being a tiny tiny bit warped.

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The interior is pretty great too, it’s a slight bit simplistic and there’s no decals to enhance it some but from just glancing in it looks alright. The mold quality is high enough that with a very steady hand you can easily paint the details on the dials if you’d be willing to go that far for it.

70transam-8Speaking of decals, exterior wise you get the two official choices available in nicely detailed(with faux shading and all!) white and blue stripes and T/A emblems. No giant Firebird for the hood sadly but who really minds, the little bird on the nose with the 70transam-9stripes ain’t any less good looking and besides it works beautifully with the appropriately colored Ram Air III shaker sitting ontop of that big six liter Pontiac 400 V8.

All of which are detailed amazingly, as per usual. It’s always a bit disappointing to see the rest of the engine bay being a bit bare but it’s just one of those things that Revell Monogram got stronger with over time.

In the end, this kit is just one of those builds that you greatly enjoy and has a hell of a result in the end to go along with it. Like the Superbird, it’s a great rut breaker to get yourself back in the hobby, provided you can find one for less than 40 bucks still in it’s shrink-wrap.

’70 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am specifications:
Kit: #85-2794
Skill Level: 2
Parts: 70
Molded in: White
Scale: 1/24

1966 Pontiac GTO – Revell

1966pontiacgto-18A while ago I watched the series finale of Sons of Anarchy, in which the ‘good guys’ end up chasing down a IRA member trying to make a getaway in a champagne/gold ’66 Pontiac GTO, with some excellent 18 inch blacked out TorqThrust wheels and a vinyl roof. Now the Revell kit of old doesn’t have a separate set of wheels, but the ’66 Royal “GeeTo” GTO drag festival car does!

They’re still 14 inch, but they’re still rather nice. I did order a TorqThrust set that was similar to the car in the show but when they arrived, they ended up being 1/24th in scale rather than 1/25 so couldn’t use them.

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But I digress, did end up purchasing a set of photo etched parts from Model Car Garage, along side of it all. And I gotta admit, it’s strange that this kit isn’t part of the Special 20161104_070132Edition line-up cause it’s way up there. It’s got ridiculous detail, detail on every angle that would normally get overlooked easily. It’s really, really good!

That being said though, the kit itself is becoming rarer and rarer by the day, even though it’s only been like half a decade since it’s been released, it’s already really hard to find for a reasonable price.

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The body itself is molded perfectly, usually there’s a fender mold line or something that you gotta sand off but this one’s cleverly hidden on the inside of the model where it’ll be hidden from view after it’s build up, besides that the mold quality itself is grand. With
66gto_1-7little details like the bumped up detail on the GTO and Pontiac logos and lock cylinders, as well as a detail that easily could’ve gone a-miss like the louvre styled rear lights.

Also the parts that need to be chromed are perfectly molded and are easily chromed out, with the acrylic pen(which is what I use) or bare metal foil, no hard task thanks to it. But it doesn’t end there, the interior quality is also superb, with properly detailed interior doors, the center console, seat texture, dashboard, so on. It’s really, really well made. Which is why I’m surprised it’s not a part of the Special Edition line and it also doesn’t have a picture of the model on the front which is also in turn kind of hiding the fact that it’s a great, great kit.

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Before I’ll get to the engine, I should go over the bits you get with the Jim Wangers’ drag-
toy GeeTo Tiger which of course is the center of the kit despite that I went with a simplistic stock ’66 GTO. You get a giant, giant sheet of decals, though few pieces. Which is a good thing, otherwise you’d be putting on around 19-20 single pieces,  but they’re nice and high quality and they’re as close to the real thing as they’re gonna get.

66gtonew-6You also get this nifty little statue with it that actually is meant to go inside the car, in the seat, it looks a little goofy but y’know, like that uncanny valley version of Linda Vaughn that comes with the Revell ’72 Hurst/Olds kit, it’s still a nice extra! But anyway, to the engine. It’s got a beautiful 400ci Pontiac V8 Tri-Power engine with again significant detail. The only thing that can be said is that the carburetor detail isn’t up there with the rest, but hey, nitpicking like crazy here.

It’s such a great kit, and incidentally now the “oldest” model I’ve made. Previously it was just the ’67 Camaros, now it’s the ’66 GTO.

’66 Pontiac GTO specifications:
Kit: #85-4037
Skill Level: 2
Parts: 114
Molded in: White
Scale: 1/25

1969 Pontiac GTO “The Judge” – Monogram

69pontiacgtojudge (1)A 1994 re-issue of from 1982 release from Monogram, and God it’s a great kit. Though it’s entirely molded in a semi-gloss orange, engine, interior etc. It’s molded pretty solid and has little excess flash on the trays and frames, fair amount of detail and pretty clear instructions.

That’s the short version, now onto the long one! Pontiac kits are few and far between, Revell has a couple of fantastic ones, AMT has one or two decent ones and AMT has the large chunk of the Pontiac licenses under their belt and have been putting out absolutely terrible kits since the early 1980s.

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However Monogram has a couple of Pontiacs, one of which is the GTO. And not just that, it’s the “Judge” version. Though that being said, the rear wing is optional and as is the hood mounted tach, so you could make it a regular bit-more-sporty GTO Ram Air. In itself 69pontiacgtojudge (6)it’s a great kit, the exterior looks amazing in the stock orange which I just ended up keeping and giving it a glossy clear coat.

So it’s as box stock as it can be, the body at least. Other than that, it wasn’t a really giant challenge to make it look as good as it is on the box or in real life, so that’s a terrific bonus point. The instructions are clear and detailed enough luckily to make sure you don’t miss details like the chrome lip on the air intakes on the front bumper, the intakes on the hood and so on. Also something I personally wish was a standard for all instruction sheets is a body color/interior color/decal color option sheet. It’s fantastic to know which color the GTO’s came in and which color(of the three) stripes go on them to match.

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For the most part, the kit fits together perfectly. The only mishaps are tiny, like the 69pontiacgtojudge (11)exhaust pipes don’t actually link up to the manifolds, the wheels sit a tiny bit too far backwards, especially on the front and the tire profile in… small. Oddly small that it stands out pretty badly on front views of the car.

But as I said earlier, this model is largely box standard as you see it. Just painted, of course. The only things added are the Dunlop G/T Qualifier decals on the tires(courtesy of Joseph over at Fireball Models), some sparkplug wires and wire straps from the Model Car Garage and that’s about it, really! This kit is 22 years old as of writing, yet it goes together and looks better from the box than most modern kits do!

Though, one thing needs to be said. I’m very sure the wheels are… way off. The chrome lips for instance shouldn’t even be there and the tires are too big to compensate for the giant dishes. I could’ve bought the 1/24 GTO Judge wheels from Fireball Models, but I only found this out as I was building it that they existed.

It’s a 1/24 scale car though it looks a bit huge compared to the other models I have(which are nearly all 1/25) but it’s gonna sit just fine with it’s other 1/24 Monogram brothers like the ’71 HEMI Cuda, ’69 440 Six Pack, ’70 GSX and ’67 Mustang GT350.

’69 Pontiac GTO “The Judge” specifications:
Kit: #85-2443
Skill Level: 2
Parts: 64
Molded in: Orange
Scale: 1/24

1977 Pontiac Firebird 400 – Revell

1977firebird (1)To start off this one, this kit’s not a Trans Am. Bandit’s Firebird was a T/A 6.6 and oddly enough the kit based on the movie’s star vehicle isn’t actually the same vehicle. Granted, it’s still the Special Edition and still has largely the same engine, it’s just not a Trans Am. Though it does have the detailed bits of a T/A 6.6 like the chrome valve covers and the A/C set up.

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But enough about how it isn’t a Trans Am.What it is, is a beautiful kit. I mean, holy crap it’s a beautiful kit. Excellently detailed interior is just the start, which helps with it being a T-top and all. Figured I wouldn’t make yet another black muscle car and change it up a bit. I once saw a ’78 Firebird T/A near where I lived and just fell in love with the color.

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It also saved me the hassle of having to paint the chrome bits gold and the insides of the wheels gold as well, also saved me from having to do all the Special Edition decals, which 1977firebird (5)there are a lot of! I did decide I’d try and do as much detailed work as possible, like wiring up the engine, painting the interior with a bit of a personal touch.

The quality of the whole thing is superb, it feels like a Special Edition release. It has a fantastic little thing that I wish more kits would use; screws. Screws connect and firmly secure the chassis and the body together. No clunky and weird squeezing with the chassis, it just… fits. Man, how I wish more kits would use this.

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The engine detail and quality is pretty good though, though not as complicated as other kits. For instance the cylinder heads and the intake manifold are one piece, some of the fluid containers, A/C components and the battery are already molded into the engine bay, that sorta stuff. Still though, it looks fantastic and crowded once it’s all put together.

1977firebird (14)The interior is pretty detailed too, nice touches with extra parts for the gauges and of course, a CB radio build into the dash. And of course the T-top, which I didn’t glue in place so I can remove ’em at will. It’s a snug fit so they don’t just fall off on their own all the time.

All in all, it’s just a beautiful kit. One of the few Pontiacs that Revell has license to build(fairly sure MPC/Round 2 has pretty much all the Pontiac licenses under their belt). The 1/24 scale ’78 Pontiac is on the list someday, I just don’t like the scale all that much and the kit itself is ancient. This one though… Just gorgeous.

Also: new phone, so better quality pictures! The Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge makes some nifty quality pictures, oh man.

’77 Pontiac Firebird 400 specifications:
Kit: #85-4027
Skill Level: 2
Parts: 86
Molded in: White
Scale: 1/25

1968 Pontiac Firebird by Chip Foose – Revell

pontiac8Of the few Revell’s Chip Foose designs, this one might just be the best. And that’s a tough pick, the ’67 Charger is fantastic, the ’69 Camaro in gigantic 1/12 scale is just mind-blowing and the Coronet as well as both Impala’s are great.

There’s hardly any good Firebird models of the early years, let alone anything that’s actually worth putting together without it falling apart or being too roughly molded and even kinda crappy to work with(looking at you MPC), granted there’s the Revell ’68 Firebird 400 this kit’s based on but that one’s impossible to find these days for less than 60-70 bucks.

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Coming to think of it, it might be due to licensing being granted to Round 2 Models as MPC is primarily responsible for just about every generation Firebird T/A from 1970 through 1993 excluding the ’78 Smokey & the Bandit version. But alas, whatcha gonna do.

68pontiac_new (3)Technically a 2-in-1 kit, it doesn’t feature a factory stock ’68 Firebird or a Trans-Am alternative, it features the original Foose design with proper decals and engine specs and it features a Trans American(the race, not the Firebird T/A since the first Trans Am came through in 1969) version with an air scoop intake, raised rear suspension and bucket seating.

The whole kit is molded really well, dashboard details and branding is easily visible even without the decals attached. Personally I wanted to make a stock Firebird with the soft top but even with the Foose specs it was still very much possible, the kit’s molded in white for the most part so painting it in any color besides the black it advertises on the box is a definite possibility. That being said, it only comes with a single set of rims with the ultra thin tires that leave little to your imagination. But since it’s build in the more common 1/25 scale, scabbing some steelies from a other Revell kit should be possible, the wheels are attached to metal rods that should fit well on any of the Revell kit’s wheels.

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In the end, I’d say if you’re looking for a solid Pontiac kit that comes with modern touches delivered by Chip Foose, this is easily the best one for you. It’s pretty cheap, it’s a fair challenge and the result is gorgeous. Besides, car enthusiasts generally agree that the modern touches Foose delivers are pretty damn good, for a change I’m actually digging the giant rims on a classic.

’68 FOOSE Pontiac Firebird 400 Ram Air specifications:
Kit: #85-4905
Skill Level: 2
Parts: 113
Molded in: White
Scale: 1/25