There were bullies on every corner, sure, there was endless racism and Nixon and the Vietnam war, which as a sheltered 7 year old didn't mean much. The principal of my grade school was probably a fascist but I guess I'll never know that either. Time tends to heal all wounds.
For me model making is about going back there, to the good times. And not just to the good times, but to the cool kits. Those old kits made my brothers and me happy, and as soon as we had some lawn mowing money we rode our bikes to the 5 and dime and we got the latest AMT or MPC thing.
OK fast forward 45 years. With the Internet, you can still get pretty much any kit, but for rare vintage ones, you will have to pay. In the spirit of time travel back to the early Seventies, I have purchased and even built a few vintage kits like a Toyota GT2000. It can be frustrating: expensive to buy, lacking in detail compared to modern kits designed and tooled with computers. and no spares if I screw something up.
OK about this next build, an AMT 1:25 1969 Chevelle convertible. It's a vintage kit, gone for decades, but recently reissued by Round 2. (About Round 2: These guys must be going through endless cellars in corporate Michigan and Indiana and finding old injection molding tooling from the Sixties, polishing the molds, sending them off to China, getting a bunch of cheapo styrene molded parts back, and lovingly packing them in cool vintage cardboard artwork and plastic baggies. The global economy at work! )
The AMT 69 Chevelle Convertible lists in Coulter and Shelton's Directory of Model Car Kits as last issued in 1977 and having a street value of $95. The original issue date isn't mentioned, but I assume it coincided with the promo kits' boost to the Chevelle's release, around 1969-70, and those kits, if they are even out there on Ebay, are probably worth three times that.
Due to the hard work from these Round 2 guys, this rare bird isn't rare any longer, and I got the convertible 1:25 kit for $20 on Ebay. Go Round 2! You guys rule!
(Actually from lessons learned on the Toyota vintage build, I bought 2!)
OK that's where the good news about the AMT 69 Chevelle ends.
The bad news is that back in the 70's plastic model kits had serious issues and they still have serious issues. I don't imagine the Round 2 folks have $750K (? some big number here?) to tool up a new version of an old kit, and that's not what they are about regardless, so it seems. To understand why old AMT is really crap, it's time for the way back machine: we were little kids saving our lunch money, we painted bodies with 20 cent brushes, and if something didn't fit, well, it was good enough to show your parents and maybe get a 2nd place at the local hobby shop model contest. It was good enough for us, and it was good enough for AMT. AMT and MPC were boss!
Now, as an adult with an obsessive need to get every damn thing right, vintage tooling issues present an endless list of problems to solve. Let's start with the interior! Modern kits have interiors that come in pieces, making them easier to mask and paint, but for these oldies, the interior is almost always a tub. The 69 Chevelle tub is a disaster! It has huge injector pins in plain sight (remember this is a convertible!) and inner door panel detail that is almost non-existent and too 2-dimensional.
Next problem: flash and a general lack of crispness in the molding process. Flash is when the plastic runs between the 2 halves of the mold during the injection process. General lack of crispness, well I am not sure why that happens, and perhaps this was an issue back in 1971 and I never noticed. Some more modern kits have flash issues; the Ford F1 pickup speed build had a lot of it, but on these old AMT kits, it's just ridiculous! All the molding here is pretty bad. Everything, and mean everything, will have to be carefully sanded, filed, and cleaned up.
And--the dreaded "chrome headlights". Changing this out for "real" scale lenses (yes I know that's an oxymoron) will be a real challenge.
How about:"it just plain don't fit!" This is the interior tub test fitted into the 69 Chevelle's body. That looks like a one foot scale gap to me. On these old AMT kits, I have found the hood, the trim, and exhaust system, valances (front and rear), and interior tub, just don't, well, line up, ever! If this test fit is any indication, it will be a lot of work to correct fit issues.
Finally: "It just ain't right". On these old kits, the craftsmen making the tooling got some things way wrong, and the kit doesn't correspond to the 1:1 subject. EG! The flares on the wheel wells on the AMT 69 Chevelle are completely out to lunch! Correcting this, along with whatever other oddities I find, and I will find lots of them, I am sure, is going to be hours of work!
Now the balance sheet. There is still a cool factor about old AMT and MPC that can't be ignored. I have always felt their craftsmen loved cars, and loved this hobby, and you can tell by their work, even when they got things wrong, there is still something really fun about it. And, as far as fixing the above mentioned issues, I have a bit more lawn money now, as an employed adult, versus when I was 12. So I can buy a couple modern tooled kits--the two Camaros you see here, and rob parts out of them to try to correct the issues with the Chevelle without taking months scratchbuilding replacement parts or making endless trips to the parts box.
So overall, why did I do this? The challenge for sure. The fact that I made a chevelle model when I was 10 and it came out pretty well and my dad, the car fiend, said he liked it. I have seen youtubes and forum entires of other modelers reviewing this kit and being disappointed with the poor quality in general and complaining about some of the issues I touch on here. Some of these Internet authors even say Round 2 is ripping us off. Not true! I will never complain that Round 2 (or AMT) makes a substandard product; Round 2 is faithfully reproducing kits that were flawed to begin with, but still super fun, and we are lucky to have this reissue at all!