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AMT/Ertl 1965 Buick Riviera

August 2004
AMT/Ertl No. 38158
Model Type: Injection-molded plastic
Molded Colors: Gray, clear, chrome-plated
Scale: 1/25
MSRP: $14.00
Pros: Fit is surprisingly good considering the age of the kit
Cons: Misleading box art (kit engine not wired)
During the past few years, AMT/Ertl has reissued many kits from its vast catalog of tooling. Some are familiar and some, like this kit, have not been around in a while. Originally issued in 1965, the Riviera was last issued in 1986. With 131 parts, this kit has virtually the same parts count as the original.

As with most 1960s AMT kits, the body is spot-on. The proportions are right, and it definitely has the right "look." Some of the trim is getting a little soft, but not too bad for a 39-year-old tool.

The massive chrome bumpers really add to the finished model, even though they have some heavy mold lines. Options include two custom body treatments, including the original Barris "Villa Riviera" show car.

The chassis is typical '60s - everything is molded to it - but a little detail painting goes a long way to bring it to life.

Another blast from the past is the use of solid metal axles to mount the wheels. Stock hubcaps are provided for no-name skinny tires, plus a set of slotted mags, and the best wire wheels in plastic are options for wider Goodyears. These optional tires are a little small for my taste; they should fill the wheel wells more.

The engine replicates the Buick "nailhead" quite well. It is rather simple, but looks good when assembled. Engine options include a strange-looking blower/carb setup, which brings up the only error in the instructions: part no. 336 is part of the blower setup, not part of the stock assembly sequence.

The stock interior is fairly well done, though some details are soft because of the mold's age. The interior is bucket-style, with separate front seats, dash, steering wheel, and shifter. Custom parts include a dash, clear steering wheel, seats, TV, and telephone - just like the original.

Assembly was easy; there were no snafus in the buildup of this model. The instructions are clear and easy to read, with large drawings of the subassemblies. The box art is misleading, though: The model on the box has its engine wired. This wiring is not in the kit, so it should not be on the box art.

It only took me about 10 hours to build this car, and I would recommend it to beginners and advanced modelers.


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