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AMT/Ertl 1997 Ford Mustang

October 2005
1997 Ford Mustang
AMT/Ertl kit No, 38253
Model Type: Injection-molded styrene
Molded Colors: Gray, clear, clear red
Scale: 1/25
MSRP: $13.95
Pros: Accurate chassis, interior
Cons: Body/decals do not match box art, engine/front suspension fit problems, soft plastic
Since its release in 1964, the Ford Mustang has been one of the most popular cars ever - in 1:1 or in model form. As a result, it's not surprising to see that RC2 used the Mustang to show off the latest automotive fad by designing this kit to use large-diameter custom wheels.

AMT/Ertl also redesigned the body to include front and rear fender flares around larger openings to provide clearance for the larger wheel assemblies. Changes to the suspension were also necessary to keep the ground clearance at normal height.

The individual pieces are clean and crisp, with minimal flash and dimples, but the plastic seems to be much softer than normal. When sanded, it left a "fuzz" that had to be removed with a hobby knife.

The 27-piece engine is accurate, though it appears to be closer to 1/22 scale than 1/25. The assembled engine is too wide to fir properly into the engine bay. I had to use a motor tool to grind off a considerable amount of the exhaust manifolds to get the engine to fit. (It would be easier just to omit the manifolds; they can't be seen when the engine is in place.)

The wheels are Boyd Coddington 25-inch five-spoke alloys, mounted on a set of generic tires. The two-piece wheels capture the brake discs between halves. The assembly looks realistic when viewed from the side (but not from underneath).

The five-piece body unit goes together well, with only minor flaws. The rear spoiler sits too high, and the front bumper cover is from a standard Mustang instead of a GT. I had to enlarge the holes in the taillights so they would fit snugly.

The chassis has 23 parts. I had to remove the steering rack, front sway bar, and the rear suspension brace before the engine would fit. This relegated my Mustang to "shelf model" status, which is unfortunate, because the rear suspension and exhaust are done well.

The 18-piece interior builds on the floor plan, and now includes the quarter-sail trim as part of the side trim panels. This gives the interior a finished look. Separate two-piece front seats are also included, along with belt restraints, a separate center console, and a well-done instrument panel. Unfortunately, there was no decal for the gauge cluster.

Final assembly is simple and straightforward, with only minor fit problems. I had to enlarge the mirrors' mounting holes, and did some major trimming to the front of the air cleaner so it would fit. I also found that I had to do considerable massaging to get the brake master cylinder to nestle between the engine and the shock tower crossbrace.

There are parts of this kit where the design and fit border on brilliance; in other areas, these same things are marginal at best.


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