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AMT/Ertl 2005 Cadillac Escalade EXT

August 2006
2005 Cadillac Escalade EXT
AMT/Ertl No. 38367
Model Type: Injection-molded styrene
Molded Colors: Gray, clear
Scale: 1/25
MSRP: $10.95
Pros: Mostly accurate body, stock parts, decent fit
Cons: Inaccurate engine, sink marks, poorly planned chrome sprue attachments, decals

This model's 118 pieces (119, if you use the overscale antenna mast) come together without much incident, and although some aspects - the interior and the puny decal sheet - aren't handled as well as Revell-Monogram's Escalade, for the most part this kit compares quite favorably.

The latest generation of GM small-block V-8s have a characteristic appearance that this kit misses pretty seriously. The engine-block engraving comes across as generic (largely the same as the Hemi found in its new Chrysler 300C), and the valve covers have a Ford modular flavor about them.

The intake doesn't look like any current GM manifold I've seen. And the exhaust manifolds attach to the sides
of the block, rather than the heads.

But at least this model has an engine, and its problems are neatly covered up after you glue the top shroud and front cover/accessory brackets in place; those external pieces are reasonably accurate.

Aside from the engine, the only apparent flaw is a hood that seems a bit short - perhaps as a result of an oversize cowl vent at the base of the windshield.

The rest of the kit is encouraging. There's full suspension detail front and rear, with a complete spare wheel and tire; you might want to trim its mount a bit so it doesn't hang quite so low. The steerable front suspension has separate retaining caps to glue over the functioning tie rod.

Getting the drivetrain in place is tricky, but after you have it all together, there's a satisfying level of detail and functionality; the separate upper front A-arms are robust enough to support the model's weight and allow for the steering.

The kit has Japanese-style wheel-retaining washers, but they are molded on the styrene tree and have flanges that must line up with each rotor hole - otherwise, they won't fit. The tires' tread detail is crisp, particularly on the stock tires, but the custom wheels hide their sprue marks better.

The instructions mandate installation in the wheels, but you might find it easier to glue the rotors to the suspension first, so they don't bear the mass of the wheels as the glue sets up. The photo model allowed press-fitting of the wheels, so you might be able to swap stock and custom sets - I did have to trim the shaft on one of them so that the wheel didn't stick out too far.

Interior engraving seems a bit soft compared to the Revell-Monogram kit. The five-piece inner bed is crisply molded; gluing the cover over it, as the instructions indicate, would conceal one of the kit's nicer details.
Except for the hood discrepancy, the body is satisfyingly correct. My sample had sink marks in the front bumper, the upper rear fender surfaces, and the left front fender just behind the headlight.

Because the chrome headlight buckets don't cover the entire reflector surface, you might want to lay foil strips around them before you install the headlight lenses. There's no provision for backup lenses in the clear red taillights; the photo model uses Dullcoted foil strips.

Sprue orientation is sometimes a problem on the chrome trees - on the stock wheels and on the most-visible surfaces of the roof rack and the running boards; more-strategic sprue mounting would have greatly improved these pieces.

Still, you can put the exhaust system's chrome plating to good use with careful masking and application of Dullcote and steel paint.


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