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AMT Hippie Hemi

Hippie Hemi
AMT No. 605
Model Type: Injection-molded styrene
Molded Colors: White, clear
Scale: 1/25
MSRP: $21.95
Pros: Well-detailed Hemi; nice decals
Cons: Assembly quirks, including warped frame halves; fragile front suspension parts
When the news came out that Round 2 had leased AMT tooling, it promised new life for the brand, and a few surprises. One of the first releases by the "new" AMT is this kit of the Hippie Hemi dragster.

The first thing I noticed was the cool retro box art. It's not an exact copy of the original, but it does capture the feel of classic AMT boxes. The box is sturdy, and has a parts layout on the bottom lid, so the buyer can see what's inside.

I noticed how well all of the parts were packed: Separate bags held the white plastic, chromed, and clear parts, as well as the tires. The white plastic harkened to the plastic of the 1960s: it's opaque and has a nice, solid "feel" to it.

The plated parts were shiny, but the lacquer base coat was a bit thick in places. Extras include a miniature box that replicates the kit box, which can be cut out, folded up, and displayed with the finished model. There was also a reproduction of the original sales sheet.

The beautifully printed decal sheet gives the builder a wide variety of choices to use on their model.

I did run into a problem when assembling the frame: the two main halves of the frame were warped in a couple different directions. I was able to fix most of it by bending the parts under warm water.
The Hemi in the kit is pretty well detailed, and has a couple uncommon features. - the first of which is the clear oil pan, which shows off the separate chrome crankshaft. The second is the separate compressor blades that go inside the blower casing.

Also included is a vinyl blower belt that goes over the pulleys.

Assembly of the engine went pretty well; however, I did have to do a lot of test fitting to get everything to line up.

After cutting the top of the push bar off as directed by the instructions, I painted the frame with the same Testor's 1824M Purple-licious that I used to paint the engine block.

The trickiest part of the build was the front suspension. AMT made these parts to be as close to scale as possible, which means that they are fragile. I broke the tie rod so badly removing it from the sprue that I had to use a spare from my parts box. I did get it to go together, but I could not get the front wheels to point in the same direction.

The wheels are made up of two pieces each; mags for the rear and wires for the front. Vinyl tires are provided for all four corners, but curiously, there are also two-piece plastic front tires in the kit. The plastic tires fit the front wheels better than the vinyl ones.

After the chassis was completed, I got the body prepped for a coat of Testor's 1841M Electric Pink. One of the wild flowery graphics on the decal sheet really grabbed me, and I thought that the pink paint would go well with it.
The decals were a joy to work with. They are a bit on the thin side, but they went on nicely, with very little need for setting solution.

Even after my attempt to get the warp out of the body halves I still needed some epoxy, rubber bands and clamps to get it to fit together over the chassis.

Building this model was a bit of a challenge, but that made it fun for me. It's definitely not for the beginning modeler, who might get frustrated with the assembly quirks. A seasoned modeler should have no trouble getting a nice shelf model from this kit.

It does stand out in my collection - maybe because it's pink!


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