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AMT 1962 Chevy Bel Air SS 409 Turbofire

1962 Chevy Bel Air SS
Round 2 No. AMT865/12
Model Type: Injection-molded styrene
Molded Colors: White, clear, translucent red, black
Scale: 1/25
MSRP: $22.99
Pros: Parts fit; nice decals; rerelease of a great kit.
Cons: Excessive flash and parting lines; no chrome wheels
Since 1993, AMTs 1962 Chevy Bel Air kit has been released to represent various well-known drag cars of the 1960s. The current incarnation features Joe Gardner’s Northwind A/S car.

The parts are molded in white, with chrome, translucent red, and clear trees. Also included are four Firestone bias-ply tires and a nice pair of Blue Streak Dragway Special slicks. A nicely registered decal sheet along with a mini model box and a comprehensive instruction sheet are also included.

Some of the molds are starting to show their age, with flash and parting lines present on the body, and most of the nonplated parts requiring time for inspection and cleanup. The chrome tree exhibits no flash, and is clear and blemish-free.

The 409 engine can be built stock, custom, or drag. The kit also includes a set of Offenhauser finned valve covers, a factory-style cross-ram intake manifold, three air-cleaner setups, and stock exhaust manifolds with a beautiful set of 4 into 1 headers.

All parts fit together well, with the only visible seam to be filled along the halves of the four-speed transmission.

The 11 piece interior with bench seat  is next, all parts after cleanup went together without any complications and looks every bit the Bel Air it is meant to represent. I chose to paint the interior red to match Internet images of the Northwind car.

According to the box art and those Internet images, one would assume that a set of chrome-reverse wheels would have been included. Alas, no such thing; you are left to find a set of chrome parts-box wheels, Alclad or chrome the kit parts, or just paint them with a reflective silver as I did. You also have the option of using a pair of unplated torque-thrust-style wheels. Assembly of the rolling stock is straightforward, and a little Dullcote knocks down the unrealistic sheen on the vinyl tires.

The 20-piece chassis went together well, without any hiccups and with all parts fitting precisely. Again, you have a choice of stock, custom, or drag versions.

If you are not using the stock exhaust system, there are two holes in the rear quarter-panels in the trunk floor. With filler or sprue, the average modeler can fill these voids easily.

After some fairly intense cleanup, the body was painted in the Northwind’s red-and-gold color scheme. The nicely registered decals were applied as instructed, which correctly represent the car as it was raced in late 1963 or early 1964. Bare-Metal foil trim and a clear coat were then applied.

The four pieces of clear, relatively distortion-free glass fit like a glove with only a minimal amount of adhesive.

Final assembly started with the interior being inserted into the body, which caused some conflict between the side glass and door panels. A little sanding on the top edges of the doors made for a snug, precise fit that required no glue to stay in place. The chassis then slipped in place with minimal effort. The chrome bumpers, grille, and trim were installed with minimal glue and fit well.

The early release of this kit had a grille that was not proportioned properly; that’s fixed now, and the grille looks correct with a mild black wash.

I built this kit during the 1990s, and it was a pleasure to see it again. This kit was a big leap forward for AMT’s detailing and accuracy, and stands the test of time. I highly recommend this kit to all builders.


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