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AMT 1957 Chevy Bel Air

1957 Chevy Bel Air
AMT No. AMT988/12
Model Type: Injection-molded
Molded Colors: Red, black, clear
Scale: 1/25
MSRP: $32.99
Pros: More detail parts than previous releases
Cons: Chrome attachment points
As a kid, I built AMT’s first 1957 Chevy kit and fell in love with the car, building several reissues over the years.

Now AMT has done a complete retooling of this legend. This new kit has more detail parts than previous issues, and even has a selection of photoetched parts.

This kit has a great color guide to show the combinations available from GM for the body and interior, and which colors to paint everything else.

One of the downfalls of the instructions is the parts aren’t named. The builder has to look closely at the pictures and follow the number guide.

The body has almos no mold lines. The only ones I could find are at the leading edge of the stainless spears that run along the top of the rear quarter- panels, just below the rear glass.

After painting the body, I used the foil that comes with the kit. It was easier to use than the leading foil product.

The 26-part engine is the twin-carb version. The only negative I found is that the locators for the heads to the block and the valve covers to the heads needed to be trimmed or removed to get them to fit flat.

The frame was straight, with no warp to it. The front-suspension assembly went smoothly, but the transmission mounts are nearly 1/4 inch too far back. When I mounted the engine, I found that the transmission missed the mounts that were firmly in place.

If you mount the exhaust with pins into the holes were they are supposed to fit, you will find the pipes are too long and overlap.

The rear suspension came together well, with defined mounting points.

The next major build is the interior to the floor pan. The fit and location is good and no adjustment was needed later when the body was attached. The glass fit into the body was excellent.

The fit between the firewall and engine is tight, so be careful there! The detail under the hood is visually pleasing after this assembly.

It could have been better, but I couldn’t get the heater hoses mounted from the firewall to the water pump on the front of the engine. There was no clearance around the air cleaner to route them without warming them up and bending them.

The mounting points for these hoses are vague. The lower radiator hose is the same way in that once you get to this point in the instructions, you can’t see or get to the mounting points for it.

I used most of the photoetched parts on the body trim. I had some trouble with the turn signal/Chevy emblem bar that runs across the grille. The locator pins on the bar are too large; I had to shave the pins to fit the holes.

The front bumper would not fit tightly to the front fenders until I trimmed about 1/8 inch from the bumper brackets molded to the front of the frame.

Headlights went into the fronts of the fenders with no problems.

I chose to use the plastic windshield wipers as apposed to the photo etched pieces. The chrome trim that runs along the front edge of the hood is marred by the fact that the two points at which it is cut from the sprue are on the top edge, up against the hood. It could have been mounted on the sprue at the bottom edge, out of view at final assembly.

The trunk area is a nice touch, with opening lid and spare tire. I painted the photoetched Vs and Bel Air pieces gold to match the 1:1 car.

This kit has its ups and downs ,but finishes out looking nice. I compared it to the old AMT 1957s and it does look more close to the 1:1 car in dimensions than the old kits did.


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