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AMT 1977 Pacer Wagon

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1977 Pacer Wagon
AMT No. AMT1008/12
Model Type: Injection-molded styrene
Molded Colors: White, black, clear
Scale: 1/25
MSRP: $24.99
Pros: Good chassis detail; good parts fit in general
Cons: Sample kit had warped hood; front end sat too high
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The molding on this kit looks to be as good as back in 1977. It can be built stock or as a custom panel van.

The bulk of the kit is molded in white. There are two sets of windows: clear and smoke-tinted.

Stock five-spoke mag-style and chrome-reversed wheels with baby Moons are included. There is one set of pad-printed Goodyear Rally GT tires, and a second set of plastic two-piece big-&-little tires. 

It is a wire-axle kit, so for some builders, a hole in the engine might need to be filled. Some stub axles can easily be made for the front spindles.

The stock hood on my sample had a 3/16" warp to it. A hair dryer and some moderate bending fixed it. 

I filled the mounting points for the roof rack from the inside, then sanded out the slight dimples in the roof. 

The rest of the cleanup was standard. I test-fitted the custom parts, and they fit well, but I went for a bone-stock version in the end.

The instructions look about the same as the original, with some updates, and they are easy to follow.

I used Testor’s 1124 Green enamel for the exterior. It looked similar to 1977 AMC Lime Green (or maybe a match for a vintage Earl Scheib repaint). I painted it first, and set it aside to dry for a week. I sanded out a handful of dust specks with 1500 wet, but instead of polishing the body to a showroom shine, I went straight to Novus #2 and left it with a well-cared-for-but-used finish.

The 14-piece engine fits together fine. A little hand-painting of the molded-in block detail helps flesh it out. I used a little wash of black to help define and slightly dirty it up. Another half-dozen parts round out the engine bay.

The interior fit on par with the rest of the kit. I painted it tan with brown carpeting, and cut strips of Mylar for the metal trim in the back.

The twelve-part chassis has separate exhaust, sway bar, driveline, rear shocks, and leaf springs. These parts fit well, but allow the front spindles to dry before installing the front suspension.

The center caps of the wheels were painted Flat Aluminum (XF-16) and a wash of Smoke (X-28) accentuated the lug detail. One of the four wheels does not have lug nuts molded in the recesses. I shot them with DullCote to knock down the sheen.

I brush-painted the trim, including the badges and door handles, with Tamiya X-11 Chrome Silver decanted from a paint pen. I made laser-printed decals for the black outlines that were applied over them, allowing the silver to show through. I applied a black wash around the window frames and in the panel lines.

The beltline trim was done with two simple layers of decals: Scale-Master Decals SS-6 Silver (size F) and then SS-2n Black (size G).

The general fit is pretty good, except for the final assembly: the frame did not fit to the core support properly. Left alone, the car sits too high in the front.

The fix is easy; remove the two 1/8" square portions adjacent to the radiator on the bottom of the core support to allow it to sit on the frame. The front of the chassis needs to be compressed into the body, and solidly cemented, to get the front to sit at an acceptable level.

I also found it much easier to install the interior bucket before sliding the chassis into the body.

The grille piece is a bit loose-fitting, but using the hood as a guide makes installing it easier.

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