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AMT/Round2 AMC Gremlin X

AMT No. AMT1077/12
Molded Colors: White, chrome, clear red, clear blue
Scale: 1/25
MSRP: $28.95
Pros: Can be built stock or drag, decals allow choice of color schemes
Cons: A few ejector-pin marks in difficult locations
Walking past Assistant Editor Robby DeGraff’s office a while back, I spied a model of a 1974 AMC Gremlin X on his desk. I immediately flashed back to my childhood in the 1980s. I remember my dad repairing a red Gremlin at the auto body repair shop he ran with my grandfather. I don’t remember what year that Gremlin was (sorry, I’m a model railroad guy), but I remember the car’s distinctive lines. In a town of 8,000 in northwest Minnesota, a Gremlin stood out. When Robby asked if I wanted to review the model, I said, “Sure, I’ll give it a shot.”

Round2’s kit is a re-issue of the 1970s model produced by AMT. Parts are included to build the vehicle stock or drag; I chose the former.

Since the tooling is older, there were small amounts of flash on a few parts. The vast majority of the ejector-pin marks were in locations that wouldn’t be visible though, or were easy to fix with a seam scraper and sanding sticks. I left one mark on the driver’s side floor mat and the marks on the chrome-finished roof spoiler. I used Deluxe Materials Perfect Plastic Putty to fill small gaps where the grille panel met the body.

For the most part, the instructions are clearly illustrated and easy to follow. I especially appreciated that a color recommendation was offered for its non-chrome parts.

The engine section took careful studying, as it shows parts for the stock and drag versions. Photos of real Gremlin X engines clarified how the parts should go together. The air cleaner faces toward the firewall. Most photos show it oriented toward the radiator wall.
 wasn’t certain about the front’s side turn signals, as the box art and prototype photos show a vertical amber lens in the fluted portion of the grille panel. Instructions suggest painting the triangle-shaped area above the fluted part of the panel amber. Unable to find evidence verifying the recommendation in the instructions, I omitted the signals.

Being a model railroader, I painted the car with paints common to that hobby. I washed the interior and chassis in warm water with a few drops of Ivory dish soap added. Once the parts had dried, I airbrushed them Testor’s Model Master acrylic reefer gray. Then I painted the interior sides Polly Scale Seaboard Coast Line hopper beige. When I masked the beige to apply Polly Scale Denver & Rio Grande Western Brown, the paint peeled off the interior.

I switched gears and brush-painted the interior with Vallejo Model Color paints. Though I’m not a fan of brush-painting large areas, the Vallejo paints covered in two coats and leveled well with no obvious brush strokes. Be sure to have 10/0, 18/0, and 20/0 brushes for painting the dash’s gauge faces, and knobs.

Knowing the body would be painted two colors, I first sprayed the model with plastic-compatible Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch 2X flat gray primer. Then I airbrushed the body with Model Master acrylic caboose red and engine black. I had no problems with the paint peeling using this approach. I let the paint dry for 24 hours before airbrushing the body with Testors Model Master clear gloss acrylic. The surface wasn’t as smooth as I’d hoped for, but not terrible for my first car build.

The decal sheet includes stripes in black, red, and white, allowing the builder to paint the car in their favorite color scheme. There also are markings for the drag version, Levi’s logos (applicable if the interior is painted to simulate denim), and various Gremlin mascots and “Gremlin X” lettering. I couldn’t resist adding the “My other car is another Gremlin” bumper sticker.

The decals were crisp and easy to apply with no silvering. I sealed them with one more coat of clear gloss.

I finished the model by installing the clear window glazing and chrome parts. I applied a black wash to the grill, Tamiya clear orange to the turn signals, and clear red to the “X”. Then I brush-painted the headlights and gas cap Tamiya smoke to help the detail on those parts stand out.

Overall, I was pretty happy with my first car build. I will likely explore different paints next time to get a smoother finish. In the end, I enjoyed taking a trip down memory lane with this Gremlin X from AMT/Round2.                                           


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