by: Yoni Lev [ ]
While browsing the shelves at the LHS recently, I came across the Round 2 reissue of AMT's 1951 Chevrolet Bel Air Convertible kit. Being a big fan of the original AMT mold, I decided to pick one up and have a look.
The kit comes in a very nicely done two piece, slide top box, covered with what looks like the original period artwork. The bottom of the box has a parts overview printed on it, clearly showing the kit contents. On one box side, there is a painting guide with callouts for the appropriate colors of Pactra paints.
In the box: The kit is molded in a white, somewhat soft styrene, which is very reminiscent of AMT kits from the past. The convertible body, tires, chrome tree, decals and glass are separately bagged. The remainder of the kit parts are in one larger poly bag.
The mold: In general, the parts look well molded and true to the original kit. I did notice some mold lines on the tops of the front and rear fenders of the body, as well as a few random ejector marks on a few pieces. The chrome is nicely done, with no thin spots, scratches, or bubbles. I have a mid-80's issue of this kit in hardtop form, and the new parts look just a bit crisper and bit more defined in comparison.
Engine: The kit comes with both stock and custom options for the engine and body. The motor is a rendition of the venerable Chevy Stovebolt six, mated to a manual transmission. The engine can be topped with the stock intake & exhaust manifolds, carb, air cleaner and valve cover, or a custom setup with dual carbs, split exhaust headers, chrome valve cover and individual chrome air cleaners. The split headers tie in with a custom exhaust with dual pipes and mufflers.
Body: The body has both the convertible up top and boot. The body emblems and trim are cleanly molded and look good. The stock grille and front and rear bumpers are present, as are the custom parts, which include a different front grille, frenched headlight bezels, and front and rear roll pans. The stock fender skirts are included as well.
Interior: The interior is a platform affair, made up of a floor pan, separate side panels, dash, steering wheel, and front and rear seats. The lone custom option is a chrome, three spoke steering wheel. The dash is molded well enough that you can clearly see the instrument faces. The front and rear bench seats are nicely represented, and the floor pan has the carpet texture molded in.
Tyres: There are two sets of vinyl tires in the kit. One is a set of AMT's old BFGoodrich Radial T/As with some rather oversized sidewall lettering. The other is a set of stock looking, skinny Firestones. Wheel options include the stock steel wheels with separate Chevy dog dish hubcaps, and a set of chrome reverse wheels with baby moons.
Decals:The small decal sheet contains a set of flames, Chevy bowtie and Michigan "Historic Vehicle" license plates, and a set of AMT and Goodyear logos. At first glance, the decals look a tad thick, but are well registered. The instruction sheet is a reprint of the original.
Extras:There are a few nice extras included. There is a 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" AMT sticker included with the decals, as well as a miniature display box. The display box is printed out on a separate sheet of thin cardboard, and is meant to be cut out and assembled.
On a personal level, I am thrilled to see this one back on the shelves. This kit will build up into a very nice representation of a stock '51 Bel Air, and the custom parts give the builder some options right out of the box. I have to give kudos to Round 2/ Auto World/ Learning Curve for doing a very nice job with the packaging and presentation. The AMT sticker and collectible mini-box are sweet surprises, but I'm especially happy to see the clear pieces not only separately bagged, but also wrapped in a thin foam sheet. With some kits having sticker prices of more than $20, it was also a nice surprise to see this at the LHS for around $16.