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AMT '67-'68 Camaro Review & Improvements

21 posts in this topic

Posted

The new(ish) Revell '67 Camaro has gotten a lot of attention and criticism lately, with some saying that the old AMT Camaro body is “better.” IMHO, the AMT's not “better,” it's just flawed in different ways and in different areas from the Revell body.


The AMT '68 Camaro appeared around 1982 or so (an all-new kit, nothing in common with AMT's '67 and '68 annuals) and has been in almost continuous issue (or at least availability) ever since. It has come in three variants--a stock-only '68 Z/28, a nonstock '68 Z/28 "street machine" (how I hate that term!), and, later a stock '67 Z/28. While having different details and trim, all share the same basic body. I believe the current issue '68 contains both the stock and the "street machine" parts.


I've built several of these over the years and while it's a pretty nice kit overall, there have been a few areas of the body that have always bothered me. I've discovered a few ways you can greatly improve the looks of this body without two much trouble. There are four simple improvements you can make. None requires special tools, aftermarket parts, pieces from other kits, or even putty--they are all easily accomplished with your common modeling tools.

A while back I took an old '68 Z "street rat" I built in primer gray about 20 years ago and applied these four changes in just a couple hours. Reshot the primer the same afterrnoon, re-did the trim and reassembled the whole mess the next day, and it was back on my shelf in about 24 hours! Follow along and I'll show you how to improve any model you build using one of these kits.


PART 1: BELT REVEAL MOLDING


The first thing to be done is remove the so-called "belt reveal molding" which runs under the windows on both sides. AMT screwed this up badly. They were attempting to portray these moldings, which were part of the optional (and relatively rare) 1968 Z21 "Style Trim Group" (note that the "Style Trim Group" was also included in all Rally Sports and RS-equipped SS and Z/28 Camaro). This molding actually covers the door and quarter panel skin, but AMT portrays it as sitting on TOP of those edges. It has to GO! It has no place on ANY '67, and if you are doing a '68 that happens to be a Rally Sport or have the Style Trim Group, the molded molding should be removed and a new one scribed in (look at pics of real cars to see where it goes).


Here's the area I'm talking about, marked in Sharpie on an unpainted orange body:


68CamaroPrimer31.jpg


If that's not clear enough, here's the other side, with the Sharpie marking the party of the body you want to keep--the orange strip ABOVE the Sharpie in this pic is what needs to go:


68CamaroPrimer35.jpg


Cut, file, scrape, or sand this thing off and the sexy, curvy shape of the first-gen Camaro will appear as if by magic! If you've ever thought this kit looked a little "chunky" for some reason, this is the reason why. Get that crummy, incorrect "belt reveal" mess off of there! (If you're skilled and careful, you can even do this on an assembled model if you're condident that you can touch up the paint at the windowsill, though of course it's best to do this as you're building the model in the first place.)


On my exemplar model, I had already done this when I built it. Here's what the corrected lower window contour looks like.


68CamaroPrimer03.jpg


See the difference? Big improvement in looks for just a few minutes' work.


Next: Fixing the rear window molding.

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Posted

PART 2: BACKLIGHT TRIM MOLDING


This is a trick you can use on many, many model car bodies, as quite a few (especially the older ones) seem to need it.


See the trim (molded into the body) around the rear window? AMT has molded this so that it sticks up about a half scale inch all around. Ick! On the real car, the trim is flush with the sheetmetal of the roof, and the backlight itself is nearly flush. Notice how the raised, too-thick molding on the model gives the window a deep, "tunnelled" look, which isn't correct at all.


68CamaroPrimer04.jpg


68CamaroPrimer05.jpg


Using the backside of an Xacto #11 blade or something of the sort, scribe a line all the way around this molding. Go slow and work carefully, especially for the first few passes. The rounded upper corners will be the trickiest part, be especially careful there. When you've got a nice line scribed all around, sand/file/scrape the raised portion of the backlight molding off, and sand the molding flush with the roof sheetmetal.


While you're scribing back here, you might as well extend the side vertical lines down to the trunk line, thus defining the real car's welded-in "tulip panel" seams. This adds another little bit of realism to your body for not much extra work at all. The seam lines I mean are circled in red below. You don't have to make them deep or wide, just a hint of them will do fine. (I know the molding scribe lines are faint in this pic, but if you look carefully I think you can see them.)


68CamaroPrimer08.jpg


Here's another shot showing the now-flush backlight molding and tulip panel seams, and then a couple shots showing how it all looks with fresh primer on it. (Yes, the molding has "chrome" on it--silver Sharpie--but for some reason the silver doesn't show up well in these pics.)


I think this makes a small but very noticeable improvement in the Camaro body (note that there's now much less "tunneled" effect, though there is still some). And this trick will also work on a lot of other model car bodies as well.


68CamaroPrimer10.jpg


68CamaroPrimer23.jpg


68CamaroPrimer24.jpg

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Posted

PART 3: LOWER BODY SEAMS


Since we're in a scribing mood, let's add to seams/panel lines at the lower body (rocker panels) that will show that the Camaro body was NOT all one solid piece, as it's molded in plastic. This one is quick and easy, and is applicable to many model car bodies, not just the AMT Camaro.


Just extend the lower door line back to the rear wheel opening, staying parallel to the bottom of the body edge. Like the tulip panel, this is a welded seam, so you don't need to make it too wide or too deep, you just want the hint that it's there.


At the front of the door, extend the lower front edge of the door line down to the body bottom. This will show that the front fender is a separate (removable) piece from the rocker panel. You DO want this one to show, as it portrays a separation of sheet metal. Maybe not quite as prominent as the door line itself, but certainly more than a "hint" of it. The scribed lines are circled here:


68CamaroPrimer13.jpg


Here's before and after pics of the finished model with and without these scribed lines. Again, a more accurate and realistic appearance for just a few minutes' work. And, like the backlight scribing trick, this will work on many, many model car bodies. Study pics of the real things to see if a particular car has something like this.


68CamaroPrimer03.jpg


68CamaroPrimer21.jpg

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Posted

PART 4: HEADER PANEL and GRILLE SURROUND AREA


This one takes a little more skill and time than the first three but really pays off in appearance.


Take a look at the body with the grille in it. Notice how the grill is surrounded on top and both sides by a flat area that would be almost an inch thick in real life. The real First Gen Camaros have nothing like this--the fenders and the header panel (the sheetmetal between the front fenders) taper down to almost a knife-edge in this area. The original AMT '67 and MPC '68 Camaro annual kits did NOT have this flaw, they were shaped correctly here, as is the Revell '69 Camaro, both glue and snap kits (trivia fact: all First Gen Camaros, '67 through '69, used the same header panel--exactly the same sheetmetal here). If you have the Revell '69 Camaro kit, take a look at it and you'll see what this edge SHOULD look like.


Here's how the flat spot looks on the finished original model, and in case it's not clear enough what I mean, I've also marked this ugly "flat face" area on a nekkid body with my trusty Sharpie. See it now? That whole area needs to be sharpened up.


68CamaroPrimer06.jpg


68CamaroPrimer39.jpg


What needs to be done, of course, is simple and obvious, but does require a good eye and some carefull skill. The affected areas can be tapered down MUCH easier if you aren't interested in saving the header panel Camaro emblem or the emblems at the front of the fenders (if you're using PE emblems or decals, or just cleaning them off completely), but just to see what could be done, I elected on this one to try to work around and save the emblems. This means I had to get all my taper into the most forward .060" or so, where it really should be spread out over the whole length of the header panel and corresponding area on the fender tips (about a quarter inch). If you're willing to lose the emblems, yours will look even better than mine.


I removed plastic by scraping with an Xacto knife (which gave me better control than sanding, especially on the fender sides), and then finished up with a foam-backed fingernail sanding stick, which turned out to be a simply wonderful tool for the job. These two pics will show where I removed and tapered the plastic around the grille. Study pics of the real car and/or the Revell '69 body to see what you're going for--and as I said, if you're losing the emblems, this job will be not only much easier and quicker but will look even better.


68CamaroPrimer17.jpg


68CamaroPrimer18.jpg


And here's the finished, "sharpened" front end, repainted and reassembled. Doesn't show up all that well in the primer gray, but it will really "pop" with a finished shiny paint job--and it will really make your model stand out on the club or contest table from all the unmodified AMT Camaros around it. Give it a try and let me know how it works for you!


Now, doesn't that look much more like a REAL '67-'68 Camaro than the kit body you started with?


68CamaroPrimer28.jpg


68CamaroPrimer27.jpg

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Posted

Looks like most of the 67/68 cars being driven in the early 80'S . Wearing primer with Mags.

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Posted (edited)

Looks like most of the 67/68 cars being driven in the early 80'S . Wearing primer with Mags.

That's almost exactly the look I was going for. B)

Actually, the "back story" is this guy has taken a "street rat" Camaro and is doing a full resto on it. The chassis, interior, and bodywork are done, and a stock engine is ready to go (along with a new uncut hood). While the guy saves his money for the paint job, he's getting a last bit of hot rod fun out of it. B)

Edited by Snake45

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Posted

A buddy of mine back in the day took a 67 Camaro as collateral for a small loan . He had the car way longer than the guy said it would take to pay him back. It looked so much like this car it is not funny. The Guy paid his loan back after a year and got his car back.

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Posted

Great tips, thanks.

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Posted

Nice work on your mods Richard, now I want to see you do a build on the new Revell Camaro, so I can follow that.

Sorry should not have opened that can of worms, lol, really nice work.

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Posted

Nicely done !

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Posted

PART 4: HEADER PANEL and GRILLE SURROUND AREA

This one takes a little more skill and time than the first three but really pays off in appearance.

Take a look at the body with the grille in it. Notice how the grill is surrounded on top and both sides by a flat area that would be almost an inch thick in real life. The real First Gen Camaros have nothing like this--the fenders and the header panel (the sheetmetal between the front fenders) taper down to almost a knife-edge in this area. The original AMT '67 and MPC '68 Camaro annual kits did NOT have this flaw, they were shaped correctly here, as is the Revell '69 Camaro, both glue and snap kits (trivia fact: all First Gen Camaros, '67 through '69, used the same header panel--exactly the same sheetmetal here). If you have the Revell '69 Camaro kit, take a look at it and you'll see what this edge SHOULD look like.

Here's how the flat spot looks on the finished original model, and in case it's not clear enough what I mean, I've also marked this ugly "flat face" area on a nekkid body with my trusty Sharpie. See it now? That whole area needs to be sharpened up.

68CamaroPrimer06.jpg

68CamaroPrimer39.jpg

What needs to be done, of course, is simple and obvious, but does require a good eye and some carefull skill. The affected areas can be tapered down MUCH easier if you aren't interested in saving the header panel Camaro emblem or the emblems at the front of the fenders (if you're using PE emblems or decals, or just cleaning them off completely), but just to see what could be done, I elected on this one to try to work around and save the emblems. This means I had to get all my taper into the most forward .060" or so, where it really should be spread out over the whole length of the header panel and corresponding area on the fender tips (about a quarter inch). If you're willing to lose the emblems, yours will look even better than mine.

I removed plastic by scraping with an Xacto knife (which gave me better control than sanding, especially on the fender sides), and then finished up with a foam-backed fingernail sanding stick, which turned out to be a simply wonderful tool for the job. These two pics will show where I removed and tapered the plastic around the grille. Study pics of the real car and/or the Revell '69 body to see what you're going for--and as I said, if you're losing the emblems, this job will be not only much easier and quicker but will look even better.

68CamaroPrimer17.jpg

68CamaroPrimer18.jpg

And here's the finished, "sharpened" front end, repainted and reassembled. Doesn't show up all that well in the primer gray, but it will really "pop" with a finished shiny paint job--and it will really make your model stand out on the club or contest table from all the unmodified AMT Camaros around it. Give it a try and let me know how it works for you!

Now, doesn't that look much more like a REAL '67-'68 Camaro than the kit body you started with?

68CamaroPrimer28.jpg

68CamaroPrimer27.jpg

Four most excellent upgrades...errr....corrections, Richard! Thanks for sharing....TIM

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Posted

Brilliant tips Snake, I have one of these AMT's in the pile along with the newer revell offering, Ill bookmark this page for future reference.......

Now about that Revell grill and rear panel angle................ Lol

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Posted

I also saved this thread! Very interesting info............there are things pointed out that I never would have noticed on the AMT body and I have this kit. B)

And yes, that Revell rear end is atrocious! That would actually be one of the first things I'd fix if I ever got around to building (fixing) this.

Thanks Snake!

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Posted

Great tips, I am going in to dig out one of these kits & give it a try.

Thanks,

Chris

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Posted

Some great tips there Snake. I knew about the back window trim and have done that on some other cars as well but never really notices the side window moldings and around the grille. I'll certainly be doing those mods when I get around to building another one of those AMT Camaros. Thanks.

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Posted

Is the interior the same on both kits?  Dash, consoles, seats?  etc.

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Posted

Hey @Snake45 your photos are down.  

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Posted (edited)

As they are for most of the former photobucket users if you don't pay them 400 bucks a year. :angry:
But a topic that's over 2½ years old as this one almost never still have the pictures as they are often removed or stored at other places.

Edited by Force

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Posted

Hey @Snake45 your photos are down.  

Oh, they're still up, I assure you. It's just that BotoPhucket won't let you see them anymore. :(

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Posted

You guys are the best.  I have a old photo account on there, hate all those ads on there now.  What a headache the site has now become.

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