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New Kit! Chevy Corvair "Rampside" pickup

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Hi Fellow Plastic Heads:

Just received the new resin 1961 Corvair Rampside pickup truck kit. I'll post this review and some photos here for your amusement.

First of all, for those of you not acquainted with me, let me mention that I am a total Corvair NUT, having owned (and worked on) nearly 40 of them over the last 43 years, including one of every model year and body style. While I may not be a total "expert" on the marque, let's just say that I have more than a passing acquaintance with it!

If you're not familiar with the Chevy Corvair, just do a quick "Google" on it to get a history lesson. Basically, it was General Motor's (poor) answer to the Volkswagen Beetle. There were several variations of the Vair, including 2 and 4-door sedans, convertibles, stations wagon, van, high-performance turbo-charged specials, and of course this interesting pickup truck. Over 1.7 million were produced from late 1959 until May 1969. I have had a blast driving them and working on them over the years!

As a Corvair nut, I have tried to buy a sample of every Corvair model and toy I could find (and afford). Aside from some "slush-cast" weak attempts at resin models of the Corvair van and/or truck, the only styrene model of a Rampside (that I know of) was produced by the "Premier" model company back in the early 60s. For those of you not familiar with Premier kits, let's just say that they often looked like a kit that was mastered from memory, and sometimes bore only vague resemblance to the prototype. Their Rampside sorta kinda looked like the real thing, but was a wierd scale somewhere between 1/32 and 1/25 scale, and had a multi-piece body that was a PITA to assemble. Even so, that's all we had until now, and I've seen unassembled kits going for $300 bucks! A limited-edition resin copy of Premier's kit showed up around 14 years ago, and even these fetch high $$$ these days. 

This new kit was mastered by Mike Hanson of "Best Model Car Parts" from California. Many of you have purchased some of his other resin goodies, and he is particularly well known for his excellent model car instrument panel "decals". The kit retails for $79.00/each, plus shipping.

In my humble opinion, this new resin kit is *gorgeous*. My photography skills don't do it justice. I've heard that Mike did a lot of homework trying to get the details right, including getting photos and input from owners of the real McCoy. I haven't measured it yet, but the body looks spot-on in 1/25 scale. It includes well detailed separate side ramp and tailgate, interior panels, head light bezel units, and a well engraved bench seat. Not seen in the photos, the kit even includes a rear view mirror, side mirror (take that, Harry ?), license plate light fixtures, even a detailed headliner with sun visors! The dashboard is nice, too, and even includes a detailed instrument panel decal. While there's some flash to clean up, as in most resin kits, my sample of the kit has a very smooth body with scarcely any "bubbles" or other imperfections to deal with.

That's the "Pros"; now the "cons".

Panel lines around the doors are light, and will probably not stand up to even a modest coat of paint. Be prepared to get your scribing tool out and work on that before priming. The kit does not contain any tires, no steering column, nor any "glass" (some items I would expect in this price range). The outer wheel halves seemed to be a bit "off center". Of interest to factory stock modelers, when you test fit the inner/outer wheel halves together, it appears that the wheel is kinda wide, and I'm wondering what kind of tire I'm going to find to fit it (those of you who normally like to use "Pegasus" rims and tires wont have to worry about that, of course). The prototype would have ridden on "skinny" bias-ply tires of that era. 

Some compromise was obviously made with the chassis. Although it fits well with the body, and the basic detail looks good, it falls short on being true to the prototype. Since this is a "curbside" kit, most folks won't even notice (or care). Incidentally, this kit models a "Powerglide" automatic transmission unit. The dashboard does not contain provision for the Corvair's goofy little Powerglide shift lever, nor for the shift indicator in the instrument panel itself. Once again, items that only the most picky modelers would likely notice.

All-in-All, I think it's a great kit, and I looks forward to building it in my usual showroom stock mode. I can see a lot of you having fun with this one, as a modest custom, a period-correct tow vehicle in a diorama, commercial class applications, etc etc.

I purchased my kit through dealer Okey Spaulding, who will be selling them at a lot of  upcoming shows in Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana. He can be contacted at (859) 307-3087 eMail = okeyisnow@gmail.com

Of course, you can purchase direct from Best Model Car Parts at WWW.bestmodelcarparts.com  I believe they are also starting to show up on evilBay as well.









Edited by ToyLvr
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On 11/29/2017 at 3:42 PM, ChrisBcritter said:

Really looking forward to seeing how this goes together! Was this made from the 3D print file that showed up on (I think) Shapeways a while back?

No, Chris, this one was mastered the good old-fashioned way by Mike Hanson of Best Model Car Parts. The kit shown above is the result of 18 months worth of work. The research included field trips to photograph and measure a 1:1 "Rampside" and a "Loadside" pickup, as well as a lot of work to find era-correct parts for the master. The hubcaps, for example, are from a rare SMP '61 Chevy pickup kit. 

I think that the 3D unit you're referring to was done by Robert Burns, and it has no relation to the Hanson project. If my info is correct, the 3D unit sold on evilBay for a crazy amount ($300 ???). Not to say anything bad about the 3D, but the Best Model Car Parts Rampside is very nice, and a fraction of the cost of the 3D.....

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A must-have for me; one of my friends has been restoring Corvairs for over 40 years in SC so I'm well acquainted with them. Wish I'd bought the 1:1 Loadside he sold about 35 years ago for $700...  Used to ride to school in his '62 Monza Spyder CV.  The sound of the turbo's "sirens" from behind always catches you off guard the first few times you hear it!

I have the Hebmueller conversion kit so I know the Rampside quality will be fine.

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