Right On Replicas, LLC Step-by-Step Review 20150417*
1979 Pontiac Firebird T/A 1:25 Scale MPC Model Kit #820 Review
Review and Photos by Alan Mann
The Firebird was produced by the Pontiac division of General Motors between 1967 and 2002. It was introduced the same year as the automaker’s platform-sharing model, the Chevrolet Camaro. The vehicles were powered by various four-cylinder, six-cylinder, and V8 engines sourced from all GM divisions. While primarily Pontiac-powered until 1977, Firebirds were built with several different engines from nearly every division until 1982 when GM began to discontinue engines it felt were unneeded and either spread successful designs from individual divisions among all divisions or used new engines of a corporate architecture. The Trans Am was a specialty package for the Firebird, typically upgrading handling, suspension, and horsepower, as well as minor appearance modifications such as exclusive hoods, spoilers, fog lights and wheels. In using the name Trans Am, a registered trademark, GM agreed to pay $5 per car sold to the SCCA. Despite its name, the Trans Am was not initially used in the Trans Am Series, as its smallest engine exceeded the SCCA’s five liter displacement limit. 1979 marked the 10th Anniversary of the Trans Am, and a special anniversary package was made available: Silver paint with Gray paint accents and a Silver leather interior. The 10th Anniversary cars also featured a special Firebird hood decal, which extended off of the hood and onto the front fenders. Pontiac produced 7,500 10th Anniversary cars, of which 1,817 were equipped with the Pontiac 400 engine, and the only option on these cars was the engine. In 1979 Pontiac sold 116,535 Trans Am models which still holds the record to this day.
For the modeler: This review covers the Round2/ MPC Kit #820 ’79 Pontiac Firebird T/A. This is a 1/25 scale kit available in the “3n1” options style. You get the parts for Stock, Street and Race versions. This is a direct Re-release (Re-Pop) with new decals. This kit has seen multiple box arts under the MPC and AMT line. There are around 120 parts molded in White, Chrome, Clear, Clear Red and has Vinyl tires and a Metal axle. Decals include three different colored versions. The overall design is typical MPC from the 80’s and builds in simple steps. You get a fairly detailed motor. Simple wiring will improve this greatly. The chassis is somewhat basic with the axles having built on exhaust. There is a typical Tub interior with minimal details or the Race version which has no interior tub and is built on the chassis pan. The body overall looks good and all the exterior parts can be assembled prior to painting. This helps give a better finish to your build. Decals are easy to use and include multiple license plates but no interior details. Overall dimensions are Length: 7-1/2”, Width: 3”, Height: 2”.
Covered in this Review: If you want to perfect your build; basic construction; preparing parts for better finishing; alternate assembly sequence suggestions for fit and ease of finishing; abrasive choices; complete paint and adhesive selections and applications; test fitting; repairing excess flash; mold seam identification and repair; using white glue for the window glass; suspension installation; detailing the tires for realism; chassis construction and detailing; mounting the body to the chassis; locating the connection points; tire logo considerations; detailing the dashboard; optional parts considerations; using an aftermarket wired distributor; add aftermarket flocking to the interior; making custom floor mats; installing aftermarket gauges dials; cutting out the “tee” tops; using foil to highlight the trim; correct wiring instruction guide; removing unwanted parts for specific versions; turn signal finishing colors; engine color guide; a perfect hood shaker installation method; engine bay detailing; combining instruction steps for better finishing; using floor wax to make crystal clear window glass; decal preparation and application; using decal setting solutions for that “painted on” look; installing “faux” side pipes; are all fully examined in this 18 page, full-color Step-by-Step review in PDF format.
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