Manufacturer: AMT/Ertl, P.O. Box 500, Highways 136 and 20, Dyersville, IA 52040-0500, 800-553-4886.
Kit: No. 30053
Comments: Injection-molded, 106 parts (4 vinyl), decals.
Pros: Good shapes, interior detail is plentiful, good fit.
Cons: Some details are misplaced, sink mark in roof from dome light, sprue scars on top of bumper.
The third generation of the Dodge Charger was launched in 1971. The car was completely restyled, keeping a hint of the previous generation's "Coke bottle" shape. The body lines were smoothed with a slightly raked look and the split grille returned. The high-performance R/T (road/track) model featured tail light lenses that were divided into three segments by a silver bezel. Special side stripes and a louvered domed hood with flat black accent paint also set the R/T apart from standard Chargers. The 440-cubic-inch and 426 Hemi engines were the only choices for the R/T version.
AMT has perfectly captured the shape and detail of the '71 Charger. The instructions include specifications on the Charger R/T and colors for the body and interior. Names, numbers, and colors are listed for each part, but you might want to check references - I found several discrepancies in the recommended colors.
I worked up the body first to let the paint dry. The scripts on AMT's hood, fenders, and trunk lid are quite shallow, so I sanded them off. After several coats of Model Master Plum Crazy Purple, I polished the paint and used the decals provided for those markings. A small sink mark in the center of the roof seemed to disappear after sanding, but unfortunately returned after I painted.
The model can only be displayed with the hood closed or removed - no hood hinges are provided. One molding problem is annoying: the chromed front bumper is attached to the sprue at the top edge. Careful cutting, and the use of foil or silver paint, hides most of the wound when the hood is closed.
The engine compartment has nice detail on the firewall, including a separate wiper motor and master cylinder with brake booster. A detailed battery, heater hoses, and air-conditioning lines with cooler complete the trim, but there is no washer reservoir or horn included. Detail on the 440 Magnum engine is good, topped off by a dual-snorkel air cleaner with a heat-riser tube. According to photos of real cars, the kit's valve covers should swap sides. The distributor is in the wrong location for a big-block Mopar engine; it should be more towards the right side and angled to the right. An aftermarket distributor with plug wires would really bring this engine to life - well, at least visually.
The chassis includes parking brake lines, fuel lines, separate rear axle, springs, shocks, and drive shaft. A four-piece exhaust system with nice clamp detail completes the assembly.
The interior builds up on the chassis with separate door panels (with great wood-grain detail), a nice split bench seat, and an accurate ralleye dash. The roof of the interior has the visors, dome light (so that's what caused the dimple in the roof!) and the shoulder straps engraved in.
The wheels' open slots save a lot of detail painting time, but instead of bright chrome they should be painted aluminum with gunmetal hubs and chrome trim rings. The hub is a bit too long and rounded, too, so sand it flush with the outside rim and paint the flat part chrome silver.
The tires are Goodyear Polyglas F-70 14s. After several failed attempts at painting the raised white letters, I reversed the tires and used SHABO brand dry-transfers because these cars just don't look right without the letters.
All in all this is a great kit. Everything fit without modification and assembled smoothly. The front of the car appears a bit too high, but it still looks good. With some aftermarket decals a Super Bee version would look just right sitting beside it.