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AMT/ERTL '66 Oldsmobile 442 W30 Kit No. 6268

Donald F. Atherton

For 1966, Oldsmobile's mid-sized F85 series received new sheetmetal. The 4-4-2 was offered on the low cost F85 either as a club coupe or a holiday coupe. On the upscale Cutlass series, the 4-4-2 was available in three body styles - club coupe, holiday coupe or convertible. The 4-4-2 was still one of the few muscle cars available with a rear anit-roll bar and was considered one of the best handling mid-sized performance cars of the Sixties.

I've learned one thing about kit box photo's of the cars a kit is supposed to represent.
Never judge a kit box by it's cover. The car pictured on the cover of this kit box is a low cost F85 and not the Cutlass version of the 4-4-2 W30 that you actually get in the box. I suppose I would be upset if it had been the other way around. The photo at the right shows the Cutlass version that you will find in the kit box.

This month I'm trying a new format for this review. I will have a photo of each parts tree from the kit and review the parts contained in that photo.

Here we have the tires, clear and clear red parts. The clear parts are done like the rest of AMT/Ertl's latest kits. The visors are molded to the windshield and it has the extra surface with alignment holes for gluing the unit in place. Even though this design is convenient to install, it does not end in a windshield that is in scale. It looks to thick and slight gaps form between the body and the windshield. The rear window is different in that it is flat and fits nicely in a recessed area on the inside of the body around the window opening. This should look more realistic, but will require that you be more careful with the glue. I would suggest using Elmer's clear glue as it cleans up with water if you make a mistake. There are 4 clear headlight lenses as well as a washer bottle. The clear red parts consist of the taillight lenses and have nice engraving. The tires are the same as those found in AMT/Ertl's '67 Impala kit. There is a slot to run thinned red paint in to create the redlines. These tires appear to be accurate when compared to the photo above of the Cutlass version.

Now for the chrome parts. AMT/Ertl advertises that this is a 2 in 1 kit. They say it can be built custom. Well, the extra set of billet wheels on this chrome tree are the only custom options in the whole kit! Maybe that should be 1.002 in 1 AMT/Ertl! The rest of the tree consists of stock wheels which look correct but are molded closed. There is a separate Tachometer, rear view mirror, shifter and side view mirror. Maybe some day we will see separate wipers and door handles on AMT/Ertl's chrome trees. The rear bumper is a separate part and has the carriage bolt heads engraved in. The front bumper/grille has a new twist. The Headlight bezels are separate pieces that will make detail painting much easier. AMT/Ertl overlooked a vital detail for the W30 option when they engraved this bumper. The air intake ducts which for the 66 W30 are missing and should be in the slot in the bumper most towards the sides and the parking lights should be inboard next to the ducts. See the photo's above from both the box top and the Cutlass photo. Look close and you will see what I'm talking about. In 1967 the ducts were between the headlights and above and below the parking light. Linberg's '67 Olds 442 has this correct. I just don't see how AMT/Ertl could have missed this! All you resin casters out there in after market land should be thinking about casting a correct unit.

The quality of plating on this tree is very poor as well. The chrome looks wrinkled a crazed. Not all the parts are affected. I don't know about you, but I didn't pay good money to have to strip bad chrome and send it out to be re-plated. If you get such a defective tree, call that 800 number on the side of the box for a replacement.

Now this tree has some nice parts on it. It consists of a 20 piece engine and firewall, dash, license plate frames and radiator. All of the engraving looks very nice and has good engraved texture that I like to see. There is valve train detail and the cylinder bores are molded into the block half's. The oil filter is molded to the oil pan but looks like it can be cut off and glued on as a separate piece. The ignition coil is molded into the intake manifold and is not very convincing. the engraving on the dash is on the light side and should prove to be a challenge to detail paint. The quality on this tree is very good. No flash and no sink marks.

Here we have the now standard in every AMT/Ertl new tooling. The separate frame and chassis pan. Engraving is good on the chassis pan and the separate frame is the best idea in kit design of late. There are some minor sink marks in the frame that should be easy to fill in. Also found here is the lower portion of the front suspension with a separate torsion bar, the hose ducting for the W30 setup which is quite well done with hardly any parting seam. The hood looks correct and AMT/Ertl does a good job with engraving on the under side of the hood.

This is the body. Sorry for the bad scan.
This body appears to be an accurate representation of the Cutlass version. The side door handles are molded in and look like lumps. The lock cylinder below the handle is way out of scale! The scripts and badges are in scale but are very light. All in all this body is well done with no sink marks. The mold parting seams are going to be easy to clean up. The underside of the roof is lacking any engraved detail.

Not much to say about the decal sheet on this kit as what you see here is all there is.
Kind of disappointing isn't it. I can think of one resin caster who will appreciate the Indiana Plates.

This tree has the rest of the chassis parts and some interior parts. Of note are the excellent separate side panels for the interior. These will be easy to detail. There is a separate rear seat with integral package shelf. The steering wheel is nicely done and the center console is an un-plated part. There is a separate Battery that the Instructions show going on top off the rear fender well. According to one reference photo I obtained, it should be on the trunk floor behind the seat next to the fender well. In any case the battery was in the trunk compartment as the W30 intake hoses left no room for it in the engine bay. It's all kind of pointless as the trunk does not open on this kit and the battery won't show anyway. At least it is there for the modelers who will open up the trunk. The rest of the parts comprise the the drive train and suspension parts as well as the exhaust. These are done in the same manner as the latest kits from AMT/Ertl.

And finally we come to this parts tree. It has the front bucket seats and the inner wheel halves as well as heater hoses and some front suspension parts. The seats are two piece affairs and well engraved. The inner wheel halves have drum brake detail engraved in. A nice touch, but wouldn't the backer plates on the real car cover this up anyway?

Instructions:

The instructions are not what I thought they would be.
AMT/Ertl no longer gives any info or technical data on the real car. It is now full of cautions and warnings in four languages. There is a legend for the symbols and their meaning. The illustrations for each assembly step are drawn well and there should be no confusion on what goes where. For painting instructions, you have a letter next to each part and you have to keep flipping the instruction sheet over to look at the paint chart. Annoying, but I guess naming the color next to the part in four languages would take up a lot of space.

Final Thoughts:

AMT/Ertl needs to start making sure what they put on the box top is what they put in the kit. At least photo's of the model are shown on the side panel.

New toolings from AMT/Ertl leave me with mixed feelings lately. They have made major improvements in in the level of detail and accuracy in some areas and then they make very gross decisions and errors in other key areas. Also, money spent on tooling of detail that won't or shouldn't show anyway could be put to better use in the areas that need improvement.

None the less this should build into a good looking model. The replica stock builders will need to fix quite a few things to make this an absolutely accurate replica.

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Air Intelligence
1998 Modelers'
Reference Guides

1/48 Scale Guide $20.00
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HH-43 Huskie Color Reference Guide $15.00

Please add $3.00 Postage in the US.

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