AMT 1/25 #4 Kodak Film Oldsmobile
KIT #: 48020
PRICE: $8.95 when it was brand new.
DECALS: One option
REVIEWER: Tim Peters


 This generation of Olds Cutlass replaced the Delta 88 for the 1988 NASCAR season and was used until the end of the 1992 season when Olds left NASCAR, following Buickís departure the year before.

This version of the Morgan McClure #4 debuted in 1988 with Rick Wilson driving.  He scored the teamís first pole at Bristol in 1988.  After two winless seasons, the team hired Phil Parsons to drive the car in 1990.  Parsons was released after three sub par races and Ernie Irvan was hired.  Irvan won the pole for the spring Bristol race in his third start for the team.  The team switched to a Chevrolet in the middle of the season, debuting the car at Talladega in July.  Irvan scored the teamís first win 3 races later at Bristol, leading the several successful seasons afterwards.


This is AMTís version of the NASCAR 1988 Olds Cutlass.  The kit was released in 3 different boxings, the #94 Sunoco car, the #68 Country Time car and the Kodak car.  AMTís kits usually reflect the short track versions of the cars so the bodies have more grill openings then you would find on a car that ran at a bigger track like Daytona.   The roll cage is a bit different than the Monogram stock cars which tend to look like the superspeedway versions of the cars.  The body is molded with an separate hood and trunk.  The car has a clear sprue with a windshield and a wrap around rear window that includes the rear quarter windows and a lip for trunk.  You also get a clear fuel filler and vent tube.  The chrome sprue has the several of the engine accessories and the wheels as well as a 2 piece jack.  Like most stock car kits, just about all the chrome parts need to be stripped as stock cars donít have any chrome under the hood.  Chrome wheels were banned in NASCAR in the late 80ís so the wheels need to be stripped and painted, usually gloss black.  The decals match the box art and in register so no issues here.  The glue kits like these are long out of production but they can be found easily at shows or on Ebay.


 The first thing I always do on stock car kits is fold up the instructions and put them back in the box.  These cars are much easier to build without them and paint color callouts tend to range from close to funny.  I start by painting the engine.  I painted the block and headers steel, the distributor cap, belts, fan and radiator hose semi-gloss black with the rest of the parts being painted aluminum including the transmission.  I glued the firewall to the chassis next.  A quick note on this part, I have not built a stock car kit where this fits right.  The firewall always sits high on the transmission tunnel and creates a ridge.  You can fix this by sanding the bottom of the firewall where it meets the floor pan until it fits better and smoothing the join with filler.  I didnít do that here as the black cage and the dashboard will hide it and no one is looking under this car.  Then I attached the fuel cell to the chassis.  Next take the center roll bar, itís shaped like a X, and place it in the chassis.  The longest end goes through the firewall.  Now, to make painting easier, glue the part that goes through the firewall to the chassis.  Then cut the bar at the firewall and remove the bar.  Then I started on the roll cage.  Itís much easier to assemble the cage first then paint it to avoid paint touchups on every join.  I started by attaching the rear of the cage to the sides and placing them on the chassis to confirm the alignment.  Donít glue anything to the chassis itself, just leave it loose.  Continue assembling the roll cage using the chassis as a guide.  When you are done and the glue is set, remove the cage and set it aside.


 Take the assembled chassis and roll cage along with the trailing arms, rear end housing, rear shelf , seat  dashboard and instrument panel and the lower front suspension and painted everything flat black.  While that is drying, I painted the rest of the parts.  The driveshaft was painted white with aluminum ends, the springs, brakes  and exhaust were painted steel.  The steering shaft, shocks, blower motor and radiator were all painted aluminum.  The fire extinguisher was painted red with a silver nozzle.  I stripped the chrome from the wheels and painted them gloss black. 

 For the body, First I primed the car black and wet sanded the patch area again to get it real smooth.  Then I masked off the grill openings on the nose, the B-posts and the carb inlet at the base of the windshield.  Then it was time for color.  The #4 team painted all of the Kodak cars the same shade of yellow, starting with the first Olds in 1986 all the way to the Pontiacs in 2003.  It was a GM factory color called Wheatland yellow and it matched Kodakís flim boxes.  The easiest way to match the color is to give the body a flat red under coat and then spray the body Duplicolor Schoolbus Yellow.  You can also use regular Testors yellow as well as it as an orange tint to it.  After the body cured for a few days, I pulled the masking off and started polishing.  I lightly wet sanded the body with 4000 and 6000 grit polishing cloths and then rubbed it down with polishing compound and a flannel cloth.  I painted the rear spoiler gloss black and glued it to the body.  I shot the body with a light coat of gloss clear and then started decaling.  AMTís decals arenít as bad as Monogramís decals from the 80ís but they are a tad thick and the glue on the decals is a murky white.  You will be changing the decal water a few times.  I usually start on one corner and worked my way around the car. 


  As the parts cured, I started on the body.  Normally this is an easy step but the body had a significant molding defect on the right rear fender.  I cut out the affected area with my dremel tool and a cutoff wheel and made a patch from Evergreen sheet.  I glued in the patch panel and sanded and puttied the patch until it blended in the fender.  I also glued the hood and trunk to the car (more on the trunk later)and attached the rear bumper.  The bumper will need a little blending into the body but with careful assembly, you should be able to avoid putty.  I then started assembling the chassis.  The first thing I did was glue the rear end housing, brakes and  springs to the trailing arms and attach the driveshaft.  I also slid the metal rear axle in place and glued it in.  Make sure itís even to make sure the rear tires have something to mount to.  I then glued the power steering pump and steering shaft to the chassis as itís a real pain to do it later.  Next, I assembled the front suspension and attached it to the chassis.  Then I dropped in the engine and mounted the rear suspension.  I then attached the radiator and got it lined up to the fan.  I also attached the seat and the interior accessories.  I assembled the dashboard and steering wheel next.  Now itís time to drop the cage in place.  Since the cage was built on the chassis earlier, it should just drop into place.  Once thatís in, attach the rear view mirror, exhaust  and the dash assembly and that should complete the chassis.  The final step is to build the tires.  I scuffed the tires with a sanding wheel on my Dremel to give them a raced look as well as to get rid of the mold seam down the middle of the tires.  Then assembly the wheels and mount the front axle stubs in the inner wheels before you glue them into the tires (or insert trimmed sprue in the wheels if you forget, ask me how I knowÖ).  Then mount the tires on the car.  Once all four tires are on and straight, let it sit for a day or two to set.

After finishing the decaling, I sprayed the car with gloss clear again.  I painted the trim and support bars on the glass gloss black.  Now to mount the glass, you are going to have an issue if you glued the trunk in place as the rear glass has a wide lip on the end that will keep it from going in.  If you leave the trunk loose, the window drops right in.  If itís glued in, you will need to work the rear window in from the bottom and then glue it in after itís in.  After that the chassis goes in.  Place the rear of the chassis in first and then slide the front of it up and into position and that finishes the car. 


This is a fun kit to build.  The nice thing about stock cars is that they can all be assembled the same way.  The AMT cars use the exact same chassis under different bodies so once you figure out the tricks, itís smooth sailing.  The AMT cars are fun to build and are a great starting point for anyone getting into stock cars.  The older kits like this one are easy to find and a very easy build.

Tim Peters

August 2012

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