AMT 1/25 'The Judge' 69 GTO Funny Car
|REVIEWER:||Scott Van Aken|
|NOTES:||Purchased started. 2007 reissue|
In 1968, the GTO got a new body style that lasted until 1972. It was more of a semi-fastback design that was fairly popular. In 1969, a new model called "The Judge" was introduced. The name came from a comedy routine, "Here Come de Judge", used repeatedly on the Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In TV show. The Judge routine, made popular by comedian Flip Wilson, was borrowed from the act of long-time burlesque entertainer Dewey "Pigmeat" Markham. Advertisements used slogans like "All rise for the Judge" and "The Judge can be bought". As originally conceived, the Judge was to be a low-cost GTO, stripped of features to make it competitive with the Plymouth Road Runner. The package was US$332 more expensive than a standard GTO, and included the Ram Air III engine, Rally II wheels without trim rings, Hurst shifter (with a unique T-shaped handle), wider tires, various decals, and a rear spoiler. Pontiac claimed that the spoiler had some functional effect at higher speeds, producing a small but measurable downforce, but it was of little value at legal speeds. The Judge was initially offered only in Carousel Red, but midway into the model year, other colors became available.
The GTO was surpassed in sales both by the Chevrolet Chevelle SS396 and the Plymouth Road Runner, but 72,287 were sold during the 1969 model year, with 6,833 of them having the Judge package.
I bought this kit started. The previous owner had already assembled and painted the frame and started on the engine. All the parts were there so this was one I could actually build. The engine has a compressor and many of the parts are chrome plated. The same goes for many of the suspension parts. I imagine that in reality, these were aluminum as chrome plating does nothing for the speed of the car.
The suspension sections are nicely molded as are all the parts in the kit, though you do have to deal with some ejector pin marks on various pieces. With the chassis and suspension built up, the small floor pan has to be assembled so one can install the seat, pedals and steering wheel. Holes need to be opened up on the pan to fit the four piece roll cage. Then the wheels and wheelie bars can be installed.
The body is mostly one piece with only a separate rear pan. There is also a grille to go in that is a chrome piece. The windows are a single piece that fits inside the car body and there is three piece interior section that will enclose the driver's area and the engine compartment. This is normally aluminum in the real deal. The body also gets the rear spoiler and a parabrake pack. It simply sits atop the chassis and a forward brace is provided so you can lift up the front of the body to show off the engine and chassis.
Instructions are well done and have the complex part of the built, the chassis, divided into several steps. You are given two decal sheets. The large one is for the two options provided in the kit and the smaller one is a sheet that came in a Thunderbird that you could use if you so wish. Typically, the decals are glossy, very thick and seem to be a single carrier. No separate painting guide is provided, the art work on the box top and sides being pretty much it.
Overall, this looks like it will build into a nice model right from the box. There is plenty of room for additional detailing like engine wiring and brake lines if one wants to go that route.
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