In 1979, my teenage dream came true when I bought my third car (or I should say my Dad did after I pestered him to death), a 1965 Mustang coupe. When I was growing up, my folks bought two of these beauties brand new, a 1965 convertible and 1968 California Special. The Mustang was firmly rooted in my mind as one the coolest cars I’d ever seen. I had to have one. A testament to my Dad’s wisdom, my Mustang wasn’t the hotrod my friends had with their 289 and 302 V-8s. Mine was a straight six 200 cid with diamond tuck interior and a cheesy baby blue paint job. In retrospect, he probably saved me from getting into a lot of trouble. Over the course of the next two years I restored the car to its original factory condition, down to its Philco AM radio. As nice as it turned out, I really always wanted a Shelby. Even then, Shelby’s were coveted collector cars well out of a high school kid’s budget.
Shelby Mustangs hit the scene in 1965 with the legendary GT 350. From 1965 to 1970, Carroll Shelby’s name graced some incredible pony cars, including the GT 500 and the GT 500 KR (for King of the Road). Built in limited numbers, these cars were loaded with horsepower and handling packages stock Mustangs just didn’t have. Just when it looked like the Shelby name would never adorn a Mustang again, in 2006 the Shelby Mustang returned! True to the originals, these cars were packed with power but gained a reputation-because of their high power and short wheel base-of not keeping the tires in contact with the road. Enter the 2010 Shelby GT 500 which is powered by a 5.4 liter supercharged V-8 and rated at 540hp. The difference was in the traction and stability improvements to the undercarriage that made this a manageable super car. Priced around 50k, this has to rank as one of the truly affordable performance cars out there. So is there a Shelby in my future after all? Time will tell. What I can say is this build got me looking at the real thing and it’s getting harder than ever to resist! When in 2011 the Shelby GT 350 returns, help!
You know by the scale this is going to be a big model but that didn’t dampen my surprise when the box arrived in the mail. Clear the bench for this build! There are 130 parts, all carefully packed in individual bags. The body parts are molded in white while the others are in dark blue, black, clear, clear red, and chrome. Also included are metal axle pins, exhaust tips, and four rubber tires. Detail is very good for a kit of this size. It resembled an upsized mold and, in fact, I see that Revell has issued this kit in 1/25 scale, but I don’t know if it was scaled up or this kit was scaled down. What you get is more than enough to build a fine replica. For those who want more detail, you couldn’t ask for a better start. The package is completed by a multi-page instruction booklet and a decal sheet. The decals only provide white stripes, so your color combos are limited to two unless you want to paint stripes yourself. Interesting to note: the smaller scale version does include two stripe color options.
I followed the instruction sequence throughout the build. In general, you build the engine first, then the interior, followed by the undercarriage, then the body. The color call outs for the engine are accurate but the same is not true for the undercarriage. In lieu of the instructions’ just leaving it black, there are actually a number of colors used underneath Mustangs. I found a color photo of an upended Mustang online and generally matched the colors therein. For metallic colors, I airbrushed Alclad or Model Master. The main difference being, if any color was going over the metallic, I’ve found Model Master will bleed into the top coat. I tried to use spray cans whenever I could, just because the parts are so big. The interior was done with dark grays and different black sheens (flat, satin, semi gloss) to replicate carpet, leather, vinyl, etc. Decals are provided for the seat stripes. You could paint them as there are lines molded on the seats showing you where they go. The instrument panel is very nice as the instruments are represented by a decal that goes behind a clear lens part. Next up was the body. This assembly is composed of the body shell, spoiler, door handles, and mirrors all molded in white (except the mirrors which are in black.) After sanding a very minimal amount of mould lines, we were ready for paint.
I went round and round on how to finish this project. The problem started when I went to a local model show (Orange Con, in Fullerton, CA) and saw incredible finishes on some of the cars there. I posted a question on the IPMS website inquiring as to how I could go about doing that. I got a lot of great feedback which advised me that I would have to use a different setup then I currently run, including a spray gun and compressor with a regulator. As luck would have it, I wanted to paint my Shelby in Fords Cobalt Blue Metallic. I found the last two cans of Tamiya TS-51 “Racing Blue,” lacquer at a local hobby shop. I say a lucky find, because this paint has been getting harder and harder to get due to some labeling issues that prevent shipment to the U.S. For those who haven’t used this paint before, it is nothing short of amazing. If you build up the coats right, it goes on like glass. I primed the body parts and polished it out with micro mesh cloths to make it as smooth as possible. After several color coats, it was apparent that a clear coat was going to be needed, since the primmer was not allowing the same gloss level I get from Tamiya paints on bare plastic. Again, the large area involved drove me to the local auto store for clear coat. I ended up with Duplicolor clear coat. It didn’t live up to my expectations. After the first few passes it was obvious I was going to have to wet sand/buff it out. I built up a good layer since I didn’t want to rub down to the color coat. I set that aside for a week to cure. After masking and spraying the lower body panels with satin black, the hard part began. I had to rub out the finish without rubbing off the paint. The end result is OK but I’m not entirely satisfied. I think on a real car it would work great but I seemed to get the worst result in areas I couldn’t buff, like hard edges and recesses. I did learn a lot from my fellow model builders out there and, for that, I thank them. Another warning: if you are going to mix and match paints not specially made for models, make sure they won’t attack each other. This is especially true when you are mixing enamels and lacquers like I did on this project.
The decals went on with out much trouble. The only awkward ones were the stripes on the rear deck lid under the spoiler and the front stripes that go under the front upper grille section (decal numbers 8, 9 and 2). I had to cut the latter to get it to lay down right. Putting them over the dark color did reduce the white because of translucence. If I had it to do again, I think I would paint them on. Do not use the red decal for the recessed section on top of the spoiler. This area, called a Gurney Flap, is black on the real car. In the interest of showing you what they look like, I elected not to remove the chrome plate from the wheels. Follow the directions with regard to the headlights and tail lights, as they go in before the body is dropped onto the chassis. The glass is of the flush mount variety seen on most modern cars. It is installed from the outside. The blacked out sections to hide the glue were done with a wide sharpie. Two metal exhaust tips finished off this potent thoroughbred.
I would give this kit 9 out of 10. The only ding is for the stripe decal issues discussed earlier. It would have been nice to include different color stripes to open up body color possibilities. As I was building this kit, the thought occurred to me that, despite the level 3 experience rating, and perhaps the price, this would be a great kit to build with your kids. The parts are huge and with some simple spray painting you can produce a great-looking model. That said, this was a fun experience. Everything fit the way it should. The body to chassis mount is a bit too precise in that there are not many contacts points to glue it together. Living in Southern California has given me the opportunity to see several examples of the real thing on the road. For the most part, Revell has nailed it with the exception of the tires, which appear too tall and, as a result, the sit of the model is on the high side. I think the price point is reasonable enough that a lot of these kits will appear under Christmas trees this year. For those Mustang lovers and particularly Shelby fans, get this one on your Christmas wish list. If you can’t wait that long, go get one now, as there are some good discounted deals on the net. Many thanks to Revell for supplying the sample and to the IPMS review team for the pleasure of building it to share with you.