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Polar Lights 1964 Pontiac GTO Convertible

August 2005
1964 Pontiac GTO convertible
Polar Lights no. 53003
Model Type: Injection-molded styrene snap kit
Molded Colors: Black, clear, cream, light blue
Scale: 1/24
MSRP: $19.00
Pros: Clean, unblemished paint on body and hood
Cons: Mounting pins too large, model sits too high
The instructions included in this kit are extremely well done. If followed step by step, there is no guesswork.

The engine is reminiscent of the kits manufactured in the 1960s and '70s in that the parts count is kept to a minimum. The exhaust manifolds are part of the heads, the starter and oil filter are molded as part of the oil pan, and the lower coolant hose is included with the water pump/timing chain assembly, as is the fuel pump.

Two intake setups are included; one being the fabled Tri-power and the other being a single four-barrel carburetor. Unfortunately, the Tri-power version is missing one of its three air cleaners. I checked the chrome sprue holding the carburetor parts and found the sprue mounts that would hold the missing air cleaner were chromed over, leaving me to believe the extra air cleaner had been removed in the manufacturing process.

The eight-piece chassis assembly includes a separate frame, front suspension assembly, rear suspension assembly with separate coil springs, right and left exhausts, lower floor pan, and separate fuel tank. I had to ream the mounting holes on the chassis slightly so the mounting pins could be forced into place.

Polar Lights includes an extra pair of tires for the "strip" version. The builder has a choice of stock knockoff wheel covers or five-spoke mag-style wheels. I chose the five-spoke style, although they do not look especially realistic.

The interior is a well-done 12-piece unit molded in cream-colored styrene that is somewhat translucent and does not look realistic. The interior engraving is nice and crisp, with minimal flashing. With the interior side trim panels separate from the floor pan, the interior is a breeze to paint and detail. The instrument panel has the foot pedals included, which is a nice touch, though they are too close to the driver's seat.

I could not get the front seats to snap into the slots provided in the floor pan until the slots were enlarged.

The interior floor pan includes the front wheel housings, with the battery and radiator overflow tank included in the molding. Because they are part of the interior, the wheel housings are also molded in cream-colored styrene.

After painting the housings semigloss black to match the firewall and brush-detailing the firewall, battery, and overflow tank, the engine compartment is quite presentable.

The body is the only prepainted part of the kit. The paint is nice and slick, with no visible orange peel, although several areas look a little thin.

The front and rear bumpers are again of the snap-together design, but the front bumper mounting holes and pins are slightly misaligned. I found that after the front bumper was pressed into place and allowed to sit for 15-20 seconds, it would literally jump off the car. A small dab of super glue cured the problem.

The chrome front grille/bumper assembly has the headlight and parking light lens included. I added a drop of Testor's glass cement to each to obtain a slightly more realistic appearance.

With the exception of the rear suspension ride height; I think the finished model is quite impressive. Even though this is a snap kit, usually considered a good kit for a beginner, it will give some novice builders trouble.

I would suggest that only the more experienced modelers try this kit.


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