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AMT 1951 Chevy Bel Air Sun Cruiser

Cruiserbox
1951 Chevy Bel Air Sun Cruiser
AMT No. 1041
Model Type: Injection-molded
styrene
Molded Colors: White, black, clear
Scale: 1/25
MSRP: $24.99
Pros: Crisp engraving; whitewall tires
Cons: Fiddly front inner fender well/radiator assembly
Cruiser1
Cruiser2
Cruiser3
Even though this kit has been reissued a number of times during the past three decades, this was my first time to put one together.

There are seven clear bags, including tires, clear parts, body, decals, chrome parts, and molded white pieces. I was pleased to see that Round 2 has finally included four Firestone whitewall tires! They add a lot to the look of the finished model.

Also in the tire bag are four pad-printed Good Year L-60-15s, which fit on the optional chrome smoothie wheels.

Another improvement is a new decal sheet that includes some nice 1950s-style scallops.

There are some parting lines to remove on the top of the rear fenders near the beltline and at the tops of the front fenders. Also check for sink marks in the hood, just in front of the windshield and between the headlights and the grille.

The 18-piece Stovebolt 6 engine can be built stock or with two carburetors, chrome valve cover and a split exhaust with headers and a dual exhaust system. I chose the latter in my otherwise-box-stock build.

The interior is assembled platform- style. This makes painting the separate two-tone door panels a snap. There are 13 pieces with no options, except for a custom steering wheel. I found that the interior goes together easily, fits nicely into the body, and mounts positively on the chassis.

The front suspension has separate kingpins; stock height and a second pair that will allow a lowered or raised stance in the front.

The wheels can be posed, but they are not connected by the tie rod. I found that the model sat a little high in the front with the stock pins, so the stance you see here has the lowered pins.

he engine location is vague (no locating pins), so I installed the rear axle assembly and driveshaft first; that helped set the engine in the correct spot.

The inner fender wells, radiator, and associated parts are a bit tricky to assemble. I glued the inner fenders to the radiator first, then glued them to the chassis and firewall.

I found it helpful to slip the body in place as a test-fit at this point, (before glue/epoxy had fully cured), to make sure that everything would line up upon final assembly.

The instructions call for installing the front and rear splash pans during chassis assembly. Much better to wait until the body is in place and glue them in at that point.

The wheels are held onto plastic axles with small plastic retainers, resulting in wobbly wheels. I decided to forego the rolling wheel feature and epoxied everything in place, making sure the wheels were square and true while the glue dried.

The kit includes custom front and rear bumpers, a custom grille, and tunneled headlights. You have the option of an up-top or boot and a pair of fender skirts.

The stock-only taillights are molded chrome and require a dab of red paint for the lenses.

So, my first impression? I liked it! The engraving is crisp and the overall look of the finished model impressed me as being well-proportioned and accurate.
I thoroughly enjoyed my build of this kit, and even with the minor issues mentioned, the model builds into a convincing replica. I’m glad that I finally got to build one.

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