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AMT/Round2 1959 Chevy El Camino

AMT No. AMT1058
Molded Colors: Clear, chrome, clear red, white
Scale: 1/25
MSRP: $31.95
Pros: Popular subject, great tires, many options
Cons: Lack of radiator hoses, 1959-spec molded-on front bumper, noticeable attachment points on chrome
Round2’s latest release of the 1959 El Camino is in their “Original Art Series.”  Its box decorated with retro artwork, a poster of the El Camino and a “StreetRods” sticker.

First released in 1966, this version has various engines, and custom body parts.

Two engines can be built: a stock tri-power 348 and a supercharged Cadillac. I chose the 348, which has an upper radiator hose but no lower.

Each engine has it’s own exhaust style and its compartments have a separate radiator and battery. A firewall insert has the heater box, wiper motor and master cylinder molded on. The inner wheel wells have wiring molded on them.

The frame is molded to the underbody and the bottom of the interior tub forms the engine tunnel.

An 8-piece rear suspension and axle assembly mounts at one ride height. The metal axle is too long and needs to be shortened. Its drive shaft tube is small in diameter and flexible, so I replaced it using it’s universal joints and a larger diameter plastic rod.

The standard dual exhaust was used and the rear tips drilled out.

The front suspension has 10 pieces and wheels are posable, but the kingpins and upper control arms needed plastic removed. The tie rod was too long so it was shortened in the middle to set the correct toe-in.

Three different holes in the kingpins set the ride height at lowered (which I chose), stock, or raised. Note: when using the Cadillac engine with it’s headers and side pipes, the stock or raised position must be used.

Inside, the interior tub is one piece and there’s an instrument panel, steering wheel, and floor shifter that are added. Gauges on the dash are void of decals, but optional parts include seat belts, console and tachometer. In addition, the windshield, vent windows, and rear glass come as a one-piece insert.

The body has held up well for as many times as this kit has been reissued. A light coat of primer will highlight the abundance of mold seams that require attention.

After deciding which front valance to use, it can be attached and the seams cleaned up prior to painting.

There is a partial insert for the bed that leaves an unsightly seam and gap on the inner sidewalls. Not wanting to correct this, I used the bed cover in its closed position instead.

Unfortunately, the cover was warped and required making new attachment points on the inside of the bed to secure the cover in an ideal flat position. If you want to use the bed cover in an open position, there are two chrome hydraulic cylinders to prop it open.

Round2’s kit includes multiple options for the exterior including three different grills, two tailgates, spotlights, bumperettes, and lakes pipes.

Choose your tires from pad-printed white walls or white-lettered polyglas tires. Accompanying wheels include Chevy’s stock hubcaps, steelies or custom wheels. A set of slicks would have been useful to go with its blown engine.

A helpful decal sheet is included, featuring a few different business names to build a work truck, and other  contingency decals. A couple sets of license plates are on the sheet, but oddly no script or emblem decals.

Even though this is an older mold and the kit doesn’t fall together as well as it used to, it is nice to see it again and can be built into a quality, presentable model for shows or shelves. 


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