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Franzis 1965 Ford Mustang V8

Build review of this easy-to-build 1/3 scale V8 engine kit
Kit No.: EITF7500
Scale: 1/3
Mfr.: Franzis,
Price: $200
Comments: 200 injection-molded parts (clear, silver, and black); metal screws; die-cut cardboard gaskets; sound chip and speaker
Pros: Easy to build and operate    
Cons: Toy-like features
Plan where you’re going to display this big K-Code 289 Windsor small-block before you start building. Packed securely in a large box, the engine comes with a perfect-bound instruction book (written in German and English) that also includes a pictorial history of Ford Mustangs from inception through 2019. 

Like previous visible engine kits by other manufacturers, it can be used as a learning tool for those who don’t know how an engine works. It is simplified in some ways, but the sheer size, transparency, and working features distract from that aspect. It comes with a screwdriver to help with assembly. Three AA batteries (not supplied) power motion and a sound chip and speaker that simulates the sounds of the engine starting, idling, and revving. Small light bulbs replicate firing spark plugs. 

The resilient, slightly flexible plastic parts screw and snap together and fit pretty well. The plastic has enough give that the screws go in easily, and the clear parts don’t feel like they’ll crack, which has been the case with similar kits from other manufacturers. There is a generous amount of tolerance engineered into the moving parts, so no need to lubricate. 

Each part has the number on it (except the valve pieces) as well as on the sprue, making prep and assembly almost foolproof. The engine builds quickly, and I concentrated most of my effort on cleaning up the sprue points. There is virtually no flash, but you’ll find mold lines. While you can build it without paint or cement, I added a little color on the opaque parts to help the overall look. 

Initially, I painted the pistons and connecting rods. I wasn’t sure if it would muck up how the engine ran, but I wanted to hide the discoloration at the sprue points on those parts in case they were visible once the engine was built. As I progressed, it became apparent that it became difficult, if not impossible, to see the minor details (and flaws) on those parts, and I decided to leave the rest of the internal parts  bare plastic, particularly so paint didn’t foul the engine’s workings. 

I cemented a few parts together to try to address the seams, but found liquid cement didn’t work well with the PVC plastic; superglue is a better choice.

Overall, this kit was a fun experience. It would be a perfect, no stress, one day or weekend project (maybe two weekends if painting is done). It would make a great project for a parent and child to build together.  It’s a nice novelty item, and they do other brands, too.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the October 2020 issue.


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