1971 Ford Thunderbird

Published on
Review Author(s)
Product / Stock #
AMT 920
Company: Round 2 Models - Website: Visit Site
Provided by: Round 2 Models - Website: Visit Site
Box Art

This kit is presented in a throw-back to 1971 complete with period packaging.

Molded in white, it can be built with a detailed motor or with a promo-style motor plate option, features include wild psychedelic decals, a few custom pieces and a miniature display kit box. Skill Level 2. The manufacturer claims that the kit is supposed to include pad printed slicks, however my review kit sample did not include those items.

The Kit

This kit was originally offered as an annual kit and as a “dealer promo” style kit back in the day. Due to this design parameter the front and rear fascia’s are pretty well detailed, however the body engraving is soft in spots, the engine, interior and chassis is somewhat simplified therefore parts count is lower than our modern and newly engineered kits . For instance the front lower portion of the grille and rear splash pan is molded to the chassis.

Brief History of the Marque

This model represents the fifth generation of Fords’ luxury coupe. Thunderbird was introduced in 1955 as a personal sport roadster to compete with the Chevrolet Corvette. Later generations including the 1971 model had grown in size and weight into the personal luxury coupe market that included several makes from all three automobile companies. Some of the statistics of this big bird included a 429CID engine rated at 360hp, vehicle weight was an astonishing 4,575 pounds or 2.29 US tons. Fuel mileage was around 11-12 MPG, but then again gas was between 19 and 30 cents a gallon.

The Build

The instruction sheet is original to the era and well done. It is composed of 7 sub-assemblies starting with the engine and ending with attaching the rolling and I mean rolling as the wheels attach to the chassis via good old metal axles, so it will roll off your shelf if you are not careful. The chassis attaches to the body with 4 screws.

The build started by Googling pictures of the real car. Luckily I found some great interior shots as well as great pictures of the front grille with the optional fog or Canadian daytime running lights, not sure which. Parts were then grouped into several build and paint sections. I painted the body with a 1970 GM color that I had in my CFM paint stash. Next, the big 429 motor was assembled and painted Ford engine blue color scheme. Since the car body was painted in a mid-green color I found a complimentary Tamiya acrylic paint for the interior tub assembly. The chassis was sprayed flat black while detail painting various parts of the undercarriage. The front lower grille is molded into the chassis pan, this required painting that part of the chassis with Alclad Chrome ….. Parts of interior trim were painted in a walnut color to simulate the faux wood trim that was an extremely popular styling feature of the day. As you will see from the pictures, all of the cars “chrome” was Bare-Metal-Foiled and the chromed front and rear bumpers were detail painted. The kit offers a psychedelic/Mod set of decals to make the car a caricature symbol of the early 70’s, does anybody in the room remember Rowen and Martin’s Laugh In, if not Google it, the TV show was landmark of the time.


This is a nice nostalgic kit that literally goes back to the 70’s. It is not really comparable to today’s newly tooled kits, however it does serve a purpose to provide a nice shelf model and is a welcome addition to new modelers and to build if you missed it the first time. On the minus side all of the smaller script engravings were soft and difficult to either foil or paint effectively. I purchased a package of AMT Custom and Competition Firestone Deluxe Champion Tire set (AMT-PP002/24) retail $13.95 because I didn’t care much for the included black wall tires. You will see by the pictures the difference between the two tires and its effect on the look of the model. I would have preferred that Round 2 had included the narrow whitewalls rather than the slicks and at the kit’s relatively high price point considering the age and condition of the tooling. A big thank you goes out to both the IPMS and Round2 for offering this kit to be reviewed and allowing me to share it with you.


Add new comment

All comments are moderated to prevent spam

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.