1982 Pontiac Firebird
The 1982 Firebird, with its sibling, the Chevy Camaro, introduced GM’s third generation of F Body sports coupes. For 1982, the Firebird was downsized from previous models, and featured new styling with an added emphasis on aerodynamics, and was offered in three trim options, with the V8 powered Trans Am being the top end performance version.
We would like to thank Round 2 for providing us with this reissue of MPC’s 1/16 scale Firebird kit. This kit is rated at Skill Level 3, and has 158 parts, all neatly bagged inside of the large, reinforced box. Inside the box are two bags of white plastic parts, another bag holding the white plastic body and chassis, a bag with the chrome plated parts, a bag with the hollow vinyl Goodyear tires, and a final bag containing the clear windshield and back glass, tinted optional T tops, and clear red taillight panel. This model has posable front wheels, and opening doors and hood. It has several optional parts, such as components for a removable T top roof, side exhaust, hoods, and a twin turbo setup for its V8 engine.
There are two engine options provided, and I choose to build the standard fuel injected version. All of the engine components fit well and builds into a nice GM V8. The detail is crisply molded and looks good with a bit of detail painting.
The chassis is fairly basic and shows its age with considerable mold seams, sink marks, and flash to clean up, especially on the exhaust system. The rear axle and suspension fit together well, and look good and are sturdy. The exhaust pipes which connect the manifolds to the catalytic converter (on the stock exhaust) required considerable effort and hot water to get it to properly fit into place.
The kit gives the option for a T top roof, but I wanted to build a basic Firebird, so I kept the hardtop intact.
The biggest problem that I encountered with the kit was the opening doors. When I initially test fit the doors to the body, everything fit but with noticeable gaps. During assembly, I found that the parts which secure the door hinges to the body would not clear the interior kick panels. After many failed attempts at getting everything to fit, I gave up, cemented the doors in place, and filled the annoying gaps. Unfortunately, that also required repainting the body. Perhaps a modeler with greater skills could have found a solution to the issue, or perhaps it was an issue with the molding of this particular kit.
The interior components fit together well, and the molded details are good, especially the dashboard. Be prepared for some detail painting, as decals for the gauges and emblems are not provided. The directions for installing the dash to the body shell are vague, and making an error here affects the installation of the windshield, as well as the interior bucket to the body. I didn’t get it quite right the first time, even after dry fitting the components before assembly.
The kit is designed to have posable front wheels, but my front wheels seemed to have a visible toe angle issue and wouldn’t allow the wheels to be turned. After the battle with the doors, I surrendered and cemented everything in place.
The tires are excellent Goodyear GT Radials. I opted for the stock wheels (wire rims are optional) and found that the tires fit loosely on the rims, but still look good when finished. I used Testors Clear Parts cement on the back beads to keep the rubber and rims together.
The nose and rear bumper fit well onto the body, with very little filler needed. The body shell itself has some sink marks and minor surface imperfections but is fairly simple to clean up prior to painting. The kit includes three hood options, as well as optional “competition” parts for front and rear spoilers.
The decals are amazing. They are thin, have good registration, and I didn’t need to use any setting solutions to get them to play nice. The body striping and logos come in two colors, giving the builder the option to paint the car in many colors. The decal sheet also includes two license plates.
Overall, I did not find this to be an easy kit to build. The instructions are vague on part locations in several places, and my kit had a considerable amount of flash. The opening doors were a huge problem for me, and I wouldn’t suggest this model for a new or beginner modeler. The nostalgia factor is high and would be an excellent addition to the collection of an American muscle car fan or F body enthusiast. I believe that this is currently the only large scale Firebird on the market, and it definitely looks good on my shelf. If you’re looking for a challenge, or to expand your collection of larger scale vehicles, I’d strongly recommend this kit. Again, we would like to thank Round 2 for providing me this gargantuan to build and review.