Revell’s ‘65 Chevy Impala hardtop kit first hit the market in the late 1990s as a factory-stock-only offering. It was later released a lowrider, and its tooling was later used as the basis for a ‘65 convertible kit (which was recently reissued as part of Revell’s “California Wheels” series) and a ‘66 hardtop. It’s a good kit and always has been and it does an excellent job of capturing the character of the 1:1 vehicle.
This newest issue of the ‘65 hardtop is the latest addition to Revell’s Chip Foose Series, a kit line based on cars designed by the popular automotive artist and designer and built on the popular cable TV series “Overhaulin’.” All of the kits in the Foose Series have been created by adding new decals, box art and smatterings of newly tooled parts to existing kits, and this one is no exception.
One thing that should be noted right off is this kit cannot be built straight from the box as an accurate replica of the “Overhaulin’” ‘65 Impala. The car Foose and his crew rebuilt on the program was powered by a 327 small-block engine; this kit includes only a 396 big block, as it has ever since its inception. To that, Revell has added a new Foose-designed chromed finned air cleaner and valve covers. Those parts are very well-done, however, they need to be stripped and painted black to replicate the look of the parts on the 1:1 car. If the kit having the wrong engine for the Foose car bothers you, you could always swap in a small block; those are plentiful in 1/25 scale. In fact, another kit in the Foose series, the ‘64 Impala, has an excellent one. Of course, then you’d have to find reasonable facsimilies of the Foose valve covers to fit a small-block engine; you could probably get by with using the air cleaner from the ‘65 kit.
Also among the newly tooled parts added by Revell for this version are a set of large-diameter custom wheels. Foose based the design of these on the stock ‘65 Impala hubcap and the kit wheels look to be fairly accurate reproductions of the 1:1 items. The thin red stripes around the outer perimeters of the wheels are reproduced on the decal sheet. The only other new parts are a set of brake rotors (with decals to reproduce a cross-drilled appearance, but sans caliper detail) and a front suspension crossmember to drop the ride height of the front of the vehicle.
The parts in my sample kit were cleanly molded, with little flash. The contains 142 parts, molded in white, clear, chrome and transparent red.
Perhaps the wisest decision Revell made with regard to this kit was to leave ALL of the factor-stock parts in the box, making this kit a 2-in-1, even though that fact isn’t mentioned anywhere on the box top. In addition to the aforementioned items and the red stripes for the flanks of the Foose car, the excellent decal sheet has a very comprehensive set of factory-stock markings, including all of the body scripts and emblems.
As with the other kits in the series, the eye-catching box art features Foose’s conceptual drawing of the 1:1 car on the top and the end panels, photos of the assembled model on one of the side panels and a list of modeling tips for beginning builders on the other side panel.
Revell rates this kit as a Skill Level 2 offering and that seems about right to me. I wouldn’t recommend it as anyone’s first model car kit; getting the multipiece rear suspension together is a bit tricky. However, anyone with a couple car kits under his or her belt should be able to get the kit together with relatively few issues.
I like this kit a lot; it has infinite building possibilities beyond the two offered out of the box. I personally think big Chevys of this vintage look best with slick paint jobs and Chevy rally wheels and that’s how I intend to build my kit. For other ideas and inspiration, you need only to take in a car show near you!
I would like to thank Revell for providing the review sample and the IPMS Reviewer Corps for sending it my way to evaluate!