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AMT 1/25 Bonneville FRAM Group Build

By Phil Cooley, Front Range Auto Modelers (FRAM)

Date of Review March 2006 Manufacturer AMT/Model King
Subject 1970 Pontiac Bonneville Scale 1/25
Kit Number 21574 Primary Media Styrene
Pros Nicely cleaned-up molds, good details Cons
Skill Level Basic MSRP (USD) $25.00

The Project

Our club, Front Range Auto Modelers (FRAM) has long wanted to do a group build—that is to each buy/build individual versions of one subject. When the Model King ’70 Bonneville was announced, we put in an advance order and, after several discussions, we decided the Bonneville would be that subject.

Fast forward a few weeks, and one of our club members arranged for us to get a display case for a whole month at one of the few independent model shops still around in Colorado Springs (Colorado). Along with the display case came a deadline—the middle of February.

We started our builds and went off in different directions. Jeff Conrad built two cars—one of them a resin hardtop and the other a stock red convertible. Bill McKirdy also built a stock convertible, though he two-toned the body, "Foose style", Ken Kitchen built the convertible and a matching boat, plus an El Camino type pickup, KT did a “beater” diorama, my son Stephen did a Batmobile conversion, and I built a 2 + 2 hardtop.



Jeff’s hardtop body came from Time Machines Resin. The only real challenge he had putting it together was with the dashboard. He had to do some major filing to get it to fit properly against the body. The windshield is from the Model King (MK) kit and the rear window is acetate. Jeff painted his Bonneville with Tamiya colors—fine surface primer, followed by Matte White for the roof (TS-27) and Metallic Green for the body (TS-20). Jeff spent quite a bit of time applying Bare Metal Foil, and it shows. The wheels and tires came from the MRC Muscle Hop Up set.


Ken’s convertible looks fairly stock, but upon closer inspection, all that is stock is the body. He used the frame, interior, and engine from the Revell 65 Impala convertible and he built the boat to match the car. Both are painted Tamiya Candy Lime Green (TS-52) over Gloss Black (TS-14). The two- tone is divided by a decal from the Revell 67 Chevelle SS 396 kit. To complete the theme, Ken’s car and boat have matching seat inserts—which Ken did by making his own decals. One interesting tidbit in regard to the boat—it is molded with a seam along the sides of the body. Ken disguised the seam by gluing a half-round molding to the upper body section. That way, when the boat was assembled, the seam is not noticeable.



Ken made the El Camino style body by using the pickup parts from the MK kit. He modified it by molding the pickup parts to the body, for a “factory” look. The chassis, interior and engine came from the AMT 67 Impala. He painted the vinyl top using Krylon Semi-Gloss Black and the body is Dupli-Color Hampsted Green Metallic.

My son, Stephen’s Bonneville is the most radical of all our builds. Think—what would Batman have driven if the TV show had gone into the 70s…the Bat-eville?! Stephen built it by combining the fins from the Revell Futura and the bubble top from the 58 Thunderbird. He cut off the rear quarter panels from the Bonneville and grafted the Futura fins in. Then he glued on the back panel of the Futura’s body. Lots of filler and sanding was used to blend everything together. He used the custom interior from the MK kit and fitted it with a 50s dashboard from the parts box, The T’Bird bubble top didn’t fit the body well, so he had to modify it. He cut the bubble top apart and used half round moldings to mount it to the body and give it a finished look. Stephen used the wheels and tires from one of the AMT Batmobiles. His car was painted with Krylon gloss black.


I decided to build what could have been a factory prototype for a 1970 2 + 2 hardtop. I cut the top and deck lid off the AMT 67 Impala and the rear deck from the Bonneville. I superglued the two together, then used polyester putty to blend the lines. I wanted a more detailed chassis, so like Ken, I lengthened the chassis I had—I used the one from the 67 Impala. I also used the (front) inner wheel-wells and firewall from the Impala. I wanted a bucketseat car with manual shift, so I modified the seats from the Impala—I cut out the Chevy seat-pattern and grafted in the Bonneville seat-pattern. I added headrests from the Bonneville, as well. Finally, I used the Impala’s console, shifter, and pedals to complete the conversion. I painted my car with Dupli-color, it’s #440 Bright Aqua Metallic. The snowflake wheels are from the AMT Smokey and the Bandit Firebird kit.



Last, but not least is KT’s diorama. He obviously took a lot of time and effort and came up with a very convincing “well worn” machine worthy of refurbishment. Likewise, his boat is intact but has “lots of patina”. KT says he spent about three days with his trusty pin vise and drilled about 200 holes in the body and shaved the trim off. Even though it was a junker, he still had to do quite a bit of body work (sinkholes, etc.) He used primer grey, red, yellow, and metallic brown for the various panels. His wheels and tires came from the parts box. He gave the front suspension the engine/trans out look by relocating the axle holes. KT had to hide the front axle so he scratch built the top of the k-member and added engine mounts. He also added miscellaneous wiring to the engine compartment and a brake master cylinder. The “removed” engine came from the parts box. The interior was weathered and some details cut out to simulate well-worn upholstery. The convertible top bonnet was weathered by painting it with a mix of semi-gloss black and grimey black then he laid a one ply Kleenex on it and painted it again. By picking at it a bit, it gives the weathered look. All the dirt/dust came from years of collecting very fine dirt that accumulates on the wheels of cars where the people live or drive on dirt roads. As KT said “This stuff is great but makes a huge mess!”

This was a fun build for each of us and shows what you can do with a little time and some “out of the box” (in some cases way out of the box) thinking. Our models were judged by folks who frequented the model shop--Ken's model was judged best, Stephen's was second, Jeff's hardtop was third and Bill's two-tone was fourth. Thanks to Model King and AMT for refurbishing this tool and bringing it back to the market!

Ed Note: Phil is a member of Front Range Auto Modelers.