1/25 California Wheels

1966 Chevelle™ SS Station Wagon

Kit Number 85-2890

Reviewed By Steve Jahnke, #34991

MSRP $16.95 USD

For some of us baby-boomers, mom or dad’s station wagon might elicit fond or not so fond memories from our childhood.  Speaking from my childhood memories, my parents owned three station wagons in the 50’s; two Dodges and a chrome and bright stainless-steel laden 1958 Buick Estate Wagon.  All of them were really cool in my opinion because in those pre-SUV/Crossover days, you knew that you could go anywhere and not have to worry about having enough room to haul something big home or pack it to the gills for vacation.  On those ‘bring home’ excursions it would take planning on the dad’s part to determine who was going to come with, usually my older and bigger brother for the heavier and bulky cargo, or my mother if dad knew he needed the “War Departments” approval of the cargo.  Not surprisingly, my first real new car was a 1970 Ford Country Squire station wagon ordered fresh from Dearborn.  She was a beauty; Medium Ivy green metallic paint, faux wood-grain planking on the side surrounded by a fiberglass “wood” border, I was a “Wagon Master” as Ford called it’s owners in the day.  Even today after owning convertibles, coupes and sedans for family hauling purposes, I still fancy station wagons.  As a matter of fact, I am on my third wagon in 10 years.

Given my affection for station wagons, I knew I had to have Revell’s 1966 Chevelle Malibu SS wagon when it was released.  Most of this kit is based on Revell’s earlier release of the 1966 El Camino kit; in real life the El Camino was based on the station wagon ‘platform’.  This model as displayed in the kit box art strongly depicts a modern customization of a standard mid-sixties Malibu wagon almost as if Chip Foose himself did the conceptualization.

While Chevrolet did not offer an SS model in the Malibu range of wagons in 66, our subject car comes off rather nicely in modern custom fashion.  The details used to change our mild mannered Malibu into an SS model include an SS style hood, a big block 396 cid mill (a 327 cid small block was the largest stock engine available in Chevelle wagons) and modern big chrome mag style wheels wearing low profile wide tires.

Note: for those of you replica- stock aficionados, this puppy can be built stock with the help and contents of the discontinued Revell 1966 El Camino kit that you can still find at swap meets.  In the El Camino kit you will find a non-SS hood, correct small block mill and full wheel covers to complete the conversion.

Engine: Our big block 396 assembles from 23 pieces; Revell did a really nice job on this engine.  Some of the separate and well molded pieces that add a level of detail and believability to the model include: oil filter, fuel pump, fan clutch, ignition coil and distributor.  Additional pieces such as heater hoses, upper and lower radiator hose, and windshield washer bottle complete the engine compartment.

Interior: The interior builds up platform style; both side door panels are cleanly molded with plenty of molded in detail.  After shooting the interior pieces with Tamiya Desert Sand acrylic, I picked out the door hardware with a fresh bottle of Testor’s chrome silver; alternatively the molded hardware can be Bare Metal Foiled with ease.  An inner tailgate panel completes the rear of the interior while a nicely done 5 piece dash finishes the front of the interior assembly.  Of particular note is a nicely done long handled Hurst style floor shifter.  The dash is well engraved; Revell thoughtfully included separate decals for the gauge cluster, radio, heater controls and center Chevy emblem for the steering wheel hub.  The horn ring is a separately molded and plated piece.

Body: The body is very nicely proportioned and compares very favorably to pictures of Chevelle wagons of that period.  Highlights of this 4 door wagon include four separate chrome door handles, a correct two piece mirror, chrome rocker panel trim, tailgate trim panel and chrome tailgate window crank.  All of the script and emblem trim is provided by very nice decals.  The body and chassis were treated to a Cobra Colors Ferrari “Fly Yellow” lacquer paint job followed by Testors enamel gloss coat.  I then added the stylized faux wood panel decals as supplied in the kit.

Undercarriage: Simple engineering and crisp detail best describes the chassis.  Of note is the spare tire compartment that attaches to the chassis pan.  This is a simple detail that could have been left out and not too many people would have been the wiser.

Overall Building Impression: This kit went together without a lot of fuss, as a matter of fact there was not fuss other than I had to warm the tires in warm water to get them on the wheels.  This is a very nice kit to build and presents itself very well when done.

Thank you to Revell Monogram for the kit and the opportunity to build something other than a muscle, street racer or NASCAR car kit.  I think a little variety is certainly the spice in my modeling life.

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