The Best Tips By KEN HART, a Modeler From Ohio

Remember when model manufacturers gave you ALL of the building variants of a particular kit in one box? 
Remember when the companies touted multiple building options as major selling points? 
Remember when box art copy used to trumpet, “Build one of three ways!”

Whatever happened to that? 
One-version kits have been the rule, rather than the exception, for the past few years. Certainly, I realize that the major reason the manufacturers do this is that it allows them to maximize their tooling investments by releasing multiple “hits” off the same molds.

However, I can’t help but think that more modelers would be willing to buy into this if the manufacturers would do a better job of filling out the option packages.

Case in point: AMT’s new street machine variant of its excellent ’60 Chevy fleetside pickup kit.
I picked one up and examined it the day it arrived in my local hobby shop. “Nice wheels,” I thought, as I perused the box art photos, “and the nose-down stance looks great. The graphics aren’t bad, either. This just might be worth a buy.”

Then I looked at the photos on the side panels of the box and placed the kit back on the shelf in disgust.
Rather than include a V-8, which certainly would have been MUCH more appropriate for street machine built in the ’90s idiom, AMT once again gave us the six-banger from the stock kit, albeit with a few new hop-up parts. This would have been appropriate for a mildly-rodded ’60s boulevard cruiser, but seems ridiculously out of place in a modern street machine, which AMT clearly intends for this kit to represent.

Then there’s the ’68 El Camino street machine. Love the wheels and the street blower setup, but … a stock exhaust system? Big-block headers aren’t that easy to find, and certainly would have been appropriate _ and appreciated _ here.

And while I’m at it, did we really need FOUR versions of AMT’s new ’57 Chevy? I would have much preferred one kit, with the photoetched and PVC parts standard and the street machine parts as options.

AMT certainly hasn’t been the only offender in this regard _ how difficult would it have been for Revell-Monogram to include both variants of its ’55 Chevy droptop in one box?

But, to Revellogram’s credit, it seems to have recognized that its customers prefer kits with more than one building version. Witness the recent reissues of the ’70 Buick GSX, ’69 Shelby and ’68 Vette, all of which  include both the stock AND street machine parts from previous issues.

Also, Lindberg has gone the exta mile to make its stock ’64 Dodge and Plymouth kits more than warmed-over reissues of their racing siblings by adding optional slant sixes to both of them.
If “one-versioning” kits is really more profitable for the model manufacturers, I say great, more power to ’em, keep it up.

But I find it very hard to believe that the average modeler who already has the stock version of a particular kit is going to shell out another 10 bucks just for some new wheels and tires, maybe some new engine parts, and a different decal sheet.

I know I won’t. Not anymore. I intend to do my part to see that 3-in-1 kits again become the standard by voting with my wallet.