Model Behavior with Steve Magnante

Model Behvavior


Ever since they first appeared on the shelves of hobby shops, department stores and mom ‘n pop soda fountains around 1958, 1/25 scale unassembled plastic model car kits have been popular with kids of all ages. Though the so-called golden age of car modeling is said to have occurred between 1960 and 1972, the hobby has seen a strong rebound in the past 10 years.


The great thing about plastic kits — compared to pre-assembled die cast metal miniatures — is how it’s up to you, the builder, to decide what colors to paint them and, best of all, how to customize them (most kits offer multiple choices and lots of extra parts).


I visited a model contest and swap meet recently and came away with the following photographs. I didn’t intrude and ask for details about who built each car or if they won a trophy or not. Instead, I just let each Dodge model car speak for itself. Let’s check them out.


–Steve Magnante


Model Challenger


Though video games pulled an entire generation of kids away from model building starting around 1975, the past decade has seen an upswing with many of the classic vintage kits of the sixties being reissued for a second round of glory. The popularity of these reissues has allowed kit makers to also create replicas of modern subjects like this well-done 2008 Challenger. Without paint or extra detailing, this kit can be assembled in about two hours using instant-set cyanoacrylate glue.


1970 Challenger


This particular 1970 Challenger R/T kit has been around since the mid-eighties and has been built essentially “box stock” with body and interior paint detailing. The 15×7 Rallye Wheels are very accurately represented.


1970 Challenger R/T


Manufactured by a competing model kit company, this 1970 Challenger R/T exhibits many detail differences when compared to the previous model. Its builder has also gone further with efforts to add realism in the form of a blacked-out grille, added chrome trim and generally higher attention to detailing.


1969 Charger Daytona


The original 1969 Charger Daytona was never offered in this color scheme, but that’s the beauty of model building. You are free to create anything you want. The 1969 Charger Daytona was replicated in 1/25 scale when it was a new car, and those kits are highly collectible today. In 1997 a more modern model was released (shown here) with greatly enhanced realism and more parts.


1977 Dodge Monaco


Taxis, police cars and ambulances have always been a popular segment of the car modeling scene. This 1977 Dodge Monaco replicates a hardworking cab right down to the taxi-meter and passenger partition within its detailed interior. The history of this particular kit is interesting. It was first released in 1977 as a two-door hardtop configuration. But in 1982, the popularity of a certain police drama TV show prompted its manufacturer to convert the two-door roof and side panels into a four-door sedan configuration. The resulting model kit (known as a “re-tool” in the industry) has been very popular with builders and collectors ever since.


1970 Dodge Coronet


Like any hobby, there are those who are compelled to take things to greater levels of sophistication and effort. This 1970 Dodge Coronet took its owner four months to construct. From the engine compartment to the chassis, super-detailing is evident right down to the four metal screws holding the tachometer to the dash board. Executions like this blend parts from numerous model kits as well as specialty parts from the aftermarket to achieve outstanding results and, more often than not, show trophies.




  • Debbie Schultz
    Posted July 15, 2014 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    Wow, what perfection. And you are right, you could make them any color combo you wanted, I did a few myself back in the day. I am going to forward these to my 2 boys, who are 100% motor heads, I am strictly a “Mopar” person and always will be. The cars never failed me, and now I am enjoying my new Dodge Dart 2, thanks for posting that, bought back some good memories, and cars. Hope more people post on here to. Great article.

  • epicurus
    Posted July 16, 2014 at 2:12 am | Permalink

    Great stuff. When I was a kid I could never figure why my models didn’t look good. As an adult I realize it’s because I bought the bottles of paint and used a brush. But I think you have to spray them to get a good look.

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