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1972 Chevelle SS (high-detail build)

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  • Member since
    April, 2013
1972 Chevelle SS (high-detail build)
Posted by Retro Joe on Sunday, May 06, 2018 2:39 PM

This one took me exactly a month (weekends & evenings). When I unexpectedly found the '72 Chevelle kit at my local hobby shop, I knew I was going to attempt a high-detail build, and I'm excited to share how it turned out. Parts of five different kits were used, to add detail & accuracy:


  • Member since
    April, 2013
Posted by Retro Joe on Sunday, May 06, 2018 2:47 PM

I'll begin with the first piece I started with...the grille. I had 3 different ones to choose from, and I knew the grille from the 2002 release (red car on box) was terribly incorrect. So, I chose the grille from a 1981 release that I had built decades ago (it had been disassembled a few years ago).

After foiling over the old black paint, I drilled out the molded-on headlights:

An old chrome blower from the parts bin provided the headlight buckets:

Since the newer release of the '72 comes with clear lenses, I used these:

Here's a comparison of the incorrect grille from the 2002 kit, compared to the older style one I'm using:

Next up... chassis & suspension.

  • Member since
    April, 2013
Posted by Retro Joe on Sunday, May 06, 2018 2:54 PM

The chassis, suspension & exhaust systems on this build come from the AMT '69 Oldsmobile 4-4-2. I am using this because of the steerable front suspension. I found an older release at my local hobby shop, which was less expensive than the newly re-released Olds kit. I had the sudden idea to use springs from an old ink pen, rather than the plastic kit ones.

I painted the chassis with the body color, then painted the frame black.

I knew that most Chevelles sit too low in the rear, so I added some shims under the rear axle before getting too much further. The wheels are from the new release of the Oldsmobile kit (someone had stolen them out of the older kit I bought, then re-sealed the box). Tires are from the AMT parts pack I've had for years. I knew they would work with the wheels, because the new release of the 4-4-2 comes with the same tires (but printed with Firestone instead of Goodyear).

The position of the transmission cross member wasn't going to work with the engine I'm using, so I cut it out and moved it back.

The completed chassis looks like this:

  • Member since
    April, 2013
Posted by Retro Joe on Sunday, May 06, 2018 3:05 PM

Now, for the interior. This was an adventure! I was dismayed that I would have to use the barely-there detail from the AMT Chevelle kit, but then someone on the Facebook group suggested I use the Revell Snap-Tite interior, since it is 1:25 scale. I happened to have an unopened kit in my stash, and the interior detail is phenomenal! Here is a comparison (Revell parts are the darker gray):

Interior paint is Model Master Semi-Gloss Black. Trim is done with the Molotow chrome pen. Seat belts were made from ribbon found at Michaels for 50 cents a roll. Seat belt hardware is from a Detail Master photoetch set. The carpet is adhesive felt (also found at Michaels for about a dollar):

Dash detailing. Molotow chrome, homemade waterslide gauge and "Chevrolet" decals.

Completed interior. Someone left their magazine on the passenger seat:

  • Member since
    April, 2013
Posted by Retro Joe on Sunday, May 06, 2018 3:16 PM

On to the engine! This is built from the AMT 1970 Monte Carlo kit, which also includes all the other bells & whistles that go in the engine compartment (firewall, heater hoses, A/C hoses & compressor, fully-detailed radiator with fan shroud, etc.). I sprayed the engine with Model Master Hugger Orange (a suitable replacement for Chevy engine red, plus I wanted a lacquer finish). Then I got out my firing order chart and wired up the 454, using a pre-wired distributor from M.A.D.:

I even made a "Fram Racing" oil filter decal.

Radiator was mocked up and mounting brackets were made to get it in the proper position.

I spent about an hour carefully cutting the radiator cover/hood latch piece out of the Monte Carlo body. The shape works perfectly for the Chevelle.

Next up: The new interior causes some major troubles...

  • Member since
    April, 2013
Posted by Retro Joe on Sunday, May 06, 2018 3:24 PM

So, in my desparate attempt at detail, I knew I had to make the Revell interior work. However, when everything was mocked up together, the interior tub was too high, and caused the body to sit up on top of the chassis plate, instead of down over it. :(

I spent an entire evening grinding the top of the chassis pan and the bottom of the interior tub with my dremel. Then, after a night of brainstorming, I removed the already-completed interior door panels, and cut about 1/8" off the top of the interior tub. I then cut the same amount off the bottom of the door panels, making the entire tub 1/8" shorter! I would have to do some more trimming just before final assembly, but this did the trick, and the body sits properly now.


Body work & paint are next!

  • Member since
    April, 2013
Posted by Retro Joe on Sunday, May 06, 2018 3:38 PM

Normally, I paint the body first, but I had some fun working back & forth with many other parts of this build, and didn't get to the body work until a couple weeks in. Plus, winter held on much too long around here, and it was too cold to paint for awhile. Finally, the Chevelle got its 4 coats of Tamiya Light Gunmetal (TS-42).

For the graphics, I wanted a bit of a custom touch, so I made my own decals from a scan of some old kit decals. I had to re-draw the angles on the hood stripes before printing them, because they were too straight across. I added red accent pinstripes to the traditional SS stripes for my custom touch.

Decals went on pretty well, but I stretched one of the hood decals, leaving a bare spot. Since I made my own, I just reprinted the stripe and reapplied the next day.

4 coats of Testors Wet Look Clear lacquer came next, followed by Bare Metal Foil (and Molotow pen for some areas) for the chrome. I installed the windows in one piece (they have runners that go between the front & rear). I traced the area in between, and made a filler piece out of sheet styrene. Then, I made a headliner out of layers of masking tape, and painted it black. 

A clear lens and a trimmed-down chrome police car spotlight from the parts bin came together for the dome light.

And, then it was ready to finish and show off! Completed photos are next...

  • Member since
    April, 2013
Posted by Retro Joe on Sunday, May 06, 2018 4:01 PM

Before the finished photos, here's a comparison of the engine compartment detail (box stock AMT on the left).

  • Member since
    April, 2013
Posted by Retro Joe on Sunday, May 06, 2018 4:04 PM

I added a few more things, like inner fender panels and some photoetch grille for cowl vents. And finally, here it is...nicknamed "Super-Chevelle"! Thanks for looking!

  • Member since
    April, 2013
Posted by Retro Joe on Sunday, May 06, 2018 4:05 PM

  • Member since
    December, 2005
  • From: Upstate New York
Posted by spencer1984 on Sunday, May 06, 2018 7:06 PM
Awesome job on this, it may have been a pain to pull together all those kits but the end result was worth it!
  • Member since
    February, 2008
Posted by justmike on Sunday, May 06, 2018 7:19 PM

Nice nice nice nice!  What a neat build to see.  Its amazing the difference in the engine bay and the interior. Great headliner. Lovely job on the paint too.

Feelings are like scents: The more they are analyzed, the worse they smell.
  • Member since
    January, 2011
  • From: long island, new york
Posted by chucky on Sunday, May 06, 2018 7:57 PM

Time well spent, Joe!  The initial concept of combining the kits sounds easy enough, although that is seldom the case.  Those of us who subject ourselves to such madness have appreciation for one another. (Of course, you can always go along with the opinion that detail hides mistakes, if you can believe that individual on the Facebook group  Stick out tongue ) Great result from all that head-scratching and innovation. 


  • Member since
    January, 2010
Posted by dreamsinplastic on Sunday, May 06, 2018 8:35 PM

Beautiful job !!.....Your attention to the details,planning,finishing....turned out a WINNER !!.....Nice work....


I'm in the middle of a BIG move....From Corpus Christi TX to Tucson AZ.

NO building for awhile,til I set up my shop again !!






  • Member since
    November, 2003
  • From: East Bethel, Mn
Posted by midnightprowler on Monday, May 07, 2018 5:58 AM

Hands down the best 72 I have ever seen. Only 1 complaint, transmission should be painted aluminum with a steel pan.

1 Corinthians 15:51-54
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Ask me about Speedway Decals

  • Member since
    April, 2013
Posted by Retro Joe on Monday, May 07, 2018 1:37 PM
Thanks guys! Had a lot of fun with it. As far as the transmission color, I'll just call it "custom." :) The stripes shouldn't have red accents either, but that's the way I did them.
  • Member since
    March, 2006
  • From: Spring, Tx
Posted by modelcarjr on Tuesday, May 08, 2018 3:18 PM

Looks great, Joe! Nice engine and interior detail! Its a winner! Cool Thumbs Up

If you cannot have a good time, what kinda time can you have? JR

Next on the bench:  Another 1970 Hemi 'Cuda, 1958 Chevy Impala, 1987 Buick GNX, 1950 Chevy Pick-up, Indy Reynard, 1965 Corvette, probably not in this order.

  • Member since
    July, 2015
  • From: Middle TN
Posted by KWT on Wednesday, May 16, 2018 7:03 PM

That is great! Very nicely done!

Time well wasted, is not time wasted - John Lennon

  • Member since
    January, 2018
Posted by MikeFo on Saturday, May 19, 2018 8:03 PM

Wow! Excellent job.

Building more muscle Automobile

  • Member since
    September, 2007
  • From: Melbourne, Fl.
Posted by rickr442 on Sunday, May 20, 2018 12:31 AM

Epic work! You left out the great annoyance regarding that era of cars, the hangy-down shoulder belts! 

I don;t blame you a bit!

'Peggy, call the insurance agent... The cars got some bullet holes!'..... Joe Mannix

Yeah, but half an inch to the right, he woulda missed me altogether!'.....Jim Rockford

  • Member since
    April, 2013
Posted by Retro Joe on Sunday, May 20, 2018 8:52 AM
Haha! Yes, I thought about those for a minute, then decided not to add them.
  • Member since
    August, 2017
  • From: Miami Florida area
Posted by Dan the man on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 9:13 PM

Very nice work indeed. The SS is something my wife and I can always agree on. Wish we could have the real thing.

One question though, how or where did you get that scale magizine on the seat? Huh?

  • Member since
    April, 2013
Posted by Retro Joe on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 9:23 PM
Thanks, Dan the man! Always wanted the real thing, too! For the magazine, I just googled Hot Rod Magazine, then shrunk it and printed it out. Piece of clear tape over it to make it shiny, then I glued it to a piece of sheet styrene to make it the scale thickness of a magazine.
  • Member since
    May, 2012
Posted by TATTOOTONY on Thursday, May 31, 2018 5:58 PM

Joe man long time no talk, I see your still up to building jaw dropping models! I’ll have to catch up on your recent builds, now this specific Chevy come on!! Bow Im still seeing new details that I didn’t catch the 1st time looking at it... 

Look up my past builds: 49 MERCURY SLED BUILD & CADDY CTS NO LAMBO DOORS & Hills Hot Rods 78 Blazer Replica ( on hold ) 

Current builds: Ekstensive Metal Works 2004 Hummer H2 (Game Over) Replica WIP & Ekstensive Metal Works 1970 Ford F100 ( Coyote Ugly ) WIP

Instagram: @legendary_miniatures

my blog: 

  • Member since
    January, 2018
Posted by Oldcarfan27 on Thursday, June 07, 2018 11:14 PM



BTW, did you know the grille from the red issue can be used as the basis for a correct 71 grille? The egg crate pattern is right and would work perfectly with the split 71 turn signals on your grey Chevelle on the left in this pic. The 72 turn signals are large one-piece, as on the car on the right.

I tried to download a picture of a real 71 grille for comparison, but I don't know how to attach it with my phone. 

"I keep trying to complete my junkyard diorama, but everytime I add more clunkers, I get the nagging urge to pull them out and restore them!!!

Romans 3:23-25

John 14:6-7


  • Member since
    January, 2015
Posted by mustang1989 on Friday, June 08, 2018 3:50 AM

Dude................this thing is HOT!!!!!!!!!!! Truly impressive work here Joe!

Being really stupid is the new smart!! 


  • Member since
    August, 2015
  • From: Hamptonville, NC
Posted by TarheelRick on Friday, June 08, 2018 6:44 AM

Getting in a little late on this one, but a very impressive build.  Even though I am now a die-hard Ford fan, I have an affinity for the early Chevelles (rear-wheel drive models).  You have done some excellent work on this one, thanks for sharing.

I build models because I can't afford the real thing!


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