DDA HQ Holden kit - My thoughts...
So it's finally happened, we have a factory produced model kit of an Australian car!
I'm quite pleased to be able to finally have a HQ kit, so I can build a replica of my Dad's Kingswood, so for me, this kit is a winner.
There are 4 versions based on the tooling of an existing diecast model produced previously by DDA. The tool was modified to make it more builder friendly, but still has many traits that make it obvious what it's heritage is. There are also obvious concessions that trade off accuracy to allow the various versions to be produced via one tooling.
I'll get my biggest beef with the kit out of the way first. The packaging is TERRIBLE! In my mind this kit should be boxed much like an American kit, AMT, Revell etc. It just screams for some cool retro art, But no, we get this monstrosity. I get what they're trying to achieve with the display style of box, but do we really need that? I won't say what I really think of the "artwork". But my biggest issue is the weight of the box. Empty, the box weighs just over half a kilo - 1.1 pounds for the imperials. It's more than the actual model itself! That's crazy, as a retailer and a customer who wants to pay to ship that??
The instructions are also a little different than what were used to. Using wireframe CAD images but they are clear enough to follow. You are also supplied with a small screwdriver, tweezers and a bag of screws.
Anyway, the actual model...
The tooling is pretty clean, some lines to clean up, a little flash on some of the smaller parts. There parts breakdown is pretty simple, a diecast hangover by the looks.
The body looks obviously like a HQ sedan, the only issue that stands out is that maybe the front end is a bit tall, the car looks like it's mildly surprised... But the grille itself is a very nice open casting, I like it. The bonnet and boot can be opened. The windows are again a bit "diecasty" and will need some careful masking at the paint stage. Bumpers are nice and crisp, but... and it's a big but for a lot of builders, they are not chromed. In fact there is no chrome at all in any version. You can argue that something like SMS' excellent Hyperchrome does a better job anyway (it does!), but some won't have the airbrush or inclination to go that extra step. A couple of other things to note bodywise, the Blown car has no bonnet included and no graphics are included for GTS stripes etc. Unless of course you use the Lazy Modeller stripe mask ;)
The engines look good, I can't really vouch for accuracy, but they look the part. Flexible hoses are supplied for extra detail. But what is cool is the variety of powerplants, from the 202 six, 308 V8, twin turbo LS up to a ludicrously blown big block. Some cool starting points for the detailers.
The chassis is the big concession to being an ex multi use diecast tool. It's a one piece plate, one moulded in exhaust, the suspension is very basic (metal axles) the engine bay does not open through the chassis and the diff is obscured by a flat plate that mounts the metal axle. Not ideal so the detail freaks are doing to be busy under the car. And 4 wheel discs on the Kingswood, hmmmmmm.
Wheels... The stock Kingswood and GTS wheels I feel are too big in diameter. I'll be hunting the parts box for replacements when the time comes. The custom wheels look good and are in line with recent trends.
Interiors are pretty good, with differing parts for the Kingswood as compared to the GTS based cars. It's cool to see the front bench and column shift for the Trimatic on the Kingswood. The GTS based cars have buckets and floor shifted manuals. The boot opens and includes a spare tyre that matches the other wheels.
My conclusions? I bloody like it! Despite the shortcomings compared to a model specifically designed as a kit, I think it will build up to a cool model. I'm certainly keeping a Kingswood and GTS for myself and am pretty keen to get started on them. Is it worth the $70? I'd say yes. Considering what we have to pay here in Australia for kits these days it's pretty much on par. And it's a HQ Holden, you've gotta have it! Hopefully this is the start of a long line of Aussie cars in plastic!