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'The Pesky Plastic Affair' (AMT/Round 2 'Super Spy' Piranha...a.k.a. the 'Man From U.N.C.L.E.' Car)

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  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Towson MD
'The Pesky Plastic Affair' (AMT/Round 2 'Super Spy' Piranha...a.k.a. the 'Man From U.N.C.L.E.' Car)
Posted by gregbale on Saturday, June 15, 2019 5:37 PM

First built this on its original release back in 1967, as a fanatic eleven-year-old 'Man From U.N.C.L.E.' fan. Back then my only modeling tools were tube glue and a Boy Scout knife to cut the parts from the sprues (a word I'd never yet heard, at that point). My memories of that much-loved kit were of its being frustratingly difficult at every stage along the way...but I finally got it together (though the back wheels kept dropping off) and it was COOL.

Bless 'em, Round 2 finally re-released it a few years ago...albeit without any reference to the TV show, neatly avoiding any accompanying license fees to MGM (since AMT had actually commissioned the build of the original, and presumably still had those rights unencumbered). I eagerly snapped it up again...along with a neat ParaGrafix mixed etch/decal detail set. I was curious to see whether nearly a half-century of model-building would make things any easier.

The kit is still an artifact of '60s model technology, with lots of mold mis-matches, poor fit everywhere, and nearly every locating peg on any part a different shape (and usually, size) from the hole it's supposed to fit into. There are also some pretty basic engineering challenges: an engine too deep for the compartement it needs to fit into...a rear axle too short to actually reach the wheels...and inner/outer wheel assemblies considerably wider than the supplied tires. I won't even go into the problems with the non-fit of doors and clear parts.

On the plus side...all those cool super-spy features were still there...and I now had the skills to make some of them 'operable.' The ParaGrafix set provided some great etched detail (including operating door hinges that resembled those on the real thing) and a dazzling set of wood-grain panels for the interior...with equally-impressive 'secret electronics' panels to go behind them. The kit itself provided beautiful pad-printed tires (with the original red stripe on one side, and flashy Goodyear Speedway Blue Streak logos on the other...which I couldn't resist).

I bullied the turbocharged six-cylinder Corvair engine as best I could, added a few bits and bobs, and nearly got the fit of the clear parts right with a flush fit (instead of the scale-six-inch set-back of the instructions). I used all the 'spy' gear except the ludicrous 'drop down propellers': by no stretch of the imagination was this design ever going to pass as a water-tight amphibious vehicle. The kit provides an 'either-or' 2-sided tach-gauge console with 'gadgets' on the opposite side; I used a bit of twist-tie wire to make it revolve to 'specs,' as well as hinging the door next to it for the secret 'telemetry' panel, to show off those nice ParaGrafix decals. Only major interior addition (besides seatbelts, which seemed logical even for a '60s turbocharged spy vehicle) was a 'ready rounds' rack for the kit-provided door rockets...which would otherwise have been invisible inside the doors themselves. On the exterior, I added a hinged panel for the rear license plate...which flips up to expose the kit-supplied drag chute.

The TV original had sort of an 'ice blue' finish, but I went a shade darker with mine, painting it with the current equivalent of what I almost certainly used back then, on my first build: Testors spray-can metalllic, in this case a rocking Nassau Blue.

It's got it's flaws...but it's still cool all these years later, loaded and ready to roll against the evil minions of THRUSH. "Open Channel D, please...."

Greg

 George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."
  • Member since
    August, 2014
  • From: Willamette Valley, Oregon
Posted by goldhammer on Saturday, June 15, 2019 7:24 PM

Beautiful work!!!!

GAF
  • Member since
    June, 2012
  • From: Anniston, AL
Posted by GAF on Saturday, June 15, 2019 8:54 PM

Ah, Napoleon Solo and Ilya Kuryakin!  That brings back memories.  Big Smile

Nice work, Greg!  Mr. Waverly would be proud!

Gary

  • Member since
    February, 2003
  • From: East Bethel, MN
Posted by midnightprowler on Sunday, June 16, 2019 7:44 AM

Very cool and well done. great color. Does the kit feature opening doors?

Hi, I am Lee, I am a plastiholic.

Co. A, 682 Engineers, Ltchfield, MN, 1980-1986

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

Ask me about Speedway Decals

  • Member since
    March, 2012
  • From: Corpus Christi, Tx
Posted by mustang1989 on Sunday, June 16, 2019 8:08 AM

I don't know why but I like this! Very well carried out build Greg.

                   

 

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Towson MD
Posted by gregbale on Sunday, June 16, 2019 8:16 AM

Thanks, guys!

midnightprowler

Very cool and well done. great color. Does the kit feature opening doors?

The gull-wing doors and the engine deck are both hinged to open. The problem with the doors is--'60s model design, again--to properly seat the pegs that are the door hinge pivots, the windshield (which holds the forward pegs in place) has to be mounted behind the 'A pillars'...which just looks wrong.

The ParaGrafix set gives much more workable hinges, though there is precious little room to mount them. It also doesn't correct the slight 'skew' in the door parts, as molded; one side or the other is likely to be slightly 'ajar.'

Greg

 George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."
fox
  • Member since
    January, 2007
  • From: Narvon, Pa.
Posted by fox on Sunday, June 16, 2019 1:41 PM

W - O - W!!!!!!! Great build Greg.

Jim  Captain

 Main WIP: 

   On the Bench:  Revell 1/96 USS Kearsarge - 70% 

I keep hitting "escape", but I'm still here.

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Towson MD
Posted by gregbale on Tuesday, June 18, 2019 12:08 PM

fox

W - O - W!!!!!!! Great build Greg.

Jim  Captain

Thanks, Jim! Yes

Greg

 George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."
  • Member since
    May, 2011
  • From: Nashua, NH
Posted by Mr Mike on Tuesday, June 18, 2019 8:40 PM

I am just like Greg, I built this kit back in the '60s when the show was on.  I made a bunch of mistakes on mine since I was still a novice at building models and I wonder if I can build it again with my increased skillset.  We shall see when I get around to building Super Spy Car aka The Man From UNCLE Car!

"That's Spenser with an "S", like the poet." Robert Urich Spenser For Hire 1985

On My Bench: '67 Foose Dodge Coronet; 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302

Classic Plastic Model Club 

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Towson MD
Posted by gregbale on Tuesday, June 18, 2019 9:20 PM

Mr Mike
We shall see when I get around to building Super Spy Car aka The Man From UNCLE Car!

Just be sure to test-fit everything 3 times, and you should be fine!

I'll pass on the one 'surprise' that really snuck up on me, because it was so obvious I never thought to check it.

If you carefully study the dash in the 'telemetry panel' photo above...you'll see that the molded 'notch' for the steering column will end up putting the steering wheel over the driver's right knee. This isn't a fault in my construction; in fact, the dash may be the one part in the whole kit that locks into a single position with no 'wiggle' or possibility of mis-alignment.

I'd already installed the dash when this occurred to me, so the best I could do was notch the column instead and super-glue it in a centered position. Be careful not to tilt the steering wheel too high...or the windshield won't fit. Big Smile

Good luck with your build!

Greg

 George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."
  • Member since
    May, 2011
  • From: Nashua, NH
Posted by Mr Mike on Friday, June 21, 2019 11:58 AM

gregbale

 

 
Mr Mike
We shall see when I get around to building Super Spy Car aka The Man From UNCLE Car!

 

Just be sure to test-fit everything 3 times, and you should be fine!

I'll pass on the one 'surprise' that really snuck up on me, because it was so obvious I never thought to check it.

If you carefully study the dash in the 'telemetry panel' photo above...you'll see that the molded 'notch' for the steering column will end up putting the steering wheel over the driver's right knee. This isn't a fault in my construction; in fact, the dash may be the one part in the whole kit that locks into a single position with no 'wiggle' or possibility of mis-alignment.

I'd already installed the dash when this occurred to me, so the best I could do was notch the column instead and super-glue it in a centered position. Be careful not to tilt the steering wheel too high...or the windshield won't fit. Big Smile

Good luck with your build!

 

Thank you Greg for the heads up!  I just went and made a notation in the kit instructions on the steering column as I am bound to forget all about this and have this issue sneak up on me when I do get to building the Piranha.

"That's Spenser with an "S", like the poet." Robert Urich Spenser For Hire 1985

On My Bench: '67 Foose Dodge Coronet; 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302

Classic Plastic Model Club 

  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • From: Indiana, USA
Posted by Greg on Saturday, June 22, 2019 9:28 AM

You come up with the neatest subjects, and never fail to impress on the execution. No exception here.

Very nice.

Me, I'm scratching my head wondering how I can possibly have no recollection of this car. I absolutely loved that show, would have been same age as you at the time so I should remember the car.

-Greg

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Towson MD
Posted by gregbale on Saturday, June 22, 2019 10:22 AM

Greg
You come up with the neatest subjects, and never fail to impress on the execution. No exception here.

Thank you, Greg! Most appreciated.

Greg
Me, I'm scratching my head wondering how I can possibly have no recollection of this car. I absolutely loved that show, would have been same age as you at the time so I should remember the car.

I couldn't tell you how many late-in-the-series episodes it was in...but it wasn't very many, and then largely for opening or 'transition' sequences, rather than being an integral part of the episode. [My only really clear memory of it was a before-the-title sequence where Solo and Kuryakin were being chased by baddies in a helicopter. I think that was the only use of the door-mounted rockets...after which you could see the string holding up the model when the 'helicopter' blew up!]

Apparently Robert Vaughn hated the thing: riding two feet off the ground almost laying down, and virtually impossible to get into or out of in any dignified fashion! (And...although I have no clear memory of it...it also figured in several 'Girl From U.N.C.L.E.' episodes as well. I'm pretty sure I'd recall Stephanie Powers' gymnastic efforts doing an entry/exit in a mini-skirt, if it had ever been shown! Wink)

Greg

 George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."
  • Member since
    May, 2013
  • From: Indiana, USA
Posted by Greg on Saturday, June 22, 2019 4:40 PM

That makes me and my feeble memory feel better.

Thank you, Greg. Toast

Edit: I meant to mention, clever thread title!

-Greg

  • Member since
    June, 2019
  • From: United Kingdom
Posted by ScalemodelMadnessDan on Wednesday, June 26, 2019 9:11 AM

Great read and fantastic build! Well done mate Yes 


 

Facebook Page | Scalemodel Madness

Current Build : Christine Barn Find 1/25 Scale

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Towson MD
Posted by gregbale on Wednesday, June 26, 2019 9:39 AM

ScalemodelMadnessDan

Great read and fantastic build! Well done mate Yes 

Thank you, Dan!

Greg

 George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."
  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Towson MD
Posted by gregbale on Wednesday, June 26, 2019 9:41 AM

Greg
Edit: I meant to mention, clever thread title!

I figured true fans would get it.Big Smile

Everybody else would just be confused.

Greg

 George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."
  • Member since
    June, 2014
  • From: New Braunfels , Texas
Posted by Tanker - Builder on Saturday, June 29, 2019 2:36 PM

Ahem!

 Firstly sir - It's beautiful! Secondly, I have heard the cons you mention from others .When I did mine for my son I actually had No problems .I did modify the engine compartment ( enclosed ) and kept the Props .They move up and down in the hull.

     Mine was painted a gorgeous Sun Yellow and It was an enjoyable build . I have the  replacement ( re-run ) an it has the problems you describe .Fixable though .Remove the front " Bumper"? and it would fit in today '.The real car was fibreglas and wouldnt have been able to bump a fly without damage ." Remember this is late 50s mid 60s auto technology! 

  • Member since
    December, 2011
Posted by model make on Sunday, June 30, 2019 10:18 AM

 

I think this is what they mean by 'Pro Modeler'.

Good job!

  • Member since
    March, 2003
  • From: Towson MD
Posted by gregbale on Sunday, June 30, 2019 10:23 AM

model make
I think this is what they mean by 'Pro Modeler'.

With all due respect...a real 'Pro Modeler' could have gotten the doors to close properly!Big Smile

Thanks for your kind words, nonetheless!

Greg

 George Lewis:

"Every time you correct me on my grammar I love you a little fewer."
  • Member since
    December, 2011
Posted by model make on Sunday, June 30, 2019 11:41 AM

 

'a real 'Pro Modeler' could have gotten the doors to close properly!'

That aside it looks good.

You're welcome.

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