Cost: £75 – £150
Date of Review: 20th May 2020
The Sales Pitch from Amazon:
- The Ford Mustang I is a small, open two-seater with aluminum body and a four-cylinder engine, which was built in 1962 by Ford.
- The model is 55 cm high, 15 cm long and 26 cm wide.
- 3168 pieces, for girls and boys from 12 years, for fans and for big children of all ages.
- For collectors a great set and a really nice display.
- It is not really a toy, but rather a model for the showcase
What Do You Get?
Lets start of with the fact that this is a model kit made in China. It’s a variation on the official Hoonigan v2, a ‘knock off’ or fake, or copy maybe from the LEGO kit. (More on that later, is this the same supplier as LEGO? There is a big clue). This kit contains 3168 pieces. This model kit is different in the fact it doesn’t rely on bricks, it relies on pegs and holes to fit together. The parts are much more ‘shaped’ than the blocks could be.
This kit comes with an option to be powered by motors and remote control which are purchased separately. This review does not have the motor option, (more on that later).
What’s In The Box:
In the box came fourteen bags of parts, none of which were numbered like the Lego kits. There are bigger bags, the wheels, sheet of stickers, and then there are smaller bags of the pegs or fixings.
The instructions are not brilliant due to the fact that the print colours did vary a bit and the difference between the light grey and brown was difficult to spot. There are 1:1 size chart for the splines which is essential as some are very similar in size.
There is a distinct pattern for the build as its cleverly build in a modular style. The smaller build part instructions are clear enough with arrows of what goes where.
But with the modular parts then added to the bigger build, it can be difficult to see where some bits are fitted together on the complex diagrams.
I found it useful to build the modular parts and then flick over a few pages to see where it all fits together in relation to other parts. This gives you a different perspective and can help a lot on a few sections.
Building The Model:
Number of bits: Yes there are 3168 pieces. However you won’t use them all unless you take the motors options. The majority of the parts are these little blue pegs (and other colours). These two pics are the parts I had left over, the pegs of various sizes and some random parts.
There is a little orange tool which helps you remove some parts when you get it wrong, and I did. The pegs have to be pulled out with your fingers and can be tight if they are holding a few parts together.
The key thing with the model kits or block kits are the tolerances. The parts in this kit were very good indeed on the whole. In fact the only problem was the smaller pegs had a little ‘flashing’ (left over plastic from the moulds, – Yes that is a technical term for injection moulding process). This is easily removed with a finger nail or another part.
Bags! The bags hacked me off a bit as they are not numbered up so it’s difficult to see where to start. You have to look a few pages of instructions coming up and compare the the contents of bags for what you will need. I found that I opened the wrong bag and used bits from a later section. Then found out that those bits you should have used will hang around until you need the bits you used earlier. (if that makes sense). Forward planning is the name of the game here.
The model starts from the inside out, you build the differentials and gearing for the rear of the car. The diff then gets added to a bit of chassis which is ready for the next bit and so on.
As you build a part you can check the movement and operation. Little cogs marry up and are held by splines in part holes to allow it to move.
The rear suspension was fun and the way the whole section moves is very clever indeed. What starts out quite flimsy then with more parts it’s bolstered up and quite solid.
With the tunnel section completed in the middle the floor pans are added and all of a sudden the scale of the model becomes clear. Fitting the wheel hubs was a real pain. Picture on the right with the grey round section with three lugs.
The build of the engine block has working pistons for you to see running off their own cam shaft.
The front suspension is complex and perhaps the hardest part of the model for me. Lining up the mini half shafts and gearing was a bit fiddly with my big hands. The front grill is made. The curved sections are a long flexible spline that has tubes slid over it and the ends plugged into a termination point. things like the headlights look great but can be easily pulled off. More on that later.
The fenders are built up to complete the look. with the hood. The hood has a large cut out in the centre and does the frame of the hood a little fragile. Silver parts are added to the engine for the turbos and exhaust pipes.
The bag of silver parts some of which were obvious for the engine parts, the rest were for the seats sides and head rest. The steering wheel inside the car could in theory move the wheels, but it’s not strong enough for that and jumped a tooth or two on the cog, I had to jump it back again to centre the steering back up. But if you move the steering rack the steering inside the car will move fine.
You now complete the inside by adding the seats and the glove box area. A couple of complicated universal joint sections for the steering can be dislodged when fitting the top of the cowl section under the screen.
The rear quarters are added and the wheel arches. Again these are twin flexible splines where the tiles are slid over and have to be even spaced out to look right. The fitting is plugged into termination pieces at each end and has to bend like a rainbow shape to fit. Give them a knock and they will come off which is very annoying.
Behind the seats is reinforced with more building. There is a silver part of the interior roll cage behind the drivers seat that attaches one end and just left to flap about inside.
This aggravated me and with some bits that were obviously going to be left over I made a little mod and attached it to a spare hole and attached it properly. Seen below with the left hand elbow joint. Also adding a little more stability.
The doors were straight forward enough, with a complex hinge mechanism which allows the door to open wide. The attachment to the rest of the car was more awkward as the one of the rubber bands that holds the doors shut pinged out of place which resulted in a deconstruction to refit the bands. Terrible idea as the band will perish and break leaving the doors to flap around at a later date.
The back of the car’s light panel gets built with lots of red and black thin bricks to make the tail lights. The result is a very effective and convincing light panel. Although no lights work on this car at all.
The trunk opens and closes with a hinge idea the same as the front hood.
The roof using the last of the long flexible splines threads the roof panels for the A pillars.
The front wheel arches are based on the same principle as the rears were fitted into place, again not to a very secure fitting. But it does give a nice gentle curve with flat bricks.
The wheels were required to be fitted about two thirds of the way into the build. I kept knocking them off. So I fitted them as the last things on the car, you will thank me to fit them on last. The vertical grey section of the suspension here covers the problematic UJ for the steering hub.
Once the model is built it does look really good and a pretty good representation of Ken Block’s Hoonigan 2.
Wheel Hubs: A critical part of the ‘movable’ model. The bits I mentioned earlier for the wheel hubs; these are terrible. The wheels are held firmly in place to the hubs (brake discs) by three pegs. When you try to push the wheels into place the suspension moves and the tiny part of the UJ (universal Joint) that also has two little pins to turn the wheels from the gears pops out and there is no drive. If you are to power this model I promise you that the drive hubs will break loose on the front due to single point of fitting a UJ. This has to be the case as the wheels turn for the steering, rotate for the movement (using the two pins to stop it spinning within the hub), and to move up and down for the suspension. A three-way movement ball that is only a couple of millimetres wide at its widest part. I had to deconstruct the front end (twice until I learned my lesson), and some of the steering section to refit the part back onto the spline. The problem is that the spline is not long enough and allows a backward movement from the hub which should never happen. You could get round the spline movement by a blob of superglue to the UJ fitting end onto the spline.
Motorised Option: During the build for the suspension and the steering the motors instructions are an option. This will require a few tweaks to the construction. The motors will drive the rear wills via a diff and the front wheels via the second diff. The problem is that that the splines and cogs are a bit to delicate for my liking.
There is a super clever option to allow the car to ‘drift’ under it’s own power by a configuration of the diff. I have no idea how fast these motors are supposed to go. But guessing there is a drift option it should have a fair amount of speed to move the model.
The hand controller looks very basic and range is also unknown.
Decals: These are cheap and obviously don’t say the correct branding due to the copy right. It’s very clever how the use of fonts and slight rearranging of characters can lead you to misread it as you know what it should say. The decals are not the water based style which leaves very little visible evidence of the background or clear parts. These stickers are self adhesive and clearly show on the black bricks of the model. The air bubbles are a nightmare and ruin the smooth outline. The decals are not cut correctly for some parts that go over some raised surfaces, such as the ford logo on the front, a sharp scalpel to cat the deal to allow it to lay flatter makes a big difference. An option is to even leave the stickers off the car. It will still look great.
These cheap decals seriously lets the model down for me.
Tyres & Rims: The just slip over the rims and can be moved on the rims once fitted. I suspect that a bit of serious drifting will dislodge the tyres on the rims. This can be cured of course by a few well placed blobs of super glue to hold the tyres to the rims. But if you scrub the rather thin tyres out it will become a nightmare to replace them. The rims themselves don’t actually look like the real car! Something to do with copyright maybe I don’t know. But it’s a bit of big ‘error’.
Doors: The hinges are helped to stay shut via twisted elastic bands. Give it time like I mentioned above the bands will perish and the doors won’t stay shut if under it’s own power. They will probably fly open and shut depending on where it goes I guess.
Build Quality: Some of the parts will be knocked of and dislodged fairly easily, such as the headlights, front air splitter, the turbo parts of the engine and wheel arches in particular. Nothing which a bit of superglue wouldn’t sort out.
Rating for static model: 7 out of 10
There are two options for the model and the static option looks great in a cabinet for display. The model is large and heavy. Trying to push the vehicle along will hear all sorts of teeth jumping and the engine pistons (which you can’t see anyway with the hood down) in particular getting stuck.
However if you leave it alone and make a nice job of the stickers it can look really good.
The lower marks are for the some of the parts like the wheel hubs and leaving a bit of roll over cage flapping about.
Rating for motorised model: 4 out of 10
If you are going to motorise this then you need to beef it up with some superglue! The wheel hubs will dislocate from the centre of the wheels, this can be easily done by just pushing the car along, or trying to turn the wheels on steering lock.
The underside of the car has cut outs for the cogs, this allows for dirt and debris to contaminate the meshing of the cogs and will cause problems.
I’m not sure where the batteries go but i suspect they are in the trunk as there does look to be a frame for them going across most of the width in the trunk.
As the sales blurb says itself; “It is not really a toy, but rather a model for the showcase”.
Do I hate this kit? Not at all.
This kit is an ‘own brand’ of the genuine LEGO kit. The LEGO build quality would be awesome as you would expect and their decal kit is much better. As a knock off kit this very good and I seriously recommend having this a display model and not a radio controlled option for the reason I give above. The wheels are different to the actual car which is a shame too.
The majority of the car is a real fun build and took me many hours to complete. There were no parts missing and all the parts fitted together correctly. All be tenuously on the wheel hubs.
The cost of the kit varies hugely and they other ‘manufacturers’ offer different packaging and more or less parts within a couple of dozen or so. But that can be created by adding a few extra pegs or not count some bits. It’s all to do with creative counting as I suspect that there is only one alternative manufacturer for this model.
Do LEGO even use the same supplier? The cost of tooling something as complex as this for a toy would be mental money to be honest. I’m pretty sure they do but the official version has a couple of extra details, like the rear venture sections, slightly different different moulds for the silver engine parts, wheels, seat trims in black not silver, disc brakes, handbrake etc. All subtle stuff to tell it apart from the others.
The give away for me is the fact the packets of parts were shipped with red brake disc callipers. Yet the instructions don’t show you how to fit them. However on the LEGO kit you can clearly see the same parts fitted. With a different branded instruction booklet as well.
I enjoyed the build of the model immensely and it looks great on display in my man cave. For the connoisseur I would go LEGO and get your wallet out for double the price for a few little tweaks. For somebody who wants a great technical challenge without the full cost of LEGO prices this is a great buy. Any petrol head who loves models would love the challenge of this kit.
The kit is indeed a challenge, and sometimes the instructions can be difficult to see where bits go in a bigger more complex diagram.
You get out of this what you expect, for a static complex model it’s great, for a radio controlled car it’s not up to it, and get a proper designed RC car where the wheels won’t fall off.
The title of the model is noted as ‘1962’ Ford Mustang. There was no Ford Mustang of this design at that time. Is this a way round the copyright to call it a Mustang?
Would I recommend it? Only for a model.
Would I buy it again? No. Not at full price.