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1957 Chevrolet Corvette
Manufacturer: Maisto
Release dates: 2006(?) - Currently in production
Catalog number: Unknown
Date Purchased: December 2007
Date Completed: June 2009
Number in collection: 17

The Chevrolet Corvette entered its fifth year of production in better shape in any year in is relatively short life. The styling and mechanical changes made for the 1956 model year appeared to have been a success, as more cars were sold than in any previous year. Still no outstanding, but at least improved. The Ford Thunderbird, although originally considered a threat, was not living up to its own sales projections. A four-seat model was already under development for a 1958 release. The primary change to the largely carryover Chevrolet Corvette was a fuel injection option which boasted one horsepower for each of the engines 283 cubic inches (4.6L).

This replica is made by Maisto, as part of their Power Racer series. Like all other cars in this series, it features a spring-loaded, 'pull-back' type of motor at the rear wheels. It has decent exterior details with opening doors, but I had two issues with it. The first, a minor one, is that red is used for the side cove in the silver body. My research said that this was not an actual factory combination. The second problem is more serious. There are very prominent mould lines near the top of the fenders. It's like Maisto made no attempt to hide or minimize the visual impact of these lines. Other than that, it has an acceptable interior, and the pull-back motor doesn't intrude into it. The wheels are painted silver, and have a 'generic' style that aren't really close to the actual car. The chassis is a reminder that these are intended as toys, as it has no realistic detailing whatsoever.

I originally worked on this car long before I started photographing them. The 'before' pictures are not of my car, but ones I found on-line of cars that are in original condition, but in different colors. The 'after' pictures were of my car, but taken while I was originally writing this page.

Click to zoom Click to zoom
What I started with. Actual car I used for reference.

Pictures of car before any changes were made (click to enlarge)

Disassembly was started by removing two screws that hold the chassis to the body. The remainder of this process, as well as the resulting parts breakdown, is as follows:
  • The bottom half of the interior, with seats and console moulded to it as a single piece, in red plastic.
  • The front axle, with wheels and tires pressed onto the axle. This falls loose once the bottom interior is removed. I didn't see any way to remove the wheels from the axles without damaging them, so I stopped there.
  • The rear tires, wheels, axle and pull-back motor assembly. This fits loosely into the chassis plate. Once again, I didn't see any way to remove the wheels from the axles without damaging them or the motor assembly, so this is as far as I went.
  • A one piece black plastic chassis That has minimal and unrealistic detail cast to the bottom.
  • a steel spring that locates between three pins cast into the underside of the body. The purpose of this part is to allow the doors to spring back closed after being opened, and to hold them in place when closed.
  • The two doors, which are easily removed once the retaining spring is removed. These are painted the same color as the body, and have door panel detail lightly cast into the inside surface.
  • A red plastic dashboard and steering wheel. The steering wheel has a generic design used on most Power Racer cars. It is glued the dash, which I didn't remove so that I didn't damage it. This whole assembly was carefully pried from the retaining pins inside of the body.
  • A clear windshield, with moulded frame, wiper, and rear-view mirror moulded detail. It mounts to the same pins inside the body that holds the dashboard.
  • Chrome plated plastic front bumper and grille, and rear bumper, which are attached by heat applied to moulded-in pins. I cut these bonds and removed the parts.
  • Two Chrome plated plastic head lights, attached by heat applied to moulded-in pins. I cut these bonds and removed the parts.
  • The die-cast body, painted silver with red side coves, with tampo-printed emblems.

After disassembling the car, I stripped the body with a chemical stripping gel. After a thorough washing, I removed seams from the casting with files and sandpaper before applying primer and paint. The remainder of this project was fairly easy. I used pictures that I found of the actual car to help with detailing the body and interior.

The following is a summary of the changes I made:
  • Wheels and tires: Sanded the tread surface with 220 grit sandpaper to simulate wear. Covered the entire wheel with Bare-Metal foil. Painted holes near the rim with a wash of Testors flat black, then rubbed excess paint from this area after it dried.
  • Chassis: Painted entire piece Testors acrylic flat black. Highlight the few moulded in details with Tamiya semi-gloss black.
  • Interior: Painted seats, console, dashboard pad, and inside surface of the doors Testors acrylic flat white mixed with light sand. Painted floor this same mix with a touch of flat brown. Painted lower dash and steering wheel white. Painted top half of dash and vertical panel between the seats the same color as the body. Applied Testors acrylic semi-gloss clear to all interior surfaces except floor. Remaining interior details were highlighted with appropriate colors, using pictures of the actual car as a guide.
  • Windows: Applied Bare-Metal foil to windshield frame. Detailed windshield wipers and rear view mirror with Testors silver,
  • Body: Painted underside of body Testors acrylic flat black. Stripped entire casting with gel-type paint stripper, as described earlier. Primed body with Rustoleum white primer, then painted with one coat of Krylon Blue Ocean Breeze. Applied Bare-Metal foil to trim at top of doors and behind seats, tail light housings, side cove mouldings, and emblems. Painted tail lights with Tamiya clear red, front park/turn lights with Testors flat white, and head lights lenses with silver. Painted front grille Testors flat black, then rubbed paint from grill bars after it dried. Drew in body panel seam with a metal tipped 'quill' pen and black ink. Remaining exterior details were highlighted with appropriate colors, using pictures of the actual car as a guide.
Disassembled parts, before reassembly To the left is the car prior to re-assembly.

The car was reassembled by reversing the procedure used to disassemble it. No glue was needed.

Pictures of completed car (click to enlarge)

The proportions of the completed car look very close to the actual car. The table below shows how close they are.

Actual car 
(mm / in)
(mm / in)
Dimensions of actual car based on model scale
(mm / in)
Calculated scale based on model to actual car
Length 4267 / 168.0 114 / 4.48 4446 / 174.8 1:38
Wheelbase 2591 / 102.0 66 / 2.61 2574 / 101.8 1:39
Width 1795 / 70.7 46 / 1.83 1794 / 71.3 1:39
Height 1298 / 51.1 35 / 1.39 1365 / 54.4 1:37

My calculations show that this car is a very close to the 1:39 scale moulded onto the chassis plate. The length is slightly shorter, but not enough to be noticeable. The height I measured was a bit too tall, but I suspect this is due to the way the axles are mounted in the chassis. It did seem to ride a bit high when I took a close look at it from the side, but lowering the ride height wasn't worth the effort, in my opinion.

This is the first time I've really looked at this car in any detail since I bought it over six years ago. I'm glad that I put the extra work into the body that I did, as those body seams I mentioned earlier really detract from the overall look of this replica. Although Maisto shows it in their current catalog, I haven't seen this one at stores for several years. Like all other Power Racer cars, they seem to have just disappeared from any store in my area. That's too bad, as I enjoy adding details that really bring life to what is otherwise considered just a toy.

Liked what you saw? More cars can be found HERE .

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