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Kit Review: A Beginner's Perspective on the Acura Integra

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Hobbies Topics:  Acura Integra
Opinions expressed by Bill Crittenden are not official policies or positions of The Crittenden Automotive Library. You can read more about the Library's goals, mission, policies, and operations on the About Us page.

Kit Review: A Beginner's Perspective on the Acura Integra

Bill Crittenden
March 20, 2006

The model I built this week is Revell's infamous Acura Integra kit.  This kit is the second I've started and the first I've completed in over a decade.  Spending a week on a kit is a major improvement for me, as my childhood models were built in about 4 hours.  I think I was about 12 the last time I finished a model.

The Integra kit is the oft-joked about, seldom sold representative of the compact performance car market for Revell.

As far as car models go, American classics and muscle cars seem the most popular, followed by classic sports cars, hot rods and racing (not necessarily in that order).

Among fans of compact performance cars, the Acura Integra is among the most respected.  I say "compact" instead of "import" because in the last couple of years American cars have gained a lot of respect in this segment with the Focus, SRT-4, and Cobalt.

Every car guy knows that the Honda Civic is an icon of the import/compact crowd.  The Integra is based on the Civic, but with more power, a better suspension, and more style.  One writer compared it to a "scalpel among steak knives" (which is mentioned in the model's instructions).  Of course, everything above and beyond the Civic cost extra, which is why the Civic remained the more popular tuner car for years.

The Integra kit is a 2-in-1, with stock parts and extras to make it a tuner car.  There are decals to do the car pictured on the box, another custom decal pattern, plus all the regular parts and badge decals to make a stock Integra Type R.  I built my model mostly stock, in Competition White.  OK, it's really just Testors flat white with gloss coat over it, but Competition White was the name of the original Integra Type R color.  I say "mostly stock" because there is only an aftermarket chrome intake and exhaust.  No stock muffler or air box is included.

The kit is beginner friendly, at least compared to the AMT NASCAR Taurus I've been building since December.  A lot of the Acura's parts are molded in color, such as the suspension, brakes, dashboard and center console.  Most of it gets painted anyway, but I left the dashboard and center console alone, because I didn't want to fill in the tiny spaces between buttons and lose details and because it's black plastic on the real car anyway.  The body is molded in white, which is also beneficial becuase the Type R came in yellow and white.

It's fairly easy to put together.  All the parts fit together well.  So well that I think I could probably put it together without glue on almost of the parts.  The directions are simple, easy to follow and have good illustrations.

While The kit comes with plain plastic wheels and three sets of chrome wheels.  I used the plastic wheels, painted white, so that leaves three sets of chrome wheels, which is a good start to my parts box.

One problem that I've encountered is actually the same problem I had when I worked on the genuine article.  There's just too much stuff crammed under the hood.  It's all molded together on the kit, and there's little space between parts and hoses, so it's hard for a novice to paint the body that shows in the tiny crevasses white and then paint all those individual parts and lines.  I ended up painting the whole thing black and highlighting certain parts and caps in color.  Maybe they could have separated all those small underhood parts from the body and made it so that it's a separate part that fits into the hood and can be painted separately.  It would be easier to work with and look more realistic in the end.

I'll do a better one later, after all, it seems there's always someone at the model shows trying to get rid of an Integra kit for just a few bucks.

©2006 Bill Crittenden

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