Sunday, January 13, 2019


THIS IS A REISSUE of an original, and very popular, AMT kit. It’s a 1:25 scale model of the Anglo-American Sunbeam Tiger, a V8 roadster built from 1964-67, by the British Rootes Group.

Mat Irvine: But first, the kit as now issued. It depicts a Sunbeam Tiger, a British sports car based on the Sunbeam Alpine, its four-cylinder engine replaced by a Ford small block, 260 cu in V8. The kit supplies the V8 engine, with a simplified chassis, running gear, and interior.

You can build the AMT Sunbeam Tiger perfectly stock, or as a racing version. For this, there are optional lowered rear leaf springs, magnesium-alloy wheels, and alternative exhausts. You can also add flared wheel arches, front air dam, a roll bar, and a rear spoiler.

The decals include a variety of stripes and numbers. USA and GB national plates are included, though the kit comes only in left-hand drive form.

So how did the kit first appear? In fact, the original was an early AMT Star Car, one that featured in a movie or on TV. The Sunbeam Tiger was driven by an inept spy, Maxwell Smart of the Get Smart TV series that ran from 1965-70. Get Smart was almost certainly a nod to another, more efficient secret agent by the name of Bond, James Bond, who also drove (well, most of the time) another British sports car, a gadget-laden Aston Martin DB5.

But Maxwell Smart’s Sunbeam Tiger also had a selection of gadgets. There were extending overriders for the front and rear bumpers, a machine-gun under the bonnet, and communications that were handled by a telephone in the centre console between the seats. OK, this was a pay-phone with a dial, but it was still a phone.

But space was needed for the under-bonnet machine gun, so the engine for the TV series was a four-cylinder design, making the car more of an Alpine than a Tiger.

The kit was first reissued when Lesney owned AMT, so presumably there was a good reason to release a British car. The Get Smart parts were removed, and you got the V8 engine instead of the straight-four. There was a further issue from AMT’s next owner, The Ertl Corporation, in its plain-boxed Blueprinter Series.

This latest kit, from current owner Round 2, is a Tiger, with the V8, but intriguingly, some of the Get Smart parts are in the box. So if you want, you can include the rather large early cell phone.

As with many AMT reissues, there is new artwork on the box, and this is excellent. I reckon it’s worth the price of the kit alone.

The box side panels (above, below) show some of the features of the kit.

A payphone and handset are parts (below right) left over from the Get Smart kit.

Other components (below) include the original bonnet machine-gun doors, seen here just above the bonnet.

The paperwork (below) includes plans, a new decal sheet, and the mini-box that is supplied with many recent AMT and MPC releases.

The original Get Smart version (above, below).

The original position of the payphone between the seats (below) which - as it is in this kit – is the one Get Smart addition that could be added.

Another version (below) built using this kit, but with modifications, such as right hand drive. This is the Sunbeam Alpine that featured briefly in the first James Bond movie, Dr No.

The original Get Smart box (below).

The Lesney issue (below) this time as an actual Tiger

Blueprinter Exclusive issue (below) when AMT was owned by The Ertl Corporation. Until now, this was the most recent issue.

Scale stats
AMT: Sunbeam Tiger
Scale: 1:25
Parts: 115
Assembled length: 150 mm (6 in)
Manufacturer’s ref: AMT998

Thanks to Round 2 for the review kit