Sunday Afternoon Daddy-Daughter Model Project & Review: “Scooby-Doo Mystery Machine”

Sunday afternoon, my four year-old daughter and I started and finished a big pre-painted, snap-together model. We had a good time, along with a few moments of assembly frustration, so I thought I’d go ahead and turn it into a kit review.

For our project, I picked up something my daughter’s been wanting to build for a while now: The Scooby-Doo “Mystery Machine” van from Polar Lights. So I drove over to our local HobbyTown USA, snagged it for about $22, and then we were off and running.

The kit has a nice selection of plastic parts, clear parts, and chromed parts. And some of them even fit together as advertised. Others don’t. It also has pre-painted vinyl figures of Scooby-Doo and Shaggy. And those looked really good. Really, the nicest things in the kit. I had to make a deal with my daughter that we’d wait until the absolute last moment to put those in the kit so she could continue to play with them.

My first frustration began moments after we’d gotten it out of the box. Contrary to any note from the instructions, the three largest parts of the van come pre-assembled, and must be disassembled in order to proceed.  And if you’re not paying attention, you’ll probably snap one of those pegs holding the chasis to the floor. I did. Not a big deal, since I ended up super-gluing a good chunk of the pieces together anways.

My biggest real complaint about this kit was the parts fit. Some parts fit great. Others… not so good. At first, I just broke out the non-toxic styrene glue. Eventually I broke out the CA (“super”) glue. I also had a hell of a time trying to jam a couple of the clear lenses into the chrome headlight/taillight parts. But eventually–with a little glue, and a little patience–everything came together.

My daughter just turned 4 about 2 months ago. And she’s already done snap-together models virtually by herself. This one was a little more complicated. I’d say we split the workload about 50/50. As I said, the parts fit was pretty wonky, so there was a lot more glue involved than there should have been. Once we got the whole thing together, we moved on to the decals.

I handled all of the major markings on it, and she did the enhancements (loose flower decals). The decals were supposed to be glow-in-the-dark, although I didn’t see any evidence of that–at all–when tested. I also didn’t pay attention to the directions and I glued down the spare tire to the hood before applying decals. Don’t do that. Wait till the decals are down before you put that spare tire on. Other than that, the decals laid down fairly well. There were a couple insurmountable wrinkles, but nothing awful. And when it was finished, it looked fairly decent.

My daughter was certainly happy with the finished product. The back doors open and shut (and occasionally pop off, only to pop right back in), and–most importantly–this thing should stand up to a moderate amount of being played with. And for a four year old girl, being able to play with a 1/24-ish scale version of “The Mystery Machine” is the most important thing.

Final Review: 7 stars out of a possible 10 – Parts fit was all over the place, glue was required, and decals didn’t seem to glow (contrary to what the box said). On the other hand, the directions were very clear and helpful–even for the non-modeler. The parts breakdown itself seemed very well designed to create a visually impressive finished appearance. It looks like the Mystery Machine. And it made my daughter very happy. I wasn’t disappointed with this purchase, but this wasn’t the shake-n-bake model that it should have been.


One Response to Sunday Afternoon Daddy-Daughter Model Project & Review: “Scooby-Doo Mystery Machine”

  1. super awesome 🙂

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