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History of AMT & MPC's Action Line Pickup Kits


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#1 kataranga

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 06:41 AM

Gather 'round, kids, for another tale from your local kit historian. Well, I try to be one, anyway. I must confess, I don't have as much experience with these kits as I do with my previous kit history installments so I know for sure I'm missing some details or have some information wrong. For that, I hope that the vast knowledge base we have here can help fill in the blanks.

 

To date, there have been four separate, but related, toolings of this style of truck (for those of you who didn't know already, Action Line is 67-72). It seems AMT and MPC shared the tooling for the Chevrolet pickups, using the chassis plate from AMT's Ford and Chevrolet annuals from 61-63. AMT also tooled a GMC pickup as well as a completely new Blazer/Jimmy set when those trucks came on the market for 1969. Near as I can figure, AMT and MPC were competitors at the time, but auto manufacturers tended to alternate suppliers for promos every year. Perhaps AMT and MPC struck a deal to share the tooling or, after AMT developed the tooling for the 1967 pickup GM demanded it as they paid for it and loaned it to whomever was supplying the promos that year (total conjecture; someone please clear this up!).

 

First kit on the market was the AMT 1967 Chevrolet pickup annual. As with previous annuals, the truck was a long box, with the option to build a stock truck, custom truck, and a tow truck.

amt1967.png

 

For 1968, MPC released the same tooling however the same modifications to the full size trucks were made to the model. This was released under the product code MPC868.

mpc1968.png

 

By 1969, it seems as though both AMT and MPC were releasing kits. The basic truck body was updated to the new-for-69 grille. The MPC version was changed to a fire truck and the AMT version was a stock pickup with the camper shell previously seen on the 61-63 annuals.

mpc1969.png

amt1969.png

 

Once again, in 1970 both AMT and MPC released versions of the tooling. AMT started with a desert theme that it would continue to use for the next few years while MPC had racing theme.

amt1970.png

mpc1970.png



#2 kataranga

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 06:54 AM

This version of the tooling was also used to release the MPC Open Road Camper, a popular recreational vehicle at the time.

mpc403.png

 

The tooling was modified for the final time to reflect the changes to the full-size trucks for 1971. So far I have been unable to find annuals for 1971 and 1972, but MPC did release the Racer's Wedge for 1971. The kit included two chassis pans: one for the regular truck and one for the racer's wedge that was lengthened and included a rear tag axle.

mpc1971.png

 

It seems that at this juncture the tooling remained with MPC, who made good use of it and released several pickups over the years until their eventual purchase by AMT/Ertl.

 

In 1974, the tooling was modified to produce an 8' stepside bed. This is an odd configuration and even the fenders weren't proportioned correctly: the fender is too short from the wheel well forward. The first offering included a Yamaha dirt bike.

mpc411.png

 

Released again in 1979 as Rolling Thunder, this version was modified to follow the big rig craze of the time and included a sleeper, stacks, and lots of chrome goodies. 

mpc426.png

 

Finally in 1982 the tooling was sold again, this time called Heavy Pedal. None of the Rolling Thunder extras made it to this release.

mpc448.png

 

At some point between 1971-1980s MPC dug out the old tow truck pieces and reissued the tooling as part of the Dukes of Hazzard line of themed kits.

mpc_cooter.png



#3 kataranga

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 07:03 AM

After their acquisition of MPC, AMT/Ertl dusted off the tooling again and re-issued the kit in 1995 using the 8' fleetside bed that MPC seemed to have either lost or forgotten about.
amt6691.png
 
Issued again in 1998 with a picture of an actual truck on the box:
amt6691.JPG 
 
A straight reissue of this same kit was offered again in 2004.
amt38163.png
 
Finally, the tooling was re-issued again with the addition of modern large diameter rims.
amt38259.png
 
Seemingly independant of MPC, AMT developed the GMC tooling and released this kit a few times. I have been unable to find dates for these, but the grille suggests a 71-72 pickup. Following in the desert theme, a race version with an open cab was released for 1971. Instructions showed where to cut the roof off to build the box art vehicle. This kit was also issued for 1972 with the addition of '72 on the box.
amtt364-1.png
amtt364-2.png
 
A separate version of the tooling was issued with a normal cab box art truck, again in the desert.
amt_sierragrande.png


Edited by kataranga, 04 December 2013 - 08:56 AM.


#4 kataranga

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 07:11 AM

Sometime in the 70s AMT issued the GMC pickup as a 6' step side version. This required a shorter chassis pan and the fenders are better proportioned compared to the later MPC issue.

amtt409.png

 

After many requests from model fans everywhere, AMT re-issued this kit again in 1990.

amt6081.png

 

Completely separate from the pickup line, AMT independently tooled up an all-new Blazer/Jimmy combo that sported a separate frame and suspension. It seems as though two separate bodies were tooled for the GMC Jimmy and the Chevrolet Blazer as both versions seem to have been issued at the same time.

 

The first Blazer depicts a 69-70 style truck and is again released by AMT in a desert theme. This is kit T336.

amtt336.png

 

Two Jimmy versions were also released: the Jimbo 4x4 drag racer and the Bushwacker off-roaded with trail bike. These are kits T213 and T248 respectively. The box art grille for these trucks suggests a 69-70 version.

amtt213.png

 

I found a picture of the Bushwacker with the bottom of the box proclaiming 25th anniversary special kits. If this is the 25th anniversary of AMT, this would put this issue in 1973.

amtt248.png


Edited by kataranga, 25 January 2013 - 07:21 AM.


#5 kataranga

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 07:20 AM

AMT modified the tooling to the new-for-71 grill and bumper changes and stuck with this depiction throughout future releases. The first version released was the Boondocker Blazer as kit T200.

amtt200.png

 

Next up was the Crew Chief Blazer, an issue that is dear to my field engineer heart. :) This is kit T340.

amtt340.png

 

After Ertl bought AMT in 1983, they joined the monster truck cage and reissued the Blazer as Thunderbolt One, kit 6609.

amt6609.png

 

The later release Chevy Bandit appears to be a straight reissue of Thunderbolt One with stock suspension. Kit 6614.

amt6614.png

 

Kit 6931 saw a depiction of Thunderbolt II, back to monster trucks.

amt6931.png

 

Finally, in 2006 Model King was able to convince AMT to reissue the Blazer in stock form not seen since before the Ertl takeover.

amt21638p.png



#6 kataranga

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 07:23 AM

I'm not sure if this kit shares the same tooling, but I thought I would include it for completeness sake. In 1998 AMT released a metal body kit of a 1969 Blazer. This kit also has different wheels and tires than the usual Blazer kits which suggests a separate tooling.

amt_metal.png



#7 Longbox55

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 09:03 AM

The '69 diecast Blazer does not share any parts with the plastic kit.

On the '95-current issue of the '72 long Fleetside, from what I understand, it is a mix of the bed from the MPC kit, and a retooling of the AMT longbed GMC Sierra Grande. That has the unfortunate effect of making the GMC no longer able to be produced.



#8 Edsel-Dan

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 09:10 AM

The Die Cast is is completely different than the plastic kits.

The GMC Jimmy & Chevy Blazer kits share ALL parts save the grill & Headlights.

I have 2 of the M-K issues, and a Crew Chief, one of the Bushwacker, along with

parts of the Thunderbolt 1 and others.

Look at the chrome tree. The GMC Jimmy badges are Still there, as the 4 GMC

headlights are still on the clear tree!!

 

My first of this Pickup was the MPC Annual. Cheyenne. It also had the Tow Truck option.

 

The Racer's Wedge 71 din Not include 2 chassis plates, only 1 with a separate axle to

be glue over the spare tire, and the chassis narrowed in that area.

I have one of those too.

In fact, I have almost one of all of these kits!!

 

AMT started using the Pin in a lowering block on their 69 Annual, while MPC used the

Wire rod axle through ALL issues.

 

I thought the Blue Rolling Thunder was the last issue of the Longbox stepside. I have

both the 74 issue & Heavy Pedal versions.

 

AMT's versions had Dual exhaust on the chassis, while MPC's had Single with a correct 

cross-over manifold.

AMT's had a flatter single snorkle aircleaner beginning at least in the 69,

whil MPC retained the more domed one without snorkle

 

Though Heavy Pedal shows the same Tube grill as Rolling Thunder, it has a more

stock grill though deep set in the frame, not flush. The Stock front bumper shown in the

box art is not there, the heavy-duty one in Rolling Thunder is.

 

Just checked DPMCC instructions. They do not have all of the MPC kits posted

72 only has the front page of the instructions, no box.

the 71 only has one page of instructions showing the standard pickup bed,

The decals, and 2 shots of the box

 

I was wondering about those recent re-issue 72's. The Chevy grill is not accurate.

Why are they so hard to find though? I see 5 different boxes since the 95 Yellow/White box art issue.


Edited by Edsel-Dan, 25 January 2013 - 09:20 AM.


#9 kataranga

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 09:32 AM

Aha, some of the mysteries start to be explained. I have one of the Sierra Grandes, a GMC Jimmy, GMC step side, and Chevy long bed step side. The Chevy and GMC cabs are almost identical with some minor differences in how the bed meets the cab. The Sierra Grande came with the grille from the 69 Blazer for some odd reason (it was in a parts lot along with the Jimmy). With the two GMC pickups I can build the Sierra Grande but the Jimmy's body is really warped. Given how hard they are to find I'm going to try straightening it...



#10 Edsel-Dan

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 02:12 PM

I would guess that since the real ones were so much alike, the kits should be too.

Though, they Blazer/Jimmy parts do not mate up with the pickup kits.

 

I need to take a few pictures, the Crew Chief Blazer box & GMC Jimmy Bushwacker box share

an Identical side panel!!

 

I have 2 of the Sierra Grande Longbox Fleetsides, and still can not build One!!

Script is almost sanded off on the same side of Both sets of box sides/fenders

and not much better on at least one of the other side, if not both also.

 

I have the AMT 70 Chevy Pickup box. Got a Near mint grill and some other parts in it

I did get Most of a "Californian" Custom Toronado!!

 

I have 2 67's 1 is a resin conversion, the other Original

I have a complete 69, and at least 3 partials

I am not sure if I have a 68.

I have one of the Racer's Wedge 71's. It was started/painted, and 2 or 3 of the stock hubcaps

are damaged

 

I have 2 M-K Blazers and 2 of the Super Parts Pack Wedge/Open Road!

Ithink I have 3-4 Built of the 72 Longbox Stepside, besides the one unbuilt, and 2 Heavy Pedal.

 

I need to inventory all those!!

Got a BIG parts lot off a Wacko 'bay seller. He could not believe no one bid against me!!

There were Cooter's parts in there. Even have a Cooter's to restore!!

 

Oh, One thing I forgot to add before, The Cap/topper in the AMT 69 was first offered in the

68 Hunter's Special re-issue of the 63 F-100!!!!

 

I Have one of those caps!!!



#11 Longbox55

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 02:40 PM

Here's something that most folks may not know, the decal set in the Boondocker, as well as the MK reissue, was in fact an actual option on the '71-'72 Blazer. Chevrolet called the design "Feathers".1972%20Chevrolet%20Truck%20Ad-01a.jpg1972%20Chevrolet%20Truck%20Ad-01b.jpg



#12 Casey

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 03:50 PM

Awesome kit history, Chris.  :)

 

'72 Chicago Auto Show:

 

1972_5.jpg



#13 kataranga

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Posted 25 January 2013 - 04:36 PM

Now THAT's a decal package I would love to use.  B)



#14 Edsel-Dan

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Posted 26 January 2013 - 07:09 AM

Use to be a White over yellow Suburban with those graphics here in town!!!

Might have to try to bash one!

Have to remember to remove the door lines for a rear left door though.

Not a standard on Suburbans till the 73 re-design,

 

I would rather do the 70 High-Top Ambulance from Emergency though!!!!



#15 kataranga

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 04:11 AM

What always gets me is seeing an ad for a 67-72 Suburban, "rare three door model". They're not rare, all of them were three doors!  :rolleyes:



#16 Don Sikora II

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 06:04 PM

AMT modified the tooling to the new-for-71 grill and bumper changes and stuck with this depiction throughout future releases. The first version released was the Boondocker Blazer as kit T200.

amtt200.png

 

Next up was the Crew Chief Blazer, an issue that is dear to my field engineer heart. :) This is kit T340.

amtt340.png

 

After Ertl bought AMT in 1983, they joined the monster truck cage and reissued the Blazer as Thunderbolt One, kit 6609.

amt6609.png

 

The later release Chevy Bandit appears to be a straight reissue of Thunderbolt One with stock suspension. Kit 6614.

amt6614.png

 

Kit 6931 saw a depiction of Thunderbolt II, back to monster trucks.

amt6931.png

 

Finally, in 2006 Model King was able to convince AMT to reissue the Blazer in stock form not seen since before the Ertl takeover.

amt21638p.png

 

The Bandit kit came out before the Thunderbolt One. Also, there is a second box for the AMT '69 Fleetside and MPC also issued a 1972 annual. The Racer's Wedge is MPC's '71 annual.



#17 kataranga

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 06:20 AM

I couldn't find any pictures of a 72 annual, thus I wasn't sure about its release. I figured that the Bandit may have come first simply due to the box art, but I've also noticed that monster truck kits tend to be a modification of previous release rather than the other way around.



#18 Edsel-Dan

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 03:02 PM

here is the MPC 72 Annual box.

 

MPC_7208.jpg

 

One of these was my First version of this era Chevy/GMC Pickup kits!!!

Still have most of it.


Edited by Edsel-Dan, 29 January 2013 - 03:08 PM.


#19 kataranga

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 04:44 PM

Thanks, Dan! I'll update the original post.  B)



#20 Casey

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Posted 10 February 2013 - 05:55 PM

This one just ended on eBay, and provides a good look at what's inside the '67 annual's box:

 

0e437b64-f0c9-4ab0-ba03-1226fd3795bc.jpg

 

635dae82-9a4e-4e61-9f4a-22d3c577e429.jpg

 

afd01b20-9b94-43f5-a9a9-b808548039cf.jpg

 

0df51135-f5aa-45e0-a078-2fca3fdd2d49.jpg

 

07d6a0b4-d2c9-4a72-91f1-c93c6e8c2c1a.jpg