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History of MPC's Rounded Line Trucks


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#1 kataranga

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 06:27 PM

Here we have another fun installment in kit history. Let's go back in time to 1977: GM's new Rounded Line pickups have been on the market for almost five years and MPC has gotten wind that Monogram is going to be releasing a kit of this truck. Not to be outdone by the competition, the fine folks at MPC tool up a kit of this body style in their best-selling 1:25 scale. They even went as far as including extra parts to build different versions of the truck.

 

The first offering was released in late 1977 as well as in 1978 in boxes that proclaim first NEW and then 1978, as was their trend at the time with annuals. The depicted truck is a Scottsdale 10 trim, which is the entry level package with little exterior chrome and a bench seat. The bed is a one-piece stepside with opening tailgate. The engine is a standard Chevy small-block, comes with stock valve covers and chromed, finned valve covers, and is mated to a Turbo Hydra-Matic transmission. This version of the kit included two wheel options, side exhaust pipes, high-rise intake manifold with hat, custom grille with quad-square lights, and some wild decals. Curiously, the box art trucks have no mirrors. Molded in white, stock number 1-7814.

 

mpc1-7814.jpg

The box shows a 2WD truck but I seem to remember someone claiming that this is actually a 4WD; can anyone confirm/deny? Edit: Thanks to 1972coronet for confirming that this was indeed the only 2WD offering!

 

 

Next up was a full-on off-road version, complete with bull bar, off-road lights, winch, tow hooks, roll bar, rear-mounted spare with jerry can, and fender flares. Rolling stock included generic spoked wagon wheels with MPC's staple Formula Desert Dog PCV tires. A set of tri-pod, low mount mirrors are included. The grille for this version depicts the 1977-78 style. Molded in red, stock number 1-0416, issued in 1978.

mpc1-0416.jpg

 

Again in 1978 another version of this kit was released with different decals as the Dust Devil. This version included a set of bucket seats and a console but curiously the engraving remained the Scottsdale trim. Box art shows a stock 2WD version as well as the off-roader but there are no other indications that the kit has multiple build options. Mirrors remain the same tri-pod style.This time the grille was modified with a larger chrome surround for the 1979 model year. Molded in black, stock number 1-0419.

dustdevil.jpg

 

A third run of the tooling was made in 1978, this time as a Super Dualie (sic). Still a stepside bed, extra-wide fenders cover the extra set of wheels out back. A hood scoop is also included to cover the high-rise intake manifold that returns from the original issue. Also unique to this issue is the heavy-duty front bumper and grille guard. The only grille available for this build is the same custom tube grille, also from the original issue. Mirrors are the tri-pod style. Molded in black, stock number 1-0424.

mpc1-0424.jpg

 

Sometime in 1979 the tooling was slightly modified to accomodate the new-for-1980 grille, which would end up being a single year offering. This time the kit was branded as the Mule Skinner and was otherwise a straight reissue of the Dust Devil. The tri-pod mirrors carry on. Molded in red, stock number 1-0433.

mpc1-0433.jpg

 

The tooling was adjusted again in 1980, this time for the new 1981 body style. This involved not only a new grille, but altering the fenders and hood and a new front bumper with integral turn signals. The box art depicts the Scottsdale 10 engraving in the 1973-80 location above the beltline, however the actual kit has Custom Deluxe 20 engraving just below the beltline. The fender flares from the previous issues are included, however they no longer fit the front fenders. The only off-road accessories remaining are the roll bar with off-road lights, a CB antenna, and tailgate mounted spare tire carrier with jerry can. Molded in yellow, stock number 1-0440.

mpc1-0440.jpg


Edited by kataranga, 20 March 2013 - 03:04 PM.


#2 kataranga

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 06:29 PM

The tooling was again refreshed in 1981 to depict a 1982 model truck, which was little changed from the 1981. Differences in this kit include a new set of rims closely matching GM's 8-hole aluminium offerings. A new grille guard was included and the hood scoop last seen in the Super Dualie returns. The tailgate mounted spare tire carrier and jerry can were dropped. All other accessories are carryovers from the Sodbuster. Molded in blue, stock number 1-0444.

mpc1-0444.jpg

 

Hoping to capitalize on the popularity of the TV show The Fall Guy, MPC made the most radical changes to the tooling to date in 1982. The Custom Deluxe 20 engraving was stripped from the fenders and a new 1983-84 style GMC grille was tooled. Although the TV truck was actually an eight foot bed, the kit offering was a six foot bed. Other major change include an all-new, one piece, full width bed with opening tailgate. Suspension blocks were added to the kit to reflect the TV truck's lifted suspension with larger wheels. The rims and tires were borrowed from the 1/16 scale Chevy truck. A new grille guard with off-road lights and winch was included, as well as a new, chromed roll-bar with off-road lights. Mirrors are the high-mount flag type. The box-art build shows a Chevy grille however the kit contents are the GMC 81-82 style. Molded in brown, kit 1-0673.

fallguy.jpg

 

Again hoping to capitalize on the popularity of a TV show, this kit was trotted out again with some minor changes to depict Judge Hardcastle's truck from Hardcastle and McCormick. The stepside bed returns, this time with a new GMC tailgate. The bench seat, which was last seen in the 1978 off-road release, is back once again. The window "glass" for this version was molded tinted rather than clear. A completely new chrome sprue was tooled up for this issue, updating the grille to the 83-84 style, spotlights, and new, custom wheels. The grille guard from the Ground Shaker returns, as well as the older-style roll bar. Molded in silver, stock number 1-0450.

hardcastle.jpg

 

Sadly, MPC came on hard times and was eventually purchased by AMT/Ertl. This tooling sat dormant until 2005 when it was trotted out again. This issue was a combination of the Fall Guy and Hardcastle kits, resulting in the incorrect bumper/grille combination and too-big rims. A departure from the two kits combined to make it, this kit came with clear window "glass" rather than tinted. This version was issued in 2005, 2006, and again in 2007. The first two issues were molded in AMT grey while the 2007 issue was molded in white. AMT stock numbers 38363, 31939, and 38583, respectively.

amt38363.jpg

 

amt31939.jpg

 

amt38583.jpg

 

Edited by kataranga, 20 March 2013 - 03:23 PM.


#3 kataranga

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 06:35 PM

In a slightly related tooling, MPC introduced a snap kit Blazer in 1978. The toling appears to share some pieces with the pickup line. Curiously, although released in 1978 the truck depicted is actually a 1975-76 style with the full-length removable roof. The front bumper includes an integral bull bar and off-road lights. Another set of off-road lights are included for the roof. The rims appear to be the same generic spoked wagon wheels as the pickups but the tires are two-piece plastic versions rather than vinyl. Side mirrors are the small, paddle style. Molded in yellow, black, and tan, stock number 1-3304.
mpc1-0334.jpg
 
In 1979 the Blazer was re-issued as a rescue vehicle. All the accessories from the first issue are included and a light bar is added. This version is molded in three colours: white for the body, tan for the interior, and black for the chassis plate and suspension. Stock number 1-3307.
mpc1-3307.JPG
 
After a long absence, this kit was brought out by AMT in 2007 (a good year for these kits). This version is a straight reissue of the Rescue Van, with the exception of being molded entirely in AMT grey. STock number 38597.
amt38597.jpg

Edited by kataranga, 08 March 2013 - 04:52 AM.


#4 1972coronet

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Posted 03 March 2013 - 08:27 PM

Nice review , Chris :) .

 

The only *correction* I can contribute pertains tot he first issue , the 1978 Annual : it was moulded in white , not maroon as you've mentioned .

It is , indeed , two-wheel-drive .

 

I built many of the original kit ; none have survived the ravages of time :( . It's the only version of that series that I ever wish to build again , but with the wheels / tyres from the AMT Chevy Van kit (steel wheels / hubcaps).

 

The third iteration of the '78 Pickup ---the so-called "Dust Devil"--- was a huge disappointment for me upon its release , as the false advertising of a "stock" version ---in two-wheel-drive guise-- was only revealled to me upon opening the box  :angry: .

GemCo took it back from my 9 year old hands and offered me a replacement :) .

But , it didn't end there !

I wrote a letter to MPC explaining my dismay ; my disappointment over their false advertising of a "stock" version.

MPC replied in kind , and they too offered a replacment kit . I refused their offer , as GemCo already made good with a replacement .

 

But , I divulge ...

 

Round2 : Pretty Please retool that Fall Guy GMC to its 1978 origins , but with 2 wheel drive suspension in addition to the coveted (by most , not me) 4 wheel drive parts ; and , include both bedstyles :D .



#5 kataranga

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 01:22 AM

Thanks, John, I'll correct the first post.

 

What I don't understand is why AMT chose to re-issue the Fall Guy version straight up rather than using the corrected chrome sprue from the H&C kit.



#6 kalbert

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 04:48 AM

Does the Fall Guy kit have the goofy panel lines on the bed sides too? What the heck is that supposed to be (besides a place to smear putty)?



#7 Casey

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 05:20 AM

Does the Fall Guy kit have the goofy panel lines on the bed sides too? What the heck is that supposed to be (besides a place to smear putty)?

 

http://www.modelcars...ic=42061&page=0

 

 

 

 The rims and tires were borrowed from the 1/16 scale Chevy truck.

 

I was wondering if the "Action Snaps" 1/16 kits would get a mention. 



#8 AzTom

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 05:50 AM

Very nice review.

 

 

Sadly, MPC came on hard times and was eventually purchased by AMT.

 

Actually Amt did not buy MPC, Ertl who already owned AMT bought MPC around 1985.



#9 kataranga

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 07:02 AM

Does the Fall Guy kit have the goofy panel lines on the bed sides too? What the heck is that supposed to be (besides a place to smear putty)?


The panel lines are supposed to depict the "secret" compartment of the Fall Guy truck. Which, now that you mention it, is yet another glaring oversight with that kit: there are fuel doors on both sides of the bed but only one fuel tank (on the passenger side).

 

 I was wondering if the "Action Snaps" 1/16 kits would get a mention. 


I figured the larger scale stuff was more your area of expertise. ;)

 

 

Actually Amt did not buy MPC, Ertl who already owned AMT bought MPC around 1985.


Now, see, I never knew if it was AMT that bought Ertl or vice versa. I guess I always assumed it was AMT that bought Ertl as their logo is more prominent but that may be more a function of how the logos looked. I'll update the post.



#10 kataranga

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 02:24 PM

I didn't think there was a difference between the Fall Guy and Hardcastle grilles? The box art shows a Chevy grille for the Fall Guy but I've seen pictures of the box contents and its the same GMC grille as the Hardcastle kit.



#11 mini trucker

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Posted 04 March 2013 - 04:43 PM

I'm always excited when I see a new one of your history threads posted, excellent read as always



#12 Casey

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 05:49 AM

After a long absence, this kit was brought out by AMT in 2007 (a good year for these kits). This version is a straight reissue of the Rescue Van, with the exception of being molded entirely in AMT grey. STock number 38597.

 

Ron Hamilton posted a review of the '75 Blazer snap together kit which can be viewed here: http://www.modelcars...26&st=0&p=24054



#13 kataranga

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 08:21 AM

Yup, I read Ron's review before I compiled this article; it was a great help. :)



#14 1972coronet

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 04:33 PM

Am I alone in wanting to see Round2 reissue the 1/16 scale 1973-1978 ( I'm not familiar with the year-to-year cosmetic changes of those years) Chevy Pickup ? They were snap-together ; they were geared toward the "build-and-play" crowd .

There were , I think , three different versions :

- Fleetside with a snow plow (moulded in black / chrome / yellow);

- Tow Truck (moulded in blue / chrome / yellow), and ;

- Fire Truck (moulded in red / yellow / chrome).

They were issued in the early 80's .

 

Other than the "chunk" engine ,  plastic-rod axles and moulded-open-in-the-back tyres , they were quite well done ( detailled grille , dash / instruments , and fender emblems ) .



#15 kataranga

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 04:39 PM

It was brought to my attention at my club's meeting tonight that the Blazer is being re-issued again this June. It looks to be a straight-reissue of the Rescue Van, complete with decals and three-colour moldings. Looking forward to this!

 

mpc797.jpg

 

Maybe if we ask really nice they'll reissue the pickups?



#16 Longbox55

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Posted 05 March 2013 - 06:19 PM

 

 

Maybe if we ask really nice they'll reissue the pickups?

I hope so, as these were some of the best Chevrolet and GMC truck kits ever tooled up.



#17 kataranga

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 04:46 AM

One thing I have noticed is that the axles are very weak. I received three of these kits (Dust Devil, Mule Skinner, and another) in a large lot of built-ups and every single one of them had broken axles. I'm restoring the Mule Skinner with a GMC cab and I rebuilt the axles using Evergreen tube. When my newly acquired Sodbuster arrives I'm going to see what I can do to reinforce them (possibly with some metal rod/wire).



#18 ZIL 111V

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 12:50 PM

Remember a  "ghost" kit that  was promoted in the NEW section of the 1978 annual MPC catalog in BIG 1/16th scale (not the snap ones):

Of the 4WD  Chevy Stepside would have been marketed as the "APACHE"  full detailed glue kit... never showed up....

 

Revell had the start on the same one!



#19 Casey

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Posted 07 March 2013 - 08:09 PM

Remember a  "ghost" kit that  was promoted in the NEW section of the 1978 annual MPC catalog in BIG 1/16th scale (not the snap ones):

Of the 4WD  Chevy Stepside would have been marketed as the "APACHE"  full detailed glue kit... never showed up....

 

Revell had the start on the same one!

 

Whaaaaa??!?? I would love to see a scan of those catalog pages!



#20 kataranga

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 04:48 AM

Thanks to Fotki user Daviddale for scanning this in...

 

1978MPCCatalog005-vi.jpg

 

There's a kit number and everything. I wonder what happened to it?