I confess that I had no love for the Revell squarebody kits. That being said, once I started researching this tooling due to many requests and confusions with the Monogram squarebody kits, I discovered that out of the three manufacturers the Revell version is the most diverse. I have catalogued 22 different issues of this tooling spanning from 1978 through to 2012. The Revell kit also has the distinction of being the only squarebody kit ever issued in ensemble packs with trailers and various accessories. I don’t claim this article to be the be-all-and-end-all of this tooling’s history, and in fact there is one kit for which I only have a box cover image and no other information. During my research, more kits popped up that I never knew existed and I will be pleased to add more information to this article as new information surfaces. So, let us begin!
From what I have been able to determine, this tooling was first issued in 1978, barely recognizable as a GM pickup, in the form of the Sneaky Pete California Pickup. This kit depicts a heavily customized pickup with a big rig Peterbilt style front clip, big rig style wheels, exhaust stacks, bed rails, and a California Stepside bed (aside: California Stepside was a customizing company that offered stepside beds for full-size and quarter-ton pickups. They could be installed on any short-wheelbase pickup from any manufacturer). A separate cab roof insert piece was included that added clearance lights and mounted bosses for air horns. This kit was marketed as a glue kit with a very simplified chassis and molded in brown. Released under two different stock numbers, H-1379 and H-1380, with two box art versions.
This same tooling was also offered as the Midnite Cowboy Custom Chevy Wrecker, offering a clue as to the base pickup this kit was based on. This version replaced the California Stepside bed with a wrecker body and was again marketed as a glue kit. Released as stock number H-1383 and molded in black, this kit was also released in 1978.
Hoping to maximize the potential of this new tooling, Revell finished up the Chevrolet body adding a stock front clip but retaining the same simplified chassis and California Stepside bed. The Ice Patrol California Pickup kit was also released in 1978 and included off-road accessories, exhaust stacks, and a snowmobile. The cab roof opening was re-shaped slightly for a sunroof in place of the clearance lights. Molded in blue, this kit was issued with the stock number H-1384.
In 1978, the US’s favourite down-home country boy was none other than President Jimmy Carter’s little brother Billy. Simply by virtue of being the sitting president’s brother, Billy Carter was afforded celebrity status and managed to bumble his way through many official duties (see his Wikipedia article). Hoping to capitalize on his fame, Revell modified their squarebody kit to reflect a replica Billy’s “Redneck Power” pickup. This version added a wood front push bumper, wood beside rails, and a bed cargo of beer bottles and other “redneck” gear. The original clearance light cab roof insert was used. This was the last version of this tooling released in 1978, molded in white and with the stock number H-1385.
In 1979, a new tooling intended for release as a line of snap kits was created based on the glue kit line Revell had been issuing. This new tooling included 4x4 suspension and was molded as a Blazer and a pickup with the same body dimensions as a Blazer. The first kit issued with this new tooling was the Chevy 4x4 Pickup. Molded in tan and black, this kit included a one-piece pickup body, molded fender flares, Fey rear step bumper, Hickey front bumper with winch and grille guard, and Jackman wheels. The cab roof of this version was completely closed. This kit was issued under the stock number 6200.