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Old MPC Knight Rider kit

Knight Rider KITT MPC Round 2

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#1 Faust

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 04:50 AM

Okay, I was in my local hobby shop yesterday. (A day off AND a hobby shop run! On a Friday! WOOT!)
 
The owner has a good selection of car kits, and constantly brings in his older stuff so that people can buy them, if the want to. Normally, there's not a lot exciting. However, this week, I bagged the MPC (Fundimensions issue) Mustang SVO (1984) and the MPC/Ertl Knight Rider KITT model. Both were still sealed. 
 
Neither are now. I couldn't resist. I've wanted both for a while, and while I know they're not worth as much open, I don't care, because models need to be free! Anyway, looking at KITT, I was pretty confused. 
 
The kit is a 1986 issue, and has a "vented" nose, kind of like the breathers on a 1980 TA, vs. the flat plate grilles on a normal 3rd Gen  T/A. Normally, KITT is seen with lights in that spot, even before Season 4 when he got tons of lights. I've seen some pics of KITTs with the vents "open" (I think) to reveal a few lights. What the what is correct? I see that there's a large-scale Mattel version of KITT that has the exact same grilles as this 1/25 kit, so now I'm confused even more. Does anyone know what is up with this nose?
 
Okay, then it gets REALLY weird.
 
I noticed that the kit of KITT has "Turbo" written on the fender, has no side extractors (while KITT seems to in real life) and it has a small badge on the sail panel (B-pillar). Even odder, there is an Indianapolis "winged wheel" emblem low on the fender. Now, I know that there was a pace car of the 1989 GTA Turbo versions. I found some pictures on the net of the badging, and it's dead on. The "Turbo" writing is the same, the winged wheel is the same and in the same place. The KITT kit comes with a GTA-type hood, with the vents, as well as the real KITT hood. The model also comes with a wraparound GTA-type spoiler. 
 
However, there is NO cladding on the lower body, like GTAs had (and in fact, where the winged wheel is). The "Turbo", a GTA like badge on the sail and the winged wheel are moulded in. 
 
WTF?
 
Can anyone shed any light on this? How is it possible that an '86 kit would have the body of an 89 GTA Turbo in it? The model is definitely original; that's how it was when I popped open the celophane. Also, the model has the right "scanner" on the front to peek through, so I'm pretty sure that's the right body shell.
 
Is this thing a time traveller, or am I missing something obvious. 
 
Thanks, guys!


#2 Faust

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 07:16 AM

Whoa, weird...

 

So then, that means that this kit is a version that uses the MPC annual body, but was issued later in the company's life, after they had the body tuned up for the GTA? 

 

This whole thing is really weird. 

 

So this must be a later kit,  since it's MPC/Ertl, right?

It's an MPC body, though, because it has the scanner. 

However, it's an 89 TGTA car, since it has the Turbo, flying wheel  and GTA Style sail bird. 

BUT, MPC didn't do an '89 TGTA did they? I thought MPC dies in 88. 

 

So, did they tune up the moulds to do the turbo car ahead of time, but died, and Ertl kept issuing the kit as it was, with the changed body? 

 

Man, I'm tempted just to leave the emblems and stuff on when I build it, just so people can see how freaking odd this thing is.

 

Does anyone have any pictures of another kit like this?

 

Thanks, Steve!



#3 niteowl7710

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 07:49 AM

Attached is the kit layout for the 1987 Firebird Annual, and you can see it also has two hoods.

 

1986 was the end of the Knight Rider (at least in terms of new episodes, it ran in syndication for what seems like forever afterwards).  I don't know that the kit of KITT (HA!) was reissued in 1986 or not, but the actual 1:1 was a 1982 which is part of the problem.

 

This is how things roll here in the States, cash in on the popularity of a TV show or Movie by tossing a few pieces into an already existing kit, no one will ever notice. 

 

It'll be interesting to see exactly what this looks like when Round 2 reissues it next year since afterwards the tooling would have gotten used up into 1989 to make the GTA Annual and it's sister kit the Turbo Firebird Indy Car -- which if memory serves me didn't actually include any Turbo or anything else, just a different set of decals.

 

 

Attached Files



#4 Faust

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 08:35 AM

Niteowl:
 

That is indeed the parts layout and breakdown of the MPC/ERTL Knight Rider I have! 

I haven't opened the bag yet (thanks to so many parts being loose - good job MPC!), but I didnt' see the normal front or rear in my bag, but I did see the spoiler. I know I have the KITT parts, though, because the front seats are different, and I can see the dash and overhead console. 

 

I am confused, though. What "annual" kit and Turbo Firebird Indy car did MPC make? Would that be the AMT/Ertl one? Is that kit just a knockoff of the MPC mould? 

 

Even so, why is the winged wheel on the lower body, but not on the lower body cladding, like on the real car?  There isnt' any cladding on KITT, nor in my kit. However, that annual above seems to have it (bottom right, unless I miss my mark, is the cladding to glue on, just like on the Monogram GTA). 

 

Still seems very odd when you take that into consideration. Was MPC planning on doing a turbo? Did they not know about the cladding? 

 

This thing is a real Frankenstein!



#5 niteowl7710

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 08:55 AM

Niteowl:
 

That is indeed the parts layout and breakdown of the MPC/ERTL Knight Rider I have! 

I haven't opened the bag yet (thanks to so many parts being loose - good job MPC!), but I didnt' see the normal front or rear in my bag, but I did see the spoiler. I know I have the KITT parts, though, because the front seats are different, and I can see the dash and overhead console. 

 

I am confused, though. What "annual" kit and Turbo Firebird Indy car did MPC make? Would that be the AMT/Ertl one? Is that kit just a knockoff of the MPC mould? 

 

Even so, why is the winged wheel on the lower body, but not on the lower body cladding, like on the real car?  There isnt' any cladding on KITT, nor in my kit. However, that annual above seems to have it (bottom right, unless I miss my mark, is the cladding to glue on, just like on the Monogram GTA). 

 

Still seems very odd when you take that into consideration. Was MPC planning on doing a turbo? Did they not know about the cladding? 

 

This thing is a real Frankenstein!

MPC didn't do an annual of the Turbo Firebird Pace Car per se, but when MPC was purchased by Ertl (owners of AMT) they got all of the tooling.  So things like the Beretta, Silverado, Corvette, Camaro & Firebird annuals were just rolled right out the next year (in 1989-1990 form) by AMT.  MPCs last Firebird annual was in 1988, but AMT/Ertl ran it back out in 1989 as the GTA and the 20th Anniversary Turbo Firebird Pace Car.  The tooling then kept trotting along through the new noise and rear end in 1991 & 1992 before the tooling was parked when the car was completely redesigned in the 4th Generation in 1993.  Incidentally all of the lower body cladding are separate pieces - it's the bottom runner that's peeking up beside the tires.

 

Now if you in 2014 reissue the KITT kit, the tooling is parked somewhere between 1989 and 1992 -- I presume the pre-1991 nose, interior and rear pieces still exist on a runner tool somewhere, as do the KITT specific parts.  But it will be interesting to see if they clean up the duplications, or if they'll just pour plastic into the molds and you'll get two hoods, and all the GTA/Street Machine cladding as well.

 

Actually a LOT of the MPC tooling that was halfway decent was immediately reissued as AMT kits shortly after the "merger".  The '69 Olds 442 & W-30 kits are one of the last MPC tools cut and released in 1988, but they were pretty quickly given new AMT boxes in the early 1990's.  Then of course the 442 was just reissued here recently in the Round 2 Retro AMT Box Art.

 

Ya know MPC did tool a 1982 Camaro as the Pace Car for that year.  The bodies on the Camaro & Firebird are close enough that back in the free-wheeling barely making days of the early 80's it's not beyond the realm of possibilities that the Camaro & Firebird were birthed from the same body tool pattern and no one noticed/cared that they left the Indy logo on the Firebird.



#6 pack rat

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 09:55 AM

So YOU are the culprit!

I had my eye on that SVO.

#7 Edsel-Dan

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 10:00 AM

OK.

I have Both Original 82 KITT and the AMT Re-issue.

I Bet you have the Re-issue.

Is your kit Molded in Lt gray, or Black??

Originals are black, and do not include any of the GTA pieces.

Is there a Body Rub strip along the crease??

Again, Re-issue

 

I too am curious about the announced Retro re-issue coming

Will the body be massaged back to Original KITT spec's or will we just get the Last iteration 

of that gen Firebird body with the KITT nose piece, dash, Consol, etc.

The re-issue does not have the correct tail light lens piece either.

Again due to constant re-tooling for the  Annuals from this kit.

 

I can not just run and grab my AMT box KITT, but will try to dig it out latter tonight when I get into my room.

Unless someone posts the pic's of it before.

 

The announced re-issue shows the Original box art.

Showing the real KITT from a Film Frame

The AMT re-issue showed a built Model Only

Will it be that way, or different?

The AMT Ecto-1A has Different box art for the original issue.

Again now showing a built model while the original showed the Actual car coming out of the Firehouse

in a Film Frame. (I guess most call those Screen Grabs Now)

 

 

Here are Both Box art from that evil Auvtion site.

Notice the Differnce!!!

AMT/Ertl Box:

 

 
MPC Box art ORIGINAL KIT
 
 

Which Box do you have??

If you see AMT ANYWHERE on the parts, Instructions, Box, you have the Re-issue

from 2000!!!!!!!!!

 

Which is what I am Certain you have!!!!!!



#8 Faust

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 11:19 AM

Man this is interesting! 

I figured it was something like what niteowl was saying, where they just kept using whatever mould was available.

 

My box has MPC/Ertl on it, and  is Bilingual, since we're in Canada and have two official languages (English and French). 

 

It is like the original issue, with pics of the TV version on the box. It has red taillight lenses and is moulded in black. 

 

I still don't know why the winged wheel is on the lower body, not on the cladding.

 

I'll try to get some pictures one of these days. I've got to do an out of box review for it for the Lagoon anyway!

 

Thanks for all your help, guys! 



#9 Edsel-Dan

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Posted 02 November 2013 - 05:35 PM

You do have a Re-issue, as the Original did not have ertl as part of the logo.

It was issued just after ertl bought AMT from Lesney, but Before they bought MPC.

 

Maybe a Canada only issue??

Was the box sealed?

May not help, as those shrink-wrap machines are everywhere now.

And you can buy the sheet plastic as Window sealing film!!!!

 

Are the Windows Clear or Dark tint??

That will really tell.

Originals had Dark Tint.

 

To have the 'Winged Wheel" logo on the body, it Had to be issued

After the Indy Pace Car GTA. I have that version of this Firebird too


Edited by Edsel-Dan, 02 November 2013 - 05:37 PM.


#10 Faust

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 02:13 AM

Hey Edsel-Dan!

 

I am very certain that mine is not a reissue. It has the TV pictures on the box, the box is Copyright 1986 and the logo says MPC/ERTL. It must be a really weird transition piece.

 

The kit was still sealed when I got it, although you're right in that those machines are everywhere. I got it from the owner of my LHS, who sells his old kits in the store too. However, no matter how nice the boxes are, he never re-shrinks them if they're opened, so I do have confidence that it is exactly has the factory intended.

 

I wonder if there was a warehouse of unused bilingual boxes somewhere in Canada and when Ertl got MPC they decided they may as well use them.

 

The windows and T-tops are dark tint, for sure. Almost black, actually; I wish they weren't! The interior looks nice, so I'll likely leave the T-tops off!

 

You're right about the winged wheel, of course, but can you tell me on your pace car, is the wheel both moulded into the cladding as well as the body side? I mean, why mould it where it's going to get covered up anyway? 

 

I wonder, should I leave the badges on there when I build this thing (won't be for a while, that's for sure) just so people can see what a weird hermaphrodite this thing is? I mean, I know it would be incorrect as a KITT, but it would definitely be interesting. I want to leave the turbo writing since I'm going to use the twin turbo 8 in there anyway. Maybe it's a KITTT - Knight Industries Two Thousand Turbo! 

 

See, it all works out in the end! 



#11 Chuck Most

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 03:51 AM

I'm kind of hoping they'll fix that nose, with the oddly shaped openings and the "Knight 2000" engraved in the middle. It looks almost nothing like any of the noses used on the TV car- and there were quite a few used. Watch the first episode (a two-parter) closely- you'll see that sometimes the nose changes from scene to scene, and a towbar will sprout from nowhere and be gone in the next shot! (Continuity errors, anyone?) And we aren't even going to get into the differences between seasons. And you thought that famous flying orange Mopar was a can of worms...



#12 Dominik

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 05:04 AM

My brother has "a ton" of mpc Knight Rider kits. Long time ago, we disscused the correctness of the kit in our german forum. There are a lot of moviecar freaks, watching every detail on the cars.

 

He told me - because i would like to build my own KITT - there are a lot of different kits bashed by mpc. Fenderskirts, engraved signs (firebirdemblem, knight2000, etc.), noses or other details are often in kit "what they should had in production" :o  similar to the DoH General...a lot of mistakes molded. No word about the engine, they used...

 

He gave me an old (1-issue)-mpc-kit and completed the body with correct parts. you can say, he kitbashed it out of different kits. If you want to build a correct KITT, so you must choose (like Chuck wrote) your personal season and episode :blink: . for me, i will only build the scene on the intro, while KITT is jumping over the sea ;)

 

Good luck buddie! Every (good) built KITT is a eyecatcher :)



#13 Chuck Most

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 05:24 AM

One version I know I want to do...

00012-vi.jpg

This was the episode where the Knight 2000 (the car) was modified so it would fit in when the foundation went in to infiltrate a traveling custom car show, when it is discovered that wherever this show goes, somebody's classic car ends up getting stolen. The always-stuffy KITT (the car's computer and the part that talks) is of course awfully snobby about being modified, but finally decided to shut up and take one for the team.



#14 niteowl7710

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 08:46 AM

The Firebird and Camaro definitely do not use the same body, every panel on the cars are different except the roof, same as the 1/1 cars.
 
My '92 annual has the scanner , same as all the rest.
 
All the MPC/Ertl/MPC Firebirds have 2 hoods in them. The flat hood which had the vents added in '85 and the "turbo" style hood that was standard on T/As until then. The turbo hood is still in the '92 annual but now it's considered the "custom" hood.
 
I don't have an unbuilt kit to check but I'm pretty sure all the KITT specific parts were on one tree and were swapped out with the corresponding annual kit tree with the nose and some other parts on it,, the stock nose, back bumper, seats and some other parts are on the same tree in the '92 so that seems plausible.

 
Well considering these kits were made in that free wheeling time where Revell made a Capri and Mustang out of the same kit, and a late 2nd Gen Camaro & Firebird out of the same kit with just the nose and tail being different between the each set of "twins", it's wasn't beyond the realm of possibility.  For as much as we sometimes lament a lack of accuracy these days, the 80's were another ball of wax entirely.

Edited by niteowl7710, 03 November 2013 - 10:09 AM.


#15 Chuck Most

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 09:01 AM

 

Well considering these kits were made in that free wheeling time where Revell made a Capri and Mustang out of the same kit, and a late 2nd Gen Camaro & Firebird out of the same kit with just the noise and tail being different between the each set of "twins", it's wasn't beyond the realm of possibility.  For as much as we sometimes lament a lack of accuracy these days, the 80's were another ball of wax entirely.

Indeed. Wasn't this the same period of time which spawned the infamous Revell AG "Marmobilt"? Compared to that, MPC's F-Body Pontiac foul-ups were barely noteworthy. :rolleyes:



#16 Faust

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 11:58 AM

Chuck Most:

 

I guess that means that this thing is going to  be either a lot of work to get right, or else I'll just go with what they gave me! I always enjoyed Knight Rider, though, and have long felt the longer, pointier nose really helped those cars. Maybe that helped to inspire the Banshee and the 4th-Gen F-bodies?

 

I don't know what's with the Knight 2000 on the nose. I think I'd likely sand that off, but leave the other fender badges, just to be cantankerous. At least it would be a conversation starter, and the "turbo" emblem would go with the turbo engine. 

 

You want to talk about MPC and various "shares", consider the lame turbocharger that's the same in the EXP, Omni and Cavaliers! WTF? I am going to enjoy the KITT regardless, though. Well, that is unless someone wants to buy it because it's a freaky variant. Then I'll just buy the reissue and build it! 

 

Now I'm really eager to see the reissue. I hope the backdate it properly, so at least it matches the box! 



#17 Chuck Most

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 12:04 PM

You want to talk about MPC and various "shares", consider the lame turbocharger that's the same in the EXP, Omni and Cavaliers!

It wasn't just confined to those kits- pretty much all of MPC's turbochargers sucked, detail-wise. :lol:

But yeah, I've got a couple of these kits myself (as you might have guessed) I plan on building a couple of ways. Of course I want to build the second version of KARR (silver rocker panel paint, amber scanner), and I was always going to cut one up to do a "Super Pursuit" version, until I found out Aoshima did that version in kit form.



#18 Edsel-Dan

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 12:37 PM

My Original built is Still an In-progress restoration from a Melt warped roof. It Will EVENTUALLY

be the Open-Roadster/Convertible version!!

Just getting that Toneau cover for over the rear seat made !!! (HELP!!!!)

 

On the nose, All I did was cut out the grills and add "Lights in there. 3 per side.

I made them from the sports mirrors in MPC kits at the time!!

(All I did was paint the 'Light[Mirror] face silver)

 

I should dig it out and take some pic's

 

The roof got damaged at the Very First car show I ever displayed at (Outside)

KITT was in a Jo-Han display case. 

That and the black color intensified the sun on the roof, thus leading to a noticeable Droop!!!

Easiest fix, Cut the roof Off!!!!

 

As far as I remember, The Winged Wheel  Logo was cast in Both the Body rocker panel, and the GTA Add-on piece.

I shaved them off the body and saved them!!!

I am surprised the went to the trouble to mold them On the body as they gave us decals for them anyway!!!!



#19 Faust

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Posted 03 November 2013 - 04:13 PM

I'm starting to get tempted just to make the KITT into a normal coloured T/A, as if it was a production car. Paint the scanner black, as a breather vent, and just do the car in a normal colour with the custom wheels. 

 

What would you guys think of that? Would people understand it at all, or would they just think it was a badly done KITT? If I put the wrap-around spoiler on it, it would change things a bit, and I could maybe find a spare dashboard. That might be kind of interesting. Maybe do it in blue or maroon or something like that. 

 

Hmmm....

 

Gimme your thoughts on that one!

 

That's weird about the TGTA's winged wheel; so they moulded it in, so you could cover it with cladding, and then they give you a decal for it? Sure, that makes TONNES of sense!



#20 crowe-t

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Posted 21 December 2013 - 06:54 AM

I didn't get to read through all the posts in this thread.  However I pasted an article from the Small Art Works website that explains the history of the MPC Knight Rider KITT model.  I also attached a link to that site.  The site's owner, Jim Small, is an accomplished model builder who does a lot of the build ups for Round 2 so he does indeed know what he's talking about.  

 

It seems like the most accurate version is the 1st release with the 'Golden Opportunity' offer on the box.  I don't know if Round 2 will fix the issues with the upcoming re-release but it does say on their site that it will be molded in black and have tinted windows.

 

http://smallartworks.../Kitt/Kitt.html

 

 

Here is the article from the Small Art Works site:

 

 

Apparently there were at least three releases of the kit, but only the first release is considered the accurate one. I currently own two original releases of the kit (one of them is pictured finished above, the other remains unassembled) as well as the most recent 2002 re-release. The information posted here about the second release was told to me by another collector. I post these details here to aid collectors in acquiring the desired kit.

The original release of the model by MPC, kit number 1-0675, was molded in black plastic and came in a box with the "Golden Opportunity" offers advertised. It had the correct vents behind the front fenders and also lacks the body side molding and various embossed emblems seen on the newest re-release which is molded in typical "Ertl Gray". The original release had only the MPC logo on the box, as the kit was produced before Ertl bought the company. The second release, kit number 6377, had the MPC/Ertl logo on the box cover and the words "Features Authentic Details" in place of "A Golden Opportunity Kit" on the box top. The newest re-release has the new box cover with the AMT/Ertl logo. The correctly styled fender vents are not on the second OR the newest release, only on the original first release.

Apparently what has happened is that a re-tooled or incorrect body mold was used on the re-release(s) of the kit which is incorrect, but note that on the NEW release box cover, the picture (claiming to be a photo of the actual assembled and painted kit) nevertheless shows these vents and other more accurate details in intact! Perhaps the tooling used for the Knight Rider kit was modified to do a newer model year of the Trans Am kit, as the manufacturers probably didn't think they'd do another run of the KITT kit.

Other differences between the two (original 1982 and current 2002 release) kits are:

* The new release comes with three (?) slightly rounded and detailed Pontiac taillight lenses, all of them incorrect, but identical. The original release had a flat, featureless (plain) taillight lens, which is correct for KITT. Two other small mystery red lenses are also included in the new release.

* The interior is also a re-tooling. There are differences mainly in the details in the centre console and the rear seats are different. The front seats are the same.

* The original release came with tinted winshield, rear window and rooftops. The new release windows are completely clear.

* Both kits came with two hoods, the one seen on KITT and an extra one. The extra one included in the original is featureless, but the extra one in the new release has scoops and vents added that match a newer model of a real Trans Am, probably an '84 or '85 model or thereabouts..

There are other very subtle changes too, but nothing major that I've noted except that the newer release of the kit appears to be from a slightly crisper, less sloppy tooling, but you have to look very hard to see the differences.

Beyond that I can tell you nothing further. If anyone out there has more helpful information to add I'd be happy to post it.  Bottom line is that the new release is not as accurate as the original. I was also disappointed to find out that the re-release of the kit was incorrect as well. I guess this makes the originals more valuable. Hope this helps solve some of the puzzles that some of you may have had about these KITTs.


Edited by crowe-t, 21 December 2013 - 06:55 AM.