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New TV Series. Dark Winds, Navajo Tribal Police


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I've just started watching the new series on AMC, Dark Winds. Another re-telling of a Tony Hillerman book, this version is dark, and draws you in like a magnet.

But, the reason I bring it up, are the vehicles. Some great cars in this show, starting with the main star car of the show. A stock 70/71/72 GMC Suburban 4x4, it has a factory looking lift, that leaves the head lights about chest high. It is an awkward, stalky looking thing, in Black & White, with stark Tribal Police markings. It looks like you could use parts of the recent AMT Jimmy to start a conversion, but the tall suspension and Long Suburban body, make it unique.

The are also two other cars so far that are neat. Jim Chee's 1970 El Camino and the other Tribal Police Car, a worn late 1960's 4 Door Chevy.

I hope this series has enough 'legs' to interest a Diecaster into tooling up the Suburban at least.

That Suburban has great screen presence.

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I've also been watching that series. Good show. Another new episode tonight. It's always nice to see a period piece like that to see the many cars and trucks and even the everyday things that we will probably never see again. That lifted GMC and the FBI agents El Camino are prominently featured in this show. If I'm not mistaken, that '70 El Camino has been done in styrene before and that GMC has been done in resin. The AMT Jimmy kit could be used to complete that one.

 

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12 hours ago, stavanzer said:

A stock 70/71/72 GMC Suburban 4x4, it has a factory looking lift

Growing up, my family had a '71 and a '72 Chevy Suburban ant I can tell you that our factory trucks were nowhere near that high so that truck is defiantly lifted and the tire are bigger that factory.

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14 hours ago, stavanzer said:

Good to Know, Mike!

I still want one. Badly. Makes it almost worth tracking down the Resin body.

If my memory serves, there was more than one company (names escape me) that put out a resin '69-'72 Suburban. One was even complete with the full floor pan with frame molded in and interior (i.e. seats). The one drawback is both resin bodies had the tailgate/hatch style setup wile the TV show truck has the van style doors out back. Both of which were an option for those years.

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I'll have to live with the tailgate. Maybe mine belongs to a different sub-station.

:)

Now to figure out how to build the lifted suspension. I am thinking the MPC Deserter, maybe to start with?

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7 hours ago, stavanzer said:

Good Idea! I'll pick one up. I might work for this with Aftermarket Steelies.

Now, to find the Decals.

I believe Fireball resin works has some of the steelies (with the 8 lugs if I'm not mistaken) and also some tires that might be close to the right ones.

This light bar probably isn't the right period but it's something.

Classic Emergency Flasher Bars Parts Pack (modelroundup.com)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Started watching this yesterday on your recommendation. You're right--it's pretty good!

Love the '70 Elky. Don't think I've ever seen one in styrene but it's been done as a diecast. The Tribal Police Chevy is a '65. Could swear I saw a '66 Pontiac in one scene, and I'm thinking it was also carrying Police markings. 

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Thanks, Snake. I could not figure out what the Tribal Police Chevy was.

I have ordered both a resin Suburban and a set of Fireball's steelie wheels and tires.

Not sure what I am going to do about the decals, as the real ones (actually available as decals) are completely different than the ones on the TV cars.

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I've been watching the series, also. I'm a big Tony Hillerman fan and I've read all his books.

I, too, love the old vehicles, but there are a couple of things that bug me.

The series is set in 1973. The GMC Suburban has a Federal (brand) light bar with a pair of Model 14 beacons - a very popular set up in those days. However, the series portrays it with one red and one blue dome on the beacons. That arrangement did not become common until around 1975+. The Navajo Tribal Police were neither well-enough funded nor motivated to be cutting-edge in patrol vehicle esthetics. More commonly, they used what they had until it was no longer serviceable. 

The series is more on point with the patrol sedans. Note there are at least two distinctly different vehicles used:  one a 1965 Chevy and the other a 1966 Chevy. One has an A-pillar mounted spotlight and the other does not.  Both are equipped with roof-mounted Federal two-beam beacons, which are period-correct for the Chevys, and more consistent with the time/place, as Navajo Police would not have upgraded the lighting equipment to more modern/new items on those cars. They look right!

However, continuity captures my attention as well. The most recent episode showed Officer Manuelito (the hotty) driving one of the Chevys. In the driving scenes the spotlight is clearly and prominently seen on the patrol car. But when she arrives, she gets out of a Chevy with no spotlight. Come on! Flashbacks to the Bullilt scenes of the Dodge Charger flinging hubcaps off in a few scenes but always having a full set in the next scenes.  Aarrgh.

I, too, noticed the awkwardly high ride height of the Suburban. Good ground clearance but not very practical for daily policing.

But other that those nit-picky points, a very nice series. 

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1 hour ago, Danno said:

I've been watching the series, also. I'm a big Tony Hillerman fan and I've read all his books.

I, too, love the old vehicles, but there are a couple of things that bug me.

The series is set in 1973. The GMC Suburban has a Federal (brand) light bar with a pair of Model 14 beacons - a very popular set up in those days. However, the series portrays it with one red and one blue dome on the beacons. That arrangement did not become common until around 1975+. The Navajo Tribal Police were neither well-enough funded nor motivated to be cutting-edge in patrol vehicle esthetics. More commonly, they used what they had until it was no longer serviceable. 

The series is more on point with the patrol sedans. Note there are at least two distinctly different vehicles used:  one a 1965 Chevy and the other a 1966 Chevy. One has an A-pillar mounted spotlight and the other does not.  Both are equipped with roof-mounted Federal two-beam beacons, which are period-correct for the Chevys, and more consistent with the time/place, as Navajo Police would not have upgraded the lighting equipment to more modern/new items on those cars. They look right!

However, continuity captures my attention as well. The most recent episode showed Officer Manuelito (the hotty) driving one of the Chevys. In the driving scenes the spotlight is clearly and prominently seen on the patrol car. But when she arrives, she gets out of a Chevy with no spotlight. Come on! Flashbacks to the Bullilt scenes of the Dodge Charger flinging hubcaps off in a few scenes but always having a full set in the next scenes.  Aarrgh.

I, too, noticed the awkwardly high ride height of the Suburban. Good ground clearance but not very practical for daily policing.

But other that those nit-picky points, a very nice series. 

You're right about two different Chevies. I'm halfway through Ep. 2 and the car that was clearly a '65 in Ep 1 is now clearly a '66. 

I'm as anal about guns as you are about cars and police equipment. The star carries a Target-stocked S&W, and you can see early on that it has adjustable sights, but in a few early shots the barrel looks like a 586, which wasn't introduced until the mid-'80s. In the scene where he shoots Guy in the leg, though, you can see that it's not a full-underlug barrel (i.e., a 586), but I haven't yet decided whether it's a Model 15 Combat Masterpiece or a Model 19 Combat Magnum. (Leaning toward the latter.) 

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7 hours ago, Danno said:

I've been watching the series, also. I'm a big Tony Hillerman fan and I've read all his books.

I, too, love the old vehicles, but there are a couple of things that bug me.

The series is set in 1973. The GMC Suburban has a Federal (brand) light bar with a pair of Model 14 beacons - a very popular set up in those days. However, the series portrays it with one red and one blue dome on the beacons. That arrangement did not become common until around 1975+. The Navajo Tribal Police were neither well-enough funded nor motivated to be cutting-edge in patrol vehicle esthetics. More commonly, they used what they had until it was no longer serviceable. 

The series is more on point with the patrol sedans. Note there are at least two distinctly different vehicles used:  one a 1965 Chevy and the other a 1966 Chevy. One has an A-pillar mounted spotlight and the other does not.  Both are equipped with roof-mounted Federal two-beam beacons, which are period-correct for the Chevys, and more consistent with the time/place, as Navajo Police would not have upgraded the lighting equipment to more modern/new items on those cars. They look right!

However, continuity captures my attention as well. The most recent episode showed Officer Manuelito (the hotty) driving one of the Chevys. In the driving scenes the spotlight is clearly and prominently seen on the patrol car. But when she arrives, she gets out of a Chevy with no spotlight. Come on! Flashbacks to the Bullilt scenes of the Dodge Charger flinging hubcaps off in a few scenes but always having a full set in the next scenes.  Aarrgh.

I, too, noticed the awkwardly high ride height of the Suburban. Good ground clearance but not very practical for daily policing.

But other that those nit-picky points, a very nice series. 

My guess, is that the Suburban is a local vehicle that was bought or leased for the series. A couple of interior shots show that it is a re-spray over a factory colour. That would explain the "Just get something up there!" Light bar, and the funky door decals. While a second season has been approved, I doubt any of the production people and transportation captains went into this with much Long Term planning. So, the first truck that looked about right was chosen, and here we are wanting to build models of it! LOL

In the backgrounds there are some really neat old trucks, and cars. Lots of 1940s/50s trucks just baking in the desert heat. So far I'm really happy with the show. I'm told though, that episodes 5 & 6 (the last two), should probably be watched together, without waiting a week to watch both.

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20 hours ago, Snake45 said:

You're right about two different Chevies. I'm halfway through Ep. 2 and the car that was clearly a '65 in Ep 1 is now clearly a '66. 

I'm as anal about guns as you are about cars and police equipment. The star carries a Target-stocked S&W, and you can see early on that it has adjustable sights, but in a few early shots the barrel looks like a 586, which wasn't introduced until the mid-'80s. In the scene where he shoots Guy in the leg, though, you can see that it's not a full-underlug barrel (i.e., a 586), but I haven't yet decided whether it's a Model 15 Combat Masterpiece or a Model 19 Combat Magnum. (Leaning toward the latter.) 

True all that, Snake. I kinda found it refreshing that at least they didn't try to push the typical Hollywood notion that everybody carries/carried semi-automatics.  Again, in the early '70s, Tribal Police were not carrying such firepower. The old S&W .38s in the series are nostalgic . . . I remember my first service revolver and I still have my first revolver off-duty gun.

Another minor tic about the Chevys is that they both have red lamps replacing the inner beams. While that was not uncommon with ambulances and city police cars, the Tribal Police probably would not have traded the headlamp high beams for the warning lights -- the desert gets EXTREMELY dark when the sun goes down and streetlights are a few hundred miles apart.  But that just doesn't seem to bug me as much as that dang blue dome!   LOL.

  

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14 hours ago, stavanzer said:

My guess, is that the Suburban is a local vehicle that was bought or leased for the series. A couple of interior shots show that it is a re-spray over a factory colour. That would explain the "Just get something up there!" Light bar, and the funky door decals. While a second season has been approved, I doubt any of the production people and transportation captains went into this with much Long Term planning. So, the first truck that looked about right was chosen, and here we are wanting to build models of it! LOL

In the backgrounds there are some really neat old trucks, and cars. Lots of 1940s/50s trucks just baking in the desert heat. So far I'm really happy with the show. I'm told though, that episodes 5 & 6 (the last two), should probably be watched together, without waiting a week to watch both.

"True dats" to all you say.  I agree about the Suburban - note also the steps under the doors that no one use. I wonder about their "period-correctness" but a person can be entirely too picky.  [Who me?]

I've spent my share of time on the Navajo Reservation and I love all the correct references, portrayals, settings, and background scenery - especially in and around Monument Valley. The impromptu automotive graveyards are bonus!   All in all, it is a very good series and I am very happy they've produced it and aired it. 

 

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On 7/7/2022 at 9:14 AM, Snake45 said:

...he Tribal Police Chevy is a '65. Could swear I saw a '66 Pontiac in one scene, and I'm thinking it was also carrying Police markings. 

Glad you mentioned the Pontiac, I was starting to think I hallucinated it (think I only saw it that one time).

On 7/7/2022 at 11:16 AM, Danno said:

...the series is more on point with the patrol sedans. Note there are at least two distinctly different vehicles used:  one a 1965 Chevy and the other a 1966 Chevy. One has an A-pillar mounted spotlight and the other does not.  Both are equipped with roof-mounted Federal two-beam beacons, which are period-correct for the Chevys, and more consistent with the time/place, as Navajo Police would not have upgraded the lighting equipment to more modern/new items on those cars. They look right!

However, continuity captures my attention as well. The most recent episode showed Officer Manuelito (the hotty) driving one of the Chevys. In the driving scenes the spotlight is clearly and prominently seen on the patrol car. But when she arrives, she gets out of a Chevy with no spotlight. Come on!

Didn't notice the spotlight difference between the Chevys.  Main thing that sticks out like a sore thumb to me is that the '65 is an Impala hardtop, while the '66 is a sedan, either a Bel Air or a Biscayne (think I spotted Bel Air side trim)

You're right about the continuity issues, I've noticed a bunch of scenes showing Manuelito driving in the '65 (with no B-pillar).  Then the scene cuts to her getting out of the '66 sedan.  Overall it seems like they use the '65 more.

I'm a bit on the fence about the '65 being an Impala hardtop.  Certainly not something any typical PD would order new back in the day.  However, if the Navajo police were seriously underfunded, I suppose it's possible they could have purchased used vehicles.

An example is back about 15 years ago when Indiana revised its property tax system, and suddenly our county (Lake) and local municipalities started crying poor.  The K.O. punch was the Great Recession in 2008.  Lake County flat out didn't have the $ for new Crown Vics, so they actually started buying used civilian CVs and Grand Marquis from rental car companies and retrofitted them.  (So I figure anything's possible)

Edited by Robberbaron
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The light bar on the suburban is a Federal sign and signal 'VisiBar'. Popular light bar in the 60's until the introduction of the 'TwinSonic' in the 70's. The motor in one of the beacons rotated both lights by a chain in the crossbar that kept the lights in sync. The best replica is the lightbar off of the JoHan police car. If you can find an original released kit the lightbar domes were tinted and with some of the popular removers they are clear plastic, Red and blue lenses were popular police emergency lights in that period. 

Haven't seen the series,

greg

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