History of AMT & MPC Action Line Truck Kits

To date, there have been four separate, but related, toolings of this style of truck. AMT and MPC both tooled up versions of this truck that are very similar but have some minor differences. Both use a simplified, one piece chassis plate with molded in suspension and exhaust. AMT versions featured dual exhaust while MPC featured single exhaust with a molded in crossover. AMT versions after 1969 included plastic pins and a lowering block for the front suspension whereas MPC used a metal axle. AMT also tooled a GMC pickup as well as a completely new Blazer/Jimmy set when those trucks came on the market for 1969. Although AMT and MPC were competitors at the time, Chevrolet alternated between the two for the annual promos from 1967-1970.

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. Kit number 8747.

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.

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.

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. MPC kit number 1-870, AMT kit number Y-733.

This version of the tooling was also used to release the MPC Open Road Camper, a popular recreational vehicle at the time. The camper featured a complete interior and opening rear patio. Kit number MPC403.

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 a modified chassis plate to accommodate the rear tag axle but could still be built as a regular pickup. Kit number 1-7108.

Model King issued the Open Road Camper and Racer’s Wedge in a single box in 2004 with the kit number 21923.

The kit issued for the 1972 model year saw the return of the tow truck components. Kit 1-7208.

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. Kit number 1-0411.

Released again in 1979 as Rolling Thunder, this version was modified to follow the big rig craze of the time and included an airhorn, air-deflectors, hi-rise stacks, saddle tanks, sleeper box, West Coast mirrors, wide wheels and tires. Kit number 1-0426.

Finally in 1982 the tooling was sold again, this time called Heavy Pedal. None of the Rolling Thunder extrasnor the dirt bike made it to this release. Kit number 1-0448.

In 1981 as part of the Dukes of Hazzard promotional tie-in kits, MPC reissued the ’72 Cheyenne tow truck kit with decals to depict Cooter’s tow truck. Kit number 1-0441, reissued in 2009.

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. Using kit number 6691, AMT reboxed this same kit in 1998 with a picture of an actual truck on the box. Several reissues followed, each with new box art and kit numbers, but no changes to the kit inside the box.

Reissued again in 2004 with kit number 38163 as part of AMT’s Hot Trucks series. The grille was modified to remove the bowtie and a tonneau cover was included.

Reissued again in 2005 as kit 38566, this issue included paint, a brush, and glue.

The final issue as of this writing for this pickup tooling is the Rides Magazine tie-in kit, issued in 2005 with large diameter wheels and tires. This carries the kit number 38259 and is molded in blue.

Seemingly independent of MPC, AMT developed the GMC tooling based on their Chevrolet kit. Changes from the Chevrolet kit included a new cab, grille, hood, bedsides, and tailgate. The inner bed, chassis plate, engine, and interior are shared between the two.

Issued first for 1971, the Sierra Grande pickup box art featured a mountain scene. There are two variants of this box art: one with the ’71 and one without. Both carried the same kit number of T120.

For 1972, this kit was reissued as a desert racer. Kit instructions showed where to cut the roof to depict the open cab racer on the box. A rollbar and lights were added, side-exit exhaust, as well as off-road tires even though the same two wheel drive chassis plate was included. Kit number T-364, this also had two versions: with the ’72 and without.

For 1972, the GMC kit was modified to a short bed, stepside version. This required a shortening of the chassis plate as well as tooling up a new stepside bed. As a 2-in-1 kit, the building options included custom wheels and tires, chrome rocker covers, and a Corvette-style tri-carb intake manifold and air cleaner. The fenders in this kit are correctly proportioned and include the steps between cab and fender. Kit number T-409.

The final GMC pickup kit issued as of this writing was kit 6081 in 1990.

Completely separate from the pickup line, AMT independently tooled up an all-new Blazer/Jimmy combo that sported a separate frame and suspension. The two versions were issued simultaneously with the only differences being the grille, hood, and tailgate. These kits also have a strange quirk with the wheels: they are chromed steel wheels that have a correct six bolt locking up for the front, however the rear wheels are five bolt.

The first to debut in 1970 was the Blazer and features a desert theme. This is kit T-336.

Also in 1970, the GMC Jimmy was issued as the Jimbo 4×4 dragster. Kit number T-213.

Next up in 1972 was the Crew Chief Blazer, with a modified hood and grille to keep current with the trucks on the showroom floors. Also included in this version is the Feathers decal package. This was issued as kit T-340. In 2015, Round 2 reissued this kit as AMT897.

In 1973, the Jimmy kit was issued as the Bushwacker and included a dirt bike and rear-mounted carrying rack. To date this is the last release of the GMC Jimmy. Kit number T-428.

For 1976, the Blazer was reissued as the Boondocker. This appears to be the same version as the Crew Chief. Kit number T-200. As an aside, Round 2 has released a 1:64 scale diecast Blazer as the Boondocker and even includes a mini box with the same art. One small detail, however, is a modification to the box art to have a 69-70 grille to match the diecast.

During the Lesney era, the Blazer was modified as the Bandit and included a rollcage with bikini top and a brush guard with winch. Co-branded as AMT and Matchbox, this kit carries the number PK-4631 and arrived on store shelves in 1981.

After another change in ownership to Ertl, the Bandit and Bushwacker versions were combined with monster truck suspension and wheels as well as fuel injection stacks and tube headers. Dubbed Thunderbolt One, this was issued in 1983. Kit number 6609.

For 1989, the Thunderbolt One kit was updated to the Thunderbolt II to reflect evolving monster truck technology and included new suspension and wheels. The dirt bike was omitted from this issue. Kit number 6931.

Thirty years after last being issued in stock form, the Blazer was brought out as a Model King limited release in 2006. This kit did not include the Feathers decal package and did not include the roof cargo depicted on the box art (nor the camper). Kit number 21638P.

Originally posted on Model Cars Magazine message board 25 January 2013. Special thanks to the Scalemates database on correcting the years and order these kits were issued. If you would like to share this article, please remember to credit the source.

 

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