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AMT/Ertl 1975 Plymouth Duster Hard Top

February 2005
1975 Plymouth Duster Hard Top
AMT/Ertl No. 38155
Model Type: Injection-molded styrene
Molded Colors: White, clear, gray
Scale: 1/25
MSRP: $14.00
Pros: Accurate body proportions
Cons: Dodge Dart front/rear, no stock exhaust, tires don't fit in wheel wells, overall detail

AMT/Ertl has rereleased yet another old-timer. Originally kitted under the MPC brand, this "Duster" first appeared in 1971 as a kit and dealer promo, and continued to be released as new-models in both forms until 1974.

The following year, MPC dropped the promo and released only the kit version. Unfortunately, they chose to include the front and rear ends of their Dodge Dart Sport kit (!) instead of updating it to that year's Duster design. The kit was rereleased a few times since in basically the same form.

Finding reference material for 1975 Dusters is just plain tough, but after spending some time on the Web and digging though my modest library, I found enough information to build the kit.

The body is proportional to the real thing, and there is very little flash on the kit pieces, but beyond that there isn't a whole lot to get excited about.

Kitted as a '70's street machine, it comes with a souped-up Hemi as the optional power plant, an ugly hood scoop, rear spoiler, side pipes, traction bars, funky decals, and all sorts of '70s interior gadgets. I wanted to build my Duster close to stock, so I could avoid using those items. No stock tires or wheels were included, though, so I was stuck with those. But at least a stock V-8 is in the kit!

Paint choices on mid-'70s Dusters were anything but wild, so I chose to paint mine an optional High Impact color from a few years earlier: Limelight! Testor's Model Master Sublime Green (no. 2767) is pretty close to Limelight, and several light coats later, I was done.

Remember to paint the firewall piece, the front of the interior bucket (the firewall mounts to it), and the inner fender wells (molded to the chassis) to match the body for a factory Mopar paint job. On the stock hood I found major show-through to be a problem on the area scribed from the inside for the scoop opening option.

Detail on the engine is rather crude, and no engine compartment decals are included. A bit of the exhaust manifold on the passenger side has to be removed to get the exhaust pipe to fit. I lightly detailed the rest of the compartment and called it quits.

The chassis leaves a lot to be desired, but is typical of the era: no front suspension pieces, a sparse rear end, and a drive shaft that is molded to the pan. Argh! The kit also lacks a complete stock exhaust system, leaving the side pipes as the only option (which I couldn't force myself to install).

The builder has two height choices for the front tires; one makes the front end sit too high, and the other sits great but the wheels rub the wells. The huge rear tires are simply too large to the wheel wells. Stock tires and hubcaps would have been neat.

The interior also shows its age. Each of the front buckets is molded as one piece, and the interior bucket, with the exception of the dash, is one piece.

Detailing the door panels is a chore; I chose to paint my model's interior white, with a semigloss black dash and flat black to represent carpet.

Although building this kit brought back fond memories of my brother's black 340-powered '73 Dart Sport, I don't think I'll be going down this road again, unless it's with AMT/Ertl's 1971 Duster 340 kit.


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