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AMT/Ertl 1971 Plymouth Duster

June 2007
1971 Plymouth Duster
AMT/Ertl No. 38456
Model Type: injection-molded styrene
Molded Colors: Gray, clear
Scale: 1/25
MSRP: $12.95
Pros: High level of detail; overall accuracy; good instructions
Cons: Final assembly issues; wrong tires; incorrect shape for side windows

AMT/Ertl released its kit of the 1971 Duster in the late 1990s, and this time around the model is rereleased under the "AMT Muscle" series. The kit comes well packaged and has a clear, easy-to-follow instruction sheet.

I found quite a bit of flash on all of the sprues in my kit. There are decal options to build a Duster Twister and the Duster 340, including both white and black side stripes. Strangely enough, a 340 six-pack intake, carb and air cleaner (which wasn't an option on 1971 Duster 340s) are also included.

The chassis is a two-piece unit, with the front suspension mounting to the forward piece, and the axle and leaf springs to the rear piece. The detail is good, and the pieces fit well - especially the six-piece exhaust system.

The height of the raised lettering on the tires was exaggerated, so I didn't paint the letters. And I know this is nitpicking, but the tires should be E70-14s and not 15s. To better replicate the stock units, you might want to use a metallic gray on everything but the trim rings.

The two-piece 340 block and transmission unit builds up to an accurate replica of the full-size engine.
My records indicate that Plymouth used orange and blue for 340 blocks in 1971, so I chose to paint mine orange. I also really like the well-detailed two-piece carb. All of the other engine parts mount easily to the block and look good.

The interior has two-piece front buckets, a one-piece rear seat/package tray, side door panels, and a dashboard with all the fixings. The panels and seats mount directly to the inside of the chassis. The detail level is good, and appears accurate. I detailed my model's interior with several shades of black, with wood and chrome accents.

The side windows appear too rounded compared to the 1:1 car, but everything else "looks right" on the body. I found two sink marks on the passenger's side of the body, as well as a depressed area on the front edge of the hood.

If you chose to add the optional dual scoops, mounting-hole guidance is found on the underside of the
hood. Unfortunately, the spoiler mounting holes are molded open; if you don't like the spoiler, you'll have to fill the holes.

I painted my Duster Green Go (Model Master Custom Lacquer System No. 28118). I left off the matte black hood treatment, but still utilized the cool 340 Wedge decal and black side stripes.

I found the kit decals to be thin and tricky to get to lay down properly, so use caution. I wrapped up the
body by chrome-foiling the wheel-well trim, windshield trim, wipers, and door handles.

Final assembly is tricky. The front windshield alignment pins are off, making for a poor fit (removing them prior to installation will help).

Most annoyingly, the chassis/interior will not mount flush with the body without further work. I found that I had to remove and trim the side windows and dash to get a good fit. Argh!

The bumpers and grille do fit great, though. Painting the grille with a steel metalizer will help replicate Plymouth's Argent Silver.

This isn't a model that you'd want to give to a newbie or a child. Did I enjoy the kit-building experience? Uh, let's just say that the finished model looks nice, and is a good addition to my shelf of Mopar models.


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