OK modelers, we’ve got a real treat for you this week! It’s an inside look back at the development of one of the most anticipated kits that we announced this year… Tyrone Malone’s AMT Super Boss Kenworth Drag Truck! You don’t get to go behind the scenes like this too often! And who would be better to tell this amazing story than the man who did the development of the kit itself! That’s right, it’s a veteran AMT Kat and talented designer… John Mueller! John played an integral role in more ways than one, but allow us to step aside and let John tell it like it was…
The Tyrone Malone Super Boss kit was one of my most memorable projects, perhaps even my favorite. Either way it was due to meeting and knowing for a while, Jerry “Tyrone” Malone. He was a real character – a “wild and crazy guy!”
I think it was spring or early summer of 1977 when AMT’s president (“CEO’s” hadn’t been invented yet) said to me, “There’s a guy who calls himself Tyrone Malone who drag races a customized semi-truck. He says we should make a model of it. He’s going to be at a truck show in Cincinnati; go down there and see what he’s all about.”
The CB radio/trucker show was held in an older convention or sports arena. Malone’s display booth was close to the parking lot entrance so he wasn’t hard to find. After our introductions, he began his story of getting started in promotional operations, beginning with “Little Irvy the frozen whale”, the “Boss Truck of America” custom Kenworth, and the “Super Boss racing truck”.
Then, while I was explaining model kit design & development, tool costs, etc., to Malone, who should walk up to us, dressed in “Viva Las Vegas” white buckskins, but none other than Evel Kneivel!
Well, the brag-fest started immediately and was more fun than watching an ape eating ice cream! They bragged about who had the best “show”- sponsors, displays, haulers, etc. And then a photographer showed up and took pictures of the two of them doing mock “face-off challenges.”
After Knievel moved on, Malone says, “c’mon, let’s go outside an’ I’ll show you what I do… you got a camera”? We went out to the parking lot where the Super Boss truck was parked on display; he warmed up the engine and told me to station myself with the camera about 40-50 yards down the center aisle of the lot. Mind you, there’s a lot of cars and trucks parked in this lot. Then Tyrone Malone commences to do burn-outs & hole-shots right down the middle of it all!
Tyrone Malone doing one of his trademark burnouts in Cincinnati, 1977
J.W. Mueller photo
That evening over dinner, Malone told me how it all got started by his having dinner in a California restaurant that had a live shark in an aquarium; the owner said his business doubled after he got the shark. Malone decided he just needed a bigger fish – like a whale! Well, technically a whale is not a fish, but that shark gave him the idea for “Little Irvy” the frozen whale- that he could haul around the country and people would pay to see it. Do an internet search for “Tyrone Malone” and you’ll probably find the story.
Anyway, when I got back to AMT and told management about Malone and showed them my photos, I said a Super Boss kit would be a refreshing addition to our truck kit line. Plus, I thought Jerry Malone was such a good promoter he just might be our best salesman. But then came the inevitable, dreaded cost vs return question: “It’s a one-trick pony- what else could we do with the tooling”? With that, the meeting adjourned.
Malone called and wrote several times after that, asking if anything was happening on the model kit idea. Regretfully, I had to say no, the execs were not convinced it was a good idea. Finally he says, “I think I need to come up there and show them my trucks”. I said, “OK, I’ll back you all the way, but there’s no guarantee that they’ll say yes.”
I think it was mid-to-late July when Jerry Malone showed up at 1225 East Maple – for the first time.
One of our security guards called saying, “There’s a guy down here, says his name is Tyrone Malone asking for you and he’s got some kind of custom truck on a trailer.” When I got to the parking lot and saw that it was indeed “Tyrone” I called our president and VP of operations and asked them to come out to meet the “Daredevil Diesel Driver.”
Introductions were made and while Jerry was giving everyone the 50 cent tour, a local TV station news truck pulled into the visitor’s parking lot. What we didn’t know was that Malone had already contacted the TV station, giving them a quick run-down on himself and advising what was going to happen that afternoon would be newsworthy. Turned out he was right!
The main entry driveway for AMT was on the west side of the building and ran north from East Maple (15 mile road) to the rear of the plant about 350 or 400 feet, where shipping/receiving was located. Malone unloaded and warmed up the Super Boss, told the TV news crew to get ready, and then did a brake-lock burn-out and speed run up the driveway alongside the AMT plant!
Then he turned around and did the same thing on a return run toward the front of the plant.
Just as Malone was racing back toward the street entrance, a UPS truck pulled in to make a delivery. Needless to say, there was a heavy application of brakes on two trucks – one brown and the other red, white & blue! I think the UPS driver might have made an unexpected delivery that day!
By that time, there was already an audience of AMT employees who got away from their duties. Our president, recognizing that a major PR bomb had just exploded in front of him, shouted to his secretary, “Get me a contract, get me a contract!” The Super Boss model kit was a go project, right now.
We were to start the project as soon as arrangements could be made for Malone to bring the Super Boss back for photography & measurements – he was in the area at this time for sponsor commitments – canny devil, eh? I would do the reference photography, measuring and design drawings myself, and leave the other designers to work on already scheduled projects.
Malone brought the Super Boss back to AMT sometime in August, and he and his wife stayed in their motorhome on the AMT property – you could say we were definitely “plugged in.” And as I recall, I think they were suitably entertained at our president’s home in Birmingham during their stay.
I still remember that day he drove the Super Boss inside the plant so I could photo & measure the underside. He had installed an air horn from a GM Diesel locomotive; when he parked the truck inside the plant he let off a “Casey Jones” blast on the horn. To say that Tyrone made a startling appearance would be an understatement. More than a few bathroom breaks ensued for the assembly line ladies!
With the exception of the tires, which were drawn later by another designer, I created all of the part design drawings, starting around September of 1977, thru mid ’78. So, for better or worse, I’m the guy to blame for any design flaws.
During this time, Lesney-USA negotiated the purchase of AMT. In August/September of ’78, manufacturing moved to Baltimore, Maryland. A reduced AMT office staff remained in Troy. The next time I saw Jerry Malone was in Baltimore, when the first Super Boss model kits ran down the final assembly lines. A few of us got autographed, “first editions” and we all celebrated the event.
Back in ’77 the question had been, “what else can we do with this tooling?” Thanks to “Tyrone” Malone’s promotional drive (and Kenworth connection), he followed up the Super Boss truck with the “Bandag Bandit.”
Through regular communication regarding radical changes, we were able to economically produce the “Bandag Bandit” from the Super Boss tooling. And then came the “Papa Truck” & “Hideout” hauler truck models from new Kenworth Aerodyne COE kit tooling. As I said previously, I thought Tyrone Malone would do as much good for AMT as AMT would do for him.
I think the last time I saw Jerry “Tyrone” Malone was at the fairgrounds in Minneapolis/St. Paul in August 1978, when I photographed the Bandag Bandit truck, along with the rest of his “100 million dollar truck show.”
Bandag Bandit & Hideout truck Minneapolis, MN, Aug. 1978
J.W. Mueller photo
I don’t think I’ve ever had a more enjoyable, slightly crazy working relationship with a vehicle owner during all my years as a model kit/die cast product designer. Had it not been for the short-lived Lesney ownership of the AMT brand and lack of follow-up by ERTL, there might have been more model Malone vehicle replicas for those interested, to enjoy.
So there’s my Tyrone Malone story. Now I’ll just recall sitting across the table from Jerry Malone a couple of times, hearing great stories, joking and laughing. What a hoot!
… and there you have it folks! We are extremely grateful that John took the time to tell us this awesome tale from the glory days of model kit manufacturing. Thanks again John!
We’re also excited to say that the reissue of the Super Boss Kenworth, after a thirty year absence, turned out great and will be available at select retailers real soon!
As promised, here is the first in a series of articles by Michael Scarola showing the steps he has taken to accurize a 12″ MPC Eagle.
Transforming the Classic MPC Eagle Kit – Part 1
After all these years I finally got around to building a Space 1999 Eagle. The Eagle is a unique ship that actually looks like it could work as intended. I love its organic yet utilitarian design. For this build I started with an MPC Eagle and decided to make some modifications of the existing kit parts and also do some scratch building along the way. The MPC Eagle 1 kit is a classic that has been around since the TV show began and represents an Eagle nicely but does have some simplified sections and details that I felt I could improve upon. I wanted to use as much of the original kit parts as possible while attempting to make it accurate to the original Eagle 44” studio model.
I used a WARP kit I have and access to a friend’s set of Daniel Prud’Homme Eagle blueprints as reference. I decided to start by scratch building the front and rear cage sections. I made a jig…
…out of a couple of pieces of 1.5 mm styrene sheet that helped keep everything straight and aligned. Using a round file I ‘fish mouthed’ the ends of the styrene rods so it would all fit together the same as the studio model. 2 mm styrene rods were used for the larger main rods and 1.6 mm rods for the smaller ones. This image shows one of the cage sections after removal from the jig.
The MPC kit’s spine was shortened and narrowed and a flat file was used to re-shape the tubing since they are flat on the backsides. I replaced the inner supports with 2 mm and 1.6 mm styrene rods.
The corridors inside the spine were scratch built using 1.5 mm sheet styrene with channels made for attaching the shoulder pods. The doors at the ends of each corridor are pieces of .5 mm styrene layered to create the recesses.
The original 44” studio model’s corridor doors were drawn on but these doors match the ones on the passenger pod and look more realistic so I went with this approach.
The details on the sides and tops of the corridors…
…were made from scaled down measurements taken from Daniel Prud’Homme’s Eagle 1 blueprints. I used .4 mm sheet styrene layered and other various sizes to create the side details that were actually kit tank parts on the original studio model. All the grill details are made from open grate platforms from Tichy Train Group. The details on top were a bit more challenging. On the studio model most of these consisted of model parts from Saturn V and Gemini kits. I layered .4 mm styrene for the ‘Saturn V’ end details and shaped the ends of sprues taken from a Polar Lights 1/1000 TOS Enterprise kit for the round ‘Gemini’ details. The Polar Lights 1/1000 TOS Enterprise kit has some nice large diameter sprues that I’ve used to scratch build parts on a few models I’ve worked on. That kit keeps on giving.
Now that the cages and corridors were completed I put them together using 2 mm diameter styrene rods that now completed the sections.
It was now time to move on to the rear of the Eagle’s frame. 2 mm styrene rods were used to make the framework that the cross section frame is attached to.
I used all 4 of the engine bottles and ‘balls’…
…as well as the rear cross frame from the MPC kit. I modified these parts a bit to more closely match the studio model. The bottles were shortened and new raised detail glued in between the ball halves. The piping, matched to the blueprints, was added to tie it all together.
In the next installment I’ll cover the building of the shoulder pods, landing gear, command module, passenger pod and the cargo pod…
AMT is getting ready to turn a powerful classic loose, a Blazing Bison to be exact. This monster machine was a spectacular show vehicle that amazed fans – pulling 20-plus tons of steel and climbing mountains of cars. It was the show and the go, and now the Kats at AMT are set to turn this incredible machine loose for all to build once again! This 4,000 horsepower modified puller tractor leaves nothing in the bag, featuring three powerful 575 cu. in. Arias V-8 racing engines, two fully loaded chrome trees, two monster sized rear wheels and vinyl tires, a detailed driver and full color decal sheet. Parts are molded in golden yellow and black. But wait, there’s more. The Blazing Bison kit is loaded with highly detailed accessories such as a wagon, batteries, cooler, tool box with tool set, safety helmet, fuel can and weights. And just for kicks, we’ve included a sneak peek of the packaging side panels in this post, which showcases all the rip-roaring features mentioned above.
So, for all the Blazing Bison builders out there, a chance to get reacquainted with this amazing puller tractor is just around the bend.
Arriving soon, at your local hobby stores.
Two new upcoming kits from MPC are sure to be a hit with modelers who love motorcycles both big and small. Starting with MPC’s Rupp Roadster Mini-Bike, we’re re-issuing this classic two-wheeler and it will be molded in pearl red, with plenty of chrome, and comes with vinyl tubing for brake and gas lines. We’ve also expanded the decals sheet to give the builder a few extra options to decorate their finished model. This popular mini-bike was a great hit for Rupp when it was introduced in 1969.
And, as opposed to “mini,” we’re also releasing our classic Thunder Chopper with its extended front fork, “peace sign” sissy bar, 900cc engine and “maximum” chopper details. We’ve retooled several parts to bring it back to its original issue condition and this one will also include an expanded set of decals. Molded in pearl yellow and black with vinyl hoses and lots of chrome parts, this large-scale kit is a great addition to our previously released Honda 750 and Honda Trail 70 models.
OK modelers, I know you’ve been waiting since my last post with baited breath, to find out which AMT funny car has gone MIA! Well, here it is…
Yes, the rather unique and extremely cool looking Astre/Vega body insert slides and front/rear cap inserts are nowhere to be found. At this time, we have no plans to (ever) retool the missing bits, so those of you with the kit in your collections, consider yourselves fortunate!
To clarify, we DO still have the chassis tooling for this series of funnies, it’s under the upcoming Larry Fullerton Trojan Horse kit coming later in the 3rd quater!
Happy 4th to those in the USA this coming Monday, and stay tuned for another episode of “Kat Chat” in a few weeks!
A real quick post this week. We will be posting a new series next week featuring an accurized buildup of the MPC 12″ Eagle from Mike Scarola. Here is a sneak peek at his build.
Also, our friends at Sci-Fi Fantasy Modeller had so much fun putting their Modelling the Eagle special last year, they are following that up with another great special this year. Here are the details…
…A massive explosion of Space:1999 modelling rocks the world! Mark this date in your diary, because this is the day we publish Modelling:1999!
Featuring: * Alpha! * Eagles! * Hawks! * Swift! * Moon Buggies! * Alpha Tanks! * Ultra Probe! * Gwent! * Stun Gun! * Comlock! * Original studio miniatures! * Original studio spacesuit! * More Eagles! Plus much, much more!
Following the success of our recent Modelling the Eagle special, we are delighted to present an even more exciting large format Space:1999 modelling extravaganza featuring more pages and hundreds of exclusive photographs!
100 pages. A4 format.
To pre-order your copy now for immediate despatch on day of publication (mid-September) click here or visit www.scififantasymodeller.co.uk
Time to take a peek into a kit AMT is bringing back with photographic style. The Car Culture Series, 1957 Convertible Corvette – featuring the eye-catching work from one of America’s premier car photographer’s, Lucinda Lewis. Lucinda’s retro-style photography is featured on all panels of the box lid as well as on the dynamite diorama included with the kit, which can be used to proudly display your ’57 Vette.
Key features of the kit includes: over 115 parts, detailed chassis, motor and interior with authentic engraving throughout, Firestone Deluxe Champion tires with pad-printed wide whitewalls (not available to show at this time, sorry) and, it will be available in two different colors – one molded in white plastic and one in aqua plastic. The choice is up to you. Buy it in white, or buy it in aqua! Also included, will be an ALL NEW set of decals which can be used to customize this classic beauty. As an added bonus, I’ve included a couple workup images, showing how the new flame decals will fit onto the body.
So, for all the die hard Corvette fans out there, here’s an opportunity to add an old friend with a NEW twist to your collection.
Coming soon, to your local hobby stores.
Enjoy, and I’ll see ya soon!
We have a 2-pack of 1:32 Customizable Show Rods that will be coming out soon under the Lindberg model kit line. The pack includes a 1930s roadster and a 1920s rear-engine bucket that include a slew of interchangeable parts, so you can customize to your heart’s content. These fun little kits were originally released separately in 1965 as part of a series of 4 kits. The Roadster was released as the Super Custom Deuce, a 3-in-1 kit including Street Roadster and B Altered variations, and as the Blown Buggie. The Bucket was released as the Kookie Contender, a 3-in-1 including Scoopster and Rear Mill Bucket variations, and as the Tuned Tinker. Over the next 11 years Lindberg put out 6 more versions of each kit. Notable releases include the hard to find Glo-Karts in ’72, Rainbow Rods in ’73, and the blue jean themed Jumpin’ Jeans in ’75. Because who doesn’t want their hot rod covered in denim?
Now for the FIRST TIME EVER the new release will include chrome parts! The rest of the parts come injected in bright, bold colors. The kits will each include 2-3 options for grilles, headers, carburetors, front suspension, and hubcaps. Additional parts include a soft top, scoops, blowers, tires, front & rear fenders, rear bumper, tail lights, and roll bars. The large decal sheet is all new featuring funky show rod patterns and multiple options for customizing. Given all the options for these kits I am excited to see what modellers will do with them.
To say we’re excited to be able to release an official version of Don Prudhomme’s 1972 “Yellow Feather” Hot Wheels rear engine dragster would be a major understatement. With both Hot Wheels and Prudhomme on board, we’re planning several kits starting with the Yellow Feather.
Prudhomme’s ’72 car was an exercise in vehicular weight loss and the new rear engine AA/TF was dubbed the “Yellow Feather.” For our release we’re utilizing our existing tooling but have added all new rear wing struts to match Prudhomme’s car, a new injector scoop and an additional front bicycle wheel half, as the Snake’s car didn’t use the ringed version.
Plus, as a great bonus for vintage drag fans, the box art features photos from the one and only Steve Reyes, who’s career captured all of the famous cars from drag racing’s history. We’re also including a 4-page card showcasing more of Steve’s photos as both a collector’s piece and as reference for the serious modeler. And, as if that’s not enough, we’re including an all new cardboard display base.
We have even more exciting Hot Wheels and Prudhomme kits in development that will blow everyone away! We’re also planning a few kits featuring The Snake’s famous racing rival, Tom “the Mongoose” McEwen. For drag racing modelers, MPC and AMT can’t be beat.
We had a great weekend displaying our product and meeting the modelers that attended Wonderfest 2016. As promised, we were able to show the first test shots of the smooth 1:350 TOS Enterprise saucer, and more than one person took advantage to rub them like a genie’s bottle wishing they would come sooner than the scheduled September release date. Many folks were also complimentary of the U.S.S. Excelsior buildup on display showing the new improvements we have made over the old AMT kit. It is great to be recognized for “bringing the kit back and giving it the Round 2 treatment” as described by one fan. A small display board advertised a notable new tool we have in the works targeting the end of the year. The product will be a Star Trek 50th anniversary commemorative boxed collection of our 1:2500 scale snap Enterprises, which will include a NEW NX-01 kit. To make the product appealing to the widest possible audience, we will include pressure sensitive decals (high quality, thin stickers) in this release. We received praise for bringing back the U.S.S. Enterprise-D in clear plastic. This version will come in ABS rather than styrene which tends to be brittle. The main reason for that switch is to allow us to include our standard dome base this time around. Aztec decals will not be included in the kit, but will be offered separately. Many remarked about the re-issue of the classic 5 Space Ships of the Future from Lindberg. The kit will use the highly collectible vintage box art for the release. of course people were still in awe of our 22″ Eagle kit. many remarked about how great they found the kit to be. Several folks stopped by with kit in hand to take a look at our display piece. From what I understand it seemed like the big Eagle was the “kit of the show” with many being offered and sold at the event.
Admittedly, this year’s show may have seemed “light” on news as far as new and upcoming releases goes. We DO have things in the works, but it is too early to discuss them with 100% certainty. In some cases, two plans for a license are being evaluated for 2017. Sure, expect more re-issues, but I can guaranty more NEW stuff IS in the works.
For those that weren’t able to attend, here is a look at this year’s display. Feel free to ask questions int he comments section and we’ll answer as best we can.
It was a special treat to meet Nick Tate in person at this year’s show. Nick played Alan Carter in the classic sci-fi show, Space:1999, in the mid-70’s. His storied career led to numerous roles on stage and on screen in shows like Star Trek: The Next Generation, Lost and The X-Files as well as voice over work. As you recall, we offered signature cards in our early releases of our 12″ MPC Eagle kits that featured Nick’s autograph. Nick was happy to share tales from his career with anyone willing to lend an ear. It was an incredible opportunity to get to know him. Thanks to friend of Round 2, Peter Greenwood, for arranging his appearance and thanks also to Steve Iverson of CultTVMan.com for sponsoring his appearance at the show.
As always, one of the highlights of the show is the modeling competition that offers all kinds of sci-fi and horror subjects from big to small (and sometimes small is more impressive than big in cases like this). We always sponsor two awards for the best use of a kit from our brands. We give awards in the junior/teen and adult categories. The junior/teen award-winner walks away with a prize pack of kits while we award a $100 credit to our own autoworldstore.com site. The level of quality in the competition is always impressive which makes our decision tough. here are is a selection of a few models that caught our eye followed by this year’s winners.
These next two were co-runners-up for our adult award.
This impressive kit bash was award to the junior/teen winner. Congratulations Alex tabor for your USS Castor Federation Depot Ship build!
…and this year’s adult award-winner is… Dave Olszewski for his Vulcan Shuttle tribute to Leonard Nimoy. David’s impeccable handling of our admittedly faulty decals that got mixed into that kit cemented his position as winner.
Please keep our awards in mind for next year and future shows. We want to see as many of our kits on the table as possible. The show organizers sent out the challenge at the end of the awards ceremony to blow away their previous record and attain 800 entries in next years competition. (if I can find a way, I may even make the time to build and enter something…)
We have posted higher res images of all of these buildups, our boot and every other model identified as one of our kits on our facebook page. Let’s continue the fun. Go to our facebook page and “Like” the model you think looks most impressive and we’ll tabulate the results on June 30th and send the winner an award. (this year’s contest winners will not be eligible for a second award)