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The Inside Scoop on AMT’s 1929 Ford Model A “Mod Rod” Reissue

posted by JohnG 12:49 PM
Tuesday, February 23, 2016

I’ve heard through the grapevine there’s been some speculation on what will, and will not be included in our upcoming release of AMT’s 1929 Model A Ford Roadster double kit. For those unaware, the two original “Mod Rod” releases, post the first issue, still included the parts to build Barris’ Ala Kart. However, the later Street Rods issues saw some parts modified and many others deleted. No more Kart. Then, in the AMT-Matchbox days, the rather “visually-unappealing” A-Venger was issued, suffering more original part deletions and further changes to others. This is pretty much how it stayed until RC2 reissued the kit with some parts gates reopened.

Before confirming what’s included in the upcoming reissue, I wanted to mention: as you can imagine, there are two camps regarding the original Ala Kart from the double kit vs. the retooled version. If the Ala Kart specifically was ever to be reissued, one group insists the original is better, i.e., it’d be more desirable to retool its missing parts. The other group feels that while the new tool has a few shortcomings, it’s the better candidate for rework to improve scaling and accuracy. This argument is the reason why the Mod Rod reissue will not contain ALL the parts to build the original Ala Kart kit. In other words, I haven’t decided which, if either approach to take. However, rest assured the upcoming Mod Rod issue will still delight you!

After a lot of consideration, I made the decision to retool what was necessary to re-release the yellow Mod Rod shown on that release’s box art. As such, the Ala Kart’s front axle and front suspension unit had to be recreated. I opted to leave the existing/modified (Kart) front suspension unit as it was (sans front springs) , so that it could still be used by those wanting to build the A-Venger version.

The Ala Kart wheels and ’32 Ford grille shell also needed to be retooled. The photo below shows images of the 3D models of all the retooled parts.


We’ve reopened every possible part gate in the tooling and have added part numbers to those without one. Even the Kart’s pickup bed will be back in the kit. But some key pieces, such as the Kart nose/radiator and the clear insert that goes into its chrome grille are gone from their respective tooling. The injector tube pieces for the Kart motor’s intake setup are also no longer in the primary tool.

It goes without saying that we are very excited about what IS in this value-added kit. You’ll be able to build two complete cars once again, including the original old-timey racer with it’s hopped-up four-banger motor. As we had acquired the original yellow Mod Rod box painting a couple years back, we’ve decided to make the kit available as part of the Original Art™ Series. It’ll be molded in white and have the large format box with a bonus print of the painting, suitable for remembering the heyday of modeling. The kit will also be available molded in yellow, in our standard packaging as well. Both kits include exactly the same parts and even feature two drag slick options – our new skinny “pie crusts” with Firestone lettering that will knock your socks off; and also a set of Goodyear Blue Streaks that look very similar to what’s shown on the Mod Rod box painting.

The planned release for this kit is in May, just in time for late-spring kit bashing season!

8 Responses to “The Inside Scoop on AMT’s 1929 Ford Model A “Mod Rod” Reissue”

  1. Greg Birky says:

    This is awesome news!!! Not only can we build two cool models but with a second kit I can rebuild an old original issue Ala Kart with a bunch of new pieces!!! I’m excited and will be anticipating this kits release!!!????????

  2. Todd Sargis says:

    Really looking forward to this kit. Lotsa lotsa cool vintage parts & the tires are worth the price of admission. Thank you guys!!

  3. Dave Darby says:

    Hi John,

    As a former box art builder for AMT back in the 1990s, I am very excited about the upcoming Mod Rod/29 Model A re-issue. I wanted offer a bit of information, and also weigh in on the old tool Vs new tool debate, as it were. The A-Venger front axle on the chrome tree is simply the stock front axle of the 29 Model A re-located to the chrome tree. To me, it would probably make more sense to restore it to the original position, and also restore the radius rods/air bags assembly.

    Regarding the old tool vs new tool, I am firmly in the Old Tool camp, and I will explain why in a comparison article I wrote for Thomas Voehringer’s Bonediggers Styrene Archaeology page when the new tool kit came out, along with a history of the Ala Kart (as of 2002). While the old tool kit is not perfect (tho hood/nose interface is a little pinched in at the top, and the air bag suspension is rather simplified, the new tool kit comes with a rather more significant can of worms. The engine is crudely rendered and drastically undersized. The cowl, hood, and nose are too square in shape, and the dash has a stucco pattern (correct) that continues into the gauges (not correct).

    It would be far more cost effective (and more in keeping with Round2’s restoring the past legacy) to restore the old tool than to try and correct all of the the new tool’s faults. Then you could have this for a future re-issue….

    • JohnG says:

      Dave, I know the front axle on the chrome tree was the stock item relocated. Not sure what benefit there’d be in moving it back to where it was – it can easily be de-chromed for a stock build, and remains available (with plating) for the A-Venger version. As I wanted to offer as many build options as possible, the modified radius rods were left as they are, as the modified part is also needed for the A-Venger version. For this and the reasons stated above, the radius rods/bags were tooled in their entirety. Being closely involved with all aspects of the tooling – old, new, retooled or restored, I will say that our engineering team likes to avoid recreating new inserts to fit back into vintage molds. That’s why you often seen retooled parts on new, small and separate sprues.

      • Ragtop Man says:

        RE: Newly tooled front airbag suspension

        Whew, good to know it is still in the plan.

        Can totally understand why the enginers would rather avoid modifying existing weld offs or modifications.

        Will the nerf bars from the Mod Rod (also used in AK) and the chrome custom cowl vent be in the tool as well?

  4. Paul Hooft says:

    I think what we really need is a 2 seat Fronty Ford with a real 2 seater racing body and an other chassis and engine with all those other souped up parts to make old style 1920-30’s T and A ford racers…
    That will be my day…

  5. Bill Mathewson says:

    Totally agree re: an old school kit of a Model T ‘speedster’ w/ early hop up parts (Frontenac & Riley heads, magneto ignitions, headers), plus split wishbones, hairpins, early V8 quickchange diff, ’37 Ford tube front axle, etc. What’s really needed – it’s never ever been done except in resin – is a ’26-’27 Model T roadster body! (make it as a stock body w/out any mods, please!, and let the kitbashers have at it). That body would have lots of appeal – hot rods, early board cars, lakes/salt flat car, gow jobs, etc.

  6. Pat Velasco says:

    It took until Yesterday for meto finally get my hands on a “Mod Rod” kit. I built the original double kit in the ’60’s when I was in High School, and it was probably the most enjoyable kit I have ever built! Okay, so there’s a missing part or two for the original Ala Kart. On first fitting, the new kit is even better! My congratulations to both the designers, and the illustrators! Even without parts swapping, the new custom looks beautiful, and the stocker like the original, should build to the best’29 Model “A” street rod of any of the offerings out there!Thank You for bringing back a kit that really should spark interest in younger builders and give positive reenforcement in a kit that works, as well as really thrilling older builders like me!

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