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Friday, August 14, 2015

Lindburg 1998 Dodge Dakota Sport 4x4

Back in the late part of the 20th century it was common to walk into a dealership and asked if they have any promo model cars made by AMT/Ertl or Brookfield Collectors.  They would have one based on almost each model offered that year and offered in the actual color, injection-molded in the plastic body.  This was common practice even back in the 1950's when the Big 3 used plastic models to sample paint colors for each model line, and that eventually carried over into the parts department for dealerships to sell.  Sadly, this is a less-common practice today, but still a cool piece to find in a second-hand market, which thankfully has not grown so much into popularity at the moment.  I have a few others that I'll share later on from the AMT/Ertl side, but for now i'll focus on a vehicle where sometimes these promo kits do make it to stores as a model kit, and in this case it's the Lindberg 1998 Dodge Dakota Sport.

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Lindberg sold this truck as a built model in a box, but most of the time I mostly saw it in stores as a model kit.  A disclaimer: it says skill level 2, a moderate skill level that requires paint and glue but is not as difficult as a skill level 3.  However, this is actually the easy skill level one where the body is already painted with injection mold and requires a little bit of gluing and mostly the pieces snap together.  Unlike the Revell Snap-tite, not all pieces snap together, so hence the cement glue.  In addition to the simple assembly I added details to the base and to the window trim, silver letters on the tires, and a shifter and a clutch pedal to make it a 5-speed manual to a 3.9L V6 that makes 175 hp.  The V6 and V8 engines are so identical that it makes distinguishing them impossible (also note the V8 badges made into a slightly-sloppy V6).  The chassis has nice and deep touches from the frame to the suspension components to the skidplates and the proper transfer case for a 4x4 truck.  Also note the spare tire is a real rubber piece like the wheels, but the hub has a different connection point than the other four wheels.  Speaking of wheels they turned out nice and really pop out on this truck, though I did run into a major issue: during pressing the pins into the rather tight wheels I broke one of the mounts off one of the wheels.  Rats!  What to do now?  Thankfully a rubber piece that was large enough to fill the inner rim of the wheel was glued into place after placing the rubber piece into the pin axle and fixed the issue despite looking a bit crooked on the right-front wheel (the flexible rubber, though, allows positioning the wheel in a straight position, as evident in the pictures).

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Unlike a skill level 2 the hood does not open and the tailgate does not either.  The body is also in great shape with clear headlights, already-painted signal lights, chrome fog lights, and grille with separate black slots.  The mirrors are slotted and can be removed if you want to preserve them, or glue them on temporarily.  I'm proud of how the black trim on the windows look, and the water-based decals were a challenge but went on without any problems (you do have a limited timeframe for adjustment before the decals dry out and permanently stick).  The back end has the detailed taillights, tailgate decals, and the lower bumper is already painted as well.  The interior has excellent details from the seats, center console, door panels, to the dashboard, gauges, steering wheel, and of course my add-on manual transmission shifter, and hey it's got a transfer case shifter as well!

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I had my doubts about this model kit as I didn't want to deal with an advance skill level 2 kit that requires more painting and gluing as I have lots of other responsibilites in life, and I fear that it would fall apart after a few years, but thankfully my fears were put to rest as this Dodge Dakota Sport model kit was actually easier than I thought, no painting required, and the results with a few added touches brings out the best in this casting, even better than the models from Anson!

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