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Monday, December 26, 2016

Maisto 1:27 1999 Ford F-350 Super Duty pickups



After many complaints about the softened look of the 1997 F-150's and F-250's Ford decided to respond to the criticism by making the heavy-duty F-250 and F-350 pickups a separate line called Super Duty, and with that came styling that was more truck-like with squared-off lines in combination with some rounded ones from the light-duty versions.  Many companies over the years have made the Super Duty pickups in many different forms: single rear wheel, duallies, chassis cab with fire, stake, or flatbed apparatuses, and one of the first came from Maisto.  You can find the F-350, which was the first Big 3 automaker to offer single rear wheels on the one ton models as an option, in plenty of variations from 1:24 to power racer 1:43 to even 1:64, but you might have never saw these three coming.









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The Super Duty goes for a more brawnier look with a taller hood featuring a larger front grille with side nostrils that would appear on other Ford trucks over the next ten years.  Headlights were larger and square as well, as does the doors and door handles, but out back the taillights and tailgate were shared with the F-150's.  The exterior mirrors were long ovals that had arms designed to extend to allow better visibility when towing, also aided by the lower forward kink in the doors for better visibility.  The interior has the same steering wheel and setup, but the layout goes for a larger and square dashboard with more room for more controls.  Crew cab models were only offered on Super Duty models until 2000 when the F-150 finally got four full-size doors.  The chassis is much beefier for larger payloads and towing with the front suspension gaining either sturdier A-arms and torsion bars (2WD) or a live axle on 4WD models.  Powertrains include the Triton V8 family that includes the 5.4L V8 and the 6.8L V-10, while the Powerstroke 7.3L turbodiesel V8.  All engines can come with a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission and choices of two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive with part-time transfer case and a floor shifter.  The Super Duty line has remained unchanged with slight upgrades until 2008 when the front-end got heavy modifications and a vastly-upgraded interior layout.  2017 marks the first time the Super Duty has come closer the the F-150 design with only slight differences in exterior design and name designations the only differences.






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Maisto introduced the F-350 in 1999 in red or silver.  The first release was a regular cab, long bed design that featured the brawny front-end with chrome grille and large headlights, though the holes that secure the headlight lenses are too close to the grille, making the truck look cross-eyed.  The sides have nice smooth lines with large exterior mirrors and F-350 badges, yet I noticed the gas cap door is missing.  The rear has round taillights with tailgate badging, chrome bumper with California SuperDty plate, and a tailgate that opens up to the large cargo bed.  What you may not know is that the bed is all-plastic, even on the outside (hard to tell in darker colors and silver), and that bed is separate from the cab.





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The chrome wheels are multi-spoke design with large center cap that looks good on the truck, and earlier versions have steerable wheels connected to the steering wheel; later versions had the steering shaft removed for simplicity.  The interior has the large, flat dashboard with two-spoke steering wheel, detailed air vents, controls, and center stack for radio and HVAC controls.  The transfer case shifter sits on the floor, the door panels are nice but lack detail, and the bench seat sits three people.  The steering wheel is upside down and is so large that Maisto could not get detailed gauges to show through.  The base shows off the details that start at the front with the lower control arms and live axle, engine, transmission, driveshaft, exhaust, fuel tank, live rear axle, and spare tire details.  Notice the lack of plastic base expansion outside of the live rear axles.










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What you may or may not know is that the separate cab and no base extension at the rear means that Maisto made different chassis cab options.  In 1999 they offered three different versions in red (not sure if any were in silver): the fleetside cargo bed mentioned before, the stake bed, and the flat bed.  You can get all three as separate models, or as a Testors kit that offered the three different configurations, but you could only choose one of the options.  The flat bed has a plastic floor with detailed wood trim and a back cab plate to protect the rear window.  Also below there's a small central bumper and taillights outside of the bumper.  Losing the extra plastic trim outside of the rear leaf springs gives both models a cleaner look.  The flatbed seems useless without anything to secure the cargo down; that would be a better job for the stake bed truck.  The stake bed is very much similar to the flatbed, which then adds plastic wood stakes to connect with the cab panel for a secure cargo area.  Plus, it looks cooler too!






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Sadly the flat bed and stake bed versions did not carry on after 2000.  Since then the pickup version has come with lifted versions and a few recolors, but otherwise unchanged.  After recently seeing a black version I got a crafty solution and did a one-off custom version.  This version not only enhances the look but adds a few unique novelty features.  At the front the grille has black inserts with the headlights designed to look like the halogen units found on the XL-trim models.  Out back the reverse lamps are detailed as is the center brake and cargo lights.  Underneath the base is detailed with silver components on the exhaust, engine components, and even the spare tire is detailed.  The wheels have the Ford logo outlined in blue.  If you'll notice on the base the transmission is grinded down to a rounded appearance to simulate the manual transmission.  Inside you'll see that shifter in the middle for the 5-speed manual transmission, though the boot does hide the transfer case shifter a bit.  I also added some detail to the dashboard and made the steering wheel all-black.  The look is very impressive against the glossy paint that gives it some style for a work truck.







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It's nice to see where the Maisto F350 got its roots started.  While you may see most of them in the fleetside pickup look, keep an eye out for the rare flatbed and stakebed versions that were offered only for one year.


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