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MPC 1/25 scale 1975 Datsun ‘Li’l Hustler’ pickup plastic model kit review

Simplified design does not mean beginner-friendly with this updated re-pop
Kit:MPC982 // Scale:1/25 // Price:$31.99
Straightforward build; colorful and easy-to-use decals; nice tires
No instructions for decal placement; some flash
Injection-molded plastic parts (white, clear, chrome); 115 parts (4 vinyl tires); decals
Round 2 has been re-releasing OOP kits from its various brands, leaning hard into nostalgia. In keeping with that strategy, the company has revised and released the MPC 1/25 scale 1975 Datsun Li’l Hustler pickup. The plastic model of the 620 series drag truck features a flip nose, colorful decals, and nicely formed vinyl tires with Goodyear markings.

Uncomplicated and very much a product of its time, the Datsun builds much like you’d expect, with some hiccups along the way. Also, don’t be surprised that you’ll have to clean up some flash on parts, which you should expect with old molds.

First, the driveshaft indicated in the instructions is too long for the engine placement. Luckily, the other driveshaft on the parts tree fits very well, so no surgery is required.

I chose to glue the tailgate in place in the up position, but it can be made posable. You can also pose the tilt nose, but the instructions don’t point to a precise location for the hinges, and the parts do not have positive locators. You’ll need to test-fit to ensure you get the right fit for the nose when it’s closed.

The decals laid down around curves nicely with a little setting solution. The Datsun logo lined up perfectly with the raised letter on the tailgate. Don’t rush getting it into place — make sure you have the logo in position before blotting up the water.

There are two sets of gauges and dash decals. Be careful when moving the gauges into place — mine ripped. After placing the decals, I realized it may be better to drill the gauges and then set the gauge decals behind the dash.

Despite the decals working well and looking good, the instructions do not indicate placement. You’ll have to infer all of that from the box top and gut feeling.

The chrome on the chrome-plated parts looks good, but you’ll have to touch it up after cleaning the mold lines. I used the Molotow Liquid Chrome paint pens. Unfortunately, the grille isn’t provided in chrome, so you’ll have to paint it to match. Going the other way, the headlights are chrome-plated instead of clear — a holdover from the original kit. I recommend sourcing clear lenses from another kit.

The rear window has trim molded onto the part and fits nicely. On the other hand, the windshield has no positive locators. Take your time and check all the edges to ensure it’s centered in the opening. You’ll need fast-setting glue to tack it in place. I had to hold it in place to make sure the corners remained in contact while the glue cured. The side windows didn’t fit well at all, so I chose to leave them off. On the bright side, I can see more of the interior without them. The decal sheet provides various contingency decals and options for exterior markings.

Inside, the kit provides a simple, 3-point roll bar with a fire extinguisher attached to it. Decals detail the block-off plates where the radio and heater controls would be. The seats have molded-in seat belts, and the door panels display good detail, as does the floor pan.

With no firewall, the master brake cylinder mounts to the front of the interior tub. Regarding the wheelie bars, the instructions, yet again, don’t show definitive placement, leaving you to use your best judgment.

Round 2’s MPC 1/25 scale 1975 Datsun Li’l Hustler pickup plastic model kit makes for a unique drag truck model. It could be a good way to begin to practice scratchbuilding—open doors, use different seats, and model a full roll cage. Even out of the box, it’s not a kit suitable for beginners. Despite modern tweaks, the kit shows its age and needs an experienced hand and modeling know-how to complete it.
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