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Peterbilt 352 Pacemaker 1:25 AMT Truck

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Peterbilt 352 'Pacemaker'

1:25 plastic kit from AMT


Peterbilt was founded in 1839 in Oakland California making medium to heavy trucks mainly for the US market. If you think of a classic American truck its most likely to be a Peterbilt that you imagine with a big chrome grill and hood before cab layout. Peterbilt have also built cab over trucks but with the liberal rules on truck lengths in America drivers prefer the bonneted trucks, the 352 cab over ‘Pacemaker’ is modelled in 1:25 here by AMT. The 352 was launched in 1959 and was given the nickname ‘Pacemaker’ in 1969 by a contest among the staff at Peterbilt. The cab is made from sheet metal, and came in a variety of cab lengths from short day cab, to a massive 110inch long sleeper cab.

The kit is old, so expect some flash and to put in some work on the fit. It is moulded in white plastic mostly with 2 chrome sprues and some clear parts for the windows, and orange and red clear for the lights. I will strip the chrome as it’s a little ‘toy’ like for me. In my haste to get building this I forgot to get pictures of the cab before I sprayed it in primer!









The construction starts with the engine and transmission, the engine is a Detroit Diesel V8 and is made up of lots of different parts to give an accurate and detailed part for your model and the instructions name the parts like the valve covers, oil filters, etc, to give some insight into the makeup of the truck. This continues throughout the build. The engine and transmission can be detailed, and painted separately to the rest of the chassis.

The chassis is a 157-inch wheel base and is made up of 2 rails, joined by 6 cross members, take care to keep the chassis straight and true or you will end up with a bent model. The front axle sits on metal leaf springs, with the duel drive back axles on air ride with the next 4 stages on the instructions covering the axles and suspension. These are all well detailed and include correct drive hubs, my only criticism is the front axle is fixed straight so you can’t pose the wheels turned. An aftermarket axle could be swapped in you wanted here.

Final parts like the diesel tanks, air tanks and other ancillary parts can now be added to the chassis, as normal I would add some wires and cables to simulate the loom and air hoses around the chassis, have a look online and in the walk around section for inspiration here. The instructions give advice on the chassis colours, 2 decal options are included ‘Patriot’ would need painting light blue (to match the decals) or Orange and blue but as most Peterbilt where custom built, or painted during their service lives anything could be used. Check references if copying a real truck here.



Now you move onto the cab, the interior, the main floor and lower walls come as a single tub with the centre of the dash board, there isn’t many parts to add as the cabs are simple inside and the instructions give details on the factory interior colours. The cab is the 86-inch mid-range version and is moulded in a single part and has some nice rivet detail on the outside and lots of holes in the roof for the air conditioner, roof lights and horns so if you don’t want these, get the filler out! You can paint and decal the cab shell, before glazing and sliding the interior tub in to make the build go easier. A pair of exhaust stacks are attached to the back of the cab, with some steps under the floor. The cab is attached to the chassis with 2 pins at the front so you can pose the cab tilted to show off the engine. I would probably add some ballast to the back of the chassis, maybe in the tyres to balance the model­­­.


There are 10 tyres in the box, made from soft rubber with good tread and side wall detail to fit on the ‘Alcoa’ wheels found on the chrome sprue, each wheel is made from 2 parts sandwiching the tyre. From experience you can slip the tyre over the lip once they are assembled and painted.


Trucks in the USA at the time the 352 was in production where not painted in company liveries, they came with a vast array of colourful stripe sets for the cabs, this kit includes a blue and red set, and a special ‘Patriot’ scheme along with some company names for the doors, Peterbilt logos and legal lettering for the cabs. The decal is very colourful and well printed with sharp crisp details and options.


This is a welcome re-issue from Round2 of a classic American truck with lots of good detail on the parts. It’s an old kit so expect some work on cleaning and fitting the parts. There is aftermarket cab decals and other parts to suit this truck to make it your own and the numerous options on the 352 means you can chop the cab, and chassis to make different versions of the 352.

 Review sample courtesy of logo.jpg UK distributors for logo.gif

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Great review. I have always been tempted by one of these classic AMT kits. Maybe I should do one sometime. Looks a fairly simple process to build!


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I've built a few of these, pretty good kit. I do recommend a piece of 2.5 or 3 mm angle plastic under the front crossmember to hold the bumper, just trim it underneath to look convincing that it belongs. The entire cab's weight rest on the little front frame rails otherwise and most often will fall off. If you don't ever want to tilt the cab, then the kit parts should be ok. One other thing is to fill the space between the cab walls and the interior tub and the space behind the grill area with 0,040 or larger sheet plastic. this takes a bit of time to cut and measure a bunch of bits, but will keep the cab walls from puckering up or i should say sucking themselves in over time, plus it will give it a finished look under neath when you tilt the cab. The KWs also need the same treatment. I found that out when I used to buy vintage parts trucks for rebuild when they were to expensive to buy on evilbay. Test fit the exhaust parts before painting them to, sometimes they don't like to line up the best.

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On 10/22/2016 at 1:47 PM, richellis said:

thanks for the tips, I am going to try and glue this together soon as I do like these old cab overs

Oh ya, dechrome the exhaust manifolds, those are cast iron and never were chrome. They were usually painted in the engine, then the paint quickly disappeared and turned to rust because the Detroits do run very hot. Everything else is pretty good in the kit.

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  • 6 months later...

Great review of a classic!

In my teens I built an Ertl "Blueprinter" kit of the International Transtar cab-over.

But, at the time, these kits were rather pricey (to an Aussie teenager on a limited pocket-money budget) so I never did own an AMT prime mover kit.

Now that I'm a lot older and my skills and tools have vastly improved (not to mention having a regular income), I am very tempted to put the money down for one of these classics. B)

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  • 2 months later...

Apologies to anyone who considers this Review to be "yesterday's news" but I just wanted to add that I went out and bought this kit; because of the cool review and the fact it brought back so many memories of my mid-teens obsession with these truck kits, back in the late 70's.

I feel like a child in a chocolate shop as I rifle through the box and enjoy the retro box artwork and instructions.

Can't wait to build it.

Big thanks to Richellis for the review that started it all. 



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  • 2 months later...

Hi Rich,

can I point out that the presence of flash has nothing to do with the age of the tooling, its just bad condition setting of the moulding machine/tool during production of the model. I worked in the plastics industry for 13 years & it is my mission in life to try to quash this myth that flash = age/mould deteriation, I am only boring you with this as you post reviews in the hope that you will help to dispel this misconception,

thanks for the review,


Edited by Julien
quoting whole topic removed
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