“The Steel Construction System that enables you to use your imagination!”
In 1992, Remco released Steel Tec, a model construction system that offered junior engineers builds combining metal parts, such as brackets, strips, and plates, and polystyrene components that were inter-connected using metal screws.
Steel Tec had a Meccano-esque feel, right down to its use of the same thread size (BSW 5/32-inches) for its nuts and bolts as Hornby’s iconic sets. However, Remco swapped in an Allen key instead of Meccano’s standard screwdriver. All required tools and easy-to-follow instructions were included with each Steel Tec set.
Throughout its five-year run (1992-1997), more than 30 different Steel Tec sets were released to consumers. Initial releases focused on smaller, single-model builds that were vehicles, including various road, air, and construction vehicles.
As the line evolved, Remco released larger builds tied to commercial brands, like Harley Davidson, Chevrolet, and Ford. The company also released sets based on iconic ships from the Star Trek and Star Wars universes, including the USS Enterprise, X-wing Starfighter, and Millennium Falcon. Many of the newer sets were battery powered and included electronic sounds and lights.
|7001||Crane Truck (System 1)|
|7004||Pick Up Truck|
|7005||Dump Truck (System 203)|
|7010||Construction & Road Vehicles (Motorized) (System 2)|
|7020||Road & Air Vehicles|
|7022||Road & Air Vehicles Plus Walking Robot (System 3)|
|7023||Construction Vehicles Plus Walking Dinosaur (System 6)|
|7024||Road, Rail, and Air Vehicles / Power Wrench|
|7025||Excavating & Land Vehicles|
|7026||Road, Air, Construction & Race Vehicles|
|7030||Road & Air Vehicles (with power wrench)|
|7040||Harley Davidson Motorcycles|
|7041||Harley Davidson Motorcycles|
|7045||Work Center Storage Case|
|7047||Junior Storage Case|
|7050||Road and Air Vehicle|
|7073||Adjust-o-Matic Power Wrench|
|7075||Mutant Bugs (System 204)|
|7080||Land And Air Vehicles – F-18 Fighter|
|7080||Land And Air Vehicles – ATV (System SK)|
|7081||Land And Air Vehicles – Police Copter|
|7082||Land And Air Vehicles – Baja Buggy|
|7082||Land And Air Vehicles – Road Warrior|
|7082||Land And Air Vehicles – Racing Cycle|
|7085||Motorcycle with Spring Suspension|
|7085C||Copters with Spring Suspension|
|7085||Airplanes with Spring Suspension|
|7085D||Competition Vehicles with Spring Suspension|
|7090||Harley Davidson Motorcycles (System 201)|
|7091||Harley Davidson Motorcycles (System 301)|
|7092||Roaring Walking Dinosaurs (System 404)|
|7094||Star Trek: The Next Generation U.S.S. Enterprise (System 405)|
|7095||Amusement Park Ferris Wheel (System 402)|
|7096||Amusement Park Parachute Ride (System 401)|
|7097||X 2000 Space Station & Shuttle|
|7120||1:18 Scale 1957 Chevy Corvette|
|7121||1:18 Scale 1994 Ford Mustang GT|
|7130||Planes and Copters (Mega Sized)|
|7135||Bigfoot / Snakebite Monster Trucks (Limited Edition)|
|7140||Star Wars Mega-Sized Millennium Falcon|
|7141||Star Wars Mega-Sized X-Wing Fighter|
|7200||Starter (Beginner) (Level 1)|
|7201||Starter (Intermediate) (Level 2)|
|7203||Starter (Expert) (Level 3)|
|7211||Starter – Motormania (Level 2)|
Towards the end of the line’s run, Steel Tec Starters with bigger tools and fewer pieces were released, aimed at kids ages 4-7. A Power Wrench and Work Center Storage Case were also introduced, allowing kids to build sets faster and store them more easily.
In 1993, Meccano filed a civil action against Remco for their claim that Steel Tec was compatible with its building system. The company won the suit, forcing Remco to remove the statement from its packaging.
In February 1996, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charged Remco’s parent company, Azrak-Hamway International, Inc., with deceptive and misleading TV advertising and packaging. The company ran several commercials that showed Steel Tec vehicles moving under their own power – performance capabilities the toys didn’t have.
The FTC was also critical of Steel Tec packaging, finding that it could easily mislead consumers into believing they could build multiple models simultaneously while not making it clear that one model would need to be deconstructed before being able to create another.
The verdict allowed consumers who felt they were misled to return their sets to Azrak-Hamway for a full refund.