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Steel Tec from Remco (1992)


Company: Remco
Release date: 1992
Where to purchase: eBay

“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.

FIVE-YEAR RUN

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)
7002 Farm Tractor
7003 Fire Pumper
7004 Pick Up Truck
7005 Dump Truck (System 203)
7006 Auto Wrecker
7007 Road Excavator
7008 Road Grader
7009 Helicopter
7010 Construction & Road Vehicles (Motorized) (System 2)
7020 Road & Air Vehicles
7021 Construction 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
7025A Worksheet
7026 Road, Air, Construction & Race Vehicles
7028 Road Haulers
7030 Road & Air Vehicles (with power wrench)
7031 Workshop
7040 Harley Davidson Motorcycles
7041 Harley Davidson Motorcycles
7045 Work Center Storage Case
7047 Junior Storage Case
7049 Competition Vehicle
7050 Road and Air Vehicle
7070 Power Wrench
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.

LAWSUITS

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.

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