I went to the local "Big Lots" store the other day, and found a kit I've been looking for for a loooong time! Picked up an AMT Fruehauf Tanker trailer for the exhorbitant price of $3.99!!! I've seen this kit new for over $40! Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. Sorry, they don't have any more. In fact, it seemed to be the only model kit in the entire store!
Every rare, once in a while ours will get in gems like this. It seems like over the past year or two, they will occasionally get in those AMT sets with three or four different car models in them. Usually one that I want and the others I could care less about. lol
There were a lot more model kits available at "Big Lots" predecesors: "McFrugal's" and "Pick and Save".
I recall the first time I went into a "Pick & Save" back in the early '90s and found a bunch of AMT Indy cars for something like $2.49. Later on, I've found really cheap Star Trek & Star Wars kits, AMT P-40s & F7F Tigercats, Testors 1/32 YF-22s, and AMT XB-35 & YB-49 Flying Wings at "McFrugal's".
The only models I've ever seen at "Big Lots" are the Polar Lights Hulk and Lost in Space (no chariot) kits and some Testors cars.
Wow. Pick 'n Save is how I got my start modeling. ALOT of Linberg line, including some German tanks and the motorized Bizmarck! They had the PT-109 but I never got that. This was back in the very early '80s in Albuquerque. That's some memories. Cheap enough that mom didn't even blink to buy one for me.
I even remember once there was the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders van..... This was before I even had the concept of scale.
The Testors kits in those big flat yellow boxes ranged from poor (the BMW "M325is" - a curbside that is actually the only E30 M3 mold available in 1/24, the Volvo, probably the Isuzu and maybe the Mazda RX-7 and Porsche 944) to spectacular (BMW M635CSi; the high-parts-count Porsches including the 356B/C coupe & cabrio, some 911 variants, and the 928; the '46-'48 Ford coupe/conv. kits).
Even the original manufacturer (Fujimi, for both BMW kits mentioned, although I don't think it shows up on the former one) isn't a reliable indicator, since those kits came from different 'series'. Some appear to have been originally Heller, ESCI, Italeri, and even IMC (!) kits. Like Entex in the late '70s-early '80s, Testors apparently didn't make any original kits for this series. They were all repackaged kits from known manufacturers. I don't know about *all* of them, but I can hazard a pretty good guess as to their origins for most. I have the old Porsches, a Benz 300SL, a few later/racing Porsches, both BMWs and a Ford, if you have questions about particular ones.
The Testors car kits currently on the shelf at "Big Lots" are (unfortunately) not the ones you're thinking of.
They are in an "AMT"/"Revell-Monogram" style car kit box with a photo of the finished model which look like they have a low level of detail. I don't recall seeing this line of Testors car kits on the shelves at any of the local hobby shops which only deepens the mystery as to what they really are.
I too, am curious as to whose molds these kits came from.
I saw or bought (mostly bought) most all of the kits you listed above at Big Lots back in the early-mid 90s. The only one I don't recall right off is the YF-22 kit - but than again it was possible to miss a kit or two as they moved them quickly. I stepped up my Big Lots patrols when I started missing out on kits that were popping up at the local flea market with traces of Big Lots stickers on them. I kept pace for a while and scored some decent kits that I actually wanted in my collection, many more that were good for salvaging parts and kit bashing and still more that made for good guinea pigs on which to practice new building and finishing techniques.
In addition to the ones you listed, off the top of my head I remember picking up these kits around 10 yrs ago or more at Big Lots:
Batman Returns/B-Forever/B&Robin batmobiles, batmissiles, batwings and vinyl figures Kits from the short lived Seaquest series Vinyl Trek figure kits - I picked up Scotty & Kirk Amt car kits of 90s era muscle cars - Vettes, Camaro, Firebirds, pickups, etc Testor car kits - mostly Jap. or euro subject in 1/24, some oddball scales like a 1/20 Lamborghini. Cases and cases of the Mk II GT-40 kits (#2 and #98) - Fujimis I think ARII kits or something like that of WWII 1/48 fighters - Zeros, Mustangs, TBolts come to mind Cases and cases of AMT 1/25th Nascar kits - Elliott Coors/Coors Lt, Wallace Genuine Draft, Kodak Olds and Chevys, Citgo Tbirds - early 90s teams Esci armor kits (red boxes) - M60 tanks, BMPs, LAV-25, T-55s, maybe a T-62 Testors A-6, F-4S, the infamous non existent stealth models F-19, F-35 I think Testors Navy deck crew figures Monogram 1/48, 1/72 aircraft - Blue Angels F-18, F-8 Crusader, F-14 Tomcat, SR-71, etc AMT planes - add the 1/48th A-20 to the pile. Jurassic Park Explorer, Flintstone mobile, Magnum's Ferrari - junk like that. Some snap tite Nascar kits from AMT for a buck or two
I can back this up. The Testor 1/24 eurocar kits I picked up years ago from Big Lots were indeed repacks sometimes with the original manufacturers logo on a corner of the box. I recall Fujimi and Italieri clearly. What I didn't rob for parts or experiment with I gave away. Eurocars not being my cup of tea.
Among the Testor aircraft kits I picked up from Big Lots, they repackaged an A-6 intruder and a F-4S Phantom that I recall. The pedigree on these are pretty well known, I think someone even mentioned the problems with the A-6 kit a few months ago in a previous discussion.