Saturday, June 16, 2018

Anson 1:43 2001 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD pickup

One thing that I’ve noticed recently aside from the surging popularity of JDM cars but the popularity of large-scale diecast trucks: as the cost of producing metal for these diecast toys increase so does more plastic in heavier trucks so the days of massive diecast trucks and SUV’s has dwindled, especially in 1:18 scale.  One company that has a nice assortment of trucks from the late 1990’s to the early 2000’s is the Anson brand and these trucks are high in demand and command higher prices on the secondary market and, unfortunately from what I’ve experienced they also suffer from metal fatigue and bubbling paint.  I recently acquired this dually for a good price and in excellent condition as my first 1:43 scale Anson truck, the Silverado dually.

Heavy Duty trucks in light duty truck lines refer to trucks that have a stronger frame to better challenge heavier payloads and towing duties on a truck that can weight a quarter of a ton (2500) or a ton( 3500) and sometimes higher models as well.  Dually models are offered in 3500 models and were the only bed and axle combination until recently more and more automakers are adopting single rear wheel 3500 models.  Chevrolet finally released the new Silverado HD in 2001 after a few years successful run with the 1500 Silverado.  Styling is similar to the 1500 with the exception of a slightly larger bar in the grille and a taller hood, while the interior carries over the same simple layout and roomy seating for five that now also includes a four-door crew cab bodystyle.  The engine is a new line of gas and diesel motors with the diesel being a new line of Duramax engines that has a 6.6L turbodiesel V8 producing 300 horsepower and 520 Ib-ft. of torque through a four-speed automatic transmission.

The Anson 1:43 line basically takes most of the tooling details from the 1:18 and 1:24 scale versions of this truck so it is no surprise it has the same level of details.  The front has a detailed black grille with chrome center bar, split headlights and signal lights, and lower bumper with chrome and black trim pieces and integrated foglights.  The hood has that tall look to it and joins the separate exterior mirrors, 3500 badges on the front doors, and the simple white color of the truck with clearance lights on the dually bed and chrome front and rear wheels on rubber tires.  The rear has detailed taillights, Silverado badge, and chrome and black trim rear bumper; on my example the Chevrolet name rubbed off and the rear plate sticker went missing, but otherwise an fantastic piece.  The roof has detailed front clearance lights and the rear has the center brake light with cargo light details, while the tailgate opens up to reveal a large bed that can swallow a 1:64 scale car with the tailgate in the down position.  The doors do not open, but the hood does open to show off the diesel V8 motor with detailed battery, air cleaner, fluid resovoirs, turbo hosing, 6.6 Turbo Diesel engine cover, and AC hose lines.

The base shows off excellent details for this scale range with the visible strong frame, front suspension, engine and transmission drivetrain, rear axle, exhaust system, fuel tank, and detailed spare tire, while the interior has lots of excellent detailing starting off with a split front bench seat that allows seating for six in this extended cab, 2WD truck and has detailed door panels, 4-spoke steering wheel, and dashboard with detailed controls.  This is a very excellent casting from Anson that unlike the larger scale counterparts is small enough to fit in my collection while still offering the stellar level of detailing found in the larger scale versions from Anson.

Siku 2015 Ram 1500 Police

The Ram 1500 police has been a casting that has been done recently by Greenlight and Matchbox, and with their fantastic details why would we need another one?  Well for starters this Siku version is slightly larger and offers more functions than before.

The Ram 1500 police is based on a Tradesman work truck package and adds the 5.7L HEMI V8 that produces 350 horsepower through an eight-speed automatic, optional part-time four-wheel drive system, heavy-duty alternator, battery, suspension, and upgraded interior that allows space for police equipment and easy-to-clean rear seat for perps.  It is a truck that works best in rural areas, like Texas, though these trucks are seen less-often in urban areas as the traditional police car and SUV fill those roles.  Siku starts off with the RAM LAW deco on the sides in silver against an all-black paint and blacked-out 5-spoke wheels, though they look a lot like the Mercedes G65 SUV’s units and yes they can be removed and placed on any axle area.

The front has a large black grille with ram logo, headlights that have an outline of the projector beam units found on higher-end Ram models, and a metal lower bumper that gets a plastic front push bumper.  The bodylines are nicely detailed, the roof has red emergency flashers, and running boards are also offered on this truck, while the rear has detailed taillights, RAM on the license plate, and a trailer hitch.  The cargo area is big and useful and comes with a handy opening tailgate at the rear that joins the opening hood and front doors for more function than what can be found on the Mercedes G-wagen.  The base underneath has some exhaust details but mostly just Siku’s usual spec text though the rear muffler is placed in the wrong spot as it interferes with where the spare tire usually sits in this truck; meanwhile the hood opens up to show off the HEMI V8 with the detailed air cleaner and hose, engine cover, radiator, battery, and assorted hoses across the engine bay.  The interior is a nice departure from the disappointment found in the incomplete G-wagen with detailed dashboard, 3-spoke steering wheel, center stack controls, center console, and even the floor mats.  Problem is this looks more like a civilian truck inside than a police truck, but still very nicely done.

Siku may have dodge a bullet from me-too casting condrum by providing a Ram police truck with more details and lots of functionality.

Majorette and Siku Mercedes-Benz G63 and G65 AMG SUV’s

It is common to see classic vehicles get the popularity treatment for mostly nostalgic reasons, but the Mercedes G-wagen has been a hit lately even though this truck started out as a rugged four-wheel drive SUV for commercial use in 1979.  Since then the G-wagen has been upgraded with more luxury, more power, and for 2019 an all-new platform, and today there’s an abundance of G-wagen replica’s from the AMG versions to the wild 6x6 version.  In 2017 Majorette and Siku released AMG G-wagens in similar appearance, but the two have some vast differences between them.

The G-wagen started life as the Gelandewagen, German for “cross-country vehicle” and was introduced in 1979 as a rugged SUV for military duty by the King of Iran at the time, who was a shareholder of Mercedes-Benz.  The SUV since then has carried on more commercial duties for various countries in two-door, four-door, and two-door convertible bodystyles and has kept its shape unchanged for years.  The mechanicals are shared with the Unimog truck and includes three locking differentials, while powertrains were restricted to diesel four-cylinder motors with a few gas-powered motors offered later on.  The G-class was never sold in the U.S. except for gray-market conversions until Mercedes finally offered the G-wagen from the factory in 2002, yet still sales were limited to about 1,000 a year.  Then in 2010 the popularity of the G-wagen suddenly spiked mostly due to celebrity influences (now that Hummer brand is gone) and from insane models like AMG finally getting its hands on the G-wagen and even building the limited-production and wild 6x6 truck with three axles.  While the body shape has not changed much over the years the AMG versions get LED running lights, larger lower grilles in the front bumper, running boards, and a nice spare tire cover at the rear.  The front and rear axles are live axle with an off-set design that places the axle on the frame and connects to the wheels by U-joints just like the axles in the Unimog (though that changes for 2019), and since the fuel tank is at the rear the exhausts exit out on the side, which now includes both sides in the AMG version.  The interior has seating for five with an upright dashboard borrowing components from other Mercedes passenger vehicles.  The G63 is powered by a 5.5L twin-turbocharged DOHC V8 that produces 537 horsepower through a seven-speed automatic transmission, while the G65 uses a 6.0L twin-turbocharged DOHC V-12 that produces 604 horsepower.

Majorette was first to release the G63 in 2017 in 1:64 scale, so it is smaller than the Siku G65 that goes to about 1:45th scale, or so.  The front has separate round headlights, detailed silver trim on the grille with three-pointed star, and the lower bumper in metal with the large scoops.  Around the vehicle the details of the line stamps, wiper blades on the front windshield, and running boards are nicely done, while the rear has a separate spare tire cover, detailed taillights, AMG badges, and even a trailer hitch for towing.  The 5-spoke wheels are blacked out and have a chrome outer rim for a cool look that goes well with this flat black paint scheme, while the hood opens up to reveal the twin-turbo V8 even though the engine bay is crowded and the only thing visible is the engine cover and the hosing for the turbos.  The interior has seating for five with detailed seats, flat-bottomed 4-spoke steering wheels, floating center infortainment screen, detailed controls on the center stack and console along with a detailed shifter.  This is one very nicely done G-wagen casting from Majorette and works well in the line that also includes a working suspension for even more fun.

Over at Siku it’s a different story as the casting is larger and even in yellow it is obvious that the front and rear bumpers are separate plastic components in black that look out-of-place on a top-tier AMG model.  The front has the same separate round headlights and grille details as the Majorette but adds separate fender-mounted signal lights, side trim and front fender vents.  The side profile has the same sharp body details like the Majorette and then makes the running boards and fender flares separate from the metal body and the side exhausts are sticking out here just below the running boards.  The rear has detailed taillights, a full-size spare tire to match the other wheels, and a smaller trailer hitch next to the Euro plate that splits the rear bumper design.  So why should I get this over the Majorette?  While it has no opening hood it does have opening front doors and the left-hinged side door at the rear, plus another cool feature: removable wheels of the rubber tires with blacked-out and accurate 5-spoke wheels of the real truck, and that includes not only the four wheels but also the fifth wheel on the rear gate.

The base underneath has some of the rear axle and exhaust details, but most of them are removed to allow Siku’s plethora of specs to span across the base, while the interior seems a bit of a letdown with a dashboard that has no gauge cluster hump and barely any details on the center stack controls.  It does have the detailed front and rear seats and the rear door opens up to a good amount of cargo space for an SUV.  This Siku version has some cool features like more opening parts, removable wheels, and the V-12 powerplant but the lack of dashboard details and black front and rear bumpers detract from the casting, not to mention the larger size so for the most part I think the Majorette G63 is a safer bet for most collectors.