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Friday, December 19, 2014

Maisto 1:24 SRT Viper GTS



Before I get to the Hot Wheels versions, I wanted to take a look at the very first brand to do the current SRT Viper in small scale, the Maisto SRT Viper GTS in 1:24 scale.

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Rebirth of a legend

Bankruptcy in 2009, change of ownership that finally rests with Fiat Automotive required a lot of changes in the Chrysler brand, which also includes the decision to keep the Viper in the line or drop it for good.  Well there was a lot of uproar to keep the Viper in the line, and Chrysler finally obliged to do so, but they had to drop the dated Viper at the time with the cheap-looking interior for something more meaningful for the price.  In 2012 the next Viper was shown, looking more evolutionary but with a beautiful look to the sheetmetal.  The front headlights gained LED running lights and signal lights, redesign cross-hair grille that is blacked-out and joined by front brake ducts.  The hood scoops blend in with the hood to look less visible than the last-generation.  The side scoops, exhaust, and fastback roof remain, while the rear gets LED taillights with inner signal lights featuring snakeskin pattern on the lens while the reverse lights move to the bumper.  GTS trim gets blacked-out decklid panel at the rear, dark tint to the multi-spoke wheels, carbon fiber panels and accents, and upgraded interior trim.  The interior is much-improved with smoother dashboard material and dashboard, supportive seats, redesigned cupholders (at the leading edge of the console), 3-spoke steering wheel, digital gauges that are reconfigurable, and a touch-screen infortainment center.  If you go for the tan interior, it really stands out!


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The chassis still remains composite with central tunnel, independent suspension on all four wheels, and the rear wheels through a six-speed manual from a 8.4L Viper V-10 making 640 hp. and 600 Ib-ft. torque with variable valve timing.  Price was an issue that resulted in low sales, but recently the price was lowered and that helped sales of the Viper, which now returns with the Dodge brand in 2015.


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Maisto's excellent example

For an excellent replica of the new Viper, look no further than Maisto with the 1:18 and 1:24 scales, both in black and red, both look sleek and nice.  Now if you want the blue, you have to get the Assembly Line version which requires assembly, and it's actually not that bad to assemble.  You get the choice of chrome or gray multi-spoke wheels, I chose the latter.  The front has the black grille with detailed spoilers, hood scoops, and headlights though they lack the LED lights that surround the headlight beam.  The sides have the GTS logo and side exhaust, along with the door mirrors.  The rear has the blacked-out panel with detailed taillights that are a separate clear piece.  A coupe of cool features:  The depth of the side scoop openings, along with the central hood scoop that is functional, and the rear taillights with the snakeskin pattern on the signal lenses.


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The base shows the basics, but is mostly smooth and covered-up.  The wheels are correct, large at the rear, but they move on pin axles not the individual wheels that Maisto used to employ on their 1:24 scale models.  The rear hatch does not open up, but really you won't miss it since there's not much to look at (unlike the 1996 GTS coupe that had a full-size spare tire at the rear).  The hood opens up to the detailed V-10 motor with the silver cross brace for body rigidity.  The engine is mostly detailed from a plastic pan, though there's not much space to see through the engine compartment like the first Viper's could do.  The interior, sadly, is coal black instead of that nice tan color but does have the important details from the digital gauges and center stack screens to the 3-spoke wheel with silver accent and stryker logo.  Finally is the blue color:  It looks nice, though the metal flakes tend to interrupt the smooth styling in the sunlight and it looks odd without stripes; if you want that you can get the All-Stars version that features a more rich blue with a single stripe and big chrome 5-spoke dubs.



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Overall, aside from a few bland detail areas it's a very superb casting!


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