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Monday, December 22, 2014

The amazing Greenlight Hitch and Tow Release 1



For a long time collectors have asked and asked for a collector's version of a car and trailer set, only to be dismissed by manufacturers who decided that kids are first and design hitch and tow sets specifically done for kids.  I remember when Matchbox announced doing an Airstream camper back in 2006 only to turn it down at the last minute.  The only company that has come close is French diecast manufacturer Majorette.  Now that ends with the first introduction of Greenlight's new series Hitch and Tow, and boy it is one popular series:  Many of pre-orders and sold-out inventory!  I was lucky to get the entire set, but after a long wait that involved a delay with the Airstream tooling issue, the set is finally here.  Was it worth it?  Let's find out:







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1967 Chevy Impala Sports Sedan with Airstream 16" Bambi trailer

The most popular vehicle in the set is the '67 Impala with the Airstream. What a beautiful combination!  The '67 Impala, as mentioned before, is a fantastic casting that is allowing Greenlight to finally venture into the 4-door sedan category with the current '74 Dodge Monaco and the upcoming '67 Ford Sedan.  The details are excellent in light blue with light blue interior and matching-color steel wheels with chrome hubcap and whitewall tires, the latter needs to be applied when the tires are on the car and not off the car (note the wobbly pattern).  The grille, bumpers, headlights, Impala logo's, taillights all nicely done.  The interior with the detailed dash and seating for six (the most in the group) is nicely done, as is the base details.  The hood opens up to show off the 327 CID V8, the only opening hood of the group.











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All trailers have the silver hitch with round ball, like the real hitches, attached to the metal base.  Each trailer has a V-shape in metal with round cup that goes around the ball.  It works and functions like it should; only a major bump or riding over an incline will pop the trailer off the hitch.  The other neat function is the screw-type stand that allows the trailer to stand on its own and allows for hitching up to the ball.  Remember this is a separate piece so be careful about rotating the screw all the way out of the frame.  Now to the Airstream, what a beaut!  The chrome polish trailer looks good with the detailed aluminum panels with rivet presses and chrome hubcaps (the only trailer not wearing trailer-style wheels).  The casting is metal on metal, and sure feels like it!  The details from the front propane tanks to the vent windows on the doors, to the round taillights with Airstream name on the top.  Don't forget the vent on the roof.  Sadly, as much as the Airstream is nice, there's a few disappointments: The rear bumper hangs too low to the ground and the biggest upset is that there's no interior.  I mean com'on!  That's the other essential to this trailer!  The base comes off with a Phillips screwdriver, but i'm not sure if the interior base does too, so it does give a template for customizers to create their own interior.  Airstream still makes the same trailers since 1930's, so you can get one just like this one right now.  Overall not a bad-looking set!














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1972 Chevy Cheyenne Pickup and Flatbed Trailer

The long-standing workhorse of the Greenlight line is the 1972 Chevy C-10 casting.  This long-bed truck has been carrying around a camper on its bed lately, now it gets to haul a trailer.  Done in black and white two-tone exterior the classy Chevy looks good with detailed grille, headlights, blue bowtie, Cheyenne badges, and rear taillights with CHEVROLET on the tailgate.  The interior features a bench for three and detailed dash and door panels.  The bed has the largest cargo hauling ability of the bunch and is a boon to add more versatility in addition to hauling a trailer (think race car with extra tires in the bed).  The chassis shows the drivetrain details with one interesting point for both this truck and the Ram 1500:  Both have coil springs at the rear axle, with the Chevy using track bars thanks to the gas tank still located with the cab.  The steel wheels are contemporary yet look appropriate for this truck.  The downside of this casting is the hood that does not open; one thing I really dislike about this otherwise fantastic Chevy truck casting.





















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The trailer is designed for those vehicles who cannot fit inside the enclosed trailer.  It uses a metal frame with metal flatbed with detailed wood panels.  The silver fenders house the dual axles with white trailer wheels that are on par with the actual trailer wheels.  This is the only casting that requires some easy assembly:  The two ramps are placed separate in the package and just snap on, but when you move the ramps up they can easily pop out.  By placing one finger to hold it in while moving up the ramps will position themselves.  After that the ramps work flawless.  It works fine for all types of vehicles, even fitting some heavier utility and 4x4 trucks that the enclosed camper couldn't handle.  There are a few downers: Not all vehicles can fit the flatbed with the ramps closed and without a secure way to retain the vehicle (and the ramp being tilted so forward that the rear axle does not touch the ground) the vehicle has a tendency to roll forward, even stationary!  It's a nice combination for those who need to display their vehicles and haul a few extra goods.




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2014 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon X and Small Utility Trailer

The smallest pack of the group is the 2-door Jeep and the small Utility Trailer.  The Trailer is, by far, the least impressive of the group with an all-plastic setup (except for the frame) and no opening features, yet the details are impressive with every rivet, diamond plate pattern, and chrome strip detailed.  Aside from its versatility with the Jeep's off-road prowless, its otherwise rather plain.









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As for the Jeep Wrangler it's impressive for its size.  The front grille and separate headlights are finely detailed with a front bumper with foglights and Rubicon X only red hooks and removable end caps.  The hood, also Rubicon X specific, is a vented hood with Rubicon on the sides.  The sides feature integrated mirrors and fender flares that are a separate piece from the body.  The rear has detailed taillights, Jeep plate, spare tire with third brake light, and red tow hooks.  The softtop is removable for each casting variation, but cannot be removed directly from casting.  The wheels are nicely done with gray finish with silver outline and meaty rubber tires that, strangely, look really good on this casting despite the sublime base details.  The interior is a big improvement for the Wrangler in years including gauges with digital information center, 3-spoke steering wheel, power windows (controls on the dash) and locks, touch screen infortainment center, soft touch materials and seating for four.  Why Jeep has a rear door that opens to the curb is beyond me.  The engine is the 3.6L Pentastar V6 with revised air intake and rear-mounted alternator for water forging, makes 285 hp. and 265 Ib-ft. of torque through a 5-speed automatic.  The automatic is good for a few reasons: Towing and Rock Crawling, two areas that can destroy a clutch on a manual quickly!






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Then there's the off-road gear:  Live axles front and rear, with coil springs, locking front and rear differentials, electronic disconnecting front sway bar, and two-speed transfer case. In this little truck it can go anywhere across any terrain, though it does have some towing limits as being the lowest rating of the group and an engine with fewer cylinders than the rest.  It's a nicely-done casting let down by a lack of an opening hood and a rather ordinary trailer.









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2014 Ram 1500 with Enclosed Car Trailer

The largest duo of the group is the most impressive.  You will be seeing more of the 2014 Ram 1500 in future releases (and another review by me) as this casting will be seen in several formats, the first being this Sport Quad Cab in Dark Cherry Red Metallic paint.  The front has clear headlights with LED signal lights, body-colored grille with silver accents, and lower colored bumper with foglights.  The hood, which sadly does not open, features Challenger-style scoops.  The sides are flat but has the large cab and large bed, with the Ram 1500 and Hemi badge, and the nice 5-spoke wheels with rubber tires that have Goodyear lettering.  The rear has detailed taillights, Ram badges, and colored bumper with those cool dual exhausts.  The bed has a detailed bedliner and is ready to haul gear, while the roof has the third brake light and note the satellite radio antenna dot on the left-rear side of the roof.  The chassis has the correct drivetrain and suspension details, including the rear coil springs, but the spare tire is missing and what appears to be the air tank for the air springs is located below the gas tank when it should be located above the spare tire (trust me i've seen the actual location in a 2013 Ram brochure).













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The interior is a step up with roomy seating for five and a well-equipped dashboard with digital information center, touch screen infortainment center, dual zone HVAC controls, and a large console.  The engine is a 5.7L Hemi V8 that produces 395 hp. and 410 Ib-ft. of torque through a 8-speed automatic that uses a knob, instead of a column shifter, to shift gears (the 4x4 switch has been moved to buttons below the shifter knob).  For a 4x4 truck it doesn't have a lot of clearance or space to manuever like the Jeep, but hey it gets the hauling job done in a jiffy.





NOPE!:





Now That's Better!:







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Which brings me to the enclosed trailer.  Fitted in plastic with a metal frame, it's a large beast that is as large as the Ram it's being towed by!  The roof is white and has an AC unit, the rivets are nicely done, the dual axles, wheels, and fenders are the same as the open flatbed (as is the inside wood panels), and the rear has even taillights and chrome trim decked out.  To open the ramp, use your fingernail (or small flathead screwdriver) at the top edge to pull it down.  Once down, the ramp opens up to an enclosed environment that features the aformentioned wood panels at the bottom, though the walls do get pretty dirty when its fresh from the manufacturer.  Now the ramp opens too low and has a incline to overcome meaning vehicles with low ground clearance may have an issue going into the trailer.  After countless testing, I can conclude that as long as its fits the walls of the interior it's good to go!  Anything that is tall, long, or wide has to ride on the open flatbed; heck the Ram almost fit if it wasn't for the exterior mirrors!

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Mix and Match Combo

The nice thing about this set is that you don't have to be restricted to a setup:  since all of the vehicles and trailers have the same hitch setup you can mix and match anyway you please.  The only restriction is that its limited to only vehicles with the Greenlight trailer hitch; for the moment Greenlight plans to not sell the hitches separately or with the vehicles that are outside of the Hitch and Tow releases.  It's a bit early, but expect to see more trailers and vehicles with hitches in the future for more mix and match combo's.











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Verdict

Downsides are a few:  No interior in the Airstream, No opening hoods in the Jeep, Ram, and Chevy Truck, the levelness of the trailers, and the usual quality control issues that will be really common with such new and small parts on these vehicles and trailers.  Otherwise it's a fantastic set!   Now here's my ranking for last to first:

4. 2014 Jeep Wrangler and Utility Trailer-  The Jeep is nice, the Utility trailer is nice though it lacks any functionality.

3. 1972 Chevy Cheyenne and Flatbed Trailer- Both are nicely done and very versatile, but the Chevy is getting a bit boring especially without the opening hood, and the flatbed can be clumsy at times to operate.

2. 1967 Chevy Impala and Airstream Bambi- If it wasn't for the missing interior and quality control issues, this would've been #1.

1. 2014 Ram 1500 and Enclosed Car Trailer- Big and versatile, it's the only set with cool features and excellent details without any negatives to talk about.

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