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Saturday, July 4, 2015

Greenlight and Road Champs 1:43 1970 Chevelle SS



In the past few years Greenlight has been experiencing a huge growth expansion in the 1:43 scale line.  The idea started with the first replica of the 2012 Jeep Wrangler 2-door, then to the Ford hobby-only models.  Now the line has grown to include The Fast and the Furious movie cars and soon other TV and film cars as well.  I wanted to see if it was worth the premium to get the 1:43 scale line by purchasing this red 1970 Chevelle SS that Don used in the fourth Fast and Furious movie, and how does it stack up to an older Road Champs casting that I also had?





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I won't go into the 1970 Chevelle in much detail since you already know about this from my Hot Wheels review, so let's get started.  The dark metallic red paint with black stripes looks good though it doesn't pop out like I expected it to be.  The front has black grille slots with chrome outer ring and SS logo in the center, headlight lenses inside silver housings, and the chrome bumper with the mounting holes and signal lights that could use some color.  The rear of the car has the chrome bumper with separate red taillight lenses, blacked-out center section with SS logo, Chevelle cursive on the trunk lid, license plate area in black, and those chrome dual exhaust that are slightly crooked.  The side view shows a lower stance than the Road Champs version that gives this Chevelle a nice mean stance.  The wheelwells and window trim have silver accents and the rearview mirrors are separate pieces nicely-detailed.  The hood has the cowl induction style and lettering.  The only flaw I found was the stripes on the trunk lid were a bit smeared, but overall looks good.






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Underneath the base shows off the typical exhaust, drivetrain, and suspension components but could use some extra detailing for the price you pay.  At least the mounting holes to secure the car to the base are flush and not painstakingly visible like the Road Champs versions where the front mounting post is clearly visible at the front of the car.  One interesting, if confusing at first, is the side windows: the driver's side is down while the passenger side is up.  At first I thought the window fell off on the driver's side until I looked at some others on Google and found out that this was indeed done on purpose.  Ok, but why aren't the doors and hood open like what the Road Champs casting offers?  Anyways, how about the interior?  Looks good at first with the bucket seats at the front and the bench seat at the rear with the correct patterns, the door panels have the correct handles and ridges, and the dashboard has the correct layout with all of the driver's controls toward the driver and the 2-spoke steering wheel.  Oh, and check out that full-width rollcage.  However, where's the shifter?  A major insight here as well as additional details for the price like silver accents on the dashboard.  I added the shifter myself, but getting to it was a pain in the butt:  The rollcage must pop off, and in the process one of the fragile links broke on the cage.  I had to resort to electrical tape to secure the split.  Then while I was attaching the shifter the steering column easily broke!  Despite the impossible place to glue and hold in place thankfully I was able to glue it back on first with superglue to hold it and then with cement glue to strengthen the bond.  Very frustrating, all for just a shifter!



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Things got worse with the tires: one of them was placed improperly so I realigned the rubber onto the wheel for the proper look, then the right-front wheel didn't want to move the front axle.  After examining the wheel I found out that the wheel was not pressed onto the pin very good.  After trying many ways to tap the wheel back into place the wheel still caused friction and still popped off if forced to move.  End result is the wheel got some cement glue on the pen to secure it in place.  Yes, the front wheels still move, but this is destined to be more of a show piece than a rolling toy.  After the pictures the Chevelle was secured back into its display case.  The mag wheels are nice, though.  Now how much does it cost?  try $20.00.  Yikes!  For a car that lacks further detail and this much problem it should cost under $10.00!








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Back in the day (more like 1998-1999) Road Champs was the king of 1:43 scale vehicles and decided to team up with magazine clients to create copies of cover cars in an acrylic display case much like the Greenlight 1:43.  However, back then online buying was rather light, so the only way to get these was at a retail store, which was mostly K-mart, and most were not easy to find; you just have to rely on pure luck to find one.  Somehow I managed that with this Hugger Orange Chevelle even though I thought I never had one!  Unlike the Greenlight this Chevelle is not badged as an SS with the lack of logo's and the bowtie on the black split grille with separate headlight lenses, and like the Greenlight version a chrome bumper that could use some signal light color details.  White stripes, hood pins, silver trim, and wheelwell trim adorn this casting like the Greenlight, but the wheelwell trim connects to a lower trim piece and there's only one small rearview mirror on the driver's side door.  Out back the rear bumper is chrome and adds an orange bowtie plate, but the taillights need some red color in them and the dual exhaust do not show off proudly as the chrome units in the Greenlight example.




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Brownie points goes to the rallye wheels for those who prefer stock, as well as the stock ride height.  Kudos goes to the opening hood to show off the 396 CID V8, though it's mostly all-black and doesn't look as sharp in the detail department.  Thumbs up goes to opening doors with the same detailed dash and steering wheel as the Greenlight example, including the front bucket seats and rear seats, and adds the shifter (Hooray!) and door panel details despite being body-colored.  The base even is on-par with the Greenlight version as well despite the rather inconvienient base posts.  While not as finely detailed as the Greenlight version, it has all of the right parts at an estimated to current inflation $10.00 price tag.




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So obviously my first experience with the Greenlight 1:43 scale line was not a good one.  How can one person justify paying $20.00 for a casting that lacks opening features and missing additional color detailing in the interior and base, not to mention the questionable quality control for each casting!  I'd still take the Road Champs over the Greenlight version even if the latter has sharper details.  While my first experience with Greenlight 1:43 was sour, the next experience was better: in a few weeks i'll show you the flipside of the Greenlight 1:43 line that features plenty of excellent detail, build quality, and a reasonable, if still high, price.

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