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Friday, August 14, 2015

Anson 1:18 and 1:24 Dodge Dakota R/T Sport




One of the most popular midsize trucks of the 1990's has to go to the Dodge Dakota.  Not big like the full-size trucks, it features a V8 that makes it larger than the smaller trucks and a boon for those who want a pickup that can tow but don't need the larger size.  Since the 1997 full redesign borrowed styling cues from the Dodge Ram the Dakota also gave birth to the Durango SUV, Dodge's first since the Ramcharger last used back in 1992.  The popularity of the new Dakota resulted in several more replica's than the first-generation, which as I reviewed before was only released by Matchbox.  Maisto was first with the 1:64 regular cab sport, with Lindberg coming in next with a plastic version of a Dakota extended cab sport.  But Anson has been the biggest hit with the larger 1:18 and 1:24 scale version of the Dodge Dakota Sport, badged as the R/T.







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Anson bought the now-defunct JRL brand in 1998, which in turn brought more of the 1995 Dodge Ram 3500 Duallie 1:18 scale along with it (I have one in my collection i'll review at a later point) and a stake bed and dump bed body styles as well.  The next effect was the Dodge Dakota and Durango SUV.  Why on earth is the Dakota 4x4 badged an R/T?  Well, I believe that when Dodge revealed the R/T package with an image first the R/T was struck on a extended cab sport 2WD with the wider street tires on the 4x4 wheels.  The actual production version used a new set of wheels and a few cosmetic enhancements.  Anson thought the R/T was also going to be on the 4x4 as well, so here we are.  Colors offered are yellow (shown), red, dark blue, and black.  When Anson went out of business in the early part of last decade the Dakota was bought by RC2 and released the 1:18 one last time in the same yellow but with added details that from I remembered was painted suspension components at the front.  Because of the brief tenure and because the majority of the Anson models were hard-to-find these models command a higher price today, so how good are these trucks?











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Well, to put a start they are fair, not great but not bad either.  The 1:18 is a large truck with a tall stance and 5-spoke wheels that are accurate with white-lettered tires, but they are really narrow.  The front has detailed headlights, 4-slot grille that is not see-through, and a lower bumper with foglights.  The sway bar below sits too low and is an eyesore to see.  The sides have the door badges, fixed mirrors that almost failed on my tester so I cement glued the weak points where the stress cracks prevailed before something worse happened.  Good move.  The back window has the detailed trim and center brake light with cargo lights.  The bed area has a plastic insert that is body-colored and is black on the 1:24 scale model.  The rear has detailed taillights, bumper, and an opening tailgate.  Sadly my truck was suffering from paint flaws as both of them started to bubble up in certain areas of the paint (the 1:24 much more worse) and the tailgate on the 1:18 now won't open up; it's frozen shut!  If you are interested in a diecast version of this truck beware of these issues as it appears the castings suffer these weaknesses much later in life.





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The chassis is another sore point: The front has the correct upper and lower A-arm front and live rear axle with leaf spring suspension, drivetrain, and driveshaft details, but the exhaust system is copied from the Ram 3500 (the catalytic converters are more closer to the headers than the muffler) and the rear spare tire is replaced by a second fuel tank?  The front steering bar has a nice touch of the steering rack boots as well.  The hood shows off the 5.9L pushrod Magnum V8 that makes 250 hp. through a 4-speed automatic, oh and also note the lack of a transfer case for a 4x4-badged truck!  The engine details are pretty good with the air box, silver intake, all the hoses and belts in a relatively tight engine compartment (no surprise).  The interior features bucket seats with the correct pattern, rear bench seat with belt buckles and a backrest that wraps around the sides of the cab, center console, detailed door panels, and a dashboard with the 4-spoke steering wheel, detailed gauges, and radio and HVAC controls that have the correct decals.  A few issues found:  The interior sits rather higher than it should be and the pedals, three for a manual transmission model, was lifted again from the Ram 3500.





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The 1:24 has similar details but lacks the window trim details, silver door decals, rearview mirrors that are rubber and more flexible than the solid 1:18 mirrors, and the rear bumper lacks paint making it based on the ST trimmed Dakota's.  The bedliner is black that also wraps around the top edges of the bed, while the tailgate opens like the 1:18 (and this scale version still opens) with no bedliner trim on the tailgate.  The base has the same details, as does the engine bay with no silver accents.  The interior is all-black with more flexible rubber front seats and similar details found on the 1:18 scale.  It looks less complete than the 1:18 scale with the blacked-out rear bumper and missing side details, and those skinny tires make the wheels look more like the 2WD units rather than the 4x4's it's based on.  And as mentioned before it has paint bubbling as well but on a much greater scale; I was surprised to find this issue when I pulled these trucks out of storage for pictures.  Hopefully it doesn't get any worse than this!






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If you like large and rare trucks in 1:18 and 1:24 scale, and prefer metal, these two trucks are worth a look at, though be warn you may end up paying a higher premium on the second-hand market since these trucks are hard-to-find and highly desirable.

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