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Sunday, August 9, 2015

Greenlight 1:43 2014 Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited Polar Edition




My first review of the Greenlight 1:43 scale series with the Fast and Furious 1970 Chevy Chevelle did not go well.  Plenty of flaws and missing area of details for a vehicle costing $20 dollars was ridiculous at best and casted my doubt of getting another 1:43 scale model from Greenlight.  Then just a few weeks later I arrived home with another one, this time the new four-door version of the Jeep Wrangler two-door called Wrangler Unlimited.  This one seemed to be much improved over my first 1:43 as it cost only $13.00 (lotta head scratching going on here?) and features plenty of excellent details that are all complete without skimping on any details.  Then a week later I found the two-door version with the same Polar trim package, this time in white, at Hobby Lobby under a $9 clearance label.  Talk about good timing!  So let's see how these two Jeep's differ from the lackluster Chevelle.





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The current Wrangler body style was introduced in 2007 with more improvements to make this truck more fun to drive and live with, including the long-awaited release of a four-door model that takes the Unlimited name from the previous generation, which was just a stretched two-door Wrangler.  Sadly, despite still being a Jeep it lost a few key important areas:  The legendary 4 liter I-6 was replaced with a dowdy 3.8 V6 from the Chrysler minivans and since it was stuck in the Diamler-era the interior and exterior featured some cheap trim pieces.  By 2012 the Wrangler has finally grown into its suit with a much improved interior shared with the Jeep Grand Cherokee and a new, more powerful Pentastar V6 motor, plus not to mention the countless specialty trim packages that has been offered each year to keep the Wrangler fresh.  Greenlight has done all of the trim packages that Jeep has offered for the Wrangler in their 1:43 two-door casting; this 1:43 was the first (or second?) Greenlight in this scale range that most collectors didn't seem to think Greenlight was going too far into.  Surprise!  They are with plenty of new castings coming to this line this year and next year.  After the two-door arrived in 1:64 last year Greenlight fixed the missing key in the 1:43 Wrangler: the four-door.







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The Polar trim package is based on the Sahara trim package, so you get the body-colored hard top with freedom top removable panels over the front seats, body-colored fender flares, and luxury touches for the interior.  The Polar package is a tribute to the trips to Antarctica with colors that reflect the nature of the continent: blue, silver, and white.  In addition to the colors it gets special Polar badges, mountain ridge stripes on the edges of the hood and on the backrest of the front seats.  Compared to the other special trim packages I like this one as it has a clean look without any of the gaudy graphics plastered on the hood.  The white one has black rings around the headlights, in which I give it the nickname "Panda."  Clearly you can see the differences in details that Greenlight has executed on the Unlimited compared to the two door:  for instance, the fenders are all separate pieces (and a bit flimsy), the running boards and front bumpers are also separate pieces with the gap between the front fenders and front bumper now more noticeable, the front grille has seven slots that are now cut open for a realistic look, and oddly for some reason they remembered to install the rear muffler and exhaust tip that was missing on the two-door.







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Overall, both Jeep's have excellent details.  The front has the round headlights with lower signal lights, hooks and central foglights on the front bumper.  The hood is a separate piece, not open-able, to allow different hood designs like the vented scoops on the Polar edition.  Trim and light details, including the lower slats below the doors on the two-door, and the gas cap at the rear; separate exterior mirrors that are flexible to prevent being broken off.  The rear has separate taillight squares, door handles and spare tire gate details, realistic spare tire to match the blacked-out 5-spoke wheels with the central brake light just above.  Not only are the details great, but so is the functionality: the hard tops both come off, converting them to open-air off-roader's and exploring more details inside.  A very cool touch, indeed!







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The interior's are the same for both, with the four-door having more room in the back with detailed door panels, seating for five, and a large cargo area without having to fold the rear seat down.  Also the rollcage is canted downward over the cargo area and features stereo speakers near the B-pillar of the cage on both models.  The front seats have the detailed mountain logo on the backrests, the door panels again nicely detailed, the dashboard has all the right details from the 3-spoke steering wheel with silver trim, the gauges, the radio and HVAC controls, to the passenger grab handle.  The center console houses the shifter for the four-wheel drive and the transmission:  The four-door has a 5-speed automatic, the two-door has a taller shifter signaling it has the 6-speed manual.  The base underneath lacks the full-width detailing that you'd expect, but then again it has all the proper drivetrain components (save for the missing rear muffler on the two-door) and front and rear live axles with plenty of room to spare for off-road.








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Engine is the 3.6L DOHC Pentastar V6 that produces 285 hp. and 260 Ib-ft of torque.  Not the fan-favorite I-6 that Jeep fanatics love but heck it's better than the wheezy minivan V6 of the 2007-2011 models.  Finally, quality control: How good did these testers stack up?  The four-door was the best of the bunch with just a few minor sloppy detail marks and the top and fenders not matching the color of the body perfectly.  Oh, and remember to make sure the top seats on correctly (as you can see in the pictures I forgot to do that on a few shots).  The two-door is more of a mess with slightly-crooked rear wheels, crooked right-side taillight, top that doesn't color-match the body, and poor merge lines for the body and bumper colors where the fenders and bumpers meet (now you can understand why the four-door was designed with separate fenders and bumpers).







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Still, both held up pretty well, have excellent details and a cool function trick with the removable top, and both were worthy of the lower price over the more expensive Fast and Furious models who have slightly more details but without any opening parts.  Heck, even these two make it worthwhile over the 1:18 Maisto Willys edition that was introduced this year or the Bburago 1:24 4-door, and having a nice stock 4-door is waaaaaaaay better than the Matchbox Superfast Wrangler that looks nothing like a Jeep Wrangler (looks like the Jeep Rescue Concept!).  So, if you want a nicely-detailed Jeep Wrangler that doesn't take up a lot of space in your collection consider these Greenlight 1:43 Jeep's the best bet.  Be prepared, however, to spend time or money making a selection or collecting all of the different trim models that Jeep offers!




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