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Friday, May 6, 2016

Greenlight 1:64 Wagon Queen Family Truckster



It's been a long time coming: well after the movie's 1983 release the Family Truckster from the movie "National Lampoon's Family Vacation" the demand for a replica of the Family Truckster has been an all-time high.  About a decade ago Ertl/RC2 almost made a 1:18 scale replica of the wagon, but at the last minute those plans were cancelled.  Now at last Greenlight steps up to the plate with 1:18, 1:43, and 1:64 scale versions of the wagon's and as you'd expect from Greenlight expect variations of the wagon as well.  Time to see how the wagon stacks up.




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"Holiday Road" by Lindsey Buckingham is the jingle that you hear when the button is pressed on the Hallmark ornament of the Wagon Queen Family Truckster, the only way you can get a Family Truckster three years ago.  The problem is, despite the cool details and the Honky Lips on the rear fender it does not have an interior, nor does the wheels roll (ironically other car-based Hallmark ornaments do have moving wheels).  It was a cool idea, but oh there's room to grow.  The first in the round of various scales and variations is the 1:64 version in the Greenlight Hollywood series: all fitted just as the car left the dealership and ready to go on vacation.  However, despite a last-minute campaign to remove the luggage off of the roof as the first version should not have luggage, the luggage still remained and has remained on the roof for quite some time.  The luggage in the silver rack are separate pieces, very sturdy, and nicely detailed as you can identify the blue luggage, the green camping bags, and the dark blue golf clubs (I guess the Aunt Edna on the roof will come later).  All of this attaches to a green body with wood trim that is so finely-detailed that you can see and feel the wood patterns on the faux wood panels.




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For the time being enjoy the chrome hubcaps with red crown and greenline tires as those hubcaps will disappear in the next release.  The Wagon Queen is based on a 1979 Ford LTD Country Squire wagon, ridiculed to the extreme with double lamps, more wood trim, and those freakin crowns!  The front-end has detailed headlights with the correct square lenses with signal lights, and a revised grille with a smaller slot and a huge one in the middle suggesting Jaws, or something.  The lower bumper has black push bumpers and instead of the dealership plate the read plates front and rear read "National Lampoon's Vacation".  Since 1:64 is a hard scale to do hood ornaments there is only a stamped logo for the ornament, though in the larger scales expect to see a hood ornament.  The sides have more wood trim, the large crown logo on the C-pillar with the vents below, no Honkey Lips on the sides (for now), and look closely at the hood and you can see the cover for the gas cap.  The rear has double vertical taillights, red plate, chrome bumper with black pads, and the latch where the tailgate can open down or swing to the left.



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The chassis shows some typical drivetrain details, but not so much on the axles as they are just a rectangular brick.  The engine is likely the 4.9L Ford V8 that produces about, hmmm, 200 horsepower through a 4-speed automatic transmission.  Yes, it drives like a typical wagon: slow, big, and lots of body roll.  The interior shows off a typical front and rear bench seats outline in brown to contrast a beige interior.  The cargo area could show a rear seat, but nothing here (and that includes no Dinky or any leash on the rear bumper).  The dashboard design features a uniform design with horizontal speedometer, 4-spoke steering wheel, and centrally-located controls.  During testing I did not encounter an attractive blond in a Ferrari, nor did I try to race one.



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Either way it would be nice to see how far Greenlight can pull off the Family Truckster in one deco, but then again this wagon's been through so much that anything's possible.



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6/12/2016: The post-film destruction custom

For the second version Greenlight did it after the friendly St. Louis visit (well at least it was) with missing hubcaps and Honky Lips on the right-rear fender.  Of course, I went further by adding the post-film look complete with the front bumper and lower-right headlight removed, the center grille area grinded off, and a black Sharpie added to reveal the damaged front-end after the wrong-way trip into the Arizona desert.  The driver's side window is removed to not only represent the window that broke in a drive-in food place in the movie but also to allow access to put the trash bag airbag that has the habit of going off at odd times.  On the roof is the deceased Aunt Edna covered in a small beige shirt rag carefully cut to make it look like a person than a rolled-up piece of carpet.  Trying to put twine to hold her down was not an option in this scale, so black electrical tape was the best option that I can do; on the bright side it allows me to detail the purse bag on the tape.  Out back on the bumper is the red leash where Clark accidentally left Binky to when trying to load the wagon, only to forget about the dog until the police officer on a motorcycle gave him a reminder!  Trying to make a small loop was difficult so the loop looks larger like Binky was more like a T-rex than a dog!  Finally, not shown in the pictures but if you want to make the wobbly wheels that was the result of the rural repair shop's craftsmanship after the accident it can be done as the tires are separate from the wheels.  End result is a more cool, and funny, way to send off the Family Truckster.






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