Sunday, April 23, 2017

Notice a Theme Here?: 5 Spectacular Hot Wheels Neo Classics Olds 442's!

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While the 'Neo-Classics' wheel is fast losing favor among collectors, Mattel continues to use its original-redline clone wheels on a handful of cars released annually through their HWC website. The Neo-Classics Series once featured 6 cars a year, but has since been whittled down to 4 cars and features more and more vehicles that don't really fit with the original Redline vibe. However, over the years HWC released 5 Olds 442 service cars that are perfectly suited to the Neo-Classics Series.

Between 2007 and 2015, Hot Wheels released 5 different Olds 442's that mirrored Original Redline versions of the casting: The 'State Police', 'Chief's Special', 'Mattel Security', 'Military Staff Car' and 'Maxi Taxi'. Excepting the Security Car, the other 4 Neo Classics releases of the 442 are strikingly similar to specific Original Redline releases. Together in Neo-Classics form, these 5 Olds 442's cue the nostalgia and make for a great looking set.

Aside from good looks, these 5 Olds 442's show the direction the Redline Club has taken over the years. The first 442 release was the Series 6 Police Cruiser. It got the full works treatment: painted headlights and taillights, opening hood, working suspension and hand-polished Spectraflame. The Series 7 Chief's Special got the same treatment. The Series 8 Security Car was a definite disappointment. The hood was sealed and there were no front or rear details. Series 10 brought the Military Staff Car. It's perhaps the most beautiful release in the set. Mattel went back to the opening hood and painted taillights for this one, but the headlights and license plate remained un-tampo'd.

After Series 10 many collectors gave up on ever seeing the 'Maxi Taxi' 442 reproduced in the Neo Classics set. Many collectors over on the Red Line Club forums voiced their desire to see the taxi reproduced and it was the next and final logical car to join the Neo Classics 442 lineup. Finally, in Series 13 the 'Maxi Taxi' was made. The sealed hood was back, the hand polished Spectraflame replaced with a cheaper finish and there were no front/rear details save for taillights. But, we got our Maxi Taxi, and together, these 5 Olds 442 re-makes are a fantastic and aesthetically pleasing set in their own right! Enjoy...

Happy Collecting!!

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Friday, April 21, 2017

How Cool is This? Greenlight Hitch & Tow Ford F-150 and Pop Up Camper!

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Every once in awhile, something in the 1/64 scale diecast world has me marveling at just how darn cool it is. It might not be rare or perfectly scaled or an error. But it's out of the ordinary. Greenlight tends to release those 'high cool factor' pieces every so often.

I've been wanting to review the Greenlight Hitch & Tow Series 8 2015 Ford F-150 and Pop-Up Camper trailer for quite some time now. Apparently, everyone else liked it as much as I do, because every time I found Series 8 on the pegs at Toys 'R Us (the only Canadian retailer to carry the line), the Pop-Up Camper was already gone. I finally found it on the pegs last weekend so here it is.

The cool factor, uniqueness and detail are absolutely off the charts with the pop-up trailer. This is the first release for this trailer and I'm not disappointed. The 'tent' portion of the trailer is plastic and allows the trailer to look fully set-up as it would at a campsite. Here's where it gets cool, though. The plastic component is removable and the metal cap can be placed directly on the trailer. This serves 2 functions. First, you can tow the trailer around like you would on the road. Secondly, you can see the spectacular interior detail inside the trailer.

The interior details on this trailer are really impressive in 1/64 scale. The beds and kitchenette inside the trailer are fantastically modeled at a very reasonable price point. You can even see the little drain hole inside the bottom of the kitchen sink. How's that for painstaking?

We've discussed the trailer quite a bit, so what about the Ford F-150 that tows it? The F-150 is pretty irrelevant for me. It's nicely detailed and decorated, but there's nothing that jumps out at you and the color is a little on the boring side. The truck isn't a bad piece by any stretch, but it doesn't warrant a ton of discussion either.

So the trailer is mind bogglingly cool and the truck does its job, what are my complaints? Sadly, it's a complaint that I'm hearing more and more about Greenlight: quality control. The pegs on the back of the plastic portion of the trailer are too big, preventing it from nesting on the trailer base and sitting flush. You'll see what I mean in the photos. Secondly, the trailer hitch is affixed askew on the base so it tows the trailer at an angle. Ultimately Greenlight packs a ton of working parts and details in at a low price point and the quality issues aren't glaring, so I'll continue to pick up pieces like this one. I'm hoping to see quality improvements in the future, though. Enjoy!

Happy Collecting!!

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