I recently got the newest Dukes collectible available, a new 1/18 General Lee manufactured by Auto World. It is a highly detailed, high-end diecast. They did a great job on this representation of our favorite flying orange muscle car.
The first thing you notice is that the flag on the roof is absent. But fear not Dukes faithful. Auto World has not committed such an egregious act; they merely covered it under an orange decal. The General sure looks weird in the box though. It almost looks bald.
I think this is the best 1/18 to date by far. The wheels look great. It has so much detail, it looks like an actual Charger.
The interior is so detailed that it has seat belts. The "General Lee" lettering is improved over all past releases.
The engine has also been improved over prior models. There are individual wires and tiny stickers under the hood.
All of the panels and gauges look very realistic. I had heard the creators wanted to put a CB inside, but it wasn't meant to be.
The box utilizes the same basic design of most Dukes products released over the past few years. This model is released under the Silver Screen Machines line. Past models have been released under the Ertl name, Racing Champions, American Muscle, Joyride, and Johnny Lightning line. All are owned by the Round 2 parent company.
Another picture of the "bald" General still in the box.
This is the first time a General Lee box has had a plastic bottom so you can see the detail put into the car.
I compared the new General (center) to the standard Ertl/Joyride model (left) and the Ertl Authentics (right) from a couple of years ago. The Ertl Authentics model had great detail, but it seemed like they made a Charger first and then made a General out of it. It had little details like the word Charger behind the window and the RT emblems. The actual General generally didn't have these. They corrected these mistakes with the new one.
Ertl standard on the left, new Auto World in the middle, and Ertl Authentics on the right. I was surprised by how different the orange colors were.
Surprisingly, the original Ertl has the best license plate in my opinion. This is the one aspect of the new model that falls short compared to both prior releases. Click the photo to see them bigger. The antenna is also the correct size on the new one. It was way to small on the Authentics, and there isn't one on the original.
This is the new 01 compared to the Ertl Authentics.
And compared to the original Ertl. Both of the old ones had the numbers too close together. It's the attention the detail like this that make this model the best.
The box is very similar to the latest release of the standard Ertl/Joyride as well as the Ertl Authentics. A couple of things that are different is "General Lee" is not all caps on the new, and there is only American text, not French like on the other two. Pictured are the new one on top, the Ertl/Joyride in the middle, and the Ertl Authentics on the bottom. The bottom is a chase variant version of the Black General Lee. It has the same box as the regular General. My boxed regular General wasn't easy to get to today.
I do not believe they are making any special editions or chase versions of the new one, at least none that I have found yet. In the past they have made black Generals, silver, chrome, black with the decals, and of course, the Gold General Lee. I think if they were going to make a special edition, it would at least pop up on eBay by now. But I'll keep looking.
The Silver Screen Machines line has a few more Duke of Hazzard goodies coming out soon. This summer there are releasing a 1/18 model of Cooter's Camaro from the episode " Luke's Love Story. " This will be the first time this car has been released in this scale. It has been released in 1/64 by Ertl and Johnny Lightning a few times as well as a slot car by Auto World.
They are also rereleasing the Rosco's Patrol Car 1/18. It was put out by Ertl/Joyride a few years ago. It has not be announced if it is going to be a straight rerelease or if they will be improving on it like they did with the General. I hope they improve on it, most importantly the light bar, which looks nothing like the light bar from the show.