Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Hot Wheels Retro Entertainment vs. Johnny Lightning Dukes of Hazzard

One of my most popular posts on this blog compares Mattel's Hot Wheels entertainment cars to Dukes diecasts by Johnny Lightning.  Even with my obvious bias, I gave the JL Dukes cars more merit because of their detail.  Looking back, it was an unfair race because those Hot Wheels weren't of the same caliber as Johnny Lightning's series.  Hot Wheels has a new line called Retro Entertainment and these are the cars I've been looking for.

Each car in the line has its own license specific package design.  

I wish the back of the card had some information about the show or movie, or had some specifics about the car.  

These cars are heavier than the standard versions and feature more detail and rubber tires.  They match up nicely with the JLs.

I own the standard versions of each of these cars, besides KARR (which I don't think had a standard version).  The Retro Entertainment version is on the right and the standard is on the left.  KITT has the correct bowling ball style wheels and the dash is the correct color now.

Correct wheels seem to be one of the biggest features of the new line.  B.A.'s van also has a lighter black, almost gray, color above the red stripe.  The headlights above the windshield also have more detail.

The '66 Batmobile has a lot more red paint to add detail.

The accessories on the top of Ecto-1 are individually painted on the new version.  The wheels are also white walls.  Each car just looks more finished.

Each car in the Retro Entertainment line uses the same mold as the previous version.  More detailed paint and rubber wheels give it the added detail.  The reason they are heavier is because the base is now made of metal where the originals were made of plastic.  They feel like a more substantial diecast.

Previously, I compared the Hot Wheels to Johnny Lightning's higher end Dukes line and not the standard releases put out by Ertl/RC and sometimes JL.  With the Dukes cars, the standard is on the left and the JL line is on the right.  The General Lee is a world of difference when comparing the two.  The left has generic wheels and simplistic detail.  The JL has rubber tires on pretty close wheels (depending on which series of the line it's from).  The JL also has a separate push bar (as opposed to being built in the grill) and more accurate decals.  The Retro Entertainment cars are more comparable to the Johnny Lightning line.

The standard version of Daisy's Road Runner looks ridiculous. The JL is much better.

There are several standard versions of Daisy's Jeep.  Most are the wrong year.  In the JL line, they got it right.

Throughout the JL line, they used a wrong model for Rosco's Patrol Car.  The standard version uses a Pontiac Bonneville.  After JL completed the line, they released this correct '78 Dodge Monaco.  It is the best representation of Rosco's car available.

The Double Zero was also greatly improved upon by the JL line.  

The Retro Entertainment and the Johnny Lightning cars are on the inside of this line-up.  The new Hot Wheels retail for $5 and compare nicely to the JLs.

The best 1/64 General Lee finally has a worthy rival.  There are other cars in the new Hot Wheels line including Smokey and the Bandit's Trans Am and the Muppet bus.  And there are many others planned including the Delorean that I look forward too.  I'm sure I'll pick up a few more.  I found KARR and the A-Team van at an out of the way Wal-Mart, but haven't seen any at the bigger, closer stores.  I had to go online to get KITT, Ecto-1, and the Batmobile.  I have heard fellow collectors commenting that they wish Hot Wheels would make Dukes, but like I said before, I am very happy they don't.  It would be cool to see what kind of SDCC exclusive they would come up with, but the fact that 1/18 versions of their entertainment cars retail for so much (over $150) is crazy.  I am very happy with JL and Auto World making my Dukes diecasts.  With them in charge, I can afford to buy at least two of everything that comes out.

Speaking of SDCC exclusives, what kind of blogger would I be if I didn't compare the new Knight Rider cars to the awesome, talking, light up versions I got last summer in San Diego?  The new KITT is very similar to the KITT under plastic.  The wheels, tires, and detail are basically the same.  Seems they had a plan when they did the exclusives.  The Retro Entertainment one just doesn't have a talking base.  

Not many people got their hands on the SDCC KARR.  Here is mine with the new KARR.  He looked just like KITT in his first appearance, and the second time he showed up he had the gray look. Now I have both versions of KITT's evil twin.

And rounding out this huge 1/64 super-post...at the recent New York Toy Fair, our friends at Auto World announced a new line of 1/64 diecasts.  The prototypes look great.  They have no plans to make any entertainment lines yet, but they make the best 1/18 General Lee available, so I sure hope they tackle a whole new Dukes line.  Fingers crossed.


  1. Hi Larry ! i couldn’t help feeling curious about the title of this publication, since i returned recently to the fold of the diecast collectors and i’m used to compare certain models by different brands...

    JL is for sure my favorite brand for its great balance between quality and affordability (hopefully Takara Tomy will take care of this gem), but HW with their adult lines (Nostalgia Series for instance) is doing a great job and seriously these Retro Entertainment diecasts are fantastic !!!...

    i wonder if you considered the Danbury Mint version of the General Lee among the best "big scale" replicas (1:24) ??? =)

    1. Take a stroll around the blog, my new friend. I did a post all about the Danbury Mint General. It is near the top, but I consider the Auto World the best of the bunch.

  2. is the dukes of hazzard sheriff's car the one with the red/blue lights a hot wheels??? and are they still selling them or can i order one in anyway?????

    1. It is a Johnny Lightning from 2011. You could find it on ebay.