Friday, March 29, 2013

The complete Johnny Lightning Dukes of Hazzard line: Series 2

Let's continue our look at Johnny Lightning's Dukes line with Series 2.  Series 1 hit several obvious Hazzard County cars, but in Series 2, that line started to take shape and prove it was heading to corners of Hazzard that diecasts have never been before.  Series 2 has  more cars in it than any other series, rounding out at eight.  It also has more General Lees, with three different versions of our favorite car.  

The package design now has the correct show appropriate logo and red and orange color scheme that matches other Modern Era Dukes items.

The card inside the clam-shell is die-cut so you can see both sides of the car.  The package boasts that each car is limited to 10,000 pieces.

The General Lee is the first car of the series again, but not in his usual uniform.  This is the Black General Lee.  In the final season's premiere episode, "Happy Birthday General Lee," we learn the story of how the General became a member of the Duke family.  He was originally a black Charger that was owned by thieves.  They wrecked him and left him for dead.  Bo and Luke bought him because he was big enough to fit the engine they had built.  Cooter only had orange paint in the garage and the rest is history.  The Black General Lee had been a part of the Racing Champions 1/144 line as well as the 1/18 cars.  This is the first time it came in 1/64.  I like that it has different wheels like it did in the show.  Another slam dunk by JL.

The first car that really set the tone for the line as being something special was Hughie Hogg's VW beetle.  Hughie was Boss Hogg's nephew who wanted to be just like him, so much so that he dressed like him and drove around in a mini version of Boss's Caddy.  The car on the show had bull horns, but every other aspect of this diecast is correct.  There had never been a Dukes diecast that wasn't a standard series car before.  Funny thing about the line is that it never included Boss's Caddy, but it did have the "Mini-me" version.

Season 2 started with the episode "Days of Shine and Roses."  The gang were all at the Boars Nest watching old films of Boss Hogg, Uncle Jesse, and the Ridge Runners Association racing and running from revenuers when they were younger.  Uncle Jesse drove Black Tillie and Boss Hogg drove the Gray Ghost which were both '40s hot rods.  After the films ended, Boss said he was always better than Jesse and Jesse disagreed.  They decided to have another race.  Boss found a suitable replacement for the Gray Ghost with this '68 Camaro dubbed Gray Ghost Jr.  Another first for Dukes diecast.

The General Lee we know and love was the third car in Series 2.  The only major difference than Series 1 was the wheels.  In this instance, they took a step backwards, in my opinion.  The wheels are more similar to the Hollywood on Wheels General, and don't look at all like the correct vectors.  That will be corrected in future releases though.  

Daisy's Jeep returned in Series 2 as well.  This is a dirty version of the Jeep, but you can barely see the dirt.  The golden eagle on the hood is more gold and less yellow than it was in series 2.  This is the best version of the Jeep available in 1/64.

Police cars are as plentiful as General Lees in this line, like they were in Hazzard County.  Sheriff "Big" Ed Little of Chickasaw County was a lawman the Dukes actually worried about.  When Hazzard's trouble spilled across the county line, Sheriff Little would usually put an end to it.  He would arrest even Boss and Rosco if he had to.  The back of the 1/144 package advertised Sheriff Little's police car as being in that line, but the car was never produced.  This is the first time Dukes fans could own the green and white Chickasaw County patrol car.  As with Rosco's car, it was a different model year on the show, but it's close enough.

Johnny Lightning got creative with the first of three Zingers in the line.  Zingers are popular with JL collectors.  They are exaggerated hot rod versions of cars.  It is a fun take on the best muscle car in the world.

The final car in Series 2 was Enos's Patrol Car.  It is very similar to Rosco's but the light bar is reversed.  Maybe Enos knocked it off in hot pursuit, and tried to put it back on before Rosco could see.  That dipstick did everything backwards.  It also has chrome lines that Rosco's car doesn't have, and the wheels aren't painted in the center.

Each car came with magnets again.  These little additions make the line stand out in the world of diecast.

Look for Series 3 soon.

Just for the heck of it, here is the picture of the entire line again.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

New Dukes Stuff - 3/26/2013 - Bubble Gum Bank and new T-Shirts

Got a few new items to show off.  Some old and some new.

This is a single sheet of puffy stickers from way back when.  They usually come packaged, but this is a loose sheet.  I really like the artwork for the General Lee.  They are all nice stickers.

I have been after a Bubble Gum Bank for a while.  I have been outbid on boxed banks several times.  This one isn't perfect, but it displays very nicely.  

Several of the round stickers on the base are damaged, and a few aren't there.  

Unfortunately, the base was damaged during shipping.  The ebay seller was very nice to deal with and gave me a partial refund.  I had another transaction go sour recently and it was refreshing that this seller was so understanding and easy to work with.  Thanks big_700_baseball.  

Though the base isn't perfect, the main part of the bank is great.  The logo pops out of the tire, and everyone knows this is my favorite group shot.  I really like this item.

Our favorite purveyor of retro T-shirts, has a few new Dukes shirts.  When they get new Dukes shirts, I buy them immediately.  The first one has the same three shot used on the guitar and TV tray.  I mentioned this recently, Bo looks mean in this one.  But I really like the shirt.  It has a nice soft feel.  

The other shirt is bluer than it looks in this picture.  It has the artwork used on the original album cover.  It is also soft.  Perhaps I will wear these to the  Dukes of Hazzard Fan Fair and the Dukes Family Festival.  

Both shirts are made by Ripple Junction.  They also make Arrested Development shirts.  So they are A1 in my book.  

I really like the tags used on these shirts.  It is odd that they are so similar but barely different.  Regardless, I really like them.  I haven't seen that picture of the General Lee used on products since the Golden Era.  

The back of the tag is pretty standard.  These are great shirts.  Head on over to and buy them today.  Tell 'em Larry sent ya.  They won't have any idea what that means and it will get you no kind of preferential treatment whatsoever, but it will make me happy.

Friday, March 22, 2013

The complete Johnny Lightning Dukes of Hazzard line: Series 1

One of the most important lines of the modern era of Dukes of Hazzard collectibles is the extensive 1/64 scale diecast line Johnny Lightning released from 2006 through 2008.  The line includes so many Hazzard County cars that were never transformed into diecast minitures before, and really exemplifies the franchise's spot in the diecast and toy car world.  Only one previous line had so many different cars, the silver era 1/44s by Racing Champions.

Before 2004, Ertl, and its subsidiaries Racing Champions and Joyride, had been the only name in Dukes diecast.  JL's first foray in the Dukes world came as part of their release 6 of the Hollywood on Wheels series.  Other cars is this release were from Smokey and the Bandit, Vanishing Point, Herbie, and The Fast and the Furious.   

The three Dukes cars in the series had Dukes inspired card fronts and the same back as the rest of the series.  I don't have any other cars in the series, but I am guessing they don't all have the General Lee on the back like the 3 Dukes cars do.  

After 23 years of Ertl's standard General Lee diecast, this JL General Lee with rubber wheels and opening hood was a breath of fresh air.  Though it had a few issues, like lack of push bar and totally wrong looking wheels, this was the best the General ever looked in 1/64.  The 01s and flag look great.  

Not only did we get a great General Lee, but Daisy got double the love with both of her cars in the release.  Previous silver era releases of Daisy's Road Runner looked ridiculous.  JL released a great version of Daisy's yellow muscle car. 

Daisy's Jeep had been released before in 1/64, but it always seemed to be the wrong year.  Though it said Daisy on the hood instead of Dixie, this was a vary good representation of the vehicle most people relate to Daisy Duke.  

The movie brought so much attention to the franchise and it ushered in the modern era in 2005.  Though none of the JL cars are directly related to the movie, the popularity of the Hollywood on Wheels Dukes cars along with the commotion the movie generated led Johnny Lightning to begin a 1/64 journey through Hazzard County that we are all thankful for.  It started in 2006 with series 1 of the new Dukes line.  

There is a hard line dividing the products that came out with the movie and the TV show.  The movie logo has the "H" in Hazzard extend and form an underlining "Z" beneath the word.  The boxes for movie products are red.  JL made a slight faux pas with series 1 of the line and used the movie package design for the TV show based line.  These are the only show products with this design and logo.  All of the cars in the series are in fully plastic covered packages called clam-shells.  They protect the cars better and and are more durable than standard blister cards.  

The back of the clam-shell lists the cars in the line and gives a little info on the show.  

All the cars in the line also came with extras.  Series 1 came with cast photo magnets.  These additions make the line all that much better. 

The General Lee from series one was very similar to the Hollywood on Wheels release but had more accurate wheels.  It also had chrome added to the wheel wells.  The creators of the line paid attention to detail.  

The second car in the series was once again Daisy's Road Runner.  It is also very similar to the HOW car, but with, once again, improved wheels.  Nothing wrong with re-releasing a car if it comes with improvements. 

Cooter got some love in series 1.  His 99 Camaro was much improved from the past releases.  The previous Racing Champions release had a white strip instead of yellow.  This car is nearly as accurate as the recent JL 1/18 version

All three cars from the HOW release came in series 1 of the Dukes line.  The Jeep was also improved on with the correct "DIXIE" applied to the hood.  The wipers on top of the windshield were also painted this time.  The little details like that are much appreciated. 

Rosco's Patrol Car came with series 1.  JL didn't have the correct model year for the car, but they got close with this version.  

It is a 1977 where the correct version is a 1978.  Close enough for JL, as seen in future series, but just not right as seen in one of the last releases of the line.  

Rounding out series 1 was the General Lee the way most of us picture him, covered in mud.  Sure, he was spotless in the beginning and end of every chase when Bo and Luke jumped in the windows and out (somehow) but he looked like this while flying over Rosco, or a train, or a barn.  Everyone loves the dirty General Lee.  

The magnets that came with each car are collectibles on their own.  Thanks for including them JL!  Each JL car also came in White Lightning.  The first series had the standard white wheels.  I collect everything I can Dukes, but the prices for these WL versions get out of hand quickly.  When on ebay, they almost always go for over $100 each.  I was lucky enough to find a few, but not any in series 1.  

Sometime between series 1 and 3, Johnny Lightning released the Internet Exclusive General Lee.  It utilizes the same movie specific package of series 1, but is not a part of any series in particular.  

You could only get it on the internet, and was limited to 5004 pieces.  Besides Cooter's Place, I have never seen any of these cars in stores. They were all exclusive to the internet for me.  

Apparently this car originated from Ceecolectibles in Torrance, CA, which according to Google and a non-working phone number, no longer exists.  Wonder how they got mixed up in the high stakes game of world diplomacy and international intrigue that is Dukes of Hazzard collectibles.  Hope it wasn't cockeyed optimism or unbridled enthusiasm that lead to their downfall.  

The lack of characters on the package of this car is very telling to me that it is intended to be a representation of the movie General Lee, and not from the show.  My guess is the license agreement expired with Johnny Knoxville, Seann William Scott, and Jessica Simpson, but Johnny Lightning still wanted to make a movie accurate General.  The broken windshield with what could be seen as bullet holes gives it away.  

Though unofficial, this is a the movie General Lee that should have been released in 2005.  And it's a darn good version of it.  My love for the movie, mainly because I'm in it, causes this JL car to have a special place in my heart.  I wish there would have been more movie specific items released and not just straight re-releases in movie packaging.  

This car is also the first JL General Lee to have the push bar on it.  They did a great job on that as well.  

I am lucky enough to have a White Lightning version of the Internet Exclusive General Lee.  It has mud covered white tires.  

It is easier to see that they are white from the bottom.  If the White Lightning rule of thumb that there are 1% of the entire run made as WLs, this is one in fifty in the world.  Not too shabby.

That wraps up series 1 of the Johnny Lightning Dukes of Hazzard line.  There are seven total series with a few additions at the end.  I will cover all seven series soon.  It's kind of like an on-going serial, not unlike Lost.  But in this case I know where the ending is going and won't muddle up the Smoke Monster and make the Polar Bear pointless.  The polar bears should have meant something more!!!

Stay Tuned!

Go back and look at the first picture one more time, and click on it to enlarge it.  It is pretty impressive, admit it.