Friday, August 28, 2015
DukesCollector Retro Review - The Ripcordz The General Lee
I get a lot of positive feedback when I review upcoming Dukes of Hazzard items, but unfortunately there aren't any Dukes items currently in the pipeline. If I can't review anything new, let's take a look back at some older items. This is the first in a series of posts called the Retro Review. I'm going to look at an item as if it just came out. The first Dukes piece in the Retro Review series is the Ripcordz The General Lee.
The Ripcordz logo is bigger than the Dukes of Hazzard, Racing Champions, or Joy Ride logos. You would think that means there is an entire line of vehicles with "Rev it up and rip it out" action features. As far as my research shows, The General Lee is the only car ever released in the Ripcordz line.
The first The General Lee Ripcordz was released in 2001 in the then-standard rebel flag decorated box. The Silver Era of Dukes of Hazzard collectibles was in full swing by 2001. The show had already been a huge success on TNN for several years and WB was experimenting with new products, not just re-releases of Golden Era items. The Ripcordz was an item meant to be played with and not mostly a collectible. The gimmick of The Ripcordz was the zip cord mechanism that propelled The General Lee at high speeds. Ertl released the car under their Racing Champions line, which many of the Dukes of Hazzard items at the time were a part of.
The actual product is pictured on the box, where several items had a picture of a real General on them. The Dukes logo used at the time differs from the current standard.
The back of the box also displayed the car. And, again, the huge Ridcordz logo. The instructions read "To operate Ripcordz General Lee, insert ripcord into slot in roof. Pull ripcord out and place The General Lee on hard flat surface and watch it fly!"
The bottom of the box includes the Dukes and RC logo as well as the huge Ripcordz logo. This one even has a tag line: "let 'er rip!!" You would really think there are other Ripcordz toys. But nope.
A few years later the Dukes of Hazzard movie ushered in the Modern Era of Dukes of Hazzard collectibles. 2005 saw several popular Dukes toys repackaged in movie themed boxes. None of the toys were altered in anyway to reflect the minor differences made to the Gen'ral. Only the boxes were updated. The Ripcordz logo is again pretty big, just not the biggest thing on the box. The actual product is again pictured on the box. By 2005, Ertl was releasing Dukes items under their Joyride logo.
Johnny, Jessica, and Seann are pictured as well as the movie Z logo. This image of the movie Dukes is used on several items as well as the poster. I always thought it was funny that the Led Zeppelin was photoshopped off Seann's shirt on the toys. But it was promenent on other promotional items for the movie like posters, calendars, and dvds.
The back of the box again shows off the other side of the car. It also has a blurb about the movie that mentions the The General Lee, names the cast of the movie, and has such a vague description of the plot that it could actually describe any episode of the show. It also incorrectly spells Rosco as "Roscoe."
The bottom of the rear side of the box has the same instructions on how to make The General Lee fly.
Also on the back is a checklist of other movie themes items. They are all re-releases. I like the addition that reads "Collect both movie and classic editions!" I certainly took that piece of advice very seriously.
The bottom of the box has the same size (huge) Ripcordz logo and the tagline returned. The Z Dukes logo is also present.
The items in the box include the 1/24 plastic toy and the included ripcord.
The General Lee is nicely detailed. All of the Dodge Charger features are nicely displayed. The 01 is accurate and the vectors are spot on.
If you noticed, throughout this article I've capitalized the T in The General Lee. This is the reason. This item has a big flaw where as it prints the "THE" along side the "GENERAL LEE" text. Someone at Ertl screwed up on this one. We all know it shouldn't have the "THE" and the text should be blue. But we'll let the color mistake slide because a majority of Dukes items make that mistake. The mistake was not corrected on the movie release. There is one other item that includes "The General Lee" on the roof. Bonus points for whoever knows which item it is. Leave a comment, email me, or contact me on Twitter if you think you know what it is.
The push bar on the front looks great. I love that there is no incorrect plate on the front.
The CNH-320 is absent on the car.
The mechanism the propels the car is actually a big wheel in the center of the car. The four regular wheels don't do much except balance the car out. The center wheel is lined with rubber, but the regular wheels are made of plastic.
For some reason, there are two slots on the roof to insert the cord. Both work the same. I guess they wanted the car to look balanced. "The General Lee" nearly goes the length of the flag. How could no one notice the mistake? Come on Etl, you've been making this car for over twenty years at that point.
The zipcord that comes with the car is pretty long. Nearly two feet.
I expected there to be some sort impression on the cord or at least a trademark. There isn't one. Sometimes you see TM info on weapons that come with action figures.
The car is the same size as the model kit. 1/24, 1/25, it's all the same.
The Ripcorz has some superiority in detail over the newer Auto World/MPC Snap-It model kit.
The vector wheels on the Ripcordz have a great look.
I can't decide which ones are better. These are both fine sets of tiny vector wheels.
There are several differences to these two cars, but they are probably the best plastic toy General Lee cars that have ever been released.
The instructions say "watch it fly" but that's pretty much an overstatement. I envisioned myself using the ramp from the classic Dukes of Hazzard Stump Jumper set to launch the car through the air while recording it for the blog. I broke into the set and gave it a go, but the car couldn't make it up the ramp. It really doesn't go that fast. The box told me "For best performance, vehicle should be played with on a clean, hard surface." Luckily I happened to have an under construction kitchen available with a new hardwood floor. Enjoy a video of me enjoying my Dukes toy.
The Ripcordz The General Lee is a great item that has become a classic since its first release 14 years ago. It is a staple of the silver era as well as a forebearer of the modern era. They don't pop up for sale much anymore. If you can find one, or both. you should add 'em to you Dukes Collection.