Wednesday, July 25, 2018

The Entire Line of Dukes of Hazzard 1/18 Diecast Cars - All 40 - Post 3 of 4: Authentics and JLs

Well, it seems the break between post 2 and post 3 was longer than expected.  I didn't do any blogging at the beach this year, but sure played a lot of volleyball.  Keep an eye on my youtube page for that video.  Ok, let's get back to 1/18 Dukes of Hazzard cars.  

Ertl's American Muscle line was still alive, even though the General Lee had been moved to Joyride.  Ertl created a high end line of cars with extreme detail called American Muscle Authentics.  The greatest 1/18 of them all had to be a part of it.  For the first time since 2000, a new mold was used to create the 1969 Dodge Charger and the most detailed General Lee was born.

The American Muscle Authentics General Lee was released in 2007 and was a very big deal for Ertl and collectors.  Ertl advertised the car heavily online and many retailers posted pre-sales and advertisements for it.  It was worth the fanfare as it is on a different level of detail from all the previous General Lee 1/18s.  The box has the same brown box theme and features a gold embossed Authentics logo.  The box window has an Authentics sticker that proclaims the car has over 200 parts.  So many pieces are new to the release.  The wheels are much closer to the actual American Racing Vector wheels, the new roll bar is more authentic, the trunk finally opens and includes a spare tire, the General even comes with its signature tear drop base antenna, and the graphics are bolder and closer to the show.  Nearly everything about this car is better than the older releases.  Nearly everything, but not everything.  The car has the Charger logo on the side of the car behind the window.  Some Chargers had that, but never any Generals.  A tiny detail that got under my skin was the headlight covers were up showing the lights while the car was in the box.  Perhaps that was included to show off the working headlight doors, but the General Lee was rarely ever depicted with the light doors up so I didn't like that detail.  You can easily close the doors if you open the box.  The antenna, even though it's the first time a 1/18 Gen'ral was included with one, is criminally small.  But all in all, it's a great representation of the General Lee in highly detailed fashion... they just got a few details wrong.

The American Muscle Authentics General Lee has a new description on the box, exclusive to the Authentics line.  It reads: "The Dukes of Hazzard followed the exploits of cousins Bo and Luke Duke (just a couple of good ol' boys) and their kin as they tried to have fun and stay one step ahead of the corrupt local sheriff.  The details on this Authentics General Lee will make you feel like you're on the dusty back roads of Hazzard County yourself!"  I like it.  It's a bilingual box.

The RC2 logo is back on this one.

The back also features a description of all the details that were added to the car including authentically welded closed doors, trunk mounted CB antenna, authentic General Lee graphics, roll cage, working suspension and drivetrain, wires, plugs and hoses, and the detailed 440 engine.  This car is almost the best representation of the General Lee in 1/18.  It was the best when it was released, but got dethroned a few years later.  More on that in the next post.

Supercar Collectibles returned to the Dukes fold in 2007 with two exclusive versions of the Authentics General Lee.  The first was the 1 of 150 black General Lees.  Taking the same mold and parts of the Authentic General Lee and painting it black, this exclusive car is often referred to as the Happy Birthday General Lee, much like the first black 1/18 Gen'ral.  It features the Vector wheels and roll bar that the black Charger from the Happy Birthday episode didn't yet feature.  The front and back license plates read 1 of 150 as a way of showing it off exclusivity.  There is a Supercar Collectibles sticker on the box window.

It features the same box as the previous Authentics General Lee.  It was released in 2007.

The second Supercar Collectibles Authentics exclusive General Lee is different from the others.  It is similar to the 252 car the Supercar released a couple years earlier in that it's a black Charger with the General Lee's uniform.  It's not dirty like the 252 car though.  The odd thing about this release is that it's in a standard American Muscle Authentics Dodge Charger box.  It's labeled as a Dodge Charger and not the General Lee.  As a matter of fact, the General Lee nor the Dukes of Hazzard are mentioned anywhere on the box.  Not even a mention of Warner Bros. which doesn't seem all the legal.  Strange.

The back of the box features images of a standard Dodge Charger highly detailed 1/18.  It lists all the details that were added to the line.

The bottom also doesn't have any WB legal information.  This is the box a regular Dodge Charger came in.  It also came out in 2007 and is quite hard to track down these days.  These three American Muscle Authentics were the last General Lee 1/18s to bear any name like Ertl, American Muscle, or RC2.  They were also the last Dukes 1/18s to be produced for a while.  The streak of a new Dukes 1/18 for each year of the new century would end with 2007 being the last year and 2008 through 2010 were dark years for Dukes 1/18s, but certainly not for other Dukes products.  Models, t-shirts, and 1/64s were released in those few years, but no 1/18s.

Then a new name got into the Dukes of Hazzard 1/18 mix.  Johnny Lightning!  Johnny Lightning is a familiar brand to us in Hazzard County.

We all remember the massive line of Dukes of Hazzard 1/64s that JL unleashed from 2006 through 2010.  While Ertl was bringing us Hazzard County in 1/18 scale, Johnny Lightning gave us nearly every car to be shown on screen.  It's a super collection and includes cars such as Hughie Hogg's VW, Lucifer, the #44 Buick National, Grey Ghost, and Black Tillie.  It was only a matter of time until JL tackled 1/18 Dukes.

Going forward, there is no more Ertl in the Dukes game.  They are still around, and a leader in farm equipment replicas, but they haven't produced any Dukes in a long time.  The two big names in this and the next blog post are Tomy and Round 2.  RC2 which was the corporation formed when Ertl and Racing Champions joined forces was purchased by Tomy, a Japanese company that has ties back to the original Transformers toys, in 2011.  Johnny Lightning was already a part of RC2 at the time.  Round 2, the parent company of Auto World that had ties to Ertl and American Muscle would later revive JL, but first compete with them in Hazzard County.  All of the remaining cars on this post and the next one will be from either JL or AW, and most came out after I started this blog, so they have probably been covered in detail here on ol'  DukesCollector.  That doesn't mean I didn't take fresh pictures of them and I will still go into detail about each one.  Now that the history lesson is over, let's get back to it.

The first Dukes of Hazzard 1/18 to bear the JL logo looks basically the same as the last Dukes 1/18 to bear the Joyride logo.  Really there is no difference.  It is the standard body, the same one that has been released since 2000.  It is not the highly detailed version.  Besides the different logos, they are the same car and the same box.  There is one difference. The JL doesn't have the license plates.  No CHN 320 on the back, and no flag on the front.  But that's it.

The description is the same. It's the "mostly in cars" description that doesn't mention the Gen'ral.  The pictures are also the same.

The Dodge logo has been updated and the bottom of the box now features JL's website.  

I wonder why so many different cars had or didn't have the plates.  Confusing.

Wanna talk confusing?  This is where it get's very confusing.  In 2011,  we saw the release of the 1/18 General in a box that only had different logos from the Joyride box.  In 2012, JL released another version of General Lee, this time the box was identical to the last release, except for one tiny detail.

The logo for the parent company Tomy was added to the box.  In blue letters in a white box.  Between Dukes of Hazzard 1/18 collectors (me and Dave DeWitt) this car is called the "white Tomy JL General Lee."

It has the same box and the same pictures we've seen before.  The car is the same and does not include license plate stickers.

Once Johnny Lightning came into the fray, they didn't just bring the General Lee with them.  They also went back to the Ertl archives and re-released the 1974 Dodge Monaco.  This time labeled as "Rosco's Police Car" the Hazzard County cruiser was again the wrong year.  JL did make a huge improvement on this car by giving us the correct looking lightbar.  This car came out in 2012.  I posted an in depth review of this car when I first received it in October of 2012.

The box features pictures of the actual product and has the same "mostly in cars" description.  It also features the white Tomy logo.

The light bar is a huge improvement over the Joyride version from 2007.  The Johnny Lightning Rosco's Police Car came out in 2012.

Johnny Lightning is known for their chase variants known as White Lightnings.  They are versions of cars with a special trait, usually white tires that are generally 2% of the manufacturing run.  They are randomly placed in shipping cartons.  There is a White Lightning variant for each Dukes JL 1/64 car and once JL entered the Dukes 1/18 arena, I knew there would be more chase cars to hunt down.  Oddly enough, to my knowledge, there is no WL version of the no Tomy 2011 JL 1/18 General Lee.  The first Dukes 1/18 to get the WL treatment was Rosco's Police Car.

Released at the same time as the standard car, and in the same box, the White Lightning version features white rubber tires.  I never opened mine, but I suspect some part of the engine is also white.

In 2012, JL didn't just stop at the Hazzard Police Station, they also brought us a version of Buzz's Double Zero Ford Mustang.  I called it the "Fall Season of new Dukes diecasts" when I first got this car because so many Dukes 1/18s were hitting the market.  You can read my original review here.  I took issue with the naming of this car because we all know it was only seen in the first reunion movie and Cooter certainly never drove it.  It's officially known as "Cooter's Ford Mustang" but should be called "Buzz's Ford Mustang" or just "The Double Zero Mustang."  In my review I noted that JL had made the mistake of naming it Cooter's Mustang in a 1/64 set that itself was a re-release of a RC2 set from 2006 that first made the mistake.  JL just used the information they had on file.  I guess we can't blame them for not firing up the reunion movie DVDs before bringing a new product to market.  This car also has the white Tomy logo.

The back of the box features a picture of the diecast car and has the "mostly in cars" description.  I guess they kept using that one because it doesn't mention a particular car.

Similar to the American Muscle Double Zero that came out in 2001, the 2012 JL Double Zero had the 00 on the license plate.  But no Hazzard County like the previous one.

Like Rosco's Police Car, the Mustang had a White Lightning chase version.  The white tires really stand out against the blue car.

You might have missed the white tires on the white Rosco car, but there is no missing them on the blue Mustang.

The final car that is labeled as being released in 2012 (it actually came out in January 2013) is the first Johnny Lightning Dukes 1/18 that is not a re-release.  It's the #99 Cooter's Chevy Camaro.  Also in a white Tomy box, this car was seen in the season 1 episode "Luke's Love Story."  Cooter planned on entering this car in the big race against the General Lee, Enos's race car, and Amy Creevy's Lucifer.  I really thought Johnny Lightning would release a 1/18 version of the other two cars from that race in 1/18 as they were both in their 1/64 line, but all Dukes products were suspended in 2015.  Maybe those cars were in the works, or  maybe we'll see them down the road one day.

Again, the box doesn't describe the car, but anyone out there that might want to know the history of this car hopefully googled it and wound up here on DukesCollector.  I reviewed this car upon its release in 2013.

The final car of part 3 of this blog post is the White Lightning version of Cooter's Camaro.  Much like the Mustang, you can't miss the bold white tires.

We're almost home on this massive series of posts.  In the final chapter, we'll look at a few more Johnny Lightnings and then finish off with Auto World's foray into 1/18 Hazzard County.  Like ol' Waylon says, ain't this fun?

The Entire Line of Dukes of Hazzard 1/18 Diecast Cars - All 40 - Post 1 of 4: American Muscle