Tuesday, August 28, 2018

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

Let's take this thing home shall we?  In this blog post we will look at the final run of Dukes of Hazzard 1/18 diecast cars that were produced by Johnny Lightning and Auto World.  Dukes product production was halted in 2015, but there were 1/18s released right up until WB pulled the plug on Dukes items.  Though these are the last 1/18s to come out, I'm confident these aren't the last we will ever see.  In the last year we have seen several new DVD releases and the show is once again a hit on Amazon Prime Video.  In my mind, it's only a matter on time before Warner Bros. lifts the embargo and the flood gate of new Dukes of Hazzard products rushes open.  We all know that when that happens the best selling 1/18 diecast of all time, the General Lee, will lead the way.  But until then, let's look at the most recent Dukes 1/18s by JL and AW.  

The final regular General Lee released by Johnny Lightning is the same as the previous two, but the box has more than one small difference.  In the last post I showed the 2011 no Tomy General Lee and the 2012 white Tomy General Lee.  In 2013 we got the blue Tomy General Lee.

The logo is in the same place as the last version, but it no longer has a white boarder around it.  Unlike the last two versions, the logo isn't the only difference on this box.  The car inside is the same though.  

For some reason, Johnny Lightning's 2013 General Lee replaced the glamour shot of a real General Lee on the box with a picture of the actual 1/18 diecast car.  

All of the cars released in the brown box, from Joyride, American Muscle Authentics, and Johnny Lightning all used a picture of a movie General Lee that was reversed in photoshop originally used on movie products in 2005.  The giveaway that the shot is reversed is the windshield wipers are going the wrong way.  But for some reason, after 8 years of use, JL decided to discard the picture and slap on a picture of the diecast.  Who knows why they made this decision, but it makes it easier to discern the latest JL product from the previous two. 

The top of the box features another shot of the diecast car and the same image of our cousins and the logo.  

The diecast image is used again on the back with the "mostly in cars" description.

The 2013 date on the bottom of the box is the only difference from the previous models.

The 2013 blue Tomy General Lee did come in White Lightning variant.  This is the only white wheeled 1/18 General Lee I have ever tracked down, but I've heard rumors that there is a 2012 white Tomy WL.  I can't confirm that because I don't own one, so I'm sticking with this bad boy being the only 1/18 General Lee White Lightning to make this list.  It features white tires and gold vector wheels.

The wheels and tires really stand out on this car.  It supposedly only made up 2% of the production run of this car, so it's pretty rare.  The box is the same as the regular release.

The final Johnny Lightning 1/18 Dukes of Hazzard diecast also came out in 2013.  It is an odd variant that some consider to be a White Lightning, but that is debatable.  This is the 2013 White General Lee.  It comes in the same box as the 2013 blue Tomy General Lee, but, obviously, it's all white, no orange at all.  When it first appeared on the market, everyone, including me, called it a White Lightning, but it became apparent that it wasn't as limited as most WLs and may just be another chase car.  The white wheeled 1/18s are much harder to track down than this car.  But it sure does look nice as yet another different colored Charger in the General Lee uniform.  With the release of this car, there is a 1/18 version of the Gen'ral in black, white, silver, chrome, gold, and of course, orange.  That's a lot of different General Lees.

The box is identical to the other 2103 JL General Lee.

The flag against the white paint of the car makes it look like the red and blue are painted directly onto the car.  That is not the case though as the same decals are used for this car as all the other ones.

No change on the box.

Johnny Lightning's run in 1/18 Hazzard County lasted from 2011 to 2013, and 2013 was the end of the Johnny Lightning brand at Tomy.  They discontinued the name.  During JL's run a new name got into the Dukes game, Auto World.  Auto World started out as a mail order car hobby catalog in the '50s but the name was revived in 2004 in response to Playing Mantis buying Johnny Lightning.  Round 2 (that name is familiar) is the parent company to Auto World and even revived Johnny Lightning after Tomy was done with them in 2016.  Ok, history lesson complete, and I hope correct, let's get back to 1/18s.   In 2012, Auto World wasn't new to Dukes of Hazzard.  They released Dukes slot car tracks and cars starting in 2006.  But they changed the entire landscape of Dukes diecasts when they released the mother of all replica General Lees in 2012.

Silver Screen Machines is a line that Auto World produces that includes 1/18s, 1/164s and slot cars.  To my knowledge, the General Lee was the first car in the line.  The Gen'ral is always the first!

Often times I'm asked which 1/18 General Lee is the best.  Seeing as how I own every single one produced and do a fair share of talking about them, I guess I am a good person to ask that question.  My answer is always the same.  Without question, the best Dukes of Hazzard 1/18 diecast General Lee is Auto World's Silver Screen Machine highly detailed diecast General Lee.  No other diecast compares to it.  I first wrote a review on this car in 2012 and it's still my most popular post on the entire blog.  Since then I've written about interviewing Bo and Luke, hosting a Dukes trivia competition, having a business meeting with Hulk Hogan, unearthing the mystical Dukes of Hazzard swiming pool, walking the red carpet at the Dukes of Hazzard movie premiere, and visiting the Hazzard County back lot at the Warner Bros. Studio, but my most popular post remains the review of this wonderful car.  That's because this is probably the best Dukes of Hazzard collectible ever made, and this blog is dedicated to Dukes of Hazzard collectibles, after all.

Auto World took the molds from Ertl's previous attempt to create the ultimate Dukes diecast and actually delivered.  The Ertl American Muscle Authentics got the Dodge Charger aspect of the diecast correct, but missed the mark on a few General Lee details.  Auto World took the ball and scored.  This diecast could be photographed outside and the photos could fool most people into thinking they were looking at a real General Lee.  It's that detailed  (and that's not a bad idea...new project!)  The 01s look perfect, the vector wheels are all new and look spot on, it has an accurate antenna, everything about this car is great.  It comes in an updated brown box that is very similar to JL and Ertl releases.  Go ahead and re-read my original review of this car.  You won't be disappointed.

The back of the box features a few differences from the other cars.  It still has the "mostly in cars" description, but it's not bi-lingual.  It also features additional pictures of sweet Daisy and the Gen'ral jumping over Rosco.  A list of details is also added to the box.

The top of the box is different.  For the first time on a 1/18 Dukes of Hazzard car, you can't see the rebel flag.  This isn't new to Dukes products as WB has been adding and removing the flag from products since the silver era of Dukes merchandise.  This time around, the flag is hidden under an orange sticker,  I refer to this look as the bald General Lee.  The sticker can easily be removed when the box is open so the General Lee looks whole again.  I've stood beside Ben Jones as he signed countless numbers of these cars and he loves opening the boxes for his fans and throwing away that sticker.  But if you're going to keep it mint in the box, you have to settle for a bald General Lee, so that's why I always buy two of everything.

The bottom of the box is very different than previous 1/18s.  It features a window to show off the undercarriage and chassis.  I really like this feature AW.

There are two box variations of the Auto World General Lee.  And the difference isn't easy to notice.  The second variation is also dated 2012 and has the same front...

The same back...

The same top with the bald General Lee...

And the same bottom...

The difference is the sides of the box.  The original release (on top) has the rebel flag front license plate visible through the box window.  The later release has no side window to hide the plate.  My guess is that a mandate came down from the corporate office inside the water tower at Warner Bros. that said the flag can't be visible anywhere on the box and AW thought they were in good shape until after they were released and someone noticed the front plate.  They then had to redesign the box to delete the side window to cover the flag.  All of this could have been avoided if AW would not have included the front plate with the rebel flag because, say it with me everyone, the General Lee never had a front plate with a rebel flag on it.  I think the inclusion of that front plate is my biggest gripe with all these 1/18 Dukes diecasts.  Probably my only gripe.  I'm not much on gripes.  I bet there are a few fellow collectors out there reading this blog right now who didn't realize that there are two different AW General Lees and are now checking to see which one they have.  Please let me know if this happened to you.  Maybe the corporate offices at Warner Bros. aren't inside the famous water tower, but that's where the Animaniacs live.

The opposite of the boxes feature a widow on both releases.

Even the CNH 320 plate is near perfect on this car.

I am not sure, but I would guess the first release that has the front plate flag visible is the rarer version.  I think if I state that on my blog, it becomes true, so yeah, the earlier version is worth more.  Ha.

Auto World didn't stop after it created the best 1/18 General Lee ever.  They kept on trucking through Hazzard and in 2014 gave us the first ever representation of Daisy's yellow car in 1/18 scale.  This is the Daisy Duke 1971 Plymouth Satellite.  We all remember Daisy driving her Dixie jeep, but before that she had a yellow Mopar that gave the Gen'ral a run for its money.  Daisy mostly drove a Plymouth Roadrunner, but on occasion they stuck a Satellite in there.  This was all before Bo and Luke drove her car off a cliff, of course.  The box is similar to the previous General Lee but Auto World added their signature red strip on the left side.  I guess they forgot that on the General.  It surprises me that the General Lee is on the box, but only a little.  If you are selling a Dukes product, you want to include the General Lee.  You can read my original review here.

The back of the box has another picture of the General Lee and the same images as the General Lee box.  And of course that same description.

I like how the General is running into the red area of the Auto World logo.  Nothing can stop the General Lee.

The window on the bottom of the box really adds to the design.

I'm glad Daisy is included on the box for her car.  

The FCH 630 plate is even more screen accurate than the AW General Lee's CNH 320.

Next up in 2014 Auto World released it's take on Rosco's Patrol Car.  AW labeled the car as the Hazzard County 1975 Dodge Monaco Police Car.  The basis of the car uses the same molds as the previous two 1/18 Rosco cars.  They were both 1974 Monacos and this is a '75, but the majority of cars used on the show were 1978s.  Of the three Rosco cars released in 1/18 scale, this is the best.  Though not on the level of detail as AW's General, this one has more detail than Johnny Lightning's and Ertl's attempts.  The crown jewel on this car is the light bar.  It looks real.  Other details such as the Hazzard County plate and the wires and decals under the hood make this the car to choose if you only want one 1/18 police car chasing your General Lee.

Again, AW chose to feature the General Lee on the box and not the police car.  That is probably because there aren't any publicity shots of this model year police car produced by Warner Bros.

The bottom of the car is detailed and shines through the bottom box window.

The highlight of the car is truly the light bar.  It has the yellow area on the rear end and has bulbs inside that look like they can spin.  I can hear the sirens now.

The car does have a rebel flag on the front plate so AW didn't make the same mistake and deleted the side window.  The closed side is all red and I really like how the Dukes logo looks against the solid red background.  My complete review of this car is available here.  

And the final car of this entire run, the last 1/18 car produced takes it back to where it all started.  The final season of the Dukes opened with the episode "Happy Birthday General Lee."  The flashback episode told the story of how the General Lee came to live with the Dukes.  The story goes that a couple of crooks stole a bag of gold dust and used a suped up black Charger as their getaway car.  During their escape they wrecked the car and left it for dead.  Meanwhile, the Duke cousins had just finished building an engine and needed a car to put it in.  They found the black Charger on a car lot and bought it.  The Dukes and Cooter spent all night bringing the car back to life, Luke welded the doors shut for safety sake, much to Uncle Jesse's chagrin, and the only color paint Cooter had in the garage was a "nice reddish orange."  Bo said they put 01 on the doors because they started out with nothing but it's number one here all the way.  Uncle Jesse came up with the name after they put the rebel flag on the roof and the dixie horn under the hood.  The rest is history.  Of course the crooks came back for their stashed gold dust but the Dukes handled that like the Dukes do.  Auto World celebrated this episode by creating the black Charger in 1/18 form.  Now, we have had several black General Lees in 1/18 before, the first one came out only two years after the original 1/18 Gen'ral.  But they were always more black General Lees than representations of the General before the Dukes got him.  AW remedied that by releasing a proper Happy Birthday General Lee car that is a black Charger with no vector wheels, no push bar or no other General Lee additions.  It's based off their highly detailed General Lee and is certainly on par with the level of detail as the greatest Dukes 1/18 produced.  You can read my original review of this car that came out in 2015 here.

The back of the box finally ditches the "mostly in cars" paragraph and adds episode specific details.  A brief description of the origin of the General Lee (not as good as mine above) is included as well as a mention that Dukes fans have always wanted this car.  Look at that, we are mentioned!  There are also pictures from the episode of the black Charger.

The top and bottom of the box show off the detail.

Finally!  There is no rebel flag on the front of the car.  Somebody was actually paying attention to this detail.

Now this is in interesting detail.  The car sports the famous CNH 320 license plate.  It is not visible throughout the episode, so you can't actually see if that plate was on the car before the Dukes got it.  My guess would be no because the crooks didn't live in Hazzard and it's a Hazzard issued plate.  But it's a fun topic to discuss as to when the General Lee was christened with the famous letters and digits.  

There you have it.  All forty Dukes of Hazzard diecast cars ever produced in 1/18 scale.  From 2000 through 2015 we were graced with probably the best and most sought after Dukes collectibles ever produced.  All Dukes fans want to own at least one replica of the General Lee and it doesn't get any better than 1/18 scale.

We all know that Warner Bros. halted production of everything Dukes of Hazzard related in July of 2015.  The Happy Birthday General Lee car came out just two months before that happened.  I always thought we would get at least a 1/18 replica of Lucifer and Enos's race car to go along with Cooter's 99 Camaro to complete the race from Luke's Love Story.  Those would be easy because the Mustang and Monaco molds are already created.  There are countless other cars that I would love to see in 1/18.  The most requested would have to be the standard Hazzard vehicles such as Daisy's Jeep, Boss's Caddy, Uncle Jesse's pickup, and Cooter's tow truck.  Other cars that could be created include Hughie's VW, the 44 Grand National, Cooter's purple Road Runner, Hogg's Hellcat, other county and state police cars, or even Rosco's Camo cruiser.  Heck, I know my sister would love to see Dr. Willis' roving dentist office RV.

In the last year or so there have been positive developments in the Dukes Of Hazzard merchandise world.  We have gotten several new versions of the show in DVD box sets, one that is even in stores right now at your local Wal-Mart (go look after you finish reading this post).  The show is currently streaming in glorious HD on Amazon Prime Video, and there are even a few new products available on Warner Bros. own website wbshop.com.  What I am getting to with all this is I wouldn't be so quick to state that these are the last 1/18 Dukes of Hazzard cars that will ever be produced.  We Dukes fans have to let WB know that we aren't done spending our money on Dukes products.   By buying the DVDs, and watching the episodes on Amazon, and letting them know on social media, we can send the message to WB and hopefully sooner than later we will be adding more 1/18 Dukes of Hazzard diecasts to this list and adding other great Dukes products such a Pop Funkos, new action figures, new models, new video games, oh man there are so many products that I want to see Dukes be a part of.  We can make this happen!!!!!

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


  1. rotfl!!
    our favorite part of getting a general was getting it from Ben's store, and having his note about the cover on top, and how "you'll never get a greater joy in your life than removing that unamerican piece of crap..." or something like that. :P it made us chuckle thats for sure! :)

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