Category Archives: Plymouth

Some 2017 Racing Champions

By Maz Woolley

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author unless otherwise stated.

Racing Champions Mint is a brand licensed by Round 2 from Tomy who acquired the brand when it bought Ertl. Round 2 are now re-using old moulds from Racing Champions and Ertl to create a Racing Champions Mint line. So the brand is now produced by the same company that makes AutoWorld and Johnny Lightning being run by the same people who originally ran Playing Mantis and revived the Johnny Lightning name originally devised by Topper.

Products under this brand sit between the AutoWorld 1:64 models aimed at discerning collectors of 1:64 and Johnny Lightning which is the fun, play brand.  They are all ‘3.25 inch models’ with some scaling out at 1:64 but others varying from the quite markedly. Looking on the web site it looks like releases have slowed in 2018 with the first release being based on racing cars which again seem to vary in scale considerably.

Here we look at some of the cars released in 2017.

The photograph above shows the scale variation with the 1967 Plymouth smaller than a 1960 Corvair. Whilst nice models in many respects Racing Champion Mint certainly has a ‘fit the box’ approach.

1967 Plymouth Fury New York City Police 2017 Release 1 Version A

The model shown above is an attractive 1967 Plymouth Fury in the ‘America’s Finest‘ sub-range. The livery used is for New York City Police. Pictures usually show the dark green area extending all along the side but I am sure this variation has been researched by Round 2 as they also sell a variation with full length green paint. The Fury badge has even been printed on the wings which is a nice touch.

Under the bonnet is a simple engine  and as can be seen above the bonnet is a good fit and the front lights though painted on work well with the nicely moulded grille.

Police markings are neatly printed and the rear lights, bumper and panel are neat mouldings. The somewhat heavy and square late 1960s  shape has been well captured. Sadly the green painted areas were not masked well and there is a lot of feathering around the edges and they do not align completely with the door shut lines as they should.

The wheels have the correct small hub cap fitted to police cars and a representation of the all steel wheels though the plastic used makes the wheels look much too shiny.

 

1958 Ford Edsel Release 2 2017 Version B

Bigger in every dimension than the Fury this Edsel has no model stated though when you blow up the photographs the script on the front wing might read Pacer which was one of the smaller Edsels based upon the Ford chassis.

Sadly the bonnet is ill fitting and sits above an Edsel horseshoe grille that is fitted at crazy angle. which makes the front look even more like it has been damaged parking.

The two tone paint, chrome printing and badging are nicely done. With finely printed Edsel lettering on rear wings. To the rear the bumper is ok, if a little plastic in appearance and the rear lights are printed on with fine surrounds.

The side view shows that the shape is neatly captured and the hard top nicely modelled. The top is in plastic presumably so the lower casting can also be used to make a convertible.

A colourful engine sits under the bonnet but as usual with models this size lacking in detail.

 

1960 Chevy Corvair Release 2 2017 Version B

GMs attempt to get back sales from the imports from the likes of Volkswagen. A rear wheel drive car which was released after cost cutting measures had left it with a poor suspension solution leaving it suffering from tail heavy handling problems which lead to Ralph Nader’s ‘Unsafe at any speed’ statement. Though GM quite quickly resolved the issues the car was never the success they hoped for.

This model is consistent in size with the Edsel but rather larger than the Fury which in real like was nearly 10 inches wider.

As the photograph shows the front lights are fitted crookedly bu here they can be twisted into a better alignment.

This is a model of the two door coupe which leaves a rather odd long rear deck,  used for the hood on the convertible which looks more balanced. The model is nicely painted though the casting seems rather bland to me failing to capture some of the sharp lines the designers used to add variety to the cars surface.

Rear lights are just paint on moulded casting extensions and the printing is not aligned well.

The wheels are not really typical of the models I can see online but may be OK as many cars seem to be fitted with custom fake wires.

At the rear we see the low mounted suggestion of an engine under to rear cover.

The revival of Racing Champions makes available again some classic fit the box castings and few accurate 1:64 castings from Ertl days. Build and finish quality is only ‘so so’ even though these models attract a premium price in the US. I am not sure whether Round 2 will invest a lot of effort into this range as it already has Johnny Lightning addressing the lower part of the premium market and Autoworld addressing the top-end of the US 1:64 premium market.

For all their faults this series of models will please many who will otherwise have to seek out theses castings on the secondary market.


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Auto World Plymouth 1:64 Models

By Maz Woolley

All text and photographs by, and copyright of, the Author.

Auto World is both a US store and a manufacturer producing models under Auto World, Johnny Lightning, and Racing Champions brands. Models cover multiple scales and even include HO scale slot cars. In 1:64 there is a difference between Johnny Lightning and Racing Champions models (made under licence from Tomy who no longer make them) and Auto World ones. Johnny Lightning continue as they have always done with models of American vehicles with fat speed wheels and some custom finishes to give them on the peg appeal at a pocket money price. Racing Champions seem to have a less clear cut identity with prices similar to AW and some features like wing mirrors that AW models lack but slightly less detailed models in some cases. Auto World was created with the collector of classic American vehicles in mind and is a series stated to be to strictly to 1:64 scale and which is finished in realistic colours, with realistic wheels and fitments, and well printed detailing. Its main competitor is probably Castline’s M2 ranges. In my eyes Auto World tend to look rather more realistic than M2 because they do not include the opening doors which detract from many M2 models.

Here I look at two new AutoWorld models which are recolours on existing castings and which I think show how collectable US 1:64 models have become.

AutoWorld 1964 Plymouth Barracuda                  Vintage Muscle Series release 4b #3

Aware that Ford intended to use its compact Falcon as the basis for a sporty car other manufacturers started to design their own. Chrysler created a fastback design based on their new compact Plymouth Valiant. The large rear window was the largest producer for a production car at that time.  Engine and gearbox options were the same as the Valiant’s, including two versions of Chrysler’s slant-6 engine. The highest power option for 1964 was Chrysler’s all-new 4.5 Litre V8.

Though the Barracuda was launched two weeks before the Mustang it only sold 23,443 units in 1964 compared to Ford’s 126,538 Mustangs.

The styling influence lived on with the large rear window being a key feature of the Chrysler owned Sunbeam Rapier and Alpine 1750 Arrow cars.

The casting captures the shape of the car well. The printed chrome round the windows is well done as is the rear window surround and fuel filler.

Good wheels have the smaller white sidewalls that emerged in the early 1960s.

From the front the grille is neatly moulded in and then black washed and all the chrome printed. The lights are printed in white which is quite effective and seems to be becoming popular on US 1:64 scale models. Even the moulded in wiper arms are neatly over printed in silver.

That huge rear window and all its fittings are nicely caught. Rear lights are printed on with silver base over printed with light lenses. An effect which is acceptable in this scale.

The rear scripts and boot fittings are all printed very finely and all is topped off by a registration plate though there is none fitted on the front.

Some attention has been paid to the engine bay which appears to house the optional V8.

AutoWorld 1958 Plymouth Belvedere                    Classic Chrome series release 4b #2

This casting has been seen before in several colours and in the special movie related “Christine” model from the film based upon Stephen King’s book.

The Belvedere modelled here is the version sold from 1957 to 1959 at the height of the era of Fins as styling statements. The design was so forceful Chrysler advertising was under the strap line  “Suddenly, it’s 1960!” In 1958 the Belvedere was the top trim level and was available with a large V8 engine called the Golden Commando.

The profile of the car with its jet fins has been nicely captured and the side ornamentation printed well right down to the door handles and the Belvedere badging which can only read clearly if you enlarge photographs of the model.

The wheels and tyres are modelled well though a black wash on wheels might make them look more realistic.

The front grill and huge bumper are well modelled and this time a number plate is included though it only carries the legend Belvedere. In the centre of the grille the V sign is picked out in gold. The bonnet emblem is printed over a raised moulding and even has a tiny Plymouth script printed on it much too small for the naked eyes to read clearly.

From the rear the excellent printing on the lights, huge bumper, and even the tiny Plymouth script along the lip of the boot, are all clearly visible.

Finally we get the view under the bonnet which clearly houses a large V8 engine painted gold as one imagines that the Golden Commando would have been.

Two nice models of classic American cars.


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