|Overall Panel Fit:||8/10|
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This version of Maisto's "Special Edition" packaging is a black window box with gold & red trim. The Maisto logo is in the bottom right corner of the front and back panels, and bottom center on both end flaps. The Special Edition logo is in the bottom left corner of the front panel, top right of the top panel, and centered on both end flaps. The rest of the box is covered with warnings and features, with all of the licensing information on the bottom panel. The scale, make, and model are printed on a sticker that is applied to the front of the box. The car is held to a cardboard tray by two screws, with plastic bands holding the hood & doors closed. The tray is done in a light beige grain with darker striations.
Generally very good work on the casting: the panels are all nice & sharp, the seams are even and snug (especially noticeable around the leading edges of the doors), and the detail work on the plastic parts is very nice. The sideview mirrors look a bit off where they meet the doors, and the gaps between the hood trim and grille surround are a bit too wide, but they're forgivable considering the low cost of the replica. There are also some very nice details that make up for these flaws, like the open scoops on the shaker hood and ringless Rallye wheels. Paint & trim are a mixed bag: the Dodge emblem on the hood and Challenger scripts on the front fenders and trunk are perfect, but the side stripes are a little fuzzy in places and don't line up with the side marker lights correctly. The "426 HEMI" on the scoop is legible, but registration issues between the white and silver keep it from being perfect. The base red looks good save for a few small rough spots, and is a constant tone across both plastic and metal parts. A gob of black paint mars the trailing edge of the hood on my particular car...it doesn't look like paint wear, it looks more like a factory error. It was obviously painted with the doors closed, as there is bare metal visible as soon as the doors are open. Silver paint is used for the hood pins, door handles, and rear fascia surround, and is applied well. The sideview mirror inserts are chrome stickers, and though they're applied correctly their shape doesn't quite match the shape of the housings. Bright chrome is used for the wheels, gas cap, bumpers, grille surround, parking lights, and taillight panel. Actually, all of the body components are made up of three pieces total: a front fascia, a rear fascia, and the hood trim. Clever use of paint helps break these sections up, and makes it look more complex than it really is. The front bumper on my car is a bit scuffed, and thanks to the size of the car and size of the window it's impossible to check for in the store. Clear plastic is used for the headlights and windshield, and looks good. The rear view mirror mount is a bit clunky, but its effect is negated somewhat by the wide windshield frame. The interior is good, with nice casting and decent paintwork. The only drawback here are the seat mounts, which result in a large rectangle of plastic and a hole in the floor behind the seats. The black plastic hides these, but not entirely. The engine and chassis are passable, but look pretty flat. Silver is the only color used under the hood, which unfortunately included the upper radiator hose and battery cables.
The doors and hood open, and the front wheels steer. Kudos to Maisto for making the doors hinge into the front fenders, a detail that makes the car look much better than the traditional "swing out" hinges. The hood hinge is nice & stiff, and all of the panels open and close well. The trunk is a separate piece, but does not open.
The Challenger is unmistakable, though a lot of the details throw off the finished look. The grille surround, although a clever idea, is way too heavy and combined with too-small headlights and totally black grille makes the nose of the car look more like a '70 Charger than a '70 Challenger. The sideview mirrors are too large. The stripes shouldn't have a knockout around the rear marker lights. The coke bottle sides are diminished, making the model look more slab-sided than the 1:1. The overuse of silver paint under the hood and inside is unfortunate. At least the scaling is pretty accurate, though the car is about 3/32" too narrow.
Your level of interest in this diecast may vary depending on what you're looking for. If you are looking for an inexpensive replica, or something fun for the kids to play with, then this is a worthwhile option. If you want a '70 convertible, it's pretty much your only option (unless you're willing to do some custom work). But if money is no object and/or you want a really great looking '70 Challenger and don't care about the specific body style, look elsewhere.
Send me an e-mail with your thoughts!