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Johnny Lightning Just Keeps Growing!

Once exclusively a 1:64 brand, JL released a series of 1:24 diecasts of popular muscle cars last year, and now it has done the same in 1:18—much to our delight. As with the other scales, the idea is to provide dynamic and accurate reproductions of favorite cars at prices that will attract new collectors and allow long-time fans to be able to buy the entire collection. Representing the Chevy camp are a Chevelle SS 454 and a Nova SS 396 from 1970. The Chevelle is a solid choice, as it’s one of a handful of all-time favorites, and it looks great in silver with black SS stripes. More interesting is the Nova; with its 375-horse L89 motor, it’s the sleeper of the century among factory Novas, and we really like the Corvette-style scoop grafted onto the hood. There is a subtle two-tone to the silver paint on this car; the finish below the side stripes is a shade lighter. Overall, both are cool Chevys and welcome big brothers to the JL family.
RC2 Corp. (800) 704-8697; rcertl.com

Buggin’ Out!

Maisto’s G-Ridez line continues to roll merrily along, representing the modern custom scene, but custom VWs (mainly the Bug, but increasingly buses, Karmann Ghias, 1500s and even the odd—and we mean odd—Thing) have a following so avid and widespread that they deserved their own diecast line. And so, V-Bugz. Presently, the line encompasses 1:24 and 1:18 vehicles, and a batch of 1:64s was just announced. Chopped tops, slammed stances and low and wide wheels are the order of the day, but the finish is what really makes V-Bugz shine. Bugz make up most of the line—especially in the big scales—but buses are coming on. Two-tone paint is another growing theme, and this is particularly effective on the rectangular bus. The 1:64 group are prototypes, and we dig the Karmann Ghia body style and the smoothie hubcaps. There’s 1500 sedan there, too, but no fastback—yet.
Maisto Intl.; maisto.com

Real Deal

We liked the 1:24 Hummer H2s that So Real Concepts released last year, and we just got our first look at the company’s sophomore effort: a pair of ’57 Chevys—a Pickup and a Suburban—at the 2006 DieCast X Collectors Expo (see coverage on page 56). They share a few things—notably the lifted suspension and roll-over-anything Super Swamper tires on Weld wheels—but the ’57 bodies with their curves and character lines are so much more interesting than the refrigerator-shaped Hummers. Also more interesting are their engines—still small-block V-8s and still supercharged, but that’s where the similarities end. The tall hood of the ’57 gives clearance for a traditional roots-type blower topped by a pair of 4-barrel carbs. This old-school engine is more in character with a custom 4×4 image, and it’s more interesting than the densely packed nest of pipes and hoses on many modern engines. No word on final color choices, but the metallic red truck and the dark primer Suburban look good to us.
So Real Concepts, distributed by Pro-Line (951) 849-2981; sorealconcepts.com

Updated: January 6, 2007 — 10:00 AM

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