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New Maisto Vipers win on value

OK, enough with all the Corvette diecast models.

I love Corvettes, but everyone likes seeing something new, and different. Hello, SRT Viper! For 2013 the snake returns as the muscle atop Chrysler Corp.'s various makes and models, and none too soon.

Viper was a hot commodity for Dodge when it launched in 1991. But as Chrysler transitioned from being owned by Mercedes-Benz to bankruptcy to Fiat ownership, the high-profile Viper was put on hiatus. Saab should be so lucky!

But the Viper is back, looking like a slightly more streamlined version of its muscular self. And from a model car collector's perspective, it's really about the outward appearance, if you're buying something to put on your shelf or in a case.

I'm sure the fancier, more-detailed diecast car makers will be all over the new SRT Viper shortly, but we've got to give Maisto all the credit for delivering the new Viper first, and in two scales, 1/24 (the popular plastic model scale) and 1/18 (the more-detailed diecast scale).

Maisto's Special Edition diecast models are moderately detailed, but bargain-priced, being available in mass market stores and hobby shops around the world.

I like both models, because they have good shelf appeal.
Sitting the models side by side, it's obvious the 1/24 is more the toy, and for younger collectors; the 1/18 offers more detail. We received both the red and black models to compare, and found the red a much snappier looker, plus in 1/18 scale the hood and hatch open. In the smaller scale, the hatch is sealed. Doors open on both sizes, and the cockpit really is quite good in each model.

Gauges are well detailed with appropriate trim, and the steering wheel in the larger model is linked to the front wheels so they turn with the wheel. On the smaller car, the front wheels are fixed. I particularly like the look of the dash through the windshield on the 1/18 Special Edition model because you can see the dash texturing, the scalloped area mid-dash, and the main center air vents.

Seats look realistic and well-contoured to reflect the car's racy nature, and the center console includes a well-detailed shifter and hand brake.

But as mentioned earlier, It's the exterior that draws anyone to the Viper, and the 1/18 model is well shaped and executed for its below-$40 price tag. The paint jobs look thick and glossy, although on the red 1/24 scale there was a blemish on the car's rear quarter panel next to the rear window. As a toy that's not a big problem. Collectors will be happier with the 1/18 model.

Doors and hood fit well, as does the rear hatch. Displayed on shelf, this looks nearly as good as some models costing three times more.

Rear lights are accurate and the front lights are good, with a projector beam visible. Fit around the headlights is decent on the 1/18 scale, but a little rough on the 1/24 model. Windows, wheels, and hood duct work look accurate too, and under the hood you'll see why this is a value-priced model. The giant red-headed V-10 engine is a separate piece in the larger model, but detailing is mild and looks very much like plastic. For instance, the crossmembers under the hood are molded into the other underhood pieces, but are painted silver to make them stand out.

Yet if you're like many of us who display our diecast models mostly with the hoods down, this Maisto 1/18 scale model is a great bargain. I have a few other Maisto models in 1/18 my collection, and no one has ever said "boo" about them not looking authentic or detailed enough.

So if you need a new Viper to fill out your collection, the 1/18 version is the way to go. Leave the 1/24 for the kids to play with.

Vital Stats
Product: 2013 SRT Viper GRS
Maker: Maisto
Scale: 1/24, 1/18
Stock Nos.: 31271/31128
MSRP: $14.99/$35.99
Rating: 3 stars out of 5 (1:18 version)

Visit to read 1:1 car and truck reviews by Mark Savage.


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