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Product Lab - October 2005

Published: September 27, 2005
Tamiya's Hornet is easy driving fun
Reviewed by Jim Faber

Product: The Hornet was a groundbreaking R/C vehicle when it was first released in 1984 by Tamiya. Then, it was the standard for two-wheel-drive off-road buggies. Not only was the original Hornet one of the most popular Tamiya R/C vehicles of all time, but it also helped launch the genre of cars throughout the world.

VITAL STATS
Product: The Hornet R/C buggy
Maker: Tamiya
Stock numbers: 57742 (RTR), 58336 (kit)
MSRP: $250, $160

BOTTOM LINE
  • Incredibly easy to run
  • Nearly indestructible
  • An R/C classic

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    Triple hopper model ties steam and diesel eras
    Reviewed by Jeff Wilson

    Product: Accurail has brought out a sharp-looking kit of an AAR 70-ton, three-bay offset-side hopper car. The model nicely captures the look of the prototype car, which was one of the most popular coal haulers of the late steam era. Thousands were built from the mid-1930s into the 1950s, and many of these cars survived in service into the 1970s and later.

    VITAL STATS
    Product: AAR 70-ton three-bay hopper
    Maker: Accurail
    Scale: HO
    Stock numbers: undecorated (No. 7500), Santa Fe (No. 7501), Baltimore & Ohio (No. 7502), Chicago & North Western (No. 7503), Southern Pacific (No. 7504), Pittsburgh & Lake Erie (No. 7505), Soo Line (No. 7506), black with data only (No. 7597), mineral red with data only (No. 7598), and oxide with data only (No. 7599)
    MSRP: $10.98

    BOTTOM LINE
  • Simple, fast construction
  • A fit for a variety of eras
  • Sell in multiples for additional sales

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    Dragon makes a desktop Boeing 747
    Reviewed by David Popp

    Product: New in the Dragon Wings Premiere Collection line is a 1:400 model of a Boeing 747-400 decorated for United Airlines. The white and two-tone blue paint scheme is the latest to be worn by United's fleet of passenger jets. Similar in appearance to Boeing's popular 747-300 series aircraft, the 747-400 features some notable changes including a two-man-crew digital flight deck, bigger wing span (211'-5"), new engines and increased flight range. The most noticeable external features were the addition of winglets, those upward-bent stabilizer tips at the tips of the wings, and a re-contoured wing-fuselage fairing. The latest version of the aircraft, the 747-400ER, has a range of 7,670 nautical miles. Since entering production in 1989, Boeing has built more than 630 747-400s.

    VITAL STATS
    Product: Boeing 747-400
    Maker: Dragon Models
    Scale: 1:400
    Stock number: 55802
    MSRP: $23.95

    BOTTOM LINE
  • Die-cast and plastic construction
  • Fully assembled and decorated
  • Crisp detail

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    This 'House' is a hauntingly engaging play
    Reviewed by Fred Jandt

    Product: Betrayal at House on the Hill strives for that classic haunted-house feel in a board game and succeeds most of the time. Between three and six players wend their way through a rambling, abandoned house, stumbling into places like the operating laboratory, graveyard and bloody room in their explorations.

    The point of the game is to figure out what's haunting the home and who's the betrayer aiding the haunt. Then, players must stop the haunt and eliminate the turncoat before it does away with them. The twist is none of the players know what the haunting is or who is facilitating it until halfway through the game.

    VITAL STATS
    Product: Betrayal at House on the Hill board game
    Maker: Avalon Hill
    Stock number: 0-7869-3540-5
    MSRP: $40
    Availability: Wizards of the Coast

    BOTTOM LINE
  • Incredibly dynamic game play
  • Faithful to classic horror genre
  • More than 50 game twists

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    GMP captures Gasser greatness
    Reviewed by Andy Lilienthal

    Product: "Ohio" George Montgomery was a well-known figure in the world of drag racing, specifically the Gasser class of the 1960s.

    Montgomery piloted several well-known cars throughout the years, including the 1969 Mr. Gasket-sponsored Ford Mustang Gasser. This car featured a twin-turbocharged Boss 429 V8 engine when turbocharging was a rarity for drag-racing vehicles. This monster produced 1,800 horsepower, but was eventually banned by the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA).

    VITAL STATS
    Product: '69 Mr. Gasket Mustang Gasser
    Maker: GMP
    Scale: 1:18
    Stock number: G1800811
    MSRP: $129.55

    BOTTOM LINE
  • Excellent all-around detail
  • Great paint
  • Unique subject

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    Trix HO track features roadbed and quick set-up
    Product: Trix is now offering its HO scale all-in-one C-Track in a two-rail version. The track, based on Märklin's three-rail AC track, features nickel-silver Code 83 (.083 inches tall) rail atop a molded plastic base. The base combines tie detail as well as simulated ballast texture in brown plastic. Several types of track are available, including various lengths of straight and curved sections as well as turnouts.

    VITAL STATS
    Product: C-Track all-in-one track and ballast
    Maker: Trix/Märklin
    Scale: HO
    Stock numbers/MSRP: straight, 7-13/32 inch (No. T62188, $3.75), curved, 20.25-inch radius (No. T62330, $4.95), left-hand turnout (No. T62611, $24), right-hand turnout (No. T62612, $24); several other items also available

    BOTTOM LINE
  • Perfect for European modelers
  • Easy to set up, take down
  • Wide track selection

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    Life-Like's RSC2 provides branchline power
    Reviewed by Hal Miller

    Product: Railroads were starting to adopt diesel locomotives in quantity in the late 1940s. Unfortunately, some of their track, especially on branch lines, was still stuck in the steam age. Diesel manufacturer Alco's answer to the lightly built track was to swap the two-axle trucks on their popular RS line of roadswitchers for three-axle trucks, thereby distributing the locomotives' weight and preserving the track. Their RSC2 locomotive, derived from the four-axle RS2, saw 70 units produced, with Seaboard Airline purchasing nearly half of them.

    VITAL STATS
    Product: Proto 1000 HO RSC2 Locomotive
    Maker: Life-Like
    Scale: HO
    Stock numbers: Milwaukee Road No. 988, 31291; Milwaukee Road No. 992, 31292; Seaboard Airline No. 1520, 31293; Seaboard Airline No. 1520, 31294; Soo Line No. 368, 31295; Soo Line No. 368, 31296; Union Pacific No. 1282, 31297; Union Pacific No. 1286, 31298; Undecorated, 31299
    MSRP: $95

    BOTTOM LINE
  • Excellent finish
  • Good price for level of detail
  • Ample add-on sales opportunities

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    1965 Dodge Coronet 500 is a fast muscle car to build
    Reviewed by Mike Soliday

    Product: Along with a 1964 Pontiac GTO, this 1965 Dodge Coronet 500 represents Polar Lights new "Great American Rides" line of pre-painted 1:25 scale snap together kits. Each car comes in both hardtop and convertible form. The Coronet is available in gold, red and turquoise.

    VITAL STATS
    Product: 1965 Dodge Coronet 500 convertible
    Maker: Polar Lights
    Scale: 1:25
    Stock number: 53001
    MSRP: $19
    Availability: RC2

    BOTTOM LINE
  • Body paint is smooth
  • Features crisp engraving
  • Coronet is a welcome subject

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    Pick a bushel of cash from Guardians of the Forest
    Reviewed by Fred Jandt

    Product:Model Retailer received a pre-production copy of the Black Library's latest Warhammer Fantasy novel, Guardians of the Forest, and being a fan of high fantasy, I decided to give it a look. The book is a mass-market paperback, clocks in at 415 pages and will be available this October.

    VITAL STATS
    Product: Warhammer: Guardians of the Forest
    Maker: Black Library Publishing
    Stock number: 1-84416-235-4
    MSRP: $7.99

    BOTTOM LINE
  • Tie in to Games Workshop fanbase
  • Entertaining characters
  • Easy reading tone

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    Johnny Lightning's metal Mustang Mach I
    Reviewed by Andy Lilienthal

    Product: During the prime years of the muscle-car era, the name of the game was performance, and in 1969, Ford redesigned its popular Mustang "Pony" car to better compete with the powerful offerings from GM and Chrysler. The Mustang Mach I featured many high-performance parts including a 428 Super Cobra Jet engine and famous Shaker hood. These items, along with a blacked-out hood and exterior graphics, made the Mach I a favorite among Ford muscle car enthusiasts.

    VITAL STATS
    Product: 1969 Ford Mustang Mach I
    Maker: Johnny Lightning
    Scale: 1:24
    Stock number: 51105B
    MSRP: $16.95
    Availability: RC2

    BOTTOM LINE
  • Very affordable
  • Good engine detail
  • Timely subject

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    Final Destination series gives movie theater chills
    Reviewed by Jim Faber

    Product: Black Flame, an imprint of Black Library Publishing, specializes in cult fantasy, adventure, sci-fi and horror. By creating a series of books based on New Line Productions two Final Destination movies, the publisher has hooked on to one of the more innovative horror/suspense plots in recent memory. In Final Destination media, a group of people miraculously survive a terrible accident only to be hunted down by Death for cheating him.

    VITAL STATS
    Product: End of the Line, Dead Reckoning and Destination Zero Final Destination books
    Maker: Black Library Publishing
    Stock numbers: 1844161765; 1844161706; 1844161714
    MSRP: $7.99 each

    BOTTOM LINE
  • Movie tie means built-in fan base
  • Quick, amusing horror read
  • Good for impulse buying

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    Classic Riviera kits still fun after all the years
    Reviewed by MIke Soliday

    Product: Although a few gearheads might have been turned off by the major styling change of the first generation Riviera (1963-'65) to the second, the public generally loved the sleek new lines. Buick continued to sell the second generation successfully with only with minor changes from 1966 through 1970. 1969 was the highlight of the run with over 52,000 units sold. The Riv was regarded as a well-designed, curvy looker that had more than enough horsepower under the hood to satisfy any lead foot.

    VITAL STATS
    Product:1969 Buick Riviera
    Maker: AMT/Ertl
    Scale: 1:25
    Stock number: 38166-1HD
    MSRP: $12.95
    Availability: RC2

    BOTTOM LINE
  • Accurate body
  • Easy to build
  • Big nostalgia factor

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