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Meng Jeep Wrangler Rubicon

FineScale Modeler reviews the 1/24 scale two-door vehicle kit
Since 2003, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon has been dominating the off-road trails — and the 2013 10th Anniversary Edition is no different. With locking front and rear differentials, electronic sway-bar disconnect, a beefed-up suspension, and underbody armor, it can take you places no stock vehicle can — plus you get special badging, a red interior with special Rubicon stitching on the seats, a winch-ready bumper, red tow hooks, and an all-new hood.

Tightly packed inside Meng’s box are six red-and-black sprues holding nearly 200 parts. Metal springs are included for the suspension, and reflective lenses for the Jeep branding on the grille and for the mirrors. Vinyl tires are also included.

The molds are finely detailed, but many of the parts are riddled with ejector-pin marks to remove. Clear parts are crystalline and scratch-free.

The 20-page instruction book contains 30 steps along with a parts-tree breakdown and color guide referencing AK Interactive paints. The instructions are clear, error-free, and easy to follow. 

The first two steps build up the rotors and axles. These won’t actually be mounted until steps 6 and 7. The suspension is workable (nice touch). Metal springs help make the suspension articulate, but they don’t look quite to scale. The bumpers look just like the real thing, though, and they have the proper Jeep markings finely molded into the plastic. The exhaust and skid plates look great, too. This is a curbside kit; no full engine. 

I painted the wheels gloss black, then detailed the rest of the wheel with silver. Just like on the real thing, Meng gives you decals that replicate the little Willys Jeep markings that are on each of the wheels. 

The tire tread pattern looks accurate. Missing is the BF Goodrich KM2 sidewall detail, perhaps due to licensing agreements.

Interior detail is fantastic, and with the top off it can be fully seen. The instrument panel looks convincing, with dials, switches, and vents all where they should be. Also nicely replicated is the subwoofer found in the rear of the Jeep. However, the Rubicon stitching is missing from the seats. Also missing are the latches that hold the Freedom Top panels down (but those won’t be seen once the top is on).

This model depicts an automatic, and the shift lever and 4WD controls look good. Meng even did a nice job of molding in the actual Jeep floor mats.

I ran into trouble mounting the windshield panel to the body. The roll cage kept interfering; I had to cut part of the cage short to make it fit. The rest of the body panels fit with no problem. Both the grille and the hood are nicely replicated in scale. Meng even molded the washer-fluid sprayers on the hood!

I painted the body panels while the parts were still on the trees, using decanted Tamiya gloss white. This made adding the body panels to the interior much easier without risking paint overspray on the interior. Decals, though few, went on well. Then I sprayed a coat of gloss over the body panels. Once that was dry, I started to add the body panels; they seemed to click right into place.

The roof can be kept on or you can take it off. Same goes for the doors — just like the real thing! The top fits snugly, but I prefer to leave it off to show the interior.

My model took about 16 hours to complete — much less than I anticipated when I opened the box. The fit of the parts was outstanding. That, plus a fairly low parts count, made for a fast build.

Now I hope there is an aftermarket company that will create a full Pentastar engine and the correct tires for this vehicle. And will Meng make a four-door Jeep? I hope so!

Note: A version of this review appeared in the October 2018 issue.


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