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      Your path: Home >> Wall-E's World >> Model Cars >> 1998 Jeepster Concept
1998 Jeepster Concept
Manufacturer: Maisto
Release dates 2008(?)-Current 
Catalog number: 0026
Date Purchased: March 2008
Date Completed January 2010
Number in collection: 28

The Jeepster Concept was built by Chrysler for the 1998 Auto Show season. It was intended to combine the off-road capabilities of the Wrangler with a high-performance V8 engine. It featured an electronic suspension that allowed the ground clearance to be changed to suit the type of surface the vehicle was driven on. The four-seat interior is upholstered in weatherproof leather. The wheel design and red striped tires were inspired by Hot Wheels cars. Like most concept cars, nothing even close to it ever saw actual production. The engine, however, was available in the Jeep Grand Cherokee beginning in 1999.

This scale model is made by Maisto, as part of their Power Racer series. Like all other cars in this series, it features a spring-loaded, 'pull-back' type of motor at the rear wheels. It has nice exterior details with opening doors, and the wheels are in the style of the actual car. The interior is much more simplified, with the entire area behind the seats used to cover the motor. This area had a rear seat on the actual car. The chassis is very basic and unrealistic, making it clear that these are intended as toys.

I originally worked on this car long before I started photographing them. The 'before' pictures are not of my car, but ones I found on-line of cars that are in original condition. The 'after' pictures were of my car, but taken while I was originally writing this page.

Click to zoom Click to zoom
What I started with. Actual car I used for reference.


Pictures of car before any changes were made (click to enlarge)

Disassembly was started by removing two screws that hold the chassis to the body. The remainder of this process, as well as the resulting parts breakdown, is as follows:
  • The bottom half of the interior, with seats and console moulded to it as a single piece, in black plastic.
  • The front axle, with wheels and tires pressed onto the axle. This falls loose once the bottom interior is removed. I didn't see any way to remove the wheels from the axles without damaging them, so I stopped there.
  • The rear tires, wheels, axle and pull-back motor assembly. This snaps free from the chassis plate by carefully flexing the chassis until the motor pops loose. Once again, I didn't see any way to remove the wheels from the axles without damaging them or the motor assembly, so this is as far as I went.
  • A one piece black plastic chassis That has minimal and unrealistic detail cast to the bottom.
  • Black plastic front and rear bumpers, that fit over the posts cast into the body that are also used for the chassis-to-body screws.
  • a steel spring that locates between three pins cast into the underside of the body. The purpose of this part is to allow the doors to spring back closed after being opened, and to hold them in place when closed.
  • The two doors, which are easily removed once the retaining spring is removed. These are painted the same blue as the body, and have door panel detail lightly cast into the inside surface.
  • A black plastic dashboard and steering wheel. The steering wheel is glued the dash, and I chose not to remove it at the risk of damaging it. This whole assembly is pressed onto a rivet cast into the underside of the body. It was removed by prying a tab on the part from the rivet.
  • The clear window and roof assembly, which snaps to the inside if the body. The window frames and roof bars are painted silver.
  • Two clear plastic headlight lenses, which are attached by heat applied from the inside of the body to moulded-in pins on the parts. I cut these bonds and removed the parts.
  • The die-cast body, painted red and with tampo-printed markings.

After disassembling the car, only paint and foil were used to add details.

The following is a summary of the changes I made:
  • Wheels and tires: Sanded the tread surface with 220 grit sandpaper to simulate wear. Painted inside of wheels Testors acrylic flat black.
  • Chassis: Painted entire piece Testors acrylic flat black. Highlighted the few moulded in details with Tamiya semi-gloss black and aluminum.
  • Interior: Painted entire piece Testors acrylic flat black. Painted seat inserts and door panel trim Testors acrylic leather. Seat sides and back are Tamiya aluminum. Remaining interior details were highlighted with appropriate colors, using pictures of the actual car as a guide.
  • Windows: Painted inside area of windshield frame and roof pillars Testors acrylic flat black.
  • Body: Painted the entire inside of the roof that is visible inside the interior with Testors acrylic flat acrylic flat black. This was also used on the front grille slots, lower body trim, and both bumpers. Drew in body panel seams with a metal tipped 'quill' pen and black ink. Applied Bare-Metal foil to front and rear turn signals, area behind headlight lenses, tail lights, and rear center-mounted brake light. Additional detail was added to the lights with Tamiya clear orange, clear red, and Testors flat white. Remaining exterior details were highlighted with appropriate colors, using pictures of the actual car as a guide.
Disassembled parts, before reassembly To the left is the car prior to reassembly.

The car was reassembled by reversing the procedure used to disassemble it. No glue was needed.


Pictures of completed car (click to enlarge)


The proportions of the completed car look very close to the actual car. The table below shows how close they are.

Actual car 
(mm / in)
Model
(mm / in)
Dimensions of actual car based on model scale
(mm / in)
Calculated scale based on model to actual car
Length 3734 / 147.0 105 / 4.13 3990 / 156.8 1:36
Wheelbase 2614 / 102.9 69 / 2.73 2622 / 103.6 1:38
Width 1801 / 70.9 51 / 2.01 1938 / 76.3 1:35
Height 1471 / 57.9 40 / 1.56 1520 / 59.5 1:37

This car has 1:38 scale moulded onto the chassis plate, but my calculations show that this is not very accurate. I'm surprised my this, because Maisto generally does a good job of meeting the scale that they indicate. I have two possible explanations for the differences, and they both relate to this being a replica of a concept car, as opposed to a regular production vehicle. First, the measurements of the actual car that I used for my comparisons may not be accurate. They came from information I found online, but it wasn't stated that they were taken by someone who actually had access to the actual car. the other possible reason is that Maisto also didn't have access to the concept car, and just kind of 'guessed' at the dimensions. Or maybe they used incorrect measurements, possibly even the ones I found, in order to engineer this replica.

This is the first time I've really looked at this car in any detail since completing it several years ago. I'm satisfied with the way it turned out, and made no changes other than giving a thorough cleaning before taking these pictures. I also didn't correct an error I made while originally detailing the body. According to the original press release for the concept car, the body trim that I painted flat black was actually dark blue. It looks black in any picture that I've seen, so I left mine alone.

Aside from the simplified interior and possible scale errors, I still think this is a nice replica of the Jeepster Concept. I'm glad I bought it when I did, as I don't recall seeing any in stores since that time even though Maisto still shows it in their current catalog.


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