Adventure Is Out There: Maisto 1/18 Ford Bronco Badlands & Wildtrak 2-Door
The legend returns $15 at a time.
Ever since it debuted on the 13th of July last year, the 2021 Ford Bronco has become the most highly-anticipated car on the market by a considerable margin. I remember watching the livestream for the launch that night with all my friends in awe and excitement over the return of the Ford Bronco; a car that was originally discontinued a year before I was even born. How excited was I after the launch? Well, I immediately placed a reservation for a Big Bend 2-door from my local dealership, and somehow became the first person there to have done so. Almost a year later, I have since cancelled it since I bought a new Audi Q5, but that doesn't mean the excitement died down for me. I still want one, but I'm willing to wait it out for a bit to not have to be slapped in the face with an added dealer markup and then some. Why is this relevant to some model cars? Well, it clearly shows my enthusiasm for the Bronco going into the review. This is a car I adore and want as a part of my life.
Just like the C8 Corvette was the most hyped car of 2019 leading into 2020, the Bronco replaced it and became the most hyped car of the latter part of 2020 leading into the 2021 calendar year. This is the Wrangler for those who want much more than what a Wrangler can offer. This is THE Ford Bronco. Maisto made the C8 Corvette their cover car and highlight for the 2020 catalog to capitalize on the excitement, which was a smart move. Better yet, they followed it up with the Bronco as their 2021 catalog cover car. Fast forward a few months, we find the 2021 Broncos hitting shelves just in time for the annual warehouse store 1/18 season. I bought both initial variants, but two more will be dropping in the coming weeks.
The first model I found was the Bronco Badlands 2-Door in Cyber Orange Metallic. And no, I didn't remove the doors or roof myself. Maisto actually went all out and made two variants in two different trim levels to appeal to a broader audience.
Although I would've preferred a Cyber Orange one with doors and a top since that's what I had reserved, this is still a beautiful model. It provides a sense of ruggedness and a sense of adventure.
You can tell Ford insisted Maisto make this model perfect. For the price, it's virtually impossible to beat.
The machined Carbonized Gray painted aluminum wheels look stunning and provide a nice contrast to the bright and ostentatious Cyber Orange Metallic paint.
I love the attention to detail on the small Badlands badge on the fender. That's a nifty touch.
Before any snobs start whining and complaining about the grille or some of the detailing, remember that these are models built to a $15 price point. Objectively speaking, these don't hold a candle to any AutoArt or Norev. With that being said, they're as close as you can get given the parameters behind them.
The Badlands features the LED headlights with signature lighting as standard, which is nice touch. It also says Bronco on the grille as if you could confuse this thing with any other Ford. But if you did confuse it with an Aerostar XLT or Tempo GL, I can't really blame you.
Interestingly enough, the Bronco has a safety feature that I never really paid attention to when looking at doorless Jeeps. The mirrors are mounted above the fender near the base of the windshield, so they stay on even if you remove the doors.
Better still, the Bronco features handles on the hood as anchor points in case you want to tie down a kayak, canoe, or 1996 Ford Aspire to the roof. Ok, maybe not the last one, but you get the picture.
The Badlands features a standard tube step for easy entry into the car. This is an optional feature I do intend on ordering on my Big Bend.
Inside, we find a Black Onyx interior meant to look like the marine-grade vinyl on the real one. It's certainly nice for a Maisto 1/18. The only gripe I have with this model is that the gauge cluster doesn't look like that on the real one, but this is far from the first time Maisto has done that.
Oh, and did I mention this one sports the 10R60 10-speed automatic in lieu of the 7-speed manual? We'll see why in a bit.
If you look closely, the G.O.A.T. (Goes Over All Terrains) knob is detailed, which is perfect for conquering your local playground sandbox or county park's nature trails.
I can't make out the map on the screen, but I can at least tell you Bronco is embossed into the dashboard.
The interior goes above and beyond the amount of detail I expected from this thing. As a bonus, having no doors helps you see it better.
The rear seats are nicely detailed. It even has seatbelts molded, for safety or something.
As an added bonus, it says Bronco on the bar above the rear seats.
The rear badging and detailing are spot-on. I especially love the Bronco plate.
If we look in the trunk, we find that it swings open to the right and actually looks nice. I can confirm a Morning Frost White DBS Volante doesn't fit, but a Ford key fob kind of does. Do as you will with this information.
As far as I'm concerned, the key fob for the basic Broncos is identical to the F-150 XLT's key fob, which is convenient. I am, however, sad to report I tried remote starting the model. It didn't work.
As an added bonus, like the Wrangler, the Bronco has a CHMSL that sticks out from behind the spare tire. Also, notice how the Bronco badge is silver to the right of the tire.
And for the moment you've all been waiting for, here's why this Bronco has the 10R60. This particular Bronco is modeled with the 2.7 EcoBoost V6, which is only available with the 10-speed automatic. To the victor go the spoils, I guess.
Despite the lack of roof and doors, this Bronco entered the market as a gun in a knife fight. It's not difficult to see why Maisto has a hit on their hands.
With that being said, let us take a moment to address the Antimatter Blue Metallic elephant in the room: the 2021 Bronco Wildtrak.
For starters, it's shod with beadlock-capable Black High Gloss-Painted Aluminum Wheel with Black Beauty Ring wheels. In case you're unfamiliar with packaging on Broncos, these have mud terrain 35" tires, much like the F-150 Raptor.
Although I'll admit it looks black from certain angles, Antimatter Blue is a gorgeous color that has a depth unlike any other dark blue I've seen from Ford since Kona Blue.
Like the Badlands, the Wildtrak has a proprietary fender badge.
Like the Badlands, the tube step is also standard here. You do, however, have doors attached this time.
The front ends are virtually identical with the same LED headlights and forward facing camera. I will admit the Cyber Orange does stand out way more than this, but to each their own.
Unlike the Badlands, the Wildtrak has a more blacked-out appearance to it, even down to the badging.
The trunk still opens, but you now have a glass opening that doesn't actually open on this model.
On top of the doors being present, this one has the molded-in-color hard top present.
Inside, the same interior looks just as good here, but with limited lighting.
Interestingly enough, the Wildtrak has a matte black hood graphic that says Wildtrak on it. That's pretty neat.
This is just as good as the Badlands in every way.
Whereas the Badlands screams adventure and fun, this one is more menacing and imposing.
The real question is can I bring myself to choose just one? Yes and no. If I truly had to pick one, I would most likely take home the Antimatter Blue Wildtrak just because of the fact it has doors and the top. But, I can also make a case for the Badlands for the Cyber Orange paint and open air ambiance. There's no wrong answer here. Better yet, these are available for just $15, so why not just take both home?
I cannot stress how good of a job Maisto did on this casting. There aren't enough words in the English language to commend them on such a job well done to have enthused me to the point of taking an hour to write this review. I hope this sparks a passion for the Bronco for everyone here. If you can get your hands on one, you won't regret it. Better yet, there will be a Race Red Wildtrak and an Area 51 Badlands launching soon, which will both join the collection whenever I find them.