Promoting Excellence in HO Scale Vehicle Modeling

River Point Station Ford Expedition SSP Review

Please note: The opinions expressed in our reviews are the views of the reviewer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the 1/87 Vehicle Club.

model critique by Bob Johnson

We recently received a trio of samples of River Point Station's newest release of their contemporary 1/87 scale Ford Expedition SSP models. Our samples are decorated for (from left to right above) U.S. Coast Guard, Campus Security, and Sail & Power, LLC. According to our friend Bill Cawthon who contributed to this review, the models scale very well in all major dimensions when compared to factory specs. The execution of details and decorating really sets these models apart from most!

According to Wikipedia, the prototype Ford Expedition is a full-size SUV built by the Ford Motor Company introduced in 1997 as a replacement to the Ford Bronco. It was previously slotted between the smaller Ford Explorer and the larger Ford Excursion, but as of the 2005 model year, it is Ford's largest and last truck-based, off-road and tow capable SUV. Ford currently offers the standard regular-sized model and the larger EL/Max model, succeeding the Excursion which was discontinued in 2005. It is the second Ford vehicle to use the Expedition name, as it was part of the Explorer Sport's trim models during the 1995 model year.

The 2007 model year saw the introduction of a new third generation Expedition developed which was a heavily updated version of the second generation Expedition. Most of the improvements made to the new Expedition were mechanical in nature, though the SUV also received a sheet metal refresh, redesigned interior with upgraded materials and further fit and finish refinements. A new long wheelbase Expedition EL/Max was developed and introduced as a replacement for the discontinued Ford Excursion.

Expedition’s front end now featured Ford’s signature three-bar grille to complement the SUV's truck DNA relation to the F-150 and Super Duty pickups. New complex stepped style multifaceted headlamps, side view mirrors with updated LED lane departure/side turning indicator lamps, sleeker body work and redesigned tail lamps were also added. The interior received a new dash with F-150-like center stack, center console, redesigned first row captains chair luxury seating, door panels and interior trim. The column shifter was replaced by a floor shifter on the center console.

To compete with large police SUVs that are sold by other automobile companies, primarily the Chevrolet Suburban, Ford has made a special version of the Expedition that's only available to law enforcement agencies, fire departments, and EMS agencies. Ford calls it the Expedition Special Service Vehicle (SSV). The only differences between the standard Expedition and the Special Service Vehicle Expedition are provisions for emergency services related equipment such as radios, lightbars and sirens. There are also options designated fleet only such as custom two-tone paint arrangements that are available to the Expedition Special Service Vehicle The Ford Expedition is a popular choice among other Full-Size SUVs by border patrol and other all-terrain law enforcement because of its overall better reliability compared to other vehicles like the Chevrolet Tahoe.

The River Point Station model represents the third generation Expedition Special Service Vehicle model produced from 2007 to present. As a sidebar note of possible interest, Walthers produced an earlier first generation Expedition (1997-2002) model though not anywhere near this level of finish and detail.

The U.S. Coast Guard model features extremely precise pad printing for all lettering. As shown in the photos above all pad printing is very opaque and concise. Note the translucent tail lights, headlights, and amber front turn signal lenses. Also note the nicely executed blue oval Ford insignias front and rear. Only thing to add is an appropriate state license plate decal!

The Campus Security model, though a generic paint scheme, features the same opaque and concise pad printing shared with all models. One of the very nice features common to all models more readily apparent in the photos above is the tinted windows on the rear side windows and tailgate window and the untinted windows of the front side windows and front windshield. Very nicely done and accurate, conforming to most states' regulations regarding window tinting! Also note that all "glass" is flush fitting to the window frames, an extraordinary tooling accomplishment we don't see nearly often enough on North American prototype models.

The Sail & Power, LLC model further exemplifies the execution of the pad printing common to all models. Shown above are close up views of the printing on this particular model.

Common to all models are the excellent spoke wheels with openings. Not so obvious in our photos are the simulated brake discs showing behind the wheel spokes. The Sail & Power, LLC model has chrome five spoke wheels with the Ford blue oval in the center. Our other two samples have silver painted wheels with the blue oval centers. All share accurate and exquisite bolt details on the wheels.

The photo above demonstrates just how well executed the pad printing is on each model. Note the "Expedition" nameplate on the front door above.

Shown in the photo above are the translucent amber turn signal lenses, push bumper, and spot lights mounted on the A-pillars. Bill Cawthon also notes for strictest accuracy, the control arms on the spotlights should be painted silver or chrome; on the real thing, only the lamp shell is blackened. Also note the reverse printing on the front of the hood above. Check the River Point Station web site for additional paint schemes and your favorite dealer for availability. - Bob Johnson