2 New Character Car Offshoots – FLIP FIGHTERS (Marvel) & BATTLE ROLLERS (Star Wars)

I don’t know a whole helluva lot about these new toys yet, only what the shop.mattel.com has shown us, one thing being that we can currently find these at retail. I personally haven’t seen either series yet, but that don’t necessarily mean nothin’. I was going to split this into 2 articles, but once I realized that the bulk of info we have on these things is purely pics, I opted to throw ’em both into one piece and we can sort out the details once I get my hands on the stuff.


Flip Fighters

If you’ve been paying attention to the toy shelves for maybe the last week you’ll notice the influx of Black Panther merchandise rapidly encroaching on Ragnarok’s territory. I must admit that Black Panther isn’t a property that interests me much, even with Marvel’s flashy treatment. For one, Africa isn’t a locale that interests me…at least not in modern / post-colonial times where the continent is ravaged by civil war, controlled by warlords with varying degrees of psychopathy,and ultimately riddled with befuddling amounts of disease, filth, poverty, starvation, and outright ignorance to the simplest of things. I realize that conditions have improved in lot of places, but the whole damn continent just feels like one big, egregious human rights violation.

Beyond that I’ve never found African mysticism as interesting as say, that of the Japanese or Native Americans. I can definitely see a noble, honorable hero born form these depths, it’s just not something I find inherently interesting. I’m sure Marvel will make a fine (read: decent (read: watchable)) film, and I’ll probably see it at some point, but the MCU is getting a little too cluttered and dizzying and I find myself only truly gravitating towards the high points. (I will say that Guardians Vol. 2 was miles better than I expected.)

Anyway, why am I harping on and on about this? I don’t know. I’ve had to start and stop so many times…methinks I had some sort of segue in mind before I just kept going and going. What I was originally getting at was that with all the new Black Panther stuff on shelves, maybe Mattel’s website would give us some clues about what kind of new Character Cars we could expect. For a while there we were getting really steady 2-packs (Spider-Man, Guardians 2, Wonder Woman, and Justice League) but it doesn’t look like we’ll be seeing any new Black Panther stuff just yet. Instead…

…It looks like we’re going to get a new off-shoot to the Character Car line not dissimilar to the All-Terrain Star Wars Character Cars (or whatever order those terms ought to go in). According to shop.mattel.com a few of these are already available in stores! They’re in 1:43 scale so they’re a bit bigger than usual and currently includes 4 characters: Black Panther, Iron Man, Hulk, & Spider-Man. All of them look pretty much like their “normal” Character Car counterparts except for Black Panther, who’s undergone a slightly more interesting revision.

I’m not really sure what these are for…except the “flipping”…the pictures show some kind of arm on the bottom that I guess locks in place and then rapidly disengages to flip the car. I’m not really into gimmicks like these, and if it weren’t for the “Character Car” label I probably wouldn’t bother, but we’ll see. If they do flip consistently I’ll be reasonably impressed – I just hope we get more redesigns if Hot Wheels chooses to continue with the line.

Here’s a few pics I snagged from Mattel’s site:

Black Panther

Black Panther

Spider-Man

Spider-Man

The Hulk

The Hulk

Iron Man

Iron Man


Battle Rollers

I’m still a little on the fence about these because they aren’t explicitly labeled as “character cars” like many of the other offshoots…and for good reason I suppose – they don’t have much do with the concept of a “character” at all. I only wanted to mention them because I saw them in the company of Character Cars.

Overall these have a heavy preschool feel to them – exaggerated, “cartoonized” versions of some well known characters riding in “ships” that evoke something more akin to bumper cars than galactic cruisers. These will probably be a hit with younger fans, but I question their long-term collectability so I’m just going over them quickly.

  • Luke w/ X-wing
  • Vader w/ Vader’s TIE
  • Boba Fett w/ Slave I
  • Rey w/ Millennium Falcon
  • Emperor w/ Imperial Shuttle
  • 2-pack with Rey and Exclusive TIE Pilot w/ Fighter
  • 2-pack with Vader and Exclusive Luke w/ X-wing (I’m not sure how this is supposed to be different than the single other than Luke’s holding a lightsaber…let the minutia begin!)

And a couple of pics for posterity:

Luke Battle Roller

Emperor Palpatine and Imperial Shttle


So as usual, what do you think of the new rollouts? Do you appreciate these branches or would you be happier if Hot Wheels just stuck to one thing – or at the very least didn’t conflate these new ideas wit the “Character Cars” line?

Even more new stuff is coming out soon: check it out!

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Star Wars Movies I Can Reenact Using Character Cars

Now I realize that if we were to accurately reenact each film using Character Cars we’d have to literally fill a parking deck with the likes of Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes and Jedi Master Shaak Ti. No no, I’m not talking that specific. As much as I like the guy, we don’t need a Nien Nunb for a complete Return of the Jedi. Nor do we need a Sandtrooper to tell the tale of A New Hope. We don’t even really need the likes of Sebulba or Shmi for The Phantom Menace, though I’d go so far as to call these “bonus points” that would ultimately yield a better narrative.

  1. Episode IV: A New Hope
    • We’ve got pretty much every major character we need here: Luke, Han, Leia, Chewy, Obi-Wan, 3PO, R2, Vader, Stormtroopers, and that’s pretty much it. Bonus points include Greedo, Jawas, Tusken Raiders, and I guess Biggs. We can even account for the insertion of Jabba back in the mid-90’s. Give us a Wedge, Grand Moff Tarkin, and Owen & Beru (I know, crazy unlikely) and we’d be close to replicating the flick scene-by-scene. (I know I know, we’d have to write off Mos Eisley but that’s ok.)
  2. Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
    • No Lando.
  3. Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
    • No Lando!
  4. Episode I: The Phantom Menace
    • No Qui-Gon, no Padme, no Jar Jar, no Nute Gunray. Other pluses would be a Young Anakin, Young Obi-Wan, Mace Windu.
  5. Episode II: Attack of the Clones
    • No Padme, no Count Dooku. Other pluses would be Young Obi-Wan, Mace, Yellow/Orange Clone Trooper, those 3 creatures in the arena just for the hell of it.
  6. Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
    • No Padme, no Dooku, no Commander Cody (or Yellow/Orange Clone Trooper). Pluses would include Mace, maybe a “Human” (Chancellor/Senator) Palpatine (I think his first name is Sheev…?), a few other recognizable Jedi from the council such as Kit Fisto (to tie into the implementation of Order 66).
  7. Episode VII: The Force Awakens
    • It took some time, but we’ve got pretty much what we need for this one: Finn, Rey, Poe, BB-8, Han, and Chewy rounding out the protagonists, with Kylo, Phasma, First Order Troopers, Flame Troopers as the bad guys. Bonus points for Maz, Sidon, Snoke, Luke (Ep.8). The only thing really missing is an older Leia…and maybe a slot for the Riot Control Trooper. “TRAITOR!” He was pretty cool. And possibly General Hux, who’s in a Tarkin-esque position where it seems like he may possibly outrank Kylo (at the very least, he doesn’t seem to be a subordinate to Kylo).
  8. Rogue One (A Star Wars Story)
    • No Bodhi. That’s it. I would’ve even said it was doable without Saw, but now we have a Saw, still no Bodhi. C’mon Hot Wheels. Stash him away in some obscure playset, I don’t care, just give us the Bodhi. It’s not even that I really care about Bodhi, but we’ve got every other necessary figure from Rogue One! I mean who else could we even add? Jyn’s father? Mon Mothma? (She wouldn’t be the worst…tertiary character to turn into a car…) But damn. I need the team. Jyn, K2, Cassian, Chirrut, Baze, and Bodhi. Let us not forget that Bodhi’s actions are essentially the catalyst for everything that happens in Rogue One. We focus a lot on Jyn’s father placing the intentional design flaw in the Death Star (a fucking spectacular retcon by the way – maybe the best ever) but it’s easy to overlook the fact that Bodhi was an Imperial pilot who defected to the Rebellion and actually brought them news of these plans! My hero. I wouldn’t be so bent out of shape if we were gonna see the guy again, but I think it’s pretty unlikely. I mean maybe in 10 or 15 years someone will be scraping the proverbial barrel and try to prequel or interquel Rogue One, but let’s face it – Rogue One was a one-off, it was always gonna be a one-off, and Disney made it pretty damn clear by the end of it that it was unambiguously a one-off. Mon Mothma is basically the only person who can ever really appreciate who this team was and what they did, and I sort of like the fact that this rag-tag team gave their lives for an immensely greater good without even giving a damn if anyone knew who they were.
  9. Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
    • I may need to rewatch Last Jedi again before coming to a definite conclusion, but I think between the inclusive first wave of character cars and the lack of new characters means we have everyone we need. Good guy-wise we’ve got Rey, Finn, Poe, BB-8, and Chewy returning, along with the addition of “Old Luke” and the all-new Rose. Kylo returns as does Snoke with a much more prominent role, not to mention Captain Phasma, the typical First Order Troopers and variations like the Executioner and Praetorians, and the unforgettable BB-9E. Again, I think an older “General Leia” car is in order and perhaps a General Hux since Kylo did little to represent the First Order’s military interests. But that’s it really. You could even leave out the Executioners and BB-9E. (I seriously expected some type of epic yet comedic showdown between BB-8 and BB-9E.)

And there we have it. I guess it would make sense that the newer films are more complete than the older ones, though it still bothers me that we get a slightly darker Chewbacca or hell even someone like Bossk or Ackbar and yet we are missing massive staples like Lando and Padme. Don’t get it twisted: I don’t want Hot Wheels to sift through the Prequel Trilogy (or even the Original Trilogy) and unearth each and every “Sidon Ithano” to make a character car out of, but it’s just ludicrous that some of the series’ biggest heavyweights have still been ignored after 3 or 4 years of steady releases (and re-releases for that matter).

I’m aware that I haven’t mentioned either of the canonical animated TV shows…I don’t watch them so I know next to nothing about them. From what I understand though, Rebels has been fairly well represented over time while The Clone Wars has basically been ignored up until the new Ahsoka Tano car. Being that these are TV shows I’m sure they deal with lots of one-off characters so I guess I can understand why we’ve only really been given a single villain (The Inquisitor).

I was gonna go ahead and wrap this up but you know what I’d really like to see!? I’d like to see Disney get off their butts and re-canonize Shadows of the Empire. What a great story. Hell, just give me a Prince Xizor car and I’ll be happy. Honest!

Alright I guess that’ll do it for me for now…don’t wanna get too crazy over Shadows (although I think it’s fucking stupid of Disney to discount it!)….maybe we’ll do a more thorough rundown another time. I know I’ve got like half a dozen other vaguely time sensitive things I need to be writing about instead but I had to take a little “fun break.” For a while now I’ve toyed with the idea of doing some sort of crude, stop-motion recreation of one or two films using the Character Cars as well as either the Carships or Starships. So I took the opportunity to “officially” take stock of who’s available and who needs to be available… I hope it was at least an interesting read.

Stay tuned because I’m gonna try to work on a few more pieces today, including the 2017 Holiday Hot Rods, a couple of strange new offshoots from the “Character Car” line, some shit about Batman, some Spidey cars, this other article I should’ve finished a hella long time ago, some LEGO stuff, some Milano stuff, oh man. Just stick with me! I’ma tryin’!

Possible BLUE Wonder Woman Variant?

Sometimes browsing rather vague and broad terms on Google Images can lead to new and exciting discoveries. I’m not sure what I was searching for when I found this – in fact I had a problem re-finding it when I wanted to find it and save the pic – but it’s a curiosity that I’d love to have an answer to.

Now I know that colors, graphics, and even the luster of the finish can vary on diecast vehicles between the time promo and/or packaging photos are taken and when the product is released. Take the Star-Lord re-release for Guardians Vol. 2: if you look at all the artwork (at least I’m pretty sure it’s all art) the main body is primarily blue instead of gray/silver as with the release coinciding with the first Guardians film. However, every single Vol. 2 Star-Lord I’ve seen, be it in stores or online, has had the same silver/gray body despite the blue artwork.

Star-Lord

Here’s what Star-Lord looks like, both with the release of the first film and the sequel.

"Blue" Star-Lord Art

And here is the “blue version” of Star-Lord that accompanies every Vol. 2 release.

There’s also another good example with the Ares vehicle. Early promo shots on Target’s website showed a yellow-ish section that ended up being a sort of translucent brown on most of the final products. Lo and behold, I finally located one of these “yellow variants” on a shelf one day, right their amid “typical” versions of the car.

Ares - 2 Versions

Look above the rear wheel (the cars are placed hood-to-hood) and notice that big yellow piece on the left Ares. The same area on the right Ares is much more subdued – it’s a damn different color of paint!

So where does this discrepancy come from? I’m sure anyone who’s worked in a toy factory can give us a quick and easy explanation. I do think it’s interesting that this isn’t a one-off error. First of all we have the ol’ Target pic (which was of an Ares single) and then the one I found, which was part of the 2-pack with Wonder Woman.

So yeah, we know glitches happen, we know things change, life goes on. So this is probably nothing, but I wanted to put it out there anyway, because if this thing exists, I want it!

Wonder Woman has seen a ton of variations over her life as a Character Car. Initially she was portrayed somewhat “cartoony,” with bright red and blue and a nice big clear area representative of her invisible jet. Then we saw the DC Super Hero Girls version; same shape, same general color scheme, except the completely clear area was now a clear red. Next came the belated BvS version with a new design, mostly red with gold accents, and a gray trunk area. Then came the Wonder Woman version with as shineir paint job and black in lieu of gray. There was also an exclusive Wonder Woman released as part of a 2-pack with Ares, where she’s dressed in white much like the other women on Themyscira. (I wish they’d just call the “white version” Hippolyta or something.) Most recently we’ve seen the “Justice League Version,” which is exactly the same version we saw following the Batman v Superman version (gray rear, matte finish).

But then I stumbled across this picture. And I can’t find out anything about it, though it kinda looks like it’s being displayed at a convention or toy fair or something of that ilk. Just take a look at it for a moment.

Blue Wonder Woman

Now doesn’t that rear portion appear to be colored a deep, dark blue? I guess it’s a little tough to tell because of the angle of the light, however this car definitely has a lustrous finish, not the matte finish that the retail version of Justice League Wonder Woman was eventually given. You can tell that this is a photo of some kind of display though. The car is on a platform and then covered in a plastic box, and it looks like the box’s upper edge is riveted to something resembling a backing card.

I like this car. I want this car! Anyone know where it came from? I would assume it was event promoting the Justice League cars some few months in advance of the film. Are there any other pictures of other cars from this event? So many questions! I can’t seem to find and reference to or mention of this anywhere!

If you know anything at all about this piece please please please fill me in!!!

Thoughts on Star Wars: The Last Jedi Character Cars After Watching “The Last Jedi”

Warning:

Spoiler Alert!


Last Chance: I will be discussing certain aspects of Star Wars – Episode VIII: The Last Jedi that may spoil it for some viewers. Keeping new installments of this franchise in particular a secret is a really big deal for some people so I want to be super-clear. While I’m not necessarily going to summarize the movie, I will speak candidly and uncensored. If you haven’t seen the movie yet and don’t want to take any chances, turn back now! Go see the movie, then come back and read this article!

Ready?

Yeah?

Here we go!


Alright, so earlier in the week I finally caught the new Star Wars movie. I don’t want to use this piece to go too much into what I think of the film itself, though I will say that my final thoughts on the film are a little conflicted. Yeah, there’s still the recognizable “Disney stench” lurking within, but it’s not as an egregious offense to the fans as The Force Awakens.

As I sat through it, my mind inevitably wandered back to midnight on Force Friday II over at Toys R Us and first set my eyes on the new cars for the first time. Obviously a ton of cars were (and continue to be) re-released like Vader, Jabba, Boba Fett, Yoda, Flametrooper, etc. as well as a few new ones that aren’t from the new film, like the recent Scout Trooper. But as for brand new characters in car form we saw:

  • BB-9E
  • First Order Executioner
  • Elite Praetorian Guard
  • Supreme Leader Snoke
  • Rose

Wow, is that it…? That’s it!

Now we have a few more characters who’ve been previously released, but saw new “versions” for Episode VIII.

  • Rey, Jedi Training – An entirely different design from her initial release around Force Awakens.
  • Finn (Battle Damaged) – Although it went somewhat unnoticed, the trackset Starkiller Base included the first Finn car. The Ep. 8 release is identical apart from a few scratches and burn marks; his bio on the card even makes reference to “battle scars” or something similar.
  • Luke Skywalker (The Last Jedi) – All-new version embodying his new look.
  • Chewbacca (The Last Jedi) – An exclusive, slightly darker version of Chewy was released with the Ep. 8 Millennium Falcon playset.
  • Captain Phasma (Clean) – The new Phasma is nice and shiny, sans the black smudges on the Ep. 7 release.
  • * BB-8 (Battle Damaged) – I’m a little on the fence with this one. An exclusive battle damaged BB-8 was released with the Rathtar Escape play set. However, this play set is obviously meant to be from the Ep. 7 era, even though it was released some 2 years later, circa summer of 2017.

And finally, we have characters who were re-released for Last Jedi without any changes.

  • Poe Dameron
  • First Order Stormtrooper
  • Kylo Ren
  • * Chewbacca – Despite the special “exclusive” version released with the playset, the version released singly is the same as always.
  • * BB-8 – The version released singly and as part of the 2-pack with Poe is the same as always. I only bring this up because of the battle damaged BB-8 in the playset previously mentioned.
Snoke

It would’ve been nice to have found out something about this ugly fellow…

As for the brand spankin’ new 5…well there’s really not a lot to say, is there? Snoke probably gets the most screen time, but unlike the Emperor in Episodes V and VI, he doesn’t act as this well of information about the First Order, their connection to the Force and disconnection from the Sith, etc. We’re all kinda waiting for it, and then the sequel trilogy blows the only ace-in-the-hole it had and eliminates the Supreme Leader without hesitation. Kinda weird. I’m all for the unexpected, but I’m left wondering what sort of tension we’re supposed to be riding on going into Episode IX.

Rose is the next most identifiable. The actress was fine, the role was ok, but it was a very cookie-cutter character where circumstances didn’t really allow for any sort of character to develop. She’s just some girl with an appropriate skill set to help Finn. That’s it. There is that tiny bit of backstory concerning her sister Paige, who gave her life dropping the payload of the last viable bomber during the film’s opening skirmish. Maybe this would mean something if they’d given Paige and Rose a few scenes as supporting characters in Force Awakens, but as it stands it’s a little rushed and “convenient.” All that aside, it looks like something is supposed to be developing between her and Finn…an aspect I wish they’d explore more in this film rather than a subsequent one.

Rose

Ah Rose…with a general expression somewhere between stern and bemused.

Moving on to the remaining 3…well, BB-9E is a fucking 10 second comic relief joke, right? I actually DO NOT miss the endless prattle of 3PO and beeps and toots of R2, so I guess the writers felt the need to make up for it a little bit. BB-9E – the evil fucking droid – recognizes BB-8 disguised as a box and (if I interpreted the scene correctly) Finn as trooper FN-2187 and pulls the plug on their little stealth mission. Why do we have a car of this droid but not Bodhi? Or fucking Lando!!!!

BB-9E

When it comes to the Praetorians, I will give them a pass for not being a straight up cut-and-paste replacement for the Imperial Royal Guards. We never saw the Imperial Guards do shit except look vaguely vampiric near the zombie-like Emperor and Frankenstein-esque Vader…giving things a gothic twinge. The Praetorian Guards felt more like specialized samurai warriors with unique and interesting weapons. In fact, the fight scene with these guards was pretty great.

Praetorian Guards

And lastly we have the First Order Executioner. The way that the short bio on the back described these guys made it unclear if it was like a single position – “The First Order Executioner” – or if was simply another subset of troopers a la sand, snow, scout, etc. Eventually we see 2 of them pop up to deal with Finn and Rose, but not more than a couple of seconds later shit starts blowing up and the floor gives way and the good guys save the day and the Executioners fall into oblivion.

I doubt that we’re anywhere close to seeing, “the last Star Wars Character Car,” but with the Star Wars merch-machine slowing down considerably (think about how much Star Wars stuff was on shelves at the dawn of ’17 versus today), do you think there’s a chance of getting any more characters from Last Jedi specifically? We’ve gotten updated (read: old) versions of Han and now Luke, but no Leia. The little bird-critter “Porg” has factored heavily into toys and I’m honestly surprised we haven’t seen one of these as a Character Car. One could possibly even make a case for Paige, or Finn-in-Imperial-garb, or even General Hux. What about that “codebreaker” Del Toro guy…”DJ” or some shit? And before you roll your eyes, do remember that we’ve gotten characters like Sidon Ithano. And Carbonite Han. I mean damn.

So whatcha think out there? Did Hot Wheels do a decent job with what they had? Was The Last Jedi just not the sort of film to expand on the growing list of minor and major characters? Is there anyone else from Last Jedi you think should make the cut as a character car? What about more tracksets, or a 5-pack…? Do we still have these to look forward to? Let me know what you think (or what you know!) below!

Remaining STAR WARS Character Cars Now Available! (Wampa, IG-88, Saw, Ahsoka)

Well, it looks like by some means or another, all of the remaining known Star Wars Character Cars are now available! Recently images of IG-88 and Wampa appeared over at shop.mattel.com and images of carded Ahsoka Tano and Saw Gerrera were appearing on a couple of sites also.

At first I could only find IG-88 and Wampa up on eBay, but as of a couple of days ago I spotted all 4 up for sale, albeit at relatively high prices. With the 4 of these out, only one thing is left on the recent-ish Star Wars pamphlet: the Imperial Shuttle (or Tydirium as us older fans might call it) carship. Once we have that, the Star Wars pamphlet will be complete! And as we all know, the Justice League releases finished off the DCU insert, and Ragnarok wrapped up Marvel’s upcoming roster. We’re about to plunge into unknown territory again!

So far I’ve been lucky enough to find the Wampa along with other “new” stuff like a Luke (Ep. VIII Version) single. (He’s been available since Force Friday II, but only alongside Rey, Jedi Training in a 2-pack.)

Here’s a shot of the Wampa and Luke that I picked up. The others are screencapped.

Wampa and Luke Character Cars

IG-88 Character Car

Ahsoka Tano Character Car
Saw Gerrera Character Car

So what do you think of these last few? It looks like we might being going into Star Wars hibernation a little early this year, just judging from how flooded the shelves were throughout Force Awakens and Rogue One. From what I can tell, the new cars are great. I love that the Wampa looks like a distant cousin of the Rancor. IG-88 seems to be matched to the bounty hunter well, with its slender, tubular, spindly appearance. I don’t know much about Ahsoka but I’m diggin’ the colors, and then Saw brings up the rear in what looks to be some kinda tank contraption that looks like it’s ready to kill fucking everything!

New MASTER & APPRENTICE Star Wars Hot Wheels Set at Walmart

This was a totally unexpected find a few days ago, but it’s definitely a great set to put alongside “Factions,” “Movies & TV,” and “Planets” sets of Star Wars cars. These are what I like to call “fake character cars” although I’ve been trying to use something more positive sounding like “tribute cars.” The difference is that a “tribute” car pays homage to a person, place, thing, piece of work, whatever via graphics and design whereas a “character” car is meant to actually be that character in some kind of alternate universe where the character is the car.

Star Wars - Master and Apprentice

This new set celebrates one of the most recognizable institutions of the Star Wars universe: the Master and the Apprentice. Whether you’re Jedi (Luke, Obi-Wan), Sith (the Emperor, Vader), or maybe something else altogether (Kylo), it would seem that knowledge of and use of the Force is passed down from Master to Apprentice. Despite how dangerous this system has proven – i.e. the student picks up on all of the shortcomings, imperfections, and outright ignorance present in the Master. I mean I’m not trying to argue with it, but in a lot of ways we can trace Anakin’s “fall” right back through Qui-Gon. He wasn’t on the counsel by his own admission of not getting along well in such a setting (so why was he permitted a padwan….?), yet he takes on Anakin while Obi-Wan is still training. Qui-Gon dies leaving 2 incomplete Jedi behind, one to mentor the other. That’s like putting a 3rd grader under the tutelage of a 5th grader in preparation for the SATs!

Speaking of such ties, our first car takes us all the way back to The Phantom Menace and midichlorians and Anakin himself with team Qui-Gon Jinn & Obi-Wan Kenobi in their Fish’d & Chip’d. I love the old school feel of the car’s design and the paint job. It definitely gives off that classic Star Wars feel, even if it is Episode I.

Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan

Let’s keep hangin’ back in 1999 for a moment where, as a viewer, we get our first real glimpse of the Sith outside of the Vader/Emperor dichotomy. The Asphalt Assault takes us to a simpler Master/Apprentice relationship where Darth Maul was revered more for his obedience and ruthlessness rather than (it would seem) his ability to one day lead the Sith. Of course at this point his master was “Darth Sidious,” and the Chancellor/Palpatine/Emperor connection wasn’t explicitly made yet. The hard edges and uncompromising design of Asphalt Assault are a perfect representation of Maul’s ultimate role in the Sith.

Darth Sidious and Darth Maul

Coming up next is the bulky MS-T Suzuka, an apparent symbol of Obi-Wan and Anakin’s complicated and ultimately doomed master/padwan relationship. Obi was an incomplete teacher and Anakin was too high risk – something every Jedi in the world besides Qi-Gon and Obi noticed from the get-go. I think a more avant-garde car body might’ve been a better fit for the pair, but the burly Suzuka works well enough!

Obi-Wan and Anakin

Now we move into the space between Episodes I and II, the animated Clone Wars series. Honestly, I’ve never even caught 5 minutes of the show. And you know why? It’s that cheap-ass CGI animation style. It’s a total turn off and I cannot and will not watch it. Squared off heads, spaghetti limbs, and the whole “technique” of turning hard lines into soft curves and randomly squaring off circles. It’s not just that either – the colors are boring and the production just scrams “bland!” At any rate, Anakin somehow bucked the rules or something and began teaching Ahsoka Tano the ways of Da Force. She has 2 white labersabers that can join at the pommel, but they do so at at angle to create some kinda ~135° “lightstaff.” And that’s all I really know about her, so I can’t comment as much on the choice of Audacious to represent the pair. The matte neon orange paint job is quite a standout though…isn’t Ahsoka’s skin sort of orange?

Anakin and Ahsoka

(To be fair, I don’t mean to discount or minimize the role of The Clone Wars – or the newer Rebels – cartoon shows about Star Wars. While I’m sure they’re structured in a way that allows for lots of standalone stories, I feel like there’s probably some semblance of a story arc running through these shows. I wouldn’t mind knowing and understanding the larger story and getting better acquainted with the cartoon characters, I just wish there was a better way to digest the material.)

Sticking with the cartoons momentarily, we move into the show Rebels with Kanan and Ezra. This is another pair I can’t comment much on, though from what I’ve gathered, being a Jedi in the world of Rebels isn’t an easy thing. The coupling yields us a pea-green Torque Twister and…why not?

Kanan and Ezra

Numero 6 gives us the classic Yoda and Luke apprenticeship, before words like “padwan” or terms like “rule of two” even existed. Staying in the “classic” mindset, the impressive but familiar look of the BLVD Bruiser is perfect. Obviously training as a Jedi in the days of Empire Strikes Back was a more constrained and regimented process than more spiritual journey of camaraderie and self-discovery from back in the Episode I and II days. The forest green ties it all together nicely, evoking images of Yoda, Degobah, and Luke’s eventual self-built lightsaber.

Yoda and Luke

Then there’s the rather plain looking Muscle Tone celebrating the Emperor and Vader. When you think of “the Sith” in Star Wars, it really doesn’t get more hardcore than these 2, and damned if they didn’t get the blandest car of the catalog! The choice of drab colors and simple graphics do, however, do a good job of evoking the uniformity and lack of expression inherent to the Empire.

Emperor and Darth Vader

Last but not least is the still largely mysterious apprenticeship of Kylo Ren under Supreme Leader Snoke, epitomized by the Night Shifter. First of all, the Night Shifter looks great with the red and black color scheme and chrome accents. It really embodies the whole “Sith Lord” thing, even though Kylo and Snoke aren’t exactly Sith. Now I haven’t yet seen The Last Jedi yet, so I can’t comment on whatever new information has been presented. With any luck I’ll take the kiddo and go see it a little later this evening! Note: I have in fact seen it now! I’ll give my thoughts on it in the near future.

Snoke and Kylo Ren

A quick recap:

  • 1 / 8 – Qui-Gon Jinn & Obi-Wan KenobiFish’d & Chipd’d
  • 2 / 8 – Darth Sidious & Darth MaulAsphalt Assault
  • 3 / 8 – Obi-Wan Kenobi & Anakin SkywalkerMS-T Suzuka
  • 4 / 8 – Anakin Skywalker & Ahsoka TanoAudacious
  • 5 / 8 – Kanan Jarrus & Ezra BridgerTorque Twister
  • 6 / 8 – Yoda & Luke SkywalkerBLVD. Bruiser
  • 7 / 8 – Emperor Palpatine & Darth VaderMuscle Tone
  • 8 / 8 – Supreme Leader Snoke & Kylo RenNight Shifter

Back

Overall I think this was a cool enough concept to run with. Despite the tiny areas available, the artwork is very detailed and it’s amazing that you can actually see these characters’ heads printed on the body of the cars. One thing that mighta been cool is to split the car, vertically, juxtaposing the master on one side and the apprentice on the other. But still, cool idea, and I think Hot Wheels did a great job of plucking out relevant partnerships all across the spectrum – hats off for including Rebels and especially the near-forgotten Clone Wars.

What do you think of the new set? Which is your favorite? Let me know, and then stick around for loads of new stuff that I”m trying really hard to churn out! As always, if you know something that I don’t, let me know!

Super Treasure Hunt!

So I was just doin’ mah thang at Target da udda day, and I saw this beaut front and center!

Viper Super Treasure Hunt

Obviously the color is what jumped out at me the most. It wasn’t until I’d handled it for a couple of minutes that I caught the little flame logo on the card. Judging by the color I then assumed I was on to a Super Treasure Hunt and there we have the good ol’ TH logo right there behind the front wheels. Here’s a closer look; still, the logo doesn’t show up so well.

Viper Super Treasure Hunt

I’m always excited to find these Super Treasure Hunts! And this is probably only the 4th or 5th one I’ve found in the wild. What it really took me some time to wrap my head around was the distinction between a Treasure Hunt and a Super Treasure Hunt. A Treasure Hunt (TH) is marked with the flame logo somewhere in the paint job. Let’s call our car “Car A.” If Car A were a regular TH, all appearances of Car A would have the little flame and they’d all be X times rarer than a non-TH. Now if we talk Super Treasure Hunts (STH) in regards to a second vehicle, “Car B,” it quickly becomes clear that Car B comes in 2 versions: a normal run-of-the-mill version, and then the actual STH with its amped up paint job and the “TH” logo.

Anywho, just thought I’d share! Finds like these are always fun. The 2013 SRT Viper is a snazzy specimen to be sure, but I wouldn’t say I’m terribly attached. What do you guys think? Sell it? Hang on to it for while? Or just dig in and enjoy it? Let me know!