Having the internet means having a vast array of tools to see into the future…if you know where to look at least. Our world is planned out far in advance – fashions, trends, technology, entertainment – and metered out to us based on careful formulas designed to maximize profit and steer us towards the next big thing. With a little bit of smarts and a little bit of luck, you can at least get a glimpse of what’s to come, even if you can’t physically hold it in your hands yet. Melodramatic much? Maybe! Of course I’m talkin’ ’bout toys, cuz that’s what I talk about! And one of the weirdest ways I’ve found to glimpse into the future of “toys” is the fucking Target website. Yeah, go figure. It’s not a 100% foolproof method, but you can see real-life, high quality photos of items that may not “exist” for months to come.
Remember Wonder Woman (the movie, that’s what the italics mean) from a few months back? Of course you do. You’ll probably also remember that just prior to its release we saw a character car 2-pack featuring Ares and the exclusive Wonder Woman (who we have no official name for…in my opinion they shoulda just called this car “Queen Hippolyta,” added an extra character to the roster, and be done with it…my kid pretends it’s Hippolyta anyway). Following Character Car release logic, this means we should see a single of Ares at some point. These would eventually surface (although who the fuck cares – everyone who gave a shit already had him via the 2-pack) but before they did, Target had a sort of dummy page devoted to the release, with pictures and everything. So just what in the hell am I getting at? Check out this post or just stick with me.
You see, Target’s Ares looked like this:
And just for clarification, here’s what every other Ares looked like:
At first I thought maybe the single release of Ares had this yellow color, but as the picture above proves, these single releases were colored exactly the same as those in the 2-pack.
So what’s up with the Target listing? Just a fluke? An early paint job that was changed somewhere between taking promo photos and the actual release? A flat-out mistake that just happened to occur on the item that the Target photographers were given? Whatever the case, I think we can all agree that it’s a bit weird, right? Well I’m ’bout to drop another weird bomb on dat ass.
Toys R Us has their Character Cars spread out all over the place nowadays, so I pay attention to each of them closely to make sure I haven’t missed anything. Now I have yet to see a single Ares of any color out in the wild, but the 2-packs are pretty common. Here’s exactly what I found!
Ain’t it cool? Now just to prove this isn’t some bullshit having to do with reflections or the flash or some other anomaly, I put my personal “yellow Ares” and original Ares nose-to-nose:
Proof, right? I mean, when coupled with the weird Target thing, this pretty much proves that there are at least 2 variations (errors?) of Ares out there, i.e. the yellow-ish quarter panels were not some type of one-time misprint. It’s not unusual to see changes in colors between releases, such as the first Black Widow having gold accents and the Civil War release with silver. Whatever happened to Ares happened in the midst of a production run, not between them (which is far more understandable).
So whatcha think? A legit variation? Kinda reminds me of the Yondu variations from earlier this year (rear smooth wheels vs. rear all-terrain wheels) or the Slave I carship where grays and greens were swapped. It’s hard to say they’re intentional when there’s no official acknowledgment or in-universe reason for the changes, but then again it’s hard to believe that multiple errors rolled out of the factory and made it to market. I mean I get the occasional missing wheel or incorrect paint job slipping under the radar, but a whole population of mistakes just seems weird!
For what it’s worth, eBayers seem to catch on to this mistakes quickly, rapidly bundling both “variations” into one easy-to-own purchase. Hell, my kid noticed the Yondu wheel differences almost immediately just from browsing the thumbnails in the listings! Anyway, this yellow Ares variation seems to be much less widespread. I’ve yet to see a “yellow one” on eBay and the one I’ve got is the only one I’ve seen in a store.
So let me know, are these kinds of difference worth your time and money? I don’t know that I would’ve ever hunted down this yellow variant, but I definitely couldn’t pass it up when it was right in front of me! And what do you think happened to cause this issue…? If I knew more about how these things were painted it’d be easier to figure out just how widespread this issue is. i.e. does it happen once or twice per batch or is the kind of thing that affects an entire batch? I think it’s pretty cool, but I would like to put it into some sort of manufacturing context. For the time being at least, “yellow Ares” has earned a slot in my Hot Wheels DC case.