Tag: hot wheels marvel

GIANT Marvel Character Car – Spider-Man Web-Car Launcher

Welcome back grown-ups, in-betweens, children and lil’ babies…we’ve got an unlikely piece of plastic coming our way today.

Remember the Groot Hauler? Maybe not, because I never properly wrote about it (still plan to!), but what mustn’t be ignored about the large vehicle is that despite its resemblance to a semi-truck, it is in fact considered a bona fide Character Car by Hot Wheels. I know some folks won’t like this and have a hard time accepting these giant toys as part of the Character Cars-proper collection, but hey, if you don’t like ’em, don’t get ’em. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that!

Anyway, back when the Groot Hauler was first on my radar, I remember Hot Wheels advertising a couple of other “big ones” too. I hadn’t really thought about it much until the Spider-Man car caught my eye…I guess it was over at shop.mattel.com, but what I really noticed was the little web-car for some reason. I guess I stowed it away in my mind for some reason, because I immediately recognized it against a slew of other vehicularly-themed vehicles from Homecoming peppering the shelves of Toys R Us. TRU can be a confusing place because they organize their toys by both type and theme – sometimes both. So while all the other Spider-Man vehicle stuff is over there on the “Marvel aisle,” this Web-Launcher guy is over there with the Hot Wheels and most other character cars. Oddly enough, if you wanted that aberrant Rocket Raccoon / Baby Groot 2-pack of character cars, you’d find that on the Marvel aisle and nowhere near the Hot Wheels aisle where the other 90% of character cars are kept. Kinda makes me wonder how much stuff otherwise serious collectors miss…and not because I’m not character car-spotting savant, I just have a certain OCD-ness that compels me to look up and down the same aisles multiple times during a visit. Plus I have my kid with me at least 50% of the time and he spots lots of stuff before me just because of what’s at his eye-level versus mine.

Ok rant thwarted, let’s look at what is officially dubbed the Spider-Man Web-Car Launcher. It’s big. Really big!

Spider-Man Web-Car Launcher

Alright, honestly our Web-Car Launcher isn’t as…well…functional as the Groot Hauler. It’s listed as having 2 action features which turns out to be a) the launching of the Web-Car, and b) the “eyes changing shape” when the spoiler is pressed. Ok ok ok, this is misleading, because these 2 things happen when you push the spoiler down. So it’s not like you can activate one individually or anything – not that I give a damn necessarily – but the wording is a little tricky.

Big Spidey

I know that in the wake of SDCC 2017 that weird little dune buggy thing has emerged as the “Spider-Mobile,” but I think this would be even more appropriate! Something like this could become as recognizable as the Batmobile!

Now most of the time when you’re dealing with small cars and you’ve got that buzzword LAUNCH you usually think of some sort of spring-loaded mechanism, right? Like a little projectile or whatever; something that pushes a spring back, and then catches on a mechanism activated by some kind of trigger, thereby releasing the spring and flinging shit forth. Well they really threw caution to the wind here! Basically when you press the spoiler, this big, flat “foot” thrusts out and manually pushes the web-car out of the inner tunnel of the larger Spidey car. Spidey’s got this big long “barrel,” and as I pushed the web-car in I expected some resistance but nope, it just rolls on back, ready for that chunk of plastic to push it forward!

The set will be a bit underwhelming for youngsters interested in shooting cars across the room, though some may be able to appreciate the fact that any car that can physically fit down the “barrel” can be “launched;” it’s not specifically crafted/fitted for a single car.

As far as how the car looks and otherwise functions though, I can’t see any problems. In some regards I’m glad there are no springs or more moving parts than there are. Depending on how truly collectible these become, it’ll be nice not to deal with the aging parts. Springs rust and become “unsprung,” and they also place tension on the surrounding plastic which can become brittle with age. If nothing else, when taken care of, this car – and it’s ability to motherfucking LAUNCH LAUNCH – should last a great long while.

Web-Car

The one…the only…EXCLUSIVE WEB-CAR!

Spidey is very lightweight for his size and done in the style of his updated Homecoming Character Car. It’s basically a big red thing, though there are small sparkles in the paint. For whatever reason, it be dat Web-Car that’s really gotten my attention. It’s like any other 1:64 Hot Wheels, although according to the box it is not simply some re-used/re-painted casing, but rather an Exclusive Web-Car according to the box! I like it. Not so sure how it thematically jives with the rest of the character cars, but I’m nothing if not a sucker for these exclusives.

Spider-Man Web-Car Launcher

Is the Spider-Man Web-Car Launcher worth your time, effort, and money? It’s hard to say. For what it is I think the MSRP of $20 is a little high…something like $12.99 to $14.99 seems about right for something with no lights, or sounds, or automated movement. A lot of it will depend on whether or not you like loud, noisy toys, and I happen to not care for them so much so I’m OK with giant Spidey car and the super-cool exclusive!

Remember This? (Nice Iron Man & Hulkbuster Set)

Remember this fun little gem I brought up a while back?

Iron Man and Hulkbuster RLC

Even before I posted the article, I’d had the set for 2 or 3 months and up until a couple of days ago remained genuinely clueless about where it came from. And how did lil’ ol’ me run across something so obscure? It’s pretty simple really; one of my highly secretive techniques for finding shit is to do blanket searches on eBay like hot wheels marvel or hot wheels dc. You can further qualify the search with things like “character car(s)” but sometimes this can limit what shows up, especially from people who don’t exactly know what they have. (To be fair, I almost always have to use an extra term with Star Wars stuff, as hot wheels star wars will bring up all character cars, starships, carships, and whatever other odds and ends.) Anyway, if you do searches like this maybe a couple times per day, sort by Newly Listed, and browse through at least the first page of results, very little will slip past your radar.

At the time, I snagged the set for either $19.99 or $29.99; I can’t remember which, and you’re about to see why. Doing a search for sold listings, only one came up, and it’d gone for $29.99. In the month or two that followed, I saw it listed one more time, this time for $19.99. And that’s why I’m not 100% sure what I dropped on it. Aside from those sightings though, this thing didn’t appear to exist…until just a couple of weeks ago.

Or I’m guessing it was a couple of weeks – coulda been a little more or a little less – but the point is I started seeing these things all over the place. Judging from the description, it sounds like these are (were?) a special Hot Wheels Red Line Club (RLC) offering, not too dissimilar from the white Captain America Character Car from last year. What’s so incredible is that most sellers are asking anywhere from $45 to $70 for the sets! Based just on that, I’d say either the $20 or $30 I paid was at the low end of the retail price. So, um, hell yeah!

Now normally I’d tell you not to sweat if you wanted one…that demand would steadily wane and prices would drop (have you seen how cheap those 2015 SDCC Secret Wars sets go for?) and that pretty soon people would be content just to make a few bucks off of it. In this instance though I’d hesitate to give you this advice – or any advice – because this set is a limited edition of only 4000. With small numbers like this predictions are tough to make, though it’s almost certain that in the long haul it’ll gain value.

Each set is supposed to individually numbered. On the bottom you can see a little white area where the text is embossed, which is where I presume the number is. (I outlined it in green!)

Back

Ok, can’t really see anything there, but if we zoom in a little and angle the flash some…

Back

What I see is 3 2 8 6 E A A which I guess makes sense if we’re talking 4,000 sets total…I just don’t get the “E A A” part. “3286” may not be the super-low and valuable production number we could’ve hoped for, thought I’d still count myself as lucky for owning one at all. Note: If this is not the product number, let me know!

That’s it for now, but keep checking back furiously – I gots so much stuff I need to write about!

I Discovered Another ALL-NEW Marvel Character Car!

Pretty wild, right? I mean I know that adding a battle-damaged Rocket Raccoon to the pantheon wasn’t the most exciting to break, but I still kinda wonder, why was I the first to run across it?

A similar thing happened to me Thursday night. Yeah I know, post is a bit late but I get to it when I get to it. So yeah, I’m at TRU Thursday evening, mostly hoping to run across the upcoming Vulture or perhaps even Doomsday but no… Instead I’m immediately drawn to a 2-pack featuring the Spider-Man: Homecoming packaging. Now at that point the only Homecoming cars I’d seen were those featuring – duh – Spidey and Iron Man. So as quickly as I got excited about the 2-pack, I almost instantly deflated because I figured it was the 2 cars I’d just recently gotten off of eBay.

But I picked it up nonetheless, and my mind quickly put together that there ought to be an exclusive in here…BAM: Exclusive Spider-Man: Homemade Suit. Hey, that’s a a little more exciting than a battle-damaged Rocket, eh? The Iron Man alongside Mr. Homemade Suit is the “new” Homecoming Iron Man that just came out.

Homecoming Character Cars 2-Pack

Yeah yeah, it’s just a repaint of the new Homecoming version of Spider-Man, but I do appreciate the gesture from Hot Wheels even if it does feel like they’re milking it a bit much. Anyone out there a Mortal Kombat fan circa 1992 – 1997? If so, you’ll probably remember that one of the main criticisms leveled at the franchise was its use of palette-swapped characters – basically the same outfit was used on more than one character but the color of the outfit was changed. Think Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Reptile, Ermac, Noob Saibot, Rain, etc. They did it with the ladies too: Kitana, Mileena, Jade, and the little-known Khameleon. Anyway, at the time, it was a clever(ish) way of getting more characters out of less space. Instead of putting in a whole new character, all you needed to do was “swap” out a color (or entire palette – however small it may be – to be more precise) and add in a few new special moves. What I’m saying is that it kinda feels like Hot Wheels is doing this, except it isn’t for some lofty purpose like giving us more characters. Rather we’re just getting multiple versions of the same character. I guess I would be a little less critical if more of the color changes were dramatic rather than the small-ish ones we usually see.

Before I sign off to try and bang out another article about cool new shit, I do want to extrapolate a pertinent implication heralded by the release of this 2-pack. Remember the pamphlet present in the new Spider-Man and Iron Man cars that I posted scans of a few days ago? Now this ain’t my first trip around the playground, so even after seeing such a list, I was careful not to jump to conclusions, and indeed somewhere near the end I mention that just because someone wasn’t on this list didn’t mean that they wouldn’t appear. The 2-pack is interesting proof of this – not the 2-pack itself, but the inclusion of the Homemade Suit Spider-Man. This fella wasn’t present on the insert, so voila, fucking proof that not every upcoming car is featured on the insert. Now I may have my foot in my mouth post-Ragnarok when Homemade Homeboy is the only car to be released that wasn’t on the pamphlet, but technically I will still be / have been correct! It won’t be a victory to savor, but my point is that just maybe we don’t have to give up on a Shocker car or – how hard would it be – a fucking villain from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

Alright fiends, I’m off to serve up some more delicious new shit. I hope I’m not too late with this info – well, I know I’m a little late but maybe I’ll get it out there somewhat timely. So read this (I’m guessing that you already have and assuming you didn’t just jump down to the last paragraph) and then check back every hour or two for some new fun stuff. Adieu!

BREAKING NEWS: Brand New MARVEL Character Cars on the Horizon!

Yo yo, I’m probably not the first to break this but I’ve gotta be at least near the top right? Anyway, late last week when the Spider-Man: Homecoming cars dropped I ordered the new Spidey and Iron Man cars. When they arrived less than 48 hours ago, I noticed what looked to be a folded up pamphlet in the bubble. I mean it’s not obvious what the small paper is, but similar pamphlets are in other toys.

So late last night / earlier this morning, while I was finishing up the previous article, I decided to open one of these new ones and check out just what that little slip of paper had to say. Once unfolded, it revealed a small checklist, front and back, of existing and presumably upcoming Marvel Character Cars!

(The following are not mere pictures, but actual scans of the pamphlet. Enjoy!)

Vulture

This is one of 3 cars under the Spider-Man: Homecoming heading, alongside the new Spider-Man and Iron Man cars. So far it doesn’t look like we’ll be getting Shocker or anything else from the new film, though it is entirely possible that the checklist isn’t necessarily complete or exhaustive. Still, Vulture looks better than I would’ve expected!

Deadpool

Deadpool is in an unnamed class all by its lonesome which I guess makes perfect sense! We’re long overdue for a Deadpool if you ask me, I just wish he had an adversary or something to go with him. C’mon Marvel, we need villains! I know you wanna focus on the heroes themselves and their characters, but you can do complex and engaging shit with bad dudes too! </endrant&rt;

Thor: Ragnarok

Next up is the entire subsection dedicated to future film Thor: Ragnarok. Thor was always a great looking (if a tad simplistic) character car and I really love the update. The Hulk could be a little less than impressive at times, but this gladiator-esque look really suits him. And did you notice…? I can barely contain myself….we’re gettin’ a damn Loki! A little late if you ask me, but better late than never. Love the super-curled-back horns! Lastly we have Valkyrie, some chick who I know nothing about. A quick glance at Wikipedia tells me…that she’s a heroine Fuck it I quit. Ok maybe not, and we certainly need females, but we need some evil!

Here’s the front and back of the sheet if you want to take a closer look. Click on each to bring it up larger in a new window. Do you have a different looking checklist? Let me know! And let me know if you start to see these guys popping up as well!

Checklist
Checklist

Where Did This Set Come From? (Iron Man / Hulkbuster)

Yeah ok, should be doing something off my “to fucking write about” list, but I’ve had this set on my mind lately and I just can’t seem to find out anything about it! And part of that is because I don’t really know what to call it, like officially…Hot Wheels Iron Man & Hulkbuster Character Cars…? This doesn’t even really set it apart from the standard releases, at least from the perspective of plugging in search terms.

Character Car Set

Character Car Set

Here it is: a nice box set featuring Iron Man & Hulkbuster. Pretty cool, right? We get some artwork, the “Real Riders” and “Metal/Metal” logos, and, oh wait, what’s that, the “Character Cars” stamp? Well hang on a minute, that means this can’t be all that old, right? Hot Wheels ushered out this new packaging right around the end of 2016. The only reason I even thought to bring this up was because the Hulkbuster suit has only been featured in Avengers: Age of Ultron and not in anything even remotely recent like, say, Civil War. I mean it’s not a crime to break out the box – I wish the Marvel/Hot Wheels wing would do it more actually – but it is unusual to create this very display-worthy set without it referencing something very current and visible.

Now let’s take a peek inside!

Iron Man & Hulkbuster

Iron Man & Hulkbuster

Wow, it is tough to beat that lustrous, metallic, shiny red and gold. These aren’t new castings, but they’re not just repainted versions of their previous counterparts either. There are some minute aesthetic changes in detail and decoration; I don’t really have the vocabulary to describe the parts of these vehicles, but if you compare them to earlier versions, you can easily see the added flourishes and highlights.

Iron Man & Hulkbuster

I quickly crammed together a shot of the “shiny one” with a “regular” one, the first version of the Iron Man “Rocketcar” to be specific. The differences are minor but visible.

So Cubes, have a good time showing off…? No! I mean yeah! But no wait! That’s not the point! What I want to know is where in the hell did these things come from? I found them quite a while back – 2 or 3 months at least, maybe a little more – when I was doing blanket searches for anything new popping up for hot wheels marvel. I dug around for Sold Listings of the same, and it looked like one other had been sold about a week or so prior. Since then, I only remember seeing one or two of these sets up for sale, though it’s definitely possible that there are more considering I haven’t specifically looked for the set in quite some time.

It can’t be all that old because of the “Character Cars” logo. Based on the listings I’ve seen and the prices it’s sold for, it doesn’t seem to be anything as special or as limited as a convention exclusive. Maybe some kind of special order internet thing…? I dunno, I can’t figure it out. Whatever it is is dedicated to the collector’s market…then again we don’t get anything nearly as elaborate as Secret Wars or Daredevil vs. Punisher or even the Harley / Suicide Squad thing from the DCU side of things. It’s nice and classy and worthy of display, but it’s also about as simple as you can get.

If these things were just sitting on a shelf in a store somewhere I guess I could understand, but this doesn’t seem to be the case. Are they super limited edition!? I don’t see anything regarding production numbers anywhere.

So fellas, enlighten me: where in the hell did this come from? Do you have one? Where’d you get yours? Have you seen lots of these for sale lately? Or ever? If you 100% absolutely know what’s up that’s great, but even if you don’t, I’m curious about your thoughts and speculation and any experiences you’ve had with the set!

Stick around after this folks, cuz I’ve got some really cool shit to tune you into. I was gonna preempt this article with the news but I’ve only got a few pics left to take and we’rd good to go. Anyway, you don’t wanna miss my next piece…and of course all of my other articles!

New and Upcoming Character Cars – MARVEL & DC

With a swath of new Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 cars coming out in various forms and availability, it may be a little shocking to know that Hot Wheels is already getting its feet wet with Marvel’s next film, Spider-man: Homecoming. We’ve got a brand new Spider-man Character Car currently available, as well as a slightly recolored version of Iron Man, in the newer Mark XLVI shape. Both of these come in their own “Spider-man: Homecoming” packaging, though neither of the backs offer any further insight. (Collectively, I think the backs include Punisher, Iron Fist, Daredevil, and maybe Green Goblin – regardless, no further “Homecoming” editions.)

Spidey: Homecoming
Iron Man: Homecoming

I screen-capped these from a guy on eBay, burningrubbertoycompany, the first vendor to show up with them. I’d highly recommend him/her for those of you on a quest for new character cars. The cars are almost always very fairly priced, and while the shipping may be a little high, he/she ships Priority 2-day so it gets to you quick.

Spidey: Homecoming
Iron Man: Homecoming

Doctor Octopus and Rhino have been re-released in new unnumbered “Character Car” packaging as well, a welcome development for those who missed out on Doc Ock’s oddly narrow window of availability a few months ago.

This is all we know so far – I think we all pretty much expected a new Spidey, but the inclusion of yet another Iron Man is underwhelming. Cross your damn fingers that Hot Wheels graces us with a Vulture and Shocker car in due time!

Ares - Single

On the DC front, Ares is now available singly. Judging from the picture, it’s the same as the car from the Wonder Woman vs. Ares 2-pack; plus, the Wonder Woman car was touted as the exclusive. I haven’t caught sight of the back of the Ares card yet, so no word on if anyone else new is on the horizon. I’m hoping for another car or two under the Wonder Woman banner, maybe Hippolyta and Steve Trevor cars, though I could also see how Hot Wheels may not deem them all that marketable. However, I think it’s important to note that they really branched out with Ares, because he’s the first and so far only non-Batman-centric villain in the DCU line!

And finally, we’ve got some very cool news courtesy of a reader and fellow character car aficionado. It looks like at some point this year DC has a few new characters slated for release: “Movie Version” Flash, Doomsday, and one I’m really excited about…SWAMP THING! Also, the cryptic “Justice League 2” is These might be a bit further out (July and August), but there is the possibility of a new Batman as early as June. The case is set to include a “Batman” and not necessarily the Armored Batman and Hot Rod Batman which have become so common. It’s possible that it could be a re-release of the plain ol’ Batman character car from way back, but our reader also provided me with a convincing picture as to what this new Batman might look like. With many of the characters getting updates, we think there’s a good chance that the Batman below is what we’ll be seeing shortly.

New Batman

There he is, all the way on the right…oddly enough not on the small clear platform. The rest of them have already been released, most recently the newest Wonder Woman.

New Batman

Man, I am hung up on that car. It actually looks like a cross between a character car and a modern sort of Batmobile without all the military tech.

Update: As I was putting the finishing touches on this piece, our well-informed reader from before dropped another fun tidbit my way. It looks like a Malaysian seller has put up an auction for an unspun prototype of Swamp Thing. How cool is that?! I mean, I’ve got no intention of buying the thing but it’s cool to get such an advanced look. I’ve got a couple of pics posted below, including the “proof” whereby SWAMP THING is printed on the chassis.

Swamp Thing Prototype
Swamp Thing Prototype

Not sure this is how I would’ve pictured Swamp Thing…I guess I was thinking of something more Groot-like…but I’m sure it’ll look better with some color!

If you wanna check out more pics or if you’re thinking about grabbing this for yourself, check out the official listing.

Thaz all I gots for now! I know I shoulda gotten this up like 2 days ago, but damn, this shit just takes me longer than I ever think it will! When I know more, so will you…and if you know more, tell me dammit! Shout out and big thanks to C. for his info on the DC front!

Fun Finds

I went out yesterday a few days ago (and then again on Sunday) intending to hit up maybe 3 stores, but when 5 o’clock started rearing its head, I decided to stay out in the city and hit up a few more stops rather than inching my way home in rush hour traffic. As usual, some stops were a total bust while others were a total surprise. You’ll probably see me go on about some of these items or groups a little more in depth later on, but for now, here a few quick pics and a general rundown of Friday’s “exciting” moments.

I should probably point out that this probably wasn’t 100% by accident. A lot of retailers restock – especially toys – late Thursday night or Friday to account for Saturdays and Sundays. Now I don’t have the stocking habits of all my surrounding stores down to a science, but Friday afternoons and evenings can be a sweet time for hitting miniature jackpots. Not all stores restock all items every week…for example, this Friday a Walmart might get in a few cases of Star Wars Character Cars but no Marvel. Next Friday, we might see the exact opposite and so on.

Walmart – Wake Forest

This is pretty much my go-to store. It’s close, it’s open all night, and they typically keep up with Hot Wheels pretty good. I’m probably not the only collector who hits it up regularly, because they often run out their neatest stuff by the end of the weekend. They didn’t have any new or exciting Character Cars, but they did have the Women of Marvel Pop Culture set! I’m not necessarily a die-hard fan of the Pop Culture sets – for instance I passed on the recent Beatles release and I totally skipped over all those Batmans and Supermans that filled shelves for a while. I kinda dug the theme though, so I picked up all 5.

The card backs are absolutely beautiful and it kinda makes me not want to open them. I am sortta confused why they went with van-like vehicles for the females though…Quick D-Livery and Combat Medic are a bit overused in my opinion. Hell, I think I have a Black Widow Combat Medic from the set that was out last spring/summer! I’m also a little bittersweet about the tribute to Scarlet Witch, mostly because I spent last summer and fall fucking convinced that she would be made into a character car any day…especially after Black Panther, Vision, and Winter Solider dropped, not to mention the Civil War-branded editions of Ant Man, Iron Man, Captain American, Hawkeye, and Black Widow. We had 12 main players in Civil War – 6 per team – and we have Character Cars of all of them sans Scarlet Witch. What the fuck!? She even had a more important part in the story than most, like actually being a member of the new iteration of The Avengers, unlike several characters who’s appearance was just a notch up from “cameo” (Spider-Man, Ant-Man, War Machine, etc.). I’m still pretty fucking pissed about the issue.

Anyway, let’s take a look at the gals and move along, before it takes me 3 days to write this.

  • Black WidowBread Box
  • Scarlet WitchCombat Medic
  • She-Hulk – Custom ’77 Dodge Van
  • Spider-WomanQuick D-Livery
  • Wasp – Volkswagen T1 Panel

Women of Marvel

K-mart – Raleigh (Six Forks)

K-marts can be weird places sometimes. Sometimes I can walk into one and feel like I’m back in 1990. I’m not sure if this was a nationwide occurrence or just a regional alteration, but it doesn’t help that they’ve whittled away their electronics sections down to almost nothing, removing video games and most higher-end devices in favor of budget-conscious appliances courtesy of Sears. A trip to K-mart used to be the bright spot of a kid’s day. You could grab a slice of Little Caesar’s and feel like a king eating it in that little dine-in area, grab an ICEE to wash it down with, find a contemporary toy in that $5 to $15 range to be perfectly satisfied with, and mom or dad could even milk a little something out of the trip by picking up a pack of Spider-Man briefs or some Batman sneakers that you were in such desperate need of at that age of wear and tear and growth.

Nowadays, K-marts are repositories for unwanted and outdated toys, not to mention the surplus of budget-friendly no-name break-in-a-heartbeat plastic masquerading as toys. The air is somehow yellow and…sad. Walmart employees may be unhelpful and tactless idiots, but the ones at K-mart just feel like hollow shells. Rows and rows of untouched merchandise gather dust within this time warp, and you instantly begin to realize why – a $5 towel is $2 at Walmart…a $4 greeting card is $1.50…a $10 candle is $4…it’s dollars and “sense.” It’s still a little sad though..remember Roses? K-mart is going that same direction, albeit a bit slower.

What’s so damn weird is that somehow they end up restocking with rare, interesting, and worthwhile stuff. For example, I’ve only ever seen 2 Sabin Wren Character Cars in the wild, and they were both at this K-mart. When the Carships line began, this was the first place to have ’em, beating out mainstream competitors by a week or so in the area. It was also a good place to pick up Super Mario Character Cars after their heyday had passed in order for me to flip ’em on eBay. And I swear they still get some regular mainline Hot Wheels in exclusive colors.

Anyway, before I prattle on too long (I ramble like this IRL as well, though most of the time my audience either thinks it’s entertaining or I’m able to read the room enough to know when to move on…I think there’s some borderline Asperger’s somewhere in there), the point of including this stop was to talk about this random pile of Hot Wheels Star Wars Starships K-mart had lying around. They weren’t on a shelf or neatly laid out or in any discernible order. I probably should mention that around the time Force Awakens merch became ubiquitous in retail, K-mart had this big island thingy devoted to it that was all nice and orderly. By the time Rogue One merch was in full swing, the island had shrunk a bit, but it still had distinct sections and remained relatively orderly. As the Rogue One scene began winding down, this area devolved into a heap of plastic lightsabers, so many K-mart-exclusive Black Series figures that it was almost pathetic, and a few little cars and ships on hangers. Well, last Friday, there was no Star Wars island. I don’t even know where the rest of that shit went, but apparently they took all the car-sized stuff and just dumped it under the regular Hot Wheels section.

The cool part is what I actually found though: a freakin’ N-1 Starfighter (I stumbled across 1 at the mall and my kid found another when he was out with my mom one day), a damn Vulture Droid (never seen these as a single – only in those giant packs at Target where I already have everything else), and wouldn’t you know it – TWO Imperial Cargo Shuttles – you know, the thing that the Rebels commandeered in Rogue One. They actually took off in one for the final mission and control was all like, “you can’t drive that shit” and Bodhi was like, “we Rogue One muthafucka!!!!” and they all took off Suicide Squad style.

New Starships

Maybe you’re not as impressed as I am, but that’s ok. The Cargo Shuttle was a big “whoa” because I’ve only seen that on the web. Still no word on the Hovertank though. Does anyone have any idea why some of these Starships were produced in such limited quantities? I mean its easier now (well maybe not since some stores are clearing stock, but in general) to grab stuff like the TIE Striker and the AT-ST and so on, but these new Starships have remained crazy elusive, and all most people get to see is dozens of Ghosts, various forms of TIE Fighters, Kylo’s Shuttle, etc. And you can tell the older ones – like N-1 and Vulture Droid – were re-released because the ones I just bought feature the flat base, which replaced the little finger-flight-navigator stand. I’m still missing 2 different versions of the Jedi Starfighter, Jabba’s Sail Barge or Khetanna as it’s now known, Jango’s “version” of the Slave I, the TIE Interceptor, and the Hovertank if and when it ever manifests. There are also some I already have that I’d like to have more of though, like I wouldn’t mind having a total of 4 ARC Fighters and 4 Vulture Droids.

I’m on the fence about keeping the second Imperial Cargo Shuttle. I mean I know I could make probably at least 5 or 6 times what I paid for it, but I’d really like to get in the midst of a trading community and use this stuff to get other stuff without all that money in between!

Holy shit, speaking of money I almost forgot the best part! When I got the register, the Starships weren’t ringing up right. Now Starships are usually $4.99; maybe Walmart has ’em at $3.99 occasionally, and honestly I wouldn’t have been shocked if they were $5.99 at K-mart. Anyway, the lady asked me if I knew how much they were, so I said, “$4.99” and she punched shit in or whatever. She told me my total but I already had my card in the machine and honestly didn’t pay much attention. I’d picked up a couple of Hot Wheels too, and as I walked out did some quick math – should be something like $23 – but I know she didn’t say that… I look down at the receipt and I’d spent a whopping $9.64! She got the 3 Hot Wheels alright, but then she rang up the Starships as an even $2.00 each, and then only rang up 3 of them! Schweet!

Walmart – Brier Creek

This one isn’t quite as personally exciting as the rest, but I did want to mention it since it’s the first time I’ve seen these in a store. Looks like these guys were the first in the area to get a hold of the very newest DC Character Cars – I spotted The Riddler, Harley Quinn (the “regular” Harley based on her comic book appearance), and Wonder Woman, the version with the Wonder Woman film logo on the card. Still no single Ares, though this shouldn’t be any different that what we got in the 2-pack recently.

New DC

If you are interested in turning a profit, take this advice for the next day or two – possibly the next week or two depending on how fast this assortment travels. Get that Harley car. Get as many as you can. Don’t take less than $20 for it and if someone is willing to go up to $35 go ahead and sell it and don’t push it further. Remember, this is good advice right now. As soon as these things break that supply/demand threshold, it’s hard to predict what will happen. I mean right now there are so many Character Cars coming out and a single store simply will not have all or even most of what’s out there. It’s a weird marketing strategy. What it leads to is some cars saturating the market – like Scarif Stormtrooper or that new Aquaman – and you’ll be lucky to sell it for $6, or it appears, drops it value, and then disappears – like poor Ezra! – only to shoot up in price (again).

Toys R Us – Raleigh (& Cary)

I’ll only touch on this briefly since I already wrote an entire article on it, but this is where I made a fun discovery. I just happened to be perusing and spotted a Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Character Car 2-pack featuring Groot Go-Kart and an Exclusive Rocket Raccoon. The “exclusivity” comes from some slight wear and tear integrated into the paint job to give him a battle-damaged appearance. Yeah yeah, it ain’t like, totally different, but it’s something Hot Wheels does and likely will continue to do (Stormtrooper, First Order Flametrooper, Death Trooper, Ezra, Carships (U-Wing, Millennium Falcon, X-Wing, & TIE Fighter), Starships (X-Wing, TIE Striker, probably others), War Machine, Captain America…that MIGHT be everyone…).

Rocket and Groot 2-pack

Earlier today / yesterday I was at the Toys R Us in Cary and can confirm that they are also carrying multiple Rocket / Groot 2-packs.

Barnes & Noble – Cary

B&N isn’t really a good steady source for collecting unless you’re at the beginning of your hoard but they do contain occasional surprises. Technically this happened yesterday evening (Sunday) but I thought I’d include it anyway. There, on the end of an aisle somewhat detached from the proper toy area, were Guardians 2 related stuff, and to my surprise, an unmistakable Groot Hauler! Fortunately some other kid or collector will get the chance to enjoy this one – I got one a couple of months ago and it’s a little big with not enough margin for me to worry about flipping.

Groot Hauler

This thing is so cool…definitely planning on doing a piece dedicated to this one soon!

What I don’t understand is why scalpers on eBay were asking $40 to $60 for these things when they were all over Amazon for $25-ish. It’s amazing how little the 2 markets really know about each other, especially when they’re 2 of the most liquid (if not the 2 most liquid) markets in the world. Anyway, B&N had a $24.95 price tag on him and I paid something like $25.11 when all was said and done at Amazon. And I got dat 2-dei shippin’.

Roses – Cary

Tooned

ROSES…ahh…so much to say…but not today. I’ve been casually tracking down the TOONED subset of the Hot Wheels 2017 Mainline. Two or three weeks ago the green ’69 Camaro Z28 started showing up. I knew it had a companion from browsing the Hot Wheels site, and then there at Roses of all places, there’s not 1 but 2 yellow ’69 Camaro Z28’s! Yeah I know, not exactly the Holy Grail, but a cool find in an unlikely place nonetheless.

Target – Cary (Crossroads)

Imaginext Blind Bag Series 8

Also on a Sunday and the last find on today’s list. This might’ve been the most unexpected and neither my son nor myself were previously aware: Imaginext Blind Bag Series 8! Now don’t get these confused with the DC Super Friends bags. These are just random-ass Imaginext figures, though there’s usually some sort of pattern to the mix: there’s a “monster” (like horror classics – vampire, zombie, Frankenstein’s Monster, ghost, and so on), something with a sci-fi flavor (robot, alien, etc.), something with a fantasy or folkloric flavor (like a cyclops or a genie or a gnome), a player of some sport, a type of historical trope (ninja, knight, pirate, etc.), and maybe a contemporary city worker – construction worker, fireman, that kinda thing. None of them follow a set pattern mind you, but there are some similarities. You can probably expect on entry on these at some point soon too, but for right now, we’re missing one the figures!

One of the reasons it was so exciting to see Series 8 is because the previous series’ have had such erratic releases. I don’t ever remember seeing 1 or 2 on shelves; most of those we had to order online. I remember Series 3 being on shelves and I remember Series 4 following it an acceptable amount of time later. After that though, it was like BAM 5 BAM 6 and BAM 7. And then what, a year goes by? Imaginext has such weird time tables, but at least they aren’t as bad as Hasbro’s PlaySkool, which are similarly sized and articulated figures. (Imaginext covers DC, while PlaySkool has Marvel and Star Wars, and although the figures aren’t 100% identical across brands, they are damn close.) I won’t harp on too much, but it wasn’t until like, last Easter before you could find Kylo and Finn and Rey (Episode 7 stuff) reliably on shelves (even longer for vehicles like First Order Snowspeeder and Poe’s X-Wing) – made a killing off that shit on eBay for a while. They did a few more pairs recently, like BB-8 and Poe, and Boba and Han-in-Carbonite, but these disappeared fast. In the last 6 or 8 months they’ve done squat except for 2 Star Wars guys and 2 Marvel guys with this weird arm-swap mechanic that looks a lot cooler than it actually is. Doesn’t look like we’ll be getting any Rogue One stuff from PlaySkool. Lotsa Rogue One merch is already entering clearance status and we’ll start seeing Episode VIII stuff in 3 or 4 months; certainly the first wave will be underway by Halloween.


And that does it! Just a few of my most memorable sights and purchases over the past few days! I’d definitely love to do this kinda thing on a regular basis but I’ma have to figure out to do it faster!