Tag: marvel character cars

THANOS Flip Fighter!!?? (Plus INFINITY WAR Character Car Specifics)

A few days ago we got that little Twitter teaser from Hot Wheels regarding the upcoming Infinity War subset. (Thanks again, C.!) Since then – in the last 24 to 48 hours – eBay has been flooded with these new arrivals. We’ll get to them in a second, but before this little tidbit gets lost in the fray, I want to a draw attention to a single listing that I stumbled upon while browsing…

It’s a THANOS Flip Fighter!

Alright alright alright, maybe the Flip Fighters aren’t the first thing to get all hot n’ bothered over, but I was shocked to see this puppy pop up, and (so far) seemingly from only a single seller out there! It looks exactly like the regular Character Car, but for the sake of posterity, here’s a pic of it lifted off eBay. I wish we could see the back to see if any other newcomers are slated for release but I suspect we’ll see it on shelves before too long.

Thanos Flip Fighter (Marvel Character Car)

Cool? Yeah? Ok. I bet it won’t flip for shit…


With eBay inundated with the new Infinity War Character Cars over a matter of hours, we’ve got a pretty darn clear picture of what to expect. For the record, they have not hit the shelves in my area yet, but with this being such a hyped event and with so damn many on eBay, I’m in no rush to get scalped just yet. However, plenty of other toys from the upcoming flick have made it to the shelves of Toys R Us, Walmart, Target, etc. such as action figures, Legos, and bigger props like Thor’s axe-hammer. That trackset that I spotted a week or so back – the first piece of Infinity War gear I saw – seems to have cropped up in most places as well.

It looks like we have a grand total of 7 cars, at least for the time being, released under the Infinity War subset:

  • Doctor Strange
  • Iron Man Mark 50
  • Thor
  • Rocket (Raccoon)
  • Groot
  • Captain America
  • Thanos

Of the 7, it looks like we have 3 repaints and 2 brand new designs:

  • Thor – Black Repaint
  • Groot – Leaves/Greenery in the “Head” Area
  • Captain America – New Even Fucking Darker Blue!
  • Iron Man Mark 50 – New Design (Like the Thanos Trackset)
  • Thanos – New Design / All-new Character

What’s bizarre is that Black Panther was featured in Hot Wheels’ Twitter video…but that’s ok, ‘cuz it would’ve been totally silly to re-release him in new packaging so soon. If we take a look at the whole of merchandising, particularly the 6″ and oversized 12″ action figures, it looks like several other characters with a prominent role were skipped over for the “Character Car” treatment (not exactly sure whether or not to count Black Panther): Star-Lord, Gamora, Black Widow, Hulk (maybe only as Bruce Banner…?), Falcon, Scarlet Witch, and I think that’s everyone I’ve seen so far in Infinity War-branded packaging excluding Legos and all their strange additions.

Now if you know anything about the actual event in the comics, you’ll realize that one of those Infinity Gems is in, well, a really awkward spot…Vision’s head. So I guess we’ll see him at some point, eh? I remember seeing a quick glimpse of Mantis with the Guardians during a preview, but where be Yondu, Nebula, Drax?

Unfortunately, this won’t help our whole “lop-sided” hero/villain thing with Marvel’s Character Cars, but at least we’ll have a worthy villain.

I’m gonna spare lifting pics of these off eBay for the time being. If you really want to see them there are loads of pics out there. Judging from the speed in which large numbers of these popped up, I doubt they’ll be absent local shelves for long, so hopefully the next pics I’ll have to share will be my own.

So who’s your favorite? Thanos right? Yeah! What do you think of the overall selection in light of what promises to be a huge cast? Does it seem arbitrary? Would you prefer to see more new models and less repaints? Or maybe our very first Scarlet Witch car rather than, like, the 7th version of Cap? Perhaps the film will be major enough to entail another wave after the initial 7… I guess we’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, share some of your thoughts and opinions with me here!


BREAKING NEWS! New AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR Hot Wheels Character Car and Trackset! (Avengers vs Thanos Showdown)

Regretfully I’m like, 24 hours late putting “pen” to “paper” on this matter but hey, I’m doing what I can. Here’s a quick account of how it all went down:

I ran out to Walmart last night to pick up some odds and ends, and though I stopped by the toys reflexively, I wasn’t really expecting to find anything. Boy was I mistaken. The first thing that caught my eye was a display whereby one side was completely filled with Marvel Character Cars! I mean this shit was crazy! I’m used to seeing stores pull in a case, maybe two, of these things at a time, but this display was bursting at the seams with them, namely Iron Man, Spider-Man, Captain America, Punisher, Deadpool, Groot, Thor (Ragnarok), Gladiator Hulk, Valkyrie, Loki, and wouldn’t you know it, Black Panther & Erik Killmonger from the new film. I was seriously fucking floored by the sheer number of these sitting out. A couple of things I found odd though were that Iron Man and Spidey were their “older” forms, and not their Spider-Man: Homecoming variants. In that same vein, Vulture was notably absent, because he wasn’t released alongside the other Homecoming stuff, and availability-wise, was more closely associated the 4 Ragnarok cars plus Deadpool. Go figure.

Marvel Character Car Display at Walmart

But that’s not the exciting part! I was glancing around the lower shelves mainly on the lookout for Jada Batmobiles when a new trackset with the “Character Cars” logo on it caught my eye. Yup, that’s right, it’s new for 2018, straight from Marvel Avengers Infinity War – AVENGERS vs THANOS Showdown I haven’t properly broken into it yet, but the gist is to crash into a giant Thanos in a certain way.

Avengers vs Thanos Showdown Trackset / Playset

So yeah yeah, Hot Wheels Infinity War stuff is all cool and all, but you know what I was really interested in, don’t you? That’s right, whatever exclusive cool car was packaged with it! Well….it’s Iron Man. It’s a new Iron Man to be sure, but it is unmistakably Iron Man. Let’s rewind to those Flip Fighters for a moment. Remember what I said about their shapes? Well, Spidey takes his new Homecoming appearance, Hulk looks like Hulk, Black Panther takes on his new appearance from Black Panther, leaving us with a peculiar Iron Man. I suspected that an Iron Man based on this shape would follow at some point and well, here it is!

New Infinity War Iron Man

There is one tiny little thing that irks me just a little though…nowhere on the box does it mention that it includes an exclusive Character Car. It says stuff like, “1 vehicle included. Other vehicles sold separately,” or “Includes Iron Man Character Car,” but that’s about it. Ok, so maybe I didn’t happen upon something that’ll be severely coveted, but right now it’s new as hell, and that’s pretty cool.

Avengers vs Thanos Showdown - Iron Man

This little blurb on the edge of the box is what makes me think that this car is not an outright exclusive. Mostly I just wanted to draw attention to Iron Man’s appearance here…do you see it? …Or have I been playing too much Injustice 2? Aside from the obvious red, he’s got a look that’s very reminiscent of DC’s Blue Beetle!

I looked over the rest of the photos and artwork on the box to see if there were any clues about what else would be coming out. So far no cigar. We do see some familiar faces, but nothing we can’t explain yet. The front artwork features the aforementioned Iron Man, Rocket Raccoon (looking more like his Guardians 1 self), the Hulk (another throwback appearance), and Thor (again, probably sporting an earlier look). The back is largely a photograph, but it’s also been “enhanced” with motion lines and translucent additions of other vehicles, making it difficult to pin down exact colors and patterns. In addition to the new Iron Man, we also see Rocket Raccoon, Thor, and Doctor Strange. What’s weird though is that it looks like all 3 have been given new paint jobs…it’s hard to say for certain but there is a degree of unfamiliarity. We could be seeing the blueprint for cars to come, although I hope I hope I hope it gets a little more interesting than palette swaps.

Avengers vs Thanos Showdown

So whatcha think? Maybe we didn’t get the big “Thanos Character Car reveal” that I was pumped for, but I’m glad we’re moving on from Black Panther to something more substantive from a marketing and merchandising perspective. This thing is gonna be HUGE and no one is gonna wanna be left behind! So take a few minutes, peruse the pics, and let me know what you think!

A Closer Look at the New Marvel BLACK PANTHER Character Cars

Well…it wasn’t by some miracle of Walmart or Target that I finally came into possession of these 2 cars…no, I searched and waited long enough and decided that I was tired of it and so I broke down and ordered them. They came a few days ago, and one of my biggest sources of excitement was the included pamphlet since these are the first new vehicles to be released since the previous pamphlet was completed. I guess I should break the news now – there’s no one new. It shuffled some stuff around, knocked off the Guardians of the Galaxy, and added a Black Panther section with, you guessed it, an entry for Black Panther and Erik Killmonger.

Black Panther Character Cars

Black Panther is a nice looking car overall. I talked about this some when I went over the Flip Fighters where Black Panther’s redesign first appears. The glossy black is accented with a deep, dark blue that works well. The car doesn’t look all that weird like some Character Cars, though I suppose it has an overall more feline look than the original, bulky, all-terrain thingy from before.

Black Panther

Next up is Erik Killmonger, the film’s antagonist. The card gloriously labels this as First Appearance which I guess is kinda true in a certain way. The big chunky mofo that was Black Panther back in the days of Civil War now has an updated paint job and has been rechristened Erik Killmonger. Now I ain’t the biggest fan of reusing designs, but if you are gonna do it, here’s at least a lesson in doing it right. It’s still black, but it’s got a matte finish. I haven’t seen Black Panther yet but I have seen the toys, and Killmonger appears to have a very similar costume (to Black Panther) set apart primarily by its golden-colored accoutrements. The vehicle is decked out with these “golden” (more like a sort of dull yellow-brown…god I can’t think of a name for this color and I’m always trying to be that guy who knows exactly what color to call shit…) graphics. Tribal-y design stuff and other defining lines are generously used to give Killmonger his own unique appearance and I’ll admit it works out pretty well in the end…at least better than the sort of “quickie” treatment Black Panther got back it the Civil War era.

Erik Killmonger

And it looks like that’s all we’ll be getting from the latest MCU installment. I don’t want to be too harsh since I don’t really know anything about Black Panther just yet though we had a ton of shit missing from the last several DC and Marvel flicks: Hela from Ragnarok, Homecoming’s Shocker, both Steppenwolf and the Parademons from Justice League, Steve Trevor from Wonder Woman, and even Ego – possibly Taserface and Ayesha – from Guardians 2. I get that not all of these characters will be remembered equally, but it’s this day and age where even the brief extras are being noticed and indeed sought after. This is an age where fans are obsessed with detail and other facets of the toy industry reflect this aspect as well…just not Hot Wheels. I love love love these Character Cars but it really bugs me how one-sided it feels 50% – 75% of the time. We got so many cars between the 2 Guardians of the Galaxy movies (Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, Rocket (Vol. 2), Rocket (Battle Damage), Groot, Go-Kart Groot, “Green” Go-Kark Groot, Mantis, Nebula, Yondu (2 versions, probably unintentional), and the gigantic Groot Hauler) and not a single damn antagonist. Where is the reasoning in not at least giving us Ronan and Ego? What about Justice League? Wonder Woman remained unchanged from her BvS appearance, but we got a new Aquaman (on top of another new-ish Aquaman!), a new Batman plus Tactical Suit Batman plus an exclusive Batman with the Flying Fox set, new Flash, a new exclusive Cyborg (from the 5-pack)…I mean damn why no Steppenwolf!? And fucking seriously, don’t even get me started on how we made it all the way through Civil War without a goddamn Scarlet Witch car…we had 2 factions, 12 characters, 6 on each side. To be fair we were missing a few but I very clearly remember there in the span of a few weeks we were hit with Black Panther, Vision, and Winter Soldier. She wasn’t (isn’t) even a damn villain!

Alright alright, enough flying off the handle, but it does bother me. Anyone out there got Hot Wheels’ ear…? Like please…just gimme one villain per film, can you do that…? One bad dude per Marvel and DC flick and I promise I will stop bitching about Parademons and Shocker and Steve Trevor.

I guess Infinity War is the next big thing coming up, right? I saw the trailer for it and man it looks like the MCU really has thrown it all in the pot. From what I can tell it has the 6 original/core Avengers minus Hawkeye (maybe he was in there, but I didn’t see him) plus some of the newer crew like Vision, Scarlet Witch, Spider-Man, and Black Panther. Don’t remember seeing Ant-Man though. Dr. Strange was quite prevalent in the trailer and the latest iteration of the Guardians of the Galaxy minus Yondu. This shit will be way too big for Hot Wheels to ignore, but then again I can’t quite fathom gettin’ all hyped up over more Spidey’s, Iron Mans and Caps for vehicles. Perhaps we can count on a truly memorable Thanos car though.

I don’t know how much influence Marvel (or the MCU specifically) has on who Hot Wheels does and doesn’t transmute into a Character Car, or if there’s some sort of collaborative research to determine who will sell best, but I do find it somewhat interesting that Marvel in particular has always been kinda vocal about downplaying the villains in their films and letting the heroes’ humanity shine through. I guess I kinda get it, but by relegating the villains to a representation of an abstraction the film loses some of its immersive feel and becomes more of a fable. I obviously have no problem with the Marvel villains behaving more “human” and less like cookie-cutter versions of “evil shit.” This is why we don’t remember shit like Abomination or Whiplash or who the hell the villain in Iron Man 3 was. Villains matter, Marvel! I get that you want to explore the heroes as actual people, but why does this come at the cost of dismissing the villains as interchangable abstractions of conflict? Who am I to criticize their formula at this point…? Absolutely no one. But I think I definitely speak for a good number of comic fans when I say that in many cases it’s the rivalry that props these narratives up and keeps them interesting. Toss in a throwaway villain for the origin story, that’s fine, but once you hit film #2 it’s time to start building the lore.

I’m rambling at this point but you know what I really wanna see? X-Men Character Cars! Those built-in delineations like Blue Team, Gold Team, X-Force, X-Factor, and Excalibur. I don’t know what the hell those teams look like now but they could easily shift back to when the series was at its cultural heyday in the early and mid 90’s. I know I know, we already got Wolverine – 2 versions in fact – but I think (I could be mistaken) that he’s the only direct link to the X-Men (maybe Deadpool…?) in the whole lot of the Character Cars. There are so many great characters to mine from the series, both heroes and villains: Cyclops, Colossus, Jean Grey / Phoenix, Storm, Beast, Angel / Archangel, Gambit, Rogue, Jubilee, Magneto, the Sentinels, Apocalypse, Mr. Sinister, White Queen, Mojo, Sabretooth, Omega Red, Stryfe…so much cool stuff to work through!

Ok ok I’m gonna stop! I almost started going to town on how I want to see meticulously chosen collections from the rogue’s galleries of Batman and Spider-Man (I mean really what fan doesn’t want to see a well-curated collection of Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, Ra’s al Ghul, Hugo Strange, Professor Pyg, and Man-Bat…or Hobgoblin, Jackal, Scorpion, Kingpin, Tombstone, Beetle, and Mysterio…) but I’ma cap it off here. Any thoughts on the new cars? Have you seen them anywhere (like, physically)? And how do you think Hot Wheels will (or should) handle the bonkersishness of Infinity War!? Give me Thanos…and Scarlet Witch, and maybe I’ll hold my tongue and smile and nod!

Hot Wheels’ FLIP FIGHTERS – A Quick Review

It’s kinda funny…back when I was dumping all that time and energy into my article talking about the upcoming Flip Fighters (and Battle Rollers) I ended up finding all 4 of them like, the very night I wrapped up the article. It was a few more days before I really busted into ’em, but I’ve sat around and…*ahem* played with them…several times now. Curious about these gimmicky rehashes of existing character cars? Look no further!

First let’s take a look at the overall build and structure of the Flip Fighters. Unfortunately, these are not diecast, which means these vehicles are almost completely made of plastic. The switch makes the cars feel less like finely crafted models, but it also serves a practical purpose – more metal = more force it takes to flip and more flip force = less consistent (possibly more dangerous) outcomes. So I get it. Mattel doesn’t want to start launching big metal things into the air near little kids. Nonetheless, they come off as feeling a little cheap. For a real comparison, grab one of the Star Wars All-Terrain Character Cars. They’re both around 1:43 scale, but notice how much heavier and higher quality the All-Terrain feels.

Spider-Man Flip Fighter

Next let’s take a quick look at the detail and artwork. Part of me is frustrated that Hot Wheels is reusing designs for these, but I guess they want kids to look up at the shelves and recognize them. Spider-Man and Hulk are spitting images of their smaller counterparts…which means Spidey is pretty cool looking and the Hulk is on the bland side. Iron Man…is weird. He’s like a Picaso version of one of his old selves…or something. I guess it’s just something about the eye placement or how the head/helmet is represented…I don’t know. And finally we have Black Panther, sporting an all-new design which is also being given to his new Character car, while our old look is handed down to Killmonger.

I got no real problem with the designs in and of themselves, but when you start scaling something up, you’re going to need to capitalize on the enlargement and add in some extra detail; that’s why Hulk looks so damn boring and why all those corners and angles hold up decently well on Spidey. Now I will concede some degree of ornamentation or elaborate construction on the basis of what these cars do: they flip over. You don’t want a bunch of weak pieces breaking off every time a car flips. You don’t want a bunch of intricately painted details suffering a big scratch. So I kinda get it. These things need to be durable…but that also doesn’t mean they have to be boring and/or straight up carbon copies of what came before.

Hulk Flip Fighter

Alrighty, so let’s go ahead and get on to the meat and potatoes of the Flipsters (er, yes, I called them “Flipsters” but I liked it so I’m leaving it in): how do dey werk?

Each Flip Fighter is equipped with a hinged arm on the bottom. The hinge sits roughly behind the front wheels. When extended towards the front, the arm is almost right at the front of the vehicle. When back, it reaches right about the rear axle. In its resting position, the arm is in the forward position. By turning it towards the back, you’re basically winding a spring, and then a small plastic “hook” catches the arm and locks it into its rear position. I haven’t exactly figured out what disengages the hook. Part of me thinks that it’s simply loose enough to “shake loose” as the car roll, but after some cursory experimentation, it seems like the release is connected to the back wheels, possibly after around 7 to 10 rotations. The good news is that hook reliably catches the arm and doesn’t seem to randomly disengage while handling the vehicle, i.e. it’s not all fragile and delicate like a set mousetrap. Whatever the case, the little hook lets loose, the arm flies forward thereby hitting the floor and causing the car to fly both upwards and forwards. I suppose that the ultimate ideal is for the car to flip a full 360°, land upright, and then continue on another few inches or so.

Iron Man Flip Fighter

If you give a damn about your toys, I would strongly suggest not using these around concrete, asphalt, or any other rough, hard surface….unless you just totally don’t give a damn about the paint jobs. I’ve played with these 4 cars…a lot…over a stretch of my kitchen floor and the results are about what you’d expect: eh, it’s alright. I guess one bright spot is that all 4 cars roll fine “normally,” so if you just wanted to roll them around sans gimmick they’re well-balanced and roll in a fairly straight line. But let’s get back to those dang flips…

Iron Man: To me, this is the silliest looking car of the lot. I can’t decided if it’s supposed to be some mutation of the original Iron Man character car or if it’s aiming for an all-new design. Either way, he’s the most consistent flipper of the bunch. Or I guess I should say he’s the most consistent lander, hell they all flip. What I mean is that he actually lands upright about 50% of the time. Now this doesn’t mean he’s necessarily facing the right direction or that he keeps going, just that he “survives” the flip. The number of times where the car actually flipped and continues forward were few and far between. Still, out of all of them, Iron Man executed the gimmick “the prettiest” of them all.

Spider-Man: Just from looking at the vehicles, I would assume Spidey to be the most aerodynamic and the most suited to all this flipping business. Spidey had the tendency to want to rotate not only its x-axis (the flip) but also along its y-axis – it wanted to twist and spin in the air (like a bullet?) as it flipped. This led to a remarkable number of trials where he landed directly on his side and continued to slide forward. I mean damn, it was uncanny how many times this went down. To be fair there were a couple of crazy disasters and Spidey did get in a couple of flawless landings, but not enough to push Iron Man’s consistency.

The Hulk: I don’t know if it’s the shape of this guy or the weight distribution or whatever, but man, he was one wild critter out of the gate. Maybe he had a problem doing a full 360° (or overshooting) but there was no way to predict what part of this car was gonna hit the ground first.

Black Panther: This one is fairly streamlined and at first I had high hopes…but no. Black Panther’s “schtick” was to land on its “face” (windshield/hood) and skid onward a few more inches. It actually moves pretty straight after landing, though the friction brings it to a quick halt.

Black Panther Flip Fighter

Now these are by no means an exhaustive, experimental analysis of the cars, just some generalizations I made after a few dozen trips up and down my kitchen. I’d be interested to know if you observed similar (or different) behaviors. I did try a few other things though…like I tried rolling them backwards, which of course did nothing, further reinforcing the fact that the “flip” is initiated by forward motion. I tried rolling them gently; sometimes they didn’t flip at all but when they did there wasn’t really any forward momentum left to keep the vehicle active. I also tried rolling them really hard. If you’ve ever tried rolling a little toy car really hard you know accuracy quickly goes out the window the harder you push. Many times these would flip too early and even they tended to go all over the place.

And there you have it: Hot Wheels’ Flip Fighters. Do they work? Meh, sortta…Hot Wheels needs to tinker with the formula before going wild with these guys. They probably aren’t worth the $7.99 price tag but honestly, I bet these will quietly fade away. And then again, something like that could just make ’em all the more valuable!