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!
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.
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.
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.
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!