Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Where's the Interior, Mattel? The '52 Chevy Pickup from Hot Wheels

At TWDR, the '52 Chevy Pickup is one of the 2015 'New Models' from Hot Wheels that we've really been looking forward to. Hot Wheels has offered the truck previously, but with the cab and the bed as 2 separate pieces. This had the visual effect of making the bed look slanted on the previous version. For 2015, Hot Wheels re-tooled the '52 Chevy with a singular mold, attaching the base to the cab to give the casting a much cleaner look.

In some ways, this is the sharpest 50's Chevy truck Hot Wheels has offered. Sure, the 50's Chevy truck casting, with a tilting bed, has been used multiple times in the RLC/HWC and Convention lines. And there's the La Troca, a lowered, unlicensed 50s Chevy truck. The problem with the '50s's' Chevy Truck casting is that it always seemed so bulky and almost too large to consider 1:64 scale. The La Troca on the other hand wasn't licensed, sat almost ridiculously low and had a sun-shield above the front windshield that gave it a goofy look. The '52 Chevy truck, on the other hand, is accurately proportioned. It is much smaller than the '50's Chevy Truck casting, and sits a little higher than the La Troca despite being substantially lowered from a stock ride height. The one-piece nature of the casting gives it a hardy, clean feel. 

Hot Wheel gave this model some nice trim on the fenders and doors that look appropriate to the era. Add basic red paint and clear windows, and we have the accurate, clean and realistic 50's Chevy truck that we've all been waiting for. So what is the issue? While we love clear windows on Hot Wheels models, on this piece they reveal that Mattel put no interior whatsoever into this piece. Sure it's a 1$ car, but no seats, no dash, no steering wheel? What gives? Mattel is cost-cutting, but if you're making a realistic, accurate model with clear windows, tailored more to collectors than kids, throw an interior in there Mattel! 

Don't get us wrong, we frequently praise Mattel releases, but the missing interior was a disappointing aspect of an otherwise brilliant execution.

Note: This doesn't affect the overall appearance significantly, but Mattel could've widened the axles and still kept the wheels within the fender skirts. Why such narrow axles?

Enjoy the photos, it is still a wonderful model to appreciate. Let us know in the comments below how you feel about the missing interior. (or the narrow axles)

Stay Tuned Daily!

Monday, 25 May 2015

Hot Wheels Ferrari 599XX

Today TWDR looks at the exotic Ferrari 599XX in 1:64 scale from Hot Wheels. Yes, there's a super treasure hunt version of this car that has the collecting world in a frenzy, but we thought we'd focus on the basic model. Sometimes Hot Wheels just nails it on a 1 dollar car, and this is one of those times. The 599XX looks like something you'd see cruising down Hollywood Boulevard or on a swanky speedway.

The proportions on this car are spot on and the lines and curves give it a sleek look and makes the model seem more expensive than it actually is. The deep charcoal paint, Ferrari logos, detailing, side-induction air intakes, Ferrari red striping on the sides and top all give this model an extra sense of realism and exotic feel. 

One of the reasons we're reviewing this piece is that Hot Wheels is rumoured to have lost their license to produce Ferrari models going forward. That means this might be the last Hot Wheels Ferrari we see for a long, long time…and boy did it end with a bang. Enjoy the shots!

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Fresh Releases from '68 COPO Camaro; '14 Corvette Stingray

Mattel run website is a must visit for any serious Hot Wheels collector. They offer exclusive vehicles to collectors throughout the year in limited quantities. They also offer a premium club membership known as the 'Red Line Club' or RLC. Most of the Hot Wheels collectors who read these pages are already familiar with the RLC or  are members of it. Being an RLC member gives you a 24 hour priority window to get a first crack at the sales offered on the site. Both of the models we showcase sold out in a couple hours.

Here are the 2 most recent releases from The '68 COPO Camaro and the '14 Corvette Stingray. The Corvette is limited to 3000 pieces and the Camaro to 4000.

The next release coming from HWC is the original-16 Ford J-Car, slated for a June 9th sale date. Stay tuned for TWDR's review on that one later in June…enjoy the views!

Stay Tuned! Fresh Reviews Daily.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Hot Wheels Volkswagen Caddy

Well here it is. The most anticipated new Hot Wheels casting of 2015, perhaps second only to the '70 Ford Escort RS1600. The Volkswagen Caddy is a perfect blend of everything Hot Wheels should be.

This piece was designed by Felix Holst, who came over to Hot Wheels from Mattel's Matchbox division. Holst played a big role in turning Matchbox around, ramping up the line's popularity and profitability with accurately designed castings featuring minimal deco and realistic proportions. The VW caddy does just that, but with an extra Hot Wheels kick. This is no stock MK1 pickup; it's something you'd see at a VW meet or in the pages of a modified VW magazine.

Now for some of the casting details. What makes this casting so special is not simply that it's the most well proportioned MK1 ride Hot Wheels has done, rather it is the little extra touches. The first thing you'll notice is the skateboard that's molded into the bed of the pickup. Then, there's the crossbar at the top of the pickup bed. The sun-roof has a built-in roll cage telling you this is no stock MK1 caddy while avoiding a tacky result. Painted headlights, taillights and VW logo are added touches. Then you get the air intake below the grille and the Euro style front bumper. We could keep going about the features Mattel has packed into this piece.

The body itself is rife with subtle detailing. The gas cap outline on the side, the word 'Volkswagen' embossed into the tailgate and the vented hood. Raised door handles. Perhaps the most obvious feature of this casting is the sculpted wheel wells that give it that custom, Hot Wheels look. We'll stop extolling the Volkswagen Caddy's virtues and let you enjoy the photography: One dollar die cast doesn't get any better than this!

Stay Tuned! TWDR will continue to review the latest in Diecast Collectables daily!

Friday, 22 May 2015

Flashback Friday: Hot Wheels The Hot Ones

Here at The Western Diecast Review we are eagerly awaiting the Hot Wheels Heritage line, set to hit stores in July of this year. That set will feature metal-on-metal castings on standard size card backs for the adult collector around the 3-4$ price point. Heritage cases will alternate between Real Riders and Redlines, with 6 cars per mix.

So many of the latest, greatest releases that we review here inspire us to dig up some old stuff from our storage bins. In order to bring you some of these past releases, we're making Fridays 'Flashback Friday' here at TWDR. 

Today we crack open some predecessors to the Heritage Series. The 'Hot Ones' series ran from 2011-2012 and featured metal bases/metal bodies, 80's themed paint schemes and plastic wheels that we hadn't seen since the blue card era. These were also around that 3-4$ price point. They were followed by the Flying Customs and Cool Classics Series.

We cracked open 2 of our favorites from the Hot Ones line to give them the full treatment they deserve: The VW Baja Beetle and the Meyers Manx. Go ahead, scroll on back…to 2012.

Volkswagen Baja Beetle 

The Baja Bugs of the 1960s and 70s were popular in California as dune buggies and desert racers. They were considered a cheaper alternative to the Meyers Manx, the other model we review in this post.

This casting is much beefier than the Manx in terms of ride height and width. It sits on meaty off road wheels. Hot Wheels hasn't used this wheel much as of late. It was traditionally featured on some of their trucks and Caterpillar models, but we have to say this wheel looks pretty darn cool on this Baja Bug. The purple paint scheme has a metallic flare to it that really makes this casting pop. It feels heavy in hand and has tons of extra tampo detail. 

Meyers Manx

The 1:1 version of this car was originally designed as a desert racer based on a shortened Volkswagen Beetle chassis. The Meyers Manx was produced in California, deriving its namesake from the tail-less cat known as the 'manx'. Going into production in 1965, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Meyers Manx.

The 1:64 scale Hot Ones release was one of Hot Wheels' best renderings of this casting. It has a sturdy, clear windshield, all-metal base and body and classic black-wall wheels. Next to the original Red Lines, most old-school Hot Wheels guys and gals will agree…these are the coolest Hot Wheels wheels out there. The Hot Ones edition gets finished off with an incredible paint scheme. Sure the orange hue is a little industrial but the intricate tampos take you right back to the 80's! Check it out.