Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Chin Up Kid? The Brand New Renault Sport RS 01 from Hot Wheels

There's an old joke where one mechanic asks another why Renaults have heated rear-windows, to which the second mechanic responds "so you can keep your hands warm while pushing it." The only thing being pushed with the new RS 01 is the envelope. This car is astonishingly stunning in 1:1 scale with a carbon fiber body and Nissan GT-R engine. So technically it's JDM. Scalpers take note. Buying the full sized version of this 500-HP beast will allow you to race in the Renault Sport Trophy series and will set you back a cool 400k.

Luckily for us, Mattel's Hot Wheels version will only set us back a few cents. The detail is impressive for a sub-1$ piece. Racing style windshield decos, 'Renault' embossed into the rear spoiler, tampos on the sides of the spoiler, and, did I mention the rims? The rims on this car haven't been particularly popular with collectors, myself included, but I knew eventually a car would be perfectly suited to them. The Renault Sport RS 01 is that car.

 Hot Wheels hasn't released many Renaults and French cars are not the first things we think of here in North America, but any car or diecast enthusiast can appreciate this stunner. Now get searching those 2016 'H' cases for this beauty!

Oh and I forgot to mention...Hot Wheels seems to have done away with the dreaded up-sloped chin of the Corvette C7R among others. The recently released Renault RS and the BMW M3 GT2 tell the tale!

I'll be showcasing the rest of the new BMW set in the upcoming days...until then, Happy Hunting!!

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

M2 Machines Nails It: The 1965 Ford Falcon Club Wagon

I've never liked M2 Machines. There. I said it. Let the outrage begin. While I've always appreciated the exceptional detail of the models and the unique approach, the production quality of the models never quite felt up to standard. Also models covered in flames and chrome has never been my thing. That being said I've always thought they were a great company and their appeal among collectors confirms this. Different strokes for different folks...that whole thing.

But wait, M2 just released a model that  changes my perception of the brand entirely: The 1965 Ford Falcon Club Wagon. Basically a passenger version of Ford's iconic Econoline brand that was given the 'Falcon' moniker to boost sales. Ford designed this van to compete with the likes of the Chevy Greenbriar Wagon, The Volkswagen T1 and Dodge A100/D100. First generation Econolines could be had in an array of setups: panel work vans, pickup trucks and passenger vans. The Falcon was basically a precursor to the minivans of today.

This model stands out to me because it combines all I appreciate in an excellent piece of diecast: realistic, era-specific paint colors, no tampos beyond factory touches, headlight/grille/bumper details, diecast body and chassis, detailed interior and rims and tires that are in true 1:64 scale. This is clean diecast in its truest form. One of the M2 designers on Instagram even showed how the interior was designed with arm rests true to the original.

So, yes, this is a great piece of diecast but it is more than just accuracy and detail. 1965 Econolines are just dang cool cars. Sure everyone loves VW vans, thousands of diecast examples from a variety of brands pay tribute to that, but with old American vans making a comeback something as rad as the 1965 Falcon Club Wagon is a welcome casting to say the least. 

PS the front bumper fell off when I took it out of the display, affirming my quality issue with M2. Hopefully this is not a trend. I still love the model. 

 Still a few quality issues...

Happy Hunting!!

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Pick it Up: Hot Wheels is Ratcheting up their Pickup Truck Game

In my last post I wrote about how JDM is the biggest craze in Hot Wheels. But there's another, equally cool trend taking the Hot Wheels world by storm: the good old pickup truck. Why are pickups so cool? Aside from the fact that they're powerful, versatile and fun to drive, pickups symbolize a do-it-yourself, salt-of-the earth, hard-working ethos. Lately Hot Wheels has been bringing us a wide sampling of pickup trucks from the United States, Europe and Japan. From your punk neighbor's lowered VW Caddy with a skateboard in the back to gramps'  bone stock old brown '78 Ford, Hot Wheels has covered the gamut.

There have always been pickup trucks in the Hot Wheels lineup. Think about the classic redline-era Baja Bruiser or Hi-Tail Hauler. Then around 2006-07 Hot Wheels started doing crazy things with pickups like lifting them and slapping huge off-road real riders on them a-la the RLC Texas Drive 'Em or slamming them right down to the ground as they did with the HWC Series 8 Real Riders '83 Silverado.

The HWC Texas Drive 'Em and Lowered '83 Silverado remain two of the most sought-after pieces ever offered by the club. Since then we've seen the off road style pickup trend continue with the Dodge Macho Power Wagon, Chevy Silverado, '87 Toyota and many others. The off-road style trucks are rad and everyone knows it, but what Hot Wheels has done recently with the smaller pickup truck styles is pretty neat. The Chevy Luv, Datsun 620 and VW Caddy are almost all the exact same size but are totally different trucks. The Datsun 620 marks the intersection of the pickup and JDM crazes. The brown multipack Datsun 620 was matched by a '78 Ford Pickup with the same deco in the Trucks set a few weeks later. I love when Hot Wheels connects cars by a common theme that are in totally unrelated series.

These photos present a few different trucks recently released by Hot Wheels, but hopefully they're not entirely unrelated and the pictures connect the dots...enjoy!

Happy Hunting!

Thursday, 4 February 2016

First Crack: New Hot Wheels Japan Historics on the Loose!

Wow. Where do I start. The brand new Japan Historics cars from the Hot Wheels Car Culture line are the most anticipated thing in diecast right now. And that's an understatement. Nothing I write here can make these cars any more collectible, sought after or appealing than they already are. Hot Wheels has really nailed it on this line. This set is so dead on I'm blogging about toy cars for the first time in nearly 8 months. I

The Japan Historics case marks the apex of what many have termed the 'JDM Craze' that has swept the diecast world since the 2013 release of the Boulevard Datsun Bluebird Wagon. Or was it before then? Who knows, I just know that hype oozes from nearly everything deemed JDM. Look no further than the HWC BRE Datsun Bluebird 510 fetching astronomical prices on eBay--with out-of-favor neo-classics wheels no less! IJDM seemed to reach a fever pitch in the Hot Wheels world with the 2014 Super Treasure Hunt Bluebird 510 Wagon. People were willingly shelling out mass amounts of coin for a mass produced $1 toy.

Fast forward to 2016 and behold the Japan Historics. For maybe the first time ever Hot Wheels has delivered a case of diecast in which nothing resembling a peg warmer exists. Sure Boulevard and Heritage delivered some fantastic case codes, but with this case of Japan Historics, every single release is an ace! I am loathed to pick a favorite. Mine has probably changed 5 times since I purchased the case yesterday. Enough talk, pick a favorite from these photos. I betcha can't. 

 Happy Hunting!