Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Every Once in Awhile a Hot Wheels Mainline Seems More Valuable than $1...

You know the Hot Wheels mainlines I'm talking about. The ones you pick up every time you walk past them in your man-cave. Or the one you take a 2nd look at before stashing it in a Rubbermaid bin. Worse yet, when you see it in the stores it's nearly impossible to leave behind, even though you have 5 at home already. You're at the pegs desperately wracking your brain for a possible nephew you might give your 6th VW Caddy or Datsun Bluebird Wagon to.

With Mattel putting out nearly 400 basic $1 models a year including re-colors and zamacs, it's hard to keep track. Yet every year there seems to be 5 or so models that stick out like a sore thumb. They're so well cast, so well detailed and perfectly decorated that the $1 price point boggles your mind. I find myself asking how such a work of art is only $1? Of course I'm aware of all of the plasticky Micky-Mouse models that feel like 50 cents would be too much to ask, but I can't help but marvel at some of the absolute gems Mattel has included in the mainline over the years.

I've picked out a few such gems from the past 4 years (2013-16) that have me stopping and staring. I don't know if it's the extra tampo work, perfect decoration or spot-on casting choices, but at $1 these Hot Wheels are a good kind of head-scratcher...

 Happy Collecting!!

Tuesday, 30 August 2016

The Strange World of Hot Wheels 'Regular' Treasure Hunts...

How do you feel about Hot Wheels Regular Treasure Hunts? How's that for a loaded question? I have mixed feelings about them, but ultimately the program makes sense. I quit collecting back in 2007 when Hot Wheels first introduced the super/regular Treasure Hunt dichotomy for reasons that had nothing to do with Treasure Hunts. When I came back to collecting in late 2013, the first thing I started looking for were Treasure Hunts.

Greenlight, M2 and Majorette hadn't yet penetrated the Canadian market, so it was either Hot Wheels or Matchbox. I still didn't get the whole Matchbox thing then and was ignorant about Boulevard/Retro/Pop Culture lines. So I started looking for Treasure Hunts. I quickly figured out that Regular Treasure Hunts were just basic mainline cars with a 'circle-flame' logo printed on the vehicle. Since Supers were so hard to come by for me at the time, I decided to make a go of finding Regular Treasure Hunts.

They were pretty easy to find and I was having a ton of fun. Half way through the year I decided to see if I could find 100 Regular T-Hunts in a year. Come New Years Eve, I had 95. (I lived in a town with 1 Wal Mart) Then came the not-so fun realization that I had nearly 100 worthless cars and some definitely weren't very cool. Others, like the El Camino, LaFasta and Mazda RX-7 were worth buying regardless of that little flame logo. On the other hand, models like the Night Burner and Fangster had me wondering what I'd done.

I ended up getting rid of my extras. I'd found 14/15 of the 2014 Treasure Hunts. Only the Subaru eluded me. I also learned an invaluable lesson: LEAVE THE REGULARS BEHIND. My new rule is I buy only 1 of each Regular Treasure Hunt. If it's unusually nice, I allow myself a 2nd to crack open. Of course I believe you should BUY WHAT YOU WANT. So if you want to buy 12 Regulars, I couldn't care less.

Ultimately, Regular Treasure Hunts are FUN for beginning hunters like I was in 2014. I had a blast with Regulars back then and finding them was a thrill. They're great for kids too, provided the kid actually realizes what they've got. I've taken opportunities to teach kids what they are at the pegs.

What about the models themselves? Most are duds. I believe Mattel does this somewhat intentionally to ensure peg-warmers become hot sellers. Other times, they throw us collectors a bone. Look at the recent Corvette, or 2014's El Camino next to 2015's Tread Air. You'll see what I mean...

Happy Collecting!!