Thursday, 18 August 2016
A Ryu Asada Gem: The Hot Wheels Fiat 500!
It was easy to look past the Ryu Asada-designed Fiat 500 when it was released in 2014 and focus on Ryu's just-released and brilliant '90 Honda Civic EF. But the Hot Wheels Fiat 500 is nothing to sneeze at either and deserves a place among Asada's best castings.
Remember the 'Hot-Hatch' craze in the '80's, when Golf GTI's, Honda CR-X's and Chevy Chevette's were cool? The Fiat 500 is a modern hot-hatch. It's got that 'cool' factor the Smart Car, Nissan Cube and other tiny cars lack. Ryu perfectly translates that 'cool-factor' into 1/64 scale with this Fiat 500. It's tiny and to scale unlike other small car Hot Wheels that turn out too big. Think of the classic VW Bug Casting.
Along with accurate scaling, the Hot Wheels Fiat 500 molds all of the proper door and bumper lines right into the casting while using tampo work to achieve other necesseties like emblems, grilles, taillights and headlights. Even with a premium release in the Euro Style Line, the 2014 First Editions releases stand as the best-to-date.
The 2014 Fiat debut in metallic dark red is undeniably beautiful. With no side or roof tampos, and just the front and rear necessaries, I must say it's Matchbox-esque. The re-color in white was no different. 2015 saw the Fiat 500 get caught up in the whole pseudo-treasure hunt debacle. Mattel 'accidentally' printed a circle-flame logo, normally reserved for Treasure Hunts, onto the card back. While not a Treasure Hunt, that pesky little logo enticed people to scoop up Fiats in droves. Logo or not, it was another Fiat worth picking up. The livery wasn't my favorite, but a police car decoration nicely complemented the First Editions.
2016 saw the first premium release of the Fiat 500 in the Hot Wheels Car Culture line's Euro Style mix. For the first time, the casting sees an all metal base and real rider tires. A clean deco nodding to the Italian flag complements the casting. All seems well with the Euro Style Fiat until you notice the painful absence of any front or rear tampos, leaving the model without headlights, emblems, taillights and a front grille. I still bought one, but Mattel could've done a better job decorating Ryu's gem for the Car Culture line.
Enjoy the Photos!