Wednesday, 30 November 2016

When Art and Diecast Meet...

The Hot Wheels Pop Culture line gets a lot of flack from collectors (myself included) for the busy, gaudy and unrealistic decos Mattel uses on the delivery vans cum billboards that serve as the Pop Culture line's bread and butter. Spock's face plastered across the side of an otherwise beautiful piece of diecast? Sadly, that's the kind of thing that's led many to conclude Pop Culture has run its course. A Dairy Delivery with tasteful Hershey's chocolate livery is kind of cool, but a Dairy Delivery with Spongebob Squarepants on it simply isn't cool.

I groaned inwardly when I saw the Hot Wheels Convention sneak peeks had slated a Star Wars Pop Culture mix. A few castings I collect to completion are part of the series and I thought they'd end up being reluctant purchases with miserable decos. Thankfully, that's not the case. Not only did Mattel choose great castings for this series, they decided to feature the marvelous artwork of the late Ralph McQuarrie.

Without McQuarrie, the canonical Star Wars films may have remained nothing more than a pipe dream. George Lucas brought his Star Wars scripts to McQuarrie, who went to work illustrating them. McQuarrie's illustrations of scenes from the script convinced 20th Century Fox to finance what would become the legendary Star Wars film series.

I'm not a Star Wars fanatic by any means, but the McQuarrie artwork on the packaging and the vehicles in the latest Pop Culture mixes are classic. There's a cool, nostalgic, sci-fi feel to the mix. Since I try to stick to the adage 'buy what you like', I only bought 3 of the 6 releases from the set. The whole set is fantastic, but I love these 3 castings in particular.

The A100 is always a fan favorite and with gold rims, it's no exception here. However, the Ford Transit Supervan, in its 3rd iteration, is the gem of the bunch. The 5-spoke rims are still the nicest Mattel rims and the whitewalls are a nice touch. The artwork completes the package. As with all vehicles in the set, the artwork is different on both sides, so it's worth cracking them open, however tough it may be to ruin the beautiful card art. The Ford Bronco is a winner also, but I could do without the blue lines on the tire sidewalls.

Ultimately, this Star Wars mix is what Pop Culture should be. A fusion of artistic brilliance and diecast brilliance instead of blank canvas for Elmer Fudd or Spongebob's pink friend Patrick. Which are your favorites? Enjoy the photos!

Happy Collecting!!

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