2018 continues to be a unique and challenging year for those in the business of play. While sales are up and there's no shortage of places to buy and sell toys, the rapid collapse of Toys "R" Us in the United States and other countries continues to cause collateral damage. While major players like Mattel have taken a beating, it was always expected that some smaller toymakers would suffer catastrophic damage. Today's casualty is Toy State, a Hong Kong-based company with a long history of making some fantastic toy vehicles, including their Road Rippers brand and the iconic Nikko RC line, but also toys with a ton of top licenses and strategic partners like CAT, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Barbie & Hot Wheels, DC Comics, MARVEL, WWE, Thomas and Friends and more. In fact, they just announced a partnership with 20th Century Fox to become the master toy licensee for the animated film Spies in Disguise, which hits theaters next April.
When it comes to toy cars and trucks with motorized lights and sounds, the folks at Toy State lead the pack, hands-down. While they've got several different lines to play with, their house-brand Road Rippers are usually the showcase for the more unique or off-the-wall functions - officially-licensed replicas with some interesting surprises packed under the hood, so to speak. One nameplate that's received the Road Rippers treatment on more than a few occasions is the Mini Cooper S., and one of the latest models to rock the road comes from the Road Rippers Dancing Car assortment.
Right now, we have two Ford F-150 SVT Raptors in our garage. They're both toys, of course, the first being the Step2 ride-on we got last Fall, and now something a little bit smaller - the Road Rippers Piston Thumper Ford F-150 SVT Raptor by Toy State. This is the latest addition to a growing fleet of vehicles from Toy State that we've either purchased or received over the past few years, and this one is a new spin on their lights/sounds/motorized offerings. As the name would indicate, there's some genuine "piston thumping" going on. Check out the "In-Action" Video below, featuring THE ROCK DAUGHTERS (Adalyn and Finley) giving the truck a test drive...
I recently spent a year working with Toy State on a limited-time "Test Driver" initiative, and while that program has come to a close, I'm still happy to spread the word about some of their new offerings - many of which become some of the hottest rides in the toy aisles. Today a little bit of news hit the wires as a tease of what's to come from the company as they begin rolling out new vehicles under their ROAD RIPPERS and NIKKO brands - new logos for each. Personally, I'm really interested in where they take NIKKO as they recently acquired it, and my first-ever R/C car was a NIKKO Ferrari back in the 80s.
From Toy State comes the Road Rippers Lightning Blast Collection, a selection of free-wheeling vehicles that pack lights and sound into a small package. With a suggested retail of $6.99, that makes the Lightning Blast a great Stocking Stuffer and a quick addition to my 2013 Holiday Gift Guide here on The Rock Father.
Just in-time for the Holiday Season, my friends at Toy State hit us with a fresh batch of new rides to put to the test right here at Rock Father HQ. Among the new offerings to capture the interest of my car-obsessed little ones was one of the all-new Road Rippers Street Beatz vehicles. With lights, sound, music, and motorized action, the girls have been racing this new ride around the family room, having to opt out of our traditional "road test" on the sidewalk... since there's already snow on the ground.