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Toy State Test DriverWhat exactly are "Skidders," you ask? Part of the Road Rippers line from Toy State, the Skidders are electronic vehicles that have lights, sound, music and motion - all working together to get the rides rockin' down the road before coming to a dramatic, fish-tailing stop or "skid." In other words, they're a kid-magnet, and while the line has been out for a few years now, as a 2014 Toy State Test Driver, the girls and I have been able to take the latest model for a spin, right here at Rock Father HQ. New for summer 2014, the Mini Cooper Countryman WRC joins the Dodge Ram Power Wagon, Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang 5.0 in the Road Rippers Skidders fleet. Recommended for Ages 3+, check out Little Finn playing with hers...

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Toy State Test DriverIt's always interesting to see what kids will latch onto, and when it comes to HOT WHEELS, Addie has particular affection for a model known as the BONE SHAKER. I'm not entirely sure why that is, but I think it goes back to when we started reviewing Mega Bloks Hot Wheels sets here on the site a year or so ago. We did one set with Bone Shaker, and then did another - one in which we did our own custom rebuild to create a version of what's known as the "Baja Bone Shaker." At this point, whenever we come across a version of the car (the recent TEAM HOT WHEELS: THE ORIGIN OF AWESOME comes to mind), Addie is all over it... like when we were in Toys R Us a few months back and she just took it upon herself to drop a $39.99 Hot Wheels Engine Power R/C Baja Bone Shaker into our cart without asking. But Daddy happens to be a 2014 Toy State Test Driver, and guess who makes that one? Yep, Toy State in partnership with Mattel... so I told little Addie to hold off for a bit and see what THE ROCK FATHER could do. Fast-forward to June, and the beast had arrived here at Rock Father HQ among my latest items for testing. Rock and Roll!

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Toy State AmbassadorThe crew over at Toy State has been continuing their partnership with Mattel by rolling out a ton of new lights and sounds vehicles based on the iconic Hot Wheels brand. Hitting stores right now is the Hot Wheels Stunt FX line, an assortment of three vehicles, each with a small, ramped playset. Now, kids can crush a house with a monster truck, blast through a wall of ice, or in our case, leap through a gate to set off a chain reaction with the "Explosive Ramp" playset. As a Toy State "Test Driver," my kids and I often get to check out a sampling of the latest offerings, and this set was in our last batch. Let's take a look...

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I've always had a thing for licensed die-cast when they're done well, and the folks at Mattel are usually right there with some cool models based on hot trends. While MATCHBOX gets some on occasion (some BATMAN and DISNEY vehicles they've done come to mind), HOT WHEELS are always at the front of the pack. This week, a new assortment started hitting the streets as a Walmart Exclusive - The Hot Wheels Spider-Man Series - done in timing with the release of THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2.

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Toy State Test DriverAs Aerosmith once said, we're "Back in the Saddle" again when it comes to new rides from Toy State (I'm one of their "Test Drivers"). With Spring here, the new models are hitting the streets, and this month brings the first vehicles that Toy State has created in partnership with Mattel under the Hot Wheels brand. One of the most exciting lines to be featured is the "Extreme Action" collection, a subset of three unique Hot Wheels that have been given a larger size, and infused with light, sound, music, and motorized functions. Included in the first wave are SCORPEDO, the SHARK CRUISER, and the iconic STREET CREEPER. The latter just arrived here for review in our State-of-the-Art Toy Testing Facility (our house and neighborhood), and here's the lowdown...

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It's hard to believe, but it was over a year ago already that MEGA BLOKS announced a partnership with MATTEL to create a series of HOT WHEELS branded building sets (MATTEL recently announced that they've straight-up purchased MEGA Brands). They started rolling out to retailers last Fall, and in that initial wave, we received the first assortment of their Turbo Tubes Build & Collect Vehicles for review here in our State-of-the-Art Toy Testing Facility (our house). Those rides were an immediate hit, so we were pretty excited when a trio of new rides rolled up to Rock Father HQ a few weeks ago, part of the 2014 Spring assortment. Up for review this time: BAD TO THE BLADE (Team Blue), FAST FISH (Team Green), and a new Team Yellow version of TWINDUCTION.

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