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Sunday, September 29 2013 12:30

Review: MEGA BLOKS Hot Wheels Rip-Cord Racers

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Continuing our series looking at the full line of MEGA Bloks Hot Wheels - all of which recently arrived here for review in The Rock Father's State-of-the-Art Toy Testing Facility (our neighborhood) - today comes a look at their Rip-cord Racers. Rip-cord toys seem to be making a comeback, and they certainly bring to mind a few toys that I had as a kid back in the 80s. Oddly enough, I can't remember exactly what those toys were... but I can't forget pulling the rip-cords.

Over the past month or so, Addie and I have been spending a lot of time combining two of her favorite activities: Building things, and playing with cars. The folks at MEGA BLOKS sent us (in multiple shipments) their entire line of MEGA BLOKS Hot Wheels, a new collection of building sets created in partnership with Mattel. Yes, The Rock Father's State-of-the-Art Toy Testing Facility has been busy in recent weeks, and today we're looking at another "test facility": The MEGA BLOKS Hot Wheels Super Stunt Test Facility. Let's get to work...

Toy State Test DriverWhen the crew at Toy State welcomed us into their Family of Test Drivers back in July, we were excited. Having already been a fan of Toy State's growing line of licensed vehicles, the prospect of checking out a fleet of new ones and issuing detailed thoughts was right up our alley. Recently, our assortment of Fall vehicles arrived for testing here in The Rock Father's State-of-the-Art Toy Testing Facility (in this case, the dining room), and the first one to strike Addie's interest was the CAT Construct Dough Deluxe Excavator. Let's take a look... 

When it was announced earlier this year that MEGA Brands had entered into a partnership with Mattel for some Hot Wheels-branded building sets, the Rock Father Radar immediately lit-up with some new rides planted firmly upon it. Now, just in time for Fall, the new line of MEGA BLOKS Hot Wheels is hitting stores, and within the assortment is the SUPER BLITZEN MONSTER TRUCK Set. The folks at MEGA Bloks had one delivered to Rock Father HQ for evaluation in our State-of-the-Art Toy Testing Facility (our house), and this is how it fared... 

When Disney•Pixar released CARS in 2006, I had no idea that I'd one day be a parent... much less be The Rock Father. Fast-forward seven years, and I'm not only raising two octane-obsessed daughters, but CARS has become a permanent part of the pop culture landscape. Now, with the recent release of the animated spin-off, Disney PLANES, the girls and I have started to create our own adventures high above the World of Cars, recently expanding our toy collection with some new characters from Mattel's extensive line of CARS and PLANES vehicles. The area in and around Rock Father HQ is a big world to explore... and a fun one where the girls and I discovered Propwash Junction and staged our own Wings Across the World race.

Bachmann TrainsWhether you want to hear it or not, the Holiday Season is fast-approaching, and that's something I'm dealing with daily as I'm already assembling some seasonal coverage to appear on The Rock Father in the months ahead. Toy Trains have long been a classic staple of the Season, and this year, the folks at Bachmann Trains have teamed with Menards to offer an Exclusive Mountain Master HO Scale Ready-to-Run Train Set geared toward collectors and steam engine railfans. They hit The Rock Father with full details, all of which can be viewed below.

Earlier this summer, I was supposed to take the family out for a week in a 2013 KIA Soul. For some reason that didn't happen, and it might be due to the fact that the 2014 KIA Soul is almost here. During the MTV VMAs the other night, a new commercial made it's debut that features the newly-enhanced vehicle getting redesigned while the KIA Hamsters engage in an 80s-style personal makeover... all set to the new LADY GAGA single, "Applause" (from her forthcoming album, ARTPOP). I've got that new commercial for you right here on The Rock Father, so pay attention: KIA and I are giving YOU a chance to score a $25 iTunes Gift Card!

Tuesday, August 27 2013 23:03

Review: MEGA BLOKS First Builders - Firetruck Finn

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Little Finley is just 14-months-old as of this writing, and like her big sister, she's already displaying a serious affection for all-things wheeled. I officially have two little ones that love their cars and trucks, and as such, both girls were pretty excited when the folks from MEGA BLOKS sent over Firetruck Finn, a new addition to their First Builders line.  Aimed at ages 1-5, Firetruck Finn is a sizable, durable fire truck, that comes complete with fourteen building blocks and a Block Buddies Firefighter. How did it fare in The Rock Father's State-of-the-Art Toy Testing Facility (our house and neighborhood)? Let's find out...

Now this is cool. I've featured some other wooden cars here on The Rock Father in the past, but MO-TO: Modern Vintage Toy Cars by Candylab Toys are really appealing for a lot of reasons. Currently running as a Kickstarter* to launch the line into production, MO-TO are heirloom-quality wood toys "inspired by mid-century American design and car culture."  Created by Vlad and Florin, collectively known as Candylab, MO-TO is ready to begin production following a couple of years worth of design, safety testing, and packaging. Check out their full story and pitch video below...

Marauders Motor ClubEach summer, Chicago's Marauders Motor Club throws the Barnyard Boogie - "A Motor and Music event to raise money and awareness for the fight against Juvenile Diabetes." It's a day of octane-fueled fun, filled with pre-1975 rides, live rockabilly music, vendors, food, camping, a bonfire, and more. Held in Monee, Illinois (where I spent a large part of my youth), the whole event has been taking place on a property known to many as "The Barnyard Boogie Grounds." To me, it's my Uncle Larry's House, as the Marauders Motor Club is run by my cousin, Loren. For a time in the mid-1990s, he and I spent many nights jamming in that Barn as part of a short-lived band called Epileptic Caesar. Now, our kids dance in front of it during the Barnyard Boogie, though it's been said that this is the last year it will be held at Uncle Larry's place, as it may move for 2014. With Monee over 100 miles from Rock Father HQ, getting there means a road trip, and this year it's been fueled by my friends at Contigo.

This is a mean-looking ride. From Toy State's DUB Garage Collection (created with the crew from DUB Magazine) comes the BEAT MAKERZ Dub Edition l331 Muscle Car. One of these free-wheeling toy cars recently arrived for testing in in The Rock Father's State-of-the-Art Toy Testing Facility (our house, yard, sidewalk), and now it's time to share some thoughts on it.  

"I buried him. I buried the little boy, Daddy. Now his truck has to come rescue him." That's what my daughter, Addie said to me last week as she played with her GEAR HEADS ADVENTURE Desert Digger in the sandbox here at Rock Father HQ. The "little boy" she was mentioning was actually the very Playmobil-esque action figure that comes with this set, a sort of archaeologist that drives a machine outfitted for expeditions in harsh terrain. Sent by Toy State to undergo a series of performance tests in The Rock Father's State-of-the-Art Toy Testing Facility (our house, yard, sandbox), this is our first encounter with the GEAR HEADS line.

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