For the past few years, Mattel has been doing some very creative things with their license to make Hot Wheels vehicles that are inspired or based upon the characters, locations and machinery of a galaxy far, far away. While their Starships line makes diecast scale models of the actual ships of Star Wars, their Carships and Character Cars bend the rules quite a bit. For us, the character cars have been the big hit - so popular that I eventually added a running checklist to this very website, a page that has become increasingly popular. Now, with the Force Friday II debut of merchandise centered around Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the Hot Wheels design team has cranked things up and raised the suspension for something new - Hot Wheels Star Wars All-Terrain Character Cars.
This past Spring, a new ride arrived here at Rock Father HQ for review - one that's already become known as "one of Europe's best-selling transit devices." The Space Scooter has been available in the U.S. now for a little while, and after having ours for a few months, and teasing it on my Instagram, it's time to throw down a few thoughts about this new spin on an old classic. Check out the video below for what the Space Scooter rides like, hands-on...
Way back on February 2, I was the first to give you an early look at the Step2 McLaren 570S - the first toy created under a new partnership between McLaren Automotive and The Step2 Company. Now that ride has a street date, and the revolutionary 570S Step2 Push Sports Car will be rolling out to in September as an Amazon Exclusive before arriving at global retailers and Step2.com later this fall.
The Hot Wheels Car & Track Play Table from The Step2 Company has been a favorite here at Rock Father HQ for awhile now, a staple of daily play that we've recommended to many friends and family members over the past year. So what did they do for a sequel? Created by Step2 under license from Mattel, the new Hot Wheels Road Rally Raceway is a new way to play Hot Wheels in a space-saving design, that features zig-zagging molded track, and the ability to connect additional orange track to the table to extend the racing fun. Check this out...
Do you hear the rumble? The folks at Spin Master just inked a "monster" deal with Feld Entertainment - one that will see them begin a 10-year partnership as the worldwide master toy partner for MONSTER JAM beginning in 2019. "This decade-long brand partnership with Spin Master will grow the Monster Jam toy line exponentially, engaging new and current fans, while reinforcing the Monster Jam franchise as one of the most exciting and fastest growing in all of motorsports," noted Kenneth Feld, CEO, Feld Entertainment. For longtime fans of Monster Jam, this news marks some big changes ahead.
Over the past year or so, I've noticed an uptick in the amount of simple toy vehicles being released - specifically ones that are character-based, or include a non-removable character behind the wheel. Geared toward the preschool crowd, there's some cool ones out there, and one of the newest players is Jazwares, who've served-up a new collection of miniature vehicles including Peppa Pig Mini Buggies, Chuggington Train Cars, Chuck & Friends (featuring a crossover with Marvel Comics) and Dinosaur Train. Sent to us for review here at Rock Father HQ, here's a look at some of what's in stores now...
Universal's Fast & Furious franchise roared back into theaters this year with THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS, the eighth feature film in the series. While there have been several different toy lines released based on the individual films, aside from the occasional Hot Wheels release, there hasn't been a really kid-focused collection of toys until now. Mattel's Fast & Furious collection includes several sub-lines of vehicles and playsets in different scales, one of which is the Stunt Stars assortment - 1:32-scale plastic vehicles, each paired with a small action figure and packed with special "stunt" features inspired by scenes from across the various films in the saga. Kids can now recreate their favorite Fast & Furious scenes, or create completely new adventures in small-scale.
When it comes to the rides of a galaxy far, far away, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more legendary vehicle than the ship that made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs. Indeed, the Millennium Falcon is the most famous example of the Corellian Engineering Company's YT-1300 Light Freighters - albeit a heavily-modified ship that managed to consistently defy the odds under Captain Han Solo and his Wookiee companion, Chewbacca, along with Lando Calrissian and most recently, Rey. To celebrate the legacy of this ship during the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars, the folks at Mattel have issued the Hot Wheels Collectors Millennium Falcon Special Edition - a highly detailed Metal/Metal fully-diecast version of the ship as it appeared in 2015's Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The latest addition to the "I wish they had this when I was a kid" department here at Rock Father HQ comes from Radio Flyer, who've just announced their Star Wars Luke Skywalker's Landspeeder Ride-on toy. Geared toward kids ages 4+, this two-seater hits a top speed of 5mph, and bears a weight limit of 130 lbs. Modeled after the iconic X-34 craft from 1977's Star Wars: A New Hope, this ride features an interactive dashboard with movie-accurate lights and sounds, and provides the perfect craft for chasing down your pesky run-away R2 unit. Just watch out for Sandpeople, though - the Jundland Wastes are not to be traveled lightly, and Tusken Raiders often travel single file to hide their numbers. See the Radio Flyer Landspeeder in action below!
This feature has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser, Shell. #PennzoilPerformance
When you think about racing, you might not automatically think of "street racing." Likewise, when you hear "street racing," the term probably conjures images of the Need for Speed or The Fast and The Furious - with groups of racers skirting the boundaries of law while pushing their souped-up rides to new limits. Off-screen, street racing is a very real thing, and there's a grassroots movement of racers that are on a quest to see just how far they can push their cars - but still have them be entirely street legal. So how does street racing relate to every day driving and running around with your kids? It's all about performance and what's under the hood. Check out the video below...
I'm a big fan of Greenlight Collectibles, particularly their Greenlight Hollywood Series (see my hands-on features here). They've been busy this summer, securing new licenses, and that means there's some new rides in the pipeline, including some that you wouldn't immediately think of - which makes these even more fun. After the recent announcement that they've teamed with Stephen J. Cannell Productions to produce diecast toys based on The Greatest American Hero, Hunter, Riptide and fan-favorite, The A-Team, today brings a double-dose of news involving new deals with Lionsgate and SONY Pictures Television.
This Cars 3 feature is brought to you in collaboration between The Rock Father and Disney•Pixar. Interviews edited for clarity.
"I have two daughters, and one day my daughters told me rather abruptly that certain things were for boys and certain things were for girls," recalls Cars 3 Director Brian Fee. "And if something was, quote 'for boys,' they automatically didn’t have an interest in it or didn’t feel like they could have an interest in it. That was a red flag and it just kind of killed me that society puts those kind of labels on things, and that they, at such a young age, were already feeling those labels." Sitting in on a press conference at Sonoma Raceway ahead of the release of Disney•Pixar's Cars 3, I couldn't help but flash back to something that I'd written on this very site back in 2011, and how much things have changed in just six years. It was then that I asked, "Is Cars 2 Forgetting that Little Girls Like Cars TOO?" In the years since, I've echoed that sentiment, as the father of two daughters myself. While it wasn't necessarily the film at the time, the merchandising of Cars 2 was aimed firmly at one segment of the audience. With Cars 3, Pixar crashes the gate on all levels, delivering a movie that's truly for everyone.