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.
Blame Canada. At least in this instance, the title of the Oscar-winning 1999 song from the South Park motion picture might ring true, if only for those individuals that happen to have been a part of the angry social mob that just attacked Spokane-based RESCUE! Pest Control over the past couple of days. This angry, misguided gang of idiots also decided it was worth attacking yours truly based upon a 2014 review that I'd written about the TrapStik Non-Toxic Wasp Trap, followed by some social posts over the past few years - most recently, this past May. Part of my mission is to guide families toward products that work, and when it comes to controlling the Wasp population, there is nothing that I've found that works as well as the TrapStik - and it does so without pesticides of any kind. Now, they're being voluntarily pulled from the market pending a redesign, and that's a decision I don't agree with. The reason for the fiasco? The occasional unintended creature (bird or bug) may get stuck on the TrapStik. Personally, that's a risk I'm willing to take.
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!