In the year or so since MEGA BLOKS began issuing building sets based on licenses from fellow toymaker, MATTEL, we've seen a lot of great sets that have been centered around those brands, namely, HOT WHEELS and BARBIE. The building category is massive right now, and with kids of all ages spending more and more time assembling these sets, it's always interesting to see where they'll go next. One of the first Spring 2014 sets to emerge pre-Toy Fair combines two of my oldest daughter's greatest loves - dolls and vehicles. The MEGA BLOKS Barbie Build 'N Play Luxe Camper arrived at Rock Father HQ for review, and since it has wheels, it rolls into Rock Father Rides for an early look at this new set. Oddly, this build introduced me to a term that I wasn't familiar with: "Glamping."
If my math is correct, next year will mark the 30th Anniversary of BARBIE AND THE ROCKERS, a line of fashion dolls released by Mattel in 1985 as a direct response to Hasbro's JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS. "Who came first?" has always been something of debate and folklore over the years, but the general story is that when Mattel found out that Jem was on the way, all of a sudden, Barbie had a band. Growing up in the 1980s, we had both bands in our house, but I tend to remember The Rockers having the better toys at the time (though JEM had the awesome show). I, playing as "Derek," spent a lot of time jammin' out with my sister as we enjoyed her "Hot Rockin' Stage" playset. Turns out, my wife and her sister had one, too. Long-gone like most of our now-prized childhood possessions, something interesting happened last month... when my oldest daughter found a brand-new Hot Rockin' Stage awaiting her under the Christmas tree. BARBIE AND THE ROCKERS hadn't just resurfaced in 2013, but were awaiting a "rebirth" of sorts right here at Rock Father HQ for 2014.
This February, some "Monster" action is headed for Chicagoland when Feld Motorsports brings MONSTER JAM to the Allstate Arena in Rosemont. These roaring, 10,000 pound Monster Trucks will be featured in multiple shows from February 7-9, and as a member of U.S. Family Guide and the Feld Family Ambassador program, I'm able to share with you a discount code worth 30% off tickets! Check out the full details below...
In our casual collecting of HOT WHEELS here at Rock Father HQ, we sort of have two ways that we go with it. The girls (Addie, in particular) like whatever they like... I mean, they're kids, so you never know what's gonna strike their fancy. I, on the other hand, like "star cars" - the toys based on vehicles from pop culture, movies, tv shows, etc. There's all different levels of this, from the $1 "mainline" cars to the $5 "Retro Entertainment" series that I dig, and beyond that there's some really expensive versions that are bigger, more detailed, and frankly, not for me. I want stuff that the girls and I can play with, and $1-$5 I can dig. While the world of real-life rides is stirring with announcements set to come from the forthcoming auto shows in Detroit and Chicago, this week, news surfaced out of Mattel that a new vehicle is on the way for the kids... Introducing, THE HOMER!
It was sort of surreal, but on a Friday night back in July, I stood inside American Girl Place on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, sipping champagne with other grownups, sans our children. It was a baby shower of sorts to celebrate the relaunch of American Girl's Bitty Baby line (I've blogged about it before), and the one thing I kept thinking the whole night was "I wish that Addie was here with me right now." Bitty Baby arrived here at Rock Father HQ for Addie's birthday in August, and ever since has been a regular companion. Just last week, we took Addie and her little sister to American Girl Place for the very first time.
Over the past few weeks, we've looked at the entire line of MEGA BLOKS Hot Wheels here on The Rock Father. When the folks at MEGA Brands started sending them to us for review here in The Rock Father's State-of-the-Art Toy Testing Facility (our home and neighborhood), we were excited, but not sure what the experience would be. What we've discovered is that these creations born of a partnership between MEGA and Mattel are a lot of fun... and we've saved the best for last. The MEGA BLOKS Hot Wheels Urban Agent Stunt Rig is not the biggest, nor the most expensive set in the collection, but it's the one that scored the highest marks here at Rock Father HQ.