The folks from Ridemakerz sent us the 1:48 Scale S.W.A.T. TEAM set, which currently retails for $19.99 at Toys "R" Us. This set contains two customizable vehicles, with a STREET PATROL Police Car and COMMANDER truck included. Right away, we noticed that this was some sort of variant, as the box and pictures available online show the Street Patrol car as being black and white. Ours is blue and white. While the cars and accessories are packaged attractively, the box is actually far bigger than it needs to be, with much empty/wasted space. In fact, it's actually about twice the size it should be.
Cracking into things, we discovered that the rubber tires are "wet" on the backs, with some sort of lubrication apparently placed between the tires and the interior bubble. I cleaned each tire off before letting the little one handle them. Why the tires would be lubed is curious, though I assume it might be for ease of inserting the rims/hubcaps. In less than ten minutes, both cars were assembled and ready to roll.
Kid Reaction: Addie loves the cars and was quick to take possession of them. They roll great on our laminate flooring, and the spring-loaded suspension is a fun touch. You can have the car ride normal, "jacked" (rear end higher), or completely in raised, off-road style. Sadly, within ten minutes of moderate play, the suspension on the back of the COMMANDER truck had already lost a metal pin that serves as part of it's hinging mechanism. This didn't render the truck useless, but it still shouldn't happen. A few days into owning this set, and both cars are fitting in well with the collection.
Rock Father Reaction: The plastic that Ridemakerz used to make their XTREME CUSTOMZ is really cheap. In fact, when I showed it to my wife, I likened it to the kind of generic cars you'd find at a dollar store... a rack toy. The mix-and-match playability of the cars is a neat concept, but one I don't think will be used much once the cars are put together. In terms of design, these reminded me a little bit of the STOMPERS that I used to have in the 80s, but not as fun.
Bottom Line: At $19.99, this set is vastly overpriced. I might value it at $9.99, but even that seems high-end for what you're getting here. In fact, the MSRP of a blister-carded single car is $9.99, and I feel they'd be worth about half that. Ridemakerz does make some other, higher-end customizable cars (some radio-controlled), and while I can't comment on their quality, the XTREME CUSTOMZ line is certainly lacking.
The Rock Father Rating: 2/5 Stars
FTC Disclosure: A product sample of XTREME CUSTOMZ was provided to The Rock Father for the purpose of review consideration. All opinions are that of James Zahn with input and feedback from his children.