As a 33 year old, I have to make excuses for visiting the toy aisle. These days I have two. The first is Star Wars. The second is Tomica’s Mazda CX-5. Unfortunately, it seems like my local Wal-Mart will never stock what I consider to be the best looking crossover yet. But they did have some unexpected consolation prizes that provided the catalyst for some major nostalgia and a reorganization of the cars I keep on my desk.
If you haven’t been down the toy car aisle at your local retailer lately, here’s a helpful guide to what it probably looks like: about 60 percent devoted to Mattel products (which includes Hot Wheels and Matchbox) with the remaining space belonging to the smaller diecast automakers.
It seems Mattel is increasingly gobbling up various IPs these days. They introduced Star Wars vehicles under the Hot Wheels banner shortly after The Force Awakens premiered in late 2015. And before that they produced a decent number of Star Trek ships. Today it seems they’ve branched out to video games, as made evident by the multitude of Mario Kart products strewn about the aisle. Nothing wrong with that of course. It’s probably a pretty smart move.
The sprawling Hot Wheels empire also somewhat recently expanded into more questionable vehicles as of late, in addition to the more rational stuff. I would have really liked to be a fly on the wall in the board room when these things were being dreamed up.
Anyway, the balance between unconventional and rational seems to have coalesced into various Hot Wheels vehicles being remade into showcases for The Beatles entire discography. As someone who titled my earlier work using songs from The Beatles and their post-breakup solo stuff, I am in full support of what Mattel is doing here.
This latest batch is part of an ongoing project to have one vehicle per album. I really wished I had known about these sooner, because now I’m probably going to have to pay inflated prices for the stuff that went out of production. First world problems!
At $5 new, (before the collectors get their hands on them anyway) these are far more expensive than the standard $1 models. That being said, there are probably enough Beatles fans out there to make this endeavor worthwhile. I mean, come on. Just look at that T1 clad in Abbey Road livery. That’s a must have.
To be clear, I wasn’t actually planning to buy either of these until it dawned on me that the Revolver was a dead ringer for one of my most prized possessions.
According to the Hot Wheels wiki, this series arrived in 1977 as the “Letter Getter” but was renamed “Combat Medic” in 1986. This particular model was part of the Mainline Workhorses series and it premiered in 1989. Dad says it was hard to find. Anyway, the wiki also says that the casting was based off the Grumman Olson Kurbmaster, which makes sense. That’s what dad drove until Hostess met its demise in 2012. Although my post about that subject misnamed it Kabmaster. Oh well.
Anyway, what does a $5 Combat Medic get you in 2020 as opposed to a $1 variant in 1989? Much more metal. The base and the front end are metal and the turn signals are painted.
The bumper is also metal. The Beatles variant retains the grooved roof but it’s painted black and might be two separate pieces. Even the rear doors are similar, although the newer model resisted having its door opened and I didn’t want to force them, so they’ll remain closed.
With a metal base and rubber wheels, the newer model felt much more solid during its “road test.” Although the Wonder Bread model wins out due to the sentimental value. Both have 1976 stamped underneath, which is presumably the year the lineup was copyrighted.
As for the other Beatles inspired vehicle, it also feels pretty substantial. In fact, it feels just as heavy as the 1:43 scale Ford Fusion I’ve got.
Like its other Beatles counterparts, this “Deco Delivery” variant is just the latest version of a casting that’s been around for some time. Although this series is a bit newer, having been established in 2009 to pay tribute to the Divco delivery vehicles.
The bottom line is that The Beatles make everything better, including Hot Wheels.
I also broke out another prized Hot Wheels that I associate with dad. This Golf GTI is a bit different than the white four door GL he had when I was little, but obviously it’s close enough.
Since I busted out the case with all my favorite die cast cars, I used the opportunity to swap out my Ford centric desk mates for some more diverse metal from my childhood.
Much better I think. Anyway, once I acquire the entire Beatles vehicular discography and a certain Mazda CX-5, I’ll no doubt switch things up again and post about it!