Hot Wheels Posts

Every Collector Benefits as hobbyDB Database Expands into New Territory

Ron Ruelle

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

A couple weeks ago, we told you about hobbyDB’s endeavor to add every collectible shot glass from Hard Rock Cafe to the hobbyDB database. In their typical fashion, Hard Rock has created thousands of different designs, including each location, year, and event when possible. Combined with their pins and other collectibles, the hobbyDB database has surpassed 80,000 different Hard Rock collectibles.

hobbydb expansionMany long-time users discovered hobbyDB when diecast vehicles were far and away our biggest subject, and Hot Wheels dominated those listings. In fact, a quick check of our database shows close to 50,000 items when “Hot Wheels” is punched into the search bar which is a lot!

But we’ve come a long way in the last five years. Now with more than 500,000 items and subjects in the database, we’re working to add all sorts of different collectibles. Here’s a quick look at how we got here.

hobbydb sloganFirst, a reminder of hobbyDB’s mission… our slogan, found at the bottom of the main page is “Over 100 Billion Collectibles… Eventually.” And that includes every kind of documentable collectible under the sun. The very first items in the database years ago were from a collection of James Bond Corgi cars. Sprinkled in with those were some View Master reels, corkscrews, and chess sets.

We then moved to diecast cars, particularly Hot Wheels, and quickly became an authoritative source for information on those. Why? Because hobbyDB grew from a diecast website, and our founders have always had a keen interest in diecast, and that brand had the best and most complete data available at the time.  We integrated data from Diecastlovers, Gary’s Cars, Model Pack Rat and South Texas Diecast.

hobbyDB has and will always be a user-driven site. We count on collectors to see where there are holes and add their own items to fill in the blanks. And we have a data team that does the same thing, keeping track of the current offerings as they come out.

dysentery pac man x box commodore 16After working to build out our giant Hot Wheels database, it was time to add video games! So, we partnered with the owner of Hugada (the HUgh GAme DAtabase), to import the result of his long years of adding video games that included fan favorites such as Assassin’s Creed, Final Fantasy and The Legend of Zelda.

Another way we expand is by partnering with companies who see the value in having their entire inventory documented not just on their own site, but alongside other seemingly unrelated topics. Kidrobot, conveniently located in Colorado, also home of hobbyDB Headquarters, was one of our first big partners. Their online archives were incomplete and randomly documented enough that some of their history was in danger of being lost over time. So they partnered with us to form one of our first Official Archives. These archives (and there are a lot of them now) are the result of a collectible company providing the data to us so we can provide that data an organized home.

We’ve also partnered with Funko to add not only their complete archive, but up to date pricing information on their vinyl art toys, old and new to their App.

The benefits of Official Archives are many… the data is accurate and complete because it comes directly from the horse’s mouth. And it’s going to stay up-to-date, as the companies can easily provide listings of new and upcoming products as they are announced. And one of the best parts is any entry can be cross-referenced with other collectibles in the database.

July 4 hard rock cafe

The Hard Rock Cafe items came about another way, though. In this case, we found a community of dedicated collectors of their pins (Pin Masters) who were looking for a new home. So they decided to locate it all on hobbyDB in a standard format with easy search functions and cross-referencing. The result is over 80,000 pins and other collectibles.

Over the past year, we’ve worked hard to add more pop culture brands as well. These include Dark Horse Deluxe, Diamond Select Toys, Garbage Pail Kids (in cooperation with Geepeekay.com), Hot Toys, Eaglemoss, Kotobukiya, Mego, NECA and more!

We are now adding model boats, Lego minifigs, film posters and much, much more! If you have some collectibles that you’d like to add to the database, join us! Find out more about how to become a Contributor here.

 

Interested in joining forces with hobbyDB to take charge of our collectible destiny? Learn more at our Wefunder profile.

8 Real-Life Customs That Became Hot Wheels Vehicles

Ron Ruelle

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

If you had a chance to see the Hot Wheels Legends Tour this summer, it was an amazing gathering of customs, hot rods, stock cars, whatever’s cool in car culture. Each stop on the tour featured lots of local cars, but there were also several amazing customs that made it to every location.

In addition to being a good-time festival, it was also a competition among some very serious customizers. The grand prize included the winning car being miniaturized by Mattel and turned into an actual 1/64 scale Hot Wheels diecast car.

hot wheels legends the nashFor 2019, the winner is The Nash, a slightly modified Nash Metropolitan by Greg Salzillo and Dave Ford. By slightly modified, we mean the original 40 hp engine was replaced with a Small Block Chevy 305, cranking out 300 horses. It also has unique headers coming out of the fenders, dice shaped coves on the velocity stacks, old school stock steel wheels, and original bias-ply tires that stick way outside the fenders.

This isn’t the first time Hot Wheels has commemorated brilliant real-life customs like this, of course. Here are some others.

hot wheels beatnikEd Roth’s Beatnik Bandit – Most collectors know that some of the early fantasy designs for Hot Wheels were based on actual custom show cars. One of the very first and most famous was the Beatnik Bandit by Ed “Big Daddy” Roth. Some of his other designs would be miniaturized later, but the Bandit is the pioneer.

hot wheels paddy wagonTom Daniel’s Paddy Wagon – Another legendary customizer/hot rodder of the 1950s and ’60s, Daniel created many wicked hot rods that were turned into model kits. And some of them would also make it to 1/64, such as the Paddy Wagon, one of the “just outside the Original 16” offerings.

hot wheels fleetsideHarry Bradley’s Custom Fleetside – Many of the customs have been turned into Hot Wheels cars over the years, belonged to Mattel employees. One of the Original 16 cars, the Custom Fleetside was based on a custom El Camino owned by designer Harry Bradley. In fact, this car inspired the mild custom look that was shared by many of the Original 16 and beyond.hot wheels larry woodLarry Wood’s Ford COE Truck – Wood joined Hot Wheels one year after their debut, but he may as well have been. Among the hundreds of designs he has contributed, his actual custom ’38 Ford Cab Over Engine Truck has been replicated in 1/64 for the Hot Wheels premium line.

hot wheels vetuskeyBrandon Vetuskey’s Custom Firebird – More recently, Brandon Vetuskey has been one of the lead designers at Hot Wheels, turning out all sorts of new classics. His real custom ’67 Pontiac Firebird became 1/64 legend a couple years ago.

hot wheels zarnockMike Zarnock’s Altered Roadster – Zarnock is not a Hot Wheels employee, but he may as well be. He is one of the prominent historians of the brand and also a part-time drag racer. Mattel decided his pedigree and design skills should be honored with a 1/64 model of his red dragster.hot wheels 2jetz Luis Rodriguez’s 2JetZ – This is the second year of the Legends Tour competition. For 2018, a completely different kind of car was the winner. Luis Rodriguez’s 2JetZ custom car, a completely scratch-built jet fighter/salt flat racer-inspired ride, was the winner. That car should be on the pegs any day now as well.

The exact release date of The Nash has yet to be determined. “We’re extremely overwhelmed, proud and excited over what Dave and I created with The Nash,” says Salzillo. “I can’t wait to see my kids’ faces when they see their dad’s car turned into a real Hot Wheels toy.” Best of all, these cars will be part of the mainline collection, so they will be affordable and available to most collectors.

Expect to see The Nash in stores sometime as part of the 2020 series.

 

Join us and learn more about the hobbyDB mission and vision at our Wefunder Profile.

There are 201 variations of the Hot Wheels Dairy Delivery – how do I find mine?

Some collectibles – like Hot Wheels cars – can have hundreds of variants (sometimes known as variations). Let’s look at the Dairy Delivery for example.

This happens because not only do manufacturers make lots of different versions of an item to get mileage out of the tooling, they can also make small changes during production runs so some items that appear to be the same at a glance are actually different! On hobbyDB, that can lead to epic confusion as tiny differences are difficult to see at a glance and there can be dozens of items listed which look to be exactly the same. This can happen for a variety of reasons including different baseplate countries, different cards, and wheel variations.  See for example these 5 known variations of the First Edition Dairy Delivery  –

But we’ve been working hard on a solution! What we’re planning to do is introduce a new concept – sub-variants! Where items are obviously intended by the maker to be different – for example, if one is blue and one is green, we’ll be calling those variants, just like we always have. But if both look exactly the same save for one small difference, for example, if both are white with purple and aquamarine stripes but one is made in Malaysia and the other in China, those will now be considered sub-variants (so the five variations above will all be sub-variants). Now, you’ll be able to see easily which variant looks like the item you have – and then drill down easily into the sub-variants (if there are any) to determine exactly which one you’ve got!

The sub-variant group would have a main image that identifies the full package like in this example.  But the sub-variant photo that shows when opening the group could now be focused on what makes this particular sub-variant different from the others, say the last one of them, the “USA Blue Car Card / Malaysia Baseplate” could show a combination of the card and the baseplate, making it really easy to spot the difference  –

 

As this problem currently exists not just for Hot Wheels, but also for Funko Shared Exclusives, Hard Rock Cafe pins with different back patterns and many other collectibles this should make it much easier to identify what you have and what you still miss!

Tomica Diecast Returns to North America

tomica UOS 2019Tomica packagingAfter a long absence from the U.S. and Canadian market, Japanese diecast giant Tomica is coming back. An initial wave of 6 models recently started showing up at Walmart stores, followed soon by half a dozen more.

Tomica has been in the diecast business since the early 1970s, and are the biggest brand in Japan as well as many other countries. Since the U.S. market was originally a big part of their plans, their offerings have included a lot of American marques and models. The relaunch includes specifically modern Japanese cars and trucks.

tomica opening features

Most Tomica cars feature opening doors, hoods, or hatches.

Tomica is generally known for well-detailed, realistic models of actual cars, as opposed to unlicensed fantasy designs or extreme customs and hot rods. Their cars are around 1/64, but are usually scaled to take advantage of existing wheel sizes. So they might range from 1/50 to almost 1/100 for something like the 1970s Winnebago camper. Tomica cars are marked on the packaging and on the baseplate with the exact scale. Despite the scale differences, Tomica’s well-proportioned, sensible vehicles have been popular as scenery on model railroads.

Tomica gtr

From Wave 1: Nissan GT-R, Subaru BRZ, Suzuki Swift.

The first wave of cars to hit the pegs at Walmart include a Nissan GT-R, Subaru BRZ, Suzuki Swift Sport, Mazda CX-5, and Toyota Prius. The second wave includes a Mitsubishi Outlander, Toyota C-HR, Lexus RC-FNissan Note, and Subaru Impreza. These should be familiar to U.S. buyers as they most of them are offered in 1/1 scale.

tomica cx5

Wave 1: Mazda CX-5, Toyota Prius.

The new release also includes a pair of Japanese trucks: in wave one, a Isuzu with a payload of giant french fries, and in wave two, a Hino with a family of pandas sitting on the back. So they do get whimsical sometimes. (Other fun past offerings have also included vehicles similar to the Hot Wheels Character Cars, based on such Nippon legends as Godzilla.)

tomica panda truck

These trucks are part of Tomica’s 2019 return to North America.

Their cars also feature premium features like working suspension and opening doors long after those features have disappeared with other brands. There are usually lots of painted details such as lights, trim, and even elaborate grille badges and nameplates. The packaging has a very international feel with lots of Japanese text, and inside the blister is a box reminiscent of the designs the cars have traditionally come in over the years.

Wave 2: Mitsubishi Outlander, Toyta C-HR, and Lexus RC-F.

The cars are set to retail for around $5 slotting them in between Hot Wheels premium lines and Johnny Lightning’s latest offerings. The initial dozen will be followed by more of their other current castings as Tomica celebrates their 50th anniversary in 2020.

Tomica subaru

Wave 2: Nissan Note, Subaru Impreza.

What’s your favorite Tomica diecast? Let us know in the comments!

19 Food Mascots Who Want You to Join Them for Dinner, Snacks or Dessert

Ron Ruelle

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

Last week we looked back at some of our favorite cereal spokes characters from big bowlers like Cap’n Crunch to the soggy, forgotten ones like Quake. But there are more meals to the day than just breakfast, so let’s take a look at other Food Mascots from healthy veggies to fast food.

Back when Funko started in the late ’90s, their Wacky Wobblers were heavy on retro, even forgotten, food spokes characters. It was a fun dose of nostalgia, with some deep dives into long retired mascots who still could provide a smile to those who remembered.

big boy toysmcconalds bobblheads

Big Boy was the very first Wobbler, and he has since been immortalized with other figures. During the restaurant’s heyday, vinyl figures and banks representing Big Boy were widely distributed. Bonus fact: It’s fun to guess where someone is from by whether they identify him as Bob’s, Shoney’s, Frisch’s, Azar’s and so on.

Many other restaurants have mascots, but most are on the fast side of the food spectrum. McDonald’s began rolling out friends for Ronald McDonald in the late ’60s. If you’re someone who finds clowns terrifying, you should the original Hamburglar. Also Grimace used to be Evil and had extra arms. The entire cast of characters exploded to enormous size by the 1980s, and has been scaled way back since.

kfc halloween maskIt’s hard to conceive now, but at one time Col. Harlan Sanders was an actual person, not a character played by an ever rotating cast of comedic actors (and also recently by another spokes character, Chester Cheetah!). Burger King used to be a real person, too, possibly a deposed ruler of a far away country, but more likely an actor. Either way, the rubber headed king of the last decade or so has been repping the restaurant and possibly scaring kids since.

kool-aid manwyler's funny faceThe Kool-Aid Man started off as a face drawn in the sweat on the outside of a pitcher of ice cold powdered beverage (didn’t we all?). Eventually, he grew appendages and then an affinity for smashing through walls. Many figures and toys and replica pitchers have honored him over the years, but the best was the early ’80s Kool-Aid Man video game cartridge! Fun fact: Bugs Bunny drank the Kool-aid briefly, too! In the mid ’60s, Wyler’s tried their hand at the powdered juice game with Funny Face. Each flavor had its own distinct character, although they may have tried too hard. While some of them are available in collectible form, several were based on, umm, questionable stereotypes that have not aged well.

poppin fresh familyMany of you know the Pillsbury Dough Boy has a name: Poppin’ Fresh. But did you know he had a family of dough people? Joining him in the 1970s were a wife (or maybe girlfriend, they never specified… Poppie Fresh), a son (Popper), a baby daughter (Bun-Bun), and pets named Flapjack and Biscuit. There are also some older folks, presumably someone’s parents, as well as good ol’ Uncle Rollie. The main family and pets were available as figures and finger puppets for several years.

hostess spokes character toysIf you prefer your baked goods already well, baked… Twinkie the Kid was your guy. Why he dresses as a cowboy is anyone’s guess. There is also a chocolate version of the Twinkie the Kid, also named the same name. Less enduring, but worthy of the Funko treatment were King Ding Dong and Fruit Pie the Magician. Spider-Man and other heroes got in on the Hostess gig for a while as well.

j k simmoms m&mThe kings and queens of the anthropomorphic snack world have to the the M&Ms characters. Starting with just a few different colors, they have added on to the crew increasing diversity, and even an occasional cannibalism joke (well, what do you call it when one candy eats another of itself?) Fun fact: Actor J. K. Simmons has been the voice of the yellow M&M for over 20 years. No, seriously!

jolly green giant toyscalifornia raisins video gameSpokes characters aren’t always trying to lead consumers astray… the Jolly Green Giant seems genuinely interested in selling you healthy vegetables. And of course he had a sidekick… apparently despite the family resemblance, young Sprout was an “apprentice.” Theoretically, the California Raisins were doing the same service, but honestly, they sold a lot of merchandise and stimulated an interest in Motown hits more than they did for shriveled grapes.

noid toyOf course, we need to address perhaps the most annoying, reviled, and despised restaurant mascot of all time… The Noid. Even in the pre-Twitter rage era of the early 1990s, the reaction to this mascot for Domino’s Pizza was swift and unified in revulsion. He was meant to represent the bad, incompetency of “other” pizza chains, but the stink stuck to Domino’s nonetheless. So of course, Funko has honored the Noid with a Pop! figure. The Garbage Pail Kids also did a more fitting tribute.

Of course, many non-food companies have memorable (and sometimes forgotten) spokes characters… we’ll look at those soon, too.

Who’s your favorite food spokes character? Let us know, and if there are relevant toys and collectibles add them to our database.