Kenner Posts

Wreck Royale Vehicles Are Smashing Good Fun

Ron Ruelle

Ron Ruelle hobbyDB

In 1970, Kenner’s SSP Smash-Up Derby toys crashed their way into the rec rooms of kids everywhere, inspiring good, wholesome vehicular violence (you remember the jingle, right?). Fifty years hence, there’s Wreck Royale from MGA Entertainment. This series of seven vehicles are designed for explosive impact and maximum chaos with multiple parts that fly off when crashing.

Loud, chaotic, fun! That’s the name of the game here, and these new cars deliver.

Wreck Royale crash

The aftermath of an explosive collision…

Wreck Royale consists of seven different cars designed for crashing, reassembling, and repeating. Luis Tanahara designed the look of the cars. If his name sounds familiar, he has worked for a number of toy companies, but diecast collectors might know him better for his wild custom small-scale creations.

wreck royale double trouble king crash

Double Trouble and King Cra$h are sold as a set.

None of these models represent a particular real-world car, but they all call on Tanahara’s expert familiarity with the tropes of car culture. There are a couple of muscle car-inspired rides, a pair of Euro and JDM tuners, a ‘30s hot rod sedan delivery, a vintage pickup truck, and a custom van. The graphics on each car further tell the story of those different automotive subcultures. Most of them even feature unique California-inspired license plates representing different eras of that state’s car culture.

Wreck Royale Big Boss Da Bomb

The Big Boss pickup takes on Da Bomb tuner.

Of the initial seven vehicles, only one body is used twice. And with different graphics and fly off parts, it takes you a while to notice. In fact, of over 30 parts, only a few of those molds are used more than once and decorated differently each time. Wreck Royale shows even further dedication to design effort with certain cars having unique rims or tires.

wreck royale packagingThe packaging is well done, too. Each car sits nose down as if it had just rammed into something, and the design elements on the labels fit the theme of each car.

While kids should love this kind of noisy fun, it should appeal to adult collectors as well. If you’re of a certain age, you had those original Kenner SSP Smash-Up Derby cars. The first set of those pre-dented racers was an instant smash hit. Kenner would go on to create 8 different body styles over the decade, including a pair of luxury cars that didn’t come pre-mangled and two European models.

Unlike the ripcord/gyro wheel propulsion of the SSP cars, Wreck Royale cars ar free-wheeling. Another difference is the new cars have interchangeable parts. Not only can you swap parts between cars, but any part can fit in any slot in the front, back, hood, roof, or sides. Between seven cars, 32 pieces, and six slots per car, the combinations are almost infinite.

But we’re really here for the action. And it lives up to the hype and then some. (Be sure to watch that video at quarter-speed or even slower again to really see those parts fly!)

Each Wreck Royale vehicle has a trigger in the front that sets off a violent expulsion of parts. At the same time, a trigger underneath the car launches or flips the whole thing into the air. The first time you see it in person, it’s startling. The parts don’t fly off as much as they explode. Reassembly is easy, once you learn the sequence of resetting the trigger and adding the parts. So with no tiny parts and a bit of education, these can be enjoyed by younger kids.

wreck royale ricky rodder

Ricky Rodder is a 1930’s sedan delivery with shark features.

Most cars are sold individually, retailing at a reasonable $10 or so apiece. The Big Boss and Double Trouble are sold as a pair, with each containing two more fly off parts than the single cars. (It’s also worth noting that the media kits for these toys came packaged in a brilliant semi truck shaped box, which should become a collectors’ item in its own right.)

Wreck Royale mixed up

There are unlimited ways to mix and match parts with Wrecky Royale.

The world of collecting can be funny sometimes. The toys we remember most fondly as kids are often the ones we played with the hardest. But as collectors, we look for pristine, well-preserved examples to display years later. Wreck Royale makes a case for ripping those boxes open and having a smashing good time.

Do you have these new cars or any vintage smash-up vehicles? Tell us about your memories with your destructive playtime!

Todd Coopee, Easy-Bake Oven Expert, Lights Up hobbyDB Advisory Council

todd coupee easy bake overn easy bake oven 1970sSometimes a light bulb goes off in your head, and you just have to chase an idea. For Todd Coopee, that light bulb was inside an Easy-Bake Oven.

Coopee, who lives in Ottawa Canada, is the world’s leading expert on collecting Easy-Bake Ovens, the light-bulb-powered kitchen appliances from Kenner. “We had one in the family when I was a child. It was from 1972, sunshine yellow with flower stickers,” he said. “As an adult, I ended up purchasing my first EBO on the web in 2007.” From there, he started on a quest to get one of every variant of the ovens.

The toy had receded to the back of his memories until he saw an exhibit at the National Toy Hall of Fame in Rochester, NY. If you don’t think there are enough different Easy-Bake Oven (EBO, to the insiders), you’re not the only one. “I wasn’t convinced there was enough material for an entire book, but the more I looked into the Easy-Bake Oven’s history, the more interesting it became,” Coopee said. “After some initial interviews with former employees of Kenner, I felt compelled to tell the story about how the Easy-Bake had become a pop culture icon.”

todd coupee light bulb bakingAccording to Coopee, there have been 11 different designs of the Easy-Bake Oven, plus variants in color and stickers. “Many of the models are simple cosmetic changes in color, sticker sets, etc., that occurred from year-to-year.” Anyone familiar with how we document collectibles on hobbyDB certainly understands the importance of such details.

There have also been changes to the engineering, utilizing different combinations of wattage to replicate a 350-degree oven. “The optimum wattage actually varied over the years,” he said.” At its initial release, the EBO was powered by two 100-watt light bulbs. Later models used two 60-watt light bulbs. A design change in the baking chamber in 1978 reduced the light bulb requirements to a single 100-watt bulb.”

While Kenner’s EBO dates back to 1963, the concept is even older. “Of course, it’s important to remember that working toy ovens were around for decades before the Easy-Bake Oven. Kenner just packaged and promoted the EBO in a way that made it appeal to a mass audience of consumers.”

As the Easy-Bake Oven grew in popularity, a slew of competing toy ovens also hit the market from companies like Argo Industries, Chieftain Products, Coleco, Peter-Austin, Topper Toys, and Tyco.

Of course, for Coopee it’s not all about baking at 100 watts. “I collect B-movies, mid-century modern memorabilia, and toys from the 60s & 70s, especially from Kenner Products. I’m drawn to toys that don’t have the ‘mass produced’ feeling you get from some of today’s toys.” To that end, he runs a website called Toy Tales, at toytales.ca. Articles are posted daily on a variety of toys, games, and other objects that were a big part of everyone’s childhood. His book is also available at lightbulbbaking.com.

toy timesSpeaking of books, Coopee is working on another book chronicling the entire history of Kenner Toys. The passion to research and write about a company that disappeared decades ago is the kind of thing that makes all our collecting community grateful to have him join the 70 other experts on the Advisory Council at hobbyDB. (It was Coopee who first reached out to hobbyDB for an interview with Christian Braun that got the whole ball rolling.)Kenner toys

His collection isn’t as big as it once was, however. “Initially, the main focus of my collection was to acquire all of the different Easy-Bake Ovens that were produced, so I could include them in my book. Since then, I’ve donated many of them to several different museums so they could be enjoyed by others.”

As for the best recipes, “Cakes and cookies are always the best places to start!” We’ll drink a tall, cold glass of milk to that!