Wednesday, November 12 2014 10:23

Rides: Hands-on with Mattel's STAR WARS HOT WHEELS Tusken Raider & 501st Clone Trooper

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Hot Wheels logoOver the past few weeks, some vehicles inspired by a galaxy far, far away have been landing in the diecast aisles of retailers everywhere, with Walmart and Target being particularly infested by Imperial and Rebel forces. The first-ever partnership between Mattel and STAR WARS has given birth to the HOT WHEELS STAR WARS Collection, one component of which is the new line of "character cars" - vehicles that could be considered as being from an alternate reality - custom rides that take their design cues from the characters that generations have come to know and love. While the first wave has been out for a bit (and I will cover in-depth shortly), the two newest cars to hit the pegs come from the "B" assortment - the TUSKEN RAIDER and 501st CLONE TROOPER. Both of these vehicles have rolled into Rock Father HQ this past week, so let's take a look...

501st Clone Trooper:

"This elite Clone Trooper vehicle was created with a sole purpose - to defend the Republic in hood-to-hood combat!

The vehicle's body and windshield replicate a Trooper's helmet, protecting the interior as it races into battle with the 501st Legion. Its headlights serve as induction filters to pump air through its blazing engine.

You'll find the Republic's iconic symbol on the vehicle's spare tire cover, demonstrating its pledge to protect the Republic from any foe on four wheels!"

Hot Wheels Star Wars 501st Clone Trooper

Tusken Raider:

"This rugged yet agile dune buggy can overcome even the most challenging desert terrain with the ferocity of a Tusken Raider.

The vehicle body is protected from sand dunes by the Tusken Raider's signature robes, while its hood and headlights are shaped like the fearsome mask and goggles that this nomad uses to navigate through the wastelands of Tatooine.

Multiple exhaust pipes mimic the Tusken Raider's head spikes, blowing enough steam into the air to intimidate any massive machine!"

Hot Wheels Star Wars Tusken Raider

The HOT WHEELS STAR WARS cars ship assorted, so you'll have to keep your eyes out for them in-stores. Right now, Walmart and Target seem to be the hot spots, while Toys "R" Us and Kmart (if you can even find one) have also been reported to have them in-stock. Target even has an exclusive five-pack of vehicles that comes with one that you can't find anywhere else - a Battle Damaged Stormtrooper.

While Mattel has done HOT WHEELS character cars in the past (TOY STORY, SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS, MIGHT MORPHIN POWER RANGERS), the STAR WARS series is the first to capture my personal interest since it combines two of my favorite things. While on the surface the concept might seem to be a stretch, these could totally work as real-life customs - and they have, which was proven earlier this year when the HOT WHEELS Darth Vader car was made into a full-size 1:1 scale vehicle that made it's debut at SDCC.  See the commercial for that Dark Side ride below, and look for coverage of more HOT WHEELS, more STAR WARS, and more HOT WHEELS STAR WARS right here on THE ROCK FATHER...

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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