2018 continues to be a unique and challenging year for those in the business of play. While sales are up and there's no shortage of places to buy and sell toys, the rapid collapse of Toys "R" Us in the United States and other countries continues to cause collateral damage. While major players like Mattel have taken a beating, it was always expected that some smaller toymakers would suffer catastrophic damage. Today's casualty is Toy State, a Hong Kong-based company with a long history of making some fantastic toy vehicles, including their Road Rippers brand and the iconic Nikko RC line, but also toys with a ton of top licenses and strategic partners like CAT, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Barbie & Hot Wheels, DC Comics, MARVEL, WWE, Thomas and Friends and more. In fact, they just announced a partnership with 20th Century Fox to become the master toy licensee for the animated film Spies in Disguise, which hits theaters next April.
Back when Barbie first started "moving in" here at Rock Father HQ a few years back, one of the first vehicles we bought the girls for their dolls was a "remote controlled" Barbie Corvette. For whatever reason, that car, along with nearly every RC car we've ever found made specifically for dolls has been what's known as "simple RC" - they go forward, but they only turn in reverse. Now comes what I believe is the first-ever full-function RC to be an official Barbie product. Created by Toy State under license from Mattel, the Barbie Cruisin' Convertible Corvette is available exclusively at Toys 'R' Us this holiday season, and is a featured pick in my 2016 Holiday Wish Guide!
When it comes to R/C vehicles, Nikko's been in the game for a long time... since 1958, landing on kids' wish lists (including my own) for decades. One of their newest offerings to come since becoming a unit of Toy State is the "Elite Trucks"line, and with their all-new Ford F-150 SVT Raptor hitting the streets for the holidays, we were excited to receive one for review here in the Toy Testing Facility at Rock Father HQ.
I've written much about Toy State on this site over the years, but today's story is a little bit different - a chance to shine a little light on some really great things that they're doing... pledging support to helping children with mobility issues. This past week, Toy State, along with Tommy Baldwin Racing, hosted their 4th GoBabyGo! workshop of the last 12 months, and the second in the Charlotte area. The workshop took place in Mooresville, NC at the Tommy Baldwin Racing shop. Toy State provided ten area children with a ride-on car that was outfitted to model the No.7 Nikko RC/Toy State car driven by Regan Smith on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit. Smith along with fellow NASCAR drivers Kasey Kahne, Michael McDowell and Ryan Preece were in attendance along with other members of the NASCAR community. Toy State is currently in the middle of a 14-race partnership with TBR as the primary sponsor of the No. 7 car. Check out some photos and details on the program below...
When it comes to toy cars and trucks with motorized lights and sounds, the folks at Toy State lead the pack, hands-down. While they've got several different lines to play with, their house-brand Road Rippers are usually the showcase for the more unique or off-the-wall functions - officially-licensed replicas with some interesting surprises packed under the hood, so to speak. One nameplate that's received the Road Rippers treatment on more than a few occasions is the Mini Cooper S., and one of the latest models to rock the road comes from the Road Rippers Dancing Car assortment.
The very first radio controlled car I ever owned was a 1986 NIKKO R/C Ferrari Testarossa. I wanted that car so bad, I remember asking Santa for it after seeing it in the Sears Wish Book. I'm sure my parents would've never expected that 29 years later, I'd still be playing with NIKKO R/C vehicles - much less be writing about them. Yet here we are, and I'm excited to bring you my hands-on report on one of the latest members of the NIKKO fleet - the first vehicle produced under the recent licensing partnership between WWE and NIKKO parent, TOY STATE. The WWE Rolling Ring is a 1:16-scale 27MHz tri-band truck (allowing for three players) with a top speed of 6.2 mph, and a range of 82 feet. Available with graphic schemes based on WWE Superstars Sheamus, The Rock and John Cena - we received the latter for review in THE ROCK FATHER's State-of-the-Art Toy Testing Facility (our house), and this time we did something different: We strapped a GoPro to it!