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There have been a lot of sinister rides over the years. THE MUNSTERS had The Munster Coach and DRAG-U-LA (both of which were built under the George Barris Kustom Shop), Stephen King's CHRISTINE comes to mind, as does the star of the 1977 film, THE CAR (another from the Barris shop). Then there's some of the more cartoony, spook-centric vehicles like that car the GROOVIE GHOULIES cruised around in, The Mystery Machine from SCOOBY-DOO, and of course, the Ecto-1 from GHOSTBUSTERS (and it's animated counterpart, THE REAL GHOSTBUSTERS). And then there was the work of Ed "Big Daddy" Roth, who put creatures like his own "Rat Fink" into hot rods, and helped inspire a movement. That brings us to MONSTER 500, a Toys "R" Us exclusive line of vehicles and playsets that borrow a lot of inspiration from many of the above (especially Roth). Monster 500 races into my 31 Days of Halloween here on THE ROCK FATHER with a hands-on look at these wicked whips.

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I recently spent a year working with Toy State on a limited-time "Test Driver" initiative, and while that program has come to a close, I'm still happy to spread the word about some of their new offerings - many of which become some of the hottest rides in the toy aisles. Today a little bit of news hit the wires as a tease of what's to come from the company as they begin rolling out new vehicles under their ROAD RIPPERS and NIKKO brands - new logos for each. Personally, I'm really interested in where they take NIKKO as they recently acquired it, and my first-ever R/C car was a NIKKO Ferrari back in the 80s.

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I've really been getting into the art of "Toyography" lately - a love of toys and photography coming together for fun results. Many of my photos involve toy vehicles, and they're usually posted on Instagram and Facebook for immediate viewing. It's no secret that we have a big love of Mattel's Hot Wheels line here at Rock Father HQ, and one recent photo I snapped even snagged the attention of the Hot Wheels team themselves, getting reposted on all of their official social networks. Since people seem to enjoy viewing these just as much as I enjoy taking them, I think it's only proper to share them here on THE ROCK FATHER on occasion, and today I'm starting with this - The Hot Wheels Pop Culture Series Hanna-Barbera Scooby-Doo '70 Chevelle Delivery. This photo was taken this morning, with the full Mystery Inc. Gang present to stand guard...

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Toy State Test DriverThe crew over at Toy State have really been rolling out some sweet new rides of late - many of which have emerged due to their partnership with Mattel to create vehicles based on the iconic HOT WHEELS brand. As a 2014 Toy State Test Driver, I've been able to try out many of these with my girls, right here at Rock Father HQ - and this week there's sort of a "Baja" theme, as we just reviewed one Baja from their Engine Power line - and here we have the Team Hot Wheels Baja Truck from the Energy Can R/C collection

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Toy State Test DriverWhat exactly are "Skidders," you ask? Part of the Road Rippers line from Toy State, the Skidders are electronic vehicles that have lights, sound, music and motion - all working together to get the rides rockin' down the road before coming to a dramatic, fish-tailing stop or "skid." In other words, they're a kid-magnet, and while the line has been out for a few years now, as a 2014 Toy State Test Driver, the girls and I have been able to take the latest model for a spin, right here at Rock Father HQ. New for summer 2014, the Mini Cooper Countryman WRC joins the Dodge Ram Power Wagon, Chevrolet Camaro and Ford Mustang 5.0 in the Road Rippers Skidders fleet. Recommended for Ages 3+, check out Little Finn playing with hers...

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Toy State Test DriverIt's always interesting to see what kids will latch onto, and when it comes to HOT WHEELS, Addie has particular affection for a model known as the BONE SHAKER. I'm not entirely sure why that is, but I think it goes back to when we started reviewing Mega Bloks Hot Wheels sets here on the site a year or so ago. We did one set with Bone Shaker, and then did another - one in which we did our own custom rebuild to create a version of what's known as the "Baja Bone Shaker." At this point, whenever we come across a version of the car (the recent TEAM HOT WHEELS: THE ORIGIN OF AWESOME comes to mind), Addie is all over it... like when we were in Toys R Us a few months back and she just took it upon herself to drop a $39.99 Hot Wheels Engine Power R/C Baja Bone Shaker into our cart without asking. But Daddy happens to be a 2014 Toy State Test Driver, and guess who makes that one? Yep, Toy State in partnership with Mattel... so I told little Addie to hold off for a bit and see what THE ROCK FATHER could do. Fast-forward to June, and the beast had arrived here at Rock Father HQ among my latest items for testing. Rock and Roll!

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