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The first in a series of features from The Rock Father™ celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Hot Wheels.

Since the launch of Mattel's Hot Wheels back in 1968, there have been hundreds (perhaps thousands) of playsets released, each providing an environment for generations of children to enjoy countless hours of high-octane imaginative play. At the center of that, the ever-updated range of garages has always been the pinnacle (we love our Ultimate Garage), but those were seldom portable - which is where the Sto & Go collection came in. Launched in 1979, the Hot Wheels Sto & Go Playsets perfectly reflected their name, packing big fun into a set that could quickly be flipped into a briefcase form that's ready to go wherever the family might be headed. Perhaps the most famous of the sets is the one that I had - the Hot Wheels Sto & Go Service Center, but there were several others, including the Sto & Go City, Construction Site, Car Wash & Service Station and lesser-known versions like the "Trucks & Trains" Railroad Freight Yard, Alpine Mountain Adventure military-themed "Action Command" Sto & Go Base. The line ran into the 90s before going dormant for a bit, but in 2016 it returned as part of the Hot Wheels Retro Style Series. Available exclusively at Target, the modern Hot Wheels Sto & Go Playset is not a direct copy of any of the vintage sets, but rather inspired by the best features of what came before it - largely pulling from the Service Center and City Sets. Check out the music video below to see this set in-action!

As announced back in April, the iconic Hess Toy Truck will be hitting the road once more, and for 2018 the lineup is expanded. In addition to the traditional holiday Hess Toy Truck, there's also some kind of ultra-limited anniversary vehicle arriving this fall, and the Minis will be back again with their second 3-pack hitting the streets on June 1. For the Mini collection, two of the three have been revealed - the first on April 30 (an original tanker), while the curtain dropped on the second one for Mother's Day - a new fire truck. Take a look at the first two reveals below, then ponder what the third high-octane vehicle will be!

Automoblox have been around for nearly 15 years (the original idea goes back to the early 90s), but it wasn't until PlayMonster picked them up a couple of years back that they really started picking up steam. Touted as "A Real Car Brand For Kids," these rides are a modern reinvention of the classic wooden car - but with some stellar upgrades and construction that's built to last. The precision design of each vehicle is broken into sections that become mix-and-match pieces (with hidden connectors), allowing kids to enjoy them right out of the box - or to use their imagination to create fresh new vehicles. You can swap bodies, wheels, tires, windows and more, and the vehicles have some real weight to them. While the original Automoblox are fantastic, I think the Mini range is the stand-out element of the whole collection.

Spring unofficially marks the start of cleaning season as people across the country will tidy up their nests and celebrate the incoming warm weather. Though it’s late, it appears that spring has finally arrived in the Midwest, so we need to be sure that our vehicles are prepared to adjust to the changing weather and conditions.

I've been out in Los Angeles for the past few days, working with The Walt Disney Company on a few things, but most importantly to attend the World Premiere of Marvel Studios' Avengers: Infinity War (film reviewed here). Today, however, I had an unexpected detour - a brief meeting with the folks at Disney Consumer Products & Interactive, specifically to check out the latest offerings from Marvel and Lucasfilm ahead of Avengers and Solo: A Star Wars Story. While many of the items have been seen before, there's some additional product in the pipeline, and I'm pleased to reveal a couple of new cars from Mattel's Hot Wheels Star Wars Character Cars Collection. I've been writing about that line for four years (see my checklist here), and with Solo there's new offerings, including Qi'Ra and the Imperial Range Trooper. These were photographed with permission in a private showroom this morning...

The promotional activities for Lucasfilm's Solo: A Star Wars Story is now in full-effect, and that means quite a few new posters. I've enjoyed the western vibe of the U.S. posters, but now there's one out of the UK that is hands-down my absolute favorite. It's vibrant and I did it - plus Lando's bright yellow outfit really pops (see it below). Speaking of Calrissian, if you're like me, you've probably always enjoyed the idea of wearing a short cape like he does. Now, thanks to ThinkGeek (an affiliate of this site), you can have your own Lando Cape, and this slice of intergalactic fashion will only set you back around $70. Now, perhaps you want something a little less flashy - something more subdued that flips the switch between smuggler and scoundrel. In that case, you can pick up a Han Solo jacket very similar to the one worn by Alden Ehrenreich in the new film. Check 'em out...

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