Toy Review: Hot Wheels’ Retro Entertainment Series – Back to the Future vehicles
Since its introduction a few years ago, Hot Wheels’ Retro Entertainment Series has turned itself into a one-stop shop for 1:64 scale diecast vehicles, associated with some of history’s most famous film and television vehicles. We’ve gotten all sorts of vehicles, including those from Knight Rider, Ghostbusters, Magnum P.I., The A-Team, Smokey and the Bandit, and many more.
When the line was originally announced, there was one film series eagerly on my mind: Back to the Future. Let’s face it: along with fascinating many of us with tales of disrupting the Space-Time Continuum, there were also plenty of modern-day, future, and vintage vehicles on display in the films. Over the last few years, the line-up has included the following vehicles, that all appeared in the 1985 film that started it all.
“Check out that 4×4…THAT, is hot!”
Like many teenagers, Marty McFly dreamed of having a sweet ride of his own. Of course, even I as a 6-year-old watching the film, could see the allure of the Toyota 4×4 being driven around Hill Valley’s Courthouse Square. If there was one thing my young mind liked besides flashy sports cars, it was big trucks (it was the era of Monster Trucks and Bigfoot, after all).
Though the truck was not a prominent player in the film, it definitely became part of the vehicle “lore” of the film. Two differentToyota Hilux model trucks were used over the course of the trilogy. The one Marty sees in the first film, is significantly different than the one we see in Parts 2 & 3. By the looks of the toy, Mattel tried to hit a happy medium.
At first, I thought this was a brand-new molding, but is actually based on a previously-done one not associated with the film. Design-wise, the molding doesn’t include the front grill/bumper-guard like the vehicle seen on the film. They also made the tires over-sized on the vehicle. As you can see from the main picture, they’re only slightly larger than average vehicle tires. The design also deviates from the real vehicle in the film, in that the truck is missing a front grill bar, and the toy does not include the extended cab window behind the driver and passenger doors.
For the die-hard Back to the Future fans, the license plate shows the markings from the first film. In the sequels, the plate information was changed.
Obtaining this vehicle was a pretty difficult feat in itself, as I never once saw it at a local store, and secondary market prices have pushed it to starting bids above $15. Luckily, i found one for sale in damaged packaging, which suited me just fine, as I intended to display it.
“This is the big one, the one I’ve been waiting for all my life!”
To many, Back to the Future was our first introduction to the DeLorean DMC-12…though with some added accoutrements to send Doc Brown’s creation through the space-time continuum.
The mold for this vehicle has been used in some of the regular main-line iterations of the DeLorean time Machine, but this one sports some additional paint details, and a less shiny metal body.
The paint applications on this vehicle are minimal, mainly relying on colors of black, light blue, and yellow. It is also nice to see the rear exhaust ports given a metal sheen (some iterations have often confused their coloration to just be flat-black).
Throughout almost all iterations of the DeLorean, they often give the vehicle the same-sized wheels, rather than than larger rear tires, and smaller front ones. Given the different-sized wheels on some releases, it’s sad they didn’t go this direction with the Time Machine.
It’s been several release waves since this vehicle has come out, and it has entered into some high secondary market prices, along with other Retro Entertainment vehicles like Ecto-1, and The (1966) Batmobile.
“Marty, he’s in a 46′ Ford, we’re in the DeLorean, he’d rip through us like we were tinfoil!”
In 1955 Hill Valley, CA, Biff Tannen and his gang could often be found tooling around town in Biff’s shiny black ride. Of course, Marty McFly ended up making the dimwitted bully a laughing stock, when he ended several of his chases, by rear-ending a manure truck.
This release is the only official release of Biff’s Ford, and also includes the same plate numbers, and red interior as the one on-screen. Much like the Toyota Hilux, Mattel chose to mess around with the vehicle’s wheels, giving it larger rear wheels.
Biff’s car was one that many of us definitely didn’t expect to ever be made…but made it they did, with the most amazing accessory that noone asked for: a plastic pile of manure that one could remove from the vehicle!
The mold is not new, but a re-use of one created for the Ford vehicle, from the film, The Karate Kid. It also may have been used as the Ford vehicle from the Grease. Given the moldings being similar, the plastic manure pile could also be “dumped” into these vehicles as well.
Overall, Mattel’s Back to the Future offerings are good, but they didn’t put me over-the-moon like some of their other releases, like those for Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and Knight Rider.
The downside of obtaining these vehicles, is that the majority of major store chains don’t seem to carry them. A few Toys R Us stores did during the first few waves, but since then, they seem to have given up. In cases like this, I’ve had to turn to the internet to find what I wanted. The most recent release has included Biff’s Ford convertible, but it may be too soon to tell if its secondary market value will increase like the DeLorean and Toyota 4×4.
Currently, there is word that by the end of 2015, Hot Wheels will release two more iterations of the DeLorean Time Machine: one in hover-mode, and the other with the white-wall tires when Marty went back to 1885.
Even so, I feel there’s room for a lesser-thought-of vehicle (I mean, they added a Pontiac Fiero glimpsed briefly in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off!). And that car that I’d love to see is: Doc Brown’s yellow Packard. Not a very prominent vehicle, but it was in each film of the trilogy, and it’s a vehicle that I don’t think has ever been done in 1:64-scale diecast.