Hot Wheels designer, Jun Imai is extremely talented and his love for Japanese Domestic Market (JDM) cars is no secret. His own ’71 Datsun Bluebird 510 Wagon was made into a Hot Wheels vehicle in 2013. So it may come as a little bit of a surprise that his first casting to be featured here is not a JDM vehicle but rather an unlicensed Hot Wheels model known as the Sting Rod II.
Since it carries the “Sting Rod” name, lets look at the history of both the Sting Rod and Sting Rod II.
Sting Rod was initially released in 1988 as part of the Action Command, a mainline segment featuring military-themed vehicles. It had been released several times after with its run ending in 1996 as part of the 1996 mainline (collector #488). 14 years later, in 2010, collectors were surprised to see this casting resurface as part of the series, Race World: Battle. But the surprises kept coming as it was also revealed in 2010 that one of the New Models were to be a follow-up to the Sting Rod–appropriately named, Sting Rod II.
The 2010s have been a decade of post-apocalyptic dramas in the movies and on TV, and the Sting Rod II was at the forefront of this movement. Its road warrior styling are reminiscent of the days of Mad Max, but this new generation grabs this casting and thinks one thing: ZOMBIES! Imagine being in an urban post-apocalyptic setting and having this steel-plated, missile launching machine. It would be a dream-come-true….well in terms of the apocalypse.
The details on this casting truly deserve a finish higher than that of the Hot Wheels mainline as each steel-plate has rivets fastening it to the body. There are 3 missiles in the launcher on top, 3 on each side and 2 underneath…not to mention a hood scoop with a machine gun hidden inside. To make sure nothing creeps up from behind, there is a buzz saw on the tailgate.
This is one of my favorite Jun Imai castings and truly an under-appreciated Hot Wheels model. It has been released for 6-consecutive years in a number of variations. None of them have been incredibly hard to find at retail, including the 2013 Treasure Hunt version. Start your collection today!
RELEASE DETAILS: Yellow Enamel Body (metal). Clear Windows. Gray Interior. Chrome Off-Road 5-Spoke (OR5SP) Wheels. Chrome Base (plastic). Made in Malaysia. Released in 2010 as part of the 2010 New Models Series. Toy# R0938