Whether you love them, hate them, or fall somewhere in-between, the Hot Wheels #Character Cars are here to stay. When these first hit the pegs a couple years ago, traditional collectors were enraged that Hot Wheels would even do such a thing. Four years later, its almost like some of us are graduating as we are seeing what seemed like Mattel’s plan all along — growing the business by bringing in more “non-traditional collectors”. When the Character Cars first came out, some collectors thought it was a feeble attempt to target kids. But now it seems as though targeting kids with the Character Cars was more of a secondary avenue for growth, as its the pop-culture crowd that is really digging these cars. That pop-culture crowd encompasses both traditional and non-traditional collectors, both of whom are buying these cars. With some of harder-to-find Character Cars catching anywhere from $10 to $50, some seasoned Hot Wheels hunters and profiteers are no longer ignoring this section at the pegs.
One of the harder to find series (as a whole) is the 2016/2017 #Super Mario Character Cars. They seemed to hit the pegs late last year / early this year but just never got replenished. With a secondary wave that came in March 2017, it seemed as though this series would finally be a little easier to find. From a personal standpoint, I only found one car from this series on the pegs and it was the Mario car. I kind of had my eye on the #Bowser car and patiently waited for it to appear locally but I wasn’t so fortunate in tracking one down — he and Princess Peach must have been in another castle. *winks*
Finally, after months of searching, and seeing the #Super Mario Character Cars for sale online at various online retailers, I came across it (in stock) on Walmart.com. With site-to-store shipping — because lets be honest, lets create another reason to do a Walmart run — I was able to obtain the King Koopa himself, for the retail price.
After I got this guy home and opened him up, I noticed what the crowd collecting the #Character Cars all along, has preached: detailed castings with more than the standard 4 pieces — body, base, windows and interior (NOTE: Hot Wheels and collectors don’t typically count the wheels). Upon imagining my best “exploded casting view” of a car that is still riveted together, I counted 6 pieces to this casting — the multi-colored body, base, windows, interior, red hood spikes piece and the rubbery feeling piece that makes up the white spikes on top and the rim of the roof. SIDE NOTE: I can just imagine the parents of the world quietly thanking Mattel at 1 AM in the middle of their living room, after stepping on it and realizing that its rubber.
After having obtained #Bowser finally and noticing all the little details on this casting like the teeth in the front grill, the spike collar side-exhaust, and the tail-shaped trailer hitch, it makes me want to seek out the other 5 cars in this series — Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Yoshi and Toad. Now, I realize these Character Cars may not appeal to all, but if you are a #Super Mario or Hot Wheels #Character Cars collector, this one is a must-have!
UPDATE 06/08/2017 — It turns out there are small variations between the 2016 and the 2017 version (shown here). On the actual car, the most notable difference is the chrome interior (2016) versus the black-chrome interior (2017). Apart from that, the 2016 release was manufactured in Malaysia versus the 2017 release being manufactured in Thailand. In addition to the differences on the vehicle, the packaging has subtle differences as well. I have updated the HobbyDB listing to reflect these.
For more images of your favorite Hot Wheels vehicles, check out @orangetrackdiecast on Instagram!