Ask Brad

Ask Brad #1: Kmart Day, Ferrari, Final Runs, Hot Wheels Collecting & the 2019 Red Line Club

WOW! Thank you guys for the overwhelming response to #Ask Brad. You’ve asked the questions and I’ve got the answers. 

Marc Brewster • Austin, Texas
Q: When is the next k-day??
A: I’m hearing its been pushed back to March. When I know more details, I will post about it.

Wilbert Johnson • Missouri
Q: Do you possibly have any hot wheels for sale? For some reason we have hit a slump where I am..
A: Hey Wilbert, slumps are common and I go through them myself. Fortunately, I have a decent support system set up with collectors in other areas of the country/world to help when I need it. With that in mind though, when you strike it rich with finds, you also have to be there to help them out. Its this reason that I don’t sell much, I help my collector-friends before I make a profit. On the rare instance that I do sell, the items go on eBay, Toy Peddler or HobbyDB.com. I have no intentions of ever selling cars through Orange Track Diecast.

Simone Gironacci • Civitanova Marche, Italy
Q: Are there any possibilities that Hot Wheels could get back Ferrari license? I know that this is now a Burrago exclusive, but I hope FCA will consider the decision and the millions of collectors who are waiting for a new Ferrari casting.
A: Like you, I long for the day Hot Wheels gets the Ferrari license back. It was unfortunate that it was lost because I also knew a lot of Hot Wheels collectors that loved adding Ferrari vehicles to their collections. I think there may be a light at the end of the tunnel though. Was it Kyosho that was allowed to start making Ferrari diecast again? I think Tomica is in the mix now, as well. That has to increase the chances of Ferrari extending the license back to Mattel.

Wade Hemmelrick • Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Q:Multiple inquiries, here goes:
1. I would like to find both quarter turn and half turn track curve parts that are relatively flat and smooth surfaced as opposed to those highly banked parts. The slightly roughened textured curves (made as part of “Hot Curves” and other early Hot Wheels track sets) make a great little wipe out or peal out sound as cars roll on them. These types of curves make for easier downhill track designs for slower moving vehicles, as the cars are less likely to get stuck or jump the flatter curves than high-banks.
2. Are there any small battery powered train sets that might fit onto standard Hot Wheels flat track surfaces.
3. Are there any Hot Wheel-sized (1/64-scale) RC vehicles that might work with standard Hot Wheels tracks?
4. An idea I submitted to Mattel/Hot Wheels: Create an actual “Talking Mecarminal,” as in “Mecard (such as Evan and other talking “alien” cars).”
Thank you for considering and sharing my questions. Cheers!
A: Oooh, a four-parter…. let me try my best to answer:
1. Have you seen THESE pieces? They are flat and Walmart has them for $1.99 a pack. They may not be ideal for racing but worth a look if you’re looking for “flat” pieces.
2. Yikes! I really don’t know. Hot Wheels is my only diecast hobby so I wouldn’t know where to begin with battery-powered trains.
3. Again, not big on the R/C scene either. Wish I knew. Maybe someone can comment below if they know?
4. So a car that talks when you insert a card? Not sure if Mattel would do that considering the South Korean toy company Sonokong already does something along those lines. Did they ever respond to your idea?

James • Austin, Texas
Q: I have a friend that runs a chain of hobby stores and would like to sell hot wheels. How does he set up an account with Mattel to be a dealer?
A: Check out MattelPartners.com … it has a list of requirements along with a form to apply.

Nicholas • Casa Grande, Arizona
Q: Where is the best place to get Hot Wheels?
A: Depends on what you are looking for… If you’re looking for new Hot Wheels, retail is your best bet. Some retail stores do better jobs than others stocking various Hot Wheels lines. Peruse finds boards to see what is showing up where. If you’re looking for older Hot Wheels, you can check out secondary sales sites like eBay, Toy Peddler or HobbyDB.com OR find a local swap meet. Phoenix has a great one the first Thursday of every month at a Denny’s (if you want to make the drive). I was there last night. Here are some of the photos I took.

 Reece Brennan • Brisbane, Australia
Q: What’s your personal Hot Wheels Holy Grail?
A: Dude… Reece… putting me on the spot??? Haha, such a hard question to answer as there is not just one thing that I am chasing. My eBay “saved searches” consists of about 100 items. I had a grail, the Design Awards 2005: Cool-One (employee piece), but was fortunate to have been able to purchase it from Bruce Pascal’s collection a couple years ago. I never really established another grail, but three high-dollar items I am chasing are the Employee Dodge Viper RT/10s, Troy Lee Designs: Texas Drive ‘Em, and the 1995 Treasure Hunt: ’67 Camaro.

Hector • Puerto Rico
Q: Greetings Brad from Puerto Rico. Thank you for keeping us informed about the latest news from Hot-wheels lovers. I am planning to travel to my first convention in Mexico and I would like to know a bit when the tickets are available for sale and of course the cost of the hotel, can be found online and how long should I separate the room. etc. Thankful for your help.
A: Hey Hector. I am not sure of another Mexico convention outside of the one that just happened in December. You can try the HWMexicoCollector.com web site, but you may have better luck trying a Mexican collector group on Facebook. I’ve screenshot some of them below.

Tin Huynh • Happy Valley, Oregon
Q: What 5 new models are gonna be in factory fresh series for 2019?
A: Sorry, I can’t help with this one. When I know I will post them to the Official 2019 Mainline List TRACKER.

“DrDocter84” • Wisconsin
Q: Have you given any thoughts to doing a IAMA on the Hot Wheels subreddit? I think you would be pleasantly surprised with the feedback.
A: I’m not entirely familiar with Reddit or an “IAMA” … but I assume thats a “Ask Me Anything” kind of deal, right? That would be a great idea, and maybe something I could do in the future. For now, its more manageable for me to do via Orange Track Diecast. Thank you for the suggestion though! 

“Group C Hero” • Belfast, Ireland
Q: Why is Car Culture not sold in the UK? Are there any plans to bring it here in future?
A: I can tell you this… Mattel wants Car Culture in Europe. Its a great line and its perceived that it would do well there. The Mattel Europe team is still trying to convince retailers to pick it up. The best thing for you to do, is to get a hold of your local retailers’ buyers (if you can) and make them aware of how much you want them to carry the line.

 Steve • Nashville, Tennessee
Q: What will 2019 HW Race Team motif look like?
A: Oh Steve, you rascal… I wish I knew. 

Scott Ganz • San Francisco, California
Q: What is Mattel’s system for finding out when certain models are warming the pegs, and what do they generally do about it? Related, what is their take on the fact that licensed castings fly off the pegs way faster than HW Originals?
A: I can tell you that Mattel does get out to retail stores on occasion to examine just this. They keep a lot of stats that most collectors are unaware of. They also do a great deal of “social listening” as to what collectors are scooping up vs. leaving behind. While its more collector-focused in the premium lines, the mainline cars are harder to balance. Mattel has always stated kids’ sales (thru parents) account for the vast majority of mainline sales — and, oddly enough its determined that the kids (thru focus studies) tend to focus on cars with features that move, creature cars, and are compatible with track & other toys (like LEGOs). The mainline assortments are planned about 18 months in advance so sometimes its hard to tell how the second run of a new casting will do if the first instance hasn’t even been released yet. In a collectors eye’s it may be easier to say that licensed castings fly off the pegs versus HW Originals, and they do — when they are new — but go to any grocery store that carries older assortments and you’ll see quite a few licensed castings being left behind once collectors already established that they have bought too many.

Orange Track Diecast

Hot Wheels 2019 “E” case stocked at a Phoenix-area Walgreens on February 2nd, 2019.

 “Wheaterz” • Maryland
Q: How can Mattel justify omitting chrome bases from mainline Matchbox castings?
A: I didn’t know this was happening. I don’t collect Matchbox so I am in the dark on this, sorry.

Ronald Jones, Jr. • North Carolina
Q: I’m seeing the new Hot Wheels Magnus Walker Porsche 964 on YouTube, when and where was this on sale?
A: Ha! I actually just posted a link to this video yesterday. It was done by Matthew on Cars & Hot Wheels, who is a collector-friend of mine. Details are in the article.

Daniel Mcholm • Texas
Q: Do you know how many RLC memberships will be available this year??
A: There will be enough … like a lot. Sign up on February 26th and you’ll be good.

James Crosby • Fernandina Beach, Florida
Q: I am a big fan of the “Final Run” series. I saw that Mattel will do a remodel of the ’91 Mazda MX-5 Miata for 2019 after the original was “unofficially retired” in 2003. HW Wiki states that there are other models that have been retired “unofficially”. Where can a collector find a list of castings that have seen their Run Finalized.
A: As far as I know, there is no master list of all Hot Wheels that have been discontinued as many have been — like you said — “unofficially” retired. The Final Runs are definitely cut and dry as those won’t come back, and any model that hasn’t appeared in 6 years is essentially retired in my book. BUT, just like Michael Jordan and Brett Favre coming out of retirement, those cars can technically be produced again if the demand is there or if an old tool/mold is found and all of its components still work. I have a #Discontinued Castings tag I use on the site here that covers all cars that I have showcased, and believe to be retired. Check that out. Its a good starting point.

THANK YOU ALL for your awesome questions! When I get enough for another article, I will post another #Ask Brad article. So… Keep them coming!

 

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