Series Profile

The next wave of Hot Wheels MYSTERY MODELS is here! A complete look at SERIES 3. Which cars stand out; which don’t.

I have to say, I have really enjoyed collecting the Hot Wheels #Mystery Models since the decision was made to shift to these themed waves/mixes. Starting in 2018 we saw mixes that were similar to current segments in the mainline:  HW Race Day (Series 1), HW Space (Series 2), Surf’s Up (Series 3), and Street Beasts (Series 4). This year, well in the middle of Mattel’s third-quarter, we have series 3 hitting at Walmarts here in the United States. It follows HW Glow Wheels (Series 1) and the super popular, HW Race Day (Series 2).

This third mix of Hot Wheels #Mystery Models for 2019 consists of 12 vehicles with mismatched-colored-wheels, and grunge-style graphics. The artwork on the baggies (and on the dispenser box) suggests this theme is possibly an underground racing league of sorts. It appears as though a race is taking place in the middle of a shipyard full of cranes, storage containers, and of course, orange track. The series emblem is a gear. So… without knowing Mattel’s official name for this mix, I shall refer to it as: HW Underground.

UPDATE 12/22/2019 — Mattel’s official name for the series is: Stunt City.

Orange Track Diecast

Hot Wheels 2019 Mystery Models Series 3: ’69 Mustang Boss 302 (1), Mazda Furai (2), ’71 Datsun Bluebird 510 Wagon (3), La Fasta (4), VW Caddy (5), Torque Twister (6), Twinduction (7), Sky Dome (8), Loop Coupe (9), Formula Flashback (10), Cruise Bruiser (11), Formula Street (12)

Since Hot Wheels has has gone to these themed mixes of #Mystery Models, two things have remained consistent. The first is that each car features the number it is in the series, on the actual car itself — in its graphics. The second is that three of the twelve cars are chase cars. There are the gold “ultra chase” cars which typically come one to a case — which consists of 48 cars (2 boxes of 24). The other two chase cars are silver “standard chase” cars. These typically come one per box (two per case).

The Chase Models

These mixes have remain pretty consistent for the last six waves, however, leave it to Hot Wheels to throw you a curve ball just when you think you have it all figured out. See, the three chase cars (per the US packaging) are: the ’69 Mustang Boss 302 (gold), Mazda Furai (silver) and ’71 Datsun Bluebird 510 Wagon (silver). In the US mixes of these — the ones that clearly state the chase models — the ultra chase (gold) ’69 Mustang Boss 302 is coming roughly 3 per box, whereas the Furai and 510 Wagon seem consistent with previous measures at 1 each, per box. Several Canadian readers have pointed out that their boxes — which don’t specify chase models — contain one 69 Mustang every other one.

Orange Track Diecast

Hot Wheels 2019 Mystery Models Series 3 CHASE MODELS: ’69 Mustang Boss 302 (1), Mazda Furai (2), ’71 Datsun Bluebird 510 Wagon (3)

So…. if the gold “ultra chase” ’69 Mustang Boss 302 is showing up in additional quantities… Which model is being shorted? Well, since I collect the Hot Wheels #Cruise Bruiser, I was slightly disappointed when my friend messaged me stating he had the set for me — minus the Cruise Bruiser. I was a little shocked, especially when he told me how many of the ’69 Mustang Boss 302 he found. His initial report, combined with my in-store experience a couple days later, combined with readers’ testimonies, lead me to believe the Cruise Bruiser is the true “ultra chase” of this series — for US markets, and unofficially, of course. Yeah, thats weird, and I know it. Moving on…

The Personal Favorites

In addition to the ’69 Mustang Boss 302, my personal favorites for this mix are the #Cruise Bruiser and Volkswagen Caddy. I collect the Cruise Bruiser so I may have a bit of a bias, but this demolition derby style, station wagon with a reverse rake is perfect for an underground racing league. The raw-natured design of this car may not scream race car, but it does scream, “don’t mess with me”… and that sinister-looking emoji on the side only confirms that notion.

The Volkswagen Caddy on the other hand just looks great in #ZAMAC. I have been monitoring social media finds of this series and it appears the Caddy is being scooped up (hoarded) and much as the Datsun Wagon. Its a cool casting — not something I collect — but certainly a cool release for no other reason than I like the way it looks. Clearly others fancy this one as well.

Orange Track Diecast

Hot Wheels 2019 Mystery Models Series 3 PERSONAL FAVORITES: VW Caddy (5) and Cruise Bruiser (11)

As with any basic-level Hot Wheels series, you have the really cool models and then you have…

The Others

The other seven in this series are — well, let just say, “for the kids”. I have liked previous releases of the #Unlicensed Hot Wheels Twinduction, Loop Coupe, La Fasta, and Torque Twister, but these color/graphic schemes don’t fit the theme to me. I could see maybe the Formula Street or Formula Flashback in an underground racing league, if — and only if — it was some “Ex-Formula-1 Driver European Underground Racing League”, but that seems like a stretch. Sky Dome… well… its the first time this casting has entered my collection.

Orange Track Diecast

Hot Wheels 2019 Mystery Models Series 3 THE OTHER SEVEN: La Fasta (4), Torque Twister (6), Twinduction (7), Sky Dome (8), Loop Coupe (9), Formula Flashback (10), Formula Street (12)

The point of pointing these out are not to express my displeasure as I typically only feature cars that I like here on OTD — hence, my overly positive nature that some of you have been so kind to point out lately. Rather, its to discuss a way that Hot Wheels could improve upon what is currently being offered. When mixes are planned, there are a general allotment of castings that are available. The key is to spread out the ones you know will be popular, while also slotting in cars that work with the theme of the segment. Hot Wheels brand standards dictate that mixes typically offer a wide array of colors so consumers don’t see a blur of one color at the pegs and group all the cars as “the same”. So… what can be done…

The Remedy

Lets say there is nothing we can do about the casting selection as it is what it is. We would all love to insert our favorite castings into all of our favorite series. That doesn’t work though, so we can give that up from the get-go. The assortment of bright colors on the other hand… I mean, these are in baggies with nothing more than a hole-punch-sized peep-hole so there isn’t much to worry about as far as consumer selection standards. Well, there is the individual car artwork on the side of the box — and the packaging — but, I mean, come on… maybe doing a mix of rat rod inspired, underground racing paint jobs would help the appeal of some of these unlicensed castings. I think it would do wonders for the four I mentioned in the Twinduction, Loop Coupe, La Fasta and Torque Twister. Aside from that, more detail, less side deco. The point is… these cars sit in opaque baggies. Lets use the limited number of tampo passes to do something really cool to these unlicensed designs.

What do you think about these series as a whole? What cars are you chasing? In your mind, is there any way for Hot Wheels to improve upon it? Please comment your thoughts below. Thanks!

6 replies »

  1. Nice ideas Brad. I like the La Fasta, obviously based on a De Tomaso Pantera. I don’t have a problem with what they’re doing with the unlicensed castings. With the exception of the collector favourite castings, the mystery models series doesn’t seem to be aimed at our demographic. The only place I see them here in Aus is at Aldi, on the checkouts, in the same area as the chocolate bars. I can’t imagine a kid being too distraught over the thematic inconsistencies of Tampo schemes on the Sky Dome or Loop Coupe. And even if the Tampo designs were improved, I don’t think it would draw collectors to pick them up. We’re a drop in the ocean compared to how many cars they sell to parents/kids.

    • Oh, I totally agree. Clearly a kids product (versus collector), BUT, if you look at the chase models, clearly those are intended to prompt the collector. I think these are intended to attract both… kids AND collectors. My recommendation would make the series more collector-friendly. Would it hurt kids/parents sales? Not sure. Would it better serve collectors? Yes, without a doubt.

  2. Remedy? Improve? Personally, I don’t think there’s anything to fix. I think the mix of castings is fine. Torque Twister, La Fasta, and Twinduction are some of my favorite fantasy models( I think the term “ unlicensed castings” is misleading) and I think they look just as good as the chase cars.
    Ultimately, as the previous commenter mentioned, this series are made for kids. As for us collectors; if we don’t like the car in the series, we simply don’t have to buy it.

    Thank you for always sharing your thoughts and keeping us informed!

    • I whole heartedly agree. If you don’t like, don’t buy. I typically adhere to that myself. I had several requests to start showcasing the whole series as oppose to one particular model from it so, if I’m not into them, I am looking for possible ways to improve. I don’t mean to be negative, but rather trying to stir up a constructive conversation around the models that typically don’t get that much attention.

      With that said, what do you like about the Torque Twister, La Fasta and Twinduction? I mentioned that I do like those castings, but this release of them just doesn’t work for me. I think all (well, most) “fantasy castings” / unlicensed models would look cool given the right detail and more appropriate color schemes.

  3. This is completely off the subject but i wanted to ask you if you knew anything about the 1998 zamac convention cars? Thank you

  4. Good food for thought. I enjoy Mystery Models and fantasy castings (even Sky Dome). I wish there was more parity within series between licensed and fantasy models. Going from Glow Wheels to Race Day to this series makes for a jarring transition. I still see many s1 packs on shelves but few s2. Also, spot on about the s3 VW Caddy. The wild graphics look terrific on Zamac!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s