Let’s face it: 2020 is a dumpster fire of a year. Even the yearly comic con event in San Diego didn’t go off as planned. Suffice to say, there was a virtual convention, but without the in-person hypefest that usually persists, it just wasn’t the same. Mattel plans toys 18 months in advance (on average), so there was no predicting COVID-19 or its displacement factor, hence why the yearly #SDCC Exclusives were still made — and subsequently released. The absence of an event forced Mattel to sell the SDCC exclusives online via the Mattel Creations web site to the general public. The items sold out within minutes — as expected — as the Hot Wheels fan base zeroed in on a brand-new #Land Rover casting with two familiar characters from the Marvel universe in the back: Hulk and Rocket.
It doesn’t get more Hot Wheels than this. Over the last few years, Hot Wheels has introduced an onslaught of #Land Rover castings. They have also released a good amount of #Marvel licensed vehicles between the #Character Cars, #Pop Culture, and Themed Assortments. This #SDCC Exclusive release clearly combines the two while mixing in a pair of classic Hot Wheels #Real Riders. This is Hot Wheels in the 2020s: Land Rover, premium, Real Riders, and Marvel.
A little background on this piece. The scene is from Avengers: Endgame (2019) where Hulk and Rocket hitch a ride to New Asgard to ask fat Thor for his help. The vehicle is only in the opening shots of the scene but you can clearly see that this muddy dark blue w/ white roof #Land Rover Defender 110 Pickup Truck is weighed down in the back — almost giving it a reverse rake. Check out those mud flaps dragging on the ground! Clearly, the vehicle is compensating for the weight of Hulk, and it’s awesome that Hot Wheels didn’t skimp on the details when it came to that.
The details are always what makes Hot Wheels #SDCC Exclusives so cool. Given their low runs and one-off toolings, these releases probably don’t net Mattel much in profit, but SDCC is all about the cool factor and releases like this certainly convey that. They are hyp pieces that generate excitement across multiple fan bases. How nerdy is it to have a whole diorama surrounding the establishing shot of a single scene? For fans of the #Avengers movies, its the perfect nerd moment; for Hot Wheels fans its cool to have another #TV & Movie car. If you’re a fan of both, the nerd factor hits you on both fronts, and you’re right there with me grinning ear to ear.
As with most #SDCC Exclusives, Hot Wheels steps up its game when it comes to the packaging. No, this one doesn’t have any electronics in it, nor does it open in a clever way. What is cool is that the trapezoidal inner display box features a large window that lets you view the scene in 3D as the mountainside has cliffs that extend out into the diorama, along with a “Welcome to New Asgard. Please Drive Slowly” sign that protrudes the ground. Just like the scene, you are viewing the truck from the back as Hulk and Rocket are sitting in the bed.
The outer box of this exclusive piece tells the story of the scene. It reads:
As the Avengers work to reverse the blip caused by Thanos, Rocket and Hulk embark to the New Asgard to recruit Thor. Hithcing the ride in the back of a Land Rover Defender 110 Pickup Truck, these two Super Heroes enjoy the scenic views before coming back to reality and battle to make the world right again.
Hot Wheels® recreated a highly detailed die-cast version of this rugged truck complete with Real Riders® tires and Rocket and Hulk mini-figures.
As for this Land Rover’s place among other Hot Wheels cars, you can see it stacks up well with the rest of the Hot Wheels #Defender population which has gone from zero to four in just a few short years — five, if you include the Series III introduced in 2019. The base of the #Land Rover Defender 110 Pickup Truck does not mention anything about #Marvel licensing which bodes well for those that would love to see this casting in premium and without the “hulk rake” and the characters.
The underlying deco of the #SDCC Exclusive #Defender shares a common one-color w/ white roof design with the aforementioned Land Rover Series III Pickup which was released just last year. In the #Land Rover historical timeline, the Defender came in just as the Series III was being discontinued hence the similarities between the pickups. You can see the two castings below.
Does this latest #SDCC Exclusive go in the #Marvel collection, or the #Land Rover one? I haven’t decided yet, but am leaning towards choosing automobile over entertainment. What do you think of the SDCC Land Rover and what collection should it go in? Would you like to see more “background cars” from the Avengers movies as Hot Wheels cars? I know Tony Stark’s garage has a few I’d like to see…