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Friday, March 21, 2014

The 10th Anniversary of the Hot Wheels Mad Propz



It's hard to believe it, but ten years ago this year the Mad Propz was first introduced.  Among the 100 cars and trucks, along with some oddly-shaped vehicles, the Mad Propz was the first full-proper airplane for the Hot Wheels line, not as a plane with four-wheels like a car nor the first aircraft (that title goes to the Proper Chopper and Goodyear Blimp).  What's interesting is how they managed to fit a plane, which usually has a long wingspan, inside the small 1:64 packaging, but Mattel managed it with little to no problems, and after ten years it's still active in the Hot Wheels Mainline.

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Is it Madd or Mad?

To start it off, the plane was inserted into the 'Tooned segment of the 2014 First Edition line, which does aid in making the wings of the plane fit in the package.  However, unlike the rest of the 'Tooned cars, Madd Propz doesn't look anything off aside from being a generic version a P-51 Mustang.  Fighter planes like the P-51 were designed to protect bomber planes to their destination by engaging in dogfights with the enemy, something the heavier bomber planes cannot do due to their massive bulk onboard.  The P-51's were light, swifter, and can handle the maze of moves to avoid enemy firepower and gain the upper-hand of the enemy, something the bomber's could not do.  I'm not an expert on planes, so if any history is incorrect just let me know.

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The first release in 2004 is the metallic red version with gray metal base and wings.  The wings are small but still look big enough to make the plane look much less, well, like a plane!  Three wings, including the tail fin, occupy the rear, ahead of dual exhaust and a cockpit dome that does not house anything inside, and the dome can be clear or chrome depending on version.  Up front is the five-blade propeller, and just up ahead is the chrome piston motor with a flat arrangement, with the crankshaft sending the power to the propeller in the front.  I'm guessing twelve cylinders in this big motor!  Finally at the bottom is the small 5-sp wheels with a thick pin to allow the plane to land, with aid of a smaller wheel at the rear just under the tail fin (originally I thought it was a separate wheel, but as I found out on later versions it's actually a fixed wheel as a part of the engine tool assembly).

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The Blue version was released as a K-mart-only recolor later in 2004.  Note the Warning text on the left wing (across from the 77 on the right wing), which requires a magnifying glass to read!  After introduction copyright infringements started to fire up as the Madd in Madd Propz was too close to the MADD in Mothers Against Drunk Driving, so Mattel changed the name in the next release to one less D.  In other news the Z in Propz still remains.

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The variations

After the first two, I really didn't keep track of all variations, including one in a 5-pack, a few recolors I thought was too close to past recolors, and finally the numerous base recolors of the Classics version.

 
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Speaking of which, the Classics version has no redline wheels, sadly, but features a cool chrome body and base that offers various shades; my version is root beer colored.  Next is the Shamu-colored plane, the first in 2007, with the military olive green recolor next.  I'm still grinding my teeth to the fact that it was a shark-teeth front graphic short of being perfect!

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The orange and blue plane was the next in 2008, but 2009 was so far the only version with a unified color on the base and body:  The dark blue version from the Heat Fleet series with some wicked flames!  In 2011 a second olive green plane arrived with yellow-orange base, with the black version with orange base arriving in 2010.

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In 2012 the Mad Propz started a speed enforcement task with a black and white plane (another Shamu), but with Speed on left wing and Trapper on the right wing.  In 2013 it switches to fire duty with red and black color, fire department badge on left, and 68 on the right (Hot Wheels first year of production is 1968).  Finally in 2014 the Propz returns with blue body, green base, and a neat Hot Wheels logo spanning the wings of the plane, with Hot starting on the left wing.

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I'm not sure why I collect these, but for some reason I have a bonding for it.  Could it be the cool fighter-plane look?  The awesome and various color combinations?  Who knows.  All I know is I can't wait to see what the next round of Mad Propz will provide in the next ten years.

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2 comments:

  1. Found old plane,looking for info on age,its a hotwheels,i can see the word props also on back,alluminum? no rust,wheels still turn,silver with flames on wings and some type of a red skull on each wing,great shape robgass1@gmail.com

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  2. If you read the text up close with a magnifying glass on the left wing of the red 77 plane, you'll see it's very funny. Do a post on that!

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