Friday, May 6, 2016

Hot Wheels Chevy Blazer 4x4

When it comes to Chevy SUV's none is more famous than the Suburban and the Blazer and 4-door successor the Chevy Tahoe.  If you seen a replica of a Chevy K-5 Blazer in diecast, especially in the 1970's and 1980's, chances are it's a lifted 4x4 with large tires and details shared with the C/K pickup trucks.  However, this Hot Wheels casting released in 1984 is a Blazer, but not the big one; instead this is based on the newly-introduced smaller S-10 Blazer based on the also-new S-10 compact pickup.  This casting has been through many changes, with the latest for 2016.  Let's take a look.

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Stage one

The first release started as a robust truck complete with a metal base and body, tires used by construction machines fitted to the truck's tall stance, and opening doors to add functionality.  The front has eggcrate grille with headlights that also feature an eggrate pattern as well, with a push bumper ahead of the grille and the oddly-separated winch just below.  The sides show a two-door design (four-door models would show up later) with roof rack and light bar that is part of the windows and, just like the Matchbox K-5 Blazer, can double as a strobe light bar for police models.  Out back the Blazer has tall taillights and a concave tailgate with CHEVROLET stamped inside.  The doors open to a flat dashboard layout with simple controls within easy reach.  There are only two bucket seats up front with a shifter for the 5-speed manual and part-time 2-speed transfer case, all powered by a 2.8L V6 that produces 110 hp.  The rear seat has been removed to allow accessories to lay flat on the cargo floor ranging from fishing lines to rope.  Many variations have been made, including the rare version designed for the ill-fated Dinosaur set that never made production, but one of my favorites is the clean dark blue version that was release in 1996; the one shown here was released just about the same time.

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Stage two

Not like it needed it, but the Blazer casting needed a retool for the 2012 Hot Ones series.  The new look means no opening doors and the front grille is revised with more cleaner eggcrate grille design and larger headlights that have a smooth texture and looks more like the real truck than the stage one version.  The rest of the body has sharper body line gaps and more pronounced CHEVROLET on the tailgate.  The interior carries over the same design of flat dashboard, seating for two, and gear in the back seat.  The metal base and construction tires carry-over, and I like the black paint with sunset rainbow graphics and Chevy 4x4 badge.  This casting has seen more use since its reincarnation with the metal base and same wheels intact, but in the age of cost-cutting at Mattel in order for this Blazer to make a return to the mainline it has to go through another round of updates.

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Stage three

For 2016 the Blazer gets updated, again!  First thing you'll notice is the glare from the chrome that is on the new plastic base, the first for the Blazer and using the new off-road wheels.  In transition to the new plastic base the original tab that secured the body to the base at the rear is removed and replaced with a typical rivet post, which then also allows the rear window to disappear.  What this means is that things like surfboards can hang out the rear cargo area.  Speaking of cargo the interior stays the same just like the last two stages, but in a discerning effort to cost cut more the roof is removed where the center of the roof rack is and in its place is a window; to better conceal the new window gear is added to the window.  This cost cutting feature is a moot point for me and it stands out like a sore thumb in red against the yellow paint.  The blazer gets a nice Fire deco that looks great on this truck, and despite the new cost-cutting designs that makes this truck weigh less with less metal it still looks great after all these years.  If only Hot Wheels can get their cost-cutting under control this Blazer should survive for many years despite the new hole on the top of its head.

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