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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Hot Wheels 2016 Wal-mart Garage set



When it comes to sets I normally don't collect the whole set: usually I just get the ones I need and leave the rest.  This year for some reason I managed to get four whole sets: the Wal-mart Rad Trucks set, the two Car Culture Trucks and Japan Historics set, and this Wal-mart Garage set.  One reason for getting the complete sets is that I can sell what I don't want later on, while the other reason is that these are some nice sets.  The Garage set from Wal-mart is one of the finest with excellent artwork and nice casting choices, even if a few castings could use some tone-down on the graphics.  They're not cheap (they look like the $1 versions, but in truth this is the bi-annual Wal-mart specialty set that replaced the Stars and Stripes in the first-half), but they do look good.  Oh, and at the beginning I was on a wild goose hunt for all ten.  Finally after a few months of searching I managed to complete the 10 car set.  So here's the set to review and find out which one I like the best.

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The set includes 10 cars that would look right at home in a large garage collection, and despite the worldwide possibilities all ten vehicles are American-made vehicles.  The oldest is 1950's while the youngest is in 1980's, from muscle car to street rods, to even a classy Cadillac.  All are vibrant in colors and all feature nice card artwork with the car front-and-center with the background of the garage showing pictures of the Hot Wheels loop and to the right a very odd choice for a background car: one of the Hot Wheels generic castings (not sure what its called).  Even the upcoming 2017 set that looks to capitalize on the Garage set does not look as good as this set.  The first car in the group is the 1967 Pontiac GTO convertible.  It's been a while since i've seen this casting and it still looks great.  The GTO was a modified tool of the coupe that was introduced in the Classics line in 2008 and it looks even better here in black with red interior, sitting on 5-spoke wheels, a detailed chrome base, detailed interior, and that fantastic front-end with the split Pontiac grille and stacked headlights.  The only problem that I have with this 1967 GTO casting is that it seems too long for its size (then again, the real GTO in 1967 has grown quite a bit compared to the 1964 beginnings).  This GTO is easily my favorite of the group/

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The next vehicle is the 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS Wagon, and it's been a while seeing this casting in the original stock look with dual black hood stripes and side scallop deco from the 2009 First Editions release.  The brown color tends to look too much like a past recolor, but overall it still looks good.  its long, wide, has that muscular 1970 Chevelle front end, and then it adds a wagon roofline that opens up to a roomier interior and a bonus point: engine parts in the rear cargo area.  It's one of my favorite castings, while the deco is not one of the best.  The next car is an interesting choice: the 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham.  This is a car that does not get around in the Hot Wheels line that much, and when it does it tends to be bombarded by awful graphic and wheel choices.  It's a shame since this high-end Caddy of the day is beautifully done.  In this garage series it returns to its 2002 first release with a cleaner look in white with side red panels and gold lace wheels.  Aaahhh, much better!  The front has quad headlights, the bullet bumper ends, the shape of the roofline, the chrome on the lower rear fender skirts, the four door arrangement that closes to the center, and the rear fins with taillights on the bumper.  It all looks good; pure classy 1950's Cadillac!

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Next up is one of my favorite castings, the 1969 Corvette.  The sharp edges of the third-generation Corvette are nicely highlighted on this coupe casting with hood bulge and side exhaust signaling the ZL-1's 427 CID V8 is under the hood.  The front-end chrome grille and rear taillight details are nicely done, as is the chrome interior.  Now I have a few beefs with this casting: first, if the base is not color-matched with the body the front-end looks like it has a five o'clock shadow beard going on, and second this yellow again looks too close to a past variant.  The graphics may be a bit too much, but still this is a very nice casting.  One that is impressive and not impressive at the same time is the 1970 Camaro.  This was originally a Real Riders casting with an opening hood that was retooled in 2012 to close the hood shut.  The body looks narrow and the plastic base showing up on the lower bumper ends ruins what would've been a nice casting (the other 1970 Camaro, the road racer version, looks far better).  The light blue looks interesting on this car, as does the graphics, but the blacked-out PR5 wheels do not.  It's a mixed bag car of the group that looks impressive on color, not so much on casting details.

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An instant classic comes next, returning to the color in its name: Purple Passion.  This is Larry Wood's take on a custom 1950's Mercury Hot Rod, and its initial release in 1991 was in purple and reflected the name.  Since then the Passion has moved further away from purple to explore other colors, and now for the 2016 Garage set returns again.  The purple joins white lower side graphics and upper ghost flames for one of the best deco's on the Purple Passion by far!  The chrome billet grille, side exhaust, and ground-hugging rear spoiler complete the look that gives this car pure passion.  One that I like for the color is the 1970 Dodge Challenger.  Panther pink is the color and it looks good on this car!  The black hood, side graphics, and detailed gas cap matches a past variant of the 1971 Dodge Challenger casting and matches the real car's stock look.  The body details are excellent, the artwork on car is killer.  Need i say more?  The 1967 Custom Mustang is first off not custom (originally it was based on the Redlines Custom Mustang casting, then changed to an opening hood 1968 before being retooled again in 2011 with no opening hood and a metal base); its more of a stock Mustang fastback.  The deco's on this Mustang of recent are pretty nice, but now they're seemingly too close together.  If it wasn't for the blue paint you can mistaken this version for the green Fast and Furious release.  Plus, the white graphics and white 10-spoke wheels look out-of-place on this car.  Otherwise this casting has some nice, crisp lines when suited in a proper deco.

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Next up is the 1958 Ford Thunderbird that makes an appearance after a long time hiding out.  This car originally was a premium line casting in 2003, then in 2005 finally makes it into the mainline.  This casting is packed full of nice details from the chrome grille flanked by quad headlights to the squared-off roofline with seating for four inside, to the cool quad, jet-like taillights out back.  The interior shows the premium roots with detailed ribbed seats, twin-pod dashboard, and deep-dish steering wheel.  The color, on the other hand, needs work: green with too much yellow lines.  A cleaner look would be preferred.  Finally, the youngest of the bunch is also the only casting in the group with a metal base: the 1980's Pontiac Firebird.  The casting has been in use since the 1980's, but was retooled in 2012 with taillights now cased into the body and a retooled metal base.  The look is very plain, lacking detail, but it is off-set by a nice metallic red color, PR5 wheels that look right on this car, and black and orange graphics with the screaming chicken on the hood.  It is the most popular car of the group in terms of sales and I can see why: not only for its metal base but also for a pretty nice deco.

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So, out of the 10 vehicles which one do I think is the best?  It was a toss-up between the Challenger and GTO, but I just love the clean, simple look of the 1967 GTO convertible that sets off the appeal of this car with a sleek color combination.  Then again, most of these cars in this set were excellent as well, and a few of them could use some detampoing, but otherwise with great selection of cars in great deco's and superb artwork on the cards getting the whole set is worth the slight premium over the basic Mainline cars.  You won't be disappointed!

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