Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I smell savings!!!

It has been a while since I did one of my Cheapo Toy Reviews, so I figured it was high time I did another one!

Yesterday I had to go to town to run errands, and I ran across some fun stuff on the cheaps.

First up is this Hot Wheels Custom Motors Batmobile Starter Set from Mattel

I had been wanting one of these sets, but I'm too cheap to buy one for 8 bucks. There was something about the way it looked in the package that made me wary of paying over 5 bucks for it. If the building gimmick wasn't all that great, I'd essentially be buying a small Batmobile toy for 8 bucks. But 5 bucks is a bit better. Thank God for Walmart's after Christmas clearances!

"100+ Combinations!" "Easy-Snap Customization! Build and play your way!" How can you go wrong with that intro?

These are certainly some interesting combinations! I particularly like the second one down on the first picture up there-- the "wheels in the back, tank treads in the front" version. I was all psyched to build that one!

So you basically get this roughly 4 inch long plastic (it looks diecast in the package) Batmobile "Tumbler" from the newest Batman movies and a buttload of extra parts to customize it.

You can have the tumbler in its standard open windowed version...

... or in its hatch-closed, armored version. It's a subtle difference, but it's really cool that you can do it this way.

You can see here that it's a beefier toy than the standard Hot Wheels vehicle.

That the Batmobile from the Hot Wheels 2010 series by it. Both of these are nice toys in their own right.

You can see that the Tumbler is a really nicely detailed toy... not quite worth 8 bucks by itself, but pretty nice indeed.

This is the fully armed Tumbler. It has a turning cannon on top with what appears to be an additional cockpit and side-mounted missile launchers. They too can pivot, if only slightly. This is a really fun configuration. I imagine this is the "riot control" version of the Batmobile!

This is the tank version of the Batmobile. The treads don't really move-- there are tiny wheels under the treads to suggest movement. I found that kinda lame, but so few toy companies make toys with working treads anymore. I miss the old tank I had when I was a kid. It had rubber treads that really rotated. This version is really cool looking, all things considered.


So I decided I wanted to make the "wheels in the back, tank treads in the front" version from the back of the package. This is where my disappointment began:

The tread parts are totally incompatible with the wheel parts... the wheels rely on the vehicle being flat, and there is no way to elevate either end of the Tumbler when it is connected to wheels.

What you end up with are weird "up in the air" treads that don't even let you use the tiny wheels under them. The treads are locked in the position they are in, and you can't rotate them down to better touch the ground. I was pretty hacked off when I found out about this.

It's the same story when you reverse the set-up. Again you have floating treads that don't even roll.

I'm pretty angry at the people at Mattel for putting pictures on the back of the box that show something that you can't actually make. To me, those pictures are a selling point, and playing with a buyer's wants to sell a lackluster toy is the lowest of the low. But, honestly, I should have expected something like this from Mattel. They didn't get the name of being the most corrupt toy company in the business without working for it.

Still... I'm glad I bought the toy at the price I got it. $5 is a very nice price for a well-made Batmobile that you can reconfigure several ways. Just don't expect to make that many different types of vehicles with the set. The way it is configured doesn't give you many options for building random shapes. You're pretty much bound by the wonky way the thing is made.

So... worth it? Not for $8, but definitely for $5!

Now... onto the other thing I found:

Right now Family Dollar stores are having an after Christmas clearance on their toys priced $10 and above. You get 50% off any of these toys! So when I snagged this Megabloks 6" Magnetic Buildable Iron Man 2 War Machine Figurine for $5, I was all kinds of happy!

I had had my eye on this set for a while, but I'm a cheap, cheap, horribly cheap person, so I just couldn't make myself part with 10 bucks for it. When I saw it for 5, I grabbed it faster than a ninja.

So basically you get the Terminator and some armor. Woo Hoo!

This is the core figure frame that holds the armor. It's actually my favorite part of the whole thing! It's poseable as heck, and the waist, shoulders and neck are all magnetically connected, so you get a really nice range of movement. The only drawback is that the waist and neck are REALLY loose. The shoulders have rubber resting cups for the metal balls and keep them from flopping all over the place-- the waist and neck needed these same cups to keep things from going all goofy. Still, it's a super awesome looking figure, and the ball joints allow for some crazy action stances.

Magnets rock.

So here he is all armored up. The set has 10 armor pieces and two weapons. The plastic is really sturdy and should hold up to lots of rough and tumble play.

The backside of the figure is kind of lacking in the armor department, however. They really needed at least a piece to cover up the back of the torso. But it's still a pretty cool looking figure without the back stuff.

He's still pretty poseable all armored-up, but the movement in his hips and waist are really hindered by the torso armor. Still... he looks nifty with his armor on. You can get some neat poses out of him.


So... is the figure worth buying? Certainly not at $10... but if your Family Dollar store has him for $5, I'd say to definitely snatch one up! If nothing else, that crazy Terminator core thing is worth the $5 alone!

Until next time, happy bargain hunting, kids!

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