Wednesday, September 14, 2016

HW Entertainment Gran Turismo continues the push into a new Hot Wheels premium golden age...

I like throwing around the term "Golden Age".

Actually, I should say rather that I like the term "Golden Age".  It is a great way to describe certain eras of our hobby.  Matchbox hit a Golden Age from around 2006 to 2010, and is trying to bring in another.  Hot Wheels has had several too, and I am sure there are many collectors that can cite them all.

Well, it is clear we are entering another.  I could argue we are in a diecast golden age.  Castings, whether the $1 kind or more premium 1:64, are so diverse, so well executed, and catering to many more people.  Sure, there is cost-cutting that is more than frustrating, and yes, too much plastic on many.  But there are far better tools these days, and if eliminate nostalgia as a factor, the replicas are far better.

All that aside, however, Hot Wheels is on a massive roll with its premium lines.  There are not as many lines, but I am totally fine with quality of quantity.  Previous premium lines like Garage and Boulevard had some definite gems, but the assortments were too bloated with stuff no one wanted.

And even recently some of the premium lines have been too "nostalgia" based, meaning the lines hearkened back to Hot Wheels of old as opposed to realistic replicas of older cars.  Neo Redlines are nice, but my feeling is that most younger collectors prefer Real Riders.  We are seeing that shift.

Look back at previous premium lines.  Going back a few years there was the Classics, and Garage, and Boulevard, then the Hot Ones, Flying Customs, and Cool Classics.  There are quite a few highly desired models in those series, but all of them came and went.  Looking at them now, there were to many unlicensed castings, the lines were way too big, and too much of a nod to vintage Hot Wheels.

Of course, during that same time Retro Entertainment debuted, Pop Culture kept running, and we saw ultra premium lines like Vintage Racing come and go.  And there were exceptions to what I am talking about too.  Speed Machines would be wildly popular today, but only a few years ago it was a massive pegwarmer.

Nonetheless, the slow and steady shift to more real-looking replicas among Hot Wheels collectors seems to be happening.  We saw what happened with 2013 Boulevard, when the castings were based on interesting real cars from several eras, and the assortments were small.  The models were gobbled up.  But it was a little too late, and Hot Wheels shifted to nostalgia again with Hot Ones, Flying Customs, and Cool Classics.

Based on how long those assortments sat, I can't think they performed too well.  Heritage came after, and did ok, but notice how much faster the Real Riders assortments sold than the Redlines?  There are many still hanging now.

Which leads to where we are now.  Hot Wheels shifted to what 2013 Boulevard was, and created Car Culture.  And hopefully they aren't looking back.  The assortments are not hanging, and there are pics of these assortments all over Facebook and Instagram.  Collectors love them.

And Entertainment has followed.  We previewed Forza last week, and now we take a look at Gran Tursimo.  I know our friends in Canada have had these awhile, and they are just hitting in the US, so it seems a good time.

I have said that I don't play video games, so I don't know the significance of the models as they relate to Gran Turismo.  That is except for the Ford GT and Vision 2020.  When the castings debuted as the Ford GT LM a few years ago, it seemed to be based on a Ford GT mockup made for Gran Turismo.

So it seemed a matter of time, and here it is, in full premium form.  Seriously, you can retire the casting now.  Nothing will top this one.  And yes, a full feature on the GT LM casting is coming soon.  What a great model it has been.

Of course the 2020 Vision Concept is a take on the Nissan GT-R, made for the game.  Right?  I am sure more info can be shared by you gamers.  And yes, a side-by-side feature with the TLV is coming too.

Anyway, the photos are already popping on IG.  Collectors are picking up entire sets of this one.  That has been the case with Car Culture, and will be the case with Forza.  Hot Wheels is doing it right...

(Find HW Entertainment Gran Turismo at Wheel Collectors.)


  1. Ford GT is the best...

  2. I'll say this: It's an immense miracle Mattel even bothered to retool the C7.R at all. And boy am I glad to see the result. THAT THERE, with a bit of adjusting, is what the C7.R should have looked like on first release.

    Never too late, Mattel. Never too late. See that Aston Vantage GT3? Yeah, awful right? You now have a great opportunity to turn that casting around.

  3. The Ford GT and Lambo Veneno are definite highlights of this group. Very nicely done models! The others just don't cut it. The new bumper on the Corvette is looking better, but still doesn't look crisp. Anyway, a great set!

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  5. The Lamborghini Veneno and the Corvette C7.R haven't showed up in any Gran Turismo game yet, but I assume they will both be featured in Gran Turismo Sport, which will come out next year. (The Veneno has been seen in trailers, but the C7.R hasn't. However in GT5, Polyphony Digital and GM partnered to have players try out prototypes models of the C7 before it was released to the public, so I would say it's a safe bet it will show up.)

    The Nissan 2020 is a part of Gran Turismo's Vision GT project they started with GT6 in 2013, and will be continuing to GT Sport. It's a call out, or a challenge if you will, to major automotive manufacturers to design concept cars for Gran Turismo. The Nissan 2020 is obviously Nissan's entry for this project.

  6. OK, I do need to note something with some of the past HW premium lines...

    Classics was a huge hit, but at the same time hit too hard, too fast. Yes, I love the series, but there were WAY too many recolors and that's why the series, while lasting a rather long while, faltered and went away.

    Garage was handled rather well, but mix choices and numbering were odd (multiples of some cars, others only showed in one mix). And that goes for all 3 years of it. Boulevard suffered from both odd casting selections and poor quality out of Malaysia.

    Hot Ones and Flying Customs were great concepts, but their issue was the order of the castings/mixes. The "start weak, finish strong" mentality works in certain scenarios, but not in die-cast. It's a death trap in our world. The strongest releases of Hot Ones came in the last half of the 2012 line, and many of what likely would have been the strongest releases were completely cut from Flying Customs (to note: if readers would like, I could work on doing a series write up, going into how a concept that should have been a huge hit ultimately failed).

    Cool Classics suffered a similar issue as Hot Ones/Flying Customs, but at least that line was seen through completion (if readers search, I did a whole-series write up on here last year).

    Even the Racing series in 2012 followed similar issues. The "start weak, finish strong" mindset was with that line as well, and in all honesty is what ultimately killed that line too. If the IndyCar mix and Drag Racing were saved for the last two mixes, and the Muscle set moved more into the middle, that series would have seen completion, or at least would have been a huge hit even without the Drag Racing and IndyCar mixes.

    Anyway, with that said, this GT mix, while well executed, is mostly not for me at all. The GT-LM is about the only one I really "need" to have. The Nissan 2020 is one UGLY car, IMO, both the real one and especially in HW form. The GT-R is nice but poor wheel choice in the RR6sp (RRGTs would have worked well here). The Lambo does look good for what it is, but I think the car is ugly (like most modern Lambos to me). And the C7R, while a commendable retooling of the base for premium use, still looks odd (though I wouldn't mind having one to base-swap with the mainline HW Racing release).

    Hands down, the Forza mix blows this one out of the park.

  7. And this is why Mattel ought to give Matchbox multiple tiers of premium castings as well - if you're stuck at a $1 price point for basics, make premium lineups for the people who would willingly pay more (myself included).

  8. It's safe to say that it's a good time to be a Hot Wheels collector! I really like where Hot Wheels' future is going! They have been releasing sets like these that appeal to a wide variety of demographics that instantly make them hot-sellers!

    The Car Culture series is a perfect example! You have sub-series of cars within a series that represent different car cultures around the world, both old and new! Not only that, they come in premium form! Well detailed, well executed, well designed, rubber tires, all metal, and an authentic package! And a little treat is that you get a new casting thrown here and there!

    As for the GT and Forza set, it just proves the point even more! I'm really looking forward to finding these treats! Hopefully I can find each one because I enjoy all of them, no matter what others say about them! Way to go Hot Wheels! Keep up this trend!

  9. "2020 Vision Concept is a take on the Nissan GT-R, made for the game. Right? I am sure more info can be shared by you gamers"
    Think of the HWs Designer's challenge back in 2008, but apply that to a console video game.

    I guess they're tying it in with what they want the GTR to look like 4 years from now, but I don't care about console games much as when I play games only the PC platform.

    The GT Planet guys should be more familiar with GT stuff, I mainly muck around NFS EAGL-era games trying to port NFS6 stuff... and Trackmania

  10. Eh, without putting headlight and taillight tampos on the majority of Car Culture cars and without the Ferrari license, I'd say it's a silver age at best, but I'm the kind of guy who waxes nostalgic for 2010-2012 due to Hot Wheels Garage, Vintage Racing, Speed Machines (I'm fine with composite wheels instead of Real Riders, though I wish all of them would've had diecast chassis) and the underrated Slick Rides Delivery series (re: auto parts logo cars, and candy logos before that but I never saw the latter in Canada).