* Prices may differ from that shown
Our Grandson is a huge fan of the Mattel models of the Disney Cars and has loved his little toy versions ever since we got them after we first sat down and watched the film together quite some time ago now. This particular review is about Dinoco McQueen though a lot of these models are very similar in style and quality so I think it's a good idea to take this review as a good gauge about the range as a whole.
The first thing I noticed about these cars that makes them worth paying a little bit more for than regular toy cars is that they have a lovely smooth finish to them. There are no rough edges to these as there can be with cheaper toy cars that have used cheaper materials. The wheels on these cars have not come off either whereas they have done on some of the grandson's cheaper cars.
These cars move easily across the floor, even on carpet, and they are nice and lightweight despite being quite sturdily built. My only small concern with this being the colour and styling it is is that it's easily confused with The King, another character with the same colouring and styling as this car. The only way to tell them apart is that McQueen has a 95 on his back.
This car costs £3.99 from Amazon and I've seen it in Tesco and Woolworths for £2.99. I think it's well worth the price because this is a toy that will last most children for years. Buying cheaper cars just means having to keep replacing them!
Whenever a new kids' movie is released, you can be almost certain that all sorts of character merchandise will hit the market within days. Disney/Pixar's Cars movie is a perfect example for this. These die-cast character cars became collectables almost overnight when the movie first came out in 2006 and new products are still being released in 2008. I sometimes wonder whether the idea of the toy collection existed first and they only created the movie to help market it or the other way around? In any case, I wouldn't at all be surprised to find out that the profits from these die-cast characters actually exceeded the profits from the movie itself. I personally spent about 10 times more on these cars than on the movie.
There are dozens of different Cars character die-casts available on the market today. From the main characters like Lighting McQueen, Mater, Sally, Doc and Sheriff to the more obscure characters that you can't even remember seeing in the movie, every single character seems to have been turned into a 3-inch die-cast. Some of the characters have multiple versions as well. There are at least eight types of McQueen models, for example, that I can name off the top of my head: Lightning, Cruising, Radiator Springs, Dinoco (pictured above), Tongue, Bug Mouth, Cactus and Dirt Track, and I wouldn't be suprised if there were some others as well. These are all basically the same car, just dressed up differently. Of course, a serious collector - or a little boy, for that matter - has to have ALL of them.
Within just a short period of time we have built up a collection of about 20 odd cars. Interestingly, these are not widely available from regular shops. Most of our collection comes from Amazon and eBay. I know they used to be available from Woolworth's and Toys 'r Us at one time but I haven't seen them in the shops for quite a while now. They sell for anything between a couple of pounds to £20+ each depending how rare they are. Amazon was selling some of the basic models for just 99p before Christmas. The average price is about £4, which means I must have spent about £80 on these character cars so far. I must say, I don't think I would have paid that much money for a bunch of die-casts in one go (no one in their right mind would!), but somehow when you buy them one by one, they don't seem so expensive and you always want more. I call that clever marketing! Anyway, seeing the joy on my son's face when he gets a new car to add to his collection is well worth the price.
These cars are quite good quality, mainly metal with some plastic parts. As I've mentioned before, they are about 3 inches (8 cm) long and quite sturdy and well-made, manufactured by Mattel. They look just like the cars in the movie, down to the last smallest detail. Make sure you buy the official products, though, as I've seen some cheap imitations on eBay coming from the Far-East and they don't look very good at all. The genuine products should have the Disney/Pixar logo displayed and they are individually carded, although sometimes you might find two or three characters in one pack. There have also been a few play-sets released with four or five cars packed together. Don't confuse them with the cheaper - plastic - pull-back versions, either. Although they are official products too, they are inferior to these metal die-casts and I wouldn't buy them myself.
My son (3) has never been attached to any of his other cars the way he's become attached to these. He knows all of them by name, having watched the movie dozens of times. I noticed that he started acting out scenes from the movie as well, repeating entire dialogues, which, at his age, can only be a good thing in terms of language development. He often wants to take a car with him when we go out and his favourites change from day to day. (We just have to be careful not to lose them!) The cars do get smashed, bashed and chipped during play, but that's what they are for. The worst waste of money would be if they didn't get used and were just sitting on a shelf gathering dust. (Unless, of course, you intend to sell your mint-in-box collection in 20-30 years!) I'm glad I bought these cars and I'm still on the look-out for some new characters that we don't have yet to complete our collection.
These toys make great presents too. We gave a double-pack of Sally and Cruising McQueen (purchased from Amazon for £2.99) to one of my son's friends for his birthday the other day. This morning we saw him happily clutching both cars, so we know that our present was very much appreciated!
You can read more about the Cars characters here:
And you can see some images here: http://collectibles.about.com/od/diecastvehicles/ig/CARS-from-Disney-Pixar-/
Collect your favourite from the cast of Disneys movie 'Cars'