Review by The Enthusiast
The Wheeled Warriors is a case study in questionable toy marketing. Mattel designed a solid line of vehicle-based toys and dubbed them the Wheeled Warriors. Presumably the designers had some outline of a narrative, but the toys were initially released with a generic “good guys versus bad guys” story, evidenced by the first commercials:
Mattel then decided to give the humble Wheeled Warriors the full media treatment (complete with cartoon, coloring books, board games, pencil cases, etc), reverse-engineering an elaborate mythology to explain the toys. Thus was born “Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors”. Even with character-based designs, the toy-first, story-second method rarely produces successful results. The idea of kitted-out trucks fighting each other is pretty thin gruel for a story, and the cartoon was a thoroughly mediocre product. The whole endeavor promptly flopped, and today is barely remembered, even by die-hard eighties nostalgia-junkies.
The toys, however, were great fun. Using a Micronaut-like system of interchangeable parts, the Wheeled Warriors provided impressive play value. The designs were inventive, particularly the psychedelic Monster Minds.
The Jayce & the Wheeled Warriors story, such as it was, concerned the efforts of Jayce and his band of heroes to thwart the galaxy-dominating ambitions of the Monster Minds, a plant-based gang of baddies led by Saw Boss. Saw boss was clearly the coolest character, and the coolest toy.
SB, like all of the toys, came as a kit of easily assembled parts. Each set consisted of a body with operable cockpit, a chassis, wheels, and assorted weapons, including a unique signature weapon for each vehicle.
Saw Boss’ signature weapon is an organic stalk with a spinning blade. It resembles nothing so much as a pizza cutter. He also came with a gun, radar dish, and missile. An extra set of wheels is missing from this specimen. The online documentation of the Wheeled Warriors is pretty poor, so I’m not 100% certain of the accessories included with each set. While the weapons and accessories were the series' major play feature, I prefer the stripped-down look of Saw Boss with just his pizza blade.
The best accessory, hands down, is his rubber brain. Each of the Monster Minds came with a soft rubber brain in lieu of a pilot. How cool is a plant monster truck piloted by a brain!
Everything else is sturdy ABS. The paint and decals are sophisticated, although time has not been kind to the finishes. I like the molded organic detail on SB’s body. The molding and detail throughout are top-notch.
I’m still deciding whether the toys are really as good as I think, or if my judgment is too heavily colored with nostalgia.
*****Let me know if you guys are interested in these toys. I can review the rest, but I’d hate to bore everyone with a series of reviews of an obscure non-robot property.*****
|Posted 14 December, 2009 - 21:16 by The Enthusiast|