Review by The Enthusiast
The Wheeled Warriors
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. Terror Tank was one of Saw Boss' henchmen, a repeatedly cloned plant-machine soldier. Terror tank resembles, you guessed it, an organic tank. The molded ABS and chromed undercarriage are sharp. TT's "grill" and eyes are each a nice touch.
Terror Tank, 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.
Terror Tank's signature weapon was an sinister plant head, complete with biting action! It reminds me of that crazy sentient plant in Little Shop of Horrors ("Feed me Seymour!").
Terror Tank, like all of the Monster Minds, is piloted by a rubber brain.
I only had two Wheeled Warriors as a child, Saw Boss and Terror Tank. Terror Tank was, and is, a fun and unique toy.
|Posted 17 December, 2009 - 20:51 by The Enthusiast|