Monday, June 04, 2007

Hot Wheels – Ferrari XV Cyclone Chamber

My nephews received a shit load of gifts for their birthday. Of course most of them made it into the closet where we can trickle them out every now and then as rewards. Also we asked the boys to choose a few gifts that they would not mind giving to a few homeless kids in the area. I was not there to make sure they got around to it but I hope it happened. It is kind disturbing how focused kids are on receiving presents on their birthdays. But I guess we were all the same way while growing up and they will learn the true value of these occasions when they are older.

I happen to love toys too so this whole birthday thing has been as exciting for me as it has for them. I figured it would only be fair to allow them to choose a few toys to keep and play with the day after their birthday as well. I managed to influence them to choose the Hot Wheels – Ferrari XV Cyclone Chamber.

All the presents that people gave us were great but I just love car stuff, like race tracks and remote control cars. I have always loved the pull back Hot Wheel cars that shoot down a plastic track popping loops, jumping, and what not, so this toy was right up my alley. I could not wait to see the car spin through the cyclone and make the jump on to the track.

The set even included instructions for a variety of different tracks for me to set up with 16 feet of ‘I Beam’ track to play with. I did not realize however that this was not a pull back spring car system but actually a battery powered contraption. None the less, it looked fun. The smaller tracks were not too appealing though so I set out to make the biggest one, the one on the cover.

I am always so eager to jump into these projects and once I get the box open I realize what a can of worms I have opened up. There were so many damn pieces for me to put together I had no idea where to start. It was already making me wonder how they fit all these ramps and cyclones into the box. The largest piece I started off with was probably the car!

The instructions were as comprehensible as the Da Vinci code. No actually, in all fairness, the directions for assembly were quite user friendly but the pieces were not well labeled at all. They were however very sturdy and off good quality so when I snapped them together they held fast. But figuring out which piece went where was quite a puzzle. All I really had to go by was drawings of the completed pieces. The first obstacle I tackled was the cyclone. It was a real stinger.

Then I figured out how to build the ramp and after a whole lot of struggling I got it to fit, pretty much guessing what clips would fit where. It was really hot and I was breaking mad sweat, plus the kids were getting impatient. I was supposed to be making the track for them to play with but I had to yell at them a few times to let go of the pieces because they mere mixing them all up. I seem to have forgotten what it is like to have no patience.

This toy is a genuine Hot Wheels product and not some cheap Chinese knock off. And being an expert with cheap Chinese knocks offs these days I can say the quality of this toy was REALLY GOOD. Once I got the pieces snapped into place they held really well and the measurements were spot on. I was in my groove by the time I got to build the landing ramp and it only took me a few minutes. The ramp actually had a spring on the base of it where in met the column to ease the impact. Little things like that really make me want to tip my hat off to designers.

After a good hour of struggling with all the components, I finally managed to end up with what looked like the toy in the picture. I even achieved the crossover point where you can switch the cars tracks from the cyclone to the normal route. The kids were on top of the world. I was pretty stoked too.

The car itself was one solid piece with 2 metal strips on the base of it that when put in contact with the charging contraption, fill the car with juice. This process takes about 5 minutes but when you have 3 excited children screaming at you to get on with it, it feels like forever. The car even had a small Ferrari logo on it.

You might be wondering as I was how such a wide car would fit on such a narrow track. Back in the day when I was a little kid the track was as wide as the car, not the new I BEAM fits securely holds the car in place so even while it speeds up around the corners it moves the track but never flip off. This video clip is a pretty good example of how fast the bad boy can run.

The first go was quite a blast but we did not make the jump. Lining up the cyclone and the landing ramp turned out to be quite a task. And I was exhausted. After about 20 attempts we finally made it. This video is worth the watch.

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