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Sunday, October 06, 2013

Muppet Hot Wheels: Kermit the Frog

From Quinn Rollins

I know I'm not the only one who thinks of a shiny sports car when they think of Kermit the Frog. A sleek, green machine that has a rear-mounted intake that sucks up flies and roars out of the swamp like a bat out of hell -- okay, maybe I am the only one. But I'm thinking that because of Hot Wheels' newest wave of Muppet vehicles, which includes this beauty: a Kermit the Frog-ified Hot Wheels!

Over the last few years, Mattel's Hot Wheels have been taking characters and vehicles from pop culture and putting their own twist on them. Some of those have just been characters printed on the side of existing Hot Wheels molds--so earlier this year, we had a vintage car with Kermit and Miss Piggy printed on the side, a truck with "Gonzo's Plumbing" on it, a van with the Swedish Chef, etc. They were cute (and yes, I tracked them all down and bought them), but not as cool as an all-new vehicle, like say the Back to the Future DeLorean, or the Ghostbusters' ECTO-1, which Hot Wheels has also tackled in the last year or two. Well, the Powers That Be at Hot Wheels have heard my pleas, and seen my twisted fever dreams, because they've come up with something altogether new and wonderful -- this new series of three Muppet characters-reborn-as-cars: Kermit the Frog, Animal, and Gonzo.

They've done this before, with DC Comics' superheroes--so there's a Superman car that has a cape trailing behind it, a Wonder Woman car that's "invisible" with stars and a sort of tiara-spoiler, a transparent Green Lanternmobile--they may not make sense, but each of them is very cool in their own right. That's kind of what they're going for with these.

The Kermit the Frog car is very sleek, with the nose of the car coming to a point that looks awfully similar to the pointy nose of the Green One Himself. The rear wheels are slightly larger than the front wheels, giving it the powerful look of a dragster. The seating arrangement seems inspired by the 1960's Batmobile (steal from the best, I always say), with an open, double-bubble canopy. Those two rounded windshields become Kermit's eyes if you look at it just right, and there's a lighter green spoiler that does dual duty as Kermit's "collar" and giving an awesome expression of speed. That spoiler is flexible plastic (for safety reasons) and the rest is die-cast metal, in a beautiful, slightly glittery green. Would I drive it? Heck yes. Would I play with it at my desk at work, trying to find the perfect combination of a "VROOM" sound and a "Heigh-Ho!" sound. Oh, very much yes.

I will say that this is one of the weirder ideas that Hot Wheels has come up with, but it's not necessarily a new one for them. The Disney Parks have similar characters-as-vehicles, and there's a more bulbous Kermit Car in that collection--but this one is nicer and more readily available. I found these at Target, alongside the regular Hot Wheels collection--instead of the usual $1.00 price, these are a little more, at roughly three dollars. But if you like either Muppets or Hot Wheels? It's the best three dollars you'll spend today.

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