Toy lab

Model cars, toy cars and race tracks: what’s hot in 2022

Cars in a wide range of scales
Fun with cars in children’s bedrooms with the Hot Wheels race track © Mattel

By Peter Pernsteiner

Many people love model cars made of Lego or some alternative kind of small bricks and are prepared to make sacrifices in terms of model fidelity. Others like to race on a track or with remote control models. And there are, of course, countless collectors who put detailed vehicles in their display cases – sometimes as a kit or simply as a finished model. Realism is not something that’s only reserved for adults, though.

MB Sprinter Car Transporter from Bruder
Towing with winch and movable loading ramps for children aged four and over (Photo: Bruder)

Bruder, for example, wants to thrill children from the age of four with its “MB Sprinter Car Transporter”. On a scale of 1:16, the Mercedes Benz Sprinter has doors that can be opened, extendable loading ramps, a functioning winch, and wheel chocks that fit into the toolboxes on the sides. The Light & Sound module and the chic roadster sports car with removable roof and integrated wheel change system (included in the scope of delivery) also provide action. (BRUDER Spielwaren

remote-controllable All Terrain Robot from Revell
The remote-controllable All Terrain Robot from Revell is a kit consisting of 153 parts (Photo: Revell – preliminary Illustration, final design may vary).

Construction kits for every age

Revell offers building fun for children aged four and up with its new “First Construction Sets”. Assembled from just a few parts, they are nevertheless designed to be quite robust. The spectrum ranges from a racing car with pullback motor to a fire brigade with a swivelling turntable ladder that can be extended to a length of 60 cm. The “easy-click” kit of the cutting-edge Audi e-tron GT electric sports saloon on a scale of 1:24, which can be assembled by children as young as 10, is not just for children over that age. With the new “Revell Engineers” product line, children from the age of eight –and also adults –can improve their tinkering skills and get a feel for technology. The “All Terrain Robot”, for example, consists of 153 plastic injection-moulded parts. Step by step, it can be assembled into a remote-controlled caterpillar vehicle with no less than six caterpillar tracks that can be used in three different modes of operation. In this kit, even the housing of the remote control transmitter has to be assembled. (Revell

video game racing car „Octane ZSR“ from Funrise
The well-known video game racing car “Octane ZSR” comes to life with radio remote control as well as light and smoke effects (Photo: Funrise)

Remote control speedster with smoke effects

Every now and then, larger remote control vehicles come equipped with new, more sophisticated functions. The “Shark Next Level Monster Truck” from Revell, for example, has a vaporiser function that, at the touch of a button on the remote control, creates atmospheric smoke when the tyres are spun. With a speed of up to 15 km/h, the 39 cm long speedster is probably more suitable for older children or adults. This is probably also the case with the “Octane ZSR Smoke RC” from Funrise, although it is made attractive to children as young as six. This off-road remote control racing car is actually mainly used in the virtual e-sports online video game world “Rocket League”. With it, the car football video game is now brought to real life, because the scope of delivery also includes the corresponding match ball and the packaging can be used as a goal. In the dark, LED headlights, tail lights and an underbody light provide atmosphere. In addition, a smoke boost function with light effect in the smoke can be activated via remote control – almost exactly like in the video game. (Funrise

The also very nippy customisable “Hexbug RC Race Cars” from Innovation First International have been virtually reinvented. The Hexmods Pro Series Elite Raceway kit consists of more than 150 parts for customising the body and chassis. Even the driving behaviour of the 20 cm long and more than 25 km/h fast speedster can be adjusted electronically. (Innovation First

Super Mario for the 1:32 slot car track from Carrera
Carrera has launched some new vehicles for the popular 1:32 slot car track, including Super Mario. (Photo: Carrera Toys)

Race track feeling

Racing cars are not only fun if they are radio controlled. After Carrera Toys marketed the popular Nintendo video game plumber Mario and the Japanese dino Yoshi in several remote control models and on the slot car track for young children, these vehicles now follow for the widely used “Carrera Digital 132” system. On this slot car system, up to 6 vehicles can be controlled simultaneously by players thanks to digital coding and they can also perform overtaking manoeuvres with the aid of lane-changing road elements. For die-hard slot car racing fans, the Porsche 935 GT2 comes in the variant as driven by American racing driver and photographer Jeff Zwart. To mark the 50th anniversary of Jägermeister’s involvement in motorsport, the Porsche 935 is also available as a K3 variant in a corresponding livery branding. (Carrera Toys

Hot Wheels race track from Mattel
Fun with cars in children's bedrooms with the Hot Wheels race track © Mattel

Fifty-four years after being invented, the classic Hot Wheels race track from Mattel is still around. With transparent track elements in rainbow colours and Mario Kart cars, new momentum has now entered children’s bedrooms. The 2.5 metre long and almost 70 cm high “Hot Wheels Mario Kart Rainbow Road Track” has five tracks with steep curves and a wave track. The finish gate with light and sound effects shows the winner’s lane on its display. (Mattel

Mirrors on the sidelines are used to direct the light to the solar cell of the racing car (Photo: ArtiBilim)

ArtiBilim Information and Education Technologies presents a completely different car racing set. The “Light’n Race” set is a combination of racing game and science experiment kit. It is based on small hybrid cars with solar cells. Acceleration is achieved with sunlight, which the players have to direct to the car’s solar cell via differently shaped mirrors (concave, flat, and convex) on racks at the edge of the track. Two LED projector lights are included for indoor use. (ArtiBilim Information and Education Technologies)  

1:32 team of combine harvester and grain header from Wiking
The 1:32 team of combine harvester and grain header is finely detailed and impressively long. (Photo: Wiking)

Tractors and construction site vehicles

In order to take a break from model car racing, many a car fan also puts agricultural or other kinds of vehicles in their display case. The 1:32 tractors from Wiking, for example, are fascinatingly detailed. Here, the Fendt 942 Vario and the Fendt 1050 Vario get an update with a very detailed cabin interior, which is supposed to correspond to the original driver’s workplace FendtONE. The new team of a modern Claas Trion 720 combine harvester and a Convio 1080 grain header is very impressive, with an overall length of around 80 centimetres. (Wiking

Less detailed, but still remote controllable are the tractors from Siku. The “Fendt 1167 Vario” crawler tractor was announced as a new development. Whether it’ll be delivered as early as 2022 is currently still uncertain. It can be operated either with a Bluetooth hand-held remote control or directly via an app. Even the tractor sound can be heard from the smartphone speaker. The revised 45 cm long “Liebherr Crawler Excavator R980 SME” will be available sooner. Until now, it had a conventional 2.4 GHz radio remote control, but will now come with Bluetooth technology and sound in the smartphone app. (Sieper

Friends of remote-controlled excavators can also look forward to the “RC Cat 336” from Diecast Masters in 1:24 scale. It comes with light and sound and can be recharged via a USB cable. The floor model of the Caterpillar Cat 323 excavator in 1:50 scale, for example, is packed in a chic tin box and comes with two buckets and three grabbers for the model’s quick-change arm. The Cat 797F mining truck is available on the same scale. (Diecast Masters

Clamp building block cars for adults

Naturally, the themes of construction sites and tractors also continue unabated in the Lego world with new products emerging from time to time. For children aged eight and over, the “Lego Technic” range now includes a 35 cm long team consisting of a John Deere 9620R tractor with articulated steering and a two-axle trailer. The current car highlight from Lego is not a tractor, however, but the 65 cm long McLaren Formula 1 racing car. Consisting of 1,432 parts, it is designed as a tribute to the racing car version of the 2022 season. Inside, there is even a replica of the V6 engine with moving pistons. (Lego

Tesla's Cybertrack from Mega and Mattel
The Tesla Cybertrack consists of 3283 parts and weighs 2.5 kg (Photo: Mega)

If you like things to be even more futuristic, you can build the “Tesla Cybertruck” out of 3,283 Mega/Mattel building block parts. It comes with adjustable suspension, movable tailgate, folding seats, movable doors and a functioning tarpaulin. The model, which weighs more than 2.5 kg and is around 50 cm long, is, in principle, intended for youngsters aged 14 and over, but is more likely to appeal to adult building block collectors and Tesla fans. (Mega / Mattel

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