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Review of Lights and Sounds McQueen, McMissile, Holly, Francesco
Cars 2 die cast vehicles - Target Exclusive

Mattel
Date Published:
Written By:
Overall Average Rating: 3.5 out of 4

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Lights and Sounds Cars 2 die cast vehicles by Mattel

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Introduction

When it comes to big summer movies, the merchandise has been a little light at the local stores.  Pirates of the Caribbean got things started, but the amount of toys filled an end cap at best. Thor did a little better, and the toys seem to be moving pretty well. But finding Green Lantern goodies has been hit or miss, and the toys for Captain America have barely shown up, even after their supposed street date.

The big exception to this trickle of merchandise has been Cars 2 - there's not just a steady down pour, there's a full on monsoon. I've always been a completist (or as best I could be) with the 1/55th scale regular cars, and I've already added 31 new ones to the collection this week. There's still two more I need to pick up that I know of, and a quick scan of the movie credits shows at least 8 more that are likely to hit soon. Of course, then there are the multiple versions of the main characters (I already have three versions of Finn, not including the Light and Sound version I'm reviewing here), and you realize that your own personal World of Cars is going to grow exponentially over the next few weeks.

There's a ton of exclusives with this initial release too, and just about every retailer has some sort of special boxed set. This four pack is exclusive to Target, and includes Lightning McQueen, Finn McMissile, Francesco Bernoulli, and Holly Shftwell. There's a fifth Lights and Sounds car already available on the single card - Mater, of course. The four pack is $35, while the singles run $10 at most stores. You can find the singles of these four, along with Mater, at just about any retailer.

I figured the Lights and Sounds versions were worth a review, since the feature is new, and it was important to determine if these cars were in scale with the others. I was able to avoid the whole silly moving eyes series, but when I was looking at these on the shelf, I wasn't sure if I could do the same with this new line.

I've included comparison photos below of the regular release and light and sounds release of each of the four cars. I assumed that the cars were identical with the exception of the action feature - I was very wrong. In all four photos, the light and sound car is on the left, the regular on the right.

Lights and Sounds Cars 2 die cast vehicles by Mattel

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Packaging - ***1/2
The Cars multi-packs are usually well done, showing off the vehicles in a race setting. That's true here once again, and the try me feature is also included. You can reach through the hole and activate either Lightning or Francesco. I suppose if you had freaky E.T. fingers, you could reach the two in back as well.

The package is also somewhat collector friendly. You can slide out the interior tray with the cool race track graphics (perhaps to use it as part of your display) without damaging it, and take the cars off just by untying the string ties. Yep, that's right - no metal/plastic twisties here, just thick string. I like these much, much better, since they are a) better for the environment and b) easier to remove.

My one issue with the boxes is that almost all of them I've seen have been crushed in some way. I'm not sure if it's a problem with how the package was designed to fit inside the shipping box, or something about the movie that causes store employees to involuntarily squeeze them a bit too tight, but either way there was clearly an issue. MIBers may find getting a perfect one a bit more difficult than usual.

Lights and Sounds Cars 2 die cast vehicles by Mattel

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Sculpting - ***1/2
The first and most important question (at least for me) was are these in proper scale with the rest of the series. The answer to that is a solid Yes. It might look like one is slightly smaller or larger than the other in the photos, but that's merely a matter of photographic perspective, with one glaring exception. More on that in a minute.

Finn, Lightning and Holly all appear to use the same basic body as their regular counterpart. Any real difference from the front bumper back (and there are some) are done with paint work or color, rather than sculpt.

The big surprise, at least for me, was that the sculpts were not identical. Since they had to create new front bumpers with clear lens for the headlights, they did some additional work as well.

Holly, Finn and Lightning all have new smiles, and these are sculpted in, not just painted. It makes sense too, since they are all open mouth sculpts, which mimics the talking nature of these variants.

Holly's changes also brought to my attention something I hadn't noticed about the regular version - her lips aren't painted! They are sculpted, but there's no lipstick...now I'm keeping my eyes out to see if there's a variation.

Back to the Cars at hand - while those three have new front bumpers, the car with the biggest difference is Francesco. The talking version has an identical sculpt to the regular version but is about 20% larger overall. Isn't that weird? I'm betting that the chassis on the regular Francesco was just to skinny to house all the electronics for the light and sound effects, but there's another plus to this - I think the larger version looks much more in scale next to Lightning. I've included a photo with the regular McQueen and Bernoulli on the left, and the talking versions on the right. I prefer the larger Francesco, but your mileage (pun intended) may vary.

And if you were wondering about actual scale, these are claimed to be 1/55th. Remember, it depends on how big these cars would be in real life, and since they don't actually exist in real life, it's a bit of an approximation. For comparison, Hot Wheels are 1/64th. I've included a shot with the Hot Wheels Delorean and Ghostbusters vehicle.

Lights and Sounds Cars 2 die cast vehicles by Mattel

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Paint - ***1/2
These are die cast cars, and the paint work is extremely clean and bright on the underlying metal (and plastic). There's very little slop, and the various tampos are cleanly applied.

There are paint changes on some of these Cars to go along with the sculpt changes. For example, regular McQueen has clear smoky windows, while the talking version has painted glass. That's probably to hide the internal workings. McQueen's eyes are different as well, with the one 'eyebrow' lifted higher.

The eyes are ever so slightly different on the other three as well, but it's not quite as obvious.

Lights and Sounds Cars 2 die cast vehicles by Mattel

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Sound Feature - ****
These cars feature a cleverly hidden button - for Holly, Lightning and Finn, it's their back window, and for Francesco, it's his 'head'. Press down and you activate both the light and sound feature.

Unlike some overpriced larger figures where you might get a couple sounds, here you get a bunch right from the film, all played loudly and fairly clearly through the speaker on the bottom. The lines I heard were:

Holly (8) - engine noises; "Sir if I've got this right, you want me to have fun"; squealing tires; "Keep the device safe, we'll be in touch"; "This area may be compromised"; "He activated his tracking beacon"; "We'll rendezvous then"; "Our rendezvous has been jeopardized"

Lightning (11) - "Go, Go, Go!"; "Nice to meet you"; "Get ready to do some serious tractor tipping"; "Yea!"; "See you soon, amigo!"; squealing tires; engine noises; "Oh, you don't know how happy I am to see you"; something in Japanese; "I'm so glad you're hear"; "Mater was telling the truth!"

Finn (9) - "Those cars drive angry"; "A spy never gives up his sources"; "Time is of the essence"; "This American is clearly a master spy"; When a spy stands out, they're made, captured and killed"; "I'm looking for a car'; "Finn McMissile, British Intelligence"; "Very clever cover by the way, Team McQueen, marvelous!"; "Brilliant!"

Francesco (6) - "I can go over 300 km an hour"; "See you at the finish line, McQueen!"; "Francesco always wins"; "The Lightning McQueen would not have a chance against Francesco"; "Ciao, McQueen!"; "I dedicate my win, tomorrow, to Miss Sally"

I can't guarantee that this is all they say, since they rotate through the lines randomly, and after awhile my patience wore out. These are the ones I did hear though, and clearly they've given us quite a selection.

Light Feature - ****
Pressing the button also activates the light feature, their headlights. The headlights are quite bright, and they blink in time to the line being said. If you hold the button down for a couple seconds, they stay lit, and remain on for about 5 seconds or so.

Lights and Sounds Cars 2 die cast vehicles by Mattel

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Fun Factor - ****
There's a good reason the Cars merchandise has done so well over the years, while the movie ins not Pixar's best. The die cast vehicles are terrific, and a ton of fun for any younger kids.  Just like Hot Wheels, kids can never get enough of small vehicles, and this sort of toy has little competition from the video game market.

Lights and Sounds Cars 2 die cast vehicles by Mattel

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Value - **1/2
This four pack cost $35, making each vehicle $8.75. The regular cars are $4, and have been for a long time - which is too expensive. However, the light and sounds feature is very well done, and includes the small watch batteries necessary. They are die cast, and high quality - the four pack price is decent. However, if you end up paying $10 each for these (the going rate for the singles), I'd drop the score another half star here. Smart completists will pick up this four pack and then only pay the higher price for Mater.

Lights and Sounds Cars 2 die cast vehicles by Mattel

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Things to Watch Out For -
Not a thing.

Lights and Sounds Cars 2 die cast vehicles by Mattel

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Overall - ***1/2
At the beginning of the review, I mentioned that I skipped the entire goofy moving eyes series of Cars. I figured they were just the same as the regular ones with the exception of the eyes, and that wasn't enough to suck me in. But what about adding the Lights and Sounds?

Well, these Cars have more than just the lights and sounds to differentiate them from the others. With slightly different sculpts and paint but being in the same scale, I know I'm going to pick them all up. The fact that the action figure is pretty damn cool only confirms that I need them - I'm betting a lot of other Cars collectors (and kids) are going to feel the same.

I have to admit to a mighty soft spot in my heart for the Cars toys in general, and this is one of those all too rare occasions when the latest 'gimmick' actually turns out to be pretty damn cool.

Score Recap (out of ****):
Packaging - ***1/2
Sculpting - ***1/2
Paint - ***1/2
Sound Feature - ****
Light Up Feature - ****
Fun Factor - ****
Value - **1/2
Overall - ***1/2

Lights and Sounds Cars 2 die cast vehicles by Mattel

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Where to Buy 
This is a Target exclusive, so that's your best bet right now. It shouldn't be any trouble finding them either - there's no shortage of Cars 2 stock on the shelves right now.

Related Links -
Other reviews include:

- Back in the day, I covered the original line of basic cars in this scale.

- I've also checked out the 1/24th Doc Hudson, one of three larger die cast cars released by Matty Collector.

You should also hit the Search Reviews page, in case any other applicable reviews were done after this one was published.

Discussion:
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Lights and Sounds Cars 2 die cast vehicles by Mattel

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This product was purchased for the review by the reviewer. Photos and text by Michael Crawford.

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