For years, the Loyal Subjects (TLS) has done a stellar job of putting a unique, artistic spin on some classic pop culture brands. Under the Action Vinyls line, the crew at TLS has reimagined Masters of the Universe, Ghostbusters, and more, but what really caught my eye was how it handled two classic Hasbro properties: Transformers and G.I. Joe.
Leaning into the design aesthetics of the big head/small body combo that’s become popular in recent years, the figures are not just displayable, but playable as well — a factor that usually doesn’t surface much in the realm of vinyl figures. When the company revealed plans to work with Mattel on a Hot Wheels collaboration, my interest was certainly piqued.
Following months of teasing and some convention-exclusive reveals, I finally got my hands on a few samples from the Loyal Subjects x Hot Wheels collection. Unlike the figures for which TLS is known, the new range of vehicles might be something that sounded more appealing as a concept than as a reality.
At its core, the Hot Wheels brand is centered around 1:64-scale, die-cast vehicles. Millions of kids and collectors have fallen in love with the line since its debut in 1968 — and collectors can be a fickle bunch. The range from TLS is chunky, presented in a larger scale, and essentially made of hard plastic (not vinyl). The vehicles roll well and look great on display. But, if you already have the 1:64-scale Bone Speeder — a track-optimized version of legendary Hot Wheels designer Larry Wood’s Bone Shaker — will you need or want a version made by someone else?
Perhaps the fundamental challenge with TLS x Hot Wheels is that these are “designer” versions of another company’s designs — and we’re talking about Hot Wheels, where many of the designers have fanbases of their own.
It took me a while to figure it out, but from the moment I first cracked the packages, something about the TLS x Hot Wheels range seemed oddly familiar. By upscaling the Hot Wheels and presenting them in plastic with that tooned-out, chunky style, they feel like Fisher-Price Little People cars.
Photos: the Pop Insider