How Does Hot Wheels Turn a Real Car Into a Toy?
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Ever since they rolled into the scene in 1968, Hot Wheels have been a top-selling toy that pleases car enthusiasts and young automotive fans alike.
Hot Wheels die-cast cars are 1/64 models that recreate new and classic cars with stunning detail. The process of producing die-cast cars is highly advanced and even becoming more eco-friendly.
CNET went through the entire process of creating a Hot Wheels car from concept to final product. Turning a real car into a die-cast model is a technical process, but it also means playing with toys for a living.
Who knew making a Hot Wheels car was so complex?
Designing and modeling a Hot Wheels car
The specific Hot Wheels production that CNET observed began with a contest. This contest was a cross-country series of car shows that highlighted home-built cars.
A beautiful custom 1970 Pontiac Trans Am was the winner, and this meant that Hot Wheels made it into a die-cast model.
To create as accurate a replica as possible, the Hot Wheels team needed plenty of reference photos of the Trans Am. They then drew up sketches of the vehicle.
These sketches combine the authentic appearance of the reference car with the proportions needed for a Hot Wheels die-cast.
The final step of the design process is modeling the car, and this involves an impressive design technology known as digital clay.
With this, designers use a stylus to carve out a model in a digital space, and the stylus provides feedback to feel like you’re using real clay. The result of this is a full 3D model of the Pontiac Trans Am ready to be turned into a Hot Wheels.
Testing the new model
So far, the process of creating a Hot Wheels car has been very technical, but once there is a prototype ready, things get a lot more fun. To make sure that the new model can work with Hot Wheels tracks and fit alongside other Hot Wheels models, the next step is testing.
Yes, this means that the next step means getting paid to play with Hot Wheels, every kid’s dream come true.
Driving a dream car is the goal of most drivers, but getting paid to play with toy cars is good enough! To ensure that the car is worthy of the Hot Wheels name, each prototype goes through a series of test tracks with loops and other obstacles.
If the new Hot Wheels car does well on the test track, then that means that it is ready to go into production. If there are any issues with the tests, then the Hot Wheels team will go back to the design to work out any flaws. This will continue until there is a die-cast model ready for retail.
Where do the Hot Wheels get produced after this?
After the design has been finalized, then it is time for the Hot Wheels model to be mass-produced.
Production of the models goes from the Hot Wheels HQ in California to different production facilities overseas. Hot Wheels are made with a combination of zinc, aluminum, magnesium, and copper.
The paint details on Hot Wheels models are impressive, and this is the result of a process called pad printing. Silicone pads are pressed against the unpainted Hot Wheels to give them uniform, detailed paint schemes.
Once the paint is finished, the Hot Wheels car is ready to be packaged and sold. Each Hot Wheels model has a package made specifically for it, and this design is also done with digital clay.
When the vehicle is packaged, it is ready to be sold, and Hot Wheels has completely converted a real car into a toy.
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