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VINE VOICEon April 6, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Before I get into the particulars of this latest concept by Hot Wheels, I have to say I think this is a really great idea for the following reasons:
1) The Starter Set is affordable at $25, and is a great set to customize with future stunts and accessories.
2) There are plenty of add-on stunts and accessories at a variety of price points, starting as low as $5.
3) Everything is easy to put together (except maybe the stickers), and Hot Wheels has improved the way track fastens so that it stays together better.

The Starter Set includes the following items:
-The Tower
-8 x 1' straight track
-9 x 1.5' straight track
-8 x blue track connectors
-1 Hot Wheels car
-Ring of Fire track decoration
-Checkered Flag (drops the checkered flag on the winning car in side-by-side race)
-Plane launcher (as car passes underneath it will spring launch a small plane into the air)
-Stickers
-Instructions

Minor Add-on Packs: ($5 - $8 each)
-Workshop Straight Track Pack (4 x 1' pieces of track + 4 blue connectors)
-Hot Wheels Gift Pack (9 cars, start with this pack to increase your car count because you want at least 5 cars)
-Crossroad Crash (Provides a crossroad where traffic coming one way jumps over traffic coming the other way, connects to existing track in 4 places)
-Triple Blast Alley (straddles the track, 3 archways that launch signs about 6" into the air when a car passes under them)
-Rocket Launcher (cradles the track and launches a rocket about 1' in the air when a car passes through)

Major Add-on Packs: ($12 - $20 each)
-Daredevil Drop (Drops a car through a 3-way intersection, connects three ways to existing set, provides a 6th launch point)
-Quick Kick Loop (2 x 1' track, 2 blue connectors, rubber band powered kicker launches car through loop)
-Curve Pack (4 x 1' track, 2 x 9" track, 4 curve pieces, 8 blue connectors, 3-speed rubber band launcher)
-Digital Speedometer (3xAAA battery powered, attaches to track in two places and measures speed - Cool!)
-Launch Pack (4 x 1' track, 2 x 9" track, 6 blue connectors, 3-speed launcher, kicker launcher)

After working with the Starter Set and all of these add-on packs, I have the following bits of advice:
-Definitely buy the Hot Wheels Gift Pack (9 cars) -AND- at least 1 x Workshop Straight Track so you have more cars and more track
-The best add-on Stunts/Accessories are the Digital Speedometer, the Quick Kick Loop, the Rocket Launcher, the Crossroad Crash, and the Curve Pack.
-Definitely have someone who knows how to do a good job with stickers nearby, because every set/stunt/accessory has them
-You need an open space of 7' x 7' for the Starter Set alone, and it grows from there. If you live in a compact space, this set might not be for you. There are other Hot Wheels sets that are much more compact.

I highly recommend this Starter Set concept by Hot Wheels for the reasons I stated above. You can start small and grow the set into a really nice $150+ set that takes up an entire room and provides hours and hours of enjoyment.
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on March 18, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This set was a sure-fire hit with my elementary and preschool kids. They were very excited to put it together and to play with it. On a school day off because of snow, this was a great way to keep them occupied for the whole afternoon. Of course, parental supervision will be needed to help put the set together, but also to manage who's turn it is launch the cars as well as any "sibling-zilla" temptations.

With FIVE tracks/cars that launch simultaneously, be prepared for a lot of hot wheels fireworks. In fact, unless you're standing far away, there's no way that you're going to be able to see everything happen at once. The release lever launches all 5 cars at once; there are no individual levers to just launch one car at a time. Also, be prepared to really chase after these cars as 5 cars are going in 5 different directions at once. The top two tracks can easily launch cars a good 25+ feet on a smooth floor. The launching airplane can be adjusted to three angles and works well. The "circle of fire" is merely a cheap plastic ring. The Flag finisher works well and is accurate.

Build quality: So-so. The tower easily stands by itself, but it's made out of the same softy plastic that all the other pieces are made of. It would have been better to use a harder type of plastic, or metal rod, to withstand the inevitable abuse that the kids will dish out. I hope that the launch levers stay intact.

Accessories: Practically a requirement to have the most fun. By itself, the tower makes a great toy. Adding the accessories of course makes it even better. Just beware that this set could end up taking a lot of space, i.e. your entire living room, if you let it.

Here are some of the accessories that we have:
* Quick kick loop: Great, one of the best to get!
* Triple Blast Alley: okay
* Track essentials launch pack (2 launchers + straight tracks): Very worthwhile
* Track essentials curve pack: okay, essential if you want curves
* Crossroad crash: okay
* Daredevil Drop: Fun
* Digital speedometer: Optional
* Straight tracks: Essential
* Rocket launcher: lame

Kids comments: "Awesome!" "I like going down and drive!" "Go fast!"
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VINE VOICEon April 19, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is the 5 Lane Tower Starter Set. It works with most other hot wheels tracks and cars. My 9 year old daughter has always loved hot wheels. She loves to build different tracks. She tore into this starter kit and was able to build it all herself. She then used a bunch of the add-ons and built a mega hot wheels complex that takes up our entire front room. She was able to read the instructions and put the add-ons together as well. I played with her and we had a great time together. The first thing I noticed what that the track connector had been redesigned from when I was a kid and from what my older daughter had 10 years ago as well. The tracks now have little holes in the and the connectors small buttons. These keep the trick together after they easily snap in place. I was very impressed. Based on my experience this is fun for boys and girls of all ages. I had the older version as a kid and loved it. Still have fun today. My oldest daughter used to play and video tape her races. My younger daughter is playing right now as I type this. I don't see how you can go wrong.

Notes:
- One push of the plunger on the tower starts up to 5 cars at once.
- This is the starter kit. You keep adding on to make things bigger and better.
- Not as fun all by itself but is awesome with more track, cars, and add-ons.
- The purple track connectors are greatly improved. The tracks no longer pull apart
- We loved all the add-ons that we tried.
- Sturdy and very durable.
- The more add-ons and track you have, the more combinations you can create.

Add-ons:
Hot Wheels Track Builder Rocket Launcher Stunt Pack - Rocket launches into the air when a car passes. You reset it after.
Hot Wheels Track Builder Triple Blast Alley Stunt Pack - Three stations each launch a disk into the air as a car passes. You reset them after. One of our favorites.
Hot Wheels Track Builder Deluxe Daredevil Drop Stunt Set - A car drops from a high position after another car passes. It then races down a track.
Hot Wheels Track Builder Digital Speedometer Accessory - Digital readout tells the scale speed of the car that just passed
Hot Wheels Track Builder Deluxe Quick Kick Loop Stunt Set - My favorite. Rubber band assisted loop. Pushes the car around the loop after it enters. No more fails unless you forget to reset it.
Hot Wheels Track Builder Essentials Launch Pack - Rubber band powered car launcher. Pull back the hammer and then push the button to launch at high speed.
Hot Wheels Track Builder Crossroad Crash Stunt Pack - One car jumps over the others track.
Hot Wheels Track Builder Essentials Curve Pack - Curves and extra track.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon April 8, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Wow, Hot Wheels have come a long way since the chunky tracks of yesteryear.

This "starter kit" is really built around the tower, which allows you to set up and release five cars at the same time. The top-most two are side-by-side, allowing for racing which the kids enjoyed most of all. There's a flag-finish you can set up for these two tracks and whichever car goes through first wins, causing a gate to close on the other side and the losing car to crash. While this starter kit comes with just enough track to attach to each of the five starting positions, the lowest position is a pretty shallow drop and unless it's connected to a speed kicker, really doesn't have enough vim to accomplish most of the actions. The second-highest faces the opposite direction of the race start, so removing it made the complex take up much less space. The kids quickly eliminated those two starting positions and used their tracks for the main race. The other start position sits just below and counter-clockwise to the race start, and is where we connected the included rocket launcher.

Largely, the above makes a good drop-race track, but isn't amazing. By adding on pieces like the rocket launcher,loop, and drop-crash stunt the kids became much more engaged (see customer picture). Unless your home is far larger than ours (which, to be fair, it probably is), I'd definitely recommend getting the curve pieces, too, so the track doesn't consume your room. And, of course, some extra cars.

What's fantastic is the new track connectors, which are easily separated by pressing the blue tab in the center. This makes rearranging the track part much quicker and easier than the old slide-together tracks. Unfortunately the tabs are ONLY on the track connectors and not the core pieces (yet?), which sometimes serves to highlight how bad the old connections were when you try to swap track on a core component. The blue-tab is definitely the way of the future and I can't wait to see Mattel incorporate it on all track pieces.

Have fun!
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on January 10, 2014
Don't go thinking there are curves, loops, or a booster in this track pack, the picture on the front of the box is a lie :) There is a better picture of the included parts, it's the one that shows the tower and five straight tracks. Included in my box were five cars, nine long straight pieces, eight shorter straight pieces, the tower, the plane launcher, the finish line ( a little blue thing that indicates which car crossed the line first) a little yellow flame hoop, and, the worst part, only eight connecter pieces. The addition of curves plus a few more connecter pieces would have made this product likeable, instead of simply "ok" However, I won't need to buy straight pieces for a while, and the tower is a great place to gravity launch from if your house has a lack of places for a gravity clamp.
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This set is way better than the pictures lead you to believe - this is an awesome Hot Wheels set.

The box and product pictures are a little bit confusing - Mattel tends to include a bunch of other things that don't come in the box - loops, jumps, other cars. You get what looks like a simple set in this box. Don't be fooled thinking this is a simple set, there's a lot going on with this.

There are basically four levels to launch cars; the very top is a two lane track. You load the cars into each launcher and press the Hot Wheels sign on top. This releases all the cars at once. Yes cars drive off in four different directions, and if you don't put a box at the end of each track, cars will fly all over your house (even on carpet they roll a long ways). But hey, you knew that - this is Hot Wheels, cars are supposed to go everywhere.

I have to say, I'm impressed with the four different levels - they thought of four different kinds of racing. The two lane track is the classic flag finish, drag strip style track. In drag strip fashion, you figure out who has the fastest car. The flag doesn't always drop - that's just a simple do over, who really cares. There is a simple single piece of track where the car just runs down, yeah that's a little boring. The third track is a sort of jump through a ring of fire - the car does jump a little bit on exit.

The fourth level is by far the best thing I've seen in a long time - when the car hits the red target, a spring loaded rocket is launched. This is just so cool - I could play with that all day long.

There is one car in the box. Either you have a bunch of cars, or you can buy a nice assortment set. For an additional $9 you get nine more cars to play with this set. Hot Wheels 9-Car Gift Pack (Styles May Vary)

Assembly is pretty easy. Apply the terrible stickers first. Be careful because once they touch the plastic, they are attached and can't be repositioned. I'm fanatical about and really good at applying stickers; I messed up the Hot Wheels top sticker. The stickers are thin paper with a bit of gloss, and super sticky adhesive. The rest goes together quickly. You have to pay a little attention to the red pins and the direction of the launchers. Other than that, it really fit together well.

I figured this would be really tippy and cheap. In fact it is the opposite - if assembled correctly, it is pretty sturdy. The ramp heights are just about right for speed and fun.

This set is far better than the adventure or theme style boxes Matchbox is making (they are both owned by Mattel - so you can mostly think of these at the same company). Those are finicky to build and only do one or two things. This race car set has almost unlimited repeat play value to it.

I wouldn't recommend adding any of the stunt sets to this right away. Let your child play with this set exactly the way it is for a while. There is a lot of imagination packed in this box. The stunt sets are nice, but just not really necessary at first.

Hot Wheels is finally making race car sets like they did back in the 60s and 70s - well built, solid connectors, and tons of imagination play.
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VINE VOICEon April 4, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
My son is a huge Hot Wheels fan so I was really excited to give him this for his birthday. I had also picked up numerous other addon sets from the new Track Builder series, which was quite a challenge because they are pretty hard to find right now, with good reason. This base set gives you a launch point for up to 5 cars, letting you start off a chain reaction on each track. One track launches a rocket, another flips a flag to show which car crossed the finish line first, and one is just a simple fire ring the cars race through. The lever at the top launches all cars at once, so it can be pretty fun to see them all go.

The true beauty in the Track Builder series is all the addon parts you can buy. You don't even necessarily need this base set, but you do get quite a lot of track with this set in addition to the new connector system. The old Hot Wheels connectors were just flat plastic pieces with little nubs to hold the tracks together. They always held together well, but they were sometimes really challenging for kids (and sometimes adults!) to pull apart. Now these connector pieces have little buttons you can depress to make the tracks much easier to separate.

The addon parts range from $5 to $10, with one set being $15. The $5 pieces offer a range of jumps and stunts that can be added to ANY Hot Wheels track that you own. The $10 sets include a real working digital speedometer that clocks the car's speed as it zooms past and a booster powered loop, among others. I can't tell you how much fun we had ranking all our cars by speed and giving out awards to our top speeders. The $15 set is a standalone booster that can be used anywhere in your setup. These were very hard to find at regular price, but when I found them, I picked up a couple for my son and he has had an absolute blast creating his very own tracks.

My long-lived gripe about Hot Wheels tracks is that they are very often big and always hard to store, but my biggest complaint is that they just don't work together with other sets. At all. The vast majority of sets have no way to connect to another track at all and it makes play very straight forward with no room for imagination. The new Track Builders series has all kinds of neat gadgets and track pieces that allow you to create whatever you want, and the power boosters are a big part of this. The best part is, I can toss all the Track Builders pieces in a bin and not have to worry about not knowing how to put them back together because they can be put together in any way that you can imagine. This is absolutely my favorite set Hot Wheels has ever come up with and we are on the hunt to find all the different addons to expand our fun and play.
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on May 14, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
WOW i felt like i was 5 years old again.

I cannot begin to explain how much fun me and my grandson had with this track.
I made it a point to set it up before he came home from kindergarten and you should've seen how big his eyes got when he walked through the front door.

And even know I set it up, within minutes he was taking it apart and and put it back together in different styles and shapes. It was extremely easy and kid friendly to take apart put together and change around.

Keep in mind I had that starter pack with a lot of the extras. And the one thing I wish I bought more of where the curves. You really want to buy a couple extra packs of those.

Another thing to keep in mind is this takes A LOT of room. I literally moved the dining-room table out of the dining room to set it up.
Personally I think it was worth it and I would've kept it up for a month but my wife had different plans. so I packed it up and send it to his parents house where they do have a lot of extra room. And I'm very jealous that it's over at their house instead of my house.

If you don't have a five-year-old handy borrow one so you have an excuse to buy this. It is a blast. We had countless hours of fun with it and plenty more to come.
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Another fun toy from HotWheels! I've included a short video that shows all the components that come with the kit. The video also shows it in action!

The kit comes with one car and just enough track to utilize all five lanes. However, the real fun is to have all five lanes going at the same time and for that you will need 4 more cars. Fortunately, most people with young kids (especially boys) have extra cars around and possibly some track as well! If not, you can buy a wide variety of items (track, jumps, rocket launchers, curves, loops, digital speedometer, daredevil drop, etc.) that work well with this set. Keep in mind the more items you add, the more room you will need. The basic set, as shown in the video, is about 6 x 8 feet.

The total height is 21" with the top lane at 19". However, placing this on top of a small table will increase the height and therefore the speed which will ramp things up quite a bit. I definitely would add more track if you do this.

Overall, a fun toy with LOTS of potential for additions. And . . . it uses gravity instead of batteries!!!!
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VINE VOICEon April 12, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This track starter set is easy to assemble and fun to play with. It is even better when you add some of the accessories that are available. The boys set this up quickly and had cars going everywhere. In addition to the cars shooting down the tracks, a rocket and a plane launched. What fun! It is a great toy for several kids to play with at one time. After playing with the basic set, we added the speedometer, which I think is their favorite part. The boys claim we had a car moving at 584 mph! Another must have part is a launcher. The Quick Kick Loop gives cars a boost of speed and is great fun to watch.

You can set this up any way you like and change it and try new things everytime you play with it. You do need quite a large area to play with this. I think it is the best race set we have ever had.
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