MGS, MPF Hot Wheels


From: ken.edgett@asu.edu (Ken Edgett)
Subject: MGS, MPF Hot Wheels
Date: Tue, 06 May 1997 10:26:21 -0700 (MST)


Dear Mars Educators--

It sounds to me like Lori Darter's student was VERY lucky
that he found the Mars spacecraft in his Toys R Us store.

I did some research this morning (i.e., I *want* these toys).

Here is what I learned:

There are 2 Mars toy sets and they are just now hitting the market---

(a) Action Pac containing several spacecraft (MGS, MPF): no. 16145

(b) 24-carat gold-plated Sojourner rover: no. 17897

They are being sold as Hot Wheels models, according to the Matell
Consumer Information Office.  (I didn't see them on the 
HotWheels web page, yet -- http://www.hotwheels.com/).

Both items sell for around $5 to $6 (but I bet they will rapidly become
collectors items, selling for much more than that-- you would do well
to keep them inside their original packaging).

I called Toys-R-Us here in the Phoenix, Arizona area.  They told me
that their stores on the east coast usually get stuff in earlier than
the west coast-- so these toys probably aren't in the stores int
the west, yet.

I asked Toys-R-Us if they could keep an eye out and set these items
aside for me, and they said no.  They get random shipments of stuff 
almost every day.  With luck, one of the shipments sometime in the next
few days will contain some of these Mars toys.  I was told that I'd have
to phone every morning to see if they came in.  Worse, the particular
store that I called said that they have about 10 hard-core Hot Wheels
collectors that come in to the store every morning when it opens, to
pick through all the new stuff.  

This is like trying to get a Tickle-Me-Elmo or something! It's nuts!

Matell told me that they are not allowed to sell these products 
directly (i.e., I wanted to just call and order them with a credit card).
They are bound by contract with the various stores that carry their
product--- these include Toys R Us, Kay Bee Toys, K-mart, Wallmart, and I
think Target.

Grrrrrr.  

In addition to the Mars spacecraft, I found an article on the Web that
said Matell is going to do a Cassini (saturn) spacecraft, and I think it
also said they would do the Stardust spacecraft (of which Challenger Center
is involved in their K-12 outreach).

If anyone finds a huge stash of these somewhere- I'd love to buy them.

Ken Edgett
Arizona State University