Monday, October 29, 2012

Vanellope Von Schweetz racer toy review

So Wreck-It-Ralph opens in theaters this Friday, and I'm psyched! I found this little cutie at Wal-Mart today, oddly enough on the Bratz/Monster High aisle instead of on the display with the other WIR toys. Come to think of it, those other toys (Ralph and Felix figures, Ralph "Smashing" hands) had a different color scheme on their packaging. So.. we're making a distinction between 'Boys' and 'Girls' toys for the same line? Nice one Thinkway/Disney. Not.
So here we have a mini figure and kart based on female main character Vanellope Von Schweetz from the Sugar Rush game/world. The packaging notes that Vanellope fits in the kart.
Here's the back of the package, which notes various design elements of the kart and shows you a tiny preview of the other two figures in the series.

Let's play The Price is Right for a moment. What would you expect to pay for this mini figure and her kart? Vanellope stands about two and a half inches high. I was anticipating this being a $7.99 set, maybe $10 tops. My cash register receipt shows that they rang up as $13.95, though! Holy crackers, why so expensive? You can buy a very basic Monster High doll for that!

Here's Vanellope.She features three points of very basic articulation. I'm counting both her arms as a single point because they're joined together. You can sort of pull one side up higher than the other... sort of but not really.

Vanellope is very cute, with her Twizzler hair tie, candy sprinkled hair and mis-matched leggings. She sort of looks like a precocious little Candy Land orphan or something.

The drawbacks? Besides the disappointing articulation on her arms, her hip joint just *barely* moves. This means getting the hole in her feet to line up with the peg in her kart can be challenging. Additionally, Vanellope is so top-heavy that it's only with lots of trial and error and pure luck that will allow her to stand unassisted. Finally, her paint is rather rough in places.

Here's the kart, which seems to be a a chocolate-coated, sprinkle-bedazzled conglomeration. It's worth noting that unlike the other two karts shown on the back of the package, none of of the wheels on Vanellope's kart match up. The back wheels are oreo-lookalikes in vanilla and chocolate, and the fronts are.. well I'm not sure what they are. The left front looks like a lemon slice, and the right looks like a peppermint with an oddly-detailed picture of a strawberry on it. Christmas candy, maybe? The tires are gummy worms, according to the package, and the spoiler is a strawberry wafer. (Holy crap, I want to eat this car!)

"oof! I should nibble myself a door!"
The only thing I can think of to justify the crazy-high price tag on this set is the incredibly detailed go-kart. For the price tag, there's not a lot here. The kart is very nicely detail and looks utterly edible. (Make those oreo lookalikes matte-finished, and I would not be above considering licking this thing) It rolls very easily, too! The driver figure is very well sculpted, and has a nice level of detail, but the poor paint control and she leans forward like she's eagerly anticipating something when you can actually get her to stand.

Let's have a look at her in the kart, and and see how the full effect works out.

Okay, I've got to admit that's adorable.

Still, the peg and socket don't really line up, resulting in a rather loose fit. It doesn't take much of a jog to knock her clean out of the kart!

To sum up, I wouldn't really recommend this toy, even though the character is cute and the car toy looks utterly edible. It does a nice job of depicting the character and vehicle, if the commercials are anything to go by, but it's not really a $13.95 toy.

 Edit: Just to make this more puzzling, the Disney Store version of this toy that features additional sculpting on the car and a LOT of extra paint detail... plus a key-activated motion feature. 

It retails for $9.50. What the heck?

Bonus update:
I'm rerooting Giant Rapunzel using a tool and some saran I got on ebay. The color is a bit lighter than I was anticipating, so I've been supplementing the saran with the extremely nice hair from my extremely easily broken Midnight Magic (Monster High clone) doll. I'm sure the hair isn't the same type, but I'm hoping that gradually blending more and more of the saran in will result in something that looks okay. If not... well I guess I can yank it and start over with a hank of additional saran.


  1. I think you're the first person I've seen who reviewed the Thinkway Toys version of Vanellope and her kart. It looks like a mixed bag of a toy, with the proper-colored side-pipes, and raised gummi-worm treads.

    On my site, I reviewed the Disney Store Vanellope and King Candy racers. In the DS version, Vanellope doesn't so much sit in her kart as lean back on the seat.

    It feels like if both the Thinkway Toys and Disney Store karts could meet in the middle, we'd have the perfect kart.

    1. Thanks for commenting! Vanellope seems to have trouble taking her seat across the board. I was really stunned to see raised gummi worm tires on the Thinkway version and not the DS version. Comparing them, I think I like the DS version best, though.