Skip
Current Issue
This Month's Print Issue

Follow Fast Company

We’ll come to you.

3 minute read

Creation Stories

How Mattel Created a Life-Sized Hot Wheels X-Wing Racer For San Diego Comic Con

Building a race car that looks like an X-Wing fighter is hard enough. But one that "looks awesome and performs great"? Even harder.

  • <p>The life-size X-Wing carship in action.</p>
  • <p>Mattel worked with California's Action Vehicle Engineering to create the Star Wars racing car.</p>
  • <p>Engineers and designers had to figure out how to turn a 1:64 scale die cast car based on a spaceship in a science fiction movie into a IRL car.</p>
  • <p>The finished X-Wing car will be shown to visitors at San Diego Comic Con.</p>
  • <p>Designing the X-Wing racing car was a long and complicated process.</p>
  • <p>Mattel has previously worked on functioning Star Wars cars based on their Hot Wheels line, including a Darth Vader-mobile several years ago.</p>
  • 01 /06

    The life-size X-Wing carship in action.

  • 02 /06

    Mattel worked with California's Action Vehicle Engineering to create the Star Wars racing car.

  • 03 /06

    Engineers and designers had to figure out how to turn a 1:64 scale die cast car based on a spaceship in a science fiction movie into a IRL car.

  • 04 /06

    The finished X-Wing car will be shown to visitors at San Diego Comic Con.

  • 05 /06

    Designing the X-Wing racing car was a long and complicated process.

  • 06 /06

    Mattel has previously worked on functioning Star Wars cars based on their Hot Wheels line, including a Darth Vader-mobile several years ago.

Visitors to the San Diego Comic Con will see lots of spectacles, many of them unusual. But there’s only one giant-sized racing car made up to look like a Star Wars X-Wing. The vehicle, the X-Wing Carship, is the result of a collaboration between Mattel’s Hot Wheels brand and Lucasfilm, and has an amazing downforce of 950 pounds at 165 mph.

Dmitriy Shakhmatov is the Hot Wheels designer behind the vehicle. The car, which took over a year to commission, design and build, is based on a die-cast X-Wing car that’s part of the toy giant’s "Carships" line. Speaking to Shakhmatov, he raved about a recent occasion where he got to do something very few people do—test a race car shaped like an X-Wing fighter at a race track—he proudly noted how it "Looks awesome and performs great."

Working with a partner called Action Vehicle Engineering (who previously collaborated with Hot Wheels on a 150 mph Darth Vader car), the construction process after design took place over a period of months. The process involved constant iteration and development to create a functioning car that looks like a X-Wing fighter and resembles a die-cast collectible. That’s no mean feat.

Matt Brutocao, the Director of Global Brand Marketing for Hot Wheels, told Co.Create that a big part of the challenge was the fact that a full-size car looks different from a die-cast toy blown up to true scale. "There are a lot of adjustments for reality like fitting a driver and engine and brake system in, but our Hot Wheel designers have experience in the actual auto industry and in car design going in," he explained. The fact that the racing car is also designed to be an X-Wing only complicated the task.

Shakhmatov added that Hot Wheels toys are built at a 1:64 scale, and that building a functioning X-Wing race car based on a Hot Wheels toy was a complicated task because of that. "1:64 eliminates certain elements of a car to make it more appealing to consumers, so there were lots of changes that needed to be made to the full-size car to make it look good and perform well."

Speaking with Hot Wheels, I was curious how new die-cast cars like the toy version of the X-Wing are created. In the case of the X-Wing, Mattel works closely with Lucasfilm on product development. A concept sketch of a car is created, and then CAD software is used to create a sculpt which includes actual dimensions of the die-cast video. From there, the company works on an engineering process to make sure the car has Hot Wheels-worthy performance specs: For instance, being able to do loops on a Hot Wheels track. In the case of the Star Wars toys, modifications are made to adhere to the movie series’ mythos while also creating a Hot Wheels product: The X-Wing toy, for instance, has extra racing stripes on it that didn’t appear on the cinematic spaceship.

Of course, Mattel isn’t just bringing a X-Wing racing car to San Diego Comic Con for the fun of it. The company has had a longstanding licensing arrangement with Disney, and an agreement with Lucasfilm to create Star Wars-related toys since 2014. Star Wars-themed toys are lucrative for Mattel: The company has an entire Star Wars product line.

Brutocao notes that the car is the closest things its drivers will every experience to actually piloting a real X-Wing through space, given the fact that the car can travel at a top speed of 180 mph and features a 175 hp Ford Zetec race motor. However, the vehicle was transported to San Diego in a special Hot Wheels trailer rather than being driven down.

Star Wars fans can check out the life-size X-Wing Hot Wheel at Mattel’s booth at the San Diego Comic Con from July 21 until July 24.

Slideshow Credits: 01 / Photos: courtesy of Lucasfilms, Mattel;

loading