Following up from our recent chats with Thumbs Up UK Ltd (Light-up T-Shirts and USB Key rings), Winning Moves (Top Trumps), Panini, Paramount UK, Glu Mobile and some other UK Transformers license holders, I spoke with Scalextric brand manager Paul Chandler earlier today in regards to their upcoming Transformers Movie licensed Scalextric racing set. The Transformers Scalextric set first came into the public eye at the British Toy and Hobby fair in January even though it was not officially shown at the event. Since then no further information has become available, that is until this article.
I'd like to thank Paul for taking the time to speak to me and answer as many of my questions as he could.
Transformers At The Moon: Do Hornby Hobbies hold a general Transformers brand license, or one specifically for the upcoming live action Transformers Movie?
Paul: The license is specifically for the Movie.
Transformers At The Moon: How near to completion is the Transformers racing set?
Paul: Very near, the set will be released in early June, so within plenty of time before the Movie is released
Transformers At The Moon: Has a price point been fixed yet for the set?
Paul: Yes, the set will be a 1:64 scale set, as I say due out in June and with a RRP of gbp 39.99
Transformers At The Moon: Will the set be released generally or only through specialist hobby stores and the Internet?
Paul: Generally available through our normal stockists
Transformers At The Moon: Will the set be released internationally or just within the UK and Ireland?
Transformers At The Moon: Are Hornby working on any other Transformers related products, or just this racing set?
Paul: Just this set, we're looking at perhaps others next year but we'll see.
Transformers At The Moon: Are there any Transformers fans at Hornby?
Paul: Yes, we all remember Transformers fondly and, of course, our Chief Executive is Frank Martin who was at Hasbro when Transformers started so he knows the product well.
Transformers At The Moon: Hey readers, if you weren't aware Frank Martin helped Hasbro Inc launch both Transformers and My Little Pony into the UK market back in the 1980s. Now back to the questions.
Transformers At The Moon: I understand that the cars will be based on Bumblebee and Barricade, is this correct?
Paul: Yes, that that is correct, from what I understand they are the two main characters in the film.
Transformers At The Moon: In the movie Bumblebee has two forms, a vintage Chevolet Camaro and the 2008-2008 model. Which version did you use in set?
Paul: The vintage mold.
Transformers At The Moon: Really? I was expecting you to say the newer one. Will any other cars be released for the set?
Paul: No, we really want to concentrate on the set as a whole.
Transformers At The Moon: What type of track layout will the set contain? Wil it ben an oval ciruit? A figure-of-eight or another type of layout?
Paul: That's a bit hard to describe. There are three set pieces with the set, hair pin bends, a chicane area and what we call an island hazard where the road splits in two directions.
Transformers At The Moon: I understand that the cars will transform, do you remember the 1980s Transformers racing track from Tyco, in that the front fo the cars would flip up to show the robot mode, is it something like this or something else?
Paul: Yes very simliar. the cars have to be lifted of the track then, as you say, the front of the car lifts up, the ams can move out and the head is flicked up.
Transformers At The Moon: Are there any images of the set that you can show me?
Paul: There are images, but none that can be shown yet. Hasbro like to keep as many of their products underwraps, so we have to be very careful with what images are shown and used.
Transformers At The Moon: Was the decision to release a Transformers set purely a commerical decision or had there been a large amount of interest shown by fans and collectors of the Scalextric brand?
Paul: We look at which licenses are going to be big each yeah, and in 2007 Transformers is expected to be the biggest, and is up their with some others, so we were always likely to be interested. Then there is the connection we have with Hasbro alredy with Frank, he obviously knows Transformers well and expects it to be a success and was keen on producing the set.
Transformers At The Moon: What was the hardest thing about producing a Transformers racing set as oppose to releasing your normal sets?
Paul: The transforming feature was probably the most challenging for our design and product teams, though working closely with Hasbro I think we've managed to crack that quiet well. We tried to put in a lot of detail with the set.
Once again I'd like to thank Paul for taking the time to speak to me today, and on behalf of Transformers At The Moon, I'd like to wish Hornby all the best with the set.