Hot Wheels for the blind

09 June 2023
We get our hands on the cool new issue from Mattel

At the beginning of the year, Mattel released a version of the classic Hot Wheels Twin Mill casting featuring braille dots over the body and base, in partnership with the National Federation of the Blind, promoting an inclusive play experience. It is now finding its way into UK toy stores, supermarkets and specialist retailers.

Officially named as “HW BRAILLE RACER – TWIN MILL”, this is technically a new (adapted) casting, as it has its own page at Hot Wheels Wiki Fandom – The design is accredited to Fraser Campbell and it comes in at No 85/250 of the 2023 Mainline series, and is 4/5 of the 2023 Experimotors group.

The car is presented in an all-white finish – even the wheels and tyres are too, separated only by a thin dark grey trim line. Apart from the raised braille dots, the only visual decoration it has is a pair of dark grey racing stripes. The braille on either side of the car spells “Twin” on one and “Mill” on the other. Underneath, is “Hot Wheels” and to the rear is “#68” (a nod to 1968 - the year of the original casting release). Even the blister pack features braille, with “Hot Wheels Twin Mill” split over two lines. All translations use ‘contracted’ braille.

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Not content with this ground-breaking release in white, Mattel is to produce a second version with a plain, unpainted Zamac upper body (but again with the dark grey striping) and chrome-effect plastic base and engine detail. This release has been confirmed but, because it will have the same range and sub-group numbering, it is unclear as to whether this is a ‘chase’ (rare) version, or a later-year release. Although the lack of sightings ‘in the wild’, either in the shops or on ebay, point to the latter being the case here.

This isn’t the first time that Mattel has teamed up with the National Federation of the Blind – in 2019, the company’s legendary UNO card game appeared in a special version, with braille on every one of the 112 cards in the deck as well as the packaging.  This all makes it easier for blind and partially-sighted players to join in the fun.

This has caused quite a stir amongst Hot Wheels collectors and it will be interesting to see if any further castings featuring braille will be forthcoming in future years, but it is definitely a step in the right direction for inclusivity. I love this and will definitely be up for collecting more if Mattel continue this excellent initiative.