King of the Seven Seas

25 January 2023
We take a look at the Hot Wheels models based on the film adaptation of Aquaman...
King of the Seven Seas Images

Aquaman is one of the world's oldest superheroes, having been patrolling the oceans since his first appearance in More Fun Comics #72 in 1941. He is one of only five heroes to have been in print constantly since the 1940s to the present (the others being Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Arrow – six if you include Robin), unlike others such as Captain America and Green Lantern who were discontinued during the late 1940s and revived in the '60s. Initially a back-up feature in anthology comics, Aquaman was given his own comic in 1962 which ran for several years. The longer stories allowed his character to develop, and instead of fighting mostly smugglers and pirates, he gained a range of super-foes that included Black Manta, the Fisherman, Ocean Master and the Scavenger. He also teamed up with a young partner called Aqualad.

Aquaman is Arthur Curry, the son of a lighthouse keeper and an exiled princess from Atlantis. Although his mother later died, Arthur discovered he had inherited several of her Atlantean abilities, including being able to breathe underwater, and to speak with sea creatures by telepathy. Aquaman travelled to Atlantis to discover his heritage, and later became king. After meeting Mera, an Atlantean princess, he was the first major superhero to get married, and later had a son (although the boy was killed by Black Manta). In the 1990s, Aquaman abdicated from the throne, and got a new look, with a Viking-like beard, no shirt, and a cybernetic hook replacing a hand he had lost in battle.

Aquaman is a character well-known to the general public, as he had his own cartoon series during the 1960s, and featured in the animated Super Friends show for many years. He was a founding member of DC’s flagship team Justice League of America which ran for decades. However, he has often been a subject of satire due to his inherent weakness of not being able to survive out of water for more than an hour.

Aquaman the movie star

Aquaman made his big-screen debut in the 2017 film Justice League, and was spun off into his own feature, simply entitled Aquaman, the following year. The title character was portrayed by rugged Hawaiian actor, Jason Momoa, in a story that stuck very closely to his origin story, but without the ‘one hour out of water’ limitation. The action-packed film proved very popular, and became one of the highest-grossing films of 2018. In the film two unusual undersea vehicles were used; a weird, fish-like Atlantean craft piloted by Mera (Amber Heard), and a ray-shaped submarine used by the villainous Black Manta.

The film received praise for its visual effects, production design, action sequences, and Momoa's performance, while being criticised for its script, dialogue, and story. A sequel, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, is currently in post-production and is scheduled to be released in December 2023.

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Hot Wheels Replica Entertainment

Both of the ships were modelled by Hot Wheels as part of its Replica Entertainment series, also known as Hot Wheels Premium. This was a range of models based on TV, film and comic book properties to which Mattel has the licence. The models were the same size as regular Hot Wheels models but made to a much higher standard, with metal bodies and bases, upgraded wheels and better finish and decorations. Some models were based on existing Hot Wheels models, while others were brand new castings. The models were released in ‘waves’ of usually six items – some were themed groups based on one particular franchise, while other waves contained assorted models from different franchises.

In 2018, Hot Wheels released a wave based on DC Comics movie-related vehicles. Four of the models were based on Batman films, and were not new castings. However, the other two models were based on the craft seen in Aquaman, which were the first ever accurate diecast models based on the character.

Mera Ship

Although Atlanteans are incredible swimmers, when travelling long distances they often use submarine-like vehicles. When Mera rescues Arthur after his imprisonment by Ocean Master, they escape in a very unusual craft. Presumably influenced by the fish that inhabit their world, the Atlantean ship is fish-shaped, and is propelled and steered by fins. The ship has a very organic look about it, and can travel through water at very high speed.

The Hot Wheels model has diecast upper and lower sections, which are finished in a metallic copper colour. The upper half includes the cockpit which is covered by a grey-tinted canopy. The spindly fins are moulded from copper-coloured plastic, and have light blue painted tips. A pair of canards are fitted at front, and there is a pair of turbine engines fitted to the rear.

Black Manta submarine

Black Manta was created in 1967, and is probably Aquaman’s most hated foe, having murdered his son, Arthur Jr. He is a brutal underwater-based mercenary who travels around in a high-tech submarine shaped like a manta ray. In the film he was played by Yahya Abdul-Mateen, and looked very much like his comic book counterpart. A particularly exciting scene saw Aquaman and Manta involved in a savage fight in a Sicilian village.

As in the comic, Manta travelled around in a black submarine based on the form of a manta ray. The Replica Entertainment model is kite-shaped, and unusually wide for a Hot Wheels vehicle. The upper shell and lower wings are diecast metal and painted satin black, with a black plastic part in-between that incorporates the upper hatch and engines. The narrow windshield is made in translucent red plastic, and the engine intakes are painted red. There are gaps between the upper and lower wings, and a stinger is moulded in the ‘tail’.


Both models were packaged in blister cards with the Aquaman movie logo. Included in each pack was a clear plastic stand, which also bears the film logo. Hot Wheels Replica Entertainment models are not widely available in the UK, but are certainly worth finding if you are an Aqua-fan or superhero fan in general, as they are the only decent Aquaman models produced to date.