Knock on wood

07 February 2022
Finding a ‘wooden’ model on a diecast hunt
Knock on wood Images

It might look like carved wood, but this recent Hot Wheels model is actually a normal die-cast. It certainly caught my eye on a recent model hunt, and I snapped it up. So what is the story behind this strange little fellow?

Pixar (now owned by Disney) has been making computer animated movies since 1995 – Toy Story being its first feature film. A delivery truck, from the fictional Pizza Planet chain, appears in the movie - and it has made at least a cameo appearance in most Pixar movies ever since. It was even seen in Brave (2012), despite the fact that the film is set in medieval Scotland. The truck appears as a small, wooden replica on the workbench of the witch in the film, who also likes wood carving. Clearly, being a witch, she can see into the future, and was therefore able to carve an accurate model of the truck.

Hot Wheels released a model of the regular Pizza Planet Truck as part of its premium Replica Entertainment line (devoted mainly to film and TV models) in 2019, and again in 2020 (see the page opposite). Several batches, usually five models to a batch, are released each year. The initial version was in the standard Pizza Planet colour scheme of yellow with a white rear body, a red and white rocket atop the cab, and a weathered finish. Being part of the Replica Entertainment range, the model has both a metal body, and metal baseplate; detailed Real Rider wheels; and extensive tampo printing. It is also considerably more expensive than regular Hot Wheels mainline models.

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The Brave version is part of the 2021 range. The card shows a scene from the film, with the witch working on a carving, with the Pizza Planet truck by her side – proving that the model is screen-accurate. The copyright date on the back of the card is 2020.

The model itself has been given a beautiful, and very realistic 'wooden' finish, so it matches the carving seen in the film. The overall finish is a light, golden brown, with darker brown lines representing the grain of the wood. This covers the whole of the model, including the windows, and even the baseplate. The plastic tyres and wheel centres are a matching golden brown. There are no markings other than the wood grain.

Overall length is 69 mm, and it weighs an impressive 60 grams. Baseplate markings include the name Pizza Planet Truck, © Disney/Pixar, © 2018 Mattel, the Hot Wheels ribbon, and “made in THAILAND”.

The Pizza Planet Truck also appeared in the animated movie Cars (2006) and its sequels, the truck being named Todd. Mattel produced a die-cast model of this version in its Cars range. These are sold as Disney/Pixar models, with only a discrete Mattel name on the cards - they are not Hot Wheels models. There have been a number of other toy versions of the truck, in different sizes, often in plastic. A cracking little model, and great fun.