Model: Hot Wheels Sting Rod
Line: Tattoo Machines from 1993
Ebay link: Hot Wheels Sting Rod
Why I’m featuring it: A favorite from when I was young with a stupid, possibly amusing, story tied to it.
Around 1993, Hot Wheels released a short-lived line called Tattoo Machines. The cars came on oversized cards and were packaged with temporary tattoos. All the cars were given new names pertaining to their tattoo deco theme. The Porsche 959 was called “Eyegore” due to being covered in eyeballs, the Baja Breaker van named “Open Wide” due to the large mouths of beasts all over it, Talbot Lago “Spider Rider” being riddled in spiders, BMW 323 covered in skulls and snakes (“Skull Rider”), Monster Vette “Street Beast” painted with a tiger, BMW M1 with a vicious dog deco known as “Street Dog”, the ‘Race Bait’ Ferrari 308 littered with HW logos and called “Hot Wheels” (how original… haha), and a few other HW-original designs.
And then there was “Ammo”. The casting was the Sting Rod, a weird military-esque vehicle, complete with missiles and machine guns. Honestly looks more like something out of Mad Max rather than anything any military would actually use. I’ve seen some collectors saying it’s a highly modified late-gen Fiero. Hell, I can kind of see it.
Anyway, I loved these cars and the temporary tattoos that came with them. I was 8-ish years old so of course I did. I had a number of these, and would immediately use the tattoos. When I used the ones that came with Ammo, having put them on pretty much when I got up that day, it happened to be a VERY hot and humid day for western New York, more so than usual for the middle of summer here. For some reason my mom chose that day for us to go to the county fair. However, in the mail that morning, I received my new issue of a children’s science magazine that I had a subscription to. The theme for that month’s issue? Quite fittingly (coincidentally, ironic, something like that), it was something along the lines of “hottest things in the universe”. Showed a number of things, each page being something progressively hotter and hotter. Even had a little cartoon thermometer that got hotter and hotter for each page, with amusing expressions on its face. The hottest thing? Oddly enough for a kid’s magazine, it was an atomic blast. The cartoon thermometer literally blew it’s top. Something about that two page spread, with the large number and reading it, creeped me the hell out. Then we went to the fair. Walking around in the heat, of course I start sweating… and the temporary tattoos from Ammo start to MELT. Now, they weren’t really melting, just basically washing off, but to an 8 year old, they were MELTING. And I started freaking out. Never used temporary tattoos again after that day, haha.
I really wish I could remember what the magazine was. Funny enough it’s probably still somewhere in my parent’s basement…
The casting grew to be one of my favorites, including being one that I aim to “complete”, getting all releases and known variations. Still got a ways to go, but Ammo here will always be at the top of the favorites list.