Art Asylum (this time in a solo venture, not working with partners such as DST) have resurrected 80s kids show Speed Racer with toys based on both the classic incarnation and the new Speed Racer cartoon. As well as 5″ action figures, Minimates also feature in the line, with 2 sets based on the titular hero and his nemesis Racer X. These hit Toys R Us stores in the US in September 2006, and cost $7.99 for a Minimate and a car. Many thanks to Amazing.JL who picked up this set for me.



The packaging is a large bubble on a card, it’s quite miminal with its graphics and isn’t too showy. The Speed Racer logo is on the top of the card and a sticker on the bubble identifies which Minimate and car it is, if you couldn’t tell from the packaging. The Minimate is featured clearly in the top left with the rest of the bubble given over to the car. The slanted bubble is a nice touch and prevents the packaging looking too square and dull. I think this packaging works very well for mass market and allows you to see exactly what you are getting. The back of the card shows off the rest of Art Asylum’s Speed Racer items.



The Figures

Speed Racer


I don’t actually remember Speed Racer at all from when it was on in the 1980s, perhaps it was bigger in America than in the UK, so I am completely unfamiliar with the property. However my lack of knowledge should let me review this set with no bias whatsoever, as I will judge it on its Minimate merits rather than its Speed Racer ones.


Speed has been detailed in a very simple anime style, with very few lines, stylistically quite similar to how the animated Batman looked in the C3 line. Speed has huge blue eyes, eyebrows and a line for a mouth, no lips or cheek lines. It’s a style that plays to the strength of Minimates and it works. Some Minimates facial expressions can be overdetailed, no chance of that here. The hairpiece is a re-use of Mr Fantastic’s hair, it looks very different in black than it does with the grey streaks over the brown of Reed’s hairpiece. Nice to see another hairpiece get used other than the Juggernaut hairpiece that we have seen a lot of recently. Despite not having a peg (or peghole in the head, this must be an older Minimate head) the hairpiece fits on and stays on.

The rest of the outfit is similarly simple. Speed sports a painted-on jaunty necktie and a big yellow G on his shirt. The paint apps are quite clean, however we are used to seeing a tad more detail on our superhero Minimates so he looks quite plain. To add to this feeling he is devoid of any paint apps at all on his pelvis or legs; a shame, as he usually wears black shoes with his white trousers and the missing paint app looks like corners have been cut. He does have C3 feet though.


Speed technically doesn’t come with any accessories but there is of course his Mach 5 racer also included in the set so I can’t be too harsh.


Overall, this is a solid Minimate done in a consistently minimal style. Not up there with the greatest Minimates of our time but nothing really horrendous to complain about either. The lack of paint apps and detailing on the lower torso (where he is for all intents and purposes identical to a blank Minimate) stops me giving him a higher mark.

MMC Score – 7 out of 10



The Vehicle

Mach 5


The Mach 5 is Speed’s personal racer. Unlike previous vehicles that have been packaged with Minimates such as the C3 Mini Flyers, there is no assembly required. The car can be used straight out of the package. Whilst this means that the overall look is different to the blocky Mini Flyers, it also means that the car feels like it hasn’t really been designed for Minimate use. The Mini Flyers all had plenty of space in the cockpit and movable parts like canopies and steering columns, but the Mach 5 is cramped and Speed doesn’t seem to fit nicely into the cockpit. The steering wheel is immobile and is placed in a position where Speed cannot hold it. The overall look of the Mach 5 is quite cute and scrunched up, almost like a child’s version of it. The lines are all curved and it does look cool with the three-pronged front and fins at the back. There is a “5” emblem on each door and an “M” on the bonnet.


The wheels allow the car to free-roll on flat surfaces, but the wheel axles are quite loose, allowing the wheels to rattle against the bottom of the car, which can get annoying. The plastic feels OK, but it’s not of the quality of the plastic featured in most of the C3 sets. I’d imagined this car would have a bit more heft to it but it does feel light and, well, plasticky.


As an integral part of the package the car is a slight disappointment with its build quality, however there is no denying the cuteness of the appearance which really adds to the overall set. It could have been better designed for Minimate interaction too, although it’s probably unfair to compare this to the utility inherent in the block construction sets. Regardless, both Speed the Minimate and the Mach 5 are bright, colourful cute additions to the Minimate world. 

MMC Score – 6 out of 10


Review and pictures by Danny Mills

VN:F [1.9.10_1130]
User Rating for Minimate #1:
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.10_1130]
User Rating for Minimate #2:
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)