VIDEO: Behind the scenes at Mattel

Jun Imai Mad Manga

We’ve been to Mattel’s design studio in El Segundo, California a few times but have never been granted permission to take photos. Instead, we signed a mountain of NDAs. Clearly what we needed to be was CBS News.¬†

Hot Wheels Design Center

In case you missed it, the network recently took a behind-the-scenes look at the famed toymaker’s design center. The unmarked building just a stone’s throw from LAX airport is as secretive as any automaker’s real design studio.¬†Inside, it’s split along Mattel’s major toy lines. The Barbie half is stocked with slightly disconcerting doll heads and a bevy of real life babes. The Hot Wheels half contained, well, us. That, and a bunch of car dudes who live, breathe and bleed octane.

There was a giant room where mad toy scientists basically constructed gravity-defying loops of orange track all day. One involved a propane tank and real flames. Apparently, after one of our visits fire marshals prohibited that particular set from ever appearing again. Fun times.

Watch the video below for the full tour, and keep your eye out at 1:39 for our friend Jun Imai, who, against all odds, managed to sneak an image of a full-blown, shark-nosed, bosozoku car onto the network of Edward R. Murrow and Charles Kuralt.

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10 Responses to VIDEO: Behind the scenes at Mattel

  1. Nigel said:

    Scale speeds over 240 mph…orange track rules !!

  2. Bart said:

    Yeah, I’ve been getting more and more into scale modelling. You guys wouldn’t happen to know anyone over the pond working for Tamiya, now would you?

  3. Dave said:

    This was kinda like watching Big, that Tom Hanks movie.

    That plastic case of Hot Wheels really brings out childhood memories. Actually are those Hot Wheels? I’m seeing some weird stuff in there. Citroen DS, Mazda2, Karmann-Ghia, 350Z w/o a wing? Hmm…

  4. Ken said:

    I watched that with my wife a few weeks ago. She rolled her eyes as I paused, rewound, slomo-ed, rewound, paused, slomo-ed, paused etc, etc, etc… for a good 10 mins, trying to see if there were any clues to the next Hot Wheels JNC. She really thought I was a dork when I giggled like a school girl at the quick shot of Jun and Mad Manga!!

  5. Ken said:

    By the way, isn’t that a white 1st gen celica in the center of the case shot?

    • Ben said:

      The case shot is of mostly Matchbox cars, also owned by Mattel. There are cases of both Hot Wheels and Matchbox there, but I guess the cameraman didn’t know the difference like us nerds. The white car appears to be a BMW 1-series.

  6. Kevin said:

    Recently found a couple new colour Mad Manga. Keep em comin Jun!