Checking the calendar, it’s June, and that means it’s once again time for the Hess Toy Truck to come rolling into town … mini-style!
The Toy Insider has your first-look, in-hand review of the new 2020 Hess Mini Collection, which includes three highly detailed, small-scale vehicles inspired by fan favorites from the historic fleet of holiday Hess Toy Trucks from decades past. This year’s Mini Collection is a limited-production set that includes recreations of the 1987 Hess 18-Wheeler, the 2009 Hess Race Car, and the 2015 Hess Fire Truck and Ladder Rescue.
The Hess Toy Truck has been an East Coast holiday tradition since 1964, when Leon Hess first launched the annual series as an affordable, high-quality gift option for customers of his Hess gas stations. In 1998, after the holiday trucks (despite the name, not always a truck, specifically) had become sought-after toys and collectibles well beyond the East Coast, The Hess Corp. debuted the Hess Miniature Series — a collection of playable, collectible vehicles inspired by previously-released full-size counterparts. Released annually each spring (excluding 2015 and 2016 following the sale of the Hess Express gas stations to Speedway), the line was relaunched as the Hess Mini Collection in 2017. Each year, Hess releases a limited-edition collection of three scaled-down replicas fan-favorite vehicles from years gone by. Hess Toy Trucks are meant to be played with and passed down through generations, and were a 2014 nominee for induction into the National Toy Hall of Fame. While actual production numbers are never revealed, Hess Toy Trucks tend to sell out quickly.
Miniature Hess Race Car
Hess has produced a number of race cars over the years, but the 2009 model remains a big favorite from the not-so-distance past. The 2009 Race Car and Racer packed a small car inside a larger car for double the racing fun. For this year’s Mini Collection, the Race Car has been recreated in a size that fits in the palm of your hand. Bright LED headlights and taillights and illuminated Hess logos give the car a distinct glow that’s accented by chrome racing wheels, mirrors, and intake vents. This Grand Prix/GT-style ride also features a pull-back motor for high-speed fun on smooth surfaces! Just don’t let the kids rev it on the kitchen floor aimed toward the appliances or you might be on a recovery mission. Not that I’ve experienced such a thing.
Miniature Hess 18-Wheeler Truck
The 18-wheeler is a true classic when it comes to the legacy of Hess Toy Trucks. The standard, free-wheeling semi-truck features the iconic green-and-white Hess color scheme across the cab and its non-detachable box trailer. Chrome accents line the cab and trailer and all 18 wheels. Internal LED lights include steady-on headlights, turn signals, brake lights, and more. The cab and trailer can turn at their connection and the rear of the trailer includes a red turnable wheel on its gate — a fun little detail. If they sold these separately, I could see kids building a full shipping fleet.
Miniature Fire Truck and Ladder Rescue
We actually have the 2015 Hess Fire Truck and Ladder Rescue set in our personal collection. For the past five years, it’s been a favorite for my youngest daughter. The Mini version looks like they just hit the full-scale set with a shrink ray. The beefy-looking, free-wheeling fire truck includes articulated chrome nozzles, a miniature rotating spotlight, emergency lights, and a ton of chrome accents all the way around. The tiny fire truck that rides on its back is ready for action with a little ladder that kids can move up and down.
Overall, the 2020 Mini Collection is another winner and welcome addition to any collection. The set comes packed in a dual-window box that makes the vehicles viewable on both sides, a big bonus for in-box collectors. The vehicles also include detachable display bases with nameplates. The set is shipped with pre-installed Energizer A76 (LR44) batteries.
In recent years, the Hess Toy Truck has evolved as the vehicles have become popular across the country with kids and collectors of all ages. Earlier this year, Hess released My First Hess Truck, a lights and sounds plush designed for babies and toddlers.
For families that look forward to the annual holiday trucks, save the date — the 2020 Hess Toy Truck will be revealed and go on sale at 10 a.m. EST on November 2!