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Retro Review: Playmates Dick Tracy “Getaway Car”

It’s somewhat hard to believe, but it wasn’t that long ago that Playmates were one of, if not THE, biggest players in the action figure world.

My takeaway has always been that they had a perfect mix of properties, style and timing throughout the 1990s, and this led to some lines with pretty serious cult followings, even to this day. Now, of course, everybody remembers the Turtles lines and all the awesome vehicles, but a lot of Playmates’ other lines had some pretty damn cool stuff of their own. Star Trek was huuuuuuge. Others included Primal Rage, Skeleton Warriors, Earthworm Jim, Toxic Crusaders, Seaquest DSV, and, of course, Dick Tracy.

VeeBee and I have talked about this line often over the years. While it committed the cardinal sin of giving us a title figure WITHOUT his signature yellow trenchcoat, they did give us a fantastic roster of ridiculous bad guys. For me, I loved how most of Playmates figures were compatible in style and scale to let you get away with some pretty ridiculous crossovers.And it’s no surprise that broad compatibility that brought me back to Playmates’ Dick Tracy cars.

Initially, I had always thought these were Ford DeLuxes. But watching the film again, I think it might be closer to a Chrysler Imperial. It’s probably a blend of a few elements.  As I understand, both vehicles are essentially the same car, with some color and accessory changes. The getaway car is hard to beat, just by virtue of the black and chrome. It just looks so good.

Not huge vehicles, these come in around a foot long and about 5 inches high. It does feature opening doors on the driver and passenger sides, but it’s going to be a solo getaway. There is a “rumbling” feature as you roll the car that supposedly sounds like machine gun fire. Not so much.

Now back to that capacity business. Playmates figures, as you might remember, we’re notoriously static in their articulation. The body and doors of the car are plenty wide enough to fit a figure inside, but you’re only going to get one in there. The running boards do have pegs for guys to ride side-saddle, but it’s a shame they didn’t go just a little wider on that frame.

But you guys know why I buy stuff. I try and cram 6-inch figures in there! And, without the kickpanel under the dash, you can get a larger figure in at about the same level as the vintage one. Which isn’t great, but this thing is so cool looking, even by today’s standards, I can’t complain much.

As just a set piece, or display, this thing really shines. As a toy, it’s still really not too shabby. I think I may track down the prowler car to go with. Playmates certainly hasn’t given up the ghost on vehicles, thankfully, but I dare say Dick Tracy’s rank with their very best to date.

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