Halloween 2022: Oct. 24ᵗʰ – Bone Shaker!

Designed in 2006, this little Hot Wheels hot rod is my favorite toy car, and quite possibly the most Halloween vehicle ever produced in 1/64th scale. Tonight, for the very first time, I’m going to open my Mega Construx monster truck Bone Shaker that I’ve been saving for just this occasion. Let’s put the pedal to the metal and build this beast!

Just a sampling of my Bone Shaker collection.

I’m not a car guy. I know where the gas goes, and I can tell you the theory behind how a combustion engine works, but I’ve never been one of those people who can look at a car and tell you the model and year. Oh, sure, there are some cars I can identify. Ones I’ve learned all about. The 1982 DeLorean DMC-12. A 1959 Cadillac Miller-Meteor. A 1979 Kenworth K100 cab-over. But that’s just because those automobiles wormed their way into my brain by being part of great sci-fi. When it comes to most anything else with a steering wheel, I’m dumb as a stump.

So when a toy car unaffiliated with a sci-fi or fantasy franchise catches my attention, it’s probably something special. And so it is with Bone Shaker.

We’ll be opening this one up a little later.

I’ve always loved the look of old cars. Something from the ’20s through the ’50s is going to catch my attention more quickly than any million dollar Italian sportscar. They’ve just got personality. And Bone Shaker has personality in spades.

As of 2015 – which is the most recent data I could find – there had been seventy-four different releases of Bone Shaker in the normal Hot Wheels 1/64th scale, and untold others in different scales. Bone Shaker is so popular, in fact, that since 2006 it has never ceased production. As part of their incredibly successful Batman vehicle series, Mattel released three different versions of Bone Shaker in homage to The Joker, with the signature skull remolded into the shape of Joker’s face. As a lover of all things Batman, for me this elevates the coolness of an already unbelievably cool toy beyond description. If I had children, I would love the Joker Shaker more than them. Sorry, kids.

Before we get started on construction, meet Edgar. He’s my latest Halloween mascot, and being a shiny skull, he’s très à propos for today’s activities. He’s here to watch over us and grant his silent, dark blessings upon our cranially themed builds. Let us pray…

Edgar!
Edgar The Silent! Edgar The Vile!
Loathsome Edgar, Skull Of The Damned!
Nigrum Calvaria, we beseech thee!
Grant us deftness of finger and cleverness of brain, that our builds may be strong and elegant.
Guide our hands with the infernal wisdom of your unclosing eyes.
In Lucifer’s name we pray.
Cthulhu fhtagn.

Hot Wheels has a line of cars they call Tooned, which are made in the Japanese super-deformed style. This is the third Tooned Bone Shaker I own, or rather the third “Skull Shaker.” It’s definitely a Bone Shaker car, just molded in caricature proportions and renamed in reference to the driver’s head being bounced from side to side as the car rolls. Let’s get it out of the package and see what makes it tick.

Okay, this isn’t the best picture. My camera is having trouble focusing on the shiny paint jobs, so you may need to squint. I’ve placed arrows to help you see the tabs on the back tires. These tabs hit the driver, knocking it from side to side. The mechanism requires friction; on a smooth surface the rear tires will simply lock in place when the tabs meet any resistance. It was a good idea, but the execution could have used some work.

My other Skull Shakers.

Official MUSIC VIDEO 🎶 | Thrash and Smash ☠️ ft. Monster Truck BONE SHAKER! | Hot Wheels

Ladies and gentlemen, the official music video for Bone Shaker’s theme song, “Thrash And Smash”

Okay, let’s get to building.

Okay, so a long time back I got this Bone Shaker for Christmas, and I LOVE it! Well, not this exact Bone Shaker, but one exactly like it. Unfortunately I took it apart to use the skull, blowers, and pipes on an upcoming Works With Lego build. We’ll discuss that when the build is complete, but in the meantime I really wanted to show off this set for this article. So I did the only reasonable thing a forty-seven year old adult can do when faced with such a dilemma. I bought more toys.

I’m going to refer to this as the $10 Bone Shaker, because that’s a nice, short name, and that’s how much it cost me. $10 Bone Shaker comes with a surprising number of parts for a set of this price. If this were a Lego set it would cost $15 at the very least. Probably more with the minifig.

While the drivers are perfectly compatible with Lego and with the few 1/64th scale Hot Wheels made to accommodate minifigs, that compatibility does not go both ways. You see the way the driver’s feet are slightly narrower than the two stud wide brick, and how the legs taper toward the hips? The designs of the figure-compatible Hot Wheels take that into account. Lego minifigs are designed with straight, blocky legs with a full two stud width. Putting a Lego minifig into a minifig compatible Hot Wheels car can stress or permanently bend the hip joints. It’ll look like it fits, but if you take a closer look you’ll see the gaps it makes by pushing the legs together. You’ll damage your minifigs; I found that out the hard way. Fair warning.

God damn, that’s a good looking car. I don’t know much about cars, but I know Ford released two different cars they called Model A. According to Wikipedia, the first was in 1903 and barely looks like an automobile. The second debuted in 1927, and although it doesn’t look a whole lot like Bone Shaker to me, apparently the designer based Bone Shaker off of that aesthetic. Only he turned it into a low rider with a big ass skull on the grill.

I’m not the only one who thought this was an amazing design. Apart from the dozens of rereleases of this model in different color schemes, it has more than once been built into an actual, drivable muscle car.

We’ll pause now for a brief musical intermission.

Airbourne - Boneshaker

Airbourne, “Boneshaker”

We now return to our regularly scheduled article.

When I think of Bone Shaker, this is the version I think of. The original 2006 version was topless with rear windows, but in 2010 they designed this hard top variant with the back windows filled in. I think it gives it a more menacing appearance. And this paint job is perfection.

I don’t know what to call this shade of red. Garnet? Blood? Currant, possibly? Whatever you call it, the matte finish gives it a classy, satiny look. It looks elegant and regal and fast and lethal. Any way you look at it, this is one bad ass automobile.

Hot Wheels does sell a few versions monster truck Bone Shakers. This one is the cheap plastic version. I got this at Dollar Tree for $1.25, but there are larger, more expensive options available. You can see it’s not just a Hot Wheels body mounted on monster wheels. This monster truck body is made of plastic, and has a narrower cab and larger skull that the standard Hot Wheels model. This is a different mold altogether. Not bad for a dollar store find. Let’s see how it compares to the Mega Construx version.

Ah! Here it is! I’ve been holding on to this baby for a while, just waiting for Halloween to get here. And if the design team has done what I think they’ve done, this thing will be compatible with any of their Hot Wheels sets that us the same chassis plate you see on the right in the picture below.

Hot Wheels doesn’t provide any info on their drivers. Not even a name. So I have no idea if this is supposed to be the same driver from the $10 Bone Shaker. Let’s just go ahead and say no. This is a completely different guy. In fact, his name is Guy. Guy Montaigne, a former Grand Prix racer who was drummed out of the sport for reckless endangerment. And so he drifted, aimless, losing himself to drink and the sullen, fleeting comforts of the needle and the spoon. Years passed, and his miseries compounded. It was at sunset on a nameless day, as meaningless and empty as any of his other days, smoking his last borrowed cigarette and mere seconds from taking his own life, that he received a call. It was the Bone Shaker Racing Team, asking if he would be interested in joining their American monster truck division. Hot tears streaming down his weary, sunbrowned cheeks, Guy stepped shakily down from the ledge from which he had intended to plummet. He gifted his last few francs to the dying, one-legged prostitute with whom he had lain just hours before, and found his way to Aéroport de Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle. And so, hopping a flight to the States, Guy bid adieu to Paris, the City of Light and mother of all his woes, leaving his shame and failed, shattered life behind him to start anew under the golden glow of the California sun.

See, Hot Wheels, you could make up names and backgrounds for these guys if you would just try. Kids love a good story. It’s not that hard.

Okay, as much as I love the red version, this might be even better. Those flames really stand out against the black, and those red rims are the shit.

Yeah, it’s official. I like this even better than the red version. It should come as no surprise to anyone that the Hot Wheels design team can put together a great looking car. But successfully translating a great design into a building set can be tricky; just check out Lego’s hideous DeLorean to see how badly it can turn out. But the Hot Wheels and Mega Construx people really nailed this one. This is a great model.

Very much by pure luck and random happenstance I came across this picture while writing this article. It would appear that the Mega Construx monster truck version of Bone Shaker was based on the color scheme of this 2019 Hot Wheels Boulevard (whatever that is) release. I personally prefer the Mega Construx addition of the red wheel rims, as it gives the car a nice pop of color. But even with black rims, this is one slick looking car. If I was Ghost Rider, I’d ditch that motorcycle and burn rubber in the afterlife all day in this thing.

Let’s have another song before we monsterize this bad boy.

Catherine Britt - Boneshaker

Catherine Britt, “Boneshaker”

The final bag of pieces came together to create this monster truck chassis. It’s symmetrical, so kids can place the car on top in either direction. That was a good piece of planning.

And here we have the finished product. As I thought, you simply remove the wheels from the smaller car and place it atop the chassis. It’s easier said than done. The two parts don’t seem to want to attach so easily, and once attached I had a hell of a time separating them without pulling pieces of the monster truck chassis off. I think the connection points could have been more efficiently designed, but overall, this is a pretty cool toy.

The increased size of the Mega Construx monster truck allows for a lot more detail and color to be included in the undercarriage. But the real star is the red rims, which make this model look so much more cohesive. The red on the dollar store truck looks almost random. It stands very much alone. But having red rims and a red chassis on the Mega Construx model just works. I mean, it really ties the room together, does it not?

While I was taking this comparison shot, it occurred to me that they had used the same pearlescent red plastic to make the monster truck chassis as they did to make $10 Bone Shaker. Hmm…

Oh, hell yes! That looks WAY better.

Oh, absolutely! If I decide to display these, this may be the way I go. This looks so nice.

Just look at all those skulls! It’s like Halloween and Detroit had a baby and nursed it on virgins’ blood and leaded gasoline. Before you leave, enjoy one last song. Just one more for the road…

Redlight King, “Boneshaker”

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