Toy Review – Nano Speed

by Howie Decker @HowardTheDeck on November 19, 2012

in Nerd Culture

Children of the 80s (especially those who read this site) fondly remember the plethora of toy lines that thrived during our childhood.

One of the most successful and memorable lines was Galoob’s Micro Machines.

[Check out our podcast interview with “The Micro Machines Guy” John Moschitta Jr. here (and yes, he does the fast-talking thing)!]

As great as Micro Machines were, imagine if they came equipped with a motor! Spinmaster’s Nano Speed line capitalizes on the nostalgia factor, combined with the pan-generational love of vehicular toys and all things miniature.

The size and scale of these tiny cars and trucks invokes memories of Micro Machines, but considerably ramps up the playability factor. The package indicates that the motor inside each vehicle is capable of producing speeds equivalent to 1500MPH.

Does Nano Speed live up to its potential? Check out the Nano Speed TV commercial here and check out the review below!


Playability:  [rating=4]

The first thing I did when I cracked open the Nano Speed 4 pack was put the little orange guy on a table, pull back and let him go. A couple of quick initial observations:

You don’t have to pull back very far at all to ready the motor. After about 2 1/2 inches of pullback, the cars are ready to go.

If you get them to go straight, they will go quite far. The six-foot long conference table I used was not long enough for the full trajectory of a fully revved car. This was only a factor a few times, however, as it can be difficult to get them to go straight without the aid of some makeshift rails or one of the track-based Nano Speed playsets. (Stay tuned for our review of the Nano Speed Super Vert Crash Set coming soon!) The Nano Speed website offers some tips on how to get the cars to perform the way you’d like.


Collectability: [rating=4]

The Nano Speed TV spot advertises 60 different vehicles to collect. If you click here, you can see all of the cars in the line, and there are links above them to see the specialized vehicle lines, such as utility (police car, fire truck, garbage truck, etc), off road vehicles, and hot rods. I like the fact that they have creative names like Bezerker, Double Comma and Bone Tork.

The variety of the line makes them highly collectible, whether you plan to play with them or just display them. I hope they continue to expand the line, and it will be interesting to see if they move into boats and planes, or acquire licenses (ie. Star Wars) like Micro Machines did.


Sculpt & Paint: [rating=5]

I’m impressed with how well Nano Speed cars are sculpted with attention to detail and meticulously painted. Of the six I’m looking at, I don’t see any oversprays or errant paint marks of any kind. Some even have numbers (under 3/10 of a centimeter long!) painted on their side door. Great detail for cars this size.

Something I love about the sculpt is that there is size variation even among the similar models. They could easily have made almost all the race cars the same size and just repainted them, or added spoilers or changed the grill. Each car is its own mold and its own unique length and width.


Value: [rating=4]

Nano Speed 2 Packs and 4 Packs are available at Target, Toys R Us, Walmart, KMart and on Amazon. I typically see them in the $4-$6 range for the 2 Packs and in the $8-$10 range for the 4 Pack. Walmart is currently running a sale on them- the 2 Packs are priced at $2.99.

I’m satisfied with the product, but I probably wouldn’t see myself collecting the whole line at that price. Relative to budget and competing toy lines, I would likely collect the particular Nano Speed vehicles that appeal to me as opposed to the entire line. There is a wide selection of Nano Speed collections, as mentioned earlier, so there’s likely to be something for everyone. The playsets are very fairly priced relative to the market, but we’ll get into that more in our Nano Speed Super Vert Crash Set review.


Overall: [rating=4]

Nano Speed is a fun toy line with a lot of potential. I like what they’ve done so far, in fulfilling the miniature vehicle niche, especially with adding the motor and the stunt playsets that cater to the car’s strengths.

These seem like a perfect stocking stuffer for the holidays, or a nice cost-friendly gift any time of year.

If you or your children have any Nano Speed in your collection, hit the comments and share your thoughts!


Check out our Toy Review section – reviews of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Classics & current TMNT figures, Marvel Nitro Mites, Minimates K.I.T.T. and more! Coming soon – a review of Sideshow Collectibles sixth scale Boba Fett!



Brian (Cool and Collected) December 19, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Glad to see your high marks on these! I have one of the race track sets wrapped up and under the tree for my kids. I thought they looked fun in the store and you have just confirmed it for me. Personally, I think the price point makes these very attractive and if they go over well, I\’m sure my kids will want to buy a pack every time we hit Target.

Howie Decker December 19, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Nice! I really need to get the playset review done, it’s just been crazy lately. Let me know your/your kids’ thoughts after they play with it – I’ll include it in the review! Always nice to get a second opinion.

Dex (@Dex1138) December 19, 2012 at 1:52 pm

There\’s been a few mini-car lines launched recently and I was hoping someone was going to take a look at these. I\’m not much of a car collector unless they\’re Halloween-ishly themed but the size of these appeals to me.

I think I\’ve got a decade on the average USF staffer so I was a little older when Micro Machines hit, but I did get the Star Wars ones! My favorite little cars when I was a kid were the Penny Racers:

Howie Decker December 19, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Penny Racers yes! If you put a penny in the back they did a wheelie- never had any but some friends did and I loved playing with them. I had Stompers too, which I was reminded of by the related videos to that one.

I bet the gap is closer than you think – I’m 36. No way you’re 46!

James December 20, 2012 at 10:07 am

Penny Racers were THE best.

Brian Morin December 19, 2012 at 5:22 pm

Great review. We didn\’t get any this Christmas for our kids, but at the prices I can see them as great rewards for chores, report cards, etc.

Howie Decker December 19, 2012 at 5:44 pm

yep- we did one of the 2 packs for our son as part of the ‘earned rewards’ program we have going. He loved ’em! Keep an eye out for sales, like I said- Walmart has them for at least $1 off right now!

James December 20, 2012 at 10:06 am

Great review! I\’ve noticed these and been intrigued. Might have to pick some up now – I like the looks of the utility line.

James January 9, 2013 at 10:15 am

Picked some up over the Christmas vacation- my son loves them. I have fun with them too! Thanks for the review- I had been on the fence about these and some other lines.

Howie Decker January 9, 2013 at 4:50 pm

awesome! Glad you/he like them!

Tractari Auto September 17, 2013 at 5:49 pm

Where to buy?

Howard Decker September 18, 2013 at 10:28 am

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