Saturday, June 27, 2015

Wheelies: Radiator Springs Playset

I've always loved working with the folks at Fisher-Price, both FP Brands in NYC and their home base, still located in East Aurora.  I've been fortunate enough to work with a number of their designers on scores of toys over the past 20+ years, and in the process cultivating some long professional relationships.
So much so, that I've seen a few retire after they've dedicated their entire adult life to creating great play, and it's always a bittersweet farewell.
One of the last projects I worked on with one such designer there was the Radiator Springs playset for Pixar's CARS.  This was one of a number of licensed sets in Fisher-Price's 'Wheelies' line.  It was a textbook case of fun and one of the key reasons I love doing what I do.

The parameters were pretty straightforward;  come up with a compact version of the town of Radiator Springs that offered some fun gravity-driven track play, something simple, self-contained, and cost-effective.
Here are the initial sketches exploring what this set could be;

There was enough going on with B and C to have another pass at each, fleshing out the play and design a little more;

The 2nd pass at C really defined the set enough to go to final line-art and rendering for presentation;

This was another one of those rarities where the final toy really came close to my hand in the project.

.. I still miss working with this guy,  I always enjoyed his wry wit.  I hope his well-earned retired life is full of fun and relaxation.  Hats off to ya, Larry!