Like many of you, I'll never forget watching the original The Fast and the Furious for the first time. 106 minutes of far-fetched plot, cheesy-yet-eternally-quotable liners and tons of badass rides (for the period) made our industry seem gigantic on the big screen. Back then it was common with big businesses to cash-in quick on pop culture's latest phenom. It has since distilled to a smaller, more roots-driven size, and thankfully, the businesses managed to survive seem to have done so through legitimacy by contributing positively to our scene. Enter Jada Toys.
With over 200 employees, a large annual revenue and diverse catalog of toys marketed to boys and girls of all ages (even us grown-ass men), Jada Toys' California headquarters seem to blend in with the mainstream Fortune 500 business surrounding it... if not for the modified cars parked up front like an RWB Porsche 911.
Inside the facility, it becomes clear that car culture and a respect for modifications go into every toy Jada puts out—including the pink and white Hello Kitty limos, Minnie Mouse Roadsters, and walls of Dub City, Import Racer and other scaled collectables.
But today we're focusing on one of Jada Toys' newest lines: reproductions of the very same Furious 7 cars we brought you in our May '15 issue.
Talking with e-Commerce manager Darryl Li (owner of the M6) and Director of Licensing Pat Au (owner of the RWB 911), we learned that producing scaled models of these very particular cars is a tough job. Since the cars of the film were largely older and heavily modified makes, no CAD data existed for the designers to begin their renderings. Someone like Howard Tung, Jada's product development manager (and owner of the STI) and his team had to develop one for each car from scratch, working off production stills and frames from the film.
With the renders knocked out, the first phase of production is a clay model to get the dimensions, curves and overall shape set.
Next is a rapid-prototyped "tooling model," where the car's components start to come to life. After that, a production "first shot" (not pictured) is made, and once verified, it moves into pre-production, and then onto final production.
Once finalized, the data used in the final production piece can be scaled up or down as needed in different productions, as seen here with these Lykan Hypersport tooling models. Common scales are 1:64, 1:32, 1:16, and 1:8 for many of Jada's electric RC cars.
In addition to cars from Furious 7, the team at Jada is producing fan favorites from previous films, like Brian O'Connor's (Paul Walker) R34 Skyline GT-R from 2 Fast, 2 Furious, and his venerable orange Supra from the first film. Rumor has it, Paul Walker's personal white Toyota Supra, the one seen driving off into the sunset in Furious 7, is next in line!
With a limited run on all, they're expected to quickly become almost as scarce and valuable as the originals.