It seems like forever ago that we first met Finn McMissile and were the first to announce the national State Farm-sponsored ‘Agents on a Mission‘ tour of life-size remote controlled versions of Finn, Lightning McQueen and Tow Mater in honor of the June 24th release of Disney/Pixar’s Cars 2. Fortunately for us, the waiting and heavy anticipation paid off in spades as the trio made their way to New York City just in time for the 2011 New York International Auto Show and were none worse for the wear.
Normally roped off at their tour stops, we were afforded the rare opportunity to step inside and get a 360-degree
hands-on eyes-on look at the magnificent creations. The amount of detail is extraordinary and there’s little wonder why — they were fabricated referencing the same digital models used by Pixar Animation Studios for the films, so they’re nearly 100% film accurate in nearly every way, from the size to the paint and detailing — or in Mater’s case, the rust (which is real courtesy of a proprietary panting system).
Rust aside, Mater is no slouch, as we’re told he stands about 7’10” tall and weighs over 2,700 lbs. It was an absolute thrill to see him literally come to life, from his scratched-up working headlight to the license plate that plays a role in Pixar’s famous A-113 easter egg (A-113 also pops up on Siddeley’s tail in the film).
Lightning is a virtual waif next to Mater, weighing just about 2,250 lbs himself, but he’s still quite special in his own ways. His Lightyear tires are so large, they had to be custom-made by Goodyear, who’s supplying the tires for all the vehicles. He’s so wide and sits so low, he actually requires special rails and hardware to get him where he needs to go.
Although they are fully radio-controlled moving vehicles, chances of seeing them in action are unfortunately pretty slim outside of parades. Still, there’s no denying they are just as beautiful when they’re stationary, revving their engines, shining their headlights and flashing their smiles.
We also have a little video of Lightning revving his motors and flashing his brand spankin’ new headlights:
Additionally, Disney/Pixar has provided us with this rare glimpse into just how these life-size replicas were made. Below is a gallery of stills that showcase the Pixar team hard at work at creating Lightning McQueen and Finn McMissile. Using a Model-T replica frame, each vehicle had to be fabricated from scratch because of their unique scale. The body for each vehicle took 6-10 days to sculpt with a total of between 1000 and 1600 man hours. After the cars were carved in foam, a fiberglass mold was created, and from that the final bodies were produced.
You can find Lightning McQueen and Finn McMissile from now through May 1 in the Level 4 Galleria at the New York International Auto Show taking place at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City. Tickets are $14/adult and $4/child. Please note that although Mater was there to greet us at the press preview event, he’s gotten a taste of the Big Apple and has gone on a top secret adventure so he will not be with his pals at the Auto Show. There are also no additional activities normally associated with the State Farm ‘Agents on a Mission’ Tour in New York, but it’s still a worthwhile visit for any fan.
We’ll be catching up with the tour again when they visit the Walt Disney World Resort for Disney/Pixar Weekend, May 13-15.