May 6 Matchbox Ambassador Update: New Sky Busters and other new models…

Greetings fellow collectors…

We now enter the month of May, which means the countdown to The Matchbox Collectors International Gathering of Friends in July has begun.  We mention it here for several reasons.  The first is because it is simply a can’t-miss event.  I have gone the last five times, and this will be my sixth.  The second is because the Albuquerque, New Mexico event has been adopted by Mattel as their yearly event.  Members of the Matchbox Design and Marketing team attend, mingle with the collectors, and preview the next year’s new models and direction.  It is always an interesting time.  If you are thinking of attending, I highly suggest you try.  We hope to see many of you there…

(Oh, and there is that other reason that attendees return home with Code 1 exclusives, many times the best-looking models Matchbox will produce all year.  So there’s that…)

But before that, we still have a lot to cover for 2013.  Mattel has many FEP’s coming in, and we will preview them here each week as we normally do.  There are many to get to, so let’s get started.  As always, these photos are provided with permission from Mattel…

We said last week we had something new for Sky Busters.  We do.

First, I asked the team about an interesting development reported from Brazil.  Sky Busters have been found in Brazil packaged as Hot Wheels.  I asked if these were official Hot Wheels models, and in fact they are.  This is Mattel’s way of getting some Matchbox models into markets that do not accept both brands.  Mattel won’t elaborate, but some countries don’t take both brands, so doing this allows product to get into those markets.  The repackaged Matchbox-as-Hot Wheels models could show up in other markets, but I was not provided a list (I have heard that they have been reported in China).  And this only applies to Sky Busters at this point.  If you see them in your area, let us know.

We also have a brand new extension of the Sky Busters line to announce, called the Color Shifters.  This is a series of 10 planes, each coming with a water squirter (not shown below) that will clip onto the axles of each model.  When the wings are squirted with or dipped in warm water, they reveal a new deco and different color.  Cold water changes them back.  So look for this series of 10 planes soon, including a playset with one of these models as well.

Here are a couple of examples of what to look for:

Thunderbolt (cold)


Stealth Launch (cold)


Turbo Tornado (cold)


We also have a few new decks to show from various lines.

I did ask about the UFO Mission Force set we saw partly previewed last week.  The VW T2 Bus does not glow in the dark, and the other three models included in the set will be the Flying Saucer and Twin Blast Sky Busters, as well as the Satellite Communication Real Working Rig.  Here is the Flying Saucer:

We have another Mission Force model, this time from the Construction pack.  Have a gander at the RWR Excavator:

Lastly, two models from the basic range, including a brand new tool.  Say hello to the Deep Diver, Matchbox’s new ocean adventure submarine:

Not a model I think any of us expected in the Matchbox lineup, but on its own it is very well executed. I think this can be a popular model with kids for sure.

Lastly, a new very attractive zamac deco for the Terrain Trouncer:

That is it for this week.  When I get sneaks from Mattel I try to keep a theme for each report, so look for another emergency theme and city life theme next week.  Two Ambulances that I am sure many of you will be happy to see, and a new deco for the ever-popular Seagrave Fire Engine.  Those, plus a new model for you street food eaters (yours truly included…).

Until then…

11 Replies to “May 6 Matchbox Ambassador Update: New Sky Busters and other new models…”

  1. Not emergency models but i'll just say that i like the creativity that the matchbox team is using to bring in kids. Collectors are most likely going to complain but if that one off beat model brings in a few kids to start collecting & allows their imagination to grow then i'm fine with it.

    That new deep diver isn't that far off from of what ocean exploration scientists use. (better then the dump dozer, that thing still gives me nightmares). Shame the VW bus from the last report doesnt glow in the dark, that would have been extra play value for kids.

    overall i dont see the color changing wings a bad thing, if it gets kids to play with the models more. And you never know, maybe that deep diver will inspire someone of the younger generation to become a scientist.

  2. I just cannot be an optimist here. I feel toys should inspire children in many different ways. They don't have to be based on anything real, but at the very least they should be convincing. While we are at it, why not instill good design and aethetics through form, proportion and graphics? Most of these vehicles fail on many counts. The graphics and colors, for starters, are very poorly chosen. It's hard to imagine an adult with any kind of creative degree doing this kind of work. The Turbo Tornado in equal portions of brown, red and yellow is just amatuerish.
    As usual, the quality of these toys are a slap in the face to the heritage of Matchbox. This over-use of plastic would be expected on a 1980s Chinese manufactured toy. It's 2013, last I checked, so why the lack of standards?
    To be fair, the excavator has some good points about it. Sadly, it too is let down by the heapings of tacky plastic.


  3. I've been liking the efforts Matchbox has been putting into their cars lately. Yea, the colors are somewhat off the wall, but look at Hot Wheels lately, they haven't had that great of color schemes either. Like the one person said, if it kids involved into collecting or it inspires them to get into a career, what's wrong with that? I personally like that excavator, a little detailing and it'll look awesome.

  4. Perhaps the RWR will continue as single releases as well. I appreciate that the sets will continue to be produced.

  5. Mattel just needs to turn Matchbox into a Fisher Price brand, move it into the Toddler section and be done with it. Hot Wheels has already expanded into Japanese, Brazilian, German and British cars anyway.

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