Welcome to July. I am currently in St George, Utah, where the high is projected to be 115 degrees. Neato. While growing up in Phoenix, Arizona, I lived through the infamous 122 degree day, and there are some that wonder if that will be topped this week in the sun-drenched state. We will wait and see. At least it is a dry heat here is St. George like it is in Phoenix. Hooray, right?
But heat or no heat, July is always a month we Matchbox folk look forward to. It means we have finally arrived at Gathering month. Three weekends from now many of us will be gathered in Albuquerque, New Mexico (it’s a dry heat!) for the signature Matchbox event. Mattel is putting the final touches on their presentation, they are putting together a few new items to show off, and the exclusive models have been boxed and shipped. Hopefully they have picked my replacement as well, because if I have to go another year I definitely want a raise.
Before then, however, there is still some work to do. We will have this and two more updates to do. Today we have two new models and a new deco to show from 2013, plus another 2014 preview. We will get to that in a minute.
But first, an answer to a question that has been sent my way a lot. Many of you have asked about the final two models of the 2012, the Dodge Challenger and Dodge Magnum. I have your answer:
Regarding the Magnum and Challenger, a licensing issue delayed the use of the two models, so there was some last minute shuffling. As many of you know, the Challenger did see the light of day briefly in late 2012 gift packs (the yellow-green version), but it did not make it to mainline.
Here is what will happen. Remember when we previewed a purple Dodge Challenger few weeks ago? Well, maybe some of you caught this, but there is no Dodge Challenger in the 2013 mainline. This particular purple version is considered carryover from 2012, and for this reason, it will not have a collector number. The color was changed since quantities of the yellow-green version were no longer available for 2013. Does that make sense? Essentially when the purple model is released, it will say it is part of the 2012 line, but will not have a collector number because it is a “carry-over” item.
The Magnum was planned in the mix but unfortunately it could not be made. This happens occasionally, and there is a need to be flexible when it occurs. So no Magnum, but two Challengers did emerge. With this news getting out, maybe there will be a run on the leftover gift packs containing the green Challenger.
Alright, now on with the sneaks, as always with permission from Mattel.
Before we get to the new tools, how about a look at the LAST VERSION of the Porsche 911 GT3. Wait, what!?! Yep, the Porsche 911 GT3 casting will never be seen again.
In this current state.
Haha just enjoying myself. After this stunning orange version (one of my faves), the Porsche will undergo a little surgery and reemerge with an all-metal spoiler. We have seen Hot Wheels making this modification on a few models, and it looks like Matchbox will do the same. I know many of you will be happy with this development, as it means the spoiler will share the same color as the body. For 2014, the Porsche will still have the plastic spoiler, and its final version looks fantastic:
Now let’s get back into the present. Two new castings to show, and we will start with another firetruck. Say hello to the MB897 Blaze Buster. This is another unlicensed fire vehicle, aimed squarely at kids with its lifted look and large off-road wheels. Yes, it might be a bit controversial with the collector-folk, but this one falls squarely within the “Unstoppable” strategy that Matchbox has directed at kids, and hopefully they will enjoy it:
Next up, another new tool, the MB898 Whiplash, or as it was known prior, the MBX Roadster. This is also an unlicensed model and purely a Matchbox creation. I am sure it will serve several purposes within multiple Matchbox lines moving forward:
Finally, to round out this week’s sneaks, a look at the 2013 version of the Quick Sander, looking a little like its Toy Fair version from a few years ago:
So there you are. Two more weekly updates to go, plus a report on the Gathering. Lots of fun to be had here in July.
Until next week…
18 Replies to “July 1st Matchbox Ambassador Update: The brand new Blaze Buster, Whiplash, and the Porsche 911 GT3 before it goes under the knife…”
Fantastic!! Just fantastic, that GT3!! Well done Matchbox! You've pulled it off. The last and best version is here. Now some may say that its a copy of the recent HW version w/o the side stripe, but I don't care. This is what I had been wanting from this casting for a long time. A plain Orange that does justice to this car, the 5sp rims, the full front & rear tampos and that license plate! Oh god, I couldn't ask for more. I'm not going to say anything about the rest of the models as I'm completely overwhelmed by the Porsche. Now lets see how the modified one comes out. As always, thanks for the report mate!
– Black Wind, SwiftysGarage.
Disaster!!!!!! I knew from last year's NM meeting this generic casting existed. I was looking most forward to it. It's the right fire truck body I want but the wrong base!!!! I need to buy a custom where someone chops this base up and puts smaller tires on it. The International Workstar is the right 4×4 brush truck. I'm going to imagine this is a seashore 4×4 fire truck? I really want it to be released in the future as a lowered, stock height truck.
I'm curious to see if the other side of the Blaze Buster is simplified with ladders and hoses or does it have doors for compartments like a modern fire truck.
The Whiplash is very nice and the Porsche is AMAZING!
Maybe I will buy the Whiplash… but only for use its wheels in my customs!
Like Leo C says…the Blaze Buster (isn't that confusing with all the Sky Buster versions called the same thing?) would be a very decent generic fire engine if it weren't for those humungous tires and the silly jacked-up base. I'll be buying it, as my particular 'disease' compels me, but I hope it will be possible to return it to a 'normal' height pumper without having to get out a full-size grinder…
I like the mudflaps on the Quicksander (and the Ford Explorer). It'd be cool to see mudflaps on some more models.
Pity the tiny humans in one's imaginary world, hopelessly clawing their way up the side of the Blaze Buster, only to realize that they missed the fire. The forest burned to the ground with all it's imaginary woodland occupants.
Pity – nature never stood a chance.
Nor should the Blaze Buster ever been given a chance. Never mind us, the adult collector. What child is dopey enough to want this fire truck? You know when companies, geared for children, create a logo with some of the letters drawn backwards, as if a child wrote them? The BB is like that – insulting to the end user, and corny at best. Diecast cars and trucks are a child's talisman.
It's their hold on real life, and their link to adulthood. We played with cars as kids, emulating the real world in ways we wanted it to be. Our toy cars were a reflection on the world around us. Yeah, there were fantasy elements when we played, but for us, the cars were the binding between our imagination and our rational thinking.
The BB would have been a curiosity for a young me, and I would politely keep it because Grandma, after all, gave it to me. I certainly would not play with it.
But, does the Porsche GT3 balance things out?
Firstly, things should not need to be balanced out. A product line should be consistent. That aside, the Porsche is a fine casting. The metal details are well done, and proportions are good enough. The wheels look a little small, but I can accept them.
Where I take issue is the finish and graphics. I'm not sure if metallic orange is a good (or even accurate) color for a Porsche. What do I know – I drive a 356 from 7000 years ago. What I do know, which I learned at our local cars-and-coffee, is that Porsche GT3s tend to have graphics on the side. Not all of them, but certainly the best looking ones do. And the tail lights wrap around.
Imagine a world where bean counters don't dictate quality and design to such a great degree. In that world, miniature Porsches have proper tail lights and side graphics. That's my kind of world, even if it means spends a little more change.
I doubt I will buy this model since it is compromised. Too bad, I love the casting but loath cut corners.
I wont say anything about the Quicksander aside from this – mediocre. I will say this about the Whiplash – it's a pretty cool concept car. The colors are sharp together and the proportions are fairly believable.
I'm not sure how this Hotwheels got mixed in with a Matchbox ambassador report, but hey – good to see what the Blue team is up to.
I'm definitely copping that Porsche, no questions asked. Love that orange. However, the Blaze Buster and the Quicksander gets a John Stockton PASS! Not interested! That Whiplash is pretty interesting though. I'm not a huge fan of the imaginary cars, but this one looks like a nice little concept roadster. Pretty cool.
I must say the Porsche looks pretty good. They even colored the head and taillights which I think makes it stands 'heads' and 'tails' (pun intended) above other MBX offerings.
that blaze buster is a complete fail. why does it seem like every other new model matchbox does has to be a 4X4 off road monstrosity? completely missed it with that one. the body/pump/hose & equipment areas would have been perfect IF IT WASN'T LIFTED! only way i'd ever buy one is if they re-did the base, lowered it, and gave it regular wheels. Matchbox team take note. /sighing heavy, i guess if this is the new direction my collecting day's are coming to an end.
This comment has been removed by the author.
I was hoping for a raised roof cab for the Blaze Buster since Hazzard Squad has it and I had not seen it yet in the Matchbox line. I got it. I guess it's a top mount pumper like the Pierce but with molded chains or side bars. I think the gray paint is to represent roll up compartment doors. I hope the other side is covered in gray then. They could have pulled the 4X4 look with the wheels from the last fire generic this year, not this.
I'm digging the Whiplash.
I'm NOT digging the Whiplash!
First the BMW 1M and now the Porsche… the taillight tampo looks awful in its stunted form. Finish the job and wrap them around, or leave them off completely. Looks like the “unstoppable” motto was forgotten when the beancounters told them to stop halfway through.
Well the porker is nice but the rest….well We've all been kids, I was 12 years ago and my 5 year old sister is the target market now, maybe shes a bit younger but hey. For instance she loves the 55 panel because of the bike you can take out, she loves anything that can be opened up or moved, hates plastic bodies, likes rubber tyres more than me and loves the “shiny cars” and she wants me to get all the little workshop tools that come with the greenlight Muscle series. As a kid me and my friends used to save our pocket money and buy 1/43 scale and even though a lot of the cars were 50s-70s british cars that were before are time, we liked them because they looked like really cars made smaller. Then some company came out with modern 1/43 cars for £1, BMW 5s,Lexus GS's etc and we thought this was cool because we saw theses cars daily, I've never seen a off road garbage truck on my way to school before.
Well, 4×4 custom chassis fire engines do exist, like these delivered to Juneau, AK. Matchbox, in my opinion, could have used these as their basis, instead of the monster truck used for the Blaze Buster model
The irony of this is that it's made by Pierce, who already has their name on two licensed models