We are pleased to post the first Matchbox Update from our new Ambassador for 2013-2014, Nigel Cooper:
I would like to start by paying tribute to previous ambassadors who have been so understanding, helpful and patient to a Matchbox collector who finds paper easier than computers. Just when I appear to have mastered one concept, another challenge appears. In addition, I have been heartened by the huge number of good wishes from collectors around the world, many of whom I have had connections with in the past. It is so good to realise that I have so many Matchbox friends. I welcome all of your comments, positive or critical, amusing or reflective. I will endeavour to pass on all of your comments and disseminate the responses from Mattel.
I can sit in my Regular Wheel area and admire for hours the skills of Jack Odell and Les Smith and think how much poorer the world would be without their amazing skills. The work of these two men brings us all together and enables us to forget the cares of the world for a moment and just admire the craftsmanship encompassed in every Matchbox Toy. I can remember the horror expressed by some collectors in the early 1970s when bright colours on less than authentic vehicles running on Superfast wheels joined the miniature range. Some collectors stopped buying new models and concentrated on regular wheels. As time goes by interest has grown in the transitional models of the early 1970s together with the Dragsters and more way out models. There were still many authentic and attractive models and perhaps collecting Matchbox Toys peaked during the 1970s and early 1980s. Miniatures were still making considerable profits for Lesney but other factors combined to cause the factories in England to close in 1982. Some collectors refused buy models which had not been manufactured within these shores. Then there are those collectors for whom a particular theme is paramount. Collectors of emergency vehicles, for example, have been so well served by Matchbox over the years and we will see that in 2013 and 2014 this will continue. Finally, there are collectors who buy whatever takes their fancy and then there are the die-hards who collect everything. Thus I believe that during my tenure, there will be something for everyone.
There were so many new models revealed at Albuquerque that it was inevitable that there would be a delay before we would see further new models and recolours. The first recolour on the Toyota4Runner in black, grey and yellow is attractive and should appeal to many collectors. I think the Ford F100 Panel Truck (MB771) in a Fire Chief livery in red with gold piping is a great idea. It seems typical of a 1950s Fire Truck but US collectors will be better able to comment on this. I wonder which other standard models manufactured in recent years would lend themselves readily to an emergency theme as they are so popular. The Ford Panel is one of the exclusive cars in the 2014 9/10 packs, so look out for more colour schemes.
The third model shown is the MBX Coupe (MB900) which has already generated considerable comment. It is shown in bright orange. The mudguards (fenders) are reminiscent of those fitted in the 1960s and 1970s by boy racers in the UK to cover the protruding wheels as required by the law. I rather like these wheels and I expect them to be used on many future cars. This model could be a kit car. What do you think?
I was asked if the missing MAN numbers could be passed on and Mattel have obliged so far as is possible as some 2014 numbers are still being decided. However, it is clear that there will be many models undergoing retooling as some tools are being revised or adjusted. In total there are 28 retools – modifications to existing castings – planned for 2014. These will bear numbers between 927 and 954. I will pass these details on as soon as they are released. Gone are the days when the number of new models failed to reach double figures. For 2014 there will be no fewer than 26 brand new tools. The MB numbers associated with these new castings will range between 901 and 966. There is certainly a great deal happening in the Matchbox design studios. If you have any suggestions regarding possible modifications to models released in recent years, please let me know and I will pass on your ideas.
Some of these are retooled models which will usually have modifications, though some modifications will be visible while others will not.
MB835 Coyote 500
MB836 Road Tripper
MB849 Rescue Helicopter (retool) parts modifications
MB854 Sand Speeder (retool) parts modifications
MB857 Chevy Suburban (retool)
MB869 Garbage Truck 2008 (retool) parts modifications
MB876 Dennis Sabre (retool) conversion: plastic body/die cast chassis.
MB892 BMW R1200 GS
MB896 Range Rover Evoque> Delayed. Moving to 2014
MB900 MBX Coupe on schedule for this year.
I have been inundated with questions for the Matchbox design team. Here are some of the questions and answers. I will pass on all questions and comments but for a wide variety of reasons it may not be possible for Matchbox give a response.
Are licences sourced by Mattel or does Matchbox have to do its own work in this area?
Matchbox must acquire its own licenses.
There have been many positive comments regarding the Real Working Rigs and it is unfortunate that the range is to be discontinued. Both RWR Rolling Raider and RWR Fire Stalker are listed as ‘RW036’ on the base. Which one is correct, and which number should the incorrect RWR have? (Is there a complete listing available which includes all variations?)
We are looking into the duplicate RW numbers on these 2 models. RW036 is correct for the Fire Stalker. The Rolling Raider should be RW037. We do have a complete list of the RW numbers but I believe that David Tilley has already posted such a list.
Next time I will show three recolours for models designated to be included in the Mission force Police pack. For now, just one more new model … the Robinson R44 Police Helicopter.