September 17 Matchbox Ambassador Report, by Nigel Cooper…

Matchbox Ambassador Nigel Cooper is back with this week’s report:

Ambassador Report 4

September has been a very busy month for the Matchbox team, so much so that there was no time for the Matchbox team to send messages or photos during normal working hours for this report. It is therefore with grateful thanks to Dave Weise for this update as he gave up time on Saturday and Sunday to ensure this material reached me. The final email was sent some time after midnight and so I do pay tribute to such dedication. 
Thank you again for your responses. I am pleased that most of you like the dip into Matchbox past and I will continue to do this. Several collectors asked to see the Matchbox Sierra I won in 1983 and here it is. I have always been indebted to Paul Carr when he worked in R & D in Enfield for designing a replacement colour scheme in the guise of a white Rally Sierra XR4i with my name on the roof.
There have been several motor-cycles in the miniature range, though apart from the Honda on a trailer released in 1967 and the plastic bikes on the Holden Pick-up, all have been out of scale with the rest of the range. I do not think that this bothered children as they generally sold well.
The first Matchbox motor cycle and sidecar, a Triumph T110, originally had the number 78 cast on to the base and was one of Odell’s favourite models, but in 1960 a decision was taken to limit the range to 75 models and replace poorer selling or smaller models. 
There was a slight delay in the production of new models in 1960 whilst the moulds were changed to accommodate a new number. Hence, the number 4 on the base of the Triumph is cast on to a small plinth to hide the original number. (The Massey Tractor was a good seller but the recently introduced Fordson Major Tractor was a much bigger model and deemed to be better value for money).
I asked Jack Odell why the box for 66b Harley Davidson shows a blue model and yet the issued model was copper coloured. There had been considerable debate about the colour this model should be. The colours of the Triumph and the Lambretta were colours seen on the real bike and scooter in the UK. Apparently after the Harley boxes had been ordered Odell decided that the blue paint did not make the model look “big enough”. It must have been a very late decision to produce the Harley in copper colour but I have never seen a blue pre-production model and I presume few if any were made. It was a poor seller and yet today it commands a higher than average price for a mint and boxed example.
The first photo of new releases is of a BMW R1200GS motorcycle. It is a new tool and not a retool of the Police version. This motorcycle is a touring/off road motorcycle. I am sure collectors will be pleased to learn that it will be heavier than usual since it will have 2 die-cast parts which are necessary for the manufacturing process.  This is a 2013 tool and is on schedule.  The yellow version arrives first for this year. The blue version is for 2014. 
Collectors generally feel that the current BMW motor-cycles disappear from the shelves quite quickly especially given the fact that there are two very distinct olive shades on the latest version. One would think that these civilian bikes will probably be just as popular. 

Mattel Responses to Collector Questions
  • In the first and second wave of the Skybusters some 2012 models were packed in new 2013 Blisters. This could be explained by the W-number. However in wave B there are three models which have never been issued with a W-number. Two of them also have another variation in that they are a different colour but packed in the SAME box. Why do Matchbox put two versions of the same casting in a wave of 12 Models? 
This is mainly a schedule requirement.  Some models will carry forward from previous years and may be in waves with newer versions of the same model.  We try to space both versions out when we can. 
  • Are there any more 2012 (W-numbers) to be expected in 2013. 
Not sure . Would need to check the schedules.
  • When could we expect the final Sky Buster issue list of 2011, 2012 and 2013. 
It is time consuming to review these lists. Would need to send at a later date .
  • When are we getting the sequence number (1/36, 2/36) back on the blister for Sky Busters 
Refer to answer given above.  
  • When are we getting the sequence number (1/120) back on the blister for MB75?
I assume you are referring to ROW cards??  I cannot confirm at this time.
  • Matchbox being a multinational company could at last have the Spanish language printed on to the models, at least it would make a change from just English. It would be nice to have 5 packs with models reflecting 5 different languages!!!!! 
Languages and their use on vehicles is a complicated legal and political issue due to translation issues in certain countries. It is an interesting idea however.  
  • Australian collectors would like a new Holden or Ford. 
We will not be pursuing any new Holden or Ford for Australia at this time.
(Best I can do for our Aussie friends then are two pre-pro Holden pick-ups in white, not cream, and olive green from the days of Lesney)
  • It is claimed that Ford in Europe have eased up regarding licensing requirements. Are any new Fords planned? 
There have never been issues with Ford of Europe regarding licensing. I cannot comment if new European Fords are on the radar. 
  • General Comments from collectors:     The new designs pictured are certainly giving off the right kind of impression. I like the look of the Toyota 4-Runner very much. The overall livery is fun but not cheap and the choice of wheel design certainly compliments the look.  
We are glad that this model is well liked.

The following images are for Sky Busters.  Mattel knows that there are some collectors who are interested in them and so here are some of the latest issues.
New Sky Busters Air Grabber in orange for 2013 and a green version is for 2014
 This Sikorsky helicopter will be part of the 2014 Police Mission Force pack.
The next 4 aircraft will be part of 2014 Sky Buster Singles.

Whilst on the subject of Helicopters, here is the 2014 version from the Dino Adventure 5 pack.
Finally, here is a blister card that was hand-made at the Matchbox factory that never went into production. Some of the letters from “Diecast” have fallen off.
Nigel Cooper
September 17th 2013

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