October 21 Matchbox Ambassador Report, by Nigel Cooper…

Matchbox Ambassador Nigel Cooper has just released the latest Matchbox Update:

Ambassador Report 9
What a strange world we live in when a standard issue model, the BMW 1M attracts double figure bids and shoots up to $52 within a few hours of listing and eventually sells for $92 (£56.83) with a massive 34 bids on a well known auction site. This was not a one-off, for the same dealer in Kansas re-listed and 17 bids attracted a final price of $90 (£55.60), for a second example. As I write this report, a third model has a bid of $49.99 (£30.88). Were these bidders to check, they could find a Buy It Now for just $2.45 (£1.50) for a similar BMW 1M in the same bronze-orange colour. 
I checked with Dave Weise at Matchbox and he confirmed below that this model is a standard, worldwide model that will be available everywhere. If we look beyond the “Must-have-it” now attitude, we know that the Dump Dozer, for example, would not have attracted such wild bidding for a new model. Does this show that when a realistic, new model car is released, considerable interest is generated, not just from Matchbox collectors, but from thematic collectors as well? Or is this just an American phenomenon?
ME:  It seems as if you will have to produce more new cars!!!
MATTEL: This is just hype when a new model first appears. Buyers beware as they say.  We are glad that collectors approve of this casting but common sense dictates that with some patience, anyone can get this model at the regular low retail price.

Yesterday I was arranging models from the 2004 Superfast range in a cabinet. All models were authentic miniatures of real cars and all were in the then current Matchbox range or recently withdrawn and this series continued into the next four years. It made me think that these enhanced models must have sold well and been popular with collectors, for whom they must have been intended. It is a sad fact that 2014 will see no models targeted specifically at collectors. Though this may well be Mattel policy for next year, it would nevertheless be very difficult to find 75 authentic miniature cars to be members of such a set today, such has been the change of direction in recent years.  As collectors, we can only look forward to what 2015 may bring.

                  ANSWERS FROM MATTEL
1.  The Miura is always a bright spot in the Matchbox line up with correct proportions, wheels and colouring. If Hot Wheels did one it would surely not compare. I would love to see a future Miura done in white or red with gold wheels and side skirts as a very attractive option on the original.
We plan to do as many colours as possible for the Miura. 
2.  Is it possible to find out what the other 4 models in the exotics 5 pack will be? I hope dearly it will be 4 more licensed?  (I would like to suggest genuine European sports cars! I strongly suggest the Matchbox Porsche 914 in a silver or ivory white re-colour be included if at all possible! The 914 owners community currently has a thread 1400+ posts long and over 3 years in the making devoted to just the Matchbox Porsche 914 so that a 5 pack would be a surefire sellout with the right cars.)
Yes there will be 4 more licensed sports cars which will include the: VW W12 concept, Corvette ZR1, Lotus Exige & BMW Z8.
3.  Can we see the Miura in matt red and the Dodge Charger in matt black? I would like to see more matt colours used in the range.  
It is possible but probably not with the Miura.

4.  Some of the play sets have photos on their boxes that show cars not in the main line. In particular I have noticed a tiny image of the Sahara Survivor with a solid bluish-green paint job and plain black plastic parts. The Sahara Survivor is a great casting, and the working shocks are always a top consideration for me. Is there a chance we might see this livery for sale? 

Probably not.                                   
5.  The first four liveries of the Sahara Survivor fit the casting very well, and looked good. I haven’t been as excited about the two more recent ones (the white/maroon one and the black/orange one), but I’d like to see the model available again. Will that happen? 
We will continue to use the Sahara SurvivorThe next colors are TBD          
6.  I finally have the Dodge A-100 in hand. It’s a great model. I’m looking forward to many future releases of it, and I’m curious to see what other liveries it gets. 
So are we. 
7.  Looking at the list of five packs I can’t help but notice that 4 of those sound like emergency vehicle type packs (Crime Squad, Fire Command, Rescue Duty, & Sea Rescue). Does that mean that 1/3rd of the five packs are going to be emergency related? 
Yes: although we refer to these as heroic.

8.  Can the Matchbox website be formatted similar to the Hot Wheels website, with a list of the models that have been released so far? 

The team is still considering ways to make the Matchbox experience on the web better.

9.  Besides the UFO Mission Force set, can you tell us the name of the final set and the constitute models? 

I believe that in addition to the UFO pack, the construction pack is yet to be released.  
Vehicles in the construction pack will include: 
Blade Force SB100
RWR Excavator (RW028)
MB536 3 Axle Dump Truck
Mission Chopper SB64
10.  The cooler Models like the Seagrave happen to be, the more difficult they are to find. Yellow for the Seagrave Pumper is an excellent choice. White would be a great next color. I am hoping we see it in a dark forest green too. Why are there not more Seagraves and Buicks in each box????  
That’s confidential               
11. Often there is only one authentic model in a box but three of the generic models and the more desirable models disappear from the shops before I get there. 
You need to get there sooner. 
12.  Could the Brush Fire Truck in your warehouse not be sold to collectors with all proceeds going to a charity???????? 
No comment.
13.  In response to the remarks about not using actual liveries on the emergency vehicles. Mattel already has an “in” with some fire departments they have worked with in the past. I am pretty confident some of the contracts are still good, so are the opportunities still there?   
Whenever possible, Matchbox will continue to use real liveries on some emergency vehicles where applicable. Opportunities are still there in some instances and the team will continue to explore new opportunities as well.
14.  (This question referred to two photos provided by collectors to the Lamborghini Gallardo in Police liveries on real cars shown in the UK and Italy.) These are real liveries. Can we see them in the Matchbox range, please? 
No comment.
This is a new 2014 tool called the Terrainiac which was first shown at The Gathering in New Mexico.  This is the first look fully decorated.  It will also have a removable bed cover.

This next one was also shown at The Gathering in July. It is the Blockade Buster Tank which will have a rotating turret.

Your views are welcome on these two new additions to the range. I include below some photos of pre-production regular wheel models with detachable parts for added play value. In addition, there is a military model that was planned for the Rola-Matics range, but never reached the final stage and three colour trial military models for you to make some comparisons with the new models for 2014. 

I have had no success in locating the last Real Working Rigs to complete my collection. I wonder whether you have had the same problems? I think that Mark Jones from the Matchbox team should be congratulated on his designs for this series, particularly the early ones and those that were of models not generally seen, but were authentic nonetheless. I understand that Mark is now using his talents on the Creature series but I hope that one day the Real Working Rigs might be resurrected and Mark could design further models for this excellent series.
Nigel Cooper       October 21st 2013

15 Replies to “October 21 Matchbox Ambassador Report, by Nigel Cooper…”

  1. It is great that questions are asked and mattel attempts to answer them, but do they have to be so rude, like “get there sooner”, unfortunately for some, Me included, I cant get to the shops as often as I would like due to disability, I rely on others getting me some models, but one person that was collecting them for me has suddenly decided to not bother, after getting most of them together, dont ask, I have no idea either.

    Anyway, by only putting one model in each case is daft, especially as a lot of the staff in the shops are aware of the value of latest releases and scalp them, I am still looking for some 2010/11/12 and most of 13, so instead of a comment that could be interpreted in a negative way, how about just saying what constitutes a number of each model per box, I cant see whats confidential about that, if it is a case of a manufacturer specifies a number per issues then why not just say so.

  2. The Terrainiac, eh? While the removable bed cover and large flat bed do give it extra play value (and customization potential), I think I will have to wait for a recolor before I feel like buying it. Desert camo, jungle camo, olive drab, desert tan…perhaps even some sort of arctic white. I'm just not a fan of the orange and black…it seems like an unofficial Halloween theme. I do appreciate the design, just not the color choice. Hooray for recolors!

    I'm still not sure what to think of the Blockade Buster. It seems rather tall and top-heavy for a tank. I guess my main conclusion is that I'm not the target market for that vehicle. I can see plenty of kids wanting to play with it, though, and I think the major selling point will be the rotating turret.

  3. For those of us collecting Autoworld diecast, things are in good order. We get a website, we get a product report directly from MGroothius, who I believe is a designer there, and we get proper dialogue regarding product. So, why cant the guys at Matchbox take a similar approach? I agree, the “get there sooner” answer was lame. The carrot-on-a-stick approach to selling product is, in my opinion, short term thinking. Making desirable product readily available will build a loyal consumer base. Putting one desirable car in a box of generics is bound to put off people to the point they just might change their brand of preference. Poor distribution has been the topic of much moaning. It only makes things worse when the truly nice castings are sent through said poor distribution. Thus, you get people spending 90x retail cost, and they don't even get the right to say “I got it first.” The person who sold it to them was first.
    Total frustration, and that doesn't even cover the product itself.
    So, product. The BMW is out and it looks like a really nice model. The wheels look appropriate, the color seems to be a good choice, and it's not generic (it's been pointed out that the wheels or wheel arches were off – I'd want to hold this in hand to make that judgment). If there were 119 more of these in the line-up, there would be little to complain about.
    But, it's not to be.
    Enter the Terrainiac. Hotwheels gets a classic Aston Martin, and Matchbox creates this. Both models have their faults, but the bigger issue is the lines between HW and MBX are getting way too blurry. That Aston, with the small disk wheels and a better paint job, would have been the business in the Matchbox line. It would be a perfect tip-of-the-hat to heritage, as the Matchbox range once included a DB way back in the '50s. And, didn't One of the founders drive a maroon Aston?
    As for the Terrainiac, I doubt there would be much grumbling and head scratching if that three axle truck, with the aggressive looks and name, was in a blue package.
    The removable canvas top is a great idea. The three axles are something many collectors have wanted in the line. Unfortunately, the model looks too angry and too out of proportion with the massive wheels and tiny doors. Mattel says something to the effect that they want the proportions to be exaggerated to fit the perspective of a child's view on big trucks. I cant help but wonder – aren't large trucks exaggerated enough in real life? Do they need weird proportions?
    I like the concept of this truck (despite the name), but the execution is too cartoonish. Even if it's released in a better color scheme, it's still too out of whack.
    The Blockade Buster (cringe – double “b” name) isn't too bad. The details are a bit too clunky, but it is a fairly believable model. The turret rotates, and the colors, aside from being too glossy, are what we kinda expect from a tank.
    Here's the bitter aftertaste – the paint is inconsistent, which I guess I need to define. The front faces of this model are thin to the point of seeing metal behind the spray. The color isn't a bad shade, but it does not match the turret. This model would be so much stronger if the entire finish was consistent.
    This tank is not alone, as last week we saw a Lotus Exige with a blotchy coat of paint. Mattel, please talk to your painters. It's 2013 – you should be able to get an even coat of paint without breaking your budget.


  4. I found 2 Aston Martins from Hot Wheels today, a 2014 model. Keep in mind we still have over 2 months left this year and Matchbox is still stuck on 2013. I have seen no Dodge A100's or BMW M1's on shelves. I have however seen new Autoworld, Hot Wheels, Jada, M2's and Maisto.

    My point is, it doesn't matter if Matchbox makes plastic tat or realistic classics, if I can't even find them at the store then why should I have any enthusiasm for the brand?

  5. where is the Honda ridgeline chevy tahoe chevy impala dodge magnum chevy silverado Chevy avalanche lincoln navigator mercedes cls500?

    matchbox xhould update there cars eg 2011 chevy suburban which can replace the existing one as well as the tahoe

    i heard the impala is being updated to the latest model as for the ridgeline and avalanche they are really nice truck i reckon put them in a SUV 5 pack with the 2014 silverado range rover and the lincoln navigatoer

    Matchbox should just stop the generic models noone buys them they are unrealistic and awful eg frost fighter why the hell is that in a police 5 pack

  6. Thanks again Nigel for passing on our comments, and the great photo of your circular Superfast display… something I haven't seen before!

    Great news about the contents of the Exotic's 5 Pack, I'm willing to bet most will be very satisfied with that multi-national assortment? Even if I feel (as a VW fan) that the VW W12 Concept is due for retirement. Though I'll gladly take a long in the tooth concept car over any generic!

    Everything I'm thinking about the 2 new models shown above has already been said; had similar details, 3 axles, etc, and effort been input into a licensed model I think it's safe to say feedback and product demand would be on a much higher note.

    I will continue to remain optimistic for the future of Matchbox. However, current brand initiatives seem to have resulted in lower demand, fewer pegs of Matchbox product across retailers, longer cycle times with idle product on store shelves, causing less reorder and restocking, resulting in growing dissatisfaction from an otherwise loyal customer base? Consider me baffled by this business plan!

    Perhaps the success and demand for genuine models like the Dodge A100 & late model vehicles such as the BMW 1M with their ability to broaden the appeal and customer base of Matchbox will signal a change for the 2015 lineup?

  7. Precisely my point… I have found many TRU locations now have at most 6 pegs for Matchbox singles, sometimes 2 pegs, and those are often empty, with only 5 packs, 9 packs, and the large 20 packs to be had.

  8. I understand that ToysRUS in the UK no longer stock Matchbox miniatures. They have their own brand of miniatures and I was told that they stopped stocking Matchbox because of delivery problems and old stock being sent.

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