March 17 Matchbox Ambassador Report, by Nigel Cooper…

Ambassador Report 30

There were some comments following the publication of the 1-120 USA list that as the Mega School Bus was not included on that list it was assumed that it had been dropped from the line. This is incorrect on both counts. It is included on the list but has a new name. It is now called Field Tripper and will be # 96 on the list with a MAN number of MB902. It will be available for everyone to enjoy.

It is sometimes mooted that Matchbox do not heed the comments of collectors. I have mentioned several times that decisions cannot be taken in a vacuum and there are many influences on the Matchbox team and the line of models. In response to comments and requests in previous reports and on message boards, I am delighted to announce that the Matchbox team have listened to the concerns from collectors indicating that they were disappointed that the ‘66 Dodge A100 was not included this year in the 1-120 mainline list. They have decided to rectify this. Since the Land Rover LR4 has been moved to 2015, the A100 will be moved to fill this slot this year. It will now be #97 on the list. Furthermore it will also be included as one of the 5 recolour models for this year as well. So that’s two examples that we had not anticipated. These will roll out at the end of the year. Moreover, it is planned for use in the 2015 Mainline and so there should be no shortage of this model this year or the next. I would like to thank all those collectors who took the trouble to post their concerns on boards or to me directly and also to Matchbox for recognizing the depth of feeling for this model and doing something about it.


1. Although I can understand retiring models that have passed the mark of time, why on earth retire a model like the KG or A100 which has only been out one season? How can development costs be justified by such a short model run? Or is there a sinister plot powering the retirement of great licensed models and replacing them with generic trash?

Please refer to the Ambassadors latest report regarding the A100.  Also note that have never used the word” retire” when referring to these two castings which would imply that they will never return again. These models will return. 

2. Can you ask Matchbox to consider doing some Caterpillar-licensed deco’s on their existing construction models? They did this 10+ years ago and have some great construction models out now that would look good in a Caterpillar theme. Thanks!

Matchbox did do this in the past but it is a bit more complicated today to do this.

3. We see that the new castings are numbered from MB902 through MB926, with the new Mustang Police added in as MB969. It took the place of the VW Bulli which was dropped, but was that given a MAN # (possibly MB901) before it was dropped? We had up to MB900 to finish off 2013.

Very soon we will exceed the 3 digit MB number milestone as we develop new models in 2015. This means the MB numbers will soon be 4 digits. Should we celebrate? The Mustang SSP was in the works for 2015 but was ahead in development so it was moved to the 2014 slot hence the MB number.

4. The 3-axle Dump Truck does not show a MAN #. Is this an oversight as it is still MB536 or is it being retooled and will be receiving a new MAN #?
The 3 axle dump truck is in the process of being retooled.  A new number has not been assigned yet. So it is left blank at the moment.

5. I was delighted to receive my Brush Truck. I think it was fabulously decorated proving to the doubters that real talent exists within the Matchbox team. Are there any plans to repeat this sort of thing, hopefully without the complications ….. though the model certainly was worth waiting for.

We are glad that you like our efforts on the Brush Truck. Much love went into creating it even though it had a rocky start. If this program is successful we would consider doing another special item.

6. Many of the models that have been dropped for 2014 are licensed vehicles. If you bring these back in 2015, do you still have to pay licensing fees?

Yes on certain models.

A note to all collectors. If a certain licensed model drops out of the line, it is not retired unless the team feels it has outlived its usefulness. We will simply bring the model back the following year or it will find its way into 5 packs or exclusive models in the 9/10 packs so don’t panic or be distressed. Unless a tool is damaged or completely worn out it will return.

7. There are hundreds if not thousands of collectors who read the message boards. Is there any chance of having an exclusive for collectors? I am sure they would pay a little more so that Mattel would not lose out and I am sure they could be distributed through the clubs.
The International Brush Truck is an exclusive for collectors this year. How well it does will determine if we do more.  In terms of making “Club Models” this is not possible at the moment.

8. Can I have a 5 pack where all the models are in black? I love black vehicles.

Thanks for the suggestion but we prefer to have a variety of color in our 5 packs.

9. Can anyone be an Ambassador and do they keep the models they show? I would like to be boss of Matchbox as well.

Wow you are asking for a lot. Ambassadors do not receive samples of the models they show except pictures for their own collections. Sneak peek photo images are forwarded to the Ambassador by the Matchbox team. At the end of the Ambassador’s term, they do receive a gold finished London Bus. Someday you could possibly be a boss at Matchbox if you work very hard and have a passion for die cast cars.

10. Do you have any information on retooled vehicles filling in the gaps?

MB901 (this may just be the canceled VW Bulli) MB927 – 968

This is a long list that can’t be answered this week.  Check back next week.

11. Since 2010 collectors have regularly asked for a list of issued Skybuster planes by Matchbox. Although it was promised that Matchbox would work on it, the list still has not been forthcoming. 2013 poses even more problems for Skybuster collectors because W-numbers (2012) are mixed up with Y-numbers (2013) and some planes have been issued with their recolour in the same wave. Previously we could buy a couple of planes in Europe and we could more or less guess what was issued in Wave A and Wave B. Wave C is a great mystery for us as various models keep popping up on auction sites. Some 2013 models have only seen in 2014 packaging but we can only guess whether it was a model from 2013 unreleased until 2014 or whether we had some 2013 models still missing. Many people from different countries have been asking why Matchbox cannot release the information regarding the content of wave C. We would like to have a list of all models issued in 2013 together with a list of which 2013 models have been re-issued in 2014 in new packaging.

I can work on putting together a list of SB planes and SB numbers for 2013 & 2014. I cannot provide actual toy numbers (Y &W prefixes) nor will I provide the content of each mix for this is not allowed by Mattel. John should also be aware that we distribute Sky Busters in different ways in different countries. I simply don’t have the bandwidth to filter this. Pooling this information is time consuming because confidential information must be edited from the lists as I have done on the mainline 1-120 numbers. I do this on my own time so I have to prioritize what is important. In short I cannot provide everything that John is asking for.

However, I have enclosed the 2013 and 2014 Sky Busters assortment lists. For your information in certain European regions, the contents of the assortments may vary since some countries do not like to have military style vehicles in their assortments.

SB 94 Drone SB94
Stealth Launch SB92
Subsonic Interceptor SB105
Air Grabber 2100 SB117
Turbo Tornado SB106
Stratos Saucer SB114
Flight Strike SB104
Twin Blast SB103
Space Shuttle SB89
Aero Blast SB102
Strato Stormer SB116
Boeing 747-400 SB69
Pusher Prop SB82
Airblade SB86
Tilt Rotor SB74
The BAT SB109
Freeway Flyer SB112
Cessna Citation X SB75
Blade Force SB100
Boeing 737-800 SB71
Lockheed Martin F-35B SB90
Sky Scorcher SB107
Duel Tail SB115
A-10 Fairchild Thunderbolt SB32
AH-64 Apache Helicopter SB99
Air Blitz SB111
Biplane SB85
Stunt Plane SB73
Battle Raptor SB97
Airliner SB62
Sky Safari SB108
Rescue Blade SB110
Blaze Buster SB87
Snow Explorer SB93
Cirrus Vision SB91
Transport Helicopter SB58
Fang Fighter SB113
Sea Plane SB84
Robinson R-44 SB79
Cessna Caravan SB65
Bi Plane SB85
Blade Force SB100
Air Blade SB86
Lockheed Martin F35-B SB90
SB94 Drone SB94
Cirrus Vision SB91
Strato Stormer SB116
Air Grabber 2100 SB117
Strato Saucer SB114
Fang Fighter SB113
Gee Bee SB118
Snow Explorer SB93
Stunt Plane SB73
Cirrus Vision SB91
Boeing F-15 Eagle SB119
Sky Sentry SB120
Sky Knife SB80
Blaze Buster SB87
Aero Blast SB102
Turbo Tornado SB106
Sky Safari SB108
Rescue Blade SB110
Freeway Flyer SB112
Sky Scorcher SB107
Sky Shredder SB121
Virgin Galactic Space Ship II SB122
Eurofighter Typhoon SB96
Flight Strike SB104
Twin Blast SB103
Air Blitz SB111
Duel Tail SB115

There are five new images available to show this week.

This model is called the Field Tripper. It’s a new unstoppable way to get to school and clearly it would be most useful on School Field Trips involving the most direct route. It would also have been useful in the floods we have had recently in Britain. Presumably all children would have to bring their own ladder with their books and the driver would have perfected the Fosbury Flop.

There are 3 “refreshed” 2014 models. Note that the Sahara Survivor has been retooled with a new MAN Number: MB924. It now has various changes including a plastic body. The AeroBlast Sky Buster has been re-decorated for this year.

A Little More History

Last week I considered the Citroen DS and SM. In 1979 another Citroen was planned for the miniature range. This was to be a Citroen CX Safari. Presumably there was an idea for a plastic roof rack similar to those produced in 1:43 scale by one of its competitors, years previously. A decision to change must have been late as a pre-production base shows here that “Safari” had been included in the casting. Baseplates were modified to erase “Safari” prior to production and this Citroen replaced the Big Bull in late 1979.

This model was originally released in metallic blue with a cream interior and silver painted base. Some models were found either with an unpainted or gloss black painted base. The metallic blue livery varied considerably and the interiors may be found in white, light or dark yellow, tan or a very rare, red interior, which has attracted bids of more than £200 at auction. The model was given additional play value with an opening hatch, which was always in a darker blue than the body.

In 1981 the body colour was changed to yellow, with a red interior and black base, though charcoal and silver based models also exist which command a premium. In 1982 this model was added to the “900” range of Twin Packs, with the addition of tampo print to the bonnet. This comprised of the “Matchbox” logo in red, prefixed by “Team” in the shape of a motor-bike in blue or black. It towed the motor-cycle trailer, previously hitched to the Citroen SM, but now in mustard yellow with red or yellow bikes.

Soon after this the body was modified into a white ambulance with blue windows and dome lights. A black and red “Ambulance” design was added and the base could be unpainted, silver or black. The interior remained red, but the body side windows were filled in, apropos an ambulance. The following year, after Lesney entered receivership, and became “Matchbox International”, the design was changed such that the wording read “Marine Division” in blue and the model was now manufactured in Macau. The Twin Pack featuring this latest Citroen CX towing the old #9 Boat and Trailer, included several colour schemes of which the rarest was an all white boat and orange trailer. The Citroen CX was finally consigned to the scrapyard in 1985.

In 1979 Lesney decided to release a classic vehicle into the miniature range, rather than as a Yesteryear. This was the Model “A” Ford. By 1982 a Model “A” Van and the Jaguar SS had been added. In 1983 the Citroen 15CV was released. Interestingly, this only came into being because the originally planned vehicle, the Citroen CV16, would not fit the dimensions of the box, without removing the front bumper. Shown below is the CV16, without front bumper and with a larger rear side window and several casting differences. The CV15 has a pre-production black front grille and bumper.

Few Matchbox models have been painted black. Indeed the original London Taxi (17c) was painted black to resemble all London Taxis at the time but Odell thought that black was too dull for children and he decided on the maroon colour for the released model. This full size Citroen 15 was probably only painted black though I am not sure. The model was fitted with a grey interior and a chromed plastic base. Later the grey interior gave way to white, presumably to brighten up the model. Towards the end of its life the Citroen body colour was changed to a deep blue. One further change to green with a red interior occurred when it was selected as one of six models to have “Dinky” printed in white on the base. Although Matchbox owned the “Dinky” copyright, it was only realised at the last moment that the name needed to be used as otherwise the licence would lapse. Thus in 1988 a few models were selected to be imprinted in this way and their production was rushed through to meet licensing deadlines. The Citroen 15CV was never produced again. It would be a very popular decision if the Citroen DS could be used as one of the enhanced models for 2015.

Hardly any models of the Lesney era were painted black and probably there was a limited amount of black paint in the factory and so black pre-production models are quite rare. A few are shown below.

Nigel Cooper 17th March 2014

9 Replies to “March 17 Matchbox Ambassador Report, by Nigel Cooper…”

  1. The A-100 is back this year! Twice! That's the best news I've had all day.

    It's also nice to have a list of Sky Busters. Thanks for putting that together.

    Switching the Sahara Survivor to plastic-on-metal is a sad turn of events. I really liked that casting. I'm sad to see it go (plastic).

  2. It's pretty bad when at any given Walmart there are more licensed castings in the Cars section then the Matchbox. There is now a realistic DIECAST European bus in the Cars line. Look at the Ford Mondeo, it's licensed AND in correct police livery. With the exception of the silly hat it has more to offer collectors then the current Matchbox line and from the same corporate parent.

  3. Hi Nigel, good to see you again.

    So anyway, these are the latest images of new releases? Well could anyone be suprised among me? The Questor, Sahara Survivor, those trucks, made my Matchbox? Made-up? Clearly to me, I have some points for all these new releases.

    Okay, starting with the new Field Tripper. Does look like the Mega School Bus. And you say it could go upon floods in Britain eh? Suprising! I hope that's true.

    And while I'm not a fan of the Field Tripper, I could say it looks like a cool casting. I don't want to disrespect the Matchbox company like last ambassador report I heard some comments abdonded collecting Matchbox.

    Sahara Survivor, ah, what a superb model returning back to the mainline. Looks good with a paint scheme of light orange. That's all I could ay about that stunning adventure car.

    Questor, or the Questor. One of a kind, one of a kind. Looks like the shape of some other pickup truck. It's also cool.

    I'm just done with other made up trucks like the Dune Dog, or Quicksand. Why I hate them now is because I always agree with every person the agrees with another. I should.

    So, yes! I agree with Mavanerick 3:21 PM the A100 is back this year. THANK YOU MATCHBOX, MATTEL, AND NIGEL! YEAH!!!

    So thanks Nigel for the report. I have no questions. So thanks!

  4. I've had my brush truck for a couple of weeks now, and I'm very pleased with it, more so than any model I've purchased in the past year or so. It's heavy and well detailed.

    The Field Tripper, sure it's weird, but for some reason I like it.

    Oh great, another plastic body.

    The Questor looks pretty good in that paint scheme.

  5. Great to hear that the A100 will be a part of the 2014 lineup after all. Thank you Matchbox!

    Bring back the '70 El Camino and Infiniti G37 in 2015!

  6. with regards to the “new releases” YUK”, more plastic baby toys, just a pile of junk, then with regards to Q7, NO YOU DONT, that model was for the US market only, not for collectors the world over, it was only available from Amazon US, and unless you had a friend in teh US that would helpo you out, then thats yet another kick in the teeth for teh long time collector.

    LOVED the Citroen piece, these are the highlights each week, seeing some true great products, that is what matchbox should be about, not plastic rubbish, I would dearly love to get hold of some of the Black models, the Audi quattro is a stunning car, perfectly modelled by matchbox, and in black is just awesome, keep this up Nigel, these are the best bits

  7. I had to laugh at the “if you work hard and have a passion for die cast cars, then you could be the boss of matchbox” I didn't know you could die cast plastic!

    The price needs to come down because at $2.50-$3 in the Uk, Europe, Austrailia, who would pay that for a plastic car, when maisto, Real toy, Corgi and most of the realistic hot wheels use metal. doubt i'll buy any Matchbox this year, because Mattel will probably make the very few cars in the line absent from Europe, like the A100, Karman Ghia, BMW 1M, early Super Treasure Hunts and the Batman segment from the Mainline.

    I have a Question about the name of the BMW 1M why has it been changed? I thought BMW named it the 1M to avoid confusion with the M1.

  8. One other thought: it's really cool that they're going to make the Virgin Galactic Space Ship II. It represents exploration and adventure, which to me has long been a selling point for Matchbox and toys in general. I hope they incorporate the proper hinge action in the wings.

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