April 28 Matchbox Ambassador Report, by Nigel Cooper…

Ambassador Report 36
I have not been too well this week and so please forgive any errors in this report.
  • With the news that the MB903 Land Rover LR4 was being delayed until next year, and the MB862 Dodge A100 Pickup taking its place this year, can we get an update on the MB896 Range Rover Evoque?  Is it still going to be released in 2014 as MB70, or is that also being delayed to next year?  If it is being delayed, are we getting a different MB70 to take its place? 
We cannot provide an update at this time.
  • It was mentioned that the ROW international short card range was short of a few models.  A previous Ambassador report stated they would be released on short card.  The ROW range is now on the 4th batch of 2014, and the 1966 Dodge A100 Pickup, VW Karmann Ghia Type 34, Deep Diver, BMW 1M and version 2 of the BMW R1200 R-TP Police Motorcycle in olive are still not out.  Are these 5 coming still or will they not appear on short card? 
These models should still be coming.
  • The Street Sweeper in a recent sneak peek is sporting updated looks.  It appears the interior has been deleted and the window section altered.  Surely this means it has a new MAN#, yet the listing we were provided with showed it still with the original MAN#.  Can you confirm whether it has a new MAN# or not? 
When the list was published the revised tool was not ready but it is now.  The new MAN# is MB943.
  • The Blizzard Buster was recently introduced in the Ice Mountain 5-pack, but almost immediately replaced by the Sand Shredder (assuming the casting got damaged).  It then re-appeared as a basic range model as MB43.  However, it has been noted the casting has been modified.  The side hydraulics which were cast as a part of the body have now been cast as a part of the base.  Does this mean this has a new MAN# too?  If so what is the new MAN#? 
It is 934.
  • Do we have a confirmed MAN# for the MB19 3-axle Dump Truck that was recently shown in the sneak peeks?  We were told the MAN# was missing in the 2014 list due to it being modified. 
It is MB931.
  • Can we get clarification on the vehicle shown in the sneak peeks that was green with a bike on the front and a tan cage on the back?  Is it Trail Tracker or Travel Tracker?  Different reports keep changing the name and both names are for new vehicles this year
It is Travel Tracker used in the Explorers segment.  Trail Tracker is the 3 axle rescue vehicle used in the Heroic Rescue Segment. The recolour for the Travel Tracker was shown last week.
  • Is the Ford Ambulance in red and Street Sweeper in brown the start of a new generic logo series?  Both sport the same crest and Tri-county insignia on them. 
It could be.
  • Are we getting any more of the mint National Parks series of models this year? 
Yes. The Road Tripper will get the National Parks treatment in the “Outdoor Sights” 5 pack this year.
The three models shown below are new liveries for this year.

A Little More History

Several Volkswagen vans have featured in the miniature range over the years. Of course this started with the Volkswagen Delivery Van with a die-cast body, a metal base and four metal wheels. After the release of this van in 1957, a Volkswagen model occupied the #34 spot in the range. In 1959 the metal wheels gave way to grey plastic and a just before it was deleted from the range a tiny number of vans were fitted with silver plastic wheels. A more detailed Volkswagen, a Caravette,  was one of the 1964 highlights as it was to a considerably larger scale and featured opening side doors and a cast interior revealing a picnic table. This Caravette was usually fitted with grey plastic or black plastic wheels but a very rare example was fitted with large silver plastic wheels. 
When rare regular wheel boxes are considered, one’s mind naturally tends towards the F box associated with the 22 Pontiac in red and the D boxes housing the 66 yellow Citroen, the 53 Aston Martin, 55 DUKW and 47 Tea Van. However, I believe that the rarest box is the 34 E box for the green Volkswagen Caravette. One wonders why it was produced at all because the Camper Van must have been ready to replace it immediately. 

A Camper van with a raised sun roof was the next model to occupy the #34 berth. It was quickly modifies, as was the box, to have a flat sunshine roof. Apparently the reason for this was linked to the window areas when sometimes flash, small quantities of infill metal, could spoil the overall appearance.
In late 1970 another Volkswagen Camper Van joined the range at #23. It was painted blue and featured an opening sunshine roof and a plastic interior. The very first releases had a petrol filler cap cast towards the rear of the body, but this was quickly removed and the early version is quite sought after. 
Following a livery change to orange the model was then withdrawn from the range only to reappear as a US only model in the form of a Pizza Van. It enjoyed a further incarnation when it was produced in olive green as a twin pack model.

In 1986 this Volkswagen Dormobile was one of ten obsolete models selected for production in Hungary with the proviso that it could only be manufactured for a year and sales were to be limited to within the Hungarian borders. The base was recast to show “Made in Hungary”. Strangely, the Pizza Van design was retained for all models. When different coloured roofs, interiors and tampo designs are taken into account, the six different body colours merely add to the huge number of variation possibilities. However, the metallic green and yellow versions are very rare and it is not thought that many more versions beyond those shown were actually manufactured. 
In recent years Mattel has produced a pleasing casting of the Volkswagen Van and it has been available in several guises both in the miniature range and as a limited release with rubber tyres fitted. It does not currently feature in the range but always seems to be a popular model and so it is hoped that it will be recoloured again. A few more Matchbox vans are shown below.

Nigel Cooper      28th April 2014

20 Replies to “April 28 Matchbox Ambassador Report, by Nigel Cooper…”

  1. Short ambassador report Nigel, but glad to see you again.

    Anyways, what's up? Well then we start with the new releases.

    Oh the Jeep Willys. Another favor. Just to make you guys chill the “Life Guard” livery on it has some distance. Yuk! I'm a fan of the Willys but just this Life Guard livery.

    Then we have the Taxi Cab, or is it called something else? I don't really pick up this Taxi casting, but just some gigantic explosions are in my mind.

    A forklift. Nop. No way. No way I'm going for any construction vehicles- diggers, bulldozers, and those little kid's choices. I'm a real regular collector.

    Phew! What a day! Since that I've got 1 question to be answered:

    Question 1: Is there any chances of these ideas Matchbox could make- 2013 Acura ILX, 2014 Mercedes CLA-class, 2011 Dodge Grand Caravan, 2013 Dodge Dart, and 2003 BMW 528i wagon? Any chances? Please and thank Matchbox.

    That's it! See you soon, Nig!

  2. The Load Lifter in the orange-and-white “Ranec” livery matches that of the Skidster when it first came out. I don't know if there have been any others in this paint scheme, but I like the look of it. I hope the theme continues. I can see the upcoming Mini Dozer going with the other two to make a nice set if all three matched.

    I'm a fan of the Willys Jeep in yellow. Actually, I'm a fan of the Willy's Jeep in just about any color. I don't really like the red base, but with the black interior I think it's still pretty good. It will go well with the Dune Dog in lifeguard livery. Hopefully the lifeguard Tacoma gets released in a similar livery in the near future.

    Can't say I'm a fan of the taxi. I'd much rather have the Crown Victoria taxi re-released, or better yet the Checker Cab from 2004 (assuming that casting is still compatible with current production methods). That said, I can see a market for the pictured taxi…it's just not the collector market.
    (Crown Vic Taxi: http://matchbox.wikia.com/wiki/2006_Ford_Crown_Victoria_Taxi )
    (Checker Cab: http://matchbox.wikia.com/wiki/Checker_Cab )

    I'm curious as to the extent of the changes for the modified three-axle dump truck casting. Can we have some indication as to what has been done to it?

  3. Thanks for the new Ambassador Report. The info is always interesting, especially the history. Cheers, mate!

  4. I really like the Jeep Willys Lifeguard. It's well detailed, and will go well with the MBX FD version I already have.

    I'm not a fan of the Hero City taxi. I agree with Mavanerick. The Checker or Crown Vic would have been better choices.

    The Load Lifter I really haven't been a fan of, but this version tops the others. I already have the Scraper and Skidster in the Ranec deco, and this would be a great addition to those two.

    I really like the VW van models made by Matchbox. I especially like the ambulance made in the '80s Do you plan to cover that one?

    There are many Hero City era castings that really need to be retired. The Three Axle Dump Truck isn't as good as the “Faun” Dump Truck. The armored truck with the command center is odd, and is already obsolete with the MXT-MVA and Oshkosh M-ATV

  5. More BS from Mattel about the 2 x Land Rovers, has anyone seen the spy pic of the majorette Evoque, it looks STUNNING, and will be better than what matchbox will be able to do, as it will have proper lights, not just a scribbly tampo.

    Mattel are really losing it, as so many other brands are releasing Land Rover products, from Majorette, Corgi, Oxford and many more, it just looks like Mattel are always playing catch up, rather than getting there first.

    LONG GONE are the days when concept cars got released as a proper car, the BMC 1800, Peugeot Quasar, it was great to be get a sneak peak in small scale of the cars we would hopefully be seeing on the roads, all we seem to get is excuses, plastic and generic, I recently purchased some great Norev models, yes a few pennies more than a blue or orange one, but they had better detailing, wheels interiors and graphics, genuine graphics.

    NOW, my question that Mattel will not answer is – IF Majorette, Corgi, Maisto and so on can produce the £1.00 ish genuine model, why cant you, because as far as i can see, you just come up with excuses after excuses, with no real answer, I got 12 Majorette models from our local Morrison s, from Lambo to Citroen, Renault to Peugeot, Mercedes to BMW, ALL at £1.00 each, so why cant you do it ?

  6. Now here's an excellent question. I'm interested to see the answer without excuses. Recently bought a Volkswagen Amarok the majorette and have decals logo and name on the back and logo on the front so the costs should be the same for all …
    The new Evoque is lovely now the majorette liked to see the matchbox … indeed even liked to see a Bowler Wildcat and Range Rover EXR …
    With both road car everyday and some with sport versions is not necessary to invent generic that does not look like anything at all … Do not you think kids like to have more cars equal to the parents, grandparents or idols than aberrations? Adults like!

  7. I bet the licencing issues (that no one else is having) is down to tampos, you know JLR will want full tampos like a 2011 and before Matchbox model or Matchbox want to use the US name for the Discovery and Land Rover don't.

    MB £1.50 – Plastic body, Generic, Americanised versions of vehicles.
    Majorette £1.00, Full tampos/plastic inserts, Suspension, realistic paint/real racing deco's, opening doors on some models.

    Their cost and manufacturing excuses are nonsense.

  8. I would kill for something cool like a modern BMW wagon, but like Jon said above… hope is running in short supply these days when it comes to Matchbox… 🙁

  9. My thoughts exactly. The taxi is hideous, the Willys isn't ideal but still nice and there are only so many colors left to redo it in? I was going to pass on the Load Lifter as it has very limited appeal to me but thanks for bringing attention to the matching 'Ranec' livery, I love the Skidster so it may be nice to buy one just to have a matching set?

  10. Wow, somehow Majorette has not been on my radar, perhaps because I've never seen them on the shelf here in the U.S. but wow, I just checked out their website and you're right, they are beautiful. Perhaps they could have more varied wheels and in darker colors but the Audi A5 with opening doors looks great! I'll be sure to keep an eye out for them next time I'm abroad and fill the extra space in my carry on with those affordable realistic gems! My friend would love the Fiat 500 too!

    Thanks for the look into the past Nigel, it's always impressive to see the overwhelming array of colors that were produced on the models made in Hungary, and I love VW's so this was a welcome highlight. Just curious, are all these photos of the impressive Hungarian variations from your own collection or others?

  11. Hungarian models are from my collection. I wrote an article on how I found them for the Matchbox Club website last year. (ex- MICA)

  12. Matchbox have gone downhill so much in recent years; I can’t remember the last time I bought one of their models. I’m guessing probably in 2012? As for Majorette, they have been my favourite brand for years now alongside NOREV. I’m bought so many of these models in the last few years.

  13. I'm a collector, but most of my Regular Wheel collection is farm/construction equipment and emergency vehicles. If you really want a Regular Wheel model, these are some the easier to find models.

  14. We need more Fire! I miss the old 5 packs when the FD models all had the same livery. There are so many models that Matchbox can use just by painting them red and calling it a fire truck, either in a 5 pack or in Mission Force sets.
    RWR Freightliner Satellite
    RWR E-One Command Center in Red
    F350 superduty in Red FD livery
    Express Delivery
    Highway Maintenance
    Desert Thunder
    Scrambulance in Red
    Aqua King (air bottle truck?)
    Int'l CXT

    i'm sure there's more. It would also appeal to the 1/87 folks with FD layouts, since these are pretty close to scale. Everyone loves fiee trucks! Give us more!

  15. The majorette been a few years down and about to close but now returned in force with new and beautiful models. Has anyone noticed the Volkswagen Beelte the majorette and the hotwheels? Nothing to do with each other, the majorette is a religious copy of the real. The same happens with the Fiat 500. The Fiat 500 from Hotwheels looks more like a Abarth 500 than a Fiat 500. But not deviating from the subject (the question Jon Mower) why IF Majorette, Corgi, Maisto and so on can produce the £ 1.00 ish genuine model, why can not you?

    Mr. Administrator my question is:
    IF Majorette, Corgi, Maisto, Norev and so on can produce genuine models, why can not you or why you choose not to do the same?

  16. The majorette been a few years down and about to close but now returned in force with new and beautiful models. Has anyone noticed the Volkswagen Beelte the majorette and the hotwheels? Nothing to do with each other, the majorette is a religious copy of the real. The same happens with the Fiat 500. The Fiat 500 from Hotwheels looks more like a Abarth 500 than a Fiat 500. But not deviating from the subject (the question Jon Mower) why IF Majorette, Corgi, Maisto and so on can produce the £ 1.00 ish genuine model, why can not you?

    Mr. Administrator my question is:
    IF Majorette, Corgi, Maisto, Norev and so on can produce genuine models, why can not you or why you choose not to do the same?

  17. I agree. I have an HO scale layout and have been pleased with several Matchbox vehicles that are close enough to HO scale to fit in my diorama. I have customized and kitbashed many of the models you listen into FD vehicles, but would love to have some actally sold. I was disappointed that the E-One Command Center Real Rig was not done in red. It would have been a great replacement for my old customized Boley Mobile Command Post.

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