June 25th Matchbox Ambassador Report, by Nigel Cooper…

Ambassador Report 44
The Matchbox team has passed on some information regarding some running changes that are happening: 
  • There have been many questions regarding the change of hot stamp colors on certain models such as the Trail Tracker, Ford F550 Superduty etc.  We changed the hot stamp color from Yellow to Gold foil hot stamp because we were over capacity on the yellow color.  The yellow versions were made first, then they were changed to gold so the yellow versions were done in less quantity.
  • Due to the German translation issue of the word Field Tripper, we are doing a running change to revise the name.  It will now be called: SCHOLAR HAULER™ on packaging and chassis.  The graphics on the bus will also be changed to say: Matchbox School District.  These changes will go into effect in the next few months.
  • We also had a spelling issue on the metallic green Ford Police interceptor.  The incorrect spelling of ”MARSHALL”  will be corrected to say “MARSHAL” on both the car as well  as the illustrations on all packages.
  • We are also changing the name of the Road Tripper to “MBX PROSPECTOR™” next year.
We thank the collector community for alerting us to some of these names and spelling issues.

1. Is there anything “special” in the works for MB1000? 
Interesting idea.
2. I’m looking forward to the Ford F-350 Stake Bed truck! As for the Mission Force multi-packs, they are not in our regular toy stores so I don’t see them often. I hate having to look around at Kohl’s, Ross, and those 2nd tier stores. Does the Matchbox team have any suggestions? 
We have no suggestions.  Hopefully it will show up at a retailer near you.
3. Sadly the GMC is in a pack I cannot get so it won’t make it into the collection, the F350 on the other hand will definitely be coming home with me, well done Mattel, this is what it’s all about. 
Thank you for your comments.
Great looking car, lots of play value and from a cost point of view so much potential in the future to use the same casting with a Ute tray, box or other apparatus on the back. Have you any plans for different loads? 
It is possible in the future.
4. I hate how MBX shows up on everything. It’s unimaginative and boring. Thankfully, the size of this graphic on the door is good. Can we have a break from MBX for a while? 
We love using MBX which is often easier than using our full logo.  Given licensing and trademark issues that can occur this does serve a purpose for us.
5.  My question for the Matchbox team…a long shot, but Norev and other smaller manufacturers have been successful at launching their offerings by making them available to dealerships. What does Mattel think of this? Maybe something along the lines of the BMW promo from 10-15 years ago? I have a local Chevrolet dealer that likes the idea of borrowing some of my Chevy models for a floor display in the showroom.  
These are considered to be Premiums which we rarely do anymore. On occasion we can work with a customer but it depends on the quantity.
6.  Also….have they thought about the Maisto marketing plan….just continue making the same car in the same color for a few years (like Lesney did) in a row and sell under the store name, such as TRU’s Fastlane, Walgreens SpeedWheels and the Walmart generic brand. It would save money as they would not need to keep requesting approval from the automakers except for the first time etc. They could still market their own brand in stores that do not take to the idea? 

We prefer not to undermine the Matchbox brand by creating private label brands.

7. On the new Rapids Rescue, why oh why does matchbox have to create a semi-realistic water rescue unit just to ruin it with its debut colors! Now i actually do like the design & creativity of the new truck but that orange & green clash way too much. I think I’ll pass on the first release and wait for following ones.  Sorry that you don’t like the color scheme.  

The Rapids Rescue will continue to have many new color schemes in the future. Perhaps you will find something you like at that time.

8. Is this military coup mess in Thailand going to cause problems with Matchbox production?  
No.  It will be business as usual.
First up we have another new tool for 2014. It is called Drill Digger™ aka Auger.   It will be in the construction segment and will a functioning auger drill which can be pushed down ward.  It will be slightly larger than our Skidster.  It will also have the INC color scheme.
Other new decorations for the mainline include another INC deco on the Scraper.
Other new decorations for mainline are shown.

Here is a new Sky Buster called Sky Shredder™

This is a recolour Skybuster

A Little More History

This week’s look at older Matchbox models will be something of a hotch-potch. Some models feature by request and some are just some of my favorites.
White paint was often used on models and it was therefore inevitable that white pre-production or colour trial models should be more common than most other colours. Shown below are a Foden Concrete Truck (21d), riveted but without wheels, a Leyland Petrol Tanker (14f) and an Articulated Truck (30f). The Mini Ha Ha, Team Matchbox and Ford Thunderbird Convertible also look very different in white.

In 1982 the Volvo Flat Bed Truck formed the basis for both the Cable Truck (26f) and the Zoo Truck (35e). Originally this truck was planned to have six wheels but on grounds of cost this was revised to four wheels. Of course in 1984 a Volvo Tilt Truck, (26g), was issued with six wheels but maybe the tilt on the back was much cheaper to produce than either the cables and support and the lion in the cage. A number of Volvo 4 wheel trucks have been found in white, suggesting that this was the colour used for the trial run of approximately 200 models.
The Cable Truck was planned to have a plastic ramp which could be pulled out from a cradle beneath the cables to form a slide which would enable the cables to be rolled down to the ground. Unfortunately this idea was not pursued. However, these trucks and their loads indicate that at the time the design team were focussed upon play value and also authenticity.
The original intention was to have either “Cable Truck” or “Zoo Truck” cast on to the base of each model with the appropriate number cast below the description. Indeed the first pre-production run had “Cable Truck No. 15” cast at the rear of the model as it was proposed as the replacement model for the Fork Lift Truck (15e). This idea of individual numbering was discarded in favour of a larger printing MB15/35 on the base. A run was produced with this larger printing base casting. However, in the event it was decided that the Fork Lift Truck should be retained in the range and the Cable Truck would replace instead the Site Dumper, (26e). This explains the raised rectangular panel which may be found at the rear of all Volvo 4-wheel trucks, for it was necessary to obliterate the area where the two previous base descriptions had been.
Many ideas were developed by the R & D team but few found their way to production. Perhaps this idea for a Volvo Truck transporting a house had been prompted by the old Site Hut Truck, (60b). It did get as far as production of the building but no further.

Of course the Volvo Truck proved to be an excellent platform for a Container Truck and Matchbox made full use of this.

Perhaps there was plenty of blue paint available for these pre-production models.

Here are some colour trial models which might have been chosen on the De Tomaso Pantera.
Finally these bright colours on the Field Car were balanced by the drab green version.
Nigel Cooper      25th June 2014

15 Replies to “June 25th Matchbox Ambassador Report, by Nigel Cooper…”

  1. Wow, some great proactive feedback on spelling corrections and errors from the MBX team, especially that unforeseen one with the German translation issue. Yikes!

    I have a spelling error myself to bring to their attention, I just bought the new Gee Bee casting from the Sky Busters line (one I usually do not purchase from but the accuracy of this model, and for $3 was just too good to pass up!) and upon opening immediately noticed the underside of the wing says “1932 Gee Bee Sporter R1” instead of “Sportster” with an S. Additionally I believe 1932 Gee Bee Super Sportster R-1 to be the full and correct name if space is available under the wing of the model for this.

  2. Ha, I agree, the “Drill Digger” as it seems it will be known is a fun, inventive Matchbox original that will go well beside the Skidster. These are the sort of realistic generics Matchbox needs to return too, that and more late model cars since the line has fallen into some realm of 50% bizarre off road trucks.

  3. Thanks again for a great report Nigel and the look into the past yet again! I am sad to see so few licensed models this time around, and still the WRX seems underwhelming without front & rear tampos where I think it could really shine.

    Fingers crossed for some better licensed models next week!?

  4. This is certainly an exciting report! I will definitely be looking for the Drill Digger auger. The recolors of the Scraper and the Dune Dog both look excellent. The Subaru isn't typically something I'd collect, but the livery shown certainly makes it tempting. I appreciate that the light bar is still separate from the windows on that model.

    The Sky Shredder is an interesting aircraft. It appears to be an autogyro rather than a helicopter ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autogyro ). I'll have to see it in person before I decide about purchasing it, but the initial coloration is nice, and the inclusion of two rotating parts will certainly make it appealing for kids. If nothing else, I think it would be fun (as a customizer) to use its tail propeller as a spinning replacement for the propeller on the Deep Diver.

    Question: can the MBX design team (or anybody else) offer any clarification as to what the stuff on the roof of the Travel Tracker is? The shovel, binoculars, hatchet, gas can, and suitcase are all fairly easily recognized, but there are other things that I can't quite understand. There appear to be two strands of pool floats (the kind used as lane markers for swim meets), and there are also four cylinders that are too small to be spare tires but too large to be cinnamon rolls. Perhaps they're hat boxes. Anyway, I'd appreciate hearing from the design team what the story is behind those. Thanks for producing such a fun model.

  5. Lovely Scoobie, if I ever find it I will get it, and a great classic report too, I really love these.

    Now, the questions, “we prefer not to undermine the matchbox brand” I laughed so hard, I nearly pee'd myself…. Lol… They have single handedly ruined a once stunning brand by rubbish generics, more plastic, and total lack of marketing and availability, so when someone makes a comment that would be a real money spinner, for no effort, they come out with at comment….. It really says it all doesn't it……

  6. Haha cinnamon rolls & hat boxes. I too will listen for the teams feedback even though that's a model I don't own.

  7. I partially agree, though wow, the last thing we need is Matchbox models sub-licensed to stores like Walmart dictating that they want to purchase each car for .05 and sell it for $1. Then quality would go even lower. Some of the Maisto offerings may be unique at the moment such as the Chevrolet Volt, but they are not worth 0.25 to me, they bodies may be metal but at 1/32″ thick with solid black windows, poor quality wheels, and no detailing they are nothing to aspire too.

  8. Hey, Nig. Another quick short ambassador report.

    Everything is mostly not my interest, but except the new color of the Subaru Impreza. Glad to see it back.

    That's it. Much shorter than the other one. Chaps!

  9. Thank you for your report.
    I really like the new Drill Digger, looks like a fun casting and with the INC Colors it looks excellent.
    The Dune Dog is also brilliant in this Design, the best so far, I especially like the small details like the shovel and the yellow fire extinguisher on the back. Glad to see the Subaru is back, looks nice to!

    I also have a question to the Matchbox team, I like the Scraper in INC Colors, however I don't like the color combination. In my opinion the Cab needs to be blue as on the other INC vehicles. However I think it has to do with the plastic parts, am I right?

  10. I like the new construction vehicles. Matchbox makes the best working vehicles in small scale. Tomicas have too much metal and are too realistic. They also don't have imaginative color schemes like Matchbox.

  11. dont agree with you at all, realtoy do this for the UK's biggest Supermarket chain and they produce high qulity models, that are all, thats ALL licensed products, without the garish stickers or colours, from Audi, Ford, VW, Porsche, Subaru and far far more, so it can be done, and like i clearly said, it would be a no brainer money spinner, and they dont need to wrry about undermining the brand, as Mattel have destroyed Matchbox way beyond any recognition, so why does it matter what else they do, we will never get back to the heady days of the majority of licensed kit, it proper colours, which is why Majorette, Oxford and others get my money thse days.

  12. have a look at the brand new Corgi range of “built to last” models, they are made of heavy metal, look great and cover a large number of products, they do some good farm/construction products, andd only at £2.00 or lower

  13. Look for the cylindrical objects in the images below (copy & paste link)—they're basically pressure cookers. While exploring, they need to camp out and have enough food for their travelers, so several are needed to feed them.



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