July 22 Matchbox Ambassador Report, by Nigel Cooper…

Nigel Cooper’s final report as Matchbox Ambassador is below, with all the details from this year’s Gathering, as well as a look at Matchbox in 2015.

We at Lamley want to join all the collector’s in thanking Nigel for his year as Ambassador. Not only for the report, but especially for the histories he attached to each report, giving a perspective on Matchbox that only a few have. All of Nigel’s reports and histories will remain on Lamley, and all can be accessed by clicking on the label “Nigel Cooper” under the label section to your right.

Once again, thanks Nigel, and welcome to the exclusive “Ambassador Emeritus” club. Larry Scaduto, it is on to you…

Ambassador Report 48

How quickly the year has passed and so this becomes my final report. I hand over the Ambassador reins to Larry Scaduto, a collector of many years who, I am sure, will maintain the high standards set by my predecessors. It just leaves me to show some of the colours for models to be released later this year and show some of the mock-ups for next year. These are shown with the kind permission of Mattel. I have trusted to memory with much of this report and so there may well be errors included for which I humbly apologize.

The Gathering models as has become the norm are excellent creations and tribute again has to be paid to the skills of Michael Heralda. The artwork on the Gathering models serves as an example of what Matchbox can do if given a free hand.
Robert Knox, a new member of the Matchbox marketing team, introduced some of the changes for 2015 in the form of a brand update. He started by saying that Matchbox models would be Guaranteed for Life and a child could return a broken model to Mattel for free of charge replacement any time during the child’s lifetime, thus emphasising the durability of the range. The four core themes of Adventure City, Explorers, Construction and Heroic Rescue will continue in 2015 with just a small change to the packaging, which will include the Guaranteed for Life markings. The Adventure City group was described as including all those vehicles one would expect to see in the city such as cars, delivery vans, repair vehicles and buses. Construction will include models such as mining trucks, farm vehicles and construction vehicles.   The Explorers group of models will include everything that can float or fly or go places normal vehicles would not be able drive.
A new feature will involve mystery models. At least six exclusively coloured models will be packed alongside standard models in small plastic “blind” bags. There will be a small window in the packaging to enable collectors to have a glimpse of what may be inside! 
It was promised that the website will be updated later this year because it was acknowledged that the videos and the product were outdated. It will include the current ranges as well as the Spring Promotion, along the lines of the 2014 promotion with National Geographic. Robert was delighted to announce that Matchbox was bringing back the Matchbox Die-cast Poster, available for download on the web. It was not clear how large the poster might be. 
Dave Weise, who joined the Matchbox team in 2005, is the manager for Matchbox Diecast vehicles, and works with the four members of the design team. As well as managing the traditional Matchbox Die-cast lines, his responsibilities include Creature Catchers, Real Working Rigs, Sky Busters and a new line of large scale trucks. It was good to hear that Michael Heralda, the senior graphics designer, is making excellent progress following his illness and it was especially pleasing that through the wonders of technology, he appeared on screen still displaying his inimitable sense of humour. His skills are particularly apparent on the special models designed for the Gatherings. We hope that it will not be too long before Mike is back at his desk.
Miguel Lopez was introduced as the new Super Hero Matchbox designer. He struck me as a man who wanted to make things happen and already he has had a major influence on the design of Matchbox miniatures. He spoke more about the generic creations that he had created for 2015 whilst  Dave spoke about the licensed models.
There had been pressure in 2013 and 2014 to ensure that Matchbox and the blue brand were kept apart and to that end Matchbox focused on tough-looking, industrial and unstoppable vehicles for Heroic Adventure.  This focus will be drawn back somewhat for 2015 as the aims for these type of vehicles have now been realised. Thus, there will be a return to more licensed vehicles and that will include licensed cars. Details are still sparse as the licensing process takes time to take place.
In total there will be 25 new tools and there will be 125 models – I presume that to include the 5 recolours. Several of the mock-ups are shown in this report but clearly there are several others in the pipeline. There will be five new tools for Skybusters and for this range some planes will be shared with Hot Wheels packaging. For the 1:24 scale trucks, they will continue with rubber tyres and diecast features with 10 models in total.There will also be a range of six 1:64 trucks with articulated wheels and a working feature. 
It was difficult to get a good photo of the models on display as they were enclosed in Perspex cases. However, John Lambert was able to take some individual photos to give a better idea as to what will be released in the future. I believe that the painted models are those to be released in 2014, but they are not necessarily the finished product. Some models for 2014 have not yet been finalized.

Eighteen of the 25 new castings for 2015 are shown. We are assured that there will be more cars in the missing seven models. There will be a new European car for next year but information cannot be released until next year. Mention was also made of a Spark Fire Truck loosely based around a Ford Concept vehicle. There will also be a new Jeep Cherokee for 2014  and a Jeep Police 4 x 4 Pick-up.

The generic Military Truck is shown above.
The Lamborghini Cheetah was an off-road prototype built in 1977 by the Italian carmaker Lamborghini. Sometimes referred to as L002, it was developed in competition with other manufacturers as a potential military vehicle. It was different because the engine was a Lamborghini Countach V12.
Generic Beach Buggy with possibly body boards or surf boards.
Cadillac Presidential Limousine, referred to as The Beast or Cadillac 1. 
Tesla Model S is the world’s first premium electric sedan – designed from the ground up as an electric car
Roar by Four Dune Buggy with fins in the rear is a radical design.
Sure to be popular worldwide is the BMW 5 series Police Car by popular demand. It was suggested that it would also be very popular as a family saloon. 
From the construction segment comes the new Ford F-150 Pick-up Truck. It will be finished as a Contractor’s Truck.
In the Heroic Rescue group another classic Fire Engine will appear from the 1970s. Dave related that Matchbox had been pursuing America Le France Fire Truck but the company went out of business, thus scuppering licensing plans. This new classic Mack Fire Truck will remind collectors of more advanced years of the #29 in both the regular and Superfast series. 
The Crawler Hauler aka Critter Truck is a very tough truck for rugged areas. Its off-road qualities enables it to hold beasts and monsters and there will be some moulded in the back.
The Meter Made/Maid will be more familiar to some than others. I understand that they are a common sight in Japan when meter maids give out parking tickets and escape in a vehicle such as this.
This is a model of a real vehicle comes from Romania. It is called the Ghe-O Rescue Vehicle. More information regarding this all-terrain vehicle may be found on the internet. 

It will be possible on this vehicle to move the booms in and out and resembles a Crop Sprayer
The latest Ford Cargo has been redesigned and is already selling in Latin America. It is radical looking typifying Ford’s new styling with a hexagonal grille. It even has a slot for a Convoy Trailer but there are no plans to resurrect this range and so old trailers will have to be used.
This model is to be used in conjunction with Skybusters and may be called Airport Tractor.
The Fire Boat 
Porsche Cayman
This is a low profile Mining Dump Truck which features a moveable bucket. The proportions are very much akin to the real vehicle. Mountain Mover.
It will be a Diecast line called Supreme Hero and will feature Police, Emergency and Fire vehicles. Models will be fitted with two piece wheels with tyres on hubs. In total there will be 18 models and only one of these will be generic. The line up is not yet complete as only two types of wheels are being used and one or other has to fit all models chosen. Dave told me that already there were questions over three of the models originally selected and so the full range cannot be notified until later in the year. All vehicles will have realistic liveries, for example, California Highway Patrol. The main emphasis on these vehicles will be realism and authentic workings. No boxes will be included but the models will have a unique premium package with information on the rear regarding the real vehicle. Models will not be double diecast as in the past.
The 9 and 10 car packs will continue and there will be 8 different packs for 2015.
There will again be 12 Five packs available in 2015.

And so my time as Ambassador is over. I would like to thank every collector for so much support. I hope that I have covered something for everyone in terms of interest. I thank so many collectors who have shown their enthusiasm for the history section. In particular thanks are due to Graham Tomlinson, John Lambert and David Tilley for their help with these reports.
I wish Larry all the best and I am confident he will continue to highlight this brand that we all share a fondness for.
Anyone seen the 2013 recolour? Dave Weise tells me it has been produced.
Nigel Cooper      21st July 2014

31 Replies to “July 22 Matchbox Ambassador Report, by Nigel Cooper…”

  1. Great final report Nigel! Thanks for all your hard work and effort relaying new Matchbox models and classic ones as well over the past year. I am personally quite thankful for the numerous questions of mine that you relayed to Matchbox which were answered through your reports.

    This past year has certainly held frustrating times for loyal Matchbox collectors around the world with one generic model after another with unrealistic proportions; especially when they broke into the 60th anniversary series! It is great to see such perfect models as the Tesla Model S, Cayman, 5 Series BMW, and so on that typify the Matchbox brand. Even the Meter Made & Beach Buggy models are vastly better than generic models seen these past years and appear worthy of the “Matchbox Originals” title we so often hear, hopefully they all have interiors and clear windows as a proper Matchbox should!

    Lastly the Ghe-O truck is a very positive sign showing Matchbox is again willing to produce models from everywhere in the world, not just the USA, important for a brand that has been and should always been globally marketed and desired. Now we can only hope this progress continues and we see the retirement of over-used off-road castings that have had their time in the spotlight but now act as peg warmers. Replacing these with more unique models from Australia, the Nordic countries, and being sure to regain some British presence in the lineup will certainly bring the Matchbox brands sales up again!

    Thanks Nigel!

  2. Thank you, Nigel, for the most entertaining and informative year. Your reports have set a high standard indeed.

  3. Wow, I am excited over the upcoming year's vehicles! The LM002, Cadillac 1, and the airport pushback are vehicles I've been hoping for for several years. The Mack firetruck, quad-cab F-150, Model S, etc. will do a lot to fill the need for realistic everyday vehicles for both collectors and kids. I'll be searching for those cars along with the rest of you.

    I suspect that most collectors (at least on this site) will revile the Crawler Hauler/Critter Truck; I'll actually be looking for it (I've been working on building a custom vehicle for the same purpose). Two things that I hope the Matchbox team will do with it:
    1) Use some metal. The Terrainiac and the Travel Tracker only had a tiny metal cab, and the rest was plastic.
    2) If there is a creature molded into the back, make it removable so that the beast can be captured and escape (or be replaced with other animals).

    I'll not comment on all the vehicles; suffice it to say that I think the lineup is headed in a great direction for 2015.

  4. Distribution continues to be a problem, and it is getting worse and not better. Hot Wheels, which proportionally sell much worse continues to restock and are almost done with their 2014 line. I wish Mattel would do something about that instead of teasing new models when we can't even find them.

  5. Hi Nig, sad day, but great to see you again.

    Okay, so sad you're leaving from telling the news about Matchbox, the great new releases, great history… but now we've got someone else anyways.

    Anyways, some future releases I'm very excited for. Incluing the Alfa 4c, Chevy Silverado, Mustang police, and Ford Bed truck. And other stuff I've hadn't heard that is certainly awesome to look for.

    And SO MANY STUNNING VERY SO EXCITING stuff for 2015. Thanks for these models even though no one and me was looking forward to these things: Lambo Cheetah, Caddy limo, my favorite electric car, the Telsa Model S, which is already IS VERY getting driven around the downtown streets of Toronto here, the…AHA! Beamer 5 series saloon sedan. Why a police?! Okay, I can calm down, but quick question: Would Matchbox reconsider the 5 series also as the original, without the police suit as well? I know there is such thing as a 5 series police, but I'm not a fan of european cars such as Mercs, Porsches, Land Rovers, Beamers, in police suits like this one. But still cool anyways.

    Continuing on, my favorite pickup truck, the Ford F-150, but the new one. Hot Wheels made the 2009 FORD F-150, correct. But Matchbox made the latest version of Ford's popular F-150 truck. I like that neat truck.

    And maybe I'll get that Mack fire truck form the 70's. Just wish it could be customized and grab the 30's style. That would be super neat.

    Also the same for this next Ford cargo cab. Might get it as well…

    And lastly, very cool!!! And that's, behold, the newest Porsche Cayman, so Matchbox has bringed back european cars, A Porsche and a Beamer. But this is too cool for school. Love these stuff!

    That's all it Nigel! Today is the day, but have good luck on what's next for you. Thanks Nigel for all this time and support! Mkay! Good luck!!! : )

  6. Thanks Nigel, you are getting out at the right time. The brand is starting to swirl around the drain. It's a shame. Check out that awesome CHP 5.0 mustang. That casting is just embarrassing. It shows what is really going on in Matchboxland, and it isn't good. I have my fingers crossed to buy 10 new models out of 125. It's the beginning of the end over there………………

  7. Well apparently some have not been sick of all the generics. The Mustang CHP may not be perfect but it is licensed. I've been waiting for this news that licensing is going to be a big part of the future. Only time will tell if it's a successful endeavour but I feel it's a big step in the right direction.
    Nigel I was a big fan of your predecessor. I appreciated your reports but you tended to get a raw deal with what they were dishing out at MB.
    This in my opinion was your finest hour not that you didn't try but because it was like week after week they threw you to starving wolves. Us true MB loyalists were begging for this news all year.
    Hopfully this is a true return to what MB was and what it will be.
    Thanks for getting our message across. That I think all of us true MB collectors appreciated most. You so much more took so much of our frustration with class. When I know it couldnt had been easy to bite your tounge.

    Nigle thanks again all though some of your reports may have not been what we may have wanted to hear you still gave it and that show character and dedication which can not be ignored so thank you and enjoy your next adventure…..

  8. Yeah I know what you mean because locally retailers tend to be replenished with Hot Wheels products every week or so but the trouble with Matchbox is that they hardly restock and on top of that most of the models (at least in my hometown) date from 2013 ( in fact you won't find “tons” of Matchbox products) so I and probably you are wondering why?? With all due respect this isn't right what Matchbox is doing,in fact,I feel it's boring what Matchbox isn't doing for customers like us and finally I thought you may want to know that the type of Matchbox vehicles that interest me for the 2014 line up are the BMW civilian motorbike,Dodge Charger Boone County sheriff car,Dodge Charger Albuqerqe police car,Ford Police Interceptor Marshal Car & Alfa Romeo C4 and now for the 2015 line up it's the Cadillac 1 presidential limo, that Romanian vehicle ( Ghe-O rescue vehicle) and perhaps the generic beach buggy,BMW 5 series cop car,Tesla Model S car and perhaps the Meter Maid vehicle.

  9. Why is it “embarrassing”? Care to share please? No basis or facts, just straight out bashing every thing. Very immature. Comments like these are why us collectors remain at the bottom of the company's interests.

  10. Awesome report Nigel! You were great throughout the year! Well done! I really can't believe that a whole year has passed since you joined. The next Ambassador has some big shoes to fill. Anyway, the models. I never expected Matchbox to do a Porsche Cayman or a BMW 5 series or a Lamborghini LM002. These were a complete bomb for me and I'm sold! I knew about the Tesla so I'm not THAT surprised but consider me sold over that one too! I'm also looking forward to the two Ford trucks and the Cadillac. As for this year's cars, the Ford Mustang CHP, the Chevy pick-up and the BMW 1M Coupe are on my radar. But my favourite of the lot, the whole lot, has to be the Alfa Romeo 4C. I'm not sold over this one. I'm IN LOVE! Like the Tesla, I knew about this but I'm still astonished and I'm hoping that the debut version will be in signature red with silver wheels. Matchbox, You have nailed it! I cannot wait to get my hands on this one. This has to be one of my favourite reports of this year! Thank you again Nigel for the reports, enjoy your bus and good luck in the future!

    – Black Wind

  11. Proportions are all wrong, nose is too long, roof isn't high enough, etc. It's a lazy rendering of a car that they could have gone out into the parking lot to measure accurately. If I'm the only one to see that, maybe I need a new hobby. Does that answer your question?

  12. Yep… like you, I'm putting my hands on the new hot Alfa and that Telsa as well and the other exciting models too.

  13. It does look off, especially compared to Greenlight's rendition. The biggest problem appears to be the cars are getting smaller, but they are re-using the same wheels. While Tomica has been downsizing their models, they at least use wheels that are proportional so the cars look right.

  14. you clearly state that you dont like Euroean stuff, like Mercs, land Rover, Porsches and Beamers (read BEEMERS), yet no more than a few lines later you stateA Porsche and Beamer (BEEMER), this is too cool and love this stuff, so, do you like it or not, at least keep to one point per post.

  15. Thank you Nigel, your reports each week have given hope, and heartache, the musings on the old stuff has been the highlights for me, I love to see the cool real licenced products, that we have been missing lately.

    2015 looks to be a better year, however I wont hold my breath, we are still awaiting the Evoque, and the LR4 was canned, unless the new Discovery Sport will be the super duper secret model, it is easy for Mattel to say one thing and then actually do something else, so until each of the new licenced models are in hand, I wont be holding my breath.

    As it stands, Majorette has beaten Matchbox to the first place, their Evoque is alreay out in the wild, I know, I have four of them, and they aer really good renderings of the real thing.

    I wish you well Nigel for your future, and welcome the new Ambassador, and sincerely hope that he is at least half as good as you were, if he is then we should all be happy.

  16. I recall that some Hot Wheels vehicles that were “designed” (if you will) for the 2014 line up were released in late 2013 so lately it got me thinking that since Matchbox like Hot Wheels is owned by Mattel it should do the same for the 2015 line up by releasing some models in late 2014 or so and because Matchbox lately doesn't restock its products it should make a serious or conscientious effort to restock especially with the up to date models so therefore Matchbox officials if any of you are reading this comment I beg you or should I say we beg you to restock your products at retailers that sell your products and especially please start releasing the 2014 models cause not only are you doing us customers a favor you're also doing yourselves a favor so how about it? How about what some of us beg you to do. Thank you if you can understand.

  17. Good eye—i noticed the roof a little low. Not sure if it's noticeable at the small scale though. Now if only you had started your original comment like your response, perhaps you would have looked better in front of those skimming through comments.

  18. I am still awaiting to get hold of the Ornage 1-Series Coupe, so the blue one will be nigh on impossible to get, I just hope that the other Germans, Porsche Caymen and 5-Series will have better availability in the UK…..

  19. That generic military truck looks amazing as does the crawler hauler. I hope they give as much thought into the paint jobs though. Both would be awesome with a military look.

  20. I'm glad they weren't able to get the American La France license if it resulted in this Mack. I thought the Majorette fire truck with the ladder or bucket was an American La France. The circumstance allows for more variety in the small main brand diecast collecting. They really screwed it up with the Blaze Buster. I was seeking that high cab generic modern truck and the fenders for that exagerated truck just ruined it for me even if I had switched in the next smaller sized big wheel.

  21. what they need now, is the Ward La France P80 ambassador from emergency! that, and a crown firecoach from emergency as well, and the d30 rescue wouldn't hurt either!

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