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.
MATCHBOX ADDRESSES THE FUTURE
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
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