Ambassador’s Report May 4th, 2015
By: Larry Scaduto
Well give me an extra day and things change Jurassicly!!! My report was almost done and I had the next Supreme Hero model as the lead feature and then a bunch of Jurassic World pics arrive. This is just the beginning! There are more singles, 5-packs, and Land & Air 2-packs, plus much much more to come. It will easily double the presents of Matchbox related items in the stores. What a fantastic movie promotion for us to be involved in! I’m also showing for the first time the BMW M5 Police Car. This model is sure to please everyone. Check out the nice Pre Pros I’m showing this time around. I also have my usual segments and another great feature article from Chuck Wiersma covering Matchbox Play Cases from the 70’s. Grab a seat and be prepared to be entertained. Thank you for reading. Let me know what you think. Have a great day!!
We interrupt this report for something that’s
Jurassic World Movie Trailer (click on link)
(MB884) Dump Dozer
(MB982) Hummer H2 Concept
(MB825) MBX Prospector
(MB942) Sahara Survivor
(MB926) Sea Spy
(MB738) Volkswagen Type 181 (The Thing!)
SUPREME HEROES COLLECTION
(MB801) INTERNATIONAL WORKSTAR BRUSH FIRE TRUCK
This is the 10th & final release. Roanoke Fire-EMS appears to be in New Jersey.
This Brush Fire Truck is decorated on all four sides!! Nice job by the team on this model, and I can’t wait to add it to my collection. Oh and just in case someone is wondering…. The body is metal!
New Casting for 2015
(MB966) BMW M5 Police
Well, Matchbox has another winner with the introduction of this BMW M5. It is nice to see the return of POLIZEI to the sides of a police car! My hope is that with each release of this particular model will have a different European country’s Police Department represented. That would make a nice series to collect.
I know the questions have been missing for a while. Some welcome their absence while others embrace the idea of hearing what Matchbox has to say. Many collectors don’t like some of the answers, but at least the team is reading and responding to your inquiries. My regular answer man is no longer with Mattel, so I wasn’t sure who was going to pick up where Dave left off. So Gerry, Miguel and Michael have worked on the latest batch of questions. We have new people with a different approach to answering. Please, read and enjoy….
1) Will you do a street version of the Mitsubishi Evo and Subaru Impreza?
I’ve wanted those for quite a long time and I’m sure many others feel the same.
Being an owner (Gerry) of a WRX STI, I’ll definitely be looking to add it in for 2017, maybe even the EVO as well.
2) Is it possible to do an R32 GT-R? The first R32 GT-Rs are starting to touch US soil as they qualify for the 25+ years old import law. And many people would love to have at least a Matchbox version of a car they want so badly. The HW version is fully modded but people today prefer clean and stock cars.
Send over an image, and we’ll consider it.
(Ambassador’s Note: Here is the picture you required)
3) Can you do a new 911 or bring back the 996 Turbo? It’s been almost 8 years since the last 911 or GT3, was made. I think a new Turbo S or GT3 would send shock waves across the collector community. (Or how about a Targa S)? Even an older 911, like a 996 GT3 RS or 993 Turbo would be very cool.
These are all good suggestions! We have yet to define the 2017 line so we will post another Porsche on our “SUGGESTION BOARD” as a candidate for 2017. The “Suggestion Board” is a board where all of us (in Design) place our favorite models for consideration. After exhaustive review and numerous heated discussions we eventually arrive at the new tools list for production. If you could be a fly on the wall of the Matchbox (New Tool) Boxing Ring your price of admission would be well worth it!
4) Can you do undercover police cars? A simple black car with a red or blue light bar. And a separate light bar, for goodness sakes. Not the one-piece window thing on new cars. A full black Ford Interceptor with dark windows and blue light bars would look awesome!
(Ambassador’s Note: I had to edit this question so this report doesn’t get a PG-13 or R Rating)
Personally I like this idea of undercover police cars and have considered it in the past. We just have to make sure the appeal is global and kid (of all ages) oriented. Reading your question I see that you are very specific and expressive regarding how you want the vehicles to be built and decorated. Do you customize the models yourself? If not, that might be a new area for you to explore – a suggestion. I have seen other collectors showcasing their modified production Matchbox models (customizing) on-line and in YouTube videos. Many are very impressive and I think it brings a new element to the passion of collecting – you start looking for models that you personally can enhance – it becomes a new challenge! That’s what I do every time I begin the process of creating the deco’s for each and every model.
Regarding the separate Light Bar request, our models are now restricted to using only four parts (body, windshield, chassis, interior) in addition to weight restrictions, to have a separate light bar we need to eliminate one of the other parts. In rare cases that “might” be possible. Our designer is constantly pushing the limits by trying to combine parts in order to give us that extra part somewhere on the model. This type of merging of parts most often creates other issues for production and has the potential to increase costs. Trust us; we would like to have vehicles with separate light bars for more authenticity. It is just not economically feasible at this time due to current production methods.
5) Can you name the cars in the 2015 Classic Cars 5-pack?
‘71 PONTIAC FIREBIRD FORMULA, ‘68 MUSTANG CT/CS, VW TYPE 34, ‘57 GMC STEPSIDE, FORD GT 40
6) Can the current Gallardo Police be converted to a Superleggera in street version? People would be all over that as well. Make it an Edizione Technica for the full blast.
We will do some research on this request.
7) Speaking of conversions, can the Audi R8 be converted to the V10 Plus? Not likely.
Highly unlikely, just as you suspected! Thanks for the suggestion.
8) How is your relationship with Dodge? Can you do a Charger Hellcat or an SRT Viper?
Would a kid be able to see the difference between the stock versions of the Charger? We will do a bit more research and look into a modification.
9) When will the F-Type be unveiled? 2015
This year you will see the Jag on shelf. We are still waiting for FEP samples to arrive. Once we get the FEP samples I will photograph them and make the pics available to your Matchbox Ambassador to share.
10) Lastly, what are the rest of the secret new models of 2015? Only
18 were unveiled at the show + the F-Type. So what are the other 6?
Please? I won’t tell anyone.
At the upcoming Albuquerque Collector Gathering in July of this year I am sure you will get that information in its entirety. If you are not planning on attending I am sure other collectors will soon be posting information on the complete New Tool Line up for 2015 as well as a possible sneak peek of what’s to come for 2016! Sorry to keep you in suspense. (FYI – send me your list of the 18 models and I will fill-in the blanks)
Anyway, that’s that. I hope the questions make the next report. Good luck!
Dear email@example.com, Larry (our current Matchbox Ambassador) did share your questions in their entirety with us. Be sure to thank him for being diligent in requesting information, pics, and for sharing collector questions, like yours, with us. He has undertaken a job some may criticize, while others admire. We are grateful for his attitude and passion for the brand. Consider that the Hot Wheels brand does not even have an Ambassador.
We took a chance on creating the MATCHBOX AMBASSADOR position and were open to how the Ambassador would interact with us while being the point person for the larger collector community. We have now had 10 Ambassadors! Each one brought something new to the position and the role will continue to evolve with each new Ambassador. It might be interesting to ask you, the collectors, what would YOU bring to the role to improve communications and the flow of information?
Many of you know (this is Michael Heralda writing) that soon I will walk out the door of Mattel/MATCHBOX for the last time as a full time employee in a couple of months. There are things I definitely will miss not being here but there are many more things I am looking forward to busying myself with that I just couldn’t do while having a full time job. Without babbling on too long, what I really want to say is THANK YOU to all the past Ambassadors, and the current one, and to all you collectors for the passion you have for the brand, the loyalty, and your ability to freely express yourself in sharing your likes and dislikes. Each of us are different in our perceptions and interests but every now and then we come together as a community, the magic happens – we have a shared, memorable, experience that revolves around a shared passion. Thank you all and I look forward to seeing you someplace, sometime soon!
– Michael Heralda
PREPRODUCTIONS FROM MY COLLECTION
In this report I’m starting out with a fantastic casting of the Audi Quattro. This model features a black body, black interior and a flat black 1982 Lesney England metal base. Too bad this version never came out. It would have been the best one of all the releases!!
Below I am featuring the Ford Crown Victoria. This model just as the Audi above has a black body, black interior and a textured black plastic 1996 Matchbox Int’l China base. The windows are smoke tinted and the lights on the roof are a deep blue. Question #4 talks about an undercover police car. Here is what it should look like if this was to be pursued any further. (minus the lights of course!)
Next I’m featuring the MB38 Corvette Stingray III. The first model is light metallic green with a black interior and a smooth 1994 black Thailand base. The model below that is orange with a gray interior and a black textured 1994 Thailand base. Both pre pro’s sport 6 spoke spiral wheels.
Next model sports a classic design on a classic model. Here I have a wonderful two-tone paint job on the 1967 VW Transporter. This model has a dull orange & yellow paint finish with black interior and white seats. Also, this VW has a flat black 1998 China base. Now here’s a model that needs to be back in the lineup. No modifications are nessasary….it already has its skylight!!!
MB16 Pontiac Firebird
This Pre Pro was actually the hardtop version that had the roof cut out to make it a T-Top. As you can see it is painted black with a tampo printed Firebird on the hood. What makes this different is that it says Trans Am on the doors. The production version sported the word Turbo. The interior has been painted an off white over the production red. Also it is has an unpainted 1979 Lesney England base w/ No16 Pontiac on a raised panel.
With the introduction of the Jurassic World series, I thought it only fitting that I bring out The Lost World Jurassic Park collection. I only picked up the 1:64th scale models. I didn’t collect the larger vehicles, although I should have. These were modified basic models with plastic attachments, a small person and a dinosaur!!
1997 The Lost World Jurassic Park movie trailer (click on link)
And the last model pictured was an exclusive to the Jurassic Park collection. The name on the blister card says: Tracker / Trapper 4×4, but it was a Mercedes AAV casting
Lesney Era Playcases By: Charles Wiersma
Playcases were a simple way to provide a kid sized play area that folded up neatly for storage. The cases were usually made of soft vinyl (usually light blue) with fold out interiors made of vacuum formed plastic, vinyl, cardboard, or plastic. These mass produced sets offered three-dimensional play and looked so cool compared to those shoe box cutouts we made ourselves.
Official Matchbox USA Play & Game Case: Circa 1969 Featured fold away ramps, manual lift elevator, sets of cards for game and storage try for 12 vehicles. Kids could use the play area as a game board or a play area for “driving” your Matchbox models.
Notice the Regular Wheel Matchbox used on the cover graphics.
Ramps oled away for game or unfold them for play. See sheet of cards in upper right corner of photo. Store your cars in the building with the spinner on it.
MATCHBOX CITY AND MATCHBOX COUNTRY PLAYCASES: This series of cases were most often sold through Sears Roebuck and Company Wishbook catalog. The cases were sold circa 1967 to 1980. The first generations of cases were manufactured from circa 1967 to 1973 and had vacuum formed interiors. They were actually produced by Ideal Corp with an apparent Matchbox license. Before this licensing, some were sold without Matchbox branding. Later generations of these City and Country cases included soft vinyl interiors with a mix of cardboard and plastic buildings. The earlier versions had hard plastic handles with metal latches while the later versions had pliable plastic handles and no latches.
Matchbox City: Circa 1967 retailed for $8.99 US.
Late 1960’s case made by Ideal but licensed as Matchbox.
Construction site on right. Car Park with red roof on left stored vehicles. A Light Glow version with glow in the dark graphics was sold in the early 70’s. Non Matchbox versions were sold as Mini-City.
Mini Country (Non Matchbox version) circa 1967 retailed for $8.99 US.
Although this set does not have Matchbox on it, it was identical to the Matchbox version.
Storage was provided in the barn or the building on the far side (left of center). The bridge and top of the silo were stored away when play was finished.
Matchbox City: 1972 retailed for $9.66 US.
The circular roadway, office tower roof, Civic Center bridge, and roof to the department store were stored in the mini shopping center. Cars could be stored in the Office Tower.
Matchbox Country: 1972 retailed for $9.66 US.
The bridge, house roof (house to right), silo roof, and hot dog stand awning could be stored in the barn or in the service building to the left. The paper rail road gates are very difficult to find with these sets.
In 1975, Sears temporarily dropped the Country case and offered a “Mattel” Country Life Case promoting Hot Wheels. Funny thing, they still offered Matchbox models in the catalog with the set and not the Hot Wheels.
Matchbox City (49-58079): 1976 retailed for $10.99 plus shipping/tax. This case had a snap close feature. Some of these plastic pieces were issued in later playcases and playsets. The city skyline backdrop was cardboard.
The six sided case had white plastic handle and metal clasp to close.
Gone are the vacuum formed plastics on the interior.
Matchbox Country (507964): 1977 retailed for $10.99 US (1979 Sears Wishbook). The set also included the cardboard backdrop and a plastic farm windmill.
The plastic farm windmill was a unique feature to this Matchbox Country Playcase.
Matchbox City (58 79 10): circa 1979-1980
The plastic drawbridge had ramps that lifted and the bridge swiveled. This bridge was unique to this set.
Cardboard Buildings with plastic ramp/roofs.
Matchbox Country (50 79 11): Originally issued as Matchbox case in 1979-1980, in 1981 the set was reissued by Sears as the Sears Country Playcase under the Roadmates brand. The interior was identical and the instructions were the same down to the Matchbox logo clearly printed on it. Matchbox even appeared in the fine print on the cover of the Roadmates case. In 1981, Sears nearly stopped selling Matchbox related toys in their catalog. At the time, Star Wars was the big seller and several Sears exclusive Star Wars sets were being sold through the Wish Book catalogs.
1980 Matchbox version of Country Playcase.
1981 Version of Sears Country Playcase. Same exact case with pieces and instructions with Matchbox logo removed from cover and replaced with Road Mates.
MATCHBOX AIRPORT PLAYCASES
International Airport: Circa 1968, this Ideal Corp. product never carried the Matchbox name. When unfolded, the runway extended over 3 ½ feet. The airport terminal roof lid opened to provide storage.
Another non-Matchbox case by Ideal.
Imagine driving over the ramps to the airport and taking off to exotic flights around the world.
Matchbox Airport: Circa 1973-1976
The case was trapezoidal in shape and folded out to provide a clear vinyl covered cardboard play area. No vacuum formed plastic here. Earlier editions of the cases included a metal clasp to close the case, two red thin plastic trays in the hangars to store Sky Busters planes, longer runways with numbers 29 and 36, a restaurant on top of the main terminal, and a yellow plastic ramp for vehicles to drive to the top of the terminal. Later editions of the set deleted or modified these features. Both versions of the case had a plastic 12-car tray slide out in the terminal building. Some of the buildings and the yellow plastic ramp were also issued in the Matchbox Mall playset. The 1976 JC Penney Christmas catalog had the later variation set listed for $10.88 plus shipping/tax. The set was also issued in Canada. The Matchbox Airport case was designed for play with the MB 1-75 models as well as newly released Matchbox Sky Busters planes.
Thin vacuum formed plastic slide out storage trays in the hangars – only in the earlier versions of the case.
Earlier version of case came with long runways, slide out trays in hangars, and ramp to roof of main terminal (far end of case).
Airport control tower. Note reflections graphics in mirrored walls of the tower.
Matchbox Sky Busters Airport Playcase (507918): 1975
This tiny playcase opened to an L-shaped 24”x20” play area made of smooth vinyl. The set included two cardboard buildings – a control tower/terminal and a service building. The 1975 Sears Catalog listed this case for $4.95 plus shipping/tax.
Matchbox International Airport (518005): Circa 1977.
This 12” x12 ½” x 5 ½” folded case would unfold into clear vinyl covered cardboard play area. The 1977 JC Penney Christmas catalog listed this set for $11.88 plus shipping/tax.
Cardboard terminal and control tower with plastic roof. Beacon, radar, and wind instrument could spin.
Cardboard Air Cargo Terminal
Cardboard Rescue Center with Plastic Roof
Matchbox Airport Playcase (79-585580): Circa 1979.
An overly simple case, this rather disappointing toy was all vinyl with all cardboard structures. It featured a cardboard Flight Control Center which was a simple piece of cardboard with a dial radar and pad of paper for little operators to log their flights. The 1979 Sears Wishbook listed this for $11.49 plus shipping/tax.
The black cardboard at the bottom of the pic is the Flight Control Center.
Matchbox Construction Site: Circa 1973, this case featured more durable vacuum formed plastics and soft vinyl. The curved roadway detached for storage. The set was designed for King Size vehicles. Again, this was sold through Sears.
Combat Zone Playcase (51 80 01): Circa 1976-1977.
This case incorporated both a smooth vinyl interior printed with a decorative layout and the vacuum formed plastic terrain. The case was olive green in color and had a white plastic handle and metal clasp. It was offered in the 1976 and 1977 JC Penney Christmas catalogs for $9.97.
Matchbox to the Rescue! Circa 1975
This particular design was one of the more creative cases in how the buildings were stored when closed. The interior was made of a smooth vinyl with colorful graphics while the structures were made of clear vinyl covered cardboard. This particular example was issued in Canada – hence the French and English on front. The case was sold through the 1976 and 1977 JC Penney Christmas Catalogs for $9.97 and $10.97 respectively. The case retailed for $15.99 Canadian in the 1979 Canadian Sears Catalog.
This Canadian version of the case has English and French on the cover. Notice metal flip clasp and unusual boxy design.
Matchbox Town (500201): Circa 1977
This trapezoidal shaped case has a smooth vinyl interior, a cardboard diorama backdrop, cardboard and plastic buildings.
Matchbox Race Case: 1977
The case included a cardboard grand stand back drop and buildings. The 1977 JC Penney catalog listed this set for $9.97.
The plastic convenience store/gas station, fuel pumps, and toll booth with working arms were used in various playsets of the era in a variety of colored plastics.
Matchbox Walt Disney Playcase (50 03 01): 1979
This bright yellow vinyl case had a smooth decorated vinyl interior with cardboard buildings and plastic roofs. This particular sample was originally sold at Children’s Palace toy store in the USA and retailed for $4.97. None of the plastics were unique to this set.
Matchbox Off-Road Playcase (50 80 45): 1980
The diorama and buildings were cardboard. The 1980 JC Penney Christmas Catalog listed this case for $13.99.
Matchbox Paramedic Playcase (50 80 48): The 1980 JC Penney Christmas Catalog listed this case for $13.99 plus shipping/tax.
Several of these 1976-1980 era playcases used sample plastic pieces, albeit in different colors, for several playsets. There was the elevated roadway, three different styles of bridges, fencing, fuel pumps, various building roofs, and the fuel station with vehicle lift.
These three bridge styles were used in various playcases and playsets in a variety of colors.
Plastic barn roof, plastic fencing still on the sprew, and samples of other plastic roofs for playcase buildings. These can be found in numerous cases in a variety of colors.
Plastic pieces to assemble the elevated road or skyway. These pieces were made in yellow, orange, or red. Labels would be applied by the purchaser and varied by set.
The Gas Station was issued in many different sets in a variety of colors and labels.
Playcases offered a portable, often easy to assemble, solution for a play environment. They were quite often, but not exclusively, sold through Sears and JC Penney catalogs. The cases in this report were all sold in the North American market, although pieces from some of these sets were sold in other Matchbox related playsets. 4/5/15
I would once again like to thank Chuck Wiersma for this wonderful article that took an in-debt look back at these unique Play Cases that were mostly available through Christmas Catalog Wish Books here in the states and Canada back in the late 60’s through the early 80’s. It amazes me on how much merchandise I didn’t know existed until this article. Hope everyone takes the time to read this trip down Matchbox Memory Lane…….
WHAT’S NEW: 2015 Batch D
MB78 Mauler Hauler / MB51 Bay Brigade
MB22 Ford GT40 / MB8 BMW M1
MB49 GHE-O Rescue / MB117 Toyota 4Runner
MB44 Drill Digger / MB29 Quarry King
All images and articles are presented here with the consent and permission of Mattel and the Matchbox Team.
MB114 Blizzard Buster / MB107 Frost Fighter
MB46 Dirt Smasher / MB10 Turn Tamer
Models provided by Midwest Diecast Miniatures
Now it’s time to talk about the variation on the new Alfa 4C. On the right is the Batch C release. This first version features black air scoops which is actually the base showing through the openings in the front of the casting. The version on the left which is from Batch D shows two black tampoed extentions to the front scoops painted onto the body. This doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it is to Alfa!!!! You will notice that the blister card artwork shows the picture with the scoop extentions. So this extra detail was accidently left off the first releases of this model. It was caught right away and a running change was made to finish off the front end. So, what does this mean to us collectors???? You asking yourself right now….. which version will be harder to find!! I’m here to tell you the first version with blister card code H05 will be extremely hard to find. The second release with batch code H09 will be somewhat easier to obtain. Like I mentioned before, it was caught right away! So there you have it!!! An accidental variation for you to find before the prices go up.
MODELS WE WOULD LOVE TO SEE MADE
2015 Aston Martin Vulcan
1973 BMW 3.0 CSL
1930 Cadillac Fleetwood
2017 Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen
1999 Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec
Honda Civic Concept
2016 Volvo XC-90
1954 Hudson Hornet
2016 Porsche Boxster
2015 Chevy Tahoe
2016 Chevy Malibu
Featuring Matchbox, Hot Wheels, Corgi, Johnny Lightning
& all assorted diecast & model cars
June 14, 2015
100 Berlin Rd.
9AM-2PM @ $5 admission
6AM dealer setup
Contact: Charlie Mack 860-349-1655
Return to: 62 Saw Mill Rd., Durham, CT 06422
6 Foot tables at $60.00 each
Vendor Name ________________________________________
Helpers Name (Limit 2) ________________________________
City ________________________ State _______ Zip ________
# of Tables Needed _______ Enclosed $ __________________
NEW SKY BUSTER CASTINGS FOR 2015
SB123 MBX Hyper Jet
SB124 Roto Warrior
SB125 Battle Bomber
SB126 Tiltin’ Turbo