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F Case was all about the licensed new models. G Case is all about the trucks.
Well, and an Alfa. You can’t go wrong with the Alfa Romeo 4C, especially in white.
But this case is about the trucks. Some new, some older. A couple licensed, a few not licensed. And, in all honesty, a bit of a mixed bag. After the case arrived from A&J Toys, I, as is the new norm, filmed the unboxing:
What do you think?
I prefer licensed, but I am also aware that an all-licensed-model range isn’t realistic. So if they are unlicensed, I prefer realistic. The Scraper in this batch, which we featured earlier, and the MBX Moving Van, looking splendid with the Matchbox logo in Japanese, are great examples of that. Some of the others, not so much.
But I think the talk of this case will be the Transit. I will say this. The model LOOKS fantastic, but it is a letdown to learn it is sporting a plastic body. Some of the other models are plastic, and if they are unlicensed I have no problem with that. It is the licensed models that get to me.
This may be a subject the Matchbox team will address at the upcoming Gathering in July. Matchbox is headed in the right direction in so many ways, and the issue of plastic bodies seems to be a good topic to tackle next. We will have to see.
In the meantime, what model grabs your attention?
18 Replies to “Lamley Unboxing: Opening a 2016 Matchbox G Case, plus a few highlights…”
Gutted the Transit has a plastic body. Raise the price instead of going plastic. People can't expect Matchbox to cost a dollar for ever!
Good golly. It doesn't even matter what color that Alfa wears, really. Dress it in the same piss-gold as the BMW M4 and it will still be a sexy looker. Dress it in champagne and she's ready for a gala. It's just… man, that is simply stunning, even at this small a scale.
We've got to look at the whole picture, and this has been said by many of us, many times. Not just Matchbox, but also Hot Wheels. They have to keep the entire line at a dollar per car (in the American Market at least), and a reasonable low price internationally. For this, they have to compromise. I am super OK with plastic parts as they are doing it. It is a good compromise. And plastic allows for much better detail, and allows them to add such nice detail in cars like the Hardnoze and Gheo Rescue's weird front end. Thanks for the unboxing! lots of cars to look forward to.
Maybe it works in American market, but in Europe it doesn't work at all in my opinion. In Europe HW and Matchbox cost about €2.1, while competing Majorette cost around €2.8. And if you compare plastic Matchbox model to detailed Majorette model, Matchbox simply looks disappointing and lower price argument doen't really work.
By focusing so strongly on keeping it at $1 per car in North America, it comes at the expense of Matchbox's sales in pretty much everywhere else, where Tomica and Majorette are priced similarly, but with twice the desirability.
North American sales cannot generate all the profit for the brand, and the focus on the $1 price point hasn't helped the desirability of the models, which often don't sell well (with exceptions) and leads to poor distribution (as in few orders by retailers).
I understand how everybody feels about plastic bodies, but realize this: It's not a Matchbox or Hot wheels decision on what materials to use, but the Mattel Corporate decision. I mentioned this before: the company will do what's best to cut costs by all means. Hot Wheels will always get the lion's share of the budget and promotion, considering Hot Wheels is an in-house creation as opposed to Matchbox being purchased, but by the end of the day, both brands face the same group of corporate accountants (aka “bean counters”) who will determine whether this or that model will use plastic or metal for the body. And while we grownups complain about this, we must remember that it's the children who are Mattel's primary target. It's not going to matter to the average child what their toy is made of, so who are we to complain?
I'll be first to state that I'm not a know-it-all, but I have been involved in retail and business administration for years and have collected diecast models for over 40 years (and I still have the original 9 Matchbox that started my collection) and I have seen this trend coming down the trail for years. I'm not exactly pleased with it, but that's business today and we as consumers have a choice: buy it or leave it alone. Trust me, the corporate suits won't care less one way or the other.
As for Majorette, Tomica, Maisto, and the other brands, they will be following Mattel's trend sooner or later. In fact, Majorette had done that back in the 1990's. Does anyone here remember Novacar? It was a Portugal-based brand that made licensed copies of Majorette models for select markets in Europe. Novacar's Majorette copies had Metal baseplates and really thin plastic bodies. Majorette eventually bought Novacar and rebranded the line as Majorette 100 Series, before it was phased out around 1997, when Triumph-Adler bought the company. If Dickie-Simba wants to cut costs, you better believe Majorette will head that way again.
Alfa Romeo WOW!!!
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you are 100% right
$1 price point is great you want more detail go green light or some other high end brand
they have been a dollar for ever so yes we can you want 100% die cast metal buy cars in a high end brand
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This is not 1968, nor 1980, nor 1990. JL, this works in Europe more than in any other market. Metal (and energy) prices are always increasing. Shipping (of heavier metal), labor costs too. Companies have to make a profit to make it in this diecast toy business (that will never be subsidized by any government). The current metal/plastic balance is a good one. I like most of the models being made thanks to this balance of materials, and the quality and feel is outstanding. If it wasn't for it, there would probably not be any HW or MB. Maybe some of you would be willing to pay 5-Euro for a basic car. Most of us I'm sure would not. I would definitely not be paying $3.00 for each of the full yearly range of new basic models. I am sure many other collectors would not either. I am not speaking for myself, but for the industry and most collectors, because I understand what they need to do to survive and make a profit. And we buy diecast with leftover money after we pay the bills, you know? budgets?
Unfortunately, Ivan, the majority of those who complain are actually scalpers who intend to buy up as many models as they can and then sell them as rare or hard-to-find for ridiculously high prices online and flea markets. They know no one is willing to pay $10 or $20 for plastic unless it's manufactured some 30 years ago and in mint condition. That is, if they're not removing the wheels, resealing the blisters (or in case of multipacks, removing the exclusive models and replacing them with the cheap dollar-store models and resealing the box) and taking them back to the store for a refund. Plastic models are cutting into their profit margin.
I've debated about making this post as I am not sure it would reach the people that matter. But in my opinion Matchbox has in essence become the knock off models that used to imitate Matchbox. they have many of the same characteristics: lots of plastic, no interiors, odd proportions, unrealistic decorations. I've heard all of the rationale for many years. But to paraphrase the Lamley group the golden years were filled with realistic model in the great MB tradition. In those years the sales GROWTH exceeded that of the other diecast line in the Mattel brand. Sure there were some less desirable models in the line but they were the minority.
As for cost reduction, you can reduce your costs until you end up making a product so inferior you lose all sales. I keep looking at the Hardnose. I am sure the designer had to put a lot of creativity into it. But it looks like a cereal toy or something seen in a cheap dollar store multipack. Emergency vehicles sell. Make them realistic. This one is pure fantasy.
Also I find it iornic that many of the features collectos praise in other brands, were once part of the Matchbox stable. Clear headlights as part of the windows? Check! Moving parts with the wheels? Check?
Our international friends bring up a great point. The MB brand is nearly unavailable in regions where the profit margins are much higher. Combine this with a product that is inferior to the other offerings, when they are offered they don't sell as well. Look at Welly and Majorette in Europe. They offer mostly real cars with clear windows, interiors, realistic decorations and colors (even multiple options). I would even say that to some extend Maisto is beating MB at the same game. They are moving product in Walmarts with real cars and good colors.
I could go on but I feel like I would just be piling on. I want MB to succeed. It has been my brand since childhood. Just a few years ago I bought nearly everything. Not I buy very little. Even my emergency vehicle purchases, which are the mainstay of my collections, are out of desire to have completion, not a love of the product. (Hardnose and Crime Crusher)
Like I mentioned before, Matchbox's problem is Mattel corporate. Before Mattel bought Matchbox, Hot Wheels did not have the global market penetration it enjoys now. They bought Corgi in 1987 to help shore up its presence in Europe; and once that was achieved, they were prepared to let Corgi whither and die. Corgi's management, however, convinced Mattel to sell the brand back to them, and then established a new direction for Corgi. Buying Matchbox gave them more access to global markets, and they began to let that brand die as well. If it was not for John Coyne, Felix Holst and other Matchbox who orchestrated a turnaround in 2004, then Matchbox would have disappeared into the record books.
As for Maisto, they are moving product by marketing their models as the house brand for the big box retailers. Wal-Mart (Kid Connection, Road & Track, Adventure Wheels, etc.), Walgreens (Speed Wheels), Dollar General, and Toys R Us sell Maisto on a rotating basis, or contract, as house brands along with other brands such as Motor Max or Suntoys.
for example, This was the rotating order basis Dollar General used since 1999: Golden Wheel, Motor Max, Golden Wheel, Motor Max, Maisto, Suntoys, Maisto, and currently Play Day/Playmind, whose lineup is a mixture of new castings and recycled Yatming models. And that may be changing soon: last year DG sold some window-boxed 1/43 Welly-Nex models, and currently they are selling a few 1/43 Welly pull-back vehicles. I expect Welly's 1/64 models to become the next house brand.
I WANT TO FIND ONE OF THOSE NEWS VANS, THEY ARE SWEET
I'd like to pay much more for better metal licensed castings, they can do two lines one for collectors and maniacs and one for children…what's the problem? I'm watching matchbox cars from 1982, 1983 and wonder how much they were in shops in those days????