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Yes, Matchbox is doing chase models in 2018.

There was a lot to process from the 2018 Line Preview Matchbox did at the Gathering a couple of weeks ago.

Tons of new models, opening features, two new wheels, premium lines, it went on and on.  There is a lot to digest, and it seems the feedback from collectors has been great, and the excitement level very high for 2018.

One detail that might have been slightly lost in the deluge of information was this:

Chase Models are coming to Matchbox.

2018_Sapphire Gems

Say hello to the tentatively titled Sapphire Gems.  Sapphire for Matchbox’s 65th Anniversary of course.  But the name could still change.

Whatever the name, there will be four chase models in 2018, and they are exclusive to either Toys R Us or Target.  The first will debut in the 2018 E Batch at Target, and they will alternate from there.  They will be easy to spot, standing out in sapphire blue with special 65th Anniversary graphics.  And they will be intermixed into the batches.

So what do you think?  To me this is most welcome.  Chases have become part of the game in diecast collecting, and can bring more attention to the brand.  Whether you agree with the approach or not, there are many diecast collectors out there who are in it for the thrill of the hunt, and this brings them to Matchbox.  Yeah, I know the complaints of scalpers and the like will quickly emerge, but that goes with anything in our hobby.

Matchbox is doing a lot to solidify its direction in 2018, and strongly separating itself from other brands.  It won’t be defined by chases cars, but chase cars will bring more folks over, and in turn they will start appreciating orange for what it is.

That’s what I think.  Tell me what you think.

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42 thoughts on “Yes, Matchbox is doing chase models in 2018. Leave a comment

  1. As long as they are made in appropriate numbers, I am fine with them. Also, this means that stores are forced to get these batches- hopefully they are loaded with good basic cars too. Come for the chases, stay for the regulars should be the priority of these chases.

  2. Normal Matchbox itself are stupid hard to find (they aren’t even available in India) and distribution has been a total mess from what I’ve seen. I don’t mind having chase models but if the mainlines themselves are so hard to find, then the chase models are pointless.

  3. I have a hard enough time getting new MBX casting in my area. I’m in a large city and this shouldn’t be a problem. I get many of my MBX from Dollar Tree,Dollar General or Big Lots and even 5 Below long after they came out if I’m lucky to find the sought after castings or I have to get it from eBay. Paying 5 to 10X the price. Target,is horrible. Walmart is sad. Toys R Us just don’t care. Looking to make a friend to buy them I will pay or trade for the castings that I want. They need to set up a page to buy casting and other merch.

  4. This is AWESOME!.If there is a way to find these. Can they get ordered in cases? Scalpers make this impossible to find even mainline cars. Chase cars are next to impossible. Also will these be released in the mainline sets? In regular colors. I can’t wait. Matchbox and Hot Wheels are looking phenomenal. Thanks for the update again.

  5. Agree with the prior commenters here – all the good Matchbox models are “chase” models these days, what with Matchbox’s distribution issues. Whoopdie-do. To eBay I shall go.

  6. I have to agree with a couple of the comments above. As long as these cars are produced and distributed more efficiently, then they should be no problem to look out for. Which brings us to the horrible distribution slump that the big chain stores seem to be under.

    The H case has been out for over a month and not one store in my town or surrounding areas has even one hint of this batch. G case was the last new batch to hit the stores so far. Not liking it. It’s gotten to the point to where I caved in and actually ended up buying the cars I really wanted on eBay, which I shouldn’t have to do in the first place. I’ve never had to order new Matchbox online because I can’t find them in the stores. I don’t understand why none of the stores are either not ordering at all or if it is something, it’s old stock.

    C’mon Mattel. At this point Mattel has probably received hundreds of thousands or even millions of comments about horrible distribution in its lifetime. But it’s inescapable when they don’t change their old ways. STEP IT UP!

    • I’m dealing with the same stuff where I live. Although distribution does leave a LOT to be desired, scalpers are making life miserable for collectors. They show up at 10pm at WalMart and wait for the pallets to get brought out. They grab all the cases of MB and HW’s. They take all the decent castings. ALL OF THEM. Then they sell em on eBay. I will NOT buy from them. There is NO WAY I will pay $5-10 for a $0.99 car. There are some decent online distributions that sell cases. That’s what I’m now doing. STOP paying these clowns to rip you off. $10 for a Hot Wheels, that’s a JOKE. If we stop getting new cars off eBay and let the scalpers get stuck with 10-15 of each car maybe they’ll STOP. So everyone JUST SAY NO TO SCALPERS. Why pay someone $10 for an item they paid $0.99 for? Save that for older and more rare cars that are actually worth some money. Just a thought. So sick of these “people”. Keep on collecting.

  7. In theory, Matchbox chase models are a nice idea. But as has been said above, bad distribution and scalpers mean I won’t ever seen these in stores. There are plenty mainline models I never get my hands on, so those pics above are probably the closest I’ll get to these.

  8. I don’t understand how Target can justify having a Chase model when most stores are dropping the mainline blisterpacks anyway. Add to that there are backroom deals made with scalpers at every store and the only way to find the chase cars will be on ebay.

    At least we don’t have to worry about some little kid getting one and playing with it because, even if it does make it to the pegs, the pegs are so high anymore that kids can’t reach them!

  9. Listen this is having much of the same reaction. That MBX has a distribution problem as it is. To add chases would only add to the frustration of not finding models. It’s not like this is old news it’s an ongoing problem. I have no problen with the idea because it dose not apply to me. My problem is why move forward with new lines if most consumer’s can not get the current releases? Yes it brings attention to the brand but that attention can turn negative real quick if you still have issues with distibuting.

  10. Here in New Zealand there are only two retail chains left stocking Matchbox and since we don’t have Target or Toys R Us, collectors here have no option but to buy on Ebay or from a friend in USA. Also how about a 65th anniversary special catalog please Mattel? We also miss out on many new models, 5 packs, 9 packs etc and are stuck with horrible generic peg warmers too 🙁

  11. I think this is ok but distribution is a killer. Our local TRU has not received any new MB since Thanksgiving – 8 months. Target is not any better as they have only received 48 cars since right before Christmas. The only place I will see this will be OFAS. But that is ok as non of them are emergency vehicles.

  12. To increase your chance of getting a Chase car, buy a case of Matchbox on the web at “aandjtoys.com” and try your luck! The price is about one dollar per car, just like you would pay at retail. It’s not wholesale, but the next best thing.

  13. I am so excited about what Mattel is doing with matchbox. They value the brand and it’s history with the new line for 2018. And they value collectors like me who currently collect the vintage stuff and will search for the 2018 line

  14. I’m sure people at matchbox read these comments……and they don’t give a crap. They think holding conventions and whatnot will make things OK. They could care less if the average joe collector finds new releases or not.

    • That is an incredibly naive comment. Distribution improves when stores want the product, and stores want the product when the product is in demand. Matchbox is doing what it can so that demand will be higher. It is a process. Of course Matchbox wants all the pegs everywhere to be filled with new product.

      • You say demand rules ordering by retailers. Well if that is the case, why are most MBX cases loaded with generics? I’m not sure what their plan is when it comes to distribution but when you send out cases that are holding maybe six licensed models and the rest are peg warmers retailers see thepeg warmers not the six that blew out of the store! I’m not sure that MBX don’t give a crap or they wouldn’t be a revamp f the magnitude we are seeing. There is however a problem that is NOT being addressed. No matter how many great models they are going to put out if retailers have sitting product their not going to reorder! If they are reading this they know and with as much frustration as there is this is not the consumers or the retailers fault! MBX NEEDS to fix this for the revamp to succeed!

      • If matchbox truly wants demands to go up then stop putting so many generics into an already small case. When there are lots of licensed cars then they’ll be flying off the shelves. Why is that so incredibly hard to comprehend? These generics are peg warmers no matter what corner of the world you go to. Stores see this and think that MBX isn’t popular. You get cars directly from distributors so you don’t know what it’s like for most of us that waste gas and time hunting or have to resort to ebay.

    • Not sure this is a gimmick. Most brands have the chase lines. I’m not a fan but if it brings more attention to the brand that is better for all MBX fans and collectors. I believe with the models they are forging foward with is plenty incentive for collectors without chases but I’m not opposed to them. MBX has more important issues imo to worry about at this time.

  15. Let me end on this note. No collector should have to go to a secondary market and pay a markup on something that should be found in a store! This imo is a recipe for failure! MBX in essence would be saying we are going to make great product but your going to have to find it and maybe overpay for it. This don’t even sound logical, with a revamp like they are rolling out they have to have a plan(at least I hope so). If I were running the thing I would offer a buy back from retailers just to get the sought after stuff out asap. We need patience it’s not going to happen in a blink of an eye.

  16. So, the chief complaint seems to be distribution. Is that Mattel’ S fault or the individual retailers?

    If the product is good, bring it, I don’t get wrapped up in chases. But good castings are good castings and of deco’d right they’re a welcome addition.

  17. awesome so now the jobless /fake disability low life dirt bags have something else to try and grab to resell. pretty much the scummers left MB alone but now they will be raiding cases to see if the get $$$$$$ lucky. not surprising the Mpire decided to do the chases back in the MB line. way to F’up a good line buy getting the bottom feeders to take notice.

  18. I welcome these sapphire gems and if I’m ever lucky enough to find one (or rich enough to buy one on ebay) I’ll be delighted. Where I live in Australia, I already have Matchbox chase cars. Finding most 2017 cars just takes patience and hard work hunting around every store I can get to. But would you believe the hardest to find was Crop Master? Yes a generic! I have only ever seen one of them this year and I bought it at a store that is more than an hour drive from home. All the stores that stock MBX near me skipped over those two cases plus it never appeared in short card cases (just like the green GT40). There is no question that Matchbox design and manufacturing teams are doing an awesome job of making the brand attractive. The problem is Mattel’s distribution stinks. Stores have no way of knowing exactly which batch of stock they are getting. When they order, it is just “a box”. So it’s common for stores to load up on one particular case and then skip over the next few. Same happens with Hot Wheels. The day Mattel allows collectors to buy case X or Y directly from them (or a retailer in Australia), and that particular case is delivered, will be the day I rejoice. Surely it’s not that hard.

  19. I LIKE. Matchbox is over due a Chase Car.My only gripe is the name.that was mention. I won’t even mention it. go ask The Lamley Group for the name that was most mention when they had a poll for Matchbox Chase Car names awhile back.Please give the Chase a name that will go with Matchbox. Thanks.

  20. As a few have commented here already, the majority of “MATCHBOX” models released in the last ten years have been chase models for collectors outside the States. Distribution has been abysmal. It’s even been affecting Hot Wheels and the Pixar/Cars line in the UK too, but not as much as MB.
    Great to hear that the design crew in El Segundo have passion for the brand, great plans etc etc, but do they just live in a bubble over there? Can they not see that the results of their hard work are not reaching the stores? If they do then they must have the same sinking feeling a musician had in the 70’s and 80’s to have a major label deal, record an album but then go on tour to find said album just can’t be found in the stores because the record company just cannot be bothered to promote them.
    This isn’t really the first time that there have been “MATCHBOX” chase cars, as anyone who will recall the 50th Anniversary and 2000 logo cars will know, but it really does beggar belief that all of this money is being invested in a product that few people will actually be able to buy in a store.

  21. What an exciting time. Unfortunately, Target is 35 miles from here and TRU is 45. And the local WM and DGs are just now getting to the 59 Brookwood wagon (July 2017). I get about 50/50 split for WM or DG finds.

    So these should hit the pegs locally in roughly 2021 for the casual collector. LOL I just can’t see me making 2 a.m. runs to WM for ther freshest stuff. But a good score is a good score if ever possible. And not willing to order a whole case for 2 or 3 cars, no matter who makes them.

    • So after reading ALL the comments, I see I am not alone in my quest for the licensed MBX. I buy very few generics. With that said I do have a Cruisebruiser and time attaxi on my desk. But I also have 3 BMW 3.0s, a 2002, a green GT40, the F&F 70 charger, a Bornco and a transit bus – all real appearing vehicles. My coworker probably has 50 in his office and 90% of those are licensed. He does like the generic trucks. But hte struggle is real. A first world problem I guess.

  22. In Switzerland most of the retail space previously occupied by Matchbox has been taken by Siku, Majorette and Hot Wheels. It has become a major challenge to find current Matchbox cars in the store other than some generic designs which seem to be the reason for the retailers to take the brand out of the shelves, because they are slow-sellers.

  23. What are the chances that Matchbox will devise the Buick Riviera? If Matchbox devises that car it would be awesome. I just thought of something which is I personally feel it would be nice if Matchbox developed or looked into developing the 2000-’05 Cadillac Deville, furthermore (though a bit of topic) I recall that in the past Matchbox developed the police,fire chief & taxi version of a Ford LTD for the MBX 1987 line up so it got me thinking that back in the ’80s and to some extent up till the ’90s since several police departments and taxi companies in Canada (my country) and the U.S.A. utilized the LTDs and in some places they utilized the Dodge Diplomat of the 80’s and in some cases they utilized Chevrolet Impalas & Caprice Classics of the same decade I wonder why Matchbox didn’t devise die cast versions of police,fire dept and or taxi versions of Chevrolet Caprice Classics,Impalas & Dodge Diplomats? It would have been nice if MBX considered it (even for the 2018 die cast line up),also the Ford LTD II of the ’80s,’88-’91 Ford Crown Victorias and a 1990 Chevrolet Caprice Classic would have been a good idea.Finally when I read comments I noticed someone mentioning in Canada that distribution is a problem and that Toys ‘R’ Us Canada stopped or may have stopped distribution of Matchbox products I believe it.

    • I just thought I’d point out that the 1990 Chevrolet Caprice Classic has or basically has a similar appearance to its 1987-’89 predecessors which is why I appreciate it and if Matchbox devised a 1979-’81 Chrysler New Yorker and or a ’79-’81 Chrysler Newport police,taxi and even fire chief’s version that too would have been an awesome idea,in fact, many Matchbox collectors would want the company to devise any vehicle to their liking.

      Noticing the previous comment from someone else who claims MBX focuses or heavily focuses on the generic versions the question is why would MBX do that? However I admit that some of the generic models of MBX do have an interesting appearance or design depending who you ask.

  24. Hello everyone,

    I read all the comments and we have the same problem worldwide: Matchbox has got a terrible distribution and has focused heavily on generics. These are the two issues they have, which are causing all the trouble and drop in popularity. Where I am from (Germany and Bulgaria), Matchbox is widely available at Comsed (Bulgaria) and at Mueller and Real (Germany) where I found all the licensed models for 2016 and 2017. But like elsewhere, they have 70% generics on the shelves and the rest- real vehicles. And it is a game of luck: for example, in Bulgaria I got the VW Transporter and the Mazda Miata and in Germany- the Volvo V60 Wagon and the Chrysler 300M. But, it was luck- have not seen them since then. And just having to cross a big city like Sofia or Munich to check all the stores is truly something a Matchbox collector should not go through just because Matchbox has terrible distribution.

    Three things Matchbox needs to do to become what they used to be in the previous century- number one:

    1. Drop the generics and do licensed vehicles only (also bring back Convoys, Twin Packs and Motor City). For the licensed cars, do this: old-timers (before 1990), young-timers (1990-2000) and current models from all three: America, Europe and Asia. Divide these into sub-categories: cars, SUVs, trucks, buses, etc. So, there is a little for everyone from anywhere.

    2. Vastly improve distribution worldwide, on all continents.

    3. Increase the price for single models to $2, $3 for Sky Busters, $4 for Twin Packs and $5 for Convoys- worldwide.

    If these three are done, I bet Matchbox will hit the number one mark in no time.

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