Case Report: Matchbox 2018 D Case

Matchbox is rolling now.  The D Case arrived at Wheel Collectors, and this the best mix of new stuff so far.  Holdovers like the Civic and Plymouth, but now with the highly anticipated Wagoneer.

Matchbox Batch D at Wheel Collectors

Here is the 24-count case, opened 3-by-3 by Matt & Matt at Wheel Collectors.  Let me know what you think:

(Click on the images for a full view)

8 Replies to “Case Report: Matchbox 2018 D Case”

  1. Yep, this is the best case of 2018 thus far in my opinion. Loving the Wagoneer. The new card art looks pretty good/detailed too.

  2. On a roll in the US, but in the UK these will probably turn up light years from now. The distribution of all Mattel diecast is now so poor here that the supermarkets – the main source of a diecast fix for a long time – can’t even be bothered to sell Hot Wheels mainline anymore, let alone “MATCHBOX”.

  3. There’s some gems in this case. I’m liking the return of older, underrated castings such as the ’70 Plymouth Cuda (which I did find), the Ford E-350 panel van, and the VW Beetle! Also great to see the C case carryovers such as the new Honda Civic and Land Rover Defender 90. If only they would actually hit the stores on a routine basis! Distribution hasn’t gotten any better.

  4. I’m close to hanging it up as far as Matchbox is concerned. Not much excitement here at all. I love the Civic as a car, but the Matchbox leaves something to be desired. The casting may actually be OK, just seriously let down by the deco. I did find one, so I may have to try my hand at customizing to fill in the missing details. Oh, and the paint on this is definitely NOT Sonic Gray. Steel Blue maybe, but not gray.

    The Fiat 500L recolor may interest me, but I’ll have to see it in person. The Landy 90 is decent, just not in NEON green. MBX, how about using the more muted green of the Dodge Challenger you did in an earlier ’18 case?

  5. This case is amazing! Hanging it up as far as Matchbox goes? These are exciting times.

    One thing I have been thinking about… Matchbox etc. is tough business. I read the #mymatchboxpegs post in the archives a while back. The problems customers were trying to solve or at least help out a little with that movement have continued a bit. It felt like last year was strong, but maybe ended on a weak note. Then this first 2018 cases seemed to be really full of old stuff and not even repaints of some of the more spectacular cars from last year, either. If I didn’t come here, I would have thought the first cases were last year cases still. In my area of the upper Midwest I’ve seen nothing but the first cases (with the ‘Cuda and the Orange Seagrave). Stores in my area have gotten that case several times but not the next ones. It’s March 18 and this area has yet to have seen a delivery which really says ‘This is 2018, and it’s going to be a good year.’ The pegs were clogged with pretty old or undesirable cars as the year opened. In my town, Target cut matchbox, but then brought them back. Still, their traffic isn’t as high and when they brought back a matchbox area, it was small. So they are out of the game for what feels like months at a time with the same stuff sitting there (and I’m afraid this will create a self fulfilling prophecy and they will get rid of them again). This leaves almost only Wal-Mart as the Matchbox player in town. They’ve been moving product, but have only gotten the lackluster first cases (which had nice things, but not at a high ratio and it got picked down to peg cloggers fast). My point is that Matchbox could have been smarter about the way they handled the end of ’17 into ’18. They went into a banner, anniversary year with a known good lineup coming by killing some of the 17 momentum and then starting out slow in 18. That’s just bad for business. It’s not just that you want to start the year on an exciting note, but in this business, the ripple effect puts them months behind on sales and peg movement. It’s almost exponential from cause to effect. I think they are realizing that the basic business model is design the majority of the models for collectors because things that appeal to them will also appeal to kids, but few ‘kiddie’ designs will appeal to collectors. So if you make half your cars to appeal to kids you are ignoring the foundation of your market with too much of your lineup. This has been getting better for a while and 2018 seems like a continuation of this improvement. Matchbox, through ups and downs mostly is the best collectable $1 range car on the market (easily beating Hot Wheels’ lineups). Maybe an exception is the period around 2000. Matchbox got really bad at that time. A related issue I have is the color changers. At all the stores I visit, a large area is devoted to these (at times half the size of the standards). Now I’m a sucker for color change, but the price is too high, and the bodies are plastic. They look too busy and tacky with the silly tampos. And they include a very limited lineup of vehicles. They sit and sit and take up maybe a 3rd of Matchbox singles peg space in some stores. This was a mistake. I hope these are replaced over the year with the moving parts etc. I get that they need to market some more ‘premium’ things to help with profit, as well as gift sets. I like that. But they need to be careful about what they include in that premium space and market, and they need to keep the ratio down. Perhaps they can convince stores to give them slightly more peg space as the moving parts etc come out because they need to keep a lot of space for basics to move them at a decent rate but still need premium stuff to help with profits. Also excited to see the working rigs and think that adds a lot to collecting.

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