Matchbox 2018 H Case Unboxing, with a look at the brand new card art

The new card art is stellar.  I don’t need to ease into that statement, because it just is.  There are a million things to say about it, but ultimately it is a great move for Matchbox.  It helps propel Matchbox as the “realism” brand, with the car moving through a realistic setting.  And yes, it hearkens back to the fantastic boxes Matchbox models used to come in.

Matchbox debuts its new art halfway through the year in Mix H, and here is an unboxing and showcase of the new art.  Enjoy:

13 Replies to “Matchbox 2018 H Case Unboxing, with a look at the brand new card art”

  1. The stores are going backwards to Batch B! Nothing anywhere past E in stores. Favorite hobby dealers can’t order by the case anymore…. can you discuss this with Matchbox! We’re all stuck at Batch D or E as F, G & H only on Ebay at highway robbery prices! Pleaseeeee Mattel change your policy on letting everyone order by case lot!!!!

  2. As always these are amazing! Only one Crysler 300 a bit disappointing still looking for the white. That said it’s a great time to be a MBX collector. Going back and thinking about it I think Lamley and John has a really big part in the new wave and actually the rebirth in the Matchbox name. The forum that Lamely gave to the MBX loyalists was tremendous. Actually bringing in ambassadors for Q&As was big. Today Matchbox is actually paying respect to Lensey and the Superfast legacy. Matchbox was teetering on the edge of demise. It really looked bad. It was hard to watch and hard to see it fall from grace. I also have to give credit where credit is due. Yes to Mattel! I killed them in many posts but to see what they are doing to a great brand that deserves only respect. For Mattel to hear the loyalists and really turn things on a complete 360, 180 whatever is great. There’s still issues, like distribution and the plastic but I think collectors will agree a great model can overcome some of the things that still linger. John again from a diehard and life long collector thanks for the blog. I’ve been here a long time and you deserve a great deal of credit because I actually thought this would not happen.

    1. Almost forgot want send out a special thanks to former ambassador Larry Scuduto ( hope I didn’t chop that up yo much) Larry went out of his way to keep me posted a helped me keep the faith. Hopfully Larry is enjoying the rebirth as much as I am. I had his contact info but a few phones later his info was lost. But Larry wherever you thanks!

      1. I am here and you are welcome!!!!! Yes, I am enjoying the rebirth of the brand without question. Hope you saw that I have started back up the Matchbox Models we would like to see made list. I welcome any suggestions of future models for the line. Thank you for the kind words!!!
        Larry Scaduto (Matchbox 10th Ambassador)

  3. What ever happened to all those models they previewed with moving parts, opening doors, hoods, etc…???? Did they cancel all of those? Separate line for 2019??? Any update would be great…

    1. Still in the works from what I heard. Those will be awhile as a lot of engineering and safety testing must go into them.

  4. Absolutely love the new packaging. But why bother to advertise the website on the new packaging – the website is a complete dud!

  5. The card art is nice, clean and refreshing. It’s still matchbox’s 65th!! It should be still on the packaging. The UK are not having any acknowledgement in this accasion. Gift set or something wouldn’t goe amiss. The chase cars are USA only. Mind you they aren’t a thrilling choice of vehicles. Certain flavour.

  6. The new card art is indeed amazing. I love the detailed, dynamic illustration of the vehicle taking up the whole card, and the return of the iconic red/yellow/white version of the logo. So eye catching.

    The BMW fire vehicle is out of this world. It’s one of those models that is completely stunning. I cannot believe they made a battenburg UK fire chief vehicle. That is why Matchbox is cool–their willingness to do vehicles like this while Hot Wheels mires itself in silliness, repetitive racing cars and the occasional dull realistic model.

    If Matchbox does listen to comments on here, I’d applaud them for their choice of cars, quality of models and the new packaging. I do think they need to improve some of their business habits, though. As mentioned above, they are very far behind in most of America (not even getting into outside the US) on cases people have seen. It’s OK if this takes a while, and some places longer than others, but they are pushing it with how slow things come out. They also had a slow roll out to the year. They need to work more with stores. Target, in particular needs to carry more pegs of mainline matchbox. Find a way to work with them on this. Matchbox doesn’t sell like Hot Wheels, but still, I see a 5:1 ratio in most stores and I think that’s a bit much given the variety and quality at the $1 price point Matchbox offers. I think some retailers (Target?) looking to save money are reluctant to devote space to such a low ticket item, thinking of it as basically wasted retail space. But the picture is bigger. You want your toy section to be a destination for kids and collectors—bringing those folks in the store, which Matchbox will do, means they spend more dollars on other products around your store. It’s an attraction. Matchbox has also made mistakes that were quite bad. The color change line has become a dangerous peg clogger that is still doing damage. The product quality was too low, the range of models too small, and the price point too high. Retailers devoted way too much space to this. Matchbox also needs to test market better before jumping so far into something. The future of Matchbox is a quality and available mainline and as much diversity in higher ticket product as feasible. Bringing back working rigs is a great idea, as is moving parts cars. The key is to limit space taken up and keep price point reasonable. A strong section of mainline is what keeps customers coming back frequently. Perhaps the company can also work on creative ways to move more product. One of the worst enemies of a company like Matchbox is peg clogging stagnance. Perhaps a program of swapping out peg cloggers at various retailers would be worth developing. I almost never see any Matchbox item on clearance. This is understandable with an already rock bottom price of $1 for mainline, but is also true of the $4 color changers (who have been sitting almost untouched in many stores for over a year). This could involve encouraging retailers to clearance items, even at the $1 price point after a certain amount of time. At some point peg clogging is costing more in lost sales than selling some product for little to no profit or a loss, many times over. This could also involve a stronger program of sending old or repetitive stock to some secondary type retailer through a buyback program. For instance, Target could sell back unsold product after a certain amount of time to Matchbox, who could sell it for less to a lower level retailer such as a grocery store or dollar store. Folks on this blog have talked about solving this issue from the other end–what models you offer. The peg clogging can be brought down with improving the lineup. I hesitate to bring this up because Matchbox has a stellar lineup and budget considerations loom large. Still, I think some slow selling fat can be trimmed within budget in the lines offered. More importantly, I think Matchbox still can pay more attention to what cars they make a lot of. This is pretty easy to track. Us collectors see the same models over and over clogging the pegs and keeping new batches from arriving at participating retailers. This is due to a combo of a model not being highly desirable and too many being produced. This is a difficult science, and will never be perfect, particularly when Matchbox pushes the envelope on producing a lot of cheaper to make models to boost profits without additional investment. But simply going to stores, looking at the state of things, looking at what cars there are large amounts of accumulating on the pegs, and then thinking up ways to improve product movement and display are huge. I think Matchbox could do a better job of this and it would mean happier customers and more profits. Also wonder if Matchbox could get creative about offering their cars for sale in more venues. This could happen with a campaign to have ‘buy ’em by the unit’ displays in stores. This way the commitment to retail space is temporary and perhaps only limited to a cardboard display rather than using actual shelf space in the store. Working with retailers such as Walgreens and CVS who offer Hot Wheels but zero Matchbox so they offer at least a peg would also be helpful. Such actions would not simply add to sales due to more product in more venues selling. It would also spread the word for the product and encourage serious collecting. Having a very limited amount of retail venues for the product puts a low cap on serious collectors, how many you can develop who are loyal to the brand and keep hunting. If collectors only have one or two places in their town where Matchbox appear and those places have clogged pegs, those collectors will lose interest. Keeping more retail options, even if only a limited number of pegs per each venue are available, would help keep up interest and sales because the hunt would be alive for many more collectors. It will also create more future collectors. A kid distracted in a large Wal-Mart of Target toy section may not bother with a mainline Matchbox, but might get product at a place with fewer toys like a grocery store and then get hooked for life on collecting these wonderful models. I think the company is creating great product but can improve their retail strategies a lot.

    1. AMEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! More “limited editions”, ‘Series’, and why not a type of ‘Treasure Hunt’ for Matchbox??? Also, Matchbox can save monies and grow profits by overhauling their website and start selling everything ‘directly’ to the public…start a RLC type of club like HW’s, offer ‘special releases’ and such.

  7. With brick and mortar retail in such flux, thinking outside the box is more and more important. Unless someday Matchbox is doing on demand online selling by the car, they are going to have to find retail niches. An example is that Barnes and Noble has responded to the flux in retail by adding more non book items, and many of those are toys. They carry a small selection of Hot Wheels products. Why not try to get a small display of Matchbox there? Might be worth the investment…

    Another thing I think would help Matchbox is more care in what case they are sending where. A quick way to peg clogging which can disable a retail location, even a really good one like a busy Wal-Mart, for weeks on end is sending too many of the same case to one location or area. It’s almost exponential because you aren’t simply slowing sales by offering the same cars over a long period of time, you are taking up all your retail space with things that won’t sell so it delays when there is room for new cases for an indeterminate amount of time. Like I said above, a solution could be to develop programs for clearing out old stock that isn’t moving, which will always happen to a degree. But a cheaper and quicker way to improve this is to track where you are sending what case and how much those locations are moving merch, so you aren’t sending too many of the same cases and basically shutting down sales at a location for months. On some level, a shortage would be better because once new stock comes the retail space is fully open, though stores likely would not enjoy that. So being careful about what you send to cut down on stagnance is key.

    Also make sure to take part in pop-up retail and holiday toy stores that appear seasonally. Mattel could look at every store that carries Hot Wheels and ask, ‘Why can’t we have a small amount of Matchbox space here too? (Even if it means cutting down Hot Wheels by a peg or two).’ The brands complement each other so why not show them both off together?

  8. Matchbox brand appears non-existent at the big boxes. I recall years ago walking into TRU, Child World, Kmart etc and there would be as much space for Matchbox as there was for Hot Wheels. To me Hot Wheels was the racing brand, Matchbox was the ‘collect & play’ – Matchbox had the realistic models, that you could role-play with, there were those suitcase-sized play set dioramas that allowed you to imagine everything.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s Mattel that creates the distribution problems at Target, Walmart and the like, it’s the internal distribution systems these retailers have in place, as well as the toy buyers/managers discretions in product placement. With the closure of TRU, I am waiting to see how the big box stores respond. Hopefully they will realize the potential as die cast is still popular, and does have a viable market.

    Matchbox also needs to look to licensing – Marvel, DC and build some superhero playsets – and bring back SuperKings!

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