Matchbox Preview: Upcoming sports cars, pickups, emergency & utility trucks, and even a NASA space rover.

More Matchbox Previews for you, courtesy of the Matchbox Team.

A little something to whet the appetite until the Gathering next week.

13 Replies to “Matchbox Preview: Upcoming sports cars, pickups, emergency & utility trucks, and even a NASA space rover.”

  1. Very nice line up! Going back to old skool matchbox. The only thing is looking at pictures is probably the best it’s going to get…..batches have been skipped or none at all. Our uk main matchbox educated suppliers, a food shop asda……… Hotwheels take the pegs, nearly half the price of matchbox. So which one is selling quicker… Matchbox is scrambled at bottom shelf with other brands mixed in. To make or take notice please for matchbox to do old skool trade stands in shops. Hotwheels has in tescos….distribution problems…..?!use the same as hotwheels!!!!?

  2. I saw a Matchbox Jurassic World sidekick in an Albertson’s grocery store last week….but I’ve not seen a similar Matchbox-specific/exclusive aisle display in any other chain in YEARS. Like AMC said above, it appears already that two entire batches have bypassed my area of the northwest USA–no sign of F or G anywhere and multiple restocks of Batch E at Walmarts…over and over again the same stuff shows up when pegs clear….while we see teasers here and there about all the great new castings “coming soon”….none of which seems destined in our direction. (I found a few models from Batch H at two of 5 local Fred Meyer (Krogers) department stores two weeks ago….so FM/Krogers are following a trend I’ve noticed in more than a dozen years living here: they get parts of a brand new batch, but not all (apparently), just a few models….and they never get the previous one or two batches at all, unless it’s the carryovers from a previous batch that are included in the “latest” batch/case. How many weeks can a diehard collector have to wait before resorting to the online resellers, who always charge 2x-10x the MSRP, and then add shipping on top of that? Soon a collection with a “retail” value of, say, $100 (for 100 models), has a collector-cost of $200-1000….that’s not a desirable outcome. Almost bad enough to make a “collector” stop “collecting” the brand at all…

    Any way, some desirable models in the featured photo….hope some day I find the fire engine, if nothing else of the models shown…

  3. Sorry to hear jefferson, I didn’t realise usa have issues too as bad. We didn’t receive batches a b c. Got d e. No f, just got g, the joke is, it is a 1box serves 250,000 population. Someone has opened the box and scalped the main ones. Ford fairlane had 4 to a box. Scalpers gems.
    On eBay now! I know this would be the only can case g in my area. As for past cases, i want that brown mini and bronco. I am not again paying ott prices to tip off artists. Happy 65th matchbox……!!

  4. I appreciate how the designers get around the budget and the shapes of the real models are spot on. They work hard and must be frustrated they can’t get the best out of the model due to the accountants. However there is just too much plastic now for it to be a Matchbox. It isn’t how I remember the brand. I remember metal models, features and still for pocket money prices. Every year we lose another feature due to cost restraints. No more silver bases now which really suited some models and they are shrinking. It’s about time the dollar price was broken through so we can have a little extra. It can’t remain this price forever and at what cost to the model? Thanks for the video but it has made me more or less put a stop to buying the new stuff. As for distribution (which is the worst I have ever seen it) it just adds to the frustrations of many collectors. Even the ones that love all the new stuff can’t get hold of it anywhere.

  5. First the positive: This is a great set of vehicles. The electric delivery van is even cooler than I expected and looks amazing with the Matchbox logo. The bus is a good mold that they put a lot of work into. It not only isn’t close to the average scale (not feasible) but is also a little out of scale with itself.. tires too big etc. But it’s a wonderful model. I love that Matchbox attempts things like this rather than reject the concept because they can’t do an absolutely perfect job of it. I’d rather have an imperfect version of something ambitious than only boring, more authentic models. I’m a big fire truck fan and the Scania is a welcome addition. It’s fun that it’s a German deco. One thing I love with Matchbox is the variety. From everyday sedans, to working vehicles, from the 30’s all the way to present, and cars from all over the world… They are the realism brand, but do an occasional wacky non-licensed, or something really odd like a NASA vehicle. Back to the Scania… hope this isn’t a dumb question, but does anyone know what the diagonal thing coming out of the top is supposed to be? Not knowing is already driving me nuts. The NASA vehicle is really well done. I recall that Hot Wheels was tasked with doing the Mars rover. That was a great model and Matchbox has done well on this; it even has the bubble in the glass (lower middle). Amazing! I’m actually as excited about the Hornet Fire Chief car as I am about the new molds. The Hornet was an awesome choice to do a mold of and they did a beautiful job. What cracks me up about it is that they put lights and horns right into the metal part of the mold, so it almost has to be an emergency vehicle. That’s OK with me… you could make it a hundred different fire and police cars or civil defense or whatever and I’d still buy it. The bit of grey trim looks really nice and matches the grey plastic base. Fantastic, authentic looking model. Who else other than Matchbox delivers like this?

    I guess people come to a place like this to vent (including myself) as well as celebrate. That being said, I think Matchbox should consider the distribution/availability issues brought up here by a lot of people. It’s hard to be perfect, to get all the cases everywhere in a timely manner (or at all). But I think Matchbox can do better. And they owe it to their fans, customers as well as themselves (because I think they are leaving money on the table the way they do things now). I think they need to improve and have higher standards for distribution. Internationally, that’s going to be hard to get to the standard that keeps everyone happy in budget… But I think Matchbox can do better in the UK and elsewhere. At home, they need to watch where cases are going and how fast they are coming better. A big factor at home is getting a bigger crew working with on placement. This means more one time, standalone units, working harder to boost relations with the few big boxes doing most of the toy retail (eg Target) and adding more retail venues to the list (CVS Walgreens B&N more grocery, craft stores, etc). I don’t know how realistic improvement is, but it’s hard to believe there isn’t any room for it.

    I’ve often wondered about Matchbox raising their price sometime. This would have to be in tandem with Hot Wheels. It is not something I’m for–currently it seems like a risky business venture to raise the price, throw the whole equation off and then put a bit more money into the models–a BIT. Someday it may be needed as inflation is going to march fourth and probably is in for an uptick in pace soon. One of the things I love about Matchbox is the quality and thoughtfulness and fun they deliver for $1. It is remarkable. One way they keep things in budget it trimming metal here and there. Frankly, I think they have managed to keep this in check overall and should be applauded. Currently, we are in a great age for Matchbox. The molds are highly detailed and accurate. The paint types and colors are wonderful. Tampos have never been better or a bigger part of decorating vehicles. This technology has really come into its own. Matchbox has it’s taste and sense of history back and you can see this from choice of vehicles to choice of wheel types (does Hot Wheels make one hubcap as tasteful as any of Matchbox’s?) The way the vehicles are layered together and designed is as clever as ever, maybe more. Despite tight budgets Matchbox keeps using lots of metal (with a few bad exceptions). They are able to use judgement on cars to save money and still keep them looking good. For instance, the 51 Hornet first came out with a chrome base. In the fire chief version has a ‘silver plastic’ base (grey plastic with little sparkles mixed it). These bases save money while still looking good. I love the chrome, but at times the chrome can look too gaudy and I can find myself liking the silver plastic just as much on certain models. But at worst it’s a pretty small compromise to help put money elsewhere (great paint and tampo, superior molds, more models, better variety, metal ratio). Matchbox continues to be a great collectable and toy.

  6. You make some good points Pyrrol however you have to remember it is only the US that pays the one dollar price. Here in the UK they are £1.97 to £2.50. That equates to three US dollars. Hence Majorette, Siku and even Tomica are better value here and you get what pay for. However Matchbox and hotwheels just aren’t worth the price we pay here.

  7. The simple thing is for quality is put the range back to 75 a year. And the money for 50 pegwarmers can be saved. Each 75 would have more attention added, keep shelves moving and the row may Complete a year. That’s why it was kept 75! Plus odd Country various issues. Imo

  8. Matt, interesting to hear how much higher your prices are over there. If that were the price point here, I would still collect a lot of Matchbox models but perhaps would be more selective. As it is, our normal price is $1, but they can be as high as $2 at gouging retailers like grocery stores. I’d say average price is just over a dollar. What is your favorite brand to collect over there?

  9. @Pyrrol. At the moment hotwheels are chosen as they are in every grocery/toy/department store. In most cases they are sold slightly cheaper than Matchbox. Years ago Matchbox were EVERYWHERE and hot wheels were nowhere to be found but since Mattel bought the Matchbox name they have more or less vanished from the UK and most of Europe. In fact Mattel have given the exclusive selling rights for Matchbox to ASDA (Walmart) here in the UK and no other shop sells them. Asda is horrendous at restocking so the shelf can be empty for weeks. Plus Hot wheels are 50p cheaper than Matchbox. Mattel let every shop sell hot wheels but not Matchbox. You can see how collectors outside the US believe Mattel have done everything they can to kill off the brand and successfully replace it with hot wheels. Lots of nails in the matchbox coffin. It really is that bad. It’s absolutely no offense to anyone in the US but many collectors don’t see or know what has happened to the brand outside of their borders and think the brand is fine. Which it is not. Its a shame because the Matchbox name is older and more recognised world wide so they could have benefitted from that and grew the brand from there. However they chose to restrict the brand it as much as possible and it has suffered as a result.

  10. Matt: That’s interesting. I collect both old (Lesney) and new Matchbox. You would think that Mattel would treat the UK well as far as Matchbox goes out of respect. One of the great appeals of the Matchbox brand is it’s origins and long manufacture in England, which to this day gives the brand a slight British sensibility.

    In America there is an extreme bias toward Hot Wheels. No matter what Hot Wheels does, they seemingly can do no wrong in most American eyes. Personally, I consider Hot Wheels the much less venerable brand, and also the one with inferior models currently. This is a minority opinion over here, though. It’s a bit of a chicken egg thing. Is Matchbox in the lower position here because of Mattel’s marketing and treatment of the brand, or is Mattel simply trying to make money and Hot Wheels sells better here due to it’s origins as a US company? A lot of collectors who talk about realism somehow are more loyal to Hot Wheels even though they’ve never been the ‘brand of realism’ and currently have only a small and limited range of realistic vehicles amongst a swarm of ridiculous models. I find it frustrating. And it has an accumulative effect, too. Collectors tend to think of Hot Wheels and more ‘collectory’ and something that will hold more value than Matchbox in the future because of the bias in favor of Hot Wheels today. As much as the two brands have changed and wavered, they do have root similarities to their original identity. Matchbox was built on realism, ‘what’s around you,’ from the very first molds. Hot Wheels came along in 1968 and had sort of a street rod aesthetic that appealed to kids of the time (you can see this rod trend throughout American toys at the time) with metallic paint and fast wheels. The only thing they really had over Matchbox is the wheels, and Matchbox felt compelled to switch over the superfast wheels to compete. They actually added more vehicles with a hot rod, outlandish aspect to also try to compete in these trends, too. Hot Wheels kept some aspect of this aesthetic on up to when I started collecting as a kid, but today it has morphed into a more hip hoppy pimp my ride aesthetic than the old school hot rod and custom look they started with. Anyhow, between more US kids growing up on Hot Wheels style and the fact that it is a US origin and Matchbox isn’t, there is a seemingly insurmountable bias toward Hot Wheels in the US. On some level it hardly seems to matter what Hot Wheels does and what Matchbox does here, nothing will move the ingrained needle. With annoys me. Beyond personal preference, Matchbox clearly takes more care in making and designing their models and their ‘what you see out there’ aesthetic will always have a greater instinctual pull.

    I hope Matchbox comes on here and both sees the interest in their brand and takes to heart some of the comments. They can do a lot better with distribution and marketing. They should do better in the UK, and even pay more explicit homage to those origins. I think exclusive retail contracts are lazy and ultimately paint a brand into a corner rather than allow it room to grow. With distribution, it’s the same here: Hot Wheels are anywhere a toy can get shoehorned in while Matchbox are a rarity outside of major toy retailers. I don’t expect miracles, but I think Matchbox could look carefully at every retail location that has Hot Wheels and see if they can get some Matchbox there too. The answer isn’t always going to be yes, but it should be better than it is. Second, in major retail locations the 5:1 type ratios need to be evened out a bit more. Given the market realities here, it is unrealistic to expect a close ratio between the two brands as far as shelf space goes, but I think it’s gone too far out of whack. If you have two good brands, show ’em both off. And don’t treat the more venerable one as a tagalong.

Leave a Reply