It’s that time of year again. I am currently in Albuquerque NM attending the Matchbox Convention. It is absolutely awesome here, and after missing the last 2 (well everybody missed 2020, but 2021 became an almost USA only event with only one attendee managing to navigate through the red tape), I have definitely made up for lost time. So many people to catch up with, so many new friends to make contact with. So many who I have only been chatting to online I now met face to face. Rory? Luke? Marco? You know who you are. Of course this is the one time of the year when the LAM and the LEY of The Lamley Group actually meet up. What? No photo? Oh dear, what a shame.
So as we know, the Matchbox team (well Abe and Melissa Lugo) make the annual trek over from El Segundo in CA for the convention too in the MB837 Ford F-350 Superlift supersized edition.
Room trading began Friday (well tell a lie, it was Thursday, actually Wednesday, scratch that Tuesday) and on Friday we all attended the meet and greet for the event where Dan had baked us a cake.
Or 2. Sadly, due to work commitments, he was unable to attend the meet and greet himself. But don’t worry, we saved him a piece…. Uh, oops! I ate the last piece. Okay, Dan , the cakes were lovely! And Saturday was a variety of seminars and workshops taking place during the day while outside in the car park….
An array of classic and custom vehicles arrived in the car park for us to drool over.
One even had a Matchbox box art design to it.
It wasn’t all USA vehicle either. Lovely little Sunbeam Tiger from Britain.
And that VW Type 3 was German.
Of course most were American. Lovely Mustangs.
The twins, as I kept calling these Corvettes.
You see a lot of these on the roads out here.
Why am I now in the mood for some Scooby Snacks?
There were a lot of vehicles out on show. It was awesome! But as the day progressed, obviously attention soon moved to the evening dinner. Jim set up a great service for us in a larger room than we had been used to. The event is getting more and more popular as the years go on. And why not? We have been having a blast time after time, and once you have been once, you want to return.
The dinner model for the 2022 event is the MB1221 ’20 Chevy Corvette. The majority of them were in blue as the standard dinner model. However, as is usually the case, the first 75 attendees were given a green variant.
As is often the scenario for the design, Michael Heralda created the look for these and the 20th logo itself.
Jim then started proceedings with a few words, a few awards and gifts, and then we tucked into our meals.
He also brought in a set of models showcasing all the last models from previous conventions over the years.
After which, we knew what time it was. Poster! Oh no, that’s later. If you have attended an auction in Albuquerque, you would have laughed at that one. No, this was Abe Lugo’s time to shine with the 2023 line preview. He started off with a quick overview of the 2022 series, and giving us a quick sneak of the final 2 mixes of the year.
However please note that the Toyota 4Runner casting that is due for 2022 may be running slightly late and could end up in the beginning of the 2023 batches.
One thing that has changed for this year, which we just started noticing for batch D is that a 24-car case of basics will have 1 each of any new addition, and the spaces left at the end will be taken up with recent batch models carried over and not doubling down (or even tripling down on any in the batch) so as not to leave too much of any individual model at a time. There are also going to be 2 different downloadable posters that will appear on the website for people to obtain. This carry forward system is slowly moving us back to the old system of 4-weekly new batches which begin for 2023 with many carry forwards included so as to provide more variety. The consensus is 6 batches a year was causing a backlog of certain models due to being in a 2-month production run. By moving back to a more frequent system, these can be moved through faster and create more variety on the pegs. Hopefully this will provide a faster turnover of new product. Batch F (the last batch of 2022) will also feature the 3rd Matchbox Super Chase, a Porsche 911GT3 in black. He mentioned that Super Chases are continuing for 2023, and that they are looking at possibly having 4 chases sprinkled in through next year’s 13 batches. Yes, a 4-week cycle provides 13 batches throughout the year. This then brought us to the 2023 model year. Now before we got to see some new toolings, Abe did explain to us that with things being the way they are nowadays, some new toolings are still being signed off, and as such are not at a point where they can announce them yet. There is a plan for a series of 100 basic range models and 25 of the castings will be brand new. We were not shown 25 castings. So the 18 that were shown to us are not all of them. So there is a very good possibility of another 7 new castings being announced at a later date. We will try to keep you updated. But what you will notice is, they are all licensed. After watching a sizzle reel, he then proceeded to run down what has been signed off and can be passed on to us.
We have a Karma GSE-6.
1985 Volvo 240.
2016 Holden Commodore.
A new updated Tesla Model S.
1970 Ford Ranchero.
Morris Minor Saloon.
1941 Plymouth Coupe.
1980 AMC Eagle.
New Ford Bronco Sport.
1994 Autozam AZ-1.
2016 Nissan Sentra.
2021 Koenigsegg Gemera.
Polaris Ranger EV. (Daft fact, he had a Tesla for the picture, got a few laughs).
Monarch EV Tractor.
Mercedes-Benz AMG SL.
2023 Chevy Silverado.
As I said, there are plans for 25 new tools for 2023, so this does mean that there are another possible 7 new tools being developed for 2023 that just require final approval and sign off before they can be made known. This is NOT the final list of new tools.
Abe then moved into the spin offs of the basic range. 5-packs. There were nine new packs shown for 2023. Models are as always subject to change, but this is what they are currently looking at.
Electric Drivers – Honda E, Tesla Model Y, Tesla Model X, eStar Delivery Truck, Ford Mustang Mach-E.
MBX Construction – MBX Backhoe, Dump Truck, 2014 Chevy Silverado, MBX Scraper and Road Roller. Note – looking at a more simple dark orange-yellow and black with Matchbox logo design scheme for all 5.
MBX Wagons II – Mercedes-Benz W123 Wagon, Mini Countryman, Volvo V60, 1965 Austin Minivan, Jeep Wagoneer.
Blue Highways III – Polaris Slingshot, Mazda Miata/MX-5, 1969 Chevy Camaro, International Scout 4×4, Dodge Viper RT/10.
MBX City Rescue/Metro – 1992 Chevy Caprice Classic Police, Pierce Dash Fire Engine, Mission Helicopter, Chevy Blazer 4×4, GMC Wrecker. Please note: this is an awesome “throwback” pack to one of the first 5-packs from 1993. They are going to replicate the original Metro look of that pack. The last 3 models are from that pack. They are still around, although castings have been updated since 1993. They are going to pay homage to the original design, with an added 70 logo in there too. The Pierce Dash replaces the old Oshkosh Extending Ladder which they no longer have the tooling for, and the Caprice replaces the Ford LTD Police which again no longer exists. More details later in the report.
Autobahn Express VI – 1962 VW Beetle (in a Polizei design), Alfa Romeo Giulia, Mercedes-Benz W123 Wagon, BMW 2002, Audi TTRS.
Coffee Cruisers IV – 1941 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible (might have the top up), 1970 Chevy El Camino, 1932 Ford Coupe, 1956 Aston Martin DBR1, 1947 Chevy AD Truck.
MBX Adventure III – Sonora Shredder, Honda Ridgeline, Ghe-O Predator, 1985 Toyota 4Runner, Swamp Raider.
MBX Construction II – models TBD
He then moved to the 9-packs. 6 batches again for 2023. He did mention that this is still in design stages, and after batch B the models were greyed, which means they are definitely not confirmed as the models. I will mark them down, but seriously after batch B take what comes next with a grain of salt. From C onwards we could see a completely different selection.
Batch A- Honda E, Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk. Batch B – BMW M5 Police, 1972 Ford Bronco (note this matches the recent Bushwacker Jeep Superlift from a 5-pack, it’s a real licence). Batch C (as I say, they are just a maybe from here) 1968 Citroen DS, Western Star 4900. Batch D – Seagrave Fire Truck, Ford Mustang Mach-E. Batch E – Mercedes-Benz G-Class, Toyota Prius Taxi. Batch F – 1976 Honda CVCC, Bugatti Divo.
Attention then moved to Moving Parts. Get it? Moved – moving? Why do I bother? Again a sizzle was shown, as he had a lot of requests to delve into them better than last year. Again this is not a full list of what we will see. The range is still looking at being 50 for 2023, with the hope that once they have really got a decent set of tools in the toolbank, they can expand it even further. Abe does want a 1-75 series of Moving Parts. So on to the models we know.
2020 Bentley Continental GT – opening doors.
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Camper – sliding side door.
2022 Tesla Roadster (open top) – opening doors.
Bollinger B1 – note, they are still working out what they can open with it.
Mercedes-Benz Unimog 5023 – tilting rear bed.
Tesla Model 3 – opening doors.
Jeep Gladiator – opening hood.
1988 Mazda RX-7 – opening hood.
1968 Toyota FJ40 – opening doors.
2021 Chevy Tahoe – opening doors.
2021 Fiat 500e – opening rear.
2022 Lexus LX – opening rear.
1963 Ford F-100 – opening hood.
1969 Ford Boss Mustang – opening hood.
Lamborghini Aventador SVJ – opening doors.
1964 Buick Riviera – opening doors.
1957 Ford Country Sedan – opening hood.
Again, this is not a guaranteed complete list. Tools are still being worked out with licesing agreements still to be finished up, so not everything can be listed at this time. But that is 17 new tools for 2023 so far.
Next up Abe moved to the themed assortments that appear at Walmart and Target stores in USA. For Walmart, there is a small tweak. No longer will we have a series of 12 models in a theme, split into 2 batches. For 2023 each batch will be something completely different. It looks like there are 4 planned themes for 2023. The first is the best.
Porsche – new designs on a Porsche Cayenne Turbo (note this is likely an updated/new casting), 1985 Porsche 911 Rally and Porsche 911 GT3. Carry forward designs for Porsche Panamera, Porsche Cayman, 1971 Porsche 914.
70th Anniversary set – all new designs, but only a set of 5. These will all be platinum coloured (well basically silver) with the 70th logo on the model. 2018 Jeep JL Rubicon, 2005 Ford GT, Freightliner Business Class M2 106, Bugatti Divo, 1962 Mercedes-Benz 220SE.
Volkswagen – new tool – 1962 VW Karmann Ghia Type 14 hardtop, new designs VW Transporter Crew Cab, VW ID4. Carry forward designs for 1974 VW Type 181, VW Beetle 4×4, 1970 VW T2 Bus.
Muscle then & now – new designs on a 2019 Ford Mustang GT, 2020 Chevy Corvette. Carry forward designs for the 2018 Dodge Charger, 1969 Chevy Camaro, 1965 Ford Mustang GT and 1970 Plymouth Cuda.
Attention then moved to a brand new plan for Target in USA. Retro is stopping after this year. For 2023 a whole new system is going to be in place for Target USA. Every even numbered basic range batch of the year will see their basic range assortment feature an exclusive in the way of a of “red” model. I believe the other Mattel brand does something like this, and Target like the concept. So Matchbox will be moving to this. Again models may change, and there is only going to be 1 in these even numbered batches. They will all be on exclusive blister too with the Target logo on it. Batch B is looking like getting a 1969 Chevy Camaro, batch D (it did have a Bugatti Divo, but this is likely to change), Batch F a 2019 Ford Mustang GT Coupe, Batch H a 1962 Mercedes-Benz 220SE, Batch K (there is no “I” batch, moves from H to J) a Porsche 911 Turbo and Batch M a Ford Raptor. Again, the Divo is very likely to change, but others could likely to make a switch out too. We just have to keep an eye on the batches to see what comes out.
We then moved to Working Rigs. Things are still looking at continuing as before. 4 batches of 4 models for a total of 16 models. Currently sheduled are….
Batch A – MBX Excavator (new look), Western Star Wreck Truck (carry forward), Front Loading Garbage Truck (new look), Cement King HD (carry forward).
Batch B – Freighliner Business Class M2 106 Satellite Truck (carry forward – looking at the yellow from 2022?, what do you mean they are still there?), MAN TGS Flatbed Hauler (carry forward), Road Grader (new look), GMC 8500 Airport Truck (new look).
Batch C – Brightdrop EV600 Truck (new tool), Seagrave Fire Truck (new look), Freighliner Vacuum Truck (carry forward), Western Star Dump Truck (carry forward).
Batch D – MBX Road Scraper (new look), International WorkStar Box Truck (new look), Western Star Dump Truck (carry forward), GMC C8500 Top Kick Truck (carry forward).
Up next was Skybusters. Abe briefly mentioned the new way of packaging them with a playmat in each blister. That will continue for 2023. Looking at 4 batches throughout the year, with a number of items still being mapped out. New tools include a new EV Helicopter, Boom Jet and Personal Aircraft. The SB85 Biplane is also going to be seeing a modification for the year too. But with things still in flux, he was quick to move on to the next part.
Collectors. 2023 will still see a series of 20 models. The final batch of 2022 was shown. As was the case with 2021, one model is going to have to sneak in to the first batch of 2023. The ’79 White Western Star Cab was initially mentioned as coming for 2022, but appears to possibly be now known as a Freightliner FLT. We will get confirmation once the model is finished. But what we will have for batch D of 2022 is a set of 4 brand new castings. The Ford GT40 in blue with opening rear, Lamborghini Diablo in red with opening engine cover, Toyota MR2 in red with opening doors and Ford Bronco in black with opening doors.
For 2023 we will see at least 6 new castings. There were 8 on the slide, but 2 of them were completely covered up and WIP over the top. So we could see 2 more in addition, we might not. Again, things are still in flux as they work through. The 6 we know though.
2016 Land Rover LR4. This will feature opening doors.
2012 Lexus LFA. This will also feature opening doors.
1954 D-type Jaguar.
1953 Ford COE.
1932 Ford Roadster Highboy.
He then showed us the map for batch A of 2023, with a rollover of the planned 2022 model. The 1979 Freightliner FLT. The Land Rover LR4 is scheduled to debut then too, and we will see a VW Type 3 Fastback, 1970 Datsun 510 Rally and 1980 Mercedes-Benz W123 Wagon too. Batches B through D are still in progress, and will be showcased later.
Finally, attention moved to the 70th Anniversary of the brand. 2023 will be an important year for the brand, and as such, they are going to be creating a whole bunch of special and unique content. Did you guess some of it already? Okay, I will give you a rundown, and then you will realize that a few things you read make even more sense now.
So, most of the ranges that Matchbox make will have something regarding the 70th Anniversary in them. For example, there are plans for a set of 7 models to be in various batches of the basic range through the year. Their plan for these is that when you have all 7, you will sort of have one from each decade (there is no ’00s). Now the slide did show they were looking at a new 1950s MG casting, but I have been told this will not be coming, and their current plan is the new 1953 Morris Minor instead. We will also see possibly (again unless models change), a 1966 Dodge Charger, MBX Field Car, 1985 Porsche 911 Rally, 1994 Lexus LS400, 2011 Ford Interceptor and 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning appear too. They will simply be mixed in with the basic range. Card art for these will be different to standard, with a more platinum looking effect to it and the models will all be looking at a similar platinum look with black and orange tampo detailing and orange rimmed wheels. However, all card art next year is looking at sporting the 70 logo.
Beyond basics, I mentioned the 5-pack that was a throwback to one of the original ones from 1993? Well guess what? That was deliberate. It is going to be in a special package. This is the model for the 5-pack series. Working Rigs? Current plan for the Seagrave Fire Truck is the 70th special look, and again this could be more of a platinum look with black and orange detailing. Again, card art will be a little different. Convoys? They weren’t mentioned as such, but a new Freightliner eCascadia cab is in development to be launched in the Convoy series for 2023 as it will be continuing. A new trailer section is also in development too. There is a plan for one of the Convoy models to also be in an exclusive look with exclusive card art. Skybusters is looking at a Boeing 747-400 to be the one chosen to have this look/card art. There wasn’t mention of any Hitch & Haul unique models, but the series is planned to continue too.
Beyond these, Walmart is getting their own set. One of their 4 unique sets is a full on 70th set. Moving Parts will be fun. They are looking at 5 models to be in the platinum look with orange/black trim, orange rimmed wheels, unique card art. Currently scheduled are the 1956 Morris Minor Convertible, 2020 Ford Bronco, 2016 Ram Ambulance, 1965 Land Rover Gen II Pickup and 2020 Ford Mustang Convertible. Again, take these as a rough guide. Models can change. But Moving Parts will also see something extra. There are plans for an “open stock” too. These open stock models are planned to be something that can be sold to any store that wants to do something for the 70th Anniversary. Maybe a dedicated end cap or free standing display item. They order them, they get a bunch of 70th Anniversary items and included will be a special set of 5 Moving Parts models in orange on exclusive card art for those 5 models. Currently looking at the 1980 Porsche 911 Turbo, 2020 Chevy Corvette, 2020 Hummer EV, Mazda MX-30 and 2016 Ram Ambulance to be in this unique orange set. So that could be fun.
Then we have Collectors. 2 of the new toolings being created for Collectors are specifically chosen to be throwbacks to classic Lesney models. The 1954 D-type Jaguar and Porsche 910. That was a delibrate choice for those 2 models. This will be part of a whole batch of 7 models for the 70th. Others slated for the batch are 1971 MGB GT Coupe, 1985 Toyota 4Runner, 1993 Ford Mustang LX SSP, 2006 Audi RS6 Avant and Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6×6. Again this is a sort of decades scenario for the 70th Anniversary models. And as I said, each of these special models through all the ranges will see unique card art signifying their 70th Anniversary event. But there is one more thing.
There is a planned mail in offer. I did check with Abe, and the plan is for this to go worldwide if possible, so hopefully everybody will be able to get it. The plan is you buy so much Matchbox, you send it in, you will receive a unique Double Decker bus in return. As the 70th Anniversary gets closer, more details will be released of exactly how this mail in offer will work. As I mentioned many times, what we had at the Gathering is not the final, set in stone, 2023 plan. Things are always in flux. New toolings are still being signed off. New licenses are still being prepared in the background for things. So we can see more new stuff being revealed over the coming months, perhaps into 2023 itself. Mattel Creations are still continuing to release unique Matchbox models, with more planned to be showcased very soon. You might have seen the Matchboxworld Instagram feed showcase an upcoming Space-X collaboration. Yes it is something new. But what exactly we are getting is still being sorted. So it is again something exciting to look forward to getting more details about. This is the start of 2023. This is not the end of 2023. So keep watching the Matchboxworld instagram feed, keep checking with us on Lamley (either myself with the write-ups or John with the videos on the You Tube channel) and we will see even more information coming over what is appearing in 2023.
This was followed by the auction. Many items were auctioned off including many “posters”.
They were on display for a while, but packed up before the action began. Dan did a great job as MC as usual, and I did get a win.
Well it was British, and so am I. The MGB gets a new home. Although it almost got eaten. If anybody follows me on Instagram they might have seen it ended up in my dessert. Spoiler alert, it ended up in my pasta too, but I completely forgot to take a picture. Sunday was a crazy day with the morning toy fair being packed out, and later on many (MANY) of us descending on a local restaurant for food, and then finishing off with the annual pool party. What a weekend. Sadly, there is a small problem. The box with both the dealer model and Everett Marshall’s Golf models got delayed in transit. So sadly I am unable to show them in person.
They did provide a sneak peek of the dealer model. We are getting the 1965 Land Rover Gen II safari with a canoe on the roof, and a highly detailed livery based on the National Parks theme, but with a small tweak. Everett will be getting a pair of Moving Parts Seagrave Fire Trucks. One in white for the Burns Foundation, the other in pink for Breast Cancer research. These will be shipped out to people once they have arrived. I can’t wait to see all of those in person.
Overall, the weekend has been an absolute blast. New friends, old friends, way too many models for my collection. I am exhausted, but it was so worth it. So sorry the report is a little delayed. It is just finding a little spare time to write it up. But as I always say, this preview is subject to change, so not everything you read will make it. Some items may tweak, change etc. But this does give us a guide to what to expect for 2023. Next week I will be back to my usual routine. And hopefully back to releasing it at the usual time. Until then, safe travels home if you were in Albuquerque. Enjoy the rest of the week, and catch you next Monday for more Matchbox goodies.