Tuesday, October 25, 2016

This photo isn't black and white. It is just one mean Matchbox Range Rover Evoque...

There are probably a handful of models in your collection that fall in a unique category.  That category?  Models that you like better in 1:64 than in real life.

It might be more than a handful.  A $1 price point on a Hot Wheels or Matchbox can make you appreciate something a lot more than maybe you should.  Matchbox has done quite a few.  The Range Rover Evoque is one of them.

To say I don't care about the real Evoque might be an understatement.  I don't like it.  It shouldn't share the Range Rover name.  The best way to describe a Range Rover is by calling it a Range Rover.  It has a rich, rugged history, and damn every generation looks good.  The Evoque does not.   It looks like someone's bad futuristic concept of the Range Rover that they actually made.

But I like the Matchbox.  I just do.  I can't really explain why.  It is just pleasing.  Maybe it is the fact that I don't like the real car that makes having one in 1:64 that much more enjoyable.  Would I like it better if this Matchbox release were a standard Range Rover instead?  Abso-freaking-lutely.  But I can handle the Evoque.

And at least Matchbox has made them look good.  The debut in orange is a standout, and the burnt orange from the Land Rover series a surprise.  And now comes black.  On black.  Over black.  And it's awesome.

In the Hot Wheels/Matchbox world, you will rarely see all black models with black wheels.  Details get lost, and that valuable side silhouette can become a blog in a blister.  All the details are hidden.  But Matchbox threw all that out the window when they did this one, because of course there are a ton of Range Rovers in all black with black wheels.  We wouldn't have action movies without black Range Rovers with black wheels traveling in caravans for the good guys to blow up.

So this is a surprise for sure, but a good surprise.  On a great casting.  Of a bad car.

(Look for this release in the 2017 Matchbox C Assortment)

Monday, October 24, 2016

I like Porsches. And I like matching Hot Wheels Porsches that look like this.

Here's the pattern.  Or at least it seems to be the pattern.  When a new Hot Wheels licensed casting is released, it is released in a color and deco that replicates or at least mimics a stock color and deco.  After that, all rules are out the window.

There are reasons for that.  It is all about what kids will grab off the pegs, and interesting decos and colors are more likely to attract a kid passing by.  So, while we collectors like our front and rear details, it is the side decos that are most easily seen in a blister.  That is one of the reasons no tampo errors stick out so clearly.  We aren't used to it.

Occasionally though Hot Wheels makes an exception.  And the Porsche 993 here in 2017 Batch B is one of those exceptions.  Plain orange, an iconic Porsche color, with fantastic lace wheels.

The lace wheels have been around for a long time, but have had a resurgence of late with the plethora of classic European models being released by Hot Wheels, especially Porsche models.  They have looked especially good on the Porsche 934, and I have thought the 993 would benefit from them as well.

Well whatyaknow?  They are on the Porsche 993, and to make it even better, its plain orange color matches exactly the debut color of the 934 back in 2014.  And they make one beautiful pair.

Hot Wheels has been linking models a little more lately, which is something Michael Heralda and now Abe Lugo have done with Matchbox for awhile, and I love it.  We have seen the awesome "Then & Now" series, but these Porsches stretch over three years.

Back to the plain deco.  My thought is this is a Porsche thing.  More Porsches have had plain deco than any other car type, and I wonder if that is something they ask in the licensing agreement.  It isn't always the case, but the 934 has been plain a few times, and the 993 has gone plain a few times, like its debut in the Boulevard series, as well as its 2014 release which was plain save a small design near the rear wheel.  The 993 has had several versions released, including in Car Culture and as a Super, but this orange version is my favorite next to the Boulevard.  I think the reason is fairly obvious.

I like the plain stuff.  I like the matching stuff.  It is obvious I really like this Porsche.

Here is the next color of the Matchbox Nissan Skyline (and it totally outshines the 2016 version)...

Found the silver Matchbox Skyline yet?

I haven't seen it in stores yet.  Considering Matchbox distribution and only two Skylines per case, I figured it would be hard to find, and it is proving so.  Hopefully we see more and more cases hit the stores as we move to the holidays, and if all else fails, prices have relaxed on eBay.

Well, I guess that is of course if you actually want one.  Lamley Readers know I have been a little obsessed with this model since it was announced back in 2015 at the Matchbox Gathering.  Any Skyline will grab my attention, but one based on a straight stock Skyline really does.  I get all fanboy at the GT-R clones as well, but what really makes me skip a breath is what is becoming a rare sight - an intact surfline.  So Matchbox doing a stock Skyline was a happy happy thought.  Add to that the cool engine/seatbelt variation, plus what the Skyline represents for Matchbox, and you know why I write about it a lot.

So sure, my excitement can be interpreted as good old #lamleyhype, but just know this is an easy Top 3 Matchbox model for me.

But I will let you in on a little secret.  I am really looking forward to future versions.  Going silver on the debut is appropriate, but in all honesty it is a little bland.  The black bumpers and base leave a little to be desired as well.  I guess there is such a thing as a VUM (chrome) budget with Matchbox - who is surprised? - so the bumpers went black for this late 2016 release.  Not horrible, but chrome is much better.

So enter the 2017 version of the Skyline, coming early next year in the E Assortment.  This is the Matchbox Skyline realized.  The casting we love, this time decked out in matte bluish grey and sitting on a chrome base.  Hot damn.

Hopefully this model will be used a lot in future lines, and - fingers crossed - in some premium clothes as well.  Wherever it is used, chrome bumpers are a must.  It can't get much better than this beauty.

As always, thanks to Team Matchbox for this preview...

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Mazda RX7 & Rotary Pickup are making their way to the Hot Wheels line in 2017...

The sneak peeks keep coming.

Jun Imai has been previewing some upcoming 2017 models lately, and he dropped a couple more treats at the JCCS Street Neo Classics Car Show today.  Lucky attendees who wander by the Japanese Nostalgic Car booth get to check out these three beauties:

One you have already seen, the recolor of the Datsun Roadster with the new basic steelies.  But those other two have just been unveiled, and Mazda is the theme.  Yeah, that is an FD3S RX7, which should generate a ton of excitement.  But for me the real treat is the Mazda Rotary Pickup.  The REPU looks to be fairly stock, and should be a great companion to the Datsun 620 and Matchbox's upcoming Nissan Junior.  I can't wait to see the finished product.  Here's hoping for a fairly stock deco on both new models.

Thankfully, our Resident California Reporter, @hw_jay is at the show, and was able to take a couple of closeups.  (It's always great to have an RCR.)

Thanks Jay.

(UPDATE: Some rear shots that the RCR sent over are below.)

Check out the Honda CR-X and Fiat Panda in the Tomica Limited Vintage October batch...

Tomica Limited Vintage at Japan Booster
The Tomica Limited Vintage October release is a nice little sliver of all the cool things TLV has been doing lately.  All kinds of cool directions, and all six cars from the batch are now at Japan Booster:

Tomica Limited Vintage at Japan Booster

Clearly there is someone on the TLV team a little infatuated with Italian cars, and we are all benefitting.  Alfa Romeo, Lancia, and now the cute Fiat Panda.  Such a simple little hatch, and as I say for most releases, a perfect TLV.

Add to that two TLV classics, the Honda CR-X - a fan favorite since it was first released - in two colors, including stellar blue, and the return of the Subaru Legacy.

Of course I will be featuring these cars when I get them, but don't wait for me.  Grab them right at their release when they are cheapest.  Prices on these, especially the CR-X, tend to go up the harder they are to find...

Friday, October 21, 2016

10 Instagram accounts you need to follow if you are a diecast collector...

Instagram really has become the diecast hub.

Sure there are tons of groups on Facebook, but almost too many to maneuver through.  It seems Instagram is more manageable.  It is easy to follow who you want, see what people are finding, and get a little diecast education along the way.

I follow quite a few accounts on Instagram, and use hashtags to see a ton of others.  There are some that I consider "must-follows" and thought I would share with you, in case you aren't following these accounts already.

I am excluding a few.  There are the obvious accounts.  I hope you are following Lamley, and accounts like @matchboxworld, @hotwheelsofficial, @m2machines, and @autoworlddiecast are no-brainers.  There are also a ton of customizers out there that I have featured before, and may do a similar list again soon.  The focus for these 10 accounts is on diecast education.  Many of these accounts are run by long-time collectors, who have a ton of images and info to share.

So here are 10 I really appreciate.  There are obviously a ton more, and feel free to share some of your favorites here or on our IG account.

While made in Japan, the Matchbox Toyota Celica XX model was also made in red. Japanese made models have a clear plastic roof support cast as part of the windows interior that set over the top of the front seats of the model. Of course, one need only flip the model over to see if it was made in Japan. The model manufacture was moved to Hong Kong where it was still made in red. The clear interior support was gone and the base was changed to reflect Hong Kong. The taillights cast to the base part were modified slightly when the base was changed. Lesney and Matchbox Superfast was on the base along with a 1978 copyright. The model was issued in limited markets (Australian and New Zealand ?) as No. 77 as shown in the sample pic with bix. The model was also issued in US market Speed Sticks 4 packs. #diecastcars #matchbox #vintagetoys #lesneytoys #lesneymatchbox #matchboxsuperfast #lesney
A photo posted by Chuck Wiersma (@cwiersma63) on

Chuck Wiersma is one of the most knowledgable Matchbox collectors around, and one of the nicest too.  A former Matchbox Ambassador, he seems to know every detail about every model from the early Lesney days all the way through the current Mattel era.  Every few days he picks out some related Matchbox models and shares all kinds of details.  This is one of several posts he did about Japanese models from Matchbox.  (I would also suggest @jimgallegos here, who runs the Matchbox Gathering Convention and has one of the largest diecast collections around.  His account is private so I can't embed a link here.)


Like Chuck, Tom Larson is a long-time Matchbox collector with knowledge from all eras, including early Lesney and Models of Yesteryear.  Another good dude who I always enjoy talking to at the Matchbox Gathering.


Yeah, I am a little heavy on Matchbox to start, but another account heavy on Superfast-era Matchbox.  So fun to see all the models from that era, many of which I will never see in person.


This is hobbyDB's dedicated diecast feed.  I have sung the praises of hobbyDB in the past, and will continue to do so.  And after actually visiting their offices, I can say I have totally caught the vision.  What they are doing could be the best thing our hobby, and collecting in general, has had since eBay. In fact, I am getting involved.  More on that later.

But when the goal is to catalog every diecast model ever made, you surely come across interesting things, and they have started to share them on their Instagram feed.  This Toyota-marked Skyline is a great example.


I love feeds like this, dedicated to a specific part of the hobby.  This one is obviously focused on Mexican made Hot Wheels, and you sense the excitement whenever another discovery is made.  Some awesome rarities here.


Duh.  Bruce Pascal has one of the definitive Hot Wheels Redline collections, including the famous Pink Beach Bomb itself.  I don't know a ton about about Redlines, so this seems to be the logical place.  So glad he is showing his stuff here.


Yes, this is the official account for Majorette in Australia, so you will see a lot of current and upcoming releases, which is awesome.  But they also mix in some vintage Majorette like this fantastic BMW, models which many of us have never seen.


An incredibly diverse collection from a true car nut over in Europe.  You never know what he is going to show.

A photo posted by @pudjoang on

Tomica Tomica Tomica Tomica Tomica Tomica.  Almost makes my brain hurt.  And yes, the full seal of approval from our Resident Tomica Expert, Jay Kho.


Of course I needed to add Tilley.  The "ley" of "Lamley" has been one of my best collecting friends for as long as I have been a collector.  Not only does he have a fantastic IG feed, but I am a little proud of it because it took a TON of convincing to get him to join, and I think the hobby is better for it.

DT has an encyclopedic brain when it comes to Matchbox - that is all he collects - and no one is better at linking the new to the old.  He opens everything, and has a thing for shade variations.  Entertaining, obsessive, and informative.

Those are ten.  Any other recommendations?

Matchbox keeps it coming with a preview of the upcoming Subaru WRX STI Police...

This just appeared on the @matchboxworld Instagram feed:

This is clearly a prototype, which sports the blue interior used for Mattel prototypes these days.  The color is also what happened to be lying around when it was put together.  The wheels may or may not be the type used on the final model as well.

The body looks good, and the detail is there, although it does appear to sit a little high.  We will have to see when the final version is released.  A very exciting 2017 continues...

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Matchbox 2017 Best of the World: It's the little things...

Based on the response so far, I think I can safely say there is excitement for the first batch of 2017 Matchbox Best of the World.  It was very cool for Matchbox to allow me to debut them here and on the Lamley YouTube Channel, and I had a blast doing it.  These should be available starting next month, and some stores have them listed.

I promised pics of all six, and here they are.  And oh my, is this a pretty set.  I have pontificated enough on the video, so I don't need to say too much here.  But there are a few things I think are worth mentioning.

I have said many times this last year that the current Matchbox Team, in particular Gerry Cody and Abe Lugo, have gone to battle to bring Matchbox back to glory.  There was - and is - a lot of work to do, from more licensed models and realistic decos, to better quality and, of course, better distribution.

Distribution is still a major factor, but ultimately it comes down to whether retailers want Matchbox on their shelves or not, and the best way to make that happen is to have a better product.  That is exactly what Gerry and Abe have worked tirelessly to do.  I have been lucky to see a little of it behind the scenes, and I think my excitement for what I have witnessed permeates here.  To say they have battled is an understatement.

These guys reached out to collectors first, knowing they were the most passionate about the brand, and could give relevant feedback.  They learned what frustrated collectors the most, as well as what they could do out of the gate to improve Matchbox.  The 2017 Best of World line is as great an indicator as there is for what they are doing, and it was done for collectors.

It starts with the line itself.  Best of World has been a passion project for the Matchbox Team.  2016 was well received, and Gerry and Abe made sure it returned in 2017.  That is not always easy, and I think it is safe to say they went to bat for collectors, and battled until 2017 was confirmed.  Mattel is a big company, with a lot of people with a lot of opinions.  Gerry and Abe worked it until the line was a go.  Once it was, they had a little fun.

First off, two assortments of six instead of one assortment of ten.  After that, all street cars, in this case all Euro cars.  And lastly, after several complaints about the "off-road" look of the Matchbox premium wheels last year, they threw caution to the wind and put Hot Wheels Real Riders on four of the models.  What?!?!

Bonkers, eh?

I have been very curious to see what the response would be to HW wheels on a Matchbox, and so far it has been positive.  But I have said to many people, at least among the majority of readers here, they don't care what is done just as long as the model looks awesome.  And these wheels on these Matchbox cars look awesome.

So here are the first six.  Some thoughts on each (and like I said in the title, it is the little things):

  1. My favorite?  I can always tell based on how many pics I take of one compared to the others.  Not a weak one in the bunch, but the Miura wins.  This was one of Ryu Asada's favorite designs when he was still with Matchbox, and this version seems to be his vision realized.  Saying it is a beautiful model doesn't do it justice.  Abe said he was inspired by the Pebble Beach car shows when he chose the color and detail for the Miura, and it shows.   
  2. Check out the wheels on the Range Rover Sport.  Black rims, but a hint of green right around the axle.  Such a cool little touch.
  3. I love how the BMW M5 Police shares the exact same livery as the Lesney Edition BMW X5 Police from a few years ago.  Little easter eggs like this make it so fun to collect.
  4. Mercedes is coming back strong, and it is great to see the CLS 500 tool is still in good shape.  I have never been a huge fan of the Real Riders it sits on, but they look great here.
  5. The Porsche pops, and reminds me a tad of a certain Toy Fair model from a year ago.  I agree that the white spoiler could be better, but I don't know what the other options would be for the plastic.  That spectraflame color would be hard to duplicate on plastic.
  6. The T2 will probably be the first off the shelves, along with the Miura.  
  7. Lastly, the artwork is pretty bad.  Awful in fact.  I like the colors and overall design, but the depiction of the models is cringeworthy.  The models are where they need to be, so hopefully the artwork will catch up.  I think there are efforts being made to make that happen.
Alright, I am done talking.  Enjoy the pics.