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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Matchbox threw us a little surprise with the 2017 mainline release of the Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6x6...

Before we jump into the mainline release of the 6x6 (which the Matchbox team have provided for a preview), let's acknowledge something kind of cool.  This isn't the first time we have seen the 6x6.  In fact, its release shouldn't be a surprise for anyone.  The model was announced officially at the Gathering last July, but previewed by Matchbox on Instagram even before that.  And we have seen its development since then.

It has been cool to see both Matchbox and Hot Wheels embrace Instagram as a place to interact with fans and collectors, and give us all little morsels of information.  Gerry Cody and the Matchbox Team broke down some barriers to get the IG ball rolling, and Hot Wheels has followed.  It is awesome to see.  (In fact, Gerry has taken that same approach with his new position at Hot Wheels, so you'd better follow his new account @hotwheelssounofficial.  It'll be a blast.  Abe Lugo has @matchboxworld running smoothly.)

Anyway, the 6x6.  A much-anticipated model to be sure, and the first new casting to be released since Mattel and Mercedes renewed their licensing agreement.  We saw the 6x6 as a Toy Fair model, which technically was not available to the public, and now the mainline release.

If you have been following, you know there is a difference between the Toy Fair and mainline releases of the 6x6.  Matchbox developed two versions.  One with an interior, and one without.

The interior version was done for premium releases like the Toy Fair and maybe future Best of releases, while the no-interior version was done for basic releases.  The unfortunate reality is that basic has to stay within a certain budget to remain at the price point that major retailers require, so things like this happen.  The 6x6 obviously needs a third axle, so in keeping with the 4-part rule the window was eliminated.  So on basic releases the windows will always look tinted, but the model, in my view, still looks fantastic.

All that said, Matchbox still threw us a little surprise.  From the side you see a cool pinstripe and the V8 and Matchbox logos.  Looks good.

But look at the front.

And the rear.

Yep, the 6x6 got the 4-tampo pass treatment.  The team got a little creative on the budget, and added a little more to the 6x6.  I don't know if that means taking a little away from another model like a generic, but I hear we will see a few models with extra tampo passes this year.  This was done for us collectors, and it is pretty damn cool.

The 6x6 is just one badass replica of a badass vehicle.  It is a brilliant choice for Matchbox, and I can't wait to keep adding to the 6x6 collection.

This 4-pass mainline is a great start.  Look for it mid-2017...

Lamley Preview: 2016 Hot Wheels Super Treasure Hunt Set...

If you are an RLC Member, you may or may not have purchased the 2016 Super Treasure Hunt Set on HWC yesterday.  If you are not, today is the day.

If you did, you are in for a treat.  Packaging art extraordinaire Julian Koiles took on the task of designing the packaging, and went next level.  Sure, it is just the set that many of you found in stores over time (and I have always said that most of what makes Super TH's great is finding them), but I love that Mattel does this set every year.

And puts a ton into it, and for collectors only.  Only 1000 sets are available, so there only a few left today, and it will surely sell out:

2016 Super TH Set at the HWC Shop

Mattel sent one over for me to preview, and it is below.  Enjoy:

Nice, eh?


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The new Matchbox Glass Truck is coming along, and it's a good-looking generic...

Another preproduction sneak peek courtesy of the Matchbox Team, this time the upcoming Glass Truck.

Only three photos on this one, but we will get a tad more detailed when the finished model is ready to preview.  This is obviously a preproduction with crazy colors it is sporting.  The fun part is looking at how Abe and gang made a glass truck work.

Best I can tell the glass in the back (one side already failed the trip) is part of the window.  It runs below and through to the back, fitting in between the rear plastic part.  Abe will surely explain it at some point.

In keeping with our discussion on Matchbox generics from the previous post, this one is a winner.  I don't need a licensed glass truck, just a nice-looking one, and this one qualifies.  Put it next to a tanker or a flatbed or any other utility vehicle.  It works.  And it is a clever choice to say the least.  It fits in nicely...

So what about these? 2017 Matchbox Sonoran Shredder & Snow Thrasher...

Matchbox and generics is a touchy subject.  For the most part, collectors don't like them.  Or at least that is how it sounds.

It is a bit odd that Matchbox gets a lot of guff for their generics, when Hot Wheels produces quite a few more, and way more outlandish.  But it speaks to what collectors expect from Matchbox.  They want realism.

My thought is that if Matchbox does more realistic generics, there will be a lot less complaints.  A generic construction vehicle, or bus, or emergency vehicle that looked like something we would see on the road would be most welcome, and it seems there is a steady - but slow - move towards that.  Generics are just part of the game these days, and since we have to live with them, hopefully there will be some we like.

So with that said, the next two generic models from Matchbox are interesting.  Both could easily based on real cars, and therefore be licensed, but both are generic, and well executed.

The Sonoran Shredder is exactly how it is named.  A desert rider based on an older modified pickup.  I think square-body Chevy or Ford Ranger, but any one of us could see something different.  It has the right lines, it just doesn't have a badge.  I personally like it, but if it were licensed I would be more inclined to add it to the collection.  Let's be honest, supercool though.

The Snow Thrasher - wow, these are some action-oriented names Matchbox - is a little more on the generic side, but playworthy for sure.  It is some sort of snow vehicle, and I am sure loosely based on something.  Again, my interest wains, but this one, like the Sonoran Shredder, definitely has play value.  (Whisper voice) But, doesn't it kind of look like the model is wearing a diaper with that big white base?  Is it just me? (Back to normal voice)

I could see beat-up versions of both in playrooms all over, but maybe not in a ton of collector's collections.  But sitting in a playroom is still the number one purpose of these little things.  Let's see how they do...

Look for both in the coming months.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

The first 2017 batch from Tomica Limited Vintage is now available at Japan Booster...

Tomica Limited Vintage at Japan Booster
There are certain elements of collecting that I am sure we all experience.  Call it waves.  What interests you today may take a backseat to something else tomorrow, and then return again maybe a few months later.

I might be on a Matchbox kick at one point, then a Hot Wheels a little later, then something else.  I remain a fan of all, but one will take precedent over the other at any given time.  Then of course in today's day and age, what one person shares one day can then take off through Facebook or Instagram.  For example, if you are on IG lately, notice a kick for Hot Wheels Gassers?  One person shows a Hot Wheels Comet Cyclone, now everyone hits eBay to get one.

Well I am on a TLV kick at the moment.  Honestly, my TLV kick is always happening, but it is particularly strong right now.  Highest quality 1:64 by a mile.  I was showing a good friend my larger TLV - Hino Fire Truck, Hino Car Carrier, some tankers, some buses, and it was on.  I can't get enough of them.

I shared a few of my vroom vroom pics on IG:

A photo posted by Lamley Group (@thelamleygroup) on

A photo posted by Lamley Group (@thelamleygroup) on

A photo posted by Lamley Group (@thelamleygroup) on

I love getting those trucks out.  The detail is absurd.  Oh, and the Porsche 911 and 912.  On the Hino Carrier.  So much fun.  In fact, fooling around with these amazing replicas made me rethink my setup, and I spent yesterday totally rethinking it.  Prepare for some changes.

Alright, TLV.  I love it.  And 2017 is going to be an amazing year.

It just started.  The first batch of 2017 is out, and it is available at Japan Booster:

Tomica Limited Vintage at Japan Booster

And it is a typical diverse batch, even with only six models.  Two classic Corollas, two debonaire Nissan Presidents, and the brand new Toyota Cresta (Cressida here) casting.  Japan Booster took a few pics for us in what appears to be some cold weather.  I will always say, if you are interested, best to buy when they are new.  Trust me, it makes things a lot easier.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Big news: 2017 Nissan GT-R & 1967 Mazda Cosmo Sports (for its 50th birthday) are coming to Tomica Limited Vintage...

This is one of those pieces of news that makes a diecast collector smile.  For a long time.

Tomica Limited Vintage is giving us a super batch in May 2017.  Two totally new castings, plus a couple fan favorites.

Yesterday TLV announced the 2017 Nissan GT-R and 1967 Mazda Cosmo Sports will debut in May, along with new colors of the 1982 Honda Prelude and E90 Toyota Corolla.

The biggest news is the Cosmo.  The Cosmo is upper echelon in classic Japanese cars, arguably up there with the Toyota 2000GT as one of the most important (that is a good question for Ben Hsu and Jeff Koch.  Fellas?).  One way or the other, it has been sadly underrepresented in diecast.  I have always considered the Cosmo, with its unique silhouette, a no-brainer for Matchbox and - of course - TLV.

Well, it is here, right on time for the 50th anniversary of its debut.  I will let TLV explain in their words, using the magic of google translate:
A number of famous cars appeared, and it is said to be a vintage year of Japanese cars in 1967. Among them, Mazda Cosmo Sports is equipped with the world's first two-rotor rotary engine. Cosmo sports sent out after the development period of 6 years from the basic development of the engine was released on May 30, 1967. I made the unknown power known as a rotary engine to the world. It is May 50 years later. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the birth of the rotary engine, we will manufacture the early stage with short wheelbase and small front grill with new metal mold. Mazda Co., Ltd., a manufacturer, took over the restored store for the 100th anniversary of its founding and also reproduced details specific to this individual such as late model wheels and export specification emblems. Also, as a historical significance modeling this car model, the engine is reproduced. I get close to the feeling of drifting on a real car.
TLV takes on a lot of cars, but replicating something like the Cosmo is actually not that common.  They seem to be more dedicated to the everyday cars that were on the street back in the day, and the Cosmo most certainly wasn't.  So this is truly an extra surprise.  Maybe this opens the door for a TLV 2000GT?

Of course among collectors today, I think the 2017 Nissan GT-R is the biggest news.  The GT-R is everywhere in diecast, but we don't seem to be getting sick of it at all.  (Waiting for all the "I am!" folks to make your comments.  Thanks in advance.)  And while we will see the 2017 from several companies, including Hot Wheels, it is an event when TLV does it.  They have taken a serious liking to the GT-R, having already produced over 11 variants, so the 2017 is most welcome.  Again, from TLV, via google translate:
As the current model of TLV, Nissan GT-R, which brought the 2014 model to market, we will be releasing the 2017 model that has undergone significant evolution. In order to reproduce the actual car whose bonnet height, bumper shape, wheel, interior, etc. were changed considerably, we made a remake with a completely new mold. Body color is orange metallic which is the image color of the current model, and silver of two colors inherited to successive GT-R. As with the 2014 model, which caused great reactions at home and abroad, please also offer this product. ※ The image is a prototype. It differs from the actual product.

On top of those, two new colors for the upcoming Honda Prelude, which will debut the month before, and the return of the 1989 E90 Toyota Corolla in new specifications (1600 GT & limited black GT 205), that has been a must-have for TLV collectors since it debuted several years ago.

May's gonna be good.  Start watching that Japan Booster pre-order page.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Alright I really do like the Hot Wheels Porsche 911 GT3 RS, especially this green version...

I reserve the right to change my opinion.  We all do.  If you are a collector there are plenty of models in your collection that didn't grab your attention at first, until they did.  And there you are doing an eBay scramble to catch up on all the models you could have easily bought on the pegs a few months or years before.

Maybe those are models you ignored.  There are also models you actually disliked at first.  That is the case with the Hot Wheels Porsche 911 GT3 RS.  I wasn't as keen as I thought I would be on the casting when it was released last year in red, but over time I started to warm up.

Then this green version was released, and wowzers, it's fantastic.  Sure, things look a little too stocky on the rear side, but that is what has to happen with a metal spoiler.  One solution is to break things up with the black deco on the side of the spoiler, and it works well.  Of course tail light tampos would be the best solution, and maybe that will happen soon.  The other thing, and it is hard to explain why, is how much better all black rims look.  Just a tad sportier, lending itself to the overall design.

Maybe I am trying to get too specific.  The fact is I just like this casting a lot more now, and can appreciate how well it it made.  And I like liking models a lot more than not liking them, so...hooray.  I'm going to do it again, on some model in the future, so when I complain again, just roll your eyes and mention to yourself that I am just going to like it later.  Flip-flopper.