Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The rarest Matchbox models of the Mattel era Part 4

Yet another entry in our ongoing series on rare Mattel-era Matchbox models.

This one is slightly different than the four we have profiled previously. Those were either rare variations or obscure releases. This one was meant to be rare. Actually meant to be VERY rare.

On three different occasions in the last 10 years, the Matchbox team has opened up the Mattel Design Center to a small number of collectors. Think of it as Willie Wonka's factory without the oompa loompas. It is officially a line preview, and those collectors are allowed to see certain directions the team is headed, and what is slated for the upcoming year. If that is not a treat enough, they send each attendee home with a model exclusively decorated for the event. I was fortunate enough to attend the last one they did in 2010, and came home with the exclusive.

That is the model we are profiling today - the 2010 MB Line Preview Hazard Squad. Mattel claims they produced 49, but there are only about 25 in circulation - those given to attendees and two more auctioned off at the 2010 MCCH Gathering.

The model photographed is obviously mine, and I was one of 4 who ripped it from the blister. Ah, what I do for a good photograph. What differentiates the 2010 exclusive from the previous Preview exclusives (Desert Thunder in 2008 and the Tractor Plow in 2006) is the fact that the Hazard Squad has turned out to be one of the most popular generics Matchbox has done. Matchbox and emergency collectors both adore it, so there was a lot of effort made by many collectors to get their hands on one. In fact, both of the Hazard Squads donated to the Gathering fetched $500 each, purchased by the same collector!

Mine isn't going anywhere. Not only is it a valuable model I am happy to have, but it is a reminder of a truly memorable day. Hopefully future Line Previews are being planned.

Matchbox Hazard Squad (2010 Line Preview exclusive)


  1. Hopefully future Line Previews are being planned.

    Are you kidding? With the reception the 2012 line got on the boards? We'll be lucky if anyone shows up in Albuquerque this year ...

  2. The Albuquerque event has had a larger response than ever before. The dinner and show are sold out a month before the event. You should come on out and join us and see what it is really about. Come join a sell out crowd.

  3. Route 66 MC International Gathering of Friends Convention Calendar of Events
    Friday 20, July 2012
    2pm – 5pm Registration in Lobby “Get together and begin in Room Trading.
    (Door Hangers and room trading participant info available upon registration.)
    8pm -9:30pm –Meet and Greet - (Beverages and cake) Sponsored by the Matchbox® Team. Come meet the Matchbox® Team from El Segundo. Bring your favorite die cast related item to share with others. Bring your favorite Diecast/or related item to share with others.
    7pm - ??? In room trading–Be sure to sign up at the registration table in the lobby. (Room numbers available by elevator.)

    Saturday 21, July 2012
    10am-noon Registration in the Lobby.
    10am – 4pm and 9pm-12am In room trading– (Room numbers available by elevator.)

    Workshops All take place in Sandia Ball Rooms

    11am-2pm Custom Contest viewing (Come vote on your favorites)

    10 am – 11am Regular Wheels “The Rare Ones & Pre Productions” Hardy Ristau
    11am-12:30pm 'My Life at Matchbox' “PART 4” Former Matchbox Employee Paul Carr shares his 16 years at Lesney and Matchbox, the people, the pre-pros.
    1:30 pm– 2:30pm - Matchbox® Designer Presentation
    The Matchbox team will share the “Matchbox® Car Design Process”

    Pre-Paid Reservations are required to attend the dinner and/or auction
    5pm – 7pm Dinner Sandia Ball Room
    •Mattel Presentation (Like a mini Line Preview) See what’s coming.
    7pm - 9pm Auction
    9pm – on In Room Trading. (see participant list by main elevators)

    Sunday 22, July 2012
    8am-3pm Outstanding Real Classic and Custom Car show east parking lot
    Visit the Albuquerque and Bernalillo County Fire Trucks East parking lot.
    8am – 10am Set up for Toy Show and Sale Early Bird Admission - Grand Ball Room
    (9am Early Bird floor rights $10 per person) - Grand Ball Room
    10am-3pm Matchbox® Play Area open - Grand Ball Room
    2 Autograph session Matchbox Designers and Marketing Representatives will be signing your favorite Matchbox items. 2 sessions.
    10am – 3pm Toy Show and Sale. (Admission $3 under 10 free w/adult)
    Downhill Racing throughout the day.

    MATCHBOX and associated trademarks and trade dress are owned by, and used under license from Mattel, Inc. © 2012 Mattel, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This convention is not affiliated with Mattel, Inc.