Wednesday, October 10, 2012

October Matchbox Ambassador Report, Part 1: 60th Anniversary Full List & Sneak Peeks...

Hello fellow collectors!

It is nice to be back with another report, and lets call this Part 1 of 2.  I feel like a bit of a veteran now, having gotten my feet wet on the last report.  The distribution system I am using worked well last time, so we will do it again.  The report has been distributed via the Ambassador distribution list, and posted here on the Lamley Group Blog.  And as always, links to the report have been posted on several Matchbox-related websites and forums.

So here we go.  Another report on what I consider some fantastic models coming out.  Of course, as Ambassador, when you release a report these days you feel like you are feeding it to the wolves.  Being Ambassador gives you a bit more of a birds eye view of things, and also helps you gain a better understanding of Mattel and the Matchbox team's point of view, so watching what happens response-wise gets a bit frustrating.  Everyone has their opinions, but I don't know if the fact that this team truly goes to bat for the collector when they can is acknowledged enough.

When I say this team goes to bat for the collector, you need not look any further for evidence than the existence of the 60th Anniversary line.  The story is a long one, but I think it is fair to say that assumptions we all had that a set to commemorate the 60th Anniversary was a done deal were false.  But this team is very aware of the Matchbox heritage, and did all it could to make sure something was done.  And they prevailed.

What they have created is a lineup that gives a nod to the past, as well as a push towards the future.  Using the current lineup of existing tools, the team came up with 24 models (plus a chase) that not only pay homage to models in the past, but also highlight the brand's current focus.  Selections like the E-type Jag, VW Beetle, and Aston Martin DBS Volante are tributes to earlier Lesney castings.  Likewise, Matchbox's construction and emergency vehicle heritage is also acknowledged by the inclusion of similar tools from the current range.

As you look at the list, note the inclusion of a handful of brand new 2013 tools, as well as models that will appeal to international markets.

(One other note: This is the official list below.  Partial lists were sent out by Mattel to hobby dealers with instructions to not release the information, but there were some that did otherwise.)

Without further ado (those who know me know I am full of "ado"), the 60th Anniversary lineup:

68 Mustang GT/CS (MB 812)
Austin Mini Cooper S (MB765)
Volkswagen T2 Bus (MB734)
Jeep Wrangler Superlift (MB832)
Vintage Tractor (MB834)
Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X Police (MB808)
Porsche 911 GT3 (MB792)
1962 Volkswagen Beetle (MB363)
Quarry King (MB737)
Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Polizia (MB867)
Ford F-350 Superlift Brush Truck (MB837)
Renault Master Ambulance (MB885)
Aston Martin DBS Volante (MB823)
Route Master London Bus (MB694) (used again as chase model)
Urban Tow Truck (MB830)
Land Rover Defender 110 (MB838)
All Terrain Crane (MB882)
Ground Grinder (MB886) (formerly road grader)
Blaze Blitzer (MB881) (formerly European fire engine)
BMW R1200 RT-P Police Motorcycle (MB841)
76 International Scout 4x4 (MB864)
Austin FX4 London Taxi (MB667)
61 Jaguar E-type (MB688)
2012 Ford Explorer (MB860)

And how about some sneak peeks?

The approach to each model is to give it a higher level of deco than a basic car, and that level will vary with each.  Beside the unique packaging (which will be shown later), the 60th Anniversary will be highlighted by placing the logo on various locations on each model.  You might see it on the front, side, top, or rear.

These models are shown here with Permission from Mattel.

Austin Mini Cooper S
There will be additional deco on the rear, which will include the 60th logo.

68 Mustang GT/CS
There will be tampo on the rear lights.

Vintage Tractor
60th logo will be on the other side, and will be painted matt orange.

Jeep Wrangler Superlift
This will also have rear markings.

Ford F350 Superlift
A nod to the oft-used non-licensed National Parks livery.  I have yet to find out if the color is the same.

Volkswagen T2 Bus
The Bus will also feature rear tail lights and markings.

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X Police
My favorite of this current batch of sneaks, with an obvious nod to...well, you know what country Lesney called home.  And yes, rear graphics on this one as well.

These seven are great indicators of what is to come with the other 18 models, and the series as a whole. I am truly looking forward to pursuing this set as it arrives in the coming months.

And this is not the only place in the 2013 lineup that the 60th Anniversary of Matchbox will be acknowledged.  Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Ambassador Report to find out more...


  1. "When I say this team goes to bat for the collector, you need not look any further for evidence than the existence of the 60th Anniversary line"

    I'm, sorry, but when was the collector asked what they want for this series?
    I recall many of us telling the design team at Mattel we do not like chrome interiors, which is nothing more than a cheap way to get chrome bumpers which are a pointless detail when the interior looks horrible.
    This has been a low point for almost all the classic cars in the core line since a few years ago. Disagree? Perhaps those who do need to up their standards a bit.
    When was the collector asked about the graphics? We have endured amatuer tampo designs this year, and many of us have stopped buying Matchbox cars because of this. Now they show up on the anniversary cars, but wait - we get a 60th logo on top of it? Where is the herritage in slathering a casting with marketing stuff like this? Who makes these decisions to make suh a cheap looking range aimed at those of us who know better?
    Where are the metal bases which give the model a little weight for a higher quality feel?
    I am part of the core audience for this product. I played with regular wheels and superfast as a kid, and am now a collector because the brand was always about quality and realism. Both those elements are gone. We get plastic bases, chrome interiors, and bad graphics as an homage to the brand's past.
    Who is making this decision on our behalf?
    So yeah, I am pretty bummed out about all this. In fact, I'm done with the brand until the decision makers at Mattel quit assuming we are all apathetic chumps. I want Matchbox to represent real cars. I want Mattel to make these cars to a standard, not a low-ball price point.

  2. Come on Mattel you have done it again,a total load of rubbish.No money from me you will get.Very poor effort.

  3. I don't care about the rest of the cars from these pictures, but that Mitsubishi Evo 10 is absolutely brilliant, and in my favourite police livery! MB has really done a very good job with this one and the one who dosen't like it must be an idiot, or blind.

    - Black Wind, SwiftysGarage.

  4. Mattel needs to stop making Matchbox a "kids" brand. Believe me-- kids like Hot Wheels and Hot Wheels produces cars for them. Some of these look nice, but who can argue a black and gold VW bus with a huge, cursive, "Volkswagen" on the side looks good? And what's woth the scratches and stuff? Weird patina?

  5. Hotwheels makes kids cars, but they also make some very nice higher-end cars too. You know, tampos on all sufaces, metal bases, realism? Where is this stuff for the Matchbox range? The only reason I'm not collecting these nicer Hotwheels is the subject matter. I'm a bit burned out on hot rods, customs and American race-series cars.
    Matchbox as a kids brand can aspire to more than cheapness. My childhood cars had working parts, metal bases and realism. Thanks to those standards, I still like to cars in my adult years.

  6. The VW Bus colours were done purposely to reflect the German flag if any would pay attention or know their Geography.
    Lets wait and see the final product in the shops before we judge.

    1. I know it's the German flag. What I meant was that this doesn't look as good as if it were, say, plain black.

  7. I'm sick of the negativity in this hobby. Matchbox is a business and they are doing what they think is the best for the brand and the business I will make my purchasing decisions based on if I like a model or not. We are not in the 60's any more times have changed! I must say the Evo, F-350 look great in fact they all look good! So they throw a 60th anniversary logo on them they are proud of their heritage. This is a good start to this line!

    1. I think you are misguided -

      This is a token effort by Mattel - you state that there is negativity within collecting, so then show me something positive about the direction of MB?

      2011 nailed it good and proper and then in 2012 they had the re-brand - why? Because they wanted to change MB from being popular.

      Why do you believe they are proud of the heritage when it is a known fact that the MB team are restricted on a budget and HW takes the lion share as this is Mattel's cash cow?

      So, is everything still very rosy?

  8. The negativity is a well deserved reaction to what our beloved hobby has become. Yeah, it's not the '60s anymore. It's 40+ years on. TV sets have improved, real cars have improved, and can openers have improved.
    Matchbox cars have NOT improved. They continue to get cheaper and further away from what was so great about them in the first place.
    If Mattel was truly proud of Matchbox heritage, they would not need a 60th logo to cover up the bad attributes of these models. They would honor the heritage with realistic castings, realistic graphics and a level of standards at or above what we fell in love with back in the early years.
    If Mattel thinks it's a good idea to slowly twist the metaphoric knife into the staggering corpse of Matchbox, perhaps more of us should come forth and tell 'em we are not happy with the slow, painful murder of a loved one.

  9. Apart from the Evo, this is a load of bollocks.

    There are probably some on forums who can't wait to snap everything up as the models are great. Methinks they need to go to Specsavers.

    perchance the 1-75/120/'x' swansong?

    A token effort by a company who really does not give a flying fcuk about the brand as money comes first and HW brings that in.

  10. Thanks for the update.

    As with most other diecast models I will reserve judgement until it is physically in my hands. Most of the castings used are what I collect so I for one am looking forward to seeing them.

  11. I took advice and been to Specsavers,well now i see things in a far different light,all i can say is "WOW" what a fantastic range,that police car looks like nothing i have ever seen.Need to find these quick.Cannot wait to open my next lot of household bills with my new specs.

  12. I would be dissapointed if I had any hope left, but as I do not, this was very predictable. A sad range, including generics and stupid decos.

    Hot Wheels has many "premium" ranges with exclusive, realistic castings and metal baseplates, but not even a single release celebrating nothing else but 60 years of the greatest name in diecast gets that attention.

    I think this is more of an insult than a tribute to the Matchbox brand heritage.

  13. Thanks for thr report John. Doing a good job as always.

    As for the 60th Anniversary Line, I am totally underwhelmed. If this is a range targetted purely at collectors, then Mattel clearly does not get it. This range is destined to fail and I wouldn't at all be surprised if the range is cancelled before all 24 models are released.

    What I was hoping for, was a re-hash of the Lesney Editions or Superfast ranges. And by that I mean, 100% licenced castings with high levels of extra detailing to justify the higher price. From what I can tell from the photos, all the models are getting to justify the higher price is one or two extra tampo strikes which includes a 60th Anniversary logo. And no metal bases!

    While the Mini looks good with Union Jack on the roof, the logo on the bonnet of the Mustang ruins it, and the VW Transporter looks plain hideous.

    And generics have no place in this range. While the Mattel bean counters obviously mandated this to cut down on the licencing fees, having them in the range is a big mistake as they simply will not sell. I mean, who else other than the most diehard completist Matchbox Collector will want to pay a premium price for a generic tractor that has a bit more tampo applied? And that is no longer me. The 6 generics in the list, with the possible exception of the fire engine, will no doubt be very slow sellers, and will prevent further batches being ordered by the retailers. I saw this with the Lesney Editions. The first ever batch had two generics: Sahara Survivor and Jungle Crawler. The MGA and Mini flew off the pegs. The two generics didn't and it meant the next batches took forever to arrive in the stores (mainly David Jones) that had the first batch.

    I also think that many of the other inclusions are poor and will not sell very well. Jeep Wrangler Superlift, Ford F-350 Superlift Brush Truck, Renault Master Ambulance, 76 International Scout 4x4, 2012 Ford Explorer are all poor choices for a premium range in my opinion.

    So for me, the inclusion of generics, inappropriate licenced models and over the top graphics means that the 60th Anniversary line is an epic fail. I might buy a couple of them, but that's it.

  14. First of all, thank you for the report!

    What I'm going to say may sound repetitive, and I'm pretty sure most MBX colllectors feel the same:

    I grew up in the 90's and 2000's.
    And I always liked my miniatures with more realistic looks.
    I did like Hot Wheels, and I do like them.
    But Matchbox... oh boy.I love Matchbox.

    Mattel, however, doesn't seem to understand much about the idea behind MBX.
    They're releasing more and more "premium lines" and "collector's series" for Hot Wheels... doing the same thing Matchbox used to do years ago.
    Tampos. Detailed miniatures. Painted headlamps and tailights.
    Look at that Lancer Evolution X on UK-police-livery!
    That, Mattel, is what Matchbox is all about.

    You want to throw generic vehicles at us?
    Sell them as Hot Wheels, dammit.
    Matchbox used to sell even the Nissan Prairie.
    A humble Nissan Prairie!!
    And I know kids loved to get that car.
    I liked that casting.
    My neighbour had one too.
    I know some people over the internet who liked the Nissan Prairie.

    Matchbox used to give us miniatures of cars that we didn't usually saw as miniatures.
    That was the magic. That was the brand's diferential.
    Selling everyday cars as miniatures.
    Sure one may say "Bah, the Mazda RX-7 ain't an everyday car and yaddayaddayadda".
    But the RX-7 (and all the other supercars MBX has sold) are real cars, are based on real machines.
    And they looked like the real thing.

    One of my favorite cars in my whole collection of miniatures is a (surprise) Matchbox casting of the Ford Focus Mk.I.
    That's a perfect example of what I'm trying to say here: miniature of a real car, that most brands didn't make, the miniature looked like a proper Ford Focus, without changes on its visual (e.g. spoilers, bodykits, etc), it had tampos on the right spots (mostly the headlamps)... and it was priced as a normal miniature.

    In the past few years MBX has got the idea right: there was an impressive Alfa Romeo, a beautiful Merc SLR, an amazing Bentley Continental and a Porsche 914 properly done... just to give a few examples.

    From this batch, I bet the Ford F-350 and the Jeep Wrangler Superlift will sell the least.
    Because these are the kind of cars HOT WHEELS should make.
    Mattel please, even you can see the difference by looking at that Ford F-350 and the Lancer Evo X!
    C'mon, try harder.

    You don't have the money to make Matchbox cars detailed?
    Please look at the Hot Wheels Boulevard series and the other "premium lines" you sell.
    Now ask if the kids, the main customers of HW, buy those premium series. No. They don't.
    At least in Brazil (Hot Wheels second biggest market, Mattel). They are crazy for Hot Wheels, they really love Hot Wheels. But they don't give an F for those more-expensive-lines.
    I like the Boulevard and the Garage series. They have better detailing (like standard MBX cars used to have!) and I can buy any of those "premium cars" if I want to.

    But because the main market for Hot Wheels are the kids, those "premium lines" are a big failure down here. It's a pain to find places that sell a new batch of said series. And because we don't get any new batches, we're stuck with the old models that we don't like (or we already have), and we don't get any new cars from said series.
    See my point? Money is being lost. And here, Mattel, is one pretty point ya should re-think.

    Well, instead of giving us nice, expensive "premium lines" of Hot Wheels cars, why don't you bring the old Matchbox back?
    They had the (right) tampos, that attracted the grown up collectors.
    They had the (affordable) price, that attracted the kids.

    Sorry for the wall of text, and sorry for any misspelled words.
    But that's what I think Mattel should hear.
    I'd be really, glad if they get this message, John.

    1. "and a Porsche 914 properly done..."

      It would have been a very nice model if not for the chrome interior. If that kind of thing doesn't bother a collector, they need to evaluate their standards.

    2. *ahem*

      I'd just like to point that nor Mattel nor any other company can live exclusively from collectors like us. It's all about trying to reach a balance between what children like, and what grown-ups like.
      That said, a "chrome-interior'ed car" can't hurt much, as long as the exterior looks good. If I was to look for detailed interiors, then I should be thinking about Greenlights and whatever. Not Mattel, when it comes to their basic range (being the case of the Porsche 914).

      Chrome interiors don't bother me much.
      It's just a matter of personal tastes IMO.
      They're not my favorite kind of interior though. Faaar from that.

    3. What is all this balance lark,they are made for children end of.It happens that adults collect them.Chrome interiors I have no time for at all.They need to drop the singles from there range,there is more than enough to fill a market that is shrinking with Hot Wheels.

  15. Thanks for the report. Detailed and on time as per the usual.:-)

    I really like the Mitsubishi Lancer and the Mini. The Mustang I might get away with if I held it in my hand. The rest though are not for me. There would be no way I would pay premium for a generic model, NO WAY!!

    Major let down on the lack of metal bases aswell considering this is a big anniversary for the brand. Lets face it Mattel wouldn't have come up with Hot Wheels if it wasn't for Matchbox in the first place. Unfortunately we all know where Mattels heart lies and that is with Hot Wheels. Sell the name to Corgi and maybe they would show more to the brand.

    I expected more. Bummer.

  16. Thanks John for the report. As usual the same people saying the same thing. Even if all the cars were fantastic, these same people....bill,keefy.and others would still find something wrong to complain about. I will buy what I like and leave what I don't. Thanks again John for a nice comprehensive report.

  17. Thank You for the information sir. Are their very few truck models this time? As in one of the Matchbox forum reports, there was a clear mention of 2-3 truck models like the generic German fire truck and dump trucks. And is the London bus a Double-Decker one? and one last query, will these models be made available in India.

  18. Meh, I'll probably pass on most of them. Nothing more than Hot Wheels in a blister with MB 'artwork' - and I use the term very loosely in regard to what is in, and, on the package.

    I'm fairly new in the diecast collecting arena but over the past few months I have managed to collect a few older MBs that are absolutely fantastic - such as the Cars of Yesteryears line, etc. I have absolutely fallen in love with these older models. They are absolutely beautifully detailed and of great quality. None of the newer MBs I have collected, produced after Mattel took over MB, come anywhere close to what the MBs of old were like. As I mentioned in my first paragraph - they are nothing more than Hot Wheels put in 'MB livery'. If Mattel were smart, or if greed for the bottom line doesn't suck any such possible smartness out before it can express itself, the company would make one of the former and better brands it picked up, whether it be MB or JL, and make it a premium brand once again, separate and distinct from anything else they make. The market is there and it is foolish on Mattel's part to not try to get a piece of it. M2 and Greenlight are doing it, why can't Mattel?

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