Welcome folks to another week of Matchbox sneak peaks. I hope you are enjoying the new accelerated frequency of the reports. They might be a little short and sweet, but a little new stuff each week doesn't hurt.
For this week's sneaks we shall head for the hills. Or the deserts. Or the jungles. Or the safaris. Or wherever the off-roaders go. As you take a look at these off-road vehicles, all of which are new castings, you see that the Matchbox team was serious when they said they were diving deep into this "Unstoppable" theme. The wheels are bigger, the grills are meaner, and yes, the designs are younger.
There is no need to get into the debate that has occupied Matchbox forums all over the web, but it is my guess that some of our collector friends will not be too happy with these. That is of course everyone's right, and I will even admit that a couple won't make it to my collection. But I will say that while some of these are not the traditional Matchbox collector's cup of tea, it appears Matchbox is heading into this new branding with a little more brand confidence. You can see the branding gap between Hot Wheels and Matchbox getting wider, and the audience for both getting more defined.
So of course the debate on the direction of Matchbox can rage on, but hopefully you can look at the creative direction the Matchbox team has taken with these models. If they are going to do them, they should do them well, and I think they did. I like them a lot. And remember, there is still a lot of collector-oriented models coming out. We will be showing the Lamborghini Gallardo Police shortly, and like many of you I am really looking forward to seeing the BMW 1M and Karmann Ghia. And don't forget the 60th Anniversary Series.
So let's move on with it...
(Images are provided courtesy of Mattel.)
MB864 International Scout 4x4
MB865 Torque Titan (It fits with Convoy trailers.)
MB866 Flame Smasher
There is a lot more to come. The Gallardo in both 60th and basic clothes, the regular and chase versions of the Routemaster Bus, and maybe even the Renault Ambulance. I have also submitted some collector questions to Mattel, and will be sure to pass along their answers as soon as we have them.
But we are not done...
I also have the long-awaited MAN numbers update. The team knows that this has been a long time coming, and is finally happy to provide. I think it is prudent to say to all Mattel collectors that things are a little bit different now. Because protecting intellectual property is more important than ever (and probably more difficult than ever), Mattel is needing to keep things a little closer to the vest.
For that reason, a lot has to happen before complete lists can be released to the general public. That goes for MAN# lists, basic range lists, etc. They will still be coming, for both Hot Wheels and Matchbox, but maybe a little later than in the past. Dave and the team have said that they can answer questions about a specific casting, but are unable to release overall lists at this point. And note that if you do have a question about a casting, pass it on to me (email@example.com) instead of emailing a member of the team directly.
With all that said, the team did provide a MAN# list of everything they can release at this point. There are still some gaps from MB731 on, and they will fill those in as they can.
What is provided here is a complete list of the MAN#'s for 2012, some refurbished tools, as well as an incomplete list of 2013 new models. They remaining refurbished MAN#'s and 2013 models will be released in future reports. Let me know if you have any questions, and we will see you next week...