Monday, September 23, 2013

September 23rd Matchbox Ambassador Update, by Nigel Cooper...

Matchbox Ambassador Nigel Cooper has just released this week's Ambassador Update.  Enjoy:

Ambassador Report 5

Not all collectors were thrilled with the Skybusters and to a lesser extent the Motor Cycles shown last time, but overall there were plenty of positive comments. As we all have different interests and tastes, many collectors just buy what they like. There are still many collectors who collect every miniature issued and I know of two collectors who collect everything with the name of Matchbox somewhere on the packaging. This model is a new casting for 2014 and goes under the name of Mound Mover.

Shown here are four models from the 2014 Crime Squad 5 pack.  The SWAT truck will also be used in the main line. I like the Buick (MB858) and I think a fabulous decoration job was done on the Convention Fire Chief. However, I would have preferred this Police version to have had its plastic parts chromed. Do you think it matters?

The Sport SUV (MB568) has bold print and may be appealing in this livery. I suppose that the only way to get blue roof lights is to make the windows blue. The Road Raider (MB895) has red windows and roof lights and off-road type wheels. The SWAT Truck (MB830) is the fourth of these models and it will be interesting to see which model makes up the set.

A second SWAT truck will be released in 2014 with a different decoration as a member of the Mission Force Police pack. This looks to be in dark grey rather than black.

These 3 vehicles are part of the exclusive models for the 9/10 packs. The Opel Frogster returns in green as does the Morgan Aeromax (MB754) in a pleasing shade of metallic blue.  The Batmobile (MB844) appears in matt black.

This next model shown is one of 3 exclusive vehicles that will be used in an upcoming Matchbox play set for 2014. This is one of the few exceptions where exclusive decoration is created for a play set. Most collectors were relieved when exclusive models were not to appear in play sets. It is an expensive way to obtain just one model. In addition, it is not uncommon to see sets, sometimes the large and expensive sets, to be ripped apart by a collector who must have the model but does not want to pay a premium.

Questions to Mattel

I have been implored to ask whether the Porsche Panamera will return for 2014, whether a Raft Boat or Trailer of some description could be included in the standard range, whether a Cement Truck or Crane Truck in an authentic design could join the range, whether any or all of the new Jaguar cars, Rolls Royce, Bentley and Mercedes Benz could be made. Reference is made not only to the “sister brand” which is issuing models better suited some would argue, to the Matchbox line, but also to other companies of low cost models manufacturing authentic models. One imagines that the target audience for all of these models is the same.

Yes: the Panamera returns in 2014 as one of the exclusive models in the 9/10 packs.  No to the Bentley and the Mercedes Benz. We are also having issues with Jaguar and Land Rover at the moment which will delay their use in the 2014 Range. 

For 2014 we will have the Sea Spy (Raft Boat) which was shown at the Gathering in July . We will also have the Rapids Rescue, which is a truck with detachable raft. This is still in progress.

A look back in time

It is sad that there are currently no plans to include Mercedes in the range. I thought that those collectors who yearn for a Mercedes to join the range, might at least be heartened by what Matchbox has produced in the past of the famous German car manufacturer. Here is a model from the 1970 range fitted with Superfast wheels with opening doors and opening boot (trunk) with a metal body and base, which was sold for the regular price of all other miniatures in the 1-75 range. Just as today’s models, it was designed for children to play with and then there was no collector base to placate.

A selection of some other Mercedes cars are also shown here as pre-productions, indicating that it was once an important marque in the Matchbox line-up.

Finally, a glimpse of a manufacturer we can all recognize – the famous Aston Martin, still made in Britain, but not owned by us!

This will be a popular model I am sure but the question has been asked about the 2014 Hot Wheels Aston Martin 1963 DB5 which none can deny is a fabulous casting with detailed front and rear, a license plate, painted front and rear lights and the Aston Martin logo near the front grille – all that as a regular model in the standard line. It looks so good apparently that it could have been designed by a former Matchbox designer.
Post script - Most of you are aware of a novel idea instigated by Jim Gallegos and Mattel. The idea is for a Matchbox Land Rover to travel as far as possible around the world. It may be followed on Facebook under  Mattel Landy Travels.  It may also be tracked on SEARCH on Matchbox Collectors’ Forum. 
 If you want to participate:

1) Email your name and full mailing address to Bill at
2) Agree to a 2 week turnaround in which you will mail the Landy and the Passport. at your expense to the next address which we will provide.
3) Agree to post pictures on the Facebook page Mattel Landy Travels as soon as your visit is over. Obtain a post mark if possible and sign the Passport.
4) Have fun. Anyone can participate.
5) By accepting these terms, you agree that the Landy is Mattel property and the Journey is a project directed totally by Jim Gallegos Albuquerque, New Mexico USA.
6) Agree to return the Landy and Passport to Jim Gallegos upon request with no objections.

Email Jim with any questions to  

Nigel Cooper
September 23rd 2013


  1. "No to Bentley and Mercedes"? Nooooooo!

    New Aston Martin though? Yaaaay! But still, no SLR McLaren? Nooooooo!

  2. The Mound Mover looks like it will be a lot of fun to play with. Do you know if the body is articulated (like the scraper)? It looks like a possibility based on the picture.

    I'm glad the Sport SUV is back in the line; it's got a nice look as far as generics go.

    I like the Mercedes-Benz lineup you shared. My favorites among Matchbox Mercedes-Benz, however, were the Unimogs. I would put silver holographic stickers on the packaging myself if they would only bring back the Unimogs.

  3. The Buick police car is great, I agree with chrome it would be better but the different base does bring a bit of variation over the first two regular versions. Now if only it wasn't burdened by 4 horrible other models in that 5 pack?! Along the same lines the Morgan and Aston Martin look amazing, but as exclusives in a 9-pack they are sure to be laden with crap generic models?

    I can work with 1 generic model in a 5 pack and perhaps 2 in a 9-pack (if I must) but the deluge of poorly colored and poorly designed generics in multi-packs is sad. The Matchbox 914 for example, the mustard yellow variation came in a GREAT exclusive editions 10-pack (no complaints even with the well designed generic delivery van, bobcat, etc.) and the bright yellow variation came in a classic rides 5-pack everyone seemed to enjoy, kids and collectors alike. The red Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser from the pack is even on a currently broadcast insurance commercial in the US! But then... we reach 2013 and the 9-pack with the exclusive '60th' blue 914 and it's half full of generic trucks? I suppose it's a pipe dream that we'll see exclusive 10-packs again in the future?

    Thanks for the look back at the classic Mercedes -Benz models! My particular favorite is the Unimog as said above, (both old and new) for which I have a few of each.

  4. Hello Nigel, many congrats for the new report. I want to make some questions to Mattel, so if you can pass them i woud be very happy to know their answers.

    1 - Referring to 2014 there are so many models available in the market it is not worth continuing to invent cars, like: Jaguar, Aston, new Range Rover (normal and sport version), the new Land Rover DC100, Mercedes, Audis, Volkswagen, Abarth, etc .... etc ... Why not the new Routemaster and new London Taxis?

    2- And why not the topic Le Mans? Audi e-tron and the Toyota TS030 Hybrid ..

    3- If the target set for 2014 is Unstoppable Vehicles for Heroic Adventures so why not carry the concept to one of the most mythical races? The Dakar!! Schlesser buggy, Mitsubishi Racing Lancer, Mini Countryman (done through existing model WRC) etc…are great models for this theme

    4- Speaking of vehicles Unstoppable how about trucks? Kamaz, Iveco, M.A.N., Scania, new Mercedes Unimog U4000 or the Zetros

    5- Retool the desert thunder (my favorite matchbox recent years) to become an 6x6!

    Continued good work, until the next report with more news, and perhaps, some of the ideas discussed in here are accepted by mattel
    Best regards
    Oscar Pedroso

  5. Thank you Nigel for another excellent report. I love the addition of the vintage Lesney stuff. The #46 Mercedes is stark contrast to the current Matchbox range. It is a well crafted toy with working parts, metal base, separate interior and quality finishes. No marketing nonsense either. It's a replica of a real car that appealed across the age demographics.
    But, the new stuff.

    Here's the problem with the Buick.
    The grey plastic base could have been ok, but they used the cheap looking stuff with all the swirls in it. If a higher grade plastic was used, and it was consistently silver throughout, it would have been fine. Chrome plated components are not really needed in 1/64th scale cars and trucks. When you shrink a model down 64 times, the reflective quality shrinks with it. In other words, from a distance, chrome appears to be more of a singular mass or color. The most excellent line of Autoworld cars uses silver for bumpers and trim, and it looks real.
    A bigger issue with the Buick is down to proportion. The car looks fresh from a cartoon. If it was meant to appeal to adult collectors, it fails the realism test.

    On to the Aston. I've collected this casting since its inception. Sadly, I wont be adding this one to the group. The paint looks too thick, and the interior is too garish. Red is a fine choice, but this looks too over-saturated. Maybe it will look better in the shops, but I rarely venture to the Matchbox section due to the negative changes we have seen in the line. For me, the verdict is still out.

    The only other model of note in this report is the Morgan. I've always liked this casting, and own pretty much all the variations. It's based on a real, current automobile. Never mind that the design is older than sand, its still relevant. Good proportions, decent wheels and crisp detail. Mattel really needs to figure out their finishes. The shade of blue is nice, but the quality looks spotty. It's 2013 - other manufacturers can lay down even paint, so why cant Mattel? The only other issue is the headlight tampo. Too much contrast.

    If Mattel ever get past the cost-cutting and create desirable models, I'll be back into the fold. For now, my money is going to Siku, Greenlight, M2 and Autoworld.


  6. Nigel, is there going to be 61st anniversary for matchbox and better casting to go with it?

  7. More Generics? Even the kids don't care, 2012 cases still hanging around in the UK for over a year and now our closing out shops are getting the latest US long card cases in, which means the US stores aren't able to take them because older cases clogging the pegs. The 60th Anniversary was badly executed, generics plastic bodies no all diecast, and for 3 times the price £3.50/$4.70-$5, at least mattel sold them in MBs home country. To me and I'm sure to many kids Unstoppable vehicles means more than just Sand rails, 4x4s and diggers, unstoppable? how about Vettels REd Bull F1 car? not sure how a Generic modified jeep lookalike with an animal on the side is unstoppable heroic adventure ....

  8. The SWAT Truck reminds me of the last Code 1 deco of the Chevrolet Ambulance. The Buick, Sport SUV, and SWAT truck all make this pack look good. The only Matchbox Mercedes I care about are the handful of Unimogs, and the Mercedes Ambulance (both the Superkings and mainline versions).

  9. The kids will enjoy what is being offered. That's all I will say. After all, since Matchbox is a brand for kids, you get what you pay for. I do like the Buick though.

    On another note, I would love to get some more Mercedes models. My favorites were the SL convertibles. Those were well-done representations, as well as my love for drop tops. I like the SL55 most of all, I got one and I'm never gonna let it go.

    The Aston is a beaut, as always. That is quite a bright shade of red, as 66 alfa pointed out. However, I have always liked black cars with red interiors, and this one looks good enough to buy. It also helps that it's one of my favorite Matchbox cars as well.

  10. I can totally get the Mound Mover. The HW release of a speedy bulldozer that came out recently I can't even stretch my imagination to want to get it.

  11. On the Land Rover traveling the world, I remember I sign myself to participate in Vinnie the Matchbox VW Beetle (in matchbox forum almost 10 years ago) but eventually lost interest of it because Vinnie never reach my developing country and happen to be fond of traveling in the Western civilization only because everytime Vinnie is already near to my country or to any other country outside north America, Europe or Australia, Vinnie would be ordered to return to the west even though such destination is a late participant.

    I am sure it will be the same this time around :(

  12. I still like the Aston Martin. And there is the Aeromax which reminds me of the casting from 2011, with the british flag on the roof. The buick is better than the 2013 casting.

  13. Hot Wheels is also a kids brand, but gets a Civic, Datsun 620 and an Aston Martin DB5.

  14. I kind of like the mound mover, reminds me of one of those loaders you'd expect in deep mining operations like salt & coal mines. the police cars look interesting. the new road raider still looks odd but it's not that bad when put into this grouping. everything else looks good.

    a question to matchbox: can they do more specific typed 5 packs? example instead of a generic all around construction would they be able to narrow down to quarry or mining. something like that would offer play value to kinds and spark imagination while allowing collectors to have 5 similar castings in 1 pack that function together. just an idea.

  15. That's all. Goodbye Matchbox...

  16. i like the sport suv but hate the buick and the off road truck swat truck is ok but personally the police and fire 5 packs should have real life cars in them magnum taurus impala charger crown victoria instead of trucks and a old school car

  17. Well done, and congratulations Mr. Cooper! :)
    One question; in the 'Ask Mattel' section above, you said that the Jaguar-Land Rover mods have been further delayed. Will we see either the LR4 Discovery or the Evoque this year? Or will they most definitely be further delayed?

  18. When is your next ambassador update?