Ambassador Report 7
I apologise for this report being slightly late but I was in Los Angeles last week, taking in a visit to the Matchbox team at Mattel. Further comments relating to my visit will be included in Report 8.
As always I should mention that these images are shown with permission from Mattel.
The first four are new deco’s for 2014 Singles. The JeepWillys will be part of the “Tactical (military) Mission Force” pack for 2014. I am sure it will bring back memories, despite its modifications, of the original Jeep released in the 1970s. The models shown are as follows:
MB706 Lotus Exige – blue
MB249 Chevy K-1500 – white
MB755 Pierce Dash Fire Engine – red/white
MB832 Jeep Wrangler Superlift – tan
MB784 Jeep Willys – army green
MB532 BMW Z8 – red
MB857 Chevy Suburban – blue (note: this is a retool of MB436 and believed to be the first release under the new MAN#)
MB816 Porsche Panamera – silver
I was asked why MBX and Matchbox features so heavily oncolour schemes and was told that if, for example, an authentic livery is used on a fire truck, permission has to be granted by the relevant authorities and this may not always be forthcoming. I will pass on your comments regarding likes and dislikes of the models and colour schemes shown here. I am sure that as all of these 1-120 models are miniatures of authentic vehicles, they will be more likely to be greeted with enthusiasm.
VARIATION to look out for
There is an interesting update one of the vehicles used for 2014. The 2006 Fire Engine (MB698) which was shown earlier in an ambassador report is going to be modified. The existing casting (MB698) will appear in the 2014 singles line in yellow. The revised casting (MB949) will appear in the 2014 5 pack. The revised casting will have a shortened body to expose the trailer hitch and the front grill detail will be moulded to the chassis. Both versions will share the same deco but the 5 pack model will have the new casting. As such the current casting will make its last appearance in the 2014 singles line and the new casting will replace it in the future. I wonder whether there are plans for a suitable trailer such that the hitch or tow hook might be used!
The BMW Z8 will return in red as a member of the 2014Exotics 5-pack and the Chevy Suburban will be part of thenew Police pack.
Is there a list of the 5-pack package names for 2014 yet? This will be provided very soon.
Are 10-packs continuing for other markets outside USA or will all markets move to 9-packs? USA will continue to distribute 9 packs whilst all other markets will provide 10 packs.
The request last time for the Porsche Panamera has quickly been answered for it will be part of the singles line, painted in silver.
The next two 2014 models will be included in a new play set item. These are exclusive to the play set and won’t be part of the singles or 5-car packs. There will be 3 cars included with this upcoming play set. The third car was shown in my previous ambassador report. These two are:
MB898 Whiplash – orange/white
MB894 Turn Tamer – yellow/green
Are these new playset exclusive models being manufactured in Thailand? They will be manufactured in Thailand.
The photos of old models, displays and advertising literature seems to be going down well and so I include a few more. Let me know if there is something in particular that you would like to see and I will do my best to locate it.
Jack Odell constantly said that he made Fred Bronner a multi-millionaire. However, Bronner must be given considerable credit for maximising the potential of the line. It was he who developed large displays in wood and glass, for which the purchasers had to pay as well as cardboard displays that were generally free. The one shown below is from 1958 and was a leaflet that representatives of the company gave to potential shopkeepers. I am constantly enthralled by the displays and cannot but be impressed bythe sales potential when all models were included and at a height for both children and adults to see clearly. I noticed that today ToysRUs and Meyers had Matchbox displays, but they were hardly in the same league of visual appeal. Moreover, the whole range was certainly not available.
Shown below are the two models mentioned in the Ambassador 6 report that were probably painted in these colours by mistake and released anyway.
This was a typical form sent by Fred Bronner in May 1959. I get the impression that the wholesaler will just be receiving these new military models without knowing what quantity he is getting. It must have been an easier life then.
This is a photo taken at the March 1959 Toy Fair, which I presume was in New York because Fred Bronner’s name is shown and there would be no reason to show this name in England. I don’t know who the lady is but the man looks like a young Jack Odell to me.
Nigel Cooper October 7th 2013