Monday, November 11, 2013

November 11 Matchbox Ambassador Report, by Nigel Cooper...

Ambassador Report 12
The Matchbox team will be in Asia for a while in November and then will be on holiday in the coming weeks forThanksgiving. Please bear this in mind when making your comments and posing your questions which are always welcome. I may have to store them up and send them later on.  I have a few images that I will divide up for the next three weeks as well as some answers to your questions. Recently there have been two offers from collectors for Matchbox to use a real vehicle. If you have access to a real vehicle that you think would appeal to children and collectors alike and would lend itself to a miniature and would not involve licensing costs, please send me a photograph with some details and I will pass it on to the team.
The three models shown this week will all feature in the 2014 Jungle Reconnaissance 5-pack. The first design shows the Off Road Rider in white and turquoise.

The second model for this week is a further recolour for the Coyote 500. It will be found only in the Jungle Reconnaissance 5-pack.

The final new model for this report is sure to be a favourite for many collectors.  The Land Rover Defender 110 has had a number of colour schemes but this is possibly one of the best.Your views are welcome on these three new liveries.

The Land Rover has long been a favourite in the range and was included in various forms from 1955 until the present with only a few exceptions. Here are a few Land Rovers from over the years. I am sure my gold regular wheel version will win first prize for the poorest condition miniature but though it has been extensively played with, I believe it to be genuine nonetheless. The Police Patrol Range Rovers and 90 models are all pre-production versions.

Matchbox answers your questions
I try to include as many questions as possible from various message boards. If I am missing out on any boards, please let me know. The Matchbox team are not able to answer all of the questions posed for a variety of reasons but will do their best to respond. The number of questions answered this week is reduced because I will be carrying some answers over to the next two reports.


Can you show us an example of the packaging for 2014, please? Certainly.

Here is an example of the 2014 long card. The design for the small card will be on the same lines. The main changes areas follows:
New horizontal Matchbox logo replaces the vertical one
Relocated logo no longer covers the vehicle illustration.
New die-cut shape for the blister card.
Theme bar is moved to left corner.  Vehicle name and collector number remains in same location.

Will all 2013 models be presented in the old packaging and will all 2014 models be in the new packaging? 
Only 2013 models that carry over into 2014 will have the new package look but the packaging will say that they are part of the 2013 collection.


It would have been ridiculously easy to model that boat on a real boat and have it be spectacular.... It could have been a "Safe Boat", a real military and Coastie model. My Brother in Law is the CEO, and he would have signed off that in an instant. ...and for no monetary payment, just to have one made like it!
Wish we would have known this 6 months ago, however the team is satisfied with the design of the Sea Spy.


Can we please see the Seagrave in white next year?
The Seagrave color for next year is TBD.


I'm not a big fan of a Fire vehicle that takes a ladder to get into and a parachute to get out of. But I notice the knobs and gauges are mostly at the bottom of that pump panel, with mostly the discharges and intakes above. If your fire department is composed of college or NBA basketball players, no problem. Was this considered?
Our fire department is composed of college basketball players. Lucky guess.


I have to start by saying it is great news that the Matchbox team would consider working with us again. I can say with certainty the Wilton Fire Department would look forward to the opportunity. Back in 2011 when the RWR Tower was released for us, an article was ran in a local paper, one of the secretaries when nuts in the weeks that followed fielding phone call and emails from people interested in finding out how to get the model. This ranged from collectors and parents looking for one for their child, to residents of the town, area firefighters and elected officials (among them was the then states attorney general) who wanted one. Please do your best to ensure a Wilton Fire Department model is could join the range in the next 2 years.  (Any chance of these two being considered as well?)
We will contact the Wilton Fire Department directly should we decide to use their liveries again in the near future.
7. I cannot afford the prices being asked on certain sites for the special Brush Fire Truck so I remain optimistic that it may be released some time.
We are optimistic that the brush truck will see the light of day.  Keep your fingers crossed.
8.  Are there going to be any future releases of the Checker cab in realistic taxi liveries?      Yes .
17.  You asked for clarification on the "better generics".  These are vehicles which are perceived by collectors as being a very good representation of a real vehicle but with the ability to avoid paying a license fee to a specific manufacturer.  Both the Swamp Raider and Badlander are vehicles that collectors see using an influence of a certain manufacturer with a sprinkling of other manufacturers and mixing them up to make a generic look that still feels fairly realistic.  This is in relation to a vehicle that has huge wheels (Blaze Buster, Flame Smasher, upcoming 2014 4x4 School Bus etc), or a completely fantasy look (Whiplash, Turn Tamer etc).  I refer to vehicles that are specifically designed to appeal to younger children.  However, the main question for the Badlander and Swamp Raider was asking if they were going to be used as a single issue in the basic range.  They have been used in multipacks, but have never been issued on their own as a basic range model.

Thanks for defining what was meant by “better generics”.Based on this definition we will continue to create “better generics” styling if you will but will also continue to apply our new Matchbox aesthetic if we feel it is necessary. 

18. We were wondering if they will ever be issued as a single basic range model?

Yes, in the future the Bad Lander and Swamp Raider will be used in the singles line.  As we have stated before, these models are not going away.

18. Talking of the Swamp Raider (this could also apply to the new Terrainiac).  The rear canopy is detachable, and as such are there any plans to simply create an alternate rear section to insert and therefore create a different look to the vehicle?
       This is possible.
19. Can Matchbox do any racing? What specifically can Matchbox do?
Hot Wheels does racing. We can do exploration, endurance, discovery, rescue and mission based experiences which includes military. We have not completely abandoned city vehicles which will still include sports cars, hatchbacks, luxury cars, delivery & service vehicles. These will still be included in the “Adventure City Segment”.
I have heard from several collectors in the UK who would have liked to celebrate the 60th Anniversary of Matchbox Toys in the country of its birth. I was contacted by an editor of the UK magazine “Best of British” and I wrote an article for them. They are also running a small competition for some of the earlier 60th Anniversary models provided by Matchbox in England. If you would like a copy of the magazine please contact Mark Amies and he will do his best to get a magazine to you.
I have been asked to inform collectors that the Matchbox Convention in the UK has been resurrected. The details are as follows:
It is being held on Saturday 5th April 2014 at the Queens Hotel in Chester. The average room price with the Matchbox Club discount of 15% is £152 for bed and breakfast for two people sharing (quoted 08.11.2013 by reservations). Parking is £15 per night. The train station is directly opposite. has tickets available from London to Chester for £50 return if you book them early enough, usually four months in advance. We are close to both Liverpool and Manchester airports.
At The Convention it is planned to have a Code 2 Matchbox Club Convention model for attendees, talks by Matchbox specialists, 10 free tables for anyone wishing to trade on the Saturday between 9.30 – 2.00 and 4.00 – 6.30 – this is going to be in the same room as the talks. There will be a three course dinner with a complimentary pre-dinner drink included. There will be an auction where unique Code 2 models and pre-production Matchbox models will only available at the auction. The price of the ticket is £40 and is available
In the past collectors from all over the world have gathered to renew acquaintances and talk Matchbox. Anyone with an interest in Matchbox is invited to attend.

Finally, here is a question or two to test regular wheel collectors. Which year do these images involving Land Rovers refer to? Notice the hubs in the Mercedes Truck & Trailer which were never fitted. Fred Bronner had little knowledge of British vehicles and often chose the best name he could in the description. Notice in the military flyer he refers to the Land Rover as a Jeep.



  1. Replies
    1. Agreed. It's seen quite a few variations but is still desirable and the change of the casting with the intake on the correct side helps switch things up. While neutral regarding the other 2 models shown from the off road pack, I'll certainly buy 1 to obtain that nicely colored and simply designed Land Rover Defender!

      Best of all... it doesn't say 'MBX' on the side in huge letters! Collectors rejoice!

  2. That's an example of the 2014 matchbox packaging? It's awesome!

  3. Is the Defender in a military livery? Cause' it looks like a military vehicle.

    Anyways, Nigel, I have 1 question for you and the mattel, "Is there a "61ST anniversary" of matchbox for 2014? I'd like to see them throughout the year if you do decide that there should be. If that is a yes, can you mattel and Nigel make better models for it." You can comment back or reply.

    I hope you mattel can make some of the 2014 models a better casting. Just think how the design of some models before you release it. If you make a really nice casting, you're making a WOW!

    1. I forgot, please mattel the 2012 Dodge Charger pursuit can you put its original design just like the Ford police interceptor was this year.

    2. I do not know if it is a military version. I can only see the same as you.
      No 61st Anniversary models. Maybe there will be some collectible models in 2015.
      Everything for 2014 has now been decided. I think the team is working on 2015 models now.
      Please remember I live in England. I receive photos & answers from Mattel. That is all.

    3. Is that Pit King shown in the 2014 card from 2012?

  4. I love the Defender, it's definitely on my 2014 list.

    The Off Road rider looks good.

    The current logo is one of the shortest lasting MBX logos, if not the shortest lasting.

    The new card I like, it makes my job easier as the model name doesn't get put in the smaller print.

    I just looked up the Wilton, CT Pierce. I will try to find this model online, as models decorated with a real fire department are my favorites. If we get the Seagrave in the same department, I'm getting it too. Apparently, they use a Pierce similar to the Dash, another idea for a new color scheme of that model.

    Could we try seeing more models from other departments that have appeared on Matchbox models, i.e Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, San Diego Fire Dept., and Kent Fire and Rescue Services (the current name of Kent Fire Brigade.

    I recently found that the 2011 E-350 with the Boone County Fire District used the decorations of the Boone County, Missouri Fire District. Does the Boone County Fire District actually use such an ambulance?

  5. Has Matchbox ever done a Camel Trophy livery on one of their Land Rovers? Would they consider doing one in the future? It seems like a perfect fit--it was all about endurance, exploration, and adventure. I don't think the Camel Trophy can be ruled out based on the "No Racing" directive, either...I'm not sure that they even kept track of times and speeds. Just thought I'd suggest it.

    1. Not to detract from the just-announced jungle-green version of the Landy, which looks great...

    2. If they done the G4 why not the Camel Trophy? Great Idea!!!

    3. Agreed. It seems to be a good idea of a Camel Trophy on a Land Rover model. But so who's disagreeing of NOT any kind of Land Rover in a Camel Trophy? I wouldn't expected to say no because that is one cool idea.

      I also agree that Landy version, it was a nice version. Can anyone tell what is the Landy again? I saw the version but I don't know what Landy is named after for.

  6. Perhaps a comment to pass onto the folks at Matchbox, relevant to recent releases though not the post above:

    After finding the last batch of 2013 Matchbox this evening in store, purchasing 8 vehicles from this release (of 5 castings) I am VERY impressed with the new 1:64 BMW 1M in hand. The dimensions, attention to detail, precise spot-on tampo printing, and perhaps most notably the quality, consistency, and finishing of the orange paint are spectacular, the same can be said for the purple paint on the Challenger from the same batch. Whether due to good manufacturing techniques, or just good quality control on the part of the Matchbox team in Thailand I am impressed.

    For the past year it seems only 1 out of 5 main line Hot Wheels has paint, tampo alignment, and vehicle assembly that is acceptable and free of flaws under close inspection; this is true even on recent models with minimal detailing; ex: 2014 Corvette. Meanwhile main line Matchbox seems to have a 9 out of 10 success rate when it comes to perfect finishing. Goes to show that a well chosen, designed, and executed model can go a long way. I'll certainly buy more of this Matchbox BMW 1M for friends now... even if they are driving 'just' the 135i.

    1. Agreed! I've been surprised by the quantity of Hot Wheels I've found in recent years that have had bent window pillars, skewed tampos, or simply don't roll. It's been pretty sad. I have likewise had better luck with the quality of the Matchbox that I've bought.

  7. That Defender! What a lovely model! And the really realistic livery is the cherry on the top of the cake. The Land Rover logo on the side is looking sweet too. Overall, a great comeback for the Defender and Matchbox I say. This is the type of car for which people buy a whole 5-pack (even if the rest 4 are a bit useless) just to get that one car. Anyway, thanks for the report!

    - Black Wind.

  8. with any luck and a good wind, we will see a nice 5 pack of Land Rover, with the Defender, County 90, Freelander, Range Rover Sport, Evoque and Discovery 4 all in the hands of matchbox a nice choice to make a great set, but which one to leave out ?

    1. A Land Rover 5 pack is a great idea! So long as it has the new Evoque inside! This suggestion should certainly see the desk of a few Matchbox team members.

    2. I agree with that, a Land Rover 5-pack! How can me think of it?

    3. There's 6 cars inside? It's supposed to be 5 .

  9. what happened to the classic vw beetle and the classic vw bus ???? will matchbox produce more different air-cooled vws such as the new vw type34 karmann ghia vert??

  10. Since there isn't any news of the Evoque and the LR4 Discovery, I guess this year is a perfect time to show the famous matchbox Land Rover Defender.

    But for you Nigel and Mattel again, I have 1 question; "Why can't Matchbox make the Land Rover Range Rover Sport continue its newer castings? Why did it stop in 2011? Is there something wrong with it?"

    So that's my question, and Nigel please put my questions on your next ambassador report. I really want to see the answers for my questions from mattel.

  11. RWR Update: The last batch of Real Working Rigs can now be found at Meijer in the Christmas stocking stuffer section for $4.47 each, so if you're outside of the Midwest too bad I suppose? I picked up the 2 variants of the tree trimming trucks yesterday, the 2 moving outriggers are the best part; while the package implies it's a generic truck, it is in fact a 2009 GMC C8500 Topkick as stated on the chassis. Other contents include the black UFO truck, International Pumper/Vacuum truck, White/Orange Excavator, and the remaining semi-undesirable generics.

    1. I already knew it was a 2009 GMC C8500 Topkick. I even have the two versions of the 2010 GMC T8500.

    2. Ha, then you are one step ahead of me. I didn't discover that until they were out of the package at home. Now if only I could find the 2nd International Harvester Combine that came out, I would love to have that! I've seen ones online with the '60th' logo on the packaging so they must certainly be out there...?

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  13. Nigel, the Evoque is on 2015 now?