Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Matchbox back to its roots: The upcoming Best of World Land Rover Defender 110 & Austin Mini Van...

It is about time we see another Matchbox premium series we can get excited about.  It seems like it has been in the works for awhile, and maybe, just like in a lot of things lately, Matchbox finally got it right.

There have been a lot of Matchbox premium lines in the past, from the Premiere series several years ago, to New Superfast, to Lesney Editions, to 60th Anniversary, to Supreme Hero.  And for whatever reason, the lines didn't do what they should have.  Looking back, it is easy to see what happened.  There were too many models in the New Superfast line, the Lesney line was too expensive, 60th Anniversary too big and boring, and Supreme Hero too niched.  Wow, that was easy.

They also had plenty of positives.  New Superfast was diverse, and the designs fantastic, Lesney Edition had metal bases and a nice variety, 60th Anniversary had some really nice decos, and Supreme Hero was the introduction of two-piece wheels and had licensed liveries.

It seems a lot of what worked is not going into the New Best of the World line.  It is hard to predict what will happen, but from what I have seen, this line looks fantastic, and I hope we collectors can support it enough to merit more Best of the World models in the future.  Heaven knows there are plenty of castings that would look fabulous in this line.

So it is time to preview a few and see what you think.  Over the next few days we will showcase 7 of the first 10 Best of World models, and the rest should come later.  Let us know what you think.

Here is what I like about the line.  First off, it is only 10 models.  That is a good-sized start.  Enough to show what the line could be, without over saturating things and giving off the impression that the line isn't selling.  Second, it is diverse.  There are emergency models, sports cars, classic cars, and racing cars.  Third, the wheels look nice.  Yes, the tread might be a little too much on some, but the rims work, and it is a nice start for these wheels.  Maybe we see a little more diversity tread-wise later.

And lastly, these model represent, appropriately, vehicles from all over the world.  And with that, it seems like the right thing to do start with models from the UK, Matchbox's true home.  There are three British models in the line, a Routemaster Bus, the Land Rover Defender 110, and the Austin Mini Van.  Today we will feature the Land Rover and Mini Van.

Both are VERY British, and one, the van, is over-the-top British with its Battenberg Cakes delivery service.  I could pretend that I knew what a Battenberg Cake was before this model, but I didn't, and I had to look it up.  It turns out, the Battenberg is a popular checkered cake, and that makes the deco make total sense.  It actually makes me like the model even more.

But it is the Defender that wins for me.  When Matchbox unveiled the model on their Instagram feed, it seemed to me that it looked a bit bland.  Having it in hand, however changes that.  The correct smaller wheels are on this example, and the ambulance livery works really well.  So well, in fact, that I would rank this version at or near the top of my favorite 110 releases, of which there have been a lot.  My guess is a lot of you will like this model too.

These two are only a start.  More previews are to come, and hopefully you like what you see.  I sure do.


  1. Two things - ONE - How many more spam messages do we have to endure, they are getting more frequent - TWO - I would dearly love this set, but a helpful member, wanted to charge me well in excess of $100 to send them to me, i graciously declined, knowing that i was being vastly over charged, i have had bigger and heavier things from the states, that cost less than a third of that....... as per usual, the collector misses out on a set that actually is one we want to buy, i have no idea what the reason is for not bringing British models to Britain, but hey, hopefully one day, hopefully before i die, MBX will be free and available in shops across the UK....... **NOW** i have woken from my dream.... LOL

    This set is amazing, and i would have it without a doubt.

  2. Both look great, hoping that the fact that the HWs Porsche series and James Bond series have both landed at UK retailers means that there's a chance these will too...would love to see the defender recovered in an authentic UK mountain rescue livery...

  3. Hopefully this trend of better castings and liveries are just the beginning, fact is distribution must also get better. The fact that other countries are begging for MB should be enough to get at least some new stuff to those countries. Even if it is just to see how the market is going to react. I actually think things are changing and that Mattel has had the wrong people in important positions for a very long time. My suggestion to all my fellow collectors would be, be a bit more patient. Change looks to be in the midst but complete change will take some time. If the market is bigger that only makes it better for all of us. If I was working this promotion of a new direction for MB, I would scrap everything going out now. Replace it with cases that have a generous amount of licensed models or send both old and new cases to see if this change has legs. If MB insists on sending cases loaded with the generics that are still sitting it will slow the change and the collector will get aggrevated on waiting.
    This can not be about, well let's just send what we have is stock because what you have is not selling. The other day I came across the Ford F150 utility body amazing casting and I would have bought multiples but there was only one on the pegs. There were so many generics it infuriated me. I went 50mi from home to find one model that I have been looking for. Yes gas prices have come down and I enjoyed the time spent in the truck with my wife but come on. Mattel imo still has the wrong people in some key positions the following, distribution, marketing and promotion. All of these people need to work together in order for this change to be effective. It boggles my mind how HW is plentiful but MB is almost non existent in stores. Example I walked into a Kmart and they has no BS two pegs of singles and one peg of five packs. How can they expect to get a new promotion off the ground without retail space? If I was involved I would be promoting The Resurrection of Matchbox is coming for kids of all ages. Commercials with only the most spectacular models like the Tesla, BMW, and Lambos. Kids want Them exotic cars their the dream cars of the kids today. I'm sure many of you would agree when we were kids we went straight after those castings we dreamed of driving when we grew up.

    1. Just had to add a sidebar here, I like premium series as much as the next guy but you need a sound basic line first. I have yet to see the Supreme Hero's colllection. Even with HW I buy only what I like. The SH line I would try and get one of each. Yes I could get them online but how dose that help the economy in my community? Come on Mattel one step at a time let's get this right!

  4. I doubt with the current distribution problems, I'll ever see it in my country. But lets hope for the best........................

    1. Fantastic models, but will we ever be able to buy them?

  5. It is all well and good saying be patient, but when you dont get the ordinary stuff, why should we ever expect to get a full set of these....

    If Matchbox read this, take note...............

    You need to start selling your own models, direct to the buyer, have a decent website, not that dire monstrosity you have now, or before, start a club, offer members the opportunity to place an order for what they want, for the whole year, and when these models come on stream, send them out, (after payment of course), offer a one off special model to members, as a thank you for for spending OUR HARD EARNED on your products, and remaining loyal, which is something you dont have anymore, thats loyal customers, this wont cost a great deal, because you are cutting out the middle man, this making more profit for you, this can pay the wages of one or two staff to get this up and running.

    Get a poster back, or a small booklet, i am sure that many will be happy to pay a pound or two for these, if many other brands can do this, and offer deals, offers, clubs, first looks etc, then why is it so hard for you to understand this and do it.

    How many more countries do you have to have people come from that state they can not get your products from...... I used to spend a fortune, but these days, it is getting less and less, and i have to rely on many others to help me out, just a shame there are no members from the USA that will help out us that cant get models, but hey, as long as you get your models, the rest of us can go and not collect anymore.

    1. How right you are. I live in the Netherlands and buy me Matchbox mostly in Germany. I have to travel miles and often to encounter empty pegs. And when they are filled then it is only old stuff. The special series won't come to Europe anyway. We'll just have to fullfull our needs with pictures from this and other fantastic blogs.
      Matchbox aswell as other companies like Majorette shoud make webshops where they sell their stuff directly to there followers. It can be done, look at Siku.

  6. Jon and everyone I understand your frustration, this is not a MB problem this is Mattel! I'm sure it tooka great deal for the MB team to get them to agree to let a subsidiary company go head to head with their flagship in HW. This will benifit Mattel I would bet on it. The thing here is how far will Mattel really be willing to go in letting MB truly compete with HW? Mattel bought MB I'm sure at pennies on the dollar so I'm thinking they really didn't care if MB came through on the otherside or not. Now with what the team and blogs all over begging for a comeback Mattel see dollar signs. So if they want this to work their going to have to get this right. Anyone collecting Blue knows they are also putting out some garbage of late difference is they mix in enough decent castings to keep collectors happy. If this goes well also willing to bet your going to see an all out war between the brands. Competition is great for business and Mattel owns both companies. I know it's not easy but I'm hoping for you guys to get all the new stuff.

  7. Battenberg is also the name given to the checker style livery British emergency vehicles use, named after the little snack :)
    Two very nice vehicles, especially the Defender ambulance. Really hope this lineup gives what Mattel needs to revive the brand. It would be nice, of course, to see some up to date Matchbox in that poor country in the north of you guys lol.
    Thanks for the photos!