This appears to be becoming the norm...
The last few years, Hot Wheels has had a lot of success with monthly special assortments. Pick a theme, create 6 to 8 cars for the assortment, and release it usually at one retailer. Walmart seems to be the main retailer, but we have seen others at Target, Kmart, Kroger, and other smaller chains.
Sometimes the theme is a particular carmaker like BMW or Porsche, other times a particular car like Mustang or Corvette. In between those VERY collector-friendly assortments come entertainment themes like Captain America, Star Wars, and Tom & Jerry, or general deco themes like camouflage or red, white, and blue.
Hot Wheels appears to be having a lot of success with these, and I don't think they are going anywhere. They cost the same as a basic model, and are usually mixed in with basic assortments.
Well it looks like Matchbox is joining the fray. Right now the Walmart-exclusive Jeep Series is in store, and the Land Rover Assortment is coming soon. And there are more to come.
Matchbox has allowed Lamley to showcase another upcoming assortment. It isn't a carmaker like Jeep or Land Rover, but instead a tie-in with the ever popular Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. There are more assortments like this planned, where there will be a mix of licensed and unlicensed castings, all with deco centered around a similar theme. And yes, these will be in addition to the basic models.
So let's talk Shark Week. Matchbox will release 8 models, and it is a mix of licensed and unlicensed. Some are ocean-oriented castings, others just cool cars sporting a Shark Week livery.
So let's start with the unlicensed.
Two boats, a submarine, and a beach buggy. All ocean-ish.
Can't say which one I am most keen on, so why not move on to the licensed models. A nice assortment, with the Chevy Van, Corvette ZR1, Checker Can, and VW Thing:
Of these, the cab is the most interesting to me, followed by the van. At least the models are licensed, which makes this assortment that much more interesting.
Will I collect these? Maybe a couple, only because I am a completist of the casting. But I don't mind a set like this being released.
My guess is these models will frustrate a few of you. You might think it is a return to the goofy colors and liveries of the last few years, after such a promising move to realism by the brand the last few months. I think the opposite.
Having special assortments like these let's Matchbox focus even more on realism in the basic range. These assortments are an additional release next to basic and possible premium ranges like Best of World. These allow Matchbox to create very kid-oriented models, while still pushing the true essence of Matchbox in basics. I think it means we can be more confident that there will be more cool models to collect on the standard pegs. I guess we will see as 2017 is announced next month.
Plus, we will hopefully get more collector-oriented assortments like Jeep and Land Rover, which is always welcome. Porsche? Police? Wagons? Mercedes? Who knows?
This could be a very interesting expansion for Matchbox...