Monday, July 21, 2014

First Look: 2014 Matchbox BMW X5 Police...

There will be a lot of Matchbox to get to, now that we have details on what 2015 will look like.  Nigel Cooper is working on his final Ambassador Report, and we will post it as soon as he releases it.  After that, we will share some more pics that we were able to take of upcoming Matchbox models.

But even with all that, there is still a nice little batch of 2014 Matchbox that is hitting the pegs right at this moment.  We have already featured the '63 Mack B Fire Truck (and we have another to feature very soon), but there are several others in this nice-looking batch.  And we should start with the return of the BMW X5 to the mainline.

It has been awhile.  The X5 was everywhere in the Matchbox lines of the mid-2000's, but slowly vanished.  That makes sense considering the actual 1:1 X5 was updated, plus room was needed for new models in the Matchbox mainline.

But it is back, after showing up in the 60th Anniversary line, we now have it in the mainline.  And there is more good news.  It has been modified, and a pesky little problem with the casting has been fixed.

If you didn't know, there are actually three different versions of the X5 casting.  The first two are obvious: standard street version and police (with a light bar):

But there is one more, a street version with opening doors:

That is the hardest to find of the bunch.  It was only used once, as part of a BMW promotion in Europe.  It remains one of my favorite Matchbox models, and maybe we should profile it as one of the rare Mattel-era Matchbox models one of these days.

Clearly the opening-doors version is long gone, but we don't know about the street version.  The police version makes sense to use these days considering the direction Matchbox has taken.  And frankly, a mid-2000's X5 seems a little odd in the mainline if it didn't have some other purpose, like being a police car.

Alright, back to this model.  Here is why we know it has been modified.  Take a look at the base:

It is hard to see, but at the top, you will see "2001, 2013 Mattel".  2001 was the year the casting was first created, and 2013 the year it was modified.  So what are the changes?  The main change, and we are seeing this with many emergency Matchbox models, is that the light bar is now part of the window piece.  Any other other aesthetic changes we don't see, except for this:

Take a look at the driver-side front wheel on this previous version:

See how it sticks out?  That is pushed in as far as it can go.  What caused this to happen we have no idea, but as the mold aged, this problem got worse.  It really hurt the look of an otherwise nice-looking casting.

Now take a look at the latest version:

It fits!  Hooray!  Yes, it is a minor detail, but those are the kind that can annoy you, and you wish they didn't.  But who cares?  Problem solved.

So welcome back, newly refurbished X5.  We are happy to have you here.  And we welcome your next visit, sitting on real riders as part of the upcoming Supreme Heroes line in 2015.  A nice revival.

(Find the Matchbox BMW X5 on ebay...)

Matchbox BMW X5 Police (2014 Mainline):

Rare Matchbox of the Mattel Era, Part 11: 2014 Cadillac CTS Coupe with chrome interior (by David Tilley)...

Lamley Co-Founder David Tilley was lucky enough to get his hands on the latest Matchbox variation rarity.  Rare enough to already join on ongoing series on hard-to-find Mattel-era Matchbox variations.


You are not reading this wrong. This model may be a newbie from Mattel for 2014, but we think it is safe to say that this will be another in a long list of rarities from Matchbox.

This is a 2014 MB12 Cadillac CTS Coupe. After an absence of 2 years we finally see a new example of this model. It debuted in 2011 in silver, and a First Edition 10-pack model in black also appeared the same year, and then.... it vanished! The CTS Wagon continued to be made, so there was not a legal issue with it. Mattel just decided not to use this casting. It was a real shame as it was a lovely addition to the range. When we heard they were finally bringing it back for 2014 we were happy. Very happy! But why is this being called a rarity we hear you ask? We are sure just about everyone who wanted one has found one in stores.

Well, this one comes with a chrome interior. Yes, that’s right. The rarity factor with this model sits inside the model.

The normal “common” issue sits in front of it in this picture. This model is supposed to come with a black interior. 99.9% of them are coming with a black interior. But there is tiny run with an unusual chrome interior.

Having all that chrome does look good. Of course there are some who hate the idea of chrome interiors at all, but they do show off the details very well. As we said, this batch has so far, from what we can tell, only been found sparingly in a single batch of models on ROW short card in central Europe dated G03 which is the third week of January 2014 (this particular example came from Germany). It is not the entire batch either as others dated G03 in that Euro batch have the standard black interior. It really does look like only a handful were done this way. The Americas, Australasia, and the UK have not been noted as finding any of this model. How this particular variation came about is unknown. Perhaps the factory was supposed to be chroming another body part for a different model and somebody accidentally put a tray of CTS interiors in there too. We may never know. But this is proving to be a rather unique and unusual variation, and one likely to only ever be found in that one particular batch.

So it may be worthwhile looking at central Europe if you really need to find an example with the chrome inside.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Just Unveiled: Matchbox Gathering Dealer Exclusive Dodge Charger Albuquerque Police...

There is still a lot of Matchbox news to come out of the Gathering.  The Toyota Tacoma Dinner Model has been unveiled, Larry Scaduto has been named the new Ambassador (congrats!), the Mattel team has unveiled the 25 new tools for 2015, and we have gotten details on the first Matchbox models with "real riders" in years.  We are positive a few of you have gotten the details from friends on the Matchbox presentation, but it will all be laid out here with Nigel Cooper's final report as Ambassador coming very soon.  It will also be accompanied with pics of the upcoming 2014 and 2015 models that  we were able to take in the Lamley studio with Mattel's permission.

In the meantime, here are a few closeups of the other Gathering model, the Dodge Charger Police in Albuquerque Police livery.  We will go into more detail on this one later in the week.  In the meantime, here is what those who reserved a dealer table for the toy show today are taking home.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Just Unveiled: Matchbox Gathering Dinner and Early-Registrant exclusive Toyota Tacoma...

Just a few minutes ago the cat was let out of the bag, and we can finally show the 2014 Matchbox Gathering Dinner Model, the Toyota Tacoma.  Because time is short, here are a couple of pics to let you see how great the model is, and look for a full showcase next week.

Keep in mind there are two models.  The actual Dinner Model, and the Early Registrant Variant.  The first model is the Dinner Model.

The second model is the Early Registrant variant, with only 75 produced for the first 75 attendees to register.  You can see the difference between the two is on the hood and roof.

There are several stories behind this dinner model, including Lamley's involvement in its design.  We are very proud to see the design idea we threw out at Mattel, an homage to classic Toyotas, included in the model.  We will give you the full story when we give it First Look treatment next week.

At the Matchbox Gathering: Close-ups of the Mattel-donated preproduction models...

A quick check-in from the Matchbox Gathering.

Time has been spent shopping (an epic Tomica Limited Vintage shopping spree to say the least), browsing all kinds of goodies, and photographing, photographing, and photographing.

The two Dinner models produced by Mattel have been photographed, and they will be unveiled here on Lamley after they are unveiled at the dinner.  The Dealer model has also been photographed, and we will unveil that as well, as soon as we get the go-ahead.

And I just finished photographing all the 2015 and late 2014 items that Mattel brought with them for tonight's presentation.  Those will be part of Nigel Cooper's final Ambassador Report, coming a little later.  We will just say that a good number of these put a nice big smile on my face.

So lot's of exciting things to come.  And make sure you are following the Gathering Instagram page to see what else is going on.

For now, here are all the Mattel-donated preproduction models that will be bid on as part of the Rachel's Courtyard charity auction following the dinner tonight.  There are some real gem's here, including unique pieces like the Tacoma, A100, Mack B, and Karmann Ghia.  Note little details like Hot Wheels wheels on the Ghia, the A100 with a slightly different Dodge logo on the rear (and none on the front), among many others.  

There will be some lucky collectors that snag these tonight, but they will be shelling out some dough.  It will be fun to watch (and maybe participate).

Enjoy the pics, and we will check in later...