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3 minutes ago, bunglebus said:

Facebook pic - no idea how people manage to acquire this amount of anything

 

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Obsessive compulsive hobbyist. 

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But I did set aside a very cheap Dacia 1300 (Renault 12) estate, which was so thrilled to arrive that it had already de-boxed itself by the time I opened the main package.   

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@Catsinthewelder

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1 hour ago, sierraman said:

Was the white one from Tesco? I actually think white looks better. 

The Matchboxes and a couple of the Hot Wheels were from a seller on Facebook that I use. I have no option really,  regarding Matchbox as no Tesco's near me have stocked decent mainlines for ages. I'd hang fire if you have a decent Tesco's near you though as the white Civic is an ordinary  mainline release and I think it'll be coming here sometime this year.

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5 hours ago, 155V6 said:

Those Muscle Cars are really nice 😎.I do have the orange Mustang,it came loose in a box of cars from the car boot a couple of years ago.Most got sold,but I kept the Mustang as I really liked it20210428_143121.thumb.jpg.d18b21d127a61445838aa7f085a73d7d.jpg

Out of the set, the Mustang always bugged me as the lights and grille just don't sit quite right, I think it's the chrome plating.. I picked up a '67 Fastback by mistake as I thought it was from the series and that is well detailed. 

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3 hours ago, bunglebus said:

Saw this in a lift today, Santa delivering Corgis by microlite in 1974

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That's a brilliant pic - though at risk of descending into abject douchebaggery, their dates may be a bit out, as the Corgi logo on the front of the microlite is the post-1985 'roadsign' one.

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Also, the child who looks worryingly like me at that age appears to be holding a C1140 Ford Transit Wrecker (dating from 1981 onwards).

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One day, I anticipate that such specialist and arcane knowledge will avert some terrible miscarriage of justice, or solve a long-standing mystery, as I twirl my moustache and grandly announce "Terminus post quem, bitches" to the startled jury.

But until that glorious day arrives, I'll just have to content myself with being a dick on the internet. 

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Dropped by the shops and picked up something with @bunglebus in mind, though I've a feeling he wished for the Variant van, er.. variant. Not to worry, it's hardly a kings ransom so I'm happy to keep it. From memory, all of the Flyers range from that set were available. The other trinket is for me, as it was right on the front of the peg and looked interesting.

At the checkout, I got asked if I was a collector? "Me? No!" was my answer, as I checked out just these and a pack of mints.

Least believable fib ever - I don't even know why I lied!

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8 hours ago, Jon said:

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I buckled and bought that one from Modelmatic.

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I would really like the squareback, maybe Smyths or Entertainer will decide to stock them, I'm quite astounded at the sudden availability of premium and less mainstream stuff in the UK all of a sudden. Last year you could only buy mainline, now we have Smyths, Sainsbury's and Tesco stocking premiums, and Entertainer doing Matchbox moving parts and the Police Hot Wheels set. Maybe someone is listening to us (well me) bitching about lack of availability here.

I've been quite fortunate picking up lots of different Squarebacks at VW shows etc, probably the most difficult to locate are "exclusives", Hot Wheels do these for stores like Walmart, Target and Krogers, so as usual the rest of the world misses out - but I found some in the UK

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4 hours ago, sierraman said:

Still don’t understand the logic in why they pick a ‘solus’ Retailer for their product. Where’s the logic in that. 

I get the impression that Mattel views Matchbox as something of a second-fiddle brand, compared to Hot Wheels - possibly because it's a legacy acquisition, rather than their own home-grown brand.

But I'm also struggling to understand the logic underpinning Tesco's exclusivity for the Matchbox range in UK retailing - as it surely restricts potential Matchbox sales. 

I can only guess that Mattel's corporate viewpoint is 'every Matchbox sale is a lost Hot Wheels sale' - so it's possible that their decision was designed to ensure maximum Hot Wheels revenues via toy stores like The Entertainer, Smyths and independent toy retailers, plus other supermarkets like Asda, Sainsburys and Morrisons, simply by keeping Matchbox out of the picture in those stores. More HW sales means bigger production runs, lower unit and shipping costs to the UK and bigger profits - in theory. Also, dealing with a single retailer for all UK Matchbox and only supplying whatever mainline cases  are current probably cuts down their admin costs quite a bit.

But I can't quite see what the benefit is to Tesco's bean-counters in having exclusive sales rights to Matchbox - possibly the exclusivity prestige drawing in collectors, but given the abysmal state of their toy shelves with stuff scattered everywhere in dump bins, I highly doubt it.

Maybe it was thrown in as a sweetener during negotiations with Mattel for their wider toy and game range - I'd heard a while back that in terms of sales, Tesco is the UK's biggest toy retailer.

If Mattel had expected that Tesco might use their exclusive rights to nurture a collector's market for the Matchbox brand using prominent POS positioning, then I guess they're shit out of luck.

I definitely feel that UK collectors get a raw deal off Mattel - in the US, detailed premium versions of both Hot Wheels and Matchbox have been the norm for decades, and I can't work out why they've never come up with a coherent strategy to replicate that in the UK. Maybe they think it's too small a market to bother with; maybe it's just incompetence.

I've know I've mentioned before how the Matchbox rep for Northern Ireland simply went missing for a year or so in 1996/97, so the model shop I was working in had no way to obtain stock - I'm not now sure whether that was around the end of Matchbox's ownership by Tyco, or the beginning of the Mattel years, but I do remember that their UK Head Office didn't give a shit and we ended up stocking Tomica and Siku instead.

One thing's for sure though, it doesn't benefit the consumer at all - and the restriction of the new Mk1 Capri to one per case seems utterly perverse, for what's surely a very desirable model.

Unless... Mattel can make more money these days by flogging a sizeable proportion of their Matchbox products wholesale straight from the factory to Chinese resellers, who then assume responsibility for transportation and import costs when they sell them on individually to UK (and elsewhere) collectors? This reduces unit cost for factory production (bigger runs), while lowering Mattel's own shipping and warehousing costs (as they only have to hold and sell a smaller number of models to supply their retail chain).

Changes to global supply chains, factory subcontracting and shifting international trade tariffs have altered the 'classic' pattern of trade in recent years, and the deal which Royal Mail struck a few years ago with China make it much cheaper for them to deliver internationally to the UK than it is for us to post items within the UK. The playing field has not been level for a while now.

Meanwhile, I just want a silver Capri. 😜

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1 minute ago, sierraman said:

It’s bizarre, if that’s the case why not just discontinue Matchbox? Then the threat of lost sales is gone?

Really don't know. Maybe they will, at some point, or maybe there's enough of a collectors' lobby group in the USA to justify keeping the brand going there, but everywhere else can go and whistle?

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Doubt as a business they’d need to consult anyone whether they dropped a line or not. A few people protesting wouldn’t make much difference, they’d just trot out the usual bollocks like falling sales, increased costs blah blah. 

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1 hour ago, sierraman said:

Doubt as a business they’d need to consult anyone whether they dropped a line or not. A few people protesting wouldn’t make much difference, they’d just trot out the usual bollocks like falling sales, increased costs blah blah. 

If it's like any other large business, there's probably a whole load of stuff going on behind the scenes at Mattel.

Capitalism, on the face of it, should dictate that whether something remains on sale or gets canned is driven by logic, and the bottom line.

But corporatism is driven by people, and often people obsessed with status and gatekeeping, so logic goes right out the window. You end up with executives making decisions purely to annoy other executives, or deliberately running sub-brands into the ground just to prove a point. I've seen it happen, where years of good work and millions of pounds of branding ends up in the skip because some fat-necked chump in a corner office takes thick against something his predecessor once did, like talk over him in a meeting.

My understanding (and this may have changed) was that Matchbox and Hot Wheels have separate HQs, management and brand oversight for product development, though typically marketing and distribution is carried out by the parent company. So maybe there's sort of a 'healthy competition' scenario playing out on a corporate level, with Matchbox as the scrappy underdog.

When Mattel bought over Matchbox in 1997, they gave assurances that they were going to continue both brands - and while I agree that it's hardly unusual for global corporations to lie through their teeth during acquisitions and mergers (which is why Cadburys chocolate is now made in Poland and tastes rank; cheers for that, Kraft), it does seem that collectors are a major consideration in Mattel's corporate strategy. From Wikipedia:

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Mattel estimates that 41 million children grew up playing with the toys, the average collector has over 1,550 cars, and children between the ages of 5 and 15 have an average of 41 cars.

Those are figures to make the bods in the marketing department sit up and take notice, though it appears that Mattel were unaware of just what a major force the adult collector's market was until they launched the Hot Wheels Treasure Hunts in 1995. Only in the early 2000s did they start on specific adult-oriented lines such as Hot Wheels Classics and Elites, retailing at rather more than the usual mainline price of a dollar.

The various Car Culture collections launched since 2016 have stepped this up a bit further, with a much higher shelf price lifting them well out of toy territory - and, presumably, offering greatly enhanced profit margins. Their investment in a separate, more adult-oriented website at www.hotwheelscollectors.com may indicate that this is where Mattel thinks the future lies, along with models based on TV tie-ins such as Roadkill.

Mattel also tours their Hot Wheels Legends roadshow across Wal-Mart stores in the US each year, which again seems to be quite a big thing, plus there are sundry National Conventions for both Hot Wheels and Matchbox driven by enthusiasts and collectors - so it's possible they're pivoting from just selling cheap toys to kids to also selling premium collectables to collectors, as part of their core business.

Matchbox do seem to be behind the curve when it comes to special editions, instead reliant on retro-style boxes and slightly better printing to differentiate their premium lines - plus of course the more recent Road Trippin' and Opening Features ranges which, again, are not easy to find in the UK.

On the Mattel Corporate website, 240 separate brands are listed. Barbie, Hot Wheels and Fisher-Price are shown right at the top; the rest are then listed alphabetically. Matchbox is down in the 'M' section, between 'Masters of the Universe Classics' and 'Max Steel'. Perhaps tellingly, clicking on the Matchbox page brings you up adverts for Hot Wheels.

So I reckon most of our problem in the UK is simply a case of overseas markets getting shafted by a company that's focused more on domestic sales. Matchbox seems to sell well enough in the US, but doesn't seem to have the same 'all-American' cachet as Hot Wheels (even though they were usually always made overseas).

I don't think the Matchbox brand is in real danger of getting dropped anytime soon, but I do think UK collectors like ourselves will continue to get the shitty end of the stick. It does seem to be a pattern where the UK is just seen as too small a market to bother with, and Mattel have been happy enough to simply farm the whole Matchbox brand out to Tesco to do whatever they like.

What I meant upthread by the disruption of 'classic' trade patterns ('make a thing, ship a thing, sell a thing') is that with AliExpress resellers paying cash at the factory gate in the Far East, it may currently make more profit for Mattel to not sell Matchbox very well in the UK, than by selling Matchbox properly in the UK.

Weird, I know, but I guess we might just have to wear it. 🤔

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A sweeping generalisation, but America often fails to see that the world does not begin and end at its borders.

Mattel have realised that collectors spend a lot more money than kids, but have you seen how much they want to ship stuff abroad? Just not worth it. 

Hopefully the Matchbox/Tesco contract has a time limit, interesting that Entertainer sell their 5 packs and moving parts ranges, with a bit of luck other retailers will have the opportunity to sell mainline too - but there also needs to be a change in the type of vehicle that makes up the content of their cases, I suspect the reason Tesco don't restock often is that when they do, the popular stuff (cars) sells quickly, then for months the same diggers, odd looking buses, boats etc hang around. All Tesco see is sales of one barcode, it's generally a slow seller so why order more stock?

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2 hours ago, bunglebus said:

Mattel have realised that collectors spend a lot more money than kids, but have you seen how much they want to ship stuff abroad? Just not worth it. 

True, the costs of shipping anything over from the US is plain nuts. Seems that US Mail follows the diktat that the world begins and ends at their borders... I used to sell a fair bit of rare vinyl to collectors in the US, because for them shipping was pretty reasonable going across the Atlantic - but I never bought anything for myself the other way. When shipping costs you twice as much as the product, it's just not worth it.

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Hopefully the Matchbox/Tesco contract has a time limit, interesting that Entertainer sell their 5 packs and moving parts ranges, with a bit of luck other retailers will have the opportunity to sell mainline too

Absolutely, and I was wondering why The Entertainer were stocking the Moving Parts range if Tesco had Matchbox exclusivity - maybe the deal's expired, or been renegotiated due to COVID-19 (that seems to be the excuse for everything right now - sometimes plausibly, other times less so...). Or possibly Tesco's contract was for mainline cars, and simply no-one's been interested in taking on the premiums until now? Will be watching with interest... all being well, if I'm up in Belfast tomorrow and get the chance, I'll swing past the Castle Court branch of The Entertainer and see what they have on the pegs.

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there also needs to be a change in the type of vehicle that makes up the content of their cases, I suspect the reason Tesco don't restock often is that when they do, the popular stuff (cars) sells quickly, then for months the same diggers, odd looking buses, boats etc hang around. All Tesco see is sales of one barcode, it's generally a slow seller so why order more stock?

I think you've hit the nail on the head there - when I had my mildly deranged Tesco buying spree earlier in the month, I was surprised to see that the different Matchbox models were indeed all scanning at the till with the same PLU code, despite each model having its own barcode. Which means that they've no way of telling which lines are moving and which aren't.

I suppose since they all come out of the same mixed carton it's maybe not considered relevant, but yeah - it just means that the popular stuff is all gone in the space of a few days, while the more kiddie-oriented stuff languishes for months at a stretch. There's no way for their sales analysts to break that down any further, and while I suppose that's understandable for a mega-retailer like Tesco who sells hundreds of thousands of different product lines, it does mean that the, ahem, niche consumer such as ourselves are left feeling a bit bummed out by the whole experience. It does mean that they're not maximising their sales, which is something that Tesco historically were very very good at, but for a non-grocery line retailing at £1.25, I can see why their accountancy team probably aren't losing much sleep over it.

From my own observations in Tesco, and from my own time in retail (including when Halfords stocked Hot Wheels), small toy cars are very vulnerable to shoplifting, often popped from the packaging and quickly trousered. There always seem to be a few torn-open blister packs left in the diecast bins and stuffed down the side of shelves; if they're not being properly written off by staff, then the store stockfile will mistakenly think there's plenty in stock when really there's not.

The Mattel website's listings for Matchbox products all look very much geared towards the younger customer...

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... and that's fair enough - yet there must be someone in Matchbox product development thinking a little outside of the box, to have hit upon producing a model of something as obscure as the Powell Sport Pickup...

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Ah well. It's a mystery, and yet - with not much in the way of milk in the fridge, or cat food in the cupboard, I think I might just take a spin down to the local Tescrot now, and see if there's owt of interest in the bins...

Catch yis on the flipside.

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1 hour ago, Datsuncog said:

small toy cars are very vulnerable to shoplifting, often popped from the packaging and quickly trousered. There always seem to be a few torn-open blister packs left in the diecast bins and stuffed down the side of shelves

Yes, one of my pet hates as I think mostly that must be kids, so presumably their parents must sanction this theft. Even more annoying when it's premium cars, as losing a £7 item as opposed to £1.50 isn't going to do anything to encourage supermarkets to continue stocking them.

I would be happy to see those in the plastic cases with a security tag and deal with getting them removed at the till. Did make me chuckle when I saw them being used in Tesco to prevent anyone stealing normal Hot Wheels, especially when several of them were the Zoom In that no-one wants anyway!

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46 minutes ago, Dick Longbridge said:

Any ideas on manufacturer of the Miura and Stratos? I hazarded a guess at Bburago, but their versions look slightly different. 

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Looks a weird scale compared to the Rubik's Cube... a quick scally through Google Images suggests a 1/28 scale Kidco Miura, based on the decals - though I think Kidco wasn't the manufacturer, just a marketing brand for variety of toys sold in the US? Possibly Eidai Technica is the maker...

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Called into Tesco earlier, as the day's discussions had given me something of a diecast thirst. Also, out of milk.

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Not very much in the Matchbox bin - same as last time, really.

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Only five castings - the Dodge Challenger in primer, the Jaaaaag XK140, the Jeep, the Dodge Ram pickup, and the weird electric bus thing.

Tons of Jags, oddly. Like about ten of them.

Hot Wheels had rather more on offer, but once I'd picked through the fantasy castings in the shape of bottle openers and whatnot, this was all there was in terms of actual recognisable cars:

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Some decent enough castings in there, but none of them really grabbed me... so I went and got the milk instead.

Milk, however, does not slake a diecast thirst... but we'll see what the morning brings, hey?

Phone charged, wallet cashed up, alarm clock set, car fuelled up and ready to go... 

...'tis the night before Tatmas. Or something.

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16 minutes ago, Datsuncog said:

Looks a weird scale compared to the Rubik's Cube... a quick scally through Google Images suggests a 1/28 scale Kidco Miura, based on the decals - though I think Kidco wasn't the manufacturer, just a marketing brand for variety of toys sold in the US? Possibly Eidai Technica is the maker...

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Excellent work, many thanks. 

They seem to fetch decent coin!

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Blimey, I'm not sure I've been upright at this hour of the morning since last year.

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For the past twelvemonth and more, I've generally rolled out of bed around 8.30 for a leisurely commute down the stairs to the dining room for 9.00, to slump in front of a laptop.

But not today. Not today.

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