Monday, June 29, 2015

Case Report: Opening a 2015 Hot Wheels US L Case...

A good case is a good case.  This is a good case.

The L cases are at Walmart, so a lot of you have found - or not found - what you were looking for.  Hopefully in everyone's frenzy to find a Super they left you the gem of this case, the Cadillac Elmiraj.  There is also a very cool '55 Gasser, another great version of the Honda S2000, and even that upsloped-chin Tesla is worth having.

In fact, the Tesla is the darling of the auto AND mainstream world that having at least one of the Hot Wheels version is worth it.  (That is saying nothing for the Matchbox version, which is generating a ton of interest on eBay.)

Anyways, a good case.

So for those of you that want to see the assortment, here you go.  As always, the case came from Wheel Collectors, and here is everything as we pulled it, in order, 3-by-3.


Hot Wheels 2015 US L Case:

Regular TH Alert:

June 26th Matchbox Ambassador Report, by Larry Scaduto...

Ambassador’s Report June 26th, 2015
By: Larry Scaduto
I’ve dedicated this report to our friend Michael Heralda… 

Michael Heralda
As some of us know, Michael Heralda is retiring from Mattel after 28 years of loyal service on June 30th. I’ve been staying up late to get this report done before he leaves the design studio for the last time. He has been designing cars for both Matchbox and Hot Wheels (I’m shocked I even put the blue brand in a report) OK, just this one time……  He has reached a milestone few toy designers will ever reach in a lifetime of work (5000 Models) that is absolutely astonishing especially in an environment where people don’t keep jobs this long because of a constantly changing and demanding market. He has been an avid supporter of the Ambassador’s Program and has been wonderful to work with over the last several months.  He will be sorely missed. But it’s also time to congratulate him on his retirement. Also don’t bother blowing up the picture to try and see what models are on the shelf behind him. I already did it and there were no PrePro’s or unreleased models. Congrats Michael!!!!! See you in Albuquerque as a civilian!!!   
      All the Best, Larry Scaduto (Matchbox Ambassador #10)
Here are more letters from other friends and colleagues……..
I have had the privilege of working with Michael Heralda for almost a year at Mattel in the Matchbox group. Michael has a wealth of knowledge for the Matchbox brand, and is a true advocate for the collector community. He strives to push the envelope with what can be achieved from decorations and liveries to packaging and even new business opportunities. With over 5000 deco variants under his belt, it is safe to say that he has single handedly had the most influence visually, to the Matchbox brand since it’s inception. The collectors in the know, are aware of Heralda’s affinity for symbolism, codes, and messages which have been incorporated into his graphics over the last three decades. Vehicles tell stories, and Michael’s graphic adaptation could take those stories and expand upon them.
On behalf of the Matchbox team, and Mattel as a whole, we thank you for your incredible contribution. We all wish Michael the best as he transcends into the next chapter of his life. 
Thank you,
Gerry Cody

Michael came to Mattel through an acquisition; he had been doing graphics for Whamo/Morey boogie, and did amazingly cool graphics.  We hadn’t really had an internal artist with his talents before he came along.  So when an opportunity to pull him into our vehicle world showed up, very quickly we did so!  He was doing artwork for collector pieces like our Legends line, and then found the opportunity to do artwork for our cars...his art hitting the shelves meant a great deal to all, since he put so much of himself into it.  I have to also say that he put some of his co-workers into it as well.  When we do artwork for the cars, we use a variety of corporate logos from companies that are anxious to have their marks on our vehicles, but there are times where we need something "generic" to put on the times like this, Michael used his teammate’s names to supplement the corporate logos.  I was honored when he chose to use my name on his first "teammate" car, it was a White Rally car with Swisher Motors on it...since then he has put his special touch on 5000 unique vehicles...and he has been taking special care to incorporate his teammates, and hidden messages throughout this entire time.  His codes, and connection to the collectors has made Michael one of our greatest brand ambassadors, we will truly miss him here at Mattel, but his legacy will live on, in your collections, as well as the precedent he set up for caring about the people that buy our product, and connecting with them through the artwork on our vehicles.
Michael the Renaissance Man-
Michael is a fantastic artist, we have been blessed to have him creating meaningful art for our vehicles for the past three decades...but that is just one facet of his creativity, he is also a very talented story teller through his music, he plays historic instruments from his ancestors heritage, he travels the southwest entertaining and educating people about his culture through his amazing music.  His music is peaceful and calming, just as he is.  But I will tell you that he Shocked us all, when he was asked to participate in our internal band "The Toys" a few years back, the band knew there were many musicians amongst the staff, and asked each them to come and practice one song for the upcoming party that would have "guest performers" it was expected that Michael would do something soft and was far from it! We knew Michael could play guitar, but what we didn’t know was that he was a super accomplished rock guitarist...his rendition of Led Zeppelin’s Rock n Roll by was beyond was inspiring! He rocked the house!!! His calm soothing side was definitely balanced with the heart of a HARD ROCKER!!!
Just when you think you know all there is to know about Michael, a whole new side is revealed, I will miss Michael and his influence around the office, and on our brand, I just hope that he has left a lasting impression on those that are still here, such that they can carry the torch, and continue to build on his legacy.

Gary Swisher (SVP Global Brands Creative)

Michael is been a special friend of mine and to the collecting world. Michael was the first Mattel employee I met almost 12 years ago. By chance, he inquired about the little get together I created to get a few collecting friends together in one place.  Michael took an immediate interest and even joined us here in Albuquerque.  His determination to engage younger collectors with a coloring contest was the predecessor to the current play area we have today.  Michael is a true artist and even better, a true friend.   His work is easily identified with his distinct graphics or the challenging codes he has placed on numerous models.  5,000 models later, Michael still finds new ways to communicate with collectors through his designs. Michael inspired the Landy Journey which to date has logged hundreds of thousands of miles visiting 6 of the seven continents creating a collector’s album of the world.  I always have appreciated Michael and all he represents.  Mattel is fortunate to have had his skills working on their Matchbox and Hot Wheel lines through the years. Michael will always be part of the collecting community and a friend.
 Jim Gallegos

It’s hard to believe that Michael Herald’s tenure at Mattel will soon be coming to an end.
Imagine having a job where you have to create hundreds of decorations for toy vehicles each year and that over time can add up to thousands and thousands of original works of art. This has been a major milestone that Michael has achieved at Mattel.
I worked very closely with Mike when I worked in Hot Wheels and even closer when we both joined the Matchbox brand in 2005.  
My fondest memory of Mike was when we first traveled to Asia to our plant in Thailand. We both witnessed what it really takes to make a toy and how a huge part of this is decoration.
I shall be forever amazed at Mike’s creativity and resourcefulness at meeting the demand for cool graphics that have a universal appeal for just about everyone. It takes many hours and much patience to make this happen and Mike has been blessed with special skills that make this magic happen.
Mike certainly rivals that gentleman in the TV commercials that proclaims to be the most interesting man in the world. Mike Heralda certainly fits this description as well. 
In addition to being a great graphic designer Mike also was a rocker playing with the Mattel band called the “Toys” and he is also a wonderful story teller with his dazzling “Aztec 
Stories” performances.
Mike is a great artist and a terrific friend.  He can now look forward to new adventures and new stories as he prepares for a new life journey.
For this I wish Mike and his family the very best.  It’s been lots of fun.

Cheers Mike.
Dave Weise 
(MB964) Mack CF Pumper 

(MB823) Aston Martin DBS (Front View)

Aston Martin DBS (Rear View)

All images and articles are presented here with the consent and permission of Mattel and the Matchbox Team.
If you need to reach me, send an e-mail to:

(MB828) Pit King (Front View)

Pit King (Rear View)

(MB723) VW Beetle 4x4 (Front View)

VW Beetle 4x4 (Rear View)

Matchbox 1/64th Scale 4x4’s
                                       (CGP49) Battle Blaster (Front View)                         Battle Blaster (Rear View)

1/24th Scale Version of the above model

FYI……. The model year for the Jeep Willys is 1953
A message from Matchbox's Gerry Cody…..
Hey Larry,
I wanted to let you know that we are a few weeks away from kicking off our design lists for vehicles that we (as the design team) would like to have in our diecast line. We usually commit to around 25 or so new tools. Approximately half are licensed and half are what we internally call MBX “originals.” I thought this could be a fun opportunity to engage you and the collector community in coming up with the Collector’s Picks if you will. For 2017 we are drawn to the idea of “Exploration” and “Explore your World" as an overarching brand attribute (or theme). I was wondering if this was something that you and the collector community might be interested in participating with. I know that you usually include models that you’d like to see at the end of the newsletters, but maybe you might want to put all of them on to one master list and then rank them in priority? Again, let me know if this is something that interests you, and how we might be able to put something like this together.

Okay, I have given this idea a lot of thought and I’ve decided to run with this challenge from Gerry. The chance for us collectors to pick models for the 2017 line is an outstanding idea and an opportunity that has never been offered before!!!! In my reports I’ve listed a wide variety of vehicles for consideration. I’ve compiled the list of models (below) along with what report they were in just in case you wish to look at the pictures before deciding. Here is your chance to make a real difference!!!! Now rather than ranking the models according to your favorite, I have decided that anyone who wishes to participate look over the candidates and pick up to 20 models you would love to see made and e-mail them to me at  I will keep track of everyone’s picks, total them up and release the results in my final report after the Gathering.  I will place a cutoff date of July 12th at midnight for your lists. So…… now it is up to the collector’s community to get to work. I’m assuming that there are no guarantees that any of our picks will make it to production, but in the same breath, there’s no reason to believe they won’t someday. I look forward to receiving your lists. Thank you for participating. Larry

2017 Model Ideas List
August 19th Report:
Polaris 700 Twin      1975 AMC Pacer      2014 Honda Crosstour      1948 Tucker Torpedo
1971 Buick Riviera
September 2nd Report
Ford Capri II Turbo      Bombardier B-12 Snowmobile      Bedford TK-1 Fire Vehicle     
Toyota Land Cruiser F-70 Troopy      1968 Chevy Impala      1967 Ford Galaxie Fastback 
Austin FX4 Taxi      1967 MGB GT
September 18th Report
1970 Chevy Nova SS350      Asphalt Spreader      Prius Taxi      The Schwimmwagen
2015 Kai Soul EV      2015 Ford Mustang      Speed Trap Trailer
October 10th Report
1986 Mitsubishi Mills-Tui Pumper     1993 Chevy Caprice Police Car      2008 Nissan GT-R
2015 Dodge Viper      Asphalt Grinder      Paymaster Semi Tractor      BMW i8      2016 Audi RS7
October 22nd Report
1962 Divco Delivery Van      1961 Ferrari      Ford Tri-Motor      Deepflight Submersible  
VW XL Sport      1992 Fiat Tipo      Toyota FJ      Airstream Trailer    
November 5th Report
1968 Oldsmobile Delta 88      1990 Honda NSX     2010 Lancia New Stratos      2013 Jaguar F-Type
Airport Luggage Vehicle      BMW R-75 w/sidecar      Site Dumper      2011 Nissan Juke

November 25th Report
Oshkosh Cement Mixer      Hino Cement Truck      International Paystar Cement Truck
1986 Isuzu JCS Rural Fire Engine      1960 Dennis Fire Truck      Scania Bus      Porsche Macon
Mazda Miata MX-5      2015 Chevy Corvette Z-06      2015 Toyota Highlander
2015 Dodge Charger Hellcat       Segway 
December 12th Report
2012 Ford Focus      2012 Mazda CX5      2015 Dodge Challenger Hellcat      2015 Mustang Rocket
Audi A9     2015 Chrysler 300 Hellcat     2012 Volvo S60 Polest     Bedford Water Truck       
Bentley   SUV
December 22nd Report
2015 McLaren 650S      Hyundai i20      2013 Ford Fiesta ST      Volkswagen Atacama      
1990 Jaguar XJR-1      Honda Pilot      Volkswagen Vision Gran Turismo
January 8th Report
1958 Ford Edsel Corsair      1960 Chevy El Camino      1992 Aston Martin Vantage     
 2016 Ford Bronco      1963 Ford Thunderbird      Volkswagen Tristar      Sea Ray Cabin Cruiser
January 27th Report
1981 Checker Police Car      1981 Checker Fire Chief Car      2014 VW Golf      2016 Toyota Mirai
2016 Volkswagen Beetle Dune     2016 Ford GT     2016 Toyota Supra     Infiniti Q60      Jaguar XJS
February 10th Report
1959 Aston-Martin DB4     2014 BMW i3     2014 Porsche 918 Spyder      1973 Lamborghini Jarma 
1990 Scania G93M Fire Engine      2011 Opel Insignia opc Unlimited      2012 Volkswagen Up
2014 Jaguar xfr-s Sportbrake

February 27th Report
2014 Volkswagen Scirocco     2013 Subaru Lavorg      2015 Volvo XC90      2009 Alfa Romeo Brera
Dump Truck Trailer     Shipping Container Trailer      2015 Nissan March Nismo      
2014 Lamborghini Asterion     Ford F-750 Super Duty Fire Truck    2016 Kia K900     2016 Mazda 3
Hyundai Santa Cruz Crossover Truck      2016 Ford Transit
     March 16th Report
1953 Studebaker Starliner      Kia Sportspace Concept      Donkervoort D8 GTO     
 Audi RS3 Sportback      1974 Plymouth Duster      Cement Mixer Trailer    
2014 Porsche 918 Spyder-Weissac      Flybridge Cabin Cruiser 
March 30th Report
1976 Chevy Monte Carlo     2014 Maserati Gran Turismo     BMW Alpina B4 Bi-Turbo Convertible
1994 Venturi 400GT      Holden Special Vehicles / HSV Ge-F GTS       Honda Civic R-Type    
  1971 Plymouth Duster Super Bee
April 13th Report
1967 Pontiac GTO      2015 Jeep Renegade Latitude      Can-Am Spyder F3 
Citroen Xsara Picasso Tunning 3      1959 Plymouth Fury      2015 Polaris Slingshot     
2015 Volkswagen Crafter
May 4th Report
2015 Aston-Martin Vulcan     1973 BMW 3.0 CSL      1930 Cadillac Fleetwood     
2017 Volkswagen Golf Sportwagen      1990 Nissan Skyline GT-R V-Spec     Honda Civic Concept
2016 Volvo XC-90      1954 Hudson Hornet      2016 Porsche Boxster      2015 Chevy Tahoe 
2016 Chevy Malibu

May 19th Report
1939 Dodge Sedan Police Car      1947 Series 62 Convertible      1991 BMW Nazca C2      
2013 SAAB 9-3      2016 Nissan Maxima      2016 Ford Focus      Volkswagen GT1 Roadster
1999 Lamborghini Diablo GT-5
June 4th Report
Toyota FT-1 Concept      Subaru STI Performance Concept    Chevrolet FNR Concept
Maserati Alfieri Concept      Land Rover Defender Flying Huntsman Concept   Nissan Sway
Lexus LF-C2 Concept Convertible      Honda Concept C     Bentley EXP10 Concept
June 15th Report
1979 Pontiac Tran Am     1980 Firebird Red Bird / Sky Bird / Yellow Bird     Volvo 850 T-5R
Volkswagen Cross Coupe GTE     2014 Audi S8-4     2016 Chevy Camaro     2015 Kia Sorento

June 26th Report
Army Duck     Bedford Army Personal Carrier     GMC Canteen Lunch Wagon     Aquada Car-Boat
2009 Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT     Kia Tral’ster Concept     2016 Hyundai Tucson     
Chevrolet Chaparral 2x Vision GT     1995 Ford GT90 Concept       2014 BMW M3  
 Aston-Martin DBX      Ford Falcon GT HO Phase 3

July “?” Report
1971 Checker Marathon Wagon   1954 Willys Jeep Wagon & Sedan Delivery   Austin Mini Pickup
Toyota FJ45     

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Matchbox unveils even more preproduction models for the upcoming Gathering of Friends Charity Auction...

If the first batch wasn't enough for those of us attending the Matchbox Collectors Gathering of Friends next month, Mattel has given us more.

Preproduction models are a little like variations.  Not every collector is interested, but among those that are there is a ton of passion.  I personally love to look at, and occasionally pursue in auction, the prepros.  They are different to say the least, and can tell a little story of how the model came to be.  And more than anything, they make it possible to have a unique version of your favorite castings.

And that is why Mattel always shows up at the Gathering with a few prepros in hand to auction off at the charity auction.  Getting a few collectors battling it out for a prepro can raise a lot of money really fast.

So it is news when Mattel unveils the prepros that are coming, and that is why we report on it.  This time Mattel has released them in two batches.  We showcased the first a couple of weeks ago, and now it is time to show the second.

There are 14 models, all prepros of basic models, and there are a few that are bound to interest several of our readers.  I know I have my eye on a few.  Any you would pursue?