Article initially published by Shabbir Malik in Jan. 2004.
Okay guys, I am back in one piece from the 2004 Line Preview meeting. First
of all I like to thank John Yanouzas of Matchbox Forum who included me in his limited roster of 3 people for this meeting. Second, a big thanks to Mattel who gave us the information and allowed us to take pictures of the 2004 Line.
Here is how the story Goes!
The line preview meeting was originally scheduled from 11:00 to 2:00 on December 17, 2004. Due to bad weather the meeting started at around 11:30 (as some people were late getting in). It ended a little early at around 1:30 including the lunch. During this period we were given the information about the 2004 line.
The 2004 Line is divided into three pieces - Core, Kid Collection, and Collectibles.
The range is once again 1-75. There will be two different ranges. US and ROW.
In the US Range, numbers 1-30 will be the Ultra Hero models and from 31-75 will be the standard models. The first 15 models (i.e., 1-15) in the ROW range will have same Ultra Hero models as the US range. However, they may not have the same numbers as the US. Numbers 16-30 will be ROW exclusive models. 31-75 in the ROW Range will be same as US models. Hence a total of 90 models all together in the miniature range.
There will be 44 new toolings which include 30 Ultra Hero Models.
There will be new packaging (we have already seen that)
There will be 12 five packs (Haunted House, Fire, Construction, Rescue Vehicles plus more)
A few 10 packs (nothing exciting about them)
There will be 4 Launcher sets - No new tooling just the recolors or a new mix
Skybusters will be available in either single or 4 Packs with 3 new tools.
The new miniature tools include, Honda Element, New Corvette, Checker Taxi, Pontiac Salice (may be wrong spelling) plus more. The Ultra Hero models (not released so far) includes a Fish type School Bus, Fire Extinguisher, Rotwheeler, Grass Hopper Tow Truck, and a mail truck to name a few. I know I will hear from a lot of collectors on my next statement but I must say that I personally liked these Ultra Hero models. I think they are nice addition to the line, they are colorful and different. Mattel told us that these were given a lot of thinking and made these items to look like a car that would have doors, wheels, and a place for passengers to sit. The new tools will have moving parts as necessary like the moving cement mixer. etc.
There will be an "Around the World" collection. This will have 4 categories with 36 models. The 4 categories are: International Cities, Postcard Places, Mysterious Journeys and Natural Wonders. Each category will have its own color camera. The 4 camera colors are Red, Purple, Orange and Green. The first 100,000 will have a passport in the back that will list all the models and will have a place to post your sticker from the blister pack. International Cities will have two versions i.e., the same models will be available in a different color scheme. There will be 5 mail order models 1 for each category and one for the entire series. This makes 50 models in this series.
There will be around the world 3-pack similar to the Across America 3-packs where you only get one exclusive model and two standard models. There will be some Groceries/Food & Drug store exclusive models to promote Matchbox. Toys R Us will have an exclusive bag pack with one exclusive model. Target will have a Car Carrier that could hold up to 9 models and will come with an exclusive model There will be TV Hero five packs including Justice Lease, Looney Tunes, Nickelodeon plus some classic cartoon characters. The plans are still in the works. Seasonal items include Egg Mobile, Bunny 3-Pack , Summer fun travel playsets, Ghost mobiles (2 car pack instead of 3 pack) and Secret Santa cars.
Definitely new packaging and I think it is much better. You can see the model from all angles. The 1:43 scale models will also be moving from window boxes to blister packs hence a reduction in price by almost $3.00. Now here is some info for all the DLM4life members. Do you know that when you get your model out of the package and trash the packaging you are trashing a portion of your hard earned money - May be you guys want to join the other group
There sill be only 1:64 scale and 1:43 scale models. No more 1:18 scale range as it is not getting much attention per Mattel. The 1:64 scale models will be limited to 7500 pieces each but it does not say this on the packaging (Thank God). The series includes My Classic Cars, Show Case, Barrett Jackson, Superfast and may be more.
The 1:43 scale series will have 6 pieces but only 3 models as each model will have two color variations. The series includes Barrett Jackson, Mustang 40th Anniversary plus may be more. This is limited to 3000 pieces for each color. Once again, the quantity is not printed on the packaging.
Military Land & Air assortment will have 6 new tools for the planes. Red Baron, F-86 Sabre Jet, Mig 15, F104 Star Fighter, F100 Super Saver and one more that I could not get the name. There will be two waves of these planes. Each wave will have 3 new tools and 3 re-colors from the existing line. New packaging looks really cool.
The Military tanks will also have new packaging and only two new tools are included.
There will be some two packs to promote sales at different retail stores. This includes Mustang, Ford, Chevy & Chrysler.
AVON will have Best Friends 2-Packs. This includes Blues Clues and Spongebob Squarepants. More are in the works.
There will be more Simon & Schuster models. The first will be available in May with an exclusive Dump Truck. The other will be available in October. Sorry did not get the model on this.
Hopefully the Matchbox site will be updated for 2004. They have new plans for it (?????). Also, a question was asked about linking club sites to which Mattel responded that the reason they do not add links to these sites is because Mattel does not control the contents of these sites and they do not want to get into any legal issues. I think this is fair enough.
There will be exclusive models for the NY Toyfair as well as the Nuremburg Toyfair. These will be two different models. The US model will be in very limited quantity while the Nuremburg will be in quantity more than the NY Toyfair. All participant at the meeting were given one complimentary NY Toyfair model. Thank you Mattel as I don't have to buy one on eBay now.
Now at the end, the 2004 Matchbox show is planned for August 7 & 8 which conflicts with McGungie show but Mattel did not have much choice as most of the dates were booked. Mattel promised that they would have better dates in 2005.
I guess this is it for now. Pictures will follow later. I took over 60 pictures at the meeting and it would take some time before I put them on the board.
Hopefully, I did not miss much. In case I missed anything other members will fill in.
Enjoy and Happy Hunting.