10th Annual Matchbox Collectors Gathering (2012) Review

Dear Fellow Collectors,

When I started writing this report I did not know how to start as this is my last report as the Matchbox Ambassador. I have completed my one year tenure and ready to pass the torch to the new Ambassador. The term ended with the announcement of the new Ambassador. However, as an outgoing Ambassador, it is my pleasure to report the convention activities. Before I share that information, I like to thank Mattel for giving me the opportunity/honor to be the Matchbox Ambassador. I feel lucky and blessed to have good people around me throughout my life. Nothing would have been achieved without everyone's support. I thoroughly enjoyed my time reporting the Matchbox news to the collectors. At the same time, I had fun gathering data for Mattel on various items. So thank you very much to all of you who supported me throughout the past year by sending me emails, calling me directly, talking to me in person, simply commented on my reports, and more importantly provided the information I was looking for. I really appreciated everyone's help. It is very difficult for me to name every single person here so I will pass my Thank You to all of you. With that said, I would like all of you to join me in welcoming John T. Lambert as the next Matchbox Ambassador. Read more about him a little later in this report. Now, let's get right into the weekend activities.

After maneuvering my ways through NJ highways on a rainy Friday morning and running between terminals B & C of Houston International airport to make a connection in less than 30 minutes, I finally arrived in Albuquerque at around 3:30pm. I waited a few brief moments at the terminal to meet up with my roommate (Dave Weber of Pennsylvania Matchbox Collector Club). We picked up our rental car and off to the hotel. We reached the hotel at around 5:30pm. This was my second trip to the Gathering. Back in 2010, when I came for the first time, I had an adventure. According to Chuck's report back then, the hotel had just installed a new water fall. With my luck, that waterfall went through my room. Although nothing was damaged, there was water all over the room. I was hoping for a better experience this time. Luckily, I did not have to go through any such adventures this year. Everything went smoothly :)

After checking-in, Dave and I headed towards our room. As soon as exited the elevator, John Lambert, who happened to be walking on the same floor, told me to visit Everett Marshall's room right away. Knowing that Everett usually has his Charity model at this time of the year, I knew what he was talking about so I dropped my suitcase in the room went straight to 4th floor and picked up my Charity model from Everett. I would not make any comments on the model and let all you decide. However, I must say that the choice of these models are getting better and better every year. I am looking forward to the next year's model already.

(both pictures courtesy of "The Lamley Group" )

Walking back to my room, I said to myself, "If the beginning for the weekend is like this then I am very much looking forward to the rest of my stay. I was not wrong. The weekend was filled with a lot of fun, talking to fellow collectors, visiting various rooms and finding good deals, I enjoyed and learned at the various seminars. All in all, the best time I have had at a Matchbox Convention in quite some times.

The Meet & Greet was scheduled for 8:00pm. Soon the collectors started to gather for the Meet & Greet. The collectors started chatting with each other and enjoyed each other's company while waiting for the Mattel Team to arrive. The team arrived shortly. This year Mattel sent five representatives. Most of them for the first time.

from left to right Dave Weise, Shefali Patel, Talal Sadeh, Andrew Grant, and Roman Cortez
(picture taken at the Meet & Greet event on Friday night)

Here is a little introduction of the Mattel team - taken from the Gathering welcome package.

Dave Weise: Dave needs no introduction. We all know about him. Dave has been with Mattel for over 17 years. The first 10 years with Hot Wheels before joining Matchbox in 2005. He is the Manager for Matchbox Die-cast vehicle. His design team has extremely talented people. He is also an avid model car builder and collector for 35+ years. He has an extensive collection of 1:25 & 1:24 scale models. Model building is his passion and admits to being a car nut which is why he enjoys being a part of the Matchbox Team.

Talal Sadeh: Talal is the Global Marketing Manager at Mattel overseeing the Matchbox brand portfolio. He started his career at Mattel as a summer MBA intern and over the course of 3+ years he has worked across multiple business segments including Hot Wheels Tracks and Playsets, Radio Control, and Wild Grinders. Talal joined the Matchbox team in Jan 2012 and is very excited about his role. I enjoyed talking with Talal. We have a few things in common. First, he has the same first name as my nephew. Second, him and I went to the same college - NYU Leornard N. Stern School of Business for our MBAs. Graduation timing was off by a few year. Third, we both have passion for Matchbox Toys.

Andrew Grant: Andrew is the US Marketing Manager for Matchbox working closely with retailers domestically on marketing programs and promotions. Internaly, he works closely with Talal on the Matchbox brand promotions for the US market. He joined Mattel in 2009 and has worked on a number of licensed entertainment and wheels brands, including WWE and Hot Wheels RC. He joined the Matchbox team in December 2011.

Roman Cortez: Roman is a Los Angeles based artist who is easy going and a fun-loving person. His art can be described as a cartoony graffiti style with bold lines and colors. He has worked on brands like, Hot Wheels, X-Games, WWE, Rob Dyrdek's Wild Grinders, Nike, Warner Bros, Disney, and many more. When not busy designing artwork, he writes, directs, creates music videos, and has showcased comedy short films for the last 12 years at various film festivals around the world.

Shefali Patel: Shefali joined Mattel in January 2011 working on international marketing for Hot Wheels and Matchbox. After a year, she joined the Matchbox team in January 2012. She is part of the global brand team as an Associated Marketing Manager focusing on Matchbox Diecast and Playsets. She has a Master's degree from Pepperdine University and has travelled around the world seeking new adventures. She has travelled to many countries including Australia, Brazil, India, and Scotland before finding her way to Los Angeles. She is a big fan of Matchbox brand as she grew up playing with Matchbox Toys during her many visits to London.

The collectors were provided with refreshements and a couple of cakes sponsored by Matchbox team

Throughout Friday and Saturday in-room trading was at full swing. Collectors and dealers from Brazil, Canada, Germany, Japan, UK, and of course collectors from various parts of the US were in attendance.

Three very informative seminars were held on Saturday. Hardy Ristau from Germany presented on Regular wheels. He talked about "The Rare Ones & Pre-Production" models. I wish I had never attended this seminar. Many of you know that I am not into Regular wheels, however, after listening to this seminar, I am seriously thinking about getting into this series. Good thing is there is nothing new in this series. Challenge is to get find and afford them all.

Paul Carr from UK (a former engineer at Lesney) shared his experiences from the Lesney days with the collectors. He shared fond memories of his time and showed some extremely good looking pre-production models in his presentation. This was the fourth presentation in this series. I am sure there are many more to come. I am looking forward to his future presentations.

The last seminar of the day was Matchbox Designer presentation. The Mattel team shared the Car Designing process and answered questions from the collectors. Talal mentioned that the team is looking to update the Matchbox web site. We should expect a new site up soon. They also talked about a potential way of providing a catalog. Most likely in an electronic format. Posters and/or catalogs are still a long way to go. Stay tuned for more information on that. I am sure our current ambassador will keep us posted.

In between the seminars, a custom contest was held where various collectors showed their talent by creating the custom designs. The categories included: Mild, Spicy, Hot, and Mattel Designer Choice. Collectors were asked to vote for their favorite custom models.

The dinner and convention started at around 5:00pm. All attendees were given a Dinner Model. As usual, there were two dinner models. The first 75 registrants were given the model with the eagle on the hood. The model is limited to only 75 pieces.

(both pictures courtesy of "The Lamley Group" )
The second dinner model is limited to 125 pieces. The first 75 registrants were given the opportunity to purchase the second model (only one per attendee). All dinner models were sold out that night.

(both pictures courtesy of "The Lamley Group" )

Jim Gallegos kicked off the convention by introducing the Mattel team to the dinner attendees.

(Dan Bush & Jim Gallegos)

He asknowledged the convention volunteer team who worked effortlessly to make this convention a success.

Just before dinner Sammy Fox presented a special framed picture to the Mattel Design Team from the Slo City Fire Fighters in appreciation of Mattel's efforts to continue on a project that is impacting a widow of a Slo City Fire Fighter who lost his life on the life of duty recently.

After dinner the Custom Car Contest winners were announced. Jim Reid, Tom Young, and Jay Larry were the winners

(in this picture Jim Reid & Tom Young accepting their awards from Jim Gallegos)

This was followed by a presentation from the Matchbox Team.

(pay close attention to Roman's t-shirt for the 60th Anniversary logo)

(Dave Weise and Andrew Grant)

(Shefali Patel and Talal Sadeh)

First, John T. Lambert was announced as the next Matchbox Ambassador. John has been a well-known name among the collectors. He has been involved in creating an Online Matchbox catalog at MCCH. Him and, our former Ambassador, David Tilley has started a Matchbox blog called "The Lamley Group." John has a passion for Matchbox toys. He is also an avid collector of Hot Wheels toys. In addition to the two big brands, John enjoys collecting toy cars from various other brands. I think he is an excellent choice and will do a great job.

Second, yours truly was presented with the exclusive 1 of 1 Gold plated Routemaster Bus as an outgoing Matchbox Ambassador.

Third, a short video was shown introducing each member (including the ones that were not present) of the Matchbox Team.

I did not count but I believe 16-20 team members were introduced in that video. This was followed by a small presentation by Talal Sadeh. He shared the Matchbox vision as "Matchbox vehicles empower boys to take on any adventure they can dream of - Unstoppable vehicle Heroic Adventure." . Shefali shared her thoughts about streamlining the Matchbox Miniature Line segmentations. In 2012 we have seen the miniature line divided into 12 segments. This will change to four segments in 2013 - Explorers, Construction, Heroic Rescue, and Adventure City. She also showed a couple of commercial covering the Fall product line. The first was about "Shark Escape Cliffhanger Playset and the second was on Big Boots - Heroic Faces. I believe this is the plastic line. Sorry, I must have been overtaken by the beauty of my Ambassador Bus as I do not have any notes on this commercial. (sorry!!!!!!)

Fourth, Dave Weise shared the sneak peak of the 2013 Line. For 2013, we will continue to see 120 models in the miniature line. The line will have a greater presence of European models. There will be 26 new tools in the line. They are:

MINIATURE LINE (subject to change)
1966 A 100 Dodge Truck
VW Type 34 Karman Ghia Convertible
Lamborghini Galardo LP560 A Polizia
Renault Master Ambulance
Fire Tanker (Generic)
European Fire Truck (Generic)
Police Truck (Generic)
Fire Pumper (Generic)
Range Rover Evoque
Food Truck (Generic)
All Terrain Crane (Generic)
Road Grader
Conventional Cab Truck (Generic)
Mega Dump Truck (Generic)
Hovercraft (Generic)
Submarine (Generic)
4x4 Explorer Vehicle
BMW R1200 GS Motor Bike
International Scout II
Adventure Truck (Generic)
International MXT - MVA
MBX Convertible (Generic)
MBX Sedan (Generic)
MBX Sports Coupe (Generic)

SKYBUSTER LINE will have five new tools - All Generic:

Flying Saucer
Futuristic Chopper
Shark Plane
Mega Jet
Twin Tail Fighter

There will be an introduction of a new line geared towards the children. The line is called "Creature Catchers." This line will be slightly larger than the Real Working Rigs (RWR) and will come with plastic Nasty looking creatures. There will be 6 new tools with 10 different creatures.

Now to more interesting news. In addition to the 1-120 Miniature line, there will be a 60th Anniversary Line. This line will have existing tooling but will have a combination of Classic and Modern vehicles. This line will have exclusive decos and will come in a Lesney style premium packaging. The models will be sealed in individual blister packs. A picture box will also be included inside the blister pack. The bliser card will say "Collect all 24." The series is not limited to any particular market. This means collectors from around the world will be able to purchase these models locally. There will be a total of 25 models (24 + 1) in this series. The 25th model will be a chase model. Currently, Routemaster Bus is slated as the Chase model. This bus will also be part of the 24 models. Hence we will see two different versions of the Routemaster Bus in the 60th Anniversary Line. The chase model will be released in limited quantities. Although the quantities were not discussed, I believe that there will be enough for everyone as the models will be released in all parts of the world.

After Mattel's presentation, the auction started. There were over 140 lots in the auction this year. This included 105 items donated by the collectors community, and 41 items donated by Mattel including four posters from the 2013 line.

Yours truly won this in the auction

In addition, there are 10 Resin items that are being auctioned off at the Toy Collector Website. As usual Dan Bush ran the auction and kept everyone on their toes and kept the auction moving on time.

All proceeds will be given to Rachel's Courtyard.

Sunday was the toy show day. Dealers started setting up early. The doors were open to general public at 10:00 am. A Kids Corner was set up with Matchbox Playsets and Matchbox Miniature models.

I believe all childrean under the age of 12 were given one free miniature model at the enterance. All dealers were able to purchase an exclusive Dealer Model (limited to one per table). Again, an excellent choice of a Fire Truck

both pictures courtesy of "The Lamley Group"

Mattel reps were available throughout the day. At around 11:00 AM two fire Trucks pulled into the hotel's parking lot.

from left to right Jim Gallegos, Jim B (Fire Chief), David Weise

Jim Gallegos, Jim B (Fire Chief), David Weise, Yours Truly, Shaun Gallegos (Drivers Seat), & Roman Cortez

Roman Cortez

Shaun Gallegos

The Albuquerque fire chief (Jim B.. sorry forgot his last name. I am pretty sure it started with the letter "B")

Albuquerque Fire Chief signing esheets at the toy show

signed the esheets of the Dealer Model Fire Truck. Some dealers had their dealer model blister card signed by him as well. Mattel team also signed

Dave Weise and Albuquerque Fire Chief signing esheets at the toy show

the dinner models' esheets and the dealer model esheets. There were over 100 tables in the hall and a constant flow of public through the day. Jim announced that the 11th Gathering has been held on July 19-21, 2013. So get ready and book your reservations in advance.

Oh yes, two more things:
First, one Corgi Model with a character was raffled by Toy Peddler. Everyone was encouraged to register with Toy Paddler and at the end of the weekend, one lucky winner would this Toy Car.

Rob Zurburg from Orlando, FL won this

Second, .... the Matchbox Passport model is still going around the world.

It is coming home to New Jersey with me. From here it goes to UK, then Germany, and then to other places. Anyone still interested in getting that model to their neck of the wood. Please contact Jim Gallegos.

For now, this is it. More news coming from our newly selected Ambassador.

Until then Happy Collecting.......


Here are links to other pictures that I did not get to show you in the report. I am sure everyone is interested in the 2012 and 2013 models. The link to those pictures is here as well...... Enjoy!
Bat (view # 1)
Bat (view # 2)
Bat (view # 3)
Water Hauler (Shown Before)
Frost Fighter (Shown Before)
Garbage Truck
BMW Motor Bike (Shown Before)
Fork Life
4x4 Scrambuler Dark Blue Gorilla
Pontiac Fire Bird Lime Green (Shown Before)
Mustang Red (Shown Before)
Tow Truck
Pontiac GTO ?? Black
Check This out Lime Green in only first batch. Real color is Mint Green
Group of four models

Vaccume Truck Discussed earlier
Trolley Truck Discussed earlier
Armored Truck
Jungle Adventure Discussed earlier
Road Grader Discussed earlier
All Terrain Tractor Discussed earlier

Porsche 911 Recolor - Tilley what do you think?
Jeep Recolor
Fiskar Karma Recolor
Above Three Models Together Recolor

Model - 01 Fire Truck
Model - 02
Model - 03
Model - 04
Model - 05
Model - 06
Model - 07
Model - 08
Model - 09
Model - 10

Our New Ambassador with his Daughters
The Four Ambassadors
Brian Walker & Randy Vincent
Dave Webber Ex-President of Pennsylvania Matchbox Collectors Club
Hardy Ristau from Germany
Burney Reid from Canada
Sammy Fox & Family Slo City, CA
Steve & Eva Gal Mom, Me, & Matchbox
Rob Zurburg from Orlando, FL
Paul from Toy Padler, Oregon

Regular Wheels Seminar # 01
Regular Wheels Seminar # 02
Regular Wheels Seminar # 03
Regular Wheels Seminar # 04
Regular Wheels Seminar # 05
Regular Wheels Seminar # 06
Regular Wheels Seminar # 07
Regular Wheels Seminar # 08
Paul Carr Seminar
Mattel Seminar # 01
Mattel Seminar # 02

Sunday Show # 01
Sunday Show # 02
Sunday Show # 03
Sunday Show # 04
Sunday Show # 05
Sunday Show # 06

Shabbir Malik../
Matchbox Ambassador (July 2011-July 2012)

G Book

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