First of all an apology for a very late report. I attended the Line Preview meeting back in January but could not get the report done until now (April 5, 2003). Most of this information has already been covered at different places including the club newsletters, internet and other areas. However, I wanted to keep the tradition and do a review as to how I saw it first hand. I hope you find this report informative throughout the year.

Here is a preview of all the 2003 models that are expected to be released. I have collected this information from the Line Preview Meeting that was held at the Mattel's Headquarter in Mt. Laurel, NJ on January 15, 2003. Some of the information is from the net as well as from emails from Matchbox Forum, some information is taken from different newsletters and some from other sources. I would like to thank John Y. of Matchbox Forum USA to give me the opportunity to attend the Line Preview meeting again this year. In the past I was told that I only cover the miniature line in my reviews so this year I took good notes and covering almost everything they showed us at the line preview meeting. This includes all plastic items, miniature items, large scale items and play sets. Hopefully, this year no one will think that my review is biased towards one line.

Now enjoy the news, Happy Hunting and don't lose your sleep if you cannot find any particular model. These are only toys. Trust me you will find all of them eventually. Also, note that all pictures on this report are taken by yours truly at the line preview.


2003 will feature only two markets: Domestic Collection & International Collection. There will be no special "CORE" models for Australia, Germany, or UK following last year's path. Germany, however, will have "STARS OF GERMANY" series once again. There will be 60 models from the miniature line that are similar in US as well as in the ROW range. Earlier reports have mentioned that 18 models would be exclusive but as I write this report in April with posters from both markets in my hand only 15 models seem to be exclusive to each market. Numbers 27, 29, 30, 37, 38, 39, 40, 52, 53, 54, 55, 58, 59, 67, & 70 are exclusive models to each market (more details later in this report). There are 18 new tools in the 1-75 range. Most of these toolings are generic vehicles and do not represent any real life models. Once again, each model will be released with or without the Hero City logo. These models will be appearing all over the world.

On April 14, Philadelphia 76ers will be distributing an exclusive model to children attending the game. It is a limited edition 40th Anniversary VW Transporter. This is the only way you can get the model for free else get ready to pay a price on your favorite audction site. No other detail is available at this time.

Once again, ROW will see a promotion from Burger King. This will include 3 models. All of these three models will be based upon the "Hero City" theme.

Ford Motor Corporation is celebrating their 100th anniversary in 2003. Matchbox will release multiple models to celebrate their anniversary. Most of these models will be released under the Matchbox Collectible umbrella, i.e., highly detailed models.

AVON will have multiple releases of different items. One of them will be on Ford-100 and another will be on Skybuster. For more information please contact your local AVON rep.

The Core Line consists of 75 vehicle comprised of 15 themes with 5 models in each theme. Here is a list of the US Range:
-- Sky Fire (#1-#5)
-- Family Wheels (#6-#10)
-- Hospital (#11-#15)
-- Public Works (#16-#20)
-- Bridge Crew (#21-#25)
-- Police Squad (#26-#30)
-- Airport (#31-#35)
-- Mom & Pop Shops (#36-#40)
-- Beach Patrol (#41-#45)
-- Forest Rescue (#46-#50)
-- School Time (#51-#55)
-- Kid's Shoppes (#56-#60)
-- Pumper Squad (#61-#65)
-- Heavy Movers (#66-#70)
-- Car Show (#71-#75)

The 18 new castings are:
MW01 pic Highway Fire Pumper
MW06 pic Opel Speeder
MW11 Emergency Response 4x4 (sorry no photo)
MW16 pic Car Carrier
MW21 pic Cadillac Escalade
MW26 pic Police SUV
MW36 pic Taxi
MW41 pic Sea Rescue Helicopter
MW46 pic Beach 4x4
MW51 pic Pontiac Vibe
MW56 pic Billboard Truck
MW61 Dennis Sabre Fire Truck -- similar to the old version but with rotating ladder (sorry no photo)
MW66 Dodge Ram SRT-10 (sorry no photo)
MW71 pic Jeep Willys
MW72 pic Chrysler PT Cruiser Convertible
MW73 pic Hummer H2 SUV Concept
MW74 Opel Frogster (sorry no photo)
MW75 pic Mini Cooper S

The first 10,000 produced of each casting will be imprinted with the Hero City seal. You might call it a Hero City Hunt. Mattel told us that this hunt series will be similar to the 50th birthday hunt series where models will appear all over the world. Also, the ROW exclusive models will have the Hero City logo as well.

There will be promotional items throughout the year. The first one is for an Armored Car company called Dunbar. This will be a red and white Armored Car. Followed by a set of models for a Casino company. Mattel did not tell us the name of the company but it is expected that the casino would be one of Trump's. WAWA Dairies will have another set later in the year followed by their success in 2002. In October, Duracell will have 4 unique models with AA Battery Pack. This promotion will be on sale at Target Stores throughout the country. The four models include: Chevy Suburban, Humvee, Water Pumper and Police Car. Also, don't forget the Philadelphia 76ers 40th Anniversary VW Transporter released in April.

As usual there will be 12 different 5 packs with exclusive models. The list of five packs was not available at the time of Line Preview. The five packs will be available in a new see-through square tubes. There will be no more traditional rectangular cardboard packages with plastic insert as well as the connectable pipe tubes. The Nicklodeon and Rescue Heroes 5-packs will be refreshed in the fall. The five packs will have no names instead there will be numbers for each set. We have already seen the first three sets.

Currently, Toys R Us is carrying a gift set called "Camp Fun" . This includes 3 models and a torche. Another 3-pack features Fire Heroes. This includes fire models in different colors. Similar to the Fire Heroes, there will be a Police Heroes set. The actual models were not shown for either set. However, there are supposed to be exclusive models. These two sets will be in market around July 4th.

There were no launcher sets shown however, there are supposed to be more exclusive launcher sets. One is already in the market. This includes a "Zoo" theme. Similar to the five packs there will be no name for these launcher sets. They may not even have the numbers. The will be just Launcher sets.

There will be more Pleasant Hill books with models. Nothing was shown at the preview but do check your local bookstore for new releases. Also, keep an eye on the variations for already released models.

There will be a 36 Car Carry Case in red plastic. This will hold 36 cars and will be different than the traditional car carry cases we have seen in the past.

The first promotion will be at Easter. This year there will be two different kind of eggs. One is a Large Size Egg. This will include one puzzle, one miniature model and two skybusters. Another is a standard three pack Small Eggs set. This will have standard miniature models inside. These eggs will be available in either verticle or horizontal forms. The next is a back-to-school promotion with a Traffic Light. This will have a school bus and two other models. The idea behind this traffic light is that it could be used to hold school supplies like pencils, erasers, ruler, etc. The next promotion is during Halloween. There will be a Ghost Mobile set. This includes three glow-in-the-dark models. There will be no exclusive Pumpkin 3-packs this year. Next promotion will be during fall for Secret Snow Cars . Each Snow Man will have one snow ornament inside. Last but not least there will be a Christmas promotion which will include one convoy (Ford Aeromax) and two miniatures (Mustang & '33 Ford Coupe). The miniature models will be in the form of an ornament. In other words, the miniature items will not be actual models.

The miniature skybuster line will have three new toolings. There will be two waves of 12 skybusters each. The new tooling will be spread over these two waves. We have already seen the first wave of these sets. Most of the models will be re-colored as well.

MATCHBOX COLLECTIBLES: Collectibles in 1:64, 1:43 and 1:18 scale provide plenty of nostalgia, entertainment, rescue, fun and work, all to be distributed through mass retailers. The packaging is new, clean and crisp which allows space for flexibility to accommodate other languages required in markets outside of the English speaking world.

1:64 Scale Matchbox Collectibles: The miniature scale models consist of two different themes. The license theme and the M&M (mini classics and military) theme. The license series will have 4 models in each set while the M&M series will have 6 models in each set. The License Series include (in order of release):
Monster of the World
Crocodile Hunter
The Osbournes pic
Saturday Night Live pic
Justice League pic
Looney Tunes pic

There will be a 3-Pack for Justice Leage as well, which will include one exclusive model and two models from the above set.

Mini Classic Assortment includes (in order of release):
Barrett Jackson
Coca Cola Pinups pic
Ford 100 Collection pic
My Classic Cars pic
Coca Cola - Coke Signs pic

The first round of the Classic assortment (all 5 sets) will be released by June and then the second wave will be released in fall. This will have same models as first wave but with different color sceme. Most likely with reverse colors. Coca Cola is not renewing the license with Matchbox after this years so expect to see a number of Coca Cola items this year.

In addition to the above two themes, there will be a Coca Cola diorama series. This series will have the diorama sturcture with nostalgic theme. There will be three models each covering the three eras of 1930, 1960 & 1990. These models will be highly detailed and the items in the diorama will also be very detailed with in-store art work, haning items, actual signs from the eras. The three models are: Dodge Air Flow for 1930, VW Transporter for 1960, and Ford Van for 1990.

The Military Assortment includes 1:72 scale mass collectibles planes and WWI Tanks. There will be six Large Scale Planes available at retail stores. These will be same planes that were sold under Matchbox Collectibles names last year. The packaging will be same and six models will be released in the first wave with recolors later in the year. Airplane buffs get three new plane casting: AP-47, German 109 & Japanese Zero. The WWII Tanks will be availabe with a diorama and will have 6 different castings. This includes 2 US tanks, 2 German tanks, a T-34 & a Churchill. The diorama will have three different backgrounds including Beach, Village and Forest scenes.

1:43 Scale: Leading off with a Barrett Jackson series. This series will have 4 different models and consist of Old Muscle Car tooling. Followed by Ford 100. This includes Ford Bronco , Mustang and two other models. This will follow by Coca Cola models. Once again this series will have 4 items including Model A Ford , VW Beetle Convertible and two other models. The last series is Fire that will have only 3 models in the series.

1:18 Scale: The 1:18 scale models will at least one Ford 100 model. There will be 8 different models in this series including: Barrett Jackson VW Beetle , Performance Parts GMC, Holley Auto Parts Chevy Panel Van, Coca Cola Model TT Van, Coca Cola Jeep Liberty, Mobile Wrecker, Champion Spark Plugs Model TT Van, and Ford 100 (sorry forgot the model).

ELVIS RIGS # 1!! pic There will be 4 vintage tractor trailers from the 1950's that will cover the number 1 hits of Elvis. This will have Elvis's picture and his number one hit title. The price is set at US$9.99 each vehicle.

There will be many different play sets in the stores throughout the year. They will vary in size but each one will have an exclusive model. The sets includes: Construction , Fire Blaster , Skybuster Airport , Ice Mountain , Plus more playsets that were not on display at the meeting. The Ice Mountain set is a large set. This will be released later in the year with a price tag of around US$40+

They did not show us much other than what is already in the market. However, they did show us one big size Plastic Plane. There will still be other Rescue Heroe plastic models in the stores.

This is it for now. I guess this will keep a lot of people busy during the year. I am looking forward to this line as I think it has a lot of good models for collectors. Happy Hunting and Good Luck.

Shabbir Malik / April 2003

G Book

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