Wednesday, 23 July 2014

End of term report - MB Ambassador - Nigel Cooper

The time has come for Nigel Cooper to hand over the reigns to a new MB Amby chosen by Mattel - the new incumbent being Larry Scaduto. 

I have no idea who Larry is TBH, but that is not the point of this blog - the end of year report will come for him this time next year. 

So let's turn to Nigel Cooper's tenure as Amby.

I still don't agree with the position - I really don't - why Mattel need to channel through a medium is beyond me. However, it is there as a position to update the the 'collector' - if there are any buggers left. 

It didn't start well - not at all. John Lambert did a great job of raising the bar for the Amby, which made a complete mockery of the previous incumbent 'Shambles Malik' - who let's face it wanted the kudos more than he wanted the job. So anything John did was a 100% improvement on the previous. But there were flaws - stubborness and smugness which dinged the good looking bodywork of a beautiful carriage. But despite this, I awarded John a A- (losing massive points for his fuck up with the Brush Fire Truck) - I can hear him now talking about Mr Dead Horse and say "Geez, you sure are critical of me...." - well, I am - deal with it. 

I digress - back to the subject matter. Nigel Cooper was renowned in MB circles as a great authority on the Lesney years and had co-written many a article with the likes of the late Wolfie Ginsburg and Charlie Mack. 

But as I said it did not start well - no report for a good period of time led to questions about how the standard of John Lambert's reports will be maintained. 

A self-confessed note to all collectors stated Nigel himself was not the best at the old forums and emails - which was fair play, but as time progressed, things got better and better and from about week 15 of his tenure, there was a familiar rhythm to the Amby reports.

Mattel blurb and Nigel's own addition - "A little bit of history". These wonderful articles made the wait every week for the Amby report so worthwhile - a delve into the archives giving all an insight to the minds of Messers Smith and Odell; the reasoning behind castings and how the developed for various markets. It was truly great to read week in and week out.

Whereas folk were tiring of the constant rubbish coming from Mattel marketing and the down right stupid questions asked by some to Mattel, Nigel's articles were a refreshing citrus to the dull drone of Corporate Mattel. 

So much so that Nigel has given me permission to archive his 'lectures' on matchbox1-75.co.uk as part of the history section so that it is there for all to see and share. 

 What also pleased me from time to time is that you could also sense Nigel's frustration at Mattel for just not giving Matchbox a fighting chance at times - it was not done with venom, but thankfully with British grace. Hats off to you.

So pretty much like Liverpool in the 2006 FA Cup final (b'stds!!), Nigel snatches victory in his tenure. And we are all more informed and better about the hobby for it.

Nigel has also kindly given me permission to publish the history element via matchbox1-75.co.uk as well - I would to pernally thank him for allowing me to do so - I am STILL trying to convert them to PDF which is taking a long time to do - coupled with my laziness. 

And so it is over to Larry Scaduto. Again, someone I do not know, but I will give the benefit of the doubt. A massive and thankless job, I don't even him at all - you are never going to please all. 

End of term grading: A
misses out A+ due to initial start - but I could be tempted to give him an A+ for being a Brit......rather than a Yank......


Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Monday, 21 July 2014

It's that time of year again..........

I haven't had the need to blog about Mark Curtis for sometime, but his madness has been brought up on the MCF once more:



Well, well, well...........

Now what is the reckoning that the site will be out of operation until the next couple of days (ie. Monday or Tuesday). 

What a sad little man Curtis really is - still so bitter and twisted that he is not involved with the premier Matchbox showcase for 2014? Annoying stalwarts of the MCCH so much that they have had enough and are now leaving the MCCH? Even the likes of mbx64 and jpi37087 - MCCH veterens - have had enough. 

Yet the FB Page that Curtis runs has over 900 members, but FB is a banned word on the MCCH !!

Talk about Jekyll and Hyde.

Confused and out of sync - it seems that once the flagship for MB Collectors in terms of forums is going down the pan - at $400 a month worth of hosting cost, the numbers of donators is drying up.......and thus it seems less and less worthwhile for him to be bothered, whereas on social media, Curtis gets all the kudos and attention he needs. 

He is a blight on the hobby - and the sooner people realise what he is really like, the better. I want to see his empire crumble. 

Again, what is the betting that the MCCH is back up and running today (Monday) or Tuesday at the very latest??

Mark Curtis - you are easier to read than blank menu. 

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Lego Star Wars - 4476 - Jabba's Prize

Sorry about the bad photos - but again, we can see how very basic the early Star Wars Lego models were.

Jabba's Prize is a little more sophisticated within the 9516 set - yes, I need to get the blog up about that model......it's coming.

But TBH, when this was first released, I suppose you would get all excited with it. It was pretty unique to see Star Wars in Lego. That was almost 12 years ago.

Today in 2014 it really does not cut it at all - it is pretty awful. The detail is minimal.

Another one for the spares bin - why these go for silly money on ebay, I do not know.

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Saturday, 19 July 2014

Lego Star Wars - 6206 - Tie Interceptor

I knew that I had this one floating around somewhere - and it was due to the cleansing of the attic that I found the instructions for this build which then accounted for the heap of pieces that I had left over doing nothing for no good reason.

A smart model that complements the Imperial Tie Fighter build well.

I think that there is a part or two missing, but soft, I will use the parts bin that is gathering momentum.

The model comes with the Tie Fighter pilot, but he is buried somewhere in a freezer bag along with other figures as well.

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Friday, 18 July 2014

Lego Star Wars - 4475 - Jabba's Message

Another one of those early Jabba the Hut sets that I got a few years ago.

It really shows the difference when Lego first started producing the characterisation of the Star Wars franchise as there is not too much that can be done with this set.

It is missing - meaning that it needs to be belong to something - namely Jabba's Palace and just feels very out of place as a stand alone piece.

TBH, now that I have the 2014 release of Jabba's Palace which incorporates the opening gate feature, I think that this will be amalgamated into the SW spares bin more than anything else as it is brings little to the party.

Looking back now, there was a time I wanted to get some of the older Lego SW sets, but thankfully - and having resisted - this has been a wise decision.

The Sand Crawler has been re-released and Jabba's Sail barge is a good update on the principle of the original.

Improvements and updates are really for the better.

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Thursday, 17 July 2014

Bburago 1/43 Alfa Romeo 159

I haven't bought a Bburago for a while as I have most of them already within The Garage.

However, this one really caught my eye -

I already have the version in some manner of colour, but with the standard Bburago wheels.













Just as an aside, this is now knackered as the wee one decided to wreck the rear wheels.......needs super glue surgery.

But look how good the stock model is in metallic grey and with the replicated spoked wheels - simply superb!

It captures the lines of the real car really well and makes if as moody as anything. And the 159 has gained my respect for being a hard b'std in the Quantum of Solace (the only good bit in the film):




A wonderful little model and I like the way that for a budget price, Bburago are adding detail, which I know is a big hit with children as they can relate to the cars they see on the road every day.

Mattel - in their cost-conscious realm - still do not get it.

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Wednesday, 16 July 2014

European diecast requirements for Alarm Fuer Cobra 11


This is the current cover photo for the Alarm fuer Cobra 11 Group on Farcebook.

The reason - obviously - that this caught my eye is the volume of diecast used in the shot.

If you look closely, you will see lots of Siku and a smattering of HW.

But where are the Matchbox models?

Exactly.

Just goes to show that within Europe, Matchbox does not seem to be recognised anymore - and that on the pegs, Siku, Majorette and Norev dominate the 1/64 sector and HW a distant tail ender.

LAAM maybe the market that Mattel want to focus MB on, but now I think that the numbers are more important than the region.

For me, this says it all - Matchbox will carry on, but it will never make the in-roads that it used to. And in Europe, the market is almost dead.

I will be blogging very shortly about the conclusion of my interaction with Mattel - time to draw that chapter to a close.