Matchbox Routemaster debacle

Matchbox MB694 : Routemaster Bus (Wheyhemes)

Matchbox MB694 : Routemaster Bus (Wheyhemes Special Release)

You really have to wonder who is in charge at Mattel. Since taking over the Matchbox brand they seem to stumble from one disaster to the next and the latest idea is no exception.

They have come up with what I think is a great idea but as usual implementing it seems to have failed them, firstly they take the classic and iconic casting of the London Routemaster Bus and then cover it in a garish American styled design.  Now please dont mis-understand me, I like the design and it is really well done, but it should not be on a Routemaster Bus and certainly not on the first release of a new form of selling vehicles.  Why not use a typical London Transport livery with some period correct advertising.

Next is the choice of wheels; what on earth where the designers thinking? Have they ever seen a Routemaster bus? judging by the wheel choice I would guess that the answer is no to that question.  Then there is the continued over use of plastic; for US$25 you would think a metal base would be in order but no, it was given the usual plastic base which is another own goal in my opinion and the interior; what can you say, a component where you can accept plastic as the material to use is in this case chrome as well, since when does a bus have a chrome interior?

Matchbox MB694 : Routemaster Bus (Wheyhemes)For me the price is too high for what you will get; not that the price matters as the model itself was for the most part unobtainable. The model became available online at the new Mattel Creations website at 5pm (UK Summer time) and within 10 minutes it had sold out.  Now whilst I understand that the idea of a limited model is to sell out, Mattel clearly dont care about the true collector.  Firstly anyone lucky enough to get in on time could purchase multiple models; why was it not limited to 1 model per purchase, that way the collector might stand a chance instead of now having to go to eBay or the like and pay double the money from people that clearly dont care about the brand or the hobby but simply want to capitlise on Mattels inability to control their distribution in a better way.

Matchbox MB694 : Routemaster Bus (Wheyhemes)Next was the website itself, many people including myself never had a chance because it was not clear how and where on the website you could purchase the model, you had to spend time searching for it and by the time that was done it was too late, a common report on the Mattel Creations website from quite a few collectors who were left disappointed.

The next problem as I see it is that this iconic British Routemaster, released under the iconic British brand name of Matchbox by all reports was not even available to those in Britain; it just boggles the mind that this is the case. Once again we have a great idea that has been poorly executed and poorly delivered and just makes you wonder why.

If you dont have enough disappointment in your life and you are interested in missing out on the next special release then sign up for the Mattel Creations website at so that you can be notified of what the next model will be that you cannot obtain.



Collector of Matchbox cars for many years

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