Mattel Creations ’72 Volkswagen Beetle Dragster
Another premium release from Mattel creations and for me its another missed opportunity. Collectors all over the world are crying out for a well made proper diecast Matchbox car reminiscent of the past when diecast actually meant diecast not moulded plastic. Mattel in their wisdom have chosen for this release to honour the days of Lesney with a reproduction of the MB43-B Dragon Wheels casting from 1972.
The choice of casting for me is a stroke of genius, a classic Lesney casting that collectors from all over the world love, along with the fact that its a Volkswagen Beetle at its core means a whole different group of collectors will want this model, again a great idea. The whole point of producing a new model for any company is to maximise its profit potential and certainly the casting choice as done that for Mattel.
The designers in bringing this model to market have chosen to honour or replicate the original Lesney colour scheme which is again a great idea. The basic design with the green body really gives you the feel of the original 1970s models and again you must say WELL DONE to the team at Mattel.
Sadly though other than the brilliant choice of casting and the obvious colour choice, that is where the praise for this model ends. Everything from then onward just doesn’t make sense to me. Firstly there is the side tampo of ”Draggin Wheels”, why? what was wrong with using the word Dragon? why make this change, there just seems no reason for it and as it is clearly a modern take on the original why change the name that every collector knows it as.
Then there are the other aspects of the tampo print, why use ‘No.2’ what is the meaning of that? This is not the second Mattel Creation model, nor has it ever been related to the number 2 in its history; surely it would have made more sense to have that aspect of the print read No.43 as a nod to its original position in the 1-75 range. The real world sponsorship from companies like Goodyear is a nice touch and appropriate for a drag vehicle but what is with those headlights? The headlights created on far cheaper models look way superior to these so for me thats another let down.
Then there is the packaging, for me its a little bland and boring and for its lack of design you have to wonder why bother at all. The wheel choice is very drag race looking which I guess is the look and feel that the Mattel designers where going for but for me it looks more like Hot Wheels and than Matchbox so that also detracts from the model.
Overall, I think this is sadly another missed opportunity. The model has far to much plastic content, not enough actual diecast metal, not enough thought into the tampo or design to represent the past model to which it refers and a plain and uninspiring diorama. For US$25 it is clearly another money grab from Mattel and is way over priced for what you get. Most collectors, particularly those from outside the USA (Yes there exists such a thing) we are happy to pay a higher price for quality but this just doesn’t tick those boxes.
Maybe next time…