Sunday, May 24, 2015

This week's As is the Custom is now up on the Lamley Customs Blog...

So, would you agree that the first month of the Lamley Customs Blog has been a rousing success?  We think it has.

Seth, Luke, and Chris have done a magnificent job rounding up the best for each week's As is the Custom, and even better they have added some fantastic new features, like Artist of the Week and a compilation of their Instagram custom contest, Friday Night Likes.

The bread and butter of the new blog is now up, and you can see it here:

As is the Custom on the Lamley Customs Blog

From what I have heard, you can now look forward to a full "How-to" series coming up, covering the very basic to highly complicated customizing methods.  Many have asked for that in the past, and now we have the folks who can make it happen.

And also many thanks to all of you for A) submitting your customs if you have them, and B) going and reading the Lamley Customs Blog.

One note: Earlier this week we found out that some customs we were featuring were being credited to the wrong person.  These images, possibly unknowingly because of a language barrier, were submitted to us in a way that made us think they were created by the submitter.  It has since been removed, but we want to make sure to let everyone know that crediting the proper artist is very important to us.  If you see that we have made a mistake, please let us know and we will correct it immediately.  If we are asking to show a custom that you have featured on your IG or Facebook page, but it is not yours, we ask that you let us know who the proper artist is.  We try to do our due diligence, but the things are we can't turn over every stone.

The most important part of showcasing customs is crediting the artist.  We hope you can all help us do that properly.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Holy Grail acquired: The 2012 Matchbox Dodge Challenger SRT8 9-pack exclusive arrives...

Looks like I need a new Holy Grail...

If you remember, a few weeks ago I showcased the Matchbox that got away.  The 2012 Matchbox Dodge Challenger SRT8 in green was exclusive to one 9-pack, and while I bought one for my Lamley partner and showcased it on the blog before mailing to him in the UK, I totally forgot to get one for myself.  When I realized that, they were all gone from the store shelves, and nowhere to be found on eBay.

I have looked and looked ever since, in obscure stores and online, to no avail.  That is until I posted my article about Holy Grails, explaining what they were, and why the Challenger was mine.  Soon after I heard from a good friend on Instagram, @diecastme, who told me he had one.  We worked out a deal (he has something very cool headed his way), and the Challenger left Canada on its journey to Utah.

It is here, and it was worth the wait.  I have always liked the Matchbox Challenger SRT8.  No frills, realistic proportions, and great detail.  It looks especially good next to the Hot Wheels version, which has suffered from one of the worst cases of largerearwheelitis we have seen.  Its monstrous rear wheels distort the model so bad it doesn't look at all like the real thing.  Thankfully that is not the case with the Matchbox version.

The only problem I have had with the Matchbox Challenger is the wheels.  The first few sported the double 10-spoke wheels, which I have always loved, but not on the Challenger.  The casting was meant to sit on the MB 5-spoke wheels.

It finally happened with the lime green version.  The satin lime was a perfect color, and the 5-spoke wheels looked fantastic.  It was just hard to find.  The model was supposed to be the basic line, but a few snags with the Dodge license meant the models that were already made would head to 10-packs.  Some of us hoped we would see it on the basic card later, but that day never came.  Matchbox later released the purple version as a make-up for the gap created by the green Challenger, but no more greens were released.

And it is too bad, because it looks so good, especially now that I can take better photos compared to  the last time I had it.

Welcome home...

So what is my next grail?  No idea.  If nothing comes to mind right away, than I surely don't have one.  That could change very quickly...

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Last Golden Age of Matchbox: Porsche 911 GT3...

We have talked a lot about Matchbox lately.

My plead for the return of Matchbox realism hit a chord with a lot of you, and comments keep rolling in.  The orange brand might be second fiddle to the blue brand in a lot of ways, but there is a lot of passion out there for Matchbox.

And as the unlicensed, nonrealistic cars hang on the pegs, and we lament the days when Matchbox was primarily about realism, we think it is good time to hearken back to the last great age of Matchbox.

That time was 2004 to about 2011.  Matchbox was coming off the dreadful Hero City days in the early 2000's, and there was a team of passionate designers who took the Matchbox brand and made it exactly what they wanted.  The orange brand became a canvas for all things automotive.  From construction to emergency to off-road to sports cars to classics, popular and obscure.  They were in the basic line, and also in the revamped Superfast line.

The designers were from the US, and England, and Japan, to name a few, and the line reflected their tastes.  For every Camaro, there was an Alfa Romeo.  For every Mustang, an Olds Wagon.  For every Corvette, a classic Volvo.  Each year, more interesting cars were introduced, and you knew that they would show up in several realistic colors and liveries each year thereafter.

That meant the basic line got more and more interesting each year.  Toyota Land Cruisers and 4Runners, Austin Mini Vans, Ford GT's, Morgan Aeromax's, Land Rover Defenders, Holden Utes, Audi Avants.  You can see that we can go on and on.

So over the next few weeks and months, we plan on featuring a great number of these models.  If you are not familiar with the models of that era, you will be.  You will learn terms like "NSF" and "ROW", and most importantly, you will see some of the best $1 diecast ever made.

And it sounds like hype, but it isn't.  These models are amazing.  I do the Lamley Blog because it is fun to do, and this series may be the most fun of all.

So let's start with a Porsche.

With all due respect to Hot Wheels, Porsche and Matchbox are a perfect match.  Just looking back to the last few years, we have seen some fantastic Porsche castings:

And later this year we will see the Cayman S, which was previewed last July in the Ambassador Report:

Each one of these deserves their own post, and that day will come.  But today, it is the 911 GT3.

The GT3 has enjoyed a prosperous life since its debut in 2007.  And if I remember correctly, that day almost didn't happen.  The Porsche was a late edition to the line, after another model was dropped (I think it was a Rolls Royce, but I need to confirm that).  It was released late in the 2007 line, and based on release dates, actually debuted in an exclusive 10-pack in yellow.  Its initial basic release was white, which hit the pegs a month later.  (The yellow remains my favorite version, and is now one of the hardest to acquire.)

Since then we saw it in all kinds of realistic colors in its early years, then with some great GT3 graphics a little later on, and it even survived the cartoon years with some unrealistic side designs.  It has come full circle with its most recent release in orange with realistic front and rear tampos.

So outside of those two late exceptions, the 911 GT3 has looked splendid.  It starts with the casting, designed by Ryu Asada, who recently designed the equally fantastic Porsche 934 for Hot Wheels (see, the Golden Age of Matchbox has influence everywhere at Mattel!).  It sits at a perfect height, and its stance is as menacing as the real thing.  It is also greatly detailed.  The plastic spoiler always looked correct, so we are curious to see if its new metal spoiler will enhance or detract once the next version is released.

But enough about how much we like it.  Here is a hell of a lot of photos of all releases, including a couple of wheel variations.  This is a model totally worth collecting, if you aren't already, and we see many versions on eBay right now.

Enjoy the pics, as well as the new series.  We would love your feedback, and yes, we are taking requests.  Let us know what models from the 2004-2011 era you would like to see featured...

Matchbox Porsche 911 GT3:

2007 10-pack exclusive

2007 Mainline New Model

2007 Mainline recolor

2008 5-pack

2008 Superfast

 wheel variation

2008 Mainline

2009 5-pack

 2009 Mainline

 2010 Mainline

2011 Mainline

2012 Mainline

wheel variation

60th Anniversary

2013 Mainline

2014 Mainline