Tag Archives: collecting

Mattel Disney Pixar CARS: Motor Speedway of the South Sneak Peek

Yes, we are are edging closer to an actual release date for the Motor Speedway of the South set with REAL evidence of the set. The “Sneak Peek” photos are up at the Hot Wheels Collectors Club (in the Red Line Club Sneak Peek section). Only PC users can see the photos so they are provided here before you sign up – info on how to join are in our post link at the end.

NO PRICE.

NO ACTUAL RELEASE DATE YET.

As we only in the ‘sneak peek’ phase of the sale.

For those unfamiliar with the normal process for the Red Line Club. During the year, Mattel sells 10-15 exclusive cars (or sets) to Red Line Club members. Often, they will put up ‘sneak peek’ photos (not always) but then about 11-12 days out will announce when the item will be available for purchase and start a countdown counter.

As of right now, there is an exclusive ’67 Ford Mustang with a countdown counter that ticks to zero on April 29th so what does that tell us about when the Motor Speedway of the South will go on sale?

We can do an additional process of elimination. Since there is a Hot Wheels car on sale to members on the 29th of April, and there is almost always 10 days from the announcement of “what’s new & exclusive” to the day of the actual sale process – the earliest the set will go on sale is probably May 13, 2008.

Mattel almost always lists the start time on a Tuesday and the 13th is a Tuesday.

So on May 3rd or May 4th, the official announcement, the price and the countdown clock should go up … IF the on-sale date is the 13th.

The subsequent Tuesdays are May 20th and May 28th.

It would highly unlikely to stretch into June as the “sneak peeks” rarely if ever go up more than 2-3 weeks out before the official price & release date announcement. (They also mention ‘time to go racing in May.’)

And it’s not likely to be the 6th, the first Tuesday in May since that sort of crowds/clouds the preview & selling period of the current car (the 2008 RLC™ sELECTIONs™ ’67 Ford Mustang) – every once in a while though, the cars offered will overlap, not likely but possible.

And no, we don’t know if there are any exclusives AND of course, they will not announce if the CARS will be available in another configuration or when.

The only real mini-surprise is that they are not on cards but that makes sense, it makes for a nicer display and it saves Mattel money – since some of the Piston Cup racers barely make it on screen and Mattel can apparently only use ‘official’ artwork rendered by Pixar (for instance, their Rollin’ Bowlin’ Mater card featured regular Mater), there would be a lot more work on their part to come up with card art for all 36 racers.

Any other questions – presumably, they’ve been answered in our recent & older posts so good luck everyone!

(the link shows photos & names of each CAR but the sneak peek from Mattel also included some more officially shots of the Piston Cup racers)

All Photos © Mattel Inc, Mattel RLC Club & Disney/Pixar.

By the way, for international customers – in an older post of ours, we have some suggestions on getting a US pre-paid credit card (scroll down to middle of post). Now, I have NOT tested this out for the Mattel Red Line Club purchases so I am not saying it’s 100% guaranteed but it’s a suggestion you can test out or try if you’re interested in trying to avoid eBay. Good luck

ALSO NOTE: To sign up for the Red Line Club, you must FIRST be a member of the Hot Wheels Club (which is free) so sign up in the HWC first – then click on SHOP and add a Red Line Club membership to your cart.

Un-boxing UPDATE POST here.

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Filed under Advertising, Apple, CARS, collecting, Film, Marketing, Mattel Disney Pixar CARS, Media, Retail, Toys, TV

Mattel Disney Pixar Diecast CARS: CARS 2 Coming, What to Expect For the 1:55 Diecast Line?

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This is exactly the question Mattel is trying to plot out. We are just about exactly 4 years until the sequel returns and the toys for CARS 2 hits the shelves. We are in unknown territory. Most sequels these days are spaced no more than 12-18 months apart or when there is unexpected “next” part fans are eager for like THE HOBBIT, most marketing and especially the action figures just take a rest. There might be some expensive statues or swords (in the case of LOTR) just so you don’t 100% forget but there’s nothing really on the toy shelves until the movie is really ready to come back … but here, CARS, 2 YEARS later, almost to the day is going just as strong if not actually stronger than it was April 2006 when expectations for CARS was pretty low when merchandise started to hit the shelves.

Yes, 2 years later, people are still stripping the shelves clear. Sure Mater & LM might sell a little slower than April 2006 but not much slower and sure, there are pegwarmers but out of a box of 18 that hits the shelf, what’s really left out of that 18 for long? Not many. There are kids turning 1.5 or 2 or in many cases, 39 🙂 who just realized as they watched it on ENCORE this month – hey, this movie is actually GOOD and these CARS are nice …

In case you hadn’t noticed, CARS is the STAR WARS of diecast.

Like STAR WARS, the action figure/toys – it makes its own rules.

There has never been a diecast licensed film line that has sold over 100 DIFFERENT cars and is still going strong. The James Bond cars sold well and you can always sell a Speed Racer Mach 5 or a 1966 Batmobile but none of those lines are 100 cars strong and with NO END IN SIGHT.

Not many diecast car lines – let alone a movie licensed one that almost literally has people bursting at the seams and eager to spend upwards of $300 for the Speedway of the South Piston Cup racer set.

So, what will the 48-month gap (from now) between CARS movies mean for us, the 1:55 diecast scale collector?

The normal course of action is easy – look at Speed Racer, you flood the market and you hope to ride it out until the holidays (when the movie DVD comes out also) – after that, you pretty much let the line wither but CARS is still going strong – even with lulls, gaps, recalls and empty shelves, we came back when the CARS came back. So how does Mattel sustain it for 4 more years?

SEPARATE THE HERD

You might divide out the long-timers/serious from the casual/newbies. So, you keep the sealed individual boxes with mostly CARS that appeals to casual/newbies – after all, if they don’t see LM, Mater, & Fillmore, maybe they’ll just wait to buy it for the 2-year old. You only add new CARS that are visually appealing to newbie/casual collectors like Chuki, Elvis RV, etc … this also helps Mattel space out the remaining CARS that we know have names (from the Blu-Ray finder game) and maintains a steady selling pace at the stores instead of feast or famine and this way, even CARS like Sheriff becomes a mini treasure hunt as he might only appear every other month now that there are over 100 different CARS out. Because while us rabid collectors are eager for every variation – to most – Pit Crew Fillmore with the gas cans is much less enticing than than just regular Fillmore.

Of course, there are another 500 CARS without names or not in the Blu Ray Finder game that people would still be willing to buy … the Pizza truck? Camera Crews?

Or variations without specific mention in the Blu Ray Finder such as perhaps Ghostlight Mater with a blue light or Parking Boot McQ. I’m sure we could come with 50 CARS in 4-minutes time.

For the serious collectors, Mattel makes more money with the Gift/3-packs by limiting them to the Piston Cup racers – of course, not only reselling you the racer but not everyone might want ALL the crew chiefs or ALL the pit crew so by bundling them, Mattel doesn’t have to take a chance that the precious single peg space is clotted with a non-important peg warmer and this way, they also sell you a higher margin $9.99/$10.99 3-pack (probably with at least one CAR you already own also) – same with the launchers. A $3.99 CAR packaged with a $1.00 piece of plastic is nice at $7.99 (well, for Mattel). And of course, for gift giving, both seem nicer so Mattel wins either way. At the holiday, grandma will probably buy a launcher and a 3-pack since they are clearly “more” CAR

And of course, serious collectors are certainly not going to stop buying single carded CARS but a newbie parent who thinks “Lil Josh” is now ready for diecast CARS, who is Dudley Spare? They’d much rather have a Mater or even Wingo … and as long as there is a new CAR or two every 3-4 weeks, the pace might even be better for long term collectors … sure, it was a fun thought that maybe 50% of each case was new but this way, we also don’t have to hunt as hard … and maybe we won’t drop out from giving up …

WHAT ELSE?

And I’m sure we’ll see more exclusive playsets, probably at TRU.

The 4-year gap is also presumably good news for those awaiting Frank, Banshee, the RV’s or the trailers.

The problem is two-fold – as metal, they would be hella heavy and hella expensive in the amount of metal they use but of course, Mattel could charge an appropriate amount but I think the amount of people willing to pay for a in-scale Frank at $19.99 or Banshee at $29.99 is limited (and just as importantly, retailers would not be very excited) so maybe Mattel will launch a real points redemption program – it’s one way to clear the Boosts off the shelves so maybe when Mattel is ready to switch from the WORLD OF CARS motif, they will launch a points redemption program to buy an in-scale Frank for $12.99 if you send 5 WOC card backs (retailers will rejoice as you buy up the ‘old’ CARS to mail away). Sometimes it pays to never throw away anything … but if Mattel is going to do that, they’ll probably launch some CARS Club … for $29.99, get a “free” Red Ransburg CAR plus the right to buy limited edition CARS such as Frank & Banshee … because there’s no way to guess the actual number of people willing to buy a much more expensive part of a set, it’s better to create the illusion of limited availability and charge the full amount (instead of making only wholesale).

More so with the RV’s. What is the interested number? A thousand? Ten thousand who would buy 90% of the RV’s but after that number, the % of interested parties falls to a single digit. I think the Rv’s fall into two camps – you want or do not want – so how is Mattel supposed to guess and what’s the difference if it’s all plastic or some metal? Does that change the buying interest by much and of course, price. To retailers, they won’t really get it – how much shelf space do you want us to devote to an RV? Again, it might have to be a club item … perhaps a box set of 4 for $19.99 or $24.99 (all plastic would be my guess).

Now, the truck trailers are visually more enticing but they take up room. There’s no way any retailer is going to be interested in 36 of them … Dale Jr, The King & LM? Of course. Mood Springs? Gasparin? Not so much … these might be a mix of stores and the club or Mattel could just sell a giant box set NEXT year for $249 … (all plastic, of course).

THE WILD CARD

The wild card in the 4-year gap is the CARS short – is it a mythical short? Is it coming as soon as Wall-E or in front of next year’s Pixar’s movie? Because within a 5-minute short, you could pretty much introduce 500 more CARS with a few pans across the vista or speedway or LM & Sally going to an award show … you could add this short to the CARS Blu Ray SE with a CARS short Blu Ray Finder Game II … if that’s the case, it revitalizes collectors eager for … the 6 mythical Piston Cup racers? A Wall-E car? … and fills in the gap for 2011 until the previews start appearing for 2012 and early CAR releases.

BRANCHING

Of course, some purists might claim the ‘short’ is not really the full CARS movie and doesn’t count … but like the Mini’s, Mattel just starts jumping off to other tangents and are less concerned than being ‘canon.’ Maybe we really get a ‘flashback’ cards with Stanley as a real CAR and not an accessory/statue? Or CARS from the video game? Or the main CARS with more moving elements – maybe McQ with lencular eyes or Mater’s tow line that really unspools?

It will be interesting to see how Mattel is able to maintain interest but keep bringing in new parents/family & kids …

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Mattel Disney Pixar Cars: Costco Carrying Case

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This might be the carrying case that fits a lot of needs, you get 4 “Compartment Boxes” that get clipped together by that front piece and handle. It looks deep enough to hold everyone except maybe Barney Stormin’ and probably Al Oft … you can probably fit about 65-ish CARS if you modify some of the dividers as reader Amanda notes (my original estimate of 100 was a little too optimistic) … but still not a bad deal for $15, most other cases seem to start at over $20 and it seems nice that you can easily see all the CARS since it’s semi-transparent.

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Amanda/Dragoness managed to fit 68 CARS in there – and sent along some great photos. As Amanda notes, “(the case) only has “half” spaces and not “quarter” spaces to place the dividers.”

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Here Amanda placed them on top as pre-planning … better than my plan of throwing them all in a heap and shaking it – whatever falls out goes into the next box 🙂

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And yes, Al Oft & Dinoco fit just fine …

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“Also, each case holds 12 regular/large size cars, but the smaller cars fit in the half spaces so I guess if you have a lot of cars you COULD fit more than the original numbers, but the average “as is” is 12-16 cars each, and as modified 16-18 cars each.”

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Thanks Amanda!

Our other post on displaying your CARS is here.

And while you’re there, pick up some of Glad’s Press ‘n Seal (no, they’re not a sponsor 🙂 and I don’t usually rave about pieces of plastic but they work great on meats you’re putting in the freezer or like luncheon meats in the fridge. You wouldn’t think that just using your fingers to seal something would be any different than throwing it into a plastic ziploc bag or even wrapping it in foil and throwing it into a ziploc bag? But it does. I had some steaks that got pushed back to the back of fridge and two weeks later, they are still red with virtually no freezer crystals … so while not as 100% waterproof as vacuum sealing, it works pretty amazingly well for something just using your fingers to seal … how does this relate to CARS? Um, you can Press ‘n Seal your CARS and then put them in the Store ‘n Go … along with some steaks?

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So get some Mexican Coca-Cola with real cane sugar, some Press ‘n Seal, some Store ‘n Go CARS cases and some steaks – there’s your first 15 minutes of shopping at Costco then all you need is an aquarium, some cheese and something really inappropriate

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Filed under Checklist, Film, Marketing, Mattel Disney Pixar CARS, Toys, TV