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Mattel Disney Pixar CARS: This Already Strange Year

In one way, the distribution situation is they same as it ever was – spotty – but of course, it’s stranger than ever – perhaps driven by the main direction that Mattel seriously considered the possibility that they might lose CARS 3 so if they did lose the license, then this would’ve been a “lame duck” year where they wanted to do as little as possible to market and keep the brand alive for Disney.

BUT they get CARS 3 – deal was confirmed in early January. But of course, CARS 3, the diecast year 2016 was already planned and locked into place so unlike 2015 where Mattel dazzled us with a great depth, breath and fun sculpts – this year is really the year of the repaints and re-releases.

So, while it’s certainly nice we’re getting re-releases of long sought after diecasts like Frank, Bessie, he Dinoco Showgirl or Galloping Geargrinder … they really are just re-releases …


And of course re-paints or re-releases with plastic add-ons are really easy in the scheme of things and a money saver.

20160418_183717 copy

Of course, there are a sprinkling of new sculpts like Justin Partson but compared to last year’s dazzling great gatsby bag of tricks, this year is more like the morning after.

20160418_183647 copy

Thanks for cardback pics, “Alberto A.”


So if you look over the poster – even in low res, it’s hard to spot the truly new … and even many of the “new” sculpts might be from molds completed years ago and just sitting in the vault? Dan Sclarkenberg?

poster 2016

As for the distribution issue? Did Mattel plan a low run for most of the year? Is it just retail playing the short term game knowing that next year they’ll be committing a huge amount to the blitz launch of CARS 3?

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  • Fillmore1234 says:

    I know it’s a day late but I disagree with some of this post. Yes, distribution has been awful and the whole tape issue is a complete mess, but I think this was one of the stronger years for diecasts so far. They just haven’t released the good ones yet. That poster you have is nowhere near complete and contains quite a few errors.

    This one is one of my favorites: http://i.imgur.com/xQVtU8c.jpg

    And I really like this one, too: http://i.imgur.com/Mz1Rqc3.jpg

    Bud is awesome: http://i.imgur.com/OoqW7rc.jpg

    So is this one. Is this a new mold? http://i.imgur.com/6Uard8v.jpg

    Bob Pulley has some fantastic detail: http://i.imgur.com/y0tuAmC.jpg

    Francesco’s Pitty looks really fun: http://i.imgur.com/BIe0kpn.jpg

    • Matersgrlfriend says:

      These looks awesome! I don’t think the little red one is a new sculpt, looks like Polly Puddlejumper. Cn;t wait for Francesco’s pitty!

  • BMW says:

    For me, I am happy to see any new Cars 1 Cars from Mattel..There are some left to be made from the original Blu Ray finder game and Meet the Cars book. I hope we do see them this year, since Dan and the 3 Autobahn Cars are.

    1. Alarm Clock: no info. (in meet the cars books and in Blu Ray finder game) a version is on display at the Cozy Cone in Cars Land.

    2. Alphanumeros: * ! (in blu ray finder game only.) In Cars, they are seen spelling out the words “Piston Cup” before the start of the Los Angeles International Speedway race.

    3. Bennie Caliper (in Meet the cars book 2 and in Blu ray Finder Game) (also seen as backdoor in 2011) proto made.
    4. Bernie Banks Cameraman * ! (in blu ray finder game only) In the film, Bernie is at the Motor Speedway of the South with his camera, taking pictures of Lightning McQueen as he comes out of Mack’s trailer. prototype was made.

    5. Bertha Butterswagon: (in Meet the cars book 2 and in Blu Ray finder game) prototype was made. final lap unreleased.

    6. Clayton Gentlebreeze RV (in Meet the cars book 2 and in Blu Ray finder game)

    7. Percy Hanbrakes: (in Meet the cars book 2 and in Blu Ray finder game) never released in Final Lap, proto made.

    8. Syd Vanderkamper RV (in Meet the cars books and in Blu Ray finder game)

    9. Vroomaroundus Bugus: *! no info proto made. in blu ray finder game only

    10. Trev Diesel Train: * ! no info. in blu ray finder game only.

    • Mack_me_Bucko says:

      I still wonder how they would release the “Alarm Clock” from the Cars Finder game. It would have to be LMQ asleep (eyes closed) and a small plastic nightstand with clock accessory (similar to the comm gear included with Roybal). If they make the Alarm Clock Car full size, then scale becomes an issue.

      Similar problem with the VW “Bug” Car.

  • John says:

    A year of retrenchment isn’t necessarily a bad thing. New people come to the hobby all the time and if there are large numbers of repeat issues then “collect them all” isn’t quite so daunting a task. New collectors help keep the line profitable and that helps the long time collectors by insuring Disney and Mattel’s continued interest in creating new diecasts.

    I think a ratio of about 25-33% new models (new sculpts and repaints) feels about right.


    I’d also like to say that for 2015 & 2016 both it feels as if there’s renewed interest at Mattel management in trying to get the Cars themselves done right. Older models are being reissued in one-piece bodies with better sculpts and attention to detail. (the 2016 “breather” Finn McMissile is so much better than the original 2011 version)

    They’ve stopped doing regular ‘Chase’ issues, brought back some of the more expensive and harder to find models such as Frank, Lizzie and Bessie, two-packs have actually got two new Cars in them, and they have been filling some of the last gaps in the original Cars lineup.

    Of course this is still Mattel we’re talking about and there are plenty of QC problems too….

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