Ok, fair play to them, it may sell a few more sets and excite the imagination of little people with regards to the brand, but where does this leave Matchbox? The only publicity the Matchbox brand has recently is the full size version of the F-350 Superlift, and that is about it.
The Matchbox design team may have the right focus and attitude for the brand, and they may be as passionate as most of us collectors, but it seems very obvious that Matchbox is not going to be the force in diecast it once was. Mattel look to be doing all they can to promote the matchbox brand with the minimal amount of effort as their own baby (Hot Wheels) needs it more.
It will be interesting to hear the reports from the Gathering this year – it could be a load of bollocks with the PR machine in or could be totally genuine – in fact this is probably one of the reason to go the Gathering, but I am not sure how much of a grilling you are allowed to give them.
It would be nice to see the return of playsets like the above back with the Matchbox brand – unfortunately the re-brand of the Matchbox brand means that this will be highly unlikely.