September 3, 2012--Alas, all good things must come to an end. As of the date of this article, all of the 2012 models have been issued, with the exception of the late-in-the-year color changes that are expected. This means we're going to see an influx of 2013 models for the last few remaining months of 2012. A few have already slipped out, including 2 of the newest $uper Treasure Hunts, which we've all likely seen by now (check out the 2013 Price Guide, if you haven't). What we've also seen is a newly-designed blister card, and...the end of the New Models/First Editions/Treasure Hunts as we've known them over the years.
For the first time since 1994 (the year before the concept was launched in 1995), we won't see the name "New Models," "First Editions," or "Treasure Hunts" on the blister cards. I honestly can't say that I'm excited about the changes, but Mattel obviously saw a need to invigorate the lineup. But, it's hard for me to let go of a concept that I've loved since 1995, when I first got back into the hobby after a long hiatus between childhood and adulthood.
For 2013, Mattel instituted drastic changes. The collecting year will now be divided into 5 segments, each with sub-segments. The 5 main segments are: City, Imagination, Stunt, Race and Showroom. If you'd like to see the sub-segments, you can see them in the '13 Price Guide. One segment I didn't see is the HW Racing Series which has been the most popular series during the entire run. Hopefully, this will be added, as I noticed that the new format only allows for 200 cars versus 250, or whatever the planned run is.
Treasure Hunts are an entirely different story. While I know the $uper "hidden" Treasure Hunts will be continuing (obviously!), the "Regular" version of the Treasure Hunt (if there even IS one!) will no longer carry the iconic green stripe. So, we could conceivably be looking at 15 $uper Treasure Hunts only, or....possibly 30? I have no idea. Once I get more clarification, I'll be sure to put a headline on the front page of the site. I admittedly haven't done much research on the 2013 TH's, as of yet.
Another change for 2013 is the blister card art. Thankfully, the art of the individual car is still ongoing, but the background definitely received a simplifying, less busy design. I'm not quite on board with the new card design yet, but, like everything else, I'll get used to it. It's not like we have a choice in the matter, eh?
So, after all these years, no more of the segment titles that we've come to love over time. I think back to 1995 (that sounds like EONS ago, now!) when I saw and bought my first Hot Wheels in more years than I care to recall. I liked the concept of the 1995 Model "series", and the "collectible factor" of it, and my interest was piqued for years later. At that point, I was a Hot Wheels collector again, but as a hobbyist instead of playing in the dirt with them. Not that I'm still tempted, of course! But, you didn't hear that.
So, in closing, I'd like to devote a video montage to the New Models, First Editions and Treasure Hunt lines. It's been a fantastic ride, and they'll be missed. I'm sure I'll continue to enjoy the line in its new format, but...you never forget the originals. R.I.P: 1995-2012.