Matt Elliott, VP of Licensing and Product Development at GreenLight Toys Gives Us the Scoop!
By Doug Kale
GreenLight has been releasing tons of great 1:64 diecast for years. One of the main people behind all of those great releases is Matt Elliott, VP of Licensing and Product Development at Greenlight Toys. I was able to catch up to Matt recently and sat down with him for a quick Q & A session.
Here’s what Matt had to say…
Kale’s Diecast Toy Cars: Matt, could you tell us about your position with GreenLight?
Matt Elliott: GreenLight has any number of licenses at any given time. My role is to manage them, search out new ones and ensure they are utilized fully in the product line. This involves both creating ideas to then get a license that corresponds or in reverse to design items that utilize existing licenses.
Kale’s Diecast Toy Cars: What are some of the projects you’re currently working on?
Matt Elliott: We’ve recently signed deals that should make for some fun items. These include the US Postal Service, Chevron, Red Crown, STP, Texaco, Standard and a renewed deal with CBS television. The collector response so far on the US Postal Long Life Vehicle has been very enthusiastic. We also are working on the Lincoln Continental from The Matrix.
Kale’s Diecast Toy Cars: What is your favorite part about your job?
Matt Elliott: Coming up with new projects is easily the favorite. The creation and idea stage always hold so much potential. Some ideas are easier than others to execute, but nothing can beat the excitement when a new project is put together.
Kale’s Diecast Toy Cars: What is your favorite casting or vehicle?
Matt Elliott: The 1986 Fleetwood Bounder we made for Breaking Bad is pretty special to me. I spent a great deal of time working on both the licenses and the casting. Plus, it was the first full size 1/64 RV done in quite some time (if ever). Most of our competitors that have made RV vehicles in this range are terribly out of scale.
Kale’s Diecast Toy Cars: Who decides which castings are selected?
Matt Elliott: GreenLight has a good team of experienced folks that all add input. Our president Russell Hughes and myself discuss them the most. However, the idea could come from a customer, a collector or any of our employees, there is no rule on where the castings should be generated.
Kale’s Diecast Toy Cars: Can you take us through the steps from start to the finished product?
Matt Elliott: A concept is created and a lineup or vehicle is selected. Artwork is generated based on this and reviewed internally by at least two staff members. From there, the artwork is sent off to the licensors for review. After their review and approval, we send the artwork to the factory for a sample to begin. About 30 days (or less) later, we receive a pre-production sample to our office. The designer that created the art then reviews the sample and creates comments for any corrections to be made. The sample is then sent to the licensors for review. If they have any additional comments, those are also sent to the factory. From there the factory proceeds into mass production which usually takes anywhere from 30-60 days depending on the schedule and priorities. Once complete, the goods are put on a container and sent to the US which takes roughly one month.
Kale’s Diecast Toy Cars: What did you do before GreenLight?
Matt Elliott: Before GreenLight, I worked for a games company called Fundex Games, formerly in Indianapolis. Fundex was best known for the card game Phase 10 which was sold to Mattel several years ago.
Kale’s Diecast Toy Cars: Did you play with toy cars when you were a kid? If so, what was your favorite?
Matt Elliott: My collection as a child involved several Lesney Matchbox cars. Most of them were lost to time and the elements in our family sandbox staging Dukes of Hazzard jumps. I also had some Hot Wheels and a variety of others which I kept in one of those old double deck plastic briefcase style carrying cases. I still had it up until a few years ago, although after moving a few times I may have lost track of it. Now I need to go look for it. ;-)
Kale’s Diecast Toy Cars: What are some upcoming GreenLight releases that collectors should watch for on the toy shelves?
Matt Elliott: Since I believe most of the audience for the magazine is 1/64, I’ve focused most here. I mentioned the US Postal truck already. But there are so many really, with the success of Hitch & Tow, we’ve launched a whole series of camper trailers called Hitched Homes. This has a great mix of old and new campers. These won’t be available in Hitch & Tow for the most part so it will have its own content and feel. Another new line is called Running on Empty which features gas and oil brands used in fun ways on things like shop truck or old stock cars.
Our Hollywood line is always popular and filled with new titles. Tokyo Torque is another hotly anticipated line for 2017, our first venture into an all Japanese subject matter series. With the happiness collectors showed to our HD Trucks line for fully embracing bigger trucks and making them in true 1/64 scale, we are expanding this range with SD Trucks. If HD Trucks centers around class 4/5, think about class 6, 7 and 8 for SD Trucks with the likes of a full-size dump truck, a municipal snow plow and a tanker truck. Last but certainly not least, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the additional fun items that go along with cars we are adding this year. One line will have a full set of all brand-new accessories like mailboxes, people, horses, signs, etc. The other are high quality 1/64 scenes of a gas station/service station and a garage. The details will be great on these and they should really help anyone stage their own scenes and vehicles just the way they want.
Kale’s Diecast Toy Cars: What advice would you give to new collectors?
Matt Elliott: There are so many great items in this day of the internet. Find an area to start and focus on so that it isn’t overwhelming. Toy cars have been around for a long time but some of the best quality models with the most accurate details are coming out all the time. Look for things that make you smile, give you a sense of accomplishment once you find them and don’t forget to have fun.
Kale’s Diecast Toy Cars: Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule, Matt. We look forward to all of the new GreenLight releases.
For more details on GreenLight Toys, you can check out their website at: http://www.greenlighttoys.com/
NOTE: Diecast fans-If you enjoyed this interview and would like to see more or have us interview someone in particular, please email us at: KalesDiecastToyCars@gmail.com. Thanks!