T-Hunted has already interviewed a lot of guys (see our interview list here), and there was a long time since we talked to someone. And now we have a great guest: Gary Barnum (or HWC Gary), the man responsible for HotWheelsCollectors.com content and for the official community! Check below what we were talking:
Can you tell us a little about yourself and what your responsibilities are at Mattel?
Having previously worked at Marvel Comics and Paramount Pictures, I joined HWC in 2003. The team at that time included HWC Amy, HWC John, HWC Dave, HWC Brian, HWC Don, John Little, HWC Ray (Adler) and myself. Others have come and gone in the meantime, but I'm now the longest HWC team member at nearly 12 years. (I think HWC Chris is second longest, from 2005 to 2014.)
My primary duty on the site is web content, and I also admin the community. I've also done some of the HTML loading in the past, and I sometimes do other things when I can or when needed.
You visited Ferrari in Italy last year, and I have to say that the pictures are amazing. Now we have the information that Mattel has no longer the rights to produce their cars. Can you comment about that decision, and talk a bit about your trip to Ferrari?
That was the trip of a lifetime! There is no way to express how exciting it is to stand in a room full of the most amazing Ferraris of all time. I also went to Lamborghini on that trip, and those photos will be on the site soon.
I'm not privy to licensing agreements, so I don't know about that. But I know we all love Ferraris! And they were great when I was there.
2014 will be remembered as the year when Red Line Club members didn’t receive their cars. What exactly happened, and when will things get back to normal?
We've documented this on the site. Things seem to be getting back on track now, and I know it's an ongoing priority for us. It just isn't as simple as people might think. Personally, I don't mind delays for these things if it means they will be made. I mean, it beats them not being made at all, right? There are only a couple outstanding now, but they will show up this year.
Is there any chance the Red Line Club will expand to collectors worldwide?
Contrary to popular opinion, the Red Line Club is available worldwide. You can join, but it's the global shipping that we can't do yet. It's something we'd like to be able to do, so maybe some day. In the meantime, some people ask a friend stateside to use their address, and to forward items out of the country.
Steve Vandervate's prototype sneak peeks on HWC were very popular among collectors, and generated a lot of excitement for upcoming releases. Is there any chance we will see more sneaks like those in the future?
HWC Van rocks! We're not doing it on the Boards, but we're still doing it as content on the site whenever possible. Look for Designer Desktops and such. RLC Sneaks is a good place to look for that as well.
Brazilian collectors have loved the Brazil-themed castings that have been released the last couple of years. Is there any chance to have more of these in the 2015 lineups?
That I don't know, but I do seem to notice a more global trend.
Are you a collector? Which models are your favorites?
I am a collector. I didn't think I was when I started in 2003, but I figured I'd better start if I was going to understand what this was all about. As it turned out, I still had some Hot Wheels stuff from when I was a kid, plus I had just started picking up a couple of pieces as I began to introduce Hot Wheels to my kids. Plus I collected action figures at the time, so I was already on my way. It was a smooth transition. All too smooth in fact -- now I have a lot of Hot Wheels. lol.
My favorites... That is a tough one. Like many, I am partial to the Blown Delivery -- but for different reasons. It was in one of my articles that we showed Phil Riehlman's original sketch, and that led to it becoming a reality. But I also like a lot of other castings: Bone Shaker, Hot Bird... seems like a lot of Larry Wood's stuff. I'm partial to older cars, too -- stuff from the '50s and older. But I love a lot of the Hot Wheels original designs: Bread Box, Madd Propz, Torpedo Jones... Hot Wheels have always been very clever, and I think that goes underappreciated. I also love the old Rrrumblers and Chopcycles.
What you can tell us more about the upcoming Heritage series? Will we seeing some new castings in the line?
We just revealed the entire line for 2015: http://www.hotwheelscollectors.com/news/news.aspx?archive=true&news_id=wp5206#.VLbXh9E5DXI. I think it's going to be big!
Two rumors have emerged, one regarding a new “Porsche” series, and another saying the Road Trippin’ line will expand to international roads. Any comments on either rumor?
Look for the Road Trippin' series preview on the site by the end of January. Let's just say that I wasn't far from one of the new roads when I was in Europe...
Porsche. Would anyone want to see that? ;)
Is there any plan for Brazilian collector events in 2015? Conventions, Red Line Club expansion, special cars?
I haven't heard about it, but I don't always hear about it. I hope so! I'd love to come to Brazil some day...