Ambassador Report 36
I have not been too well this week and so please forgive any errors in this report.
MATCHBOX ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS
- With the news that the MB903 Land Rover LR4 was being delayed until next year, and the MB862 Dodge A100 Pickup taking its place this year, can we get an update on the MB896 Range Rover Evoque? Is it still going to be released in 2014 as MB70, or is that also being delayed to next year? If it is being delayed, are we getting a different MB70 to take its place?
We cannot provide an update at this time.
- It was mentioned that the ROW international short card range was short of a few models. A previous Ambassador report stated they would be released on short card. The ROW range is now on the 4th batch of 2014, and the 1966 Dodge A100 Pickup, VW Karmann Ghia Type 34, Deep Diver, BMW 1M and version 2 of the BMW R1200 R-TP Police Motorcycle in olive are still not out. Are these 5 coming still or will they not appear on short card?
These models should still be coming.
- The Street Sweeper in a recent sneak peek is sporting updated looks. It appears the interior has been deleted and the window section altered. Surely this means it has a new MAN#, yet the listing we were provided with showed it still with the original MAN#. Can you confirm whether it has a new MAN# or not?
When the list was published the revised tool was not ready but it is now. The new MAN# is MB943.
- The Blizzard Buster was recently introduced in the Ice Mountain 5-pack, but almost immediately replaced by the Sand Shredder (assuming the casting got damaged). It then re-appeared as a basic range model as MB43. However, it has been noted the casting has been modified. The side hydraulics which were cast as a part of the body have now been cast as a part of the base. Does this mean this has a new MAN# too? If so what is the new MAN#?
It is 934.
- Do we have a confirmed MAN# for the MB19 3-axle Dump Truck that was recently shown in the sneak peeks? We were told the MAN# was missing in the 2014 list due to it being modified.
It is MB931.
- Can we get clarification on the vehicle shown in the sneak peeks that was green with a bike on the front and a tan cage on the back? Is it Trail Tracker or Travel Tracker? Different reports keep changing the name and both names are for new vehicles this year.
It is Travel Tracker used in the Explorers segment. Trail Tracker is the 3 axle rescue vehicle used in the Heroic Rescue Segment. The recolour for the Travel Tracker was shown last week.
- Is the Ford Ambulance in red and Street Sweeper in brown the start of a new generic logo series? Both sport the same crest and Tri-county insignia on them.
It could be.
- Are we getting any more of the mint National Parks series of models this year?
Yes. The Road Tripper will get the National Parks treatment in the “Outdoor Sights” 5 pack this year.
The three models shown below are new liveries for this year.
A Little More History
Several Volkswagen vans have featured in the miniature range over the years. Of course this started with the Volkswagen Delivery Van with a die-cast body, a metal base and four metal wheels. After the release of this van in 1957, a Volkswagen model occupied the #34 spot in the range. In 1959 the metal wheels gave way to grey plastic and a just before it was deleted from the range a tiny number of vans were fitted with silver plastic wheels. A more detailed Volkswagen, a Caravette, was one of the 1964 highlights as it was to a considerably larger scale and featured opening side doors and a cast interior revealing a picnic table. This Caravette was usually fitted with grey plastic or black plastic wheels but a very rare example was fitted with large silver plastic wheels.
When rare regular wheel boxes are considered, one’s mind naturally tends towards the F box associated with the 22 Pontiac in red and the D boxes housing the 66 yellow Citroen, the 53 Aston Martin, 55 DUKW and 47 Tea Van. However, I believe that the rarest box is the 34 E box for the green Volkswagen Caravette. One wonders why it was produced at all because the Camper Van must have been ready to replace it immediately.
A Camper van with a raised sun roof was the next model to occupy the #34 berth. It was quickly modifies, as was the box, to have a flat sunshine roof. Apparently the reason for this was linked to the window areas when sometimes flash, small quantities of infill metal, could spoil the overall appearance.
In late 1970 another Volkswagen Camper Van joined the range at #23. It was painted blue and featured an opening sunshine roof and a plastic interior. The very first releases had a petrol filler cap cast towards the rear of the body, but this was quickly removed and the early version is quite sought after.
Following a livery change to orange the model was then withdrawn from the range only to reappear as a US only model in the form of a Pizza Van. It enjoyed a further incarnation when it was produced in olive green as a twin pack model.
In 1986 this Volkswagen Dormobile was one of ten obsolete models selected for production in Hungary with the proviso that it could only be manufactured for a year and sales were to be limited to within the Hungarian borders. The base was recast to show “Made in Hungary”. Strangely, the Pizza Van design was retained for all models. When different coloured roofs, interiors and tampo designs are taken into account, the six different body colours merely add to the huge number of variation possibilities. However, the metallic green and yellow versions are very rare and it is not thought that many more versions beyond those shown were actually manufactured.
In recent years Mattel has produced a pleasing casting of the Volkswagen Van and it has been available in several guises both in the miniature range and as a limited release with rubber tyres fitted. It does not currently feature in the range but always seems to be a popular model and so it is hoped that it will be recoloured again. A few more Matchbox vans are shown below.
Nigel Cooper 28th April 2014