April 13th Matchbox Ambassador Report, by Larry Scaduto…

AMBASSADOR’S REPORT April 13th, 2015
By: Larry Scaduto

It’s springtime here in Illinois and all I can say…. that it’s about darn time!!!! And in this report I am starting off with the latest Supreme Hero Collection release of the Ford Crown Victoria Police Car. All I can say is WOW! This series is really shaping up nicely. I am also showing for the first time the Tesla Model S! I’ve added a few more pages of PrePro’s and we take a step back to the late 50’s with the single story Matchbox Garage. And as a special bonus… an article summited by our 6th Ambassador, Chuck Wiersma on Lesney Play Sets. Batch C and the first wave of Supreme Heroes are pictured in the “What’s New” section. Have a great day!! Larry

Here is the next offering for the Supreme Hero Collection that will be available in an upcoming release. This police car is really nice!! The wheels suit this particular model perfectly. The MAN# on this model is MB689 for those of you who want this information.  

NEW FOR 2015…
Since everyone liked the front of the MB956 Lamborghini LM002 I recently pictured, I thought you might like to see the back of the vehicle as well. I asked and received the photo below. This is an outstanding and simple detail job on the rear of this model. 
Next I have a brand new offering for 2015! It is the perfect casting of the MB903 Tesla Model S. This is a really nice model painted metallic crimson with front and rear detailing. I did notice the windows are really dark smoke and the interior cannot be seen. A question was asked by a collector in an earlier report wondering if all the new models were going to have an interior and the answer was Yes! So if nothing has changed, the interior is in there. Without question, this new model is as nice as the Alfa Romeo 4C and will be a welcome addition to the 2015 lineup. 


In this week’s PrePro section I’m starting out with the White Rose Collectibles version of the Zamboni Ice Maker. Just before Mattel took over Matchbox, White Rose was making awesome Race and Sports related castings. Although exclusive to White Rose, they had permission to distribute their castings as Matchbox models. From what I was told, there was an issue with Zamboni and the name was removed from the base. And just as these PrePro samples were being produced, Mattel took over Tyco and broke ties with White Rose and the Matchbox logo had to be removed. But a few samples were made and I have pictured one of them here. 

Above, I have the Black Hawks Ice Maker. As you can see the Zamboni name was removed from the base casting text. In the picture below that, you can see an earlier base casting with the complete name intact. These models were done so well. And before I forget…….Go Hawks!!!
Next up, I have a Mercedes S500 in a metal flaked metallic maroon. It features a black plastic 1999 Mattel China base with white lettering that says “C 2002 JOKS,LLC” I’m not sure what this means, but if someone can enlighten our readers with an explanation, that would be wonderful! There is no tampo printing anywhere on this model. But what makes it a unique PrePro, is that it features Volkswagen chrome wheels and rubber tires.

Here’s a close up of the wheel. I couldn’t seem to get a good shot without my reflection in the hubcap. But trust me…..I did smile for the photo!!!
One of my favorite cars to collect was the Ford Sierra XR4i. This pre pro is bright red and has a black plastic bumper and rocker panel insert with a gray metal 1983 Matchbox Toys LTD base. The base also indicates that it was “Made in England”. When the real car made it stateside, the name had to be changed because the Sierra name was already being used by General Motors on their line of trucks. So this car was sold through Mercury dealerships as the Merkur XR4ti. 
Lastly, I am picturing a 1957 Ford Thunderbird that features a metallic sand body, black interior and amber windows. This car also has 1998 chrome China Matchbox Int’l Ltd base.
Power Grabs video by RaceGrooves

It’s time to step way back into history with these two MG1-A1 Matchbox Single Story Garages. Originally issued in 1959, this showroom and garage was a wonderful accessory to go along with the Matchbox cars of that era. I only know of two variations, the red base with a yellow building and a reverse offering of a yellow base with a red building. Love them boxes as well. 

I wonder if there were versions with the same colored plastics for the whole set! If someone knows of one, send me a picture. There was also a spot for gas pumps that were not included. The Accessory Pack #1 Esso Pumps were the finishing touch for these garages. These two Matchbox Garages are from the Steve Gloss Collection. Thank you Steve!!!

The following article was submitted by our former ambassador, Chuck Wiersma. Enjoy!!!

Lesney Era Play Sets
By: Charles Wiersma

While Sears Roebuck and Co. and other retailers in North America were offering a variety of playcases from 1966 to 1981, vinyl play matt sets were being sold by competitors.
Matchbox Mall Play Set (05 80 13) 1970
This set featured a simple foldable 36’ x 36’ vinyl mat with printed roadways, parking lots, and building locations graphics.  Vinyl covered cardboard pieces were assembled using tab and slot.  The set was sold at retail stores in the US including Korvettes and JC Penney.

Matchbox Mall Playset box.
Penneys department store with ramp from Matchbox Mall Play Set.

International Airport Play Set (MW 48-23600 or Lesney 05 78 01).
A Montgomery Ward Exclusive, this set featured a folding vinyl play mat with a selection of vinyl covered cardboard buildings.  The structures used tab and slot like the Mall set.  It promoted the Sky Busters line of products in addition to the 1-75.  The 1975 Wards Christmas catalog listed this set for $7.99 plus shipping/tax.

Notice the early 70’s MB 1-75 models and Sky Busters on the cover photo.

In the second half of the 1970’s, Lesney created four PS series play sets.   Each set had a simple cardboard play area accompanied by unique plastic pieces.  And while playcases did not include vehicles, the PS series of playsets not only included diecast vehicles, they often included special vehicles designed for play with this set.

PS1 Container Port Set
The brilliantly developed set, based on a shipping container port, was described as a “fully operational port complex with a multi-colour playment.”  It included a cardboard playmat with plastic supports, a die cast articulated container truck, a No. 42 Mercedes Benz Container Truck, No. 49 Sambron Jacklift,  No. 15 Fork Lift, one plastic PS1 Diesel Shunter Locomotive, three No. 25 Train Flat Cars, six plastic containers (mine are red, orange, light blue, and cream), six cardboard containers, one red plastic PS1 Container Ship/barge (holds six containers), one plastic straddle carrier, one gantry crane, one crane with base and cord, a set of labels, and an instruction leaflet.

The set offered so many ways to unload and load the containers.  So many vehicles – enough for more than one to play.  What a creative set!
The Straddle Carrier is ready to pick up the container and place it on the truck.
This set was well loved before the owner gave it up.  All the pieces were in good shape 
although the package was well worn.
The container barge could hold six containers.
The Gantry Crane could unload and load containers as fast as your little hands could handle.  Unload from ship to truck or from ship to crane or vice versa.
Let’s set the load down nice and easy – just like they do at a real dock.

Since the labels were applied to the containers by the purchaser, imagine the combinations of colors and labels.  The plastic PS1 Locomotive and PS1 Articulated Container Truck are well sought after pieces from this set.
Matchbox Seaport Circa 1978 retailed for $10.49 in 1979 Sears Catalog.
In the US market, variations of the set were issued.  First, the Matchbox Seaport was issued.  This set combined features from the PS1 set with features from playcases .  It included a plastic straight bridge, skyway, tollbooth, fuel pumps, and small store front building all previously issued in Matchbox playcases.  The unique crane derrick had the same base from the PS1 set but had a working crane with winch.  The set further included one PS1 Container Ship/barge, six plastic containers (mine had light blue, orange and red), a cardboard warehouse with plastic roof, a labels sheet, and an instruction sheet.  The box was marked Seaport but the instruction sheet was titled Industrial Seaport.  The Seaport and blue/red arrow labels appeared to be the same in styling to those from the PS1 set.  Unfortunately, the models offered in the catalog at the time were Fast Wheels and not Matchbox.  No vehicles were included with this set.

This style of crane was issued in Seaport and Harbor sets.

Matchbox Harbor (54 01 01)
This was nearly identical to the Seaport set except it included two die-cast vehicles and had changes to the graphics on the cardboard playmat.  The graphics on the playmat now indicated where to place the buildings.  My set included cream, blue, and red containers.  As this sample set was purchased second hand and was already opened, it had one vehicle missing.  The one vehicle it did have was a boxed No. 48 Sambron Jacklift.  The other vehicle may have been the No. 42 Mercedes Container Truck but I am not sure.

Matchbox Motorcity Freight Yard (50610)   Circa 1990
A later derivative of the Seaport and Freight Yard sets, this set included a vinyl playmat, plastic roadway (from playtrack sets), railroad track, a gantry crane, crane with base and cord, streetlights and  fuel pumps (issued in prior sets), three containers (white and yellow), a label sheet and instruction sheet.  The graphic labels for the set were revised with the MCP (Matchbox Container Port) logo.  The set also included two die-cast vehicles – the No. 24 Diesel Shunter in yellow with tampo – not labels and the No. 25 Flat Train Car.  The set was found in retail stores and had suggested price of $22.99 US at the time.   The parts and vehicles were made in China.

PS2 Beach Head Assault Circa 1976
PS2 featured a cardboard playmat; a cardboard backdrop diorama with two plastic supports; two grey plastic landing craft (no wheels); six battle damaged plastic buildings; one bailey bridge with supports; a rocket launcher with separate launch buttons for up to four rockets – eight rockets included; two hedge rows and bases; two telegraph pole sets; ten tank traps; fifteen plastic army men (mini); three plastic crates; six plastic barrels; three diecast miniatures including the No. 70 Self Propelled Gun, No. 54 Personnel Carrier, and No. 1 Mercedes Truck; a label sheet; and a set of instructions.  Although the box is copyright 1976, some of the plastic pieces are copyright 1978.

Pieces and parts still on their sprew.
Rocket ready to launch
War torn buildings
Move it!   Get the Troops Across!
Roll Off!

There were other diorama sets that Lesney produced at the time that simulated military play without die-cast.

PS3 Seakings Harbour
This “modern harbor setting” as the box states, included a cardboard playmat along with one diecast Seakings Frigate, one No. 72 Rescue Hovercraft, and plastic pieces including:  four jetty’s, four breakwaters, two breakwater end sections, two breakwater bend sections, four barges, four tugs, four crane bases, two small and two large cranes, two coasters (freighters), two pilot boats, two gun emplacements, one oil rig, one rescue centre, one lighthouse, one hoverport, one ramp, one oil rig tow bar, one patrol boat, one swing bridge, one dry dock, one warehouse, one oil refinery, one power station, and one lifeboat.  The set also included a label sheet and set of instructions.

Although not to scale with most Matchbox die cast lines, the set was supportive of creative play.  The harbour could be configured in various geometries and would inspire the collector to increase their Seakings fleet.

The PS3 Fleet with Seakings Frigate, Patrol Boat, Coaster (Freighter), Pilot Boat, Life Boat, and Tug towing Barge.
Two tugs tow the oil platform out to sea past the lighthouse.
Sample layout of pier with Power Plan at one end and Crane at the other end.
The HMS Fury is in dry dock for retrofit.

PS4 Railway Goods Yard Circa 1979
The set included a cardboard playmat plus several die-cast models including the No. 42 Mercedes Container Truck, No. 24 Diesel Shunter, No. 25 Flat Train Car with Container, Tipper Rail Car, No. 58 Faun Dump Truck, and No. 15 Fork Lift Truck.  The die-cast pieces were standard issue with the exception of the No. 15 Ford Lift Truck which was issued with a strengthened plastic fork piece.  The set also included a granule conveyor belt/hopper/loading dock, a plastic warehouse, a curved bridge (previously issued in playcases and other sets), fifteen pieces of railway track, a level railroad crossing with gate arms, a crane with base and cord (same as in PS1), a bag of plastic gravel, four plastic roadway signs, a railroad signal, six cardboard containers, three plastic containers, a dump container, rubber stoppers to place on the play mat for setting the plastic pieces, a label sheet, and a set of instructions.  There was no separate diorama backdrop to the set; the set was assembled on a cardboard playmat.

Faun Dump at the warehouse.
Truck waiting at the railroad crossing.
Hopper/conveyor belt/loading dock for plastic gravel.
Rare dump container or skip from the PS4 set.
No two containers in this photo are identical.  And since set labels were applied by the purchaser, these are not all the variation combinations!  Most of the plastic containers had no opening doors.  Some did not even have bases to them.

So there you have it.  Are you ready to play Matchbox?

A HUGE thank you goes out to Chuck for his amazing article on playsets!! This is Part 1 of 2 articles he wrote for everyone’s enjoyment. My next report will feature his story on the history of Matchbox play cases. There are so many that I wasn’t even aware of. Thanks for reading and let him know what you think of his thorough and complete pictorial of these fantastic sets.  

Here is the logo for the upcoming 13th Annual Matchbox Gathering of Friends
The Supreme Hero Collection is now available. I hear they are at Meijer’s, but I have not seen them locally at retail in my immediate area. I received my set from Midwest Diecast Miniatures here in Illinois. Thank you Tom!! These models look fantastic and the packaging is unique and eye catching. These should sell out fast, don’t delay picking up your set! If this series sells well, maybe Mattel will see the value in a premium series enough to continue it next year!!! 

2015 Batch “C” 
MB98 Terrain Trouncer / MB25 Rain Maker
MB102 Jeep Wrangler Superlift / MB106 Quick Sander
MB74 Blockade Buster / MB2 Meter Made
MB101 Land Rover Defender 110 / MB35 Torque Titan
MB99 Alfa 4C
Kroger Easter Car Video by RaceGrooves 

1967 Pontiac GTO
2015 Jeep Renegade Latitude
Can-Am Spyder F3
Citroen Xsara Picasso Tunning 3
1959 Plymouth Fury
2015 Polaris Slingshot
2015 Volkswagen Crafter
April 12 until June 21 2015

What’s happening?

It’s the  largest exposition never in a Museum until today. What we are exposing is an excerpt of the complete main line of Matchbox: 

  • 1-75 (also called the regular series, Superfast series, 75 series) 
  • Accessories 
  • Models of Yesteryear 
  • Major Packs 
  • King Size (later Super Kings and Speed Kings) 
  • Scorpions (non-metal, rechargeable battery powered cars) 
  • Sky Busters 
  • Two Packs (later also called the 900 series or Hitch ‘n Haul ) 
  • Battle Kings; (K-101 – K-118) 
  • Matchbox Military 
  • Sea Kings 
  • Adventure 2000 
  • Convoy 
  • Dinky 
  • Real Working Rigs 
Of course space is limited and we cannot expose the complete range of all 25.000 models ever made but we have a substantial overview of all characteristic cars in a special room with over 25 displays full of oldies and goodies.

Organization is the responsibility of the Toy Museum in Oosterhout (Netherlands, Brabant) with the help of John Nijhuis (Matchbox Ambassador # 5).

17 May there will be a special MBX Forum/3 Inch Collectors Convention day. We are still working on the program but it will be worthwhile to plan your visit to the Matchbox exposition with this event.

More Coming!

Chevrolet Monte Carlo PrePro

If you need to reach me, send an e-mail to:  matchboxamb10@outlook.com            

15 Replies to “April 13th Matchbox Ambassador Report, by Larry Scaduto…”

  1. That Tesla is real sharp takes me back to Tyco days very nice job this is what MB should be. Yes the SH line is really coming along nicely. I love the Crown Vic in main line but this model is spectacular. No Q & A this time around but that is ok you filled the artical with great pieces. Thanks Larry I so look forward to the report wish it came more often but it is always worth the wait.

  2. Holy cow, that Tesla is beautiful! I love you Matchbox! I wish I could marry you. I am sold on this model. I thought nothing could top the Alfa Romeo 4C and it would be my favourite new model for 2015. But no. This is better than the 4C. Thats how good it is. I don't care what Hot Wheels does now to their Model S, because they won't even touch the epicness of this one. Well done, MBx!

    The Heroes Crown Victoria looks really sharp as well. I prefer these new wheels to the previous ones. I thought the Suburban in the last report was the best Heroes model, until I saw this. So, for me, two 'best model crowns' have been stolen this time.

    Getting to the LM002, again, no need to say anything. MBx has done a great job with the detailing. The number plate and logo do look very nice. Props to Lamborghini for not being dbags like Ferrari and allowing MBx to still make their cars.

    Anyway, I am just consumed by the Tesla so I can't say much about the rest. Although that Matchbox Garage looks sweet. I would love to have one so I could line all my cars with it and play along (yes, I do still play with my cars like a 8 year old kid). And I wish they would bring back the XR3i. And in the same red and black two-tone. With Hot Wheels doing models like the latest Escort 1600, Datsun 620, VW Caddy and other Euro and Japanese 'cult' classics, Matchbox should do their own as well. They really need to. I am sure collectors would love these.

  3. I can probably bet that Hot Wheels will do the Tesla the same way they did the Porsche Panamera. MBx was bone stock while HW was fully modded with bodykit, spoiler and all. I cannot even imagine what will happen to the Model S.

  4. I know the Caprice PPV won't be made at this time but any chance of a Caprice Classic (80's or 90's)? I think that would be a great addition to the lineup!

  5. Awesome collaboration of elements with this report Larry! Bravo!!

    The Tesla shall be welcomed with opened arms indeed. Fabulous red metallic color and proportions. The details make your mouth water, though I never thought i'd be exclaiming that about a Tesla.
    Ahhh.. yes, the much anticipated Rambo Lambo my friends. The LM002, if you remember from that turning point decade the 1980's, brought about a shocker from the maker in a world known for low slung supercars.
    Though not the first time Lamborghini dabbled into utility vehicles, with an initial release code named “Cheetah”, produced as a prototype for military duty but became unsuccessful.
    Nice job MBX for taking a daring roll to include the Lambo SUV in the line-up. Well done!

    Also, must say.. even if HW's executes a version of the Tesla, there will be some who will accept it for what it is. Hot Wheels, after all, designed their product for active children's imaginations. The collector came into the picture later of course. But for now, a HW's take on a Porsche Panamera employs the attributes that make a HW'S car a HW's.
    You can complain all you want about big rear tires vs small fronts, so accept it!

  6. Wow! Matchbox is back with a bang. Tesla Model S in Signature Red! This is an amazing model. I really hope it has the interior as opposed to the example pic here. Windows look really dark. But Matchbox, please continue to bring out all the colors on this model. Stop doing all those generics and bring back all the licensed cars. That is the strength of Matchbox, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE…

  7. That Model S looks absolutely fantastic! It's a must have for me, and I don't even like Tesla that much. On the other hand, I can't help but wonder why Mattel keeps holding back on licensing for MBX in favor of Hot Wheels if every single licensed model MBX releases is a home run. Hot Wheels is making a model S as well? 10 bucks say it'll have the dreaded best for track chin.

    Man, if Matchbox released a 1970 Nova like that, I'd buy every single one I came across…

  8. In another article I noticed a sneak peek of the Matchbox brand BMW M5 police car that's identified by polizei (police in German) which I like but my question I'm directing to Larry Scaduto is would you know if Matchbox is planning to release the Cadillac One Limo and this generic car I believe called the Generic Beach Buggy or has Matchbox cancelled such plans? If not would you know what color would the Cadillac One Limo and Generic Beach Buggy (or whatever you call it) be?

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