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Oh no, this is another of those posts when Lamley waxes poetic about the return of Matchbox. Where is that Robert Downey Jr meme where he is rolling his eyes when we need it? Puh-leeeease, we have heard it all before.
Yes, you have heard it all before. But it’s true. Matchbox is hitting home runs again, and I am pretty happy about it. But Matchbox being back isn’t all about cooler licensed sports cars and street cars. It is about all facets of the brand returning to realism.
And that includes the trucks, or pickups, or off-roaders, or whatever you want to call them.
Besides the crazy colors and graphics, the biggest indicator of Matchbox losing its way was with all the exaggerated castings. Many collectors complained that the line was overwhelmed by too many off-road vehicles. And while that was true, it would have been a lot easier to deal with if those off-roaders were realistic looking.
I clamor on and on about realism in the Matchbox brand, and to me MBX at its best is when the line resembles what you see on the streets. Real cars mixed with pickups, utility vehicles, emergency vehicles, construction, and that occasional head-turning sports car. That should be the basic range, and premium ranges, and even playsets. It is time to see Matchbox gas stations and garages and police stations and such. Looking realistic of course. Matchbox cars don’t need to escape haunted dragons through skeleton heads. They need to park and get gas.
The first Matchbox batch for 2016 is out, and that sense of realism is there. It isn’t perfect, but it is there. We have already featured the Alfa Romeo 4C recolor and fantastic Jaguar F-Type, but the trucks are a highlight too. They are all existing real licensed castings, all looking like they should. (With one exception, which we will get to in a second.)
It starts with the A100, in a simple, side design that doesn’t look out of place. And it is an actual licensed logo. Then to the Toyota Tacoma Life Guard Truck, which looks exactly like it should. Next is the Silverado, which I am thrilled to see in a standard color with no logo on the side. Between the two 2014 versions and this one, it is nice to have three versions with front and rear tampos only. The side logos are sure to come, but these three stock versions are great.
Lastly, and maybe the one exception, is the Land Cruiser. On one hand, it looks great in a matte orange with racing deco. On the other, it is the modified casting that we first saw on the Jurassic World version. The front grill and fenders are now plastic, which is a bummer. I would have been fine with maybe the grill and headlights going plastic, but not the fenders. It just seems careless.
The Land Cruiser I will collect no matter what, and like I said this model is a looker. But I hold out hope that future versions will be the old tool. This mod happened before the new team came in, and I know this team is committed to making the bodies diecast as best they can, and maybe they can be convinced that an iconic casting like the Land Cruiser deserves to have just a bit more metal than some of the other models. We will see.
Nonetheless, this is a nice looking batch of trucks. Trucks you might see down the road. That is how it should be…