If Matchbox keeps up with this pace, I will never get to the features I had planned for the blog…
Before we go forward, this is a new set for 2016. There is currently a Jeep set on the pegs at many Walmarts, but that is a 2015 release, and a bland one at that. The first set is actually previously-released Jeep models in Jeep exclusive packaging. The decos are exactly the same as the basic releases.
This new set however, is all exclusive. Meaning exclusive decos for this series only. They won’t be seen anywhere else. These will also be Walmart exclusives in the US, and I assume available overseas as well, but I don’t know all the details yet.
While the whole set looks good, there are some definite highlights, starting with the two newest Jeep castings, the Willys 4×4 and Cherokee Trailhawk. The Willys has easily become my favorite Matchbox Jeep, and this one looks great in a metallic teal color and white rims. The Trailhawk is also exceptional in white.
My favorite, however, might be the Cherokee with the roof rack and raft. I have always liked Matchbox models with roof accessories, and have always like that casting. But no previous releases even come close to this one in dark orange with black trim and black rims. That SCREAMS Moab, and anything that screams Moab has my ear, especially this week of Jeep Safari.
More than anything, the new Land Rover and Jeep Series really bolster my confidence in where Matchbox is going. It was obvious a few years ago that off-road vehicles were going to become a big part of the Matchbox brand, but what was frustrating was the execution. Lots of generic castings with exaggerated features and decos. With these two sets we see what it should have been all along: Replicas of current and classic off-roaders from iconic off-road carmakers like Jeep and Land Rover. Both add to the Matchbox heritage of realism, and fit in nicely with the street cars, police and fire vehicles, and construction and utility vehicles. A lovely mix to say the least.
Let’s hope it keeps moving in this direction…