Earlier this week the Matchbox Team sent over a few models to preview for you here on Lamley in the coming days. Most of them are completed and will be hitting the pegs soon, and there are a couple prototypes that will give you an update on their developments.
There are some cool models to be sure, most licensed, but the Tuk Tuk is the model I am most excited to show. I am in love.
There is a lot to say about the model, but what might be most interesting is how it was executed. More on that in a bit.
Where do we start? Let’s talk about the model itself. A Tuk Tuk is a three-wheel taxi in Thailand, its small size conducive to transporting its occupants all over the place. There are similar vehicles all over the world, like the Tricycle in the Philippines, but Matchbox went with the Tuk Tuk for obvious reasons. (Matchbox models are made in Thailand.)
Models like the Tuk Tuk have been on designer’s radars for awhile now, but how to go about creating one has been a challenge. Abe Lugo and the Matchbox Team figured it out. The base and handlebars are diecast, the “exterior” in green and “interior” in pink are plastic, and the roof and front window is one piece of heavily tinted plastic. Start looking at the details and you see how hard this is to pull off for a $1 model.
But they did a great job. Plastic models are not anyone’s favorite, but this is one that makes perfect sense. First off, it is more metal than you realize at first. Second, when you look at the detail of the body it makes sense that the two middle pieces are plastic. They can mold each piece in a different color, which means the Tuk Tuk will always be multicolored, which it really has to be to be a proper Tuk Tuk.
A special wheel was developed just for this casting as well to make the front side work.
It wasn’t an easy task to say the least, but here is maybe the coolest thing about the Tuk Tuk. It came to be by way of a collaboration between the Mattel Designers in El Segundo and Development Team Members at the MBK Factory in Thailand, where Matchbox models are made. Of course the workers in Thailand would know the most about the Tuk Tuk, so they assisted in its design and development.
The names on the side of the vehicle are those who helped in its development, and in a very cool gesture, “Tuk Tuk” in Thai is printed on the bottom, along with the elephant that Mattel puts on every Matchbox as a shout out to the factory workers.
In fact, Abe wanted to pass on that we will see a running change on this model. Look for later versions to have a larger side tampo to make the names on the side a little bigger. We need to know who these good folks are.
I don’t usually get this excited for a Matchbox Original, but the Tuk Tuk is one generic that is headed to my permanent collection. I will look forward to future versions, and a slew of creativity that this unique vehicle merits.
Look for it in 2017 Mix E (alongside the next color of the Skyline).