Last week Matchbox sent me a few upcoming models to preview (I showed the awesome Tuk Tuk last week), and mixed in among them were a couple of preproduction test shots.
Preproduction models like these are smack-dab in the middle of the development process. The design is essentially done, the tool is made, and these are castings made, painted in an available color, and put together for testing, inspection, and approval. Some tweaks might be made, but usually nothing too significant.
So it was cool for Matchbox to send a couple over (and yes they will be going back) to give us an update on how some of these models are coming together. The first is one of the more interesting choices for the line this year, the BMW i3.
I think the consensus among collectors on the i3 is that it is an excellent choice for the Matchbox line. I wondered if some would pan the idea, but I haven’t heard too much negativity about it. Matchbox is at its best when it is doing a variety of realistic vehicles, and the BMW i3 definitely applies. It is surely unique.
(Of course the car guy in me would love to see the i8, but the Matchbox fan in me loves the i3. There is room for both. We do have a Cadillac CTS Coupe and Wagon for example.)
So let’s have a look at the i3. Just as a reminder this is an early prototype. The blue plastic is used for preproductions, and the black paint and wheels were what was available. I don’t know what color or wheels will be used on the first release. I also assume the front and rear will be tampo printed.
It is a little hard to tell with the black paint, but it appears to be well detailed. I am curious if there will be a way to do the two-tone coloring that would highlight the floating rear pillar, but I assume the model will be one color. I would prefer one color and full front and rear detailing, like this one:
The interior looks well done as well. I do wonder if there will be some sort of interior variation like Matchbox has been doing lately.
All in all I am really looking forward to this one. There are clearly other models that speak to me a little more, but this one is best in the variety it creates, and the overall landscape it is speaking to at Matchbox.
Look for this one mid-2017…