It’s that time of week again. I have already mentioned that this week I would begin tackling the 2020 Batch B set of models. But now that we get a large group of 15-16 models in each batch released every 2 months, I have decided to split the review into 2 halves. Part 2 will be in, I think, possibly 3 weeks time. Plans may change, but I have ideas in place for the next 2 weeks, just to mix things up in the Matchbox corner. But how to split the review in half. Do I go by number? No that’s too logical. I’m going alphabetical!
Now again I would like to give a big shout out to Wheel Collectors, who have obliged with sending me both the long card package style batch as well as the power grabs boxes for the batch. This has enabled me to check for a few variations (how do you think I got the VW Golf variation shown in my mini moment the other day?).
Of course many places outside of USA will actually receive the batch on what is dubbed ROW short card (Rest of world) and just as I was preparing this report, Tesco in the UK start to bring in the short carded models too. So this gives you an idea of the 3 different types of packaging that Mattel create for the batches. So far, both Batch A and Batch B have been issued in full in power grabs too. This was not something we were seeing before and I have a feeling that 2020 may see all 100 models released as power grabs too.
So let’s begin with the first model. The MB1173 ’69 BMW 2002. For 2020 it takes the MB50 position in the series.
This is a beautiful little casting, and already one of my favourites. It comes in a fairly light flat blue shade with a light blue tinted window.
It is the second release of this casting, as it debuted in 2019 in orange.
It appears the tampo printing is almost identical, with perhaps a slight tweak to the rear lights. The interior, wheels and base are identical as is the window tinting. I love the consistency of this as it makes it true to real life where you would see 2 almost identical vehicles, with only a body colour being different.
But let’s do a little history. Obviously many will know of the BMW 3.0CSL. It was actually the very first BMW casting that Matchbox ever made for the basic range, launching it in 1976 as MB45. It ran until 1981 in the basic range but was only ever sold in orange. In most places. Germany saw an exclusive white Polizei version in 1977 which also ended up being sold in Japan in 1979. After being dropped, a red version briefly appeared in a multipack in 1982.
However, there is the possibility of blues, as this casting was sent to Bulgaria in 1985 for local production for 1 year. These are idenitified by having the same wheels as England production (5-arch). Once returned, Hungary wanted in on the action, and the casting was sent over there for a year in 1987 too. These sport 8-dot wheels.
So the new casting does actually match up to the original in that respect. Daft fact, did you know this is the first time that Matchbox have made a “classic” BMW for the basic range? All other BMWs have been of basically current vehicles at the time of introduction.
Daft fact number 2. The MB893 BMW 1M (or M1 as it got changed to at BMWs request) also started off in orange for year 1, and then turned blue for year 2. I am ignoring non-regular basics (promotionals, Target gold exclusives etc). If the BMW 2002 turns red for 2021 I am going to laugh out loud.
Next up, we have one of the brand new castings that debuted in this batch. It is also the only one alphabetically in this half, so my next review will showcase the other. The MB1207 ’41 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible Coupe. Quite a mouthful. As such, the base itself didn’t bother with the Convertible Coupe part at the end.
A few shots of the new casting which debuts in the MB9 slot for 2020. For those that may not know, there is a small reason behind this particular casting being in the range. It may have something to do with a certain Abe Lugo, who is in charge of the Matchbox brand, owning a very similar vehicle in real life. I hear there could be some exciting news about this vehicle coming. But we will have to wait until the Matchbox Gathering in July to find out if there is or not. With the convention taking place in Albuquerque the 3rd weekend of July, it is not too long to wait. I will be arriving myself on the Thursday afternoon/evening (depending on flight landing on time) and will be in attendance. So yes, there is going to be news coming directly from Albuquerque here as the event is going on. Let’s see who remembers there may be something Cadillac related in there.
So with no others of this casting, let’s do a classic Cadillac history. Matchbox never created a casting of a classic Cadillac until 2001 when The Elvis Presley Graceland collection debuted, which actually gave us 2. But rather than do Elvis models, I am taking each of the classics and showing off their basic range debut. The MB500 ’55 Cadillac Fleetwood actually never saw a basic range debut until 2013 where it was sold as MB13. It came in red with a white roof. It has only ever seen 2 basic range issues, with the 2019 pink being the 2nd basic, although that was an altered MB1129 casting (slightly shortened and roof now cast as part of the body).
The other Elvis Caddy was the MB501 ’56 Cadillac Eldorado, which has only ever seen 1 basic range release. It was sold in pastel green in 2006 as MB18.
Another classic Cadillac we saw was the MB739 ’69 Sedan DeVille which arrived in 2008. Sold as MB2 it debuted in gold, before turning red later in the year. Just like with the latest Series 62, this was actually linked to the man in charge at the time. Felix Holst was running the brand at the time and he and a friend were in the process of doing up a classic DeVille, so they just made a model of it.
Of course that was because of another Felix special. He owned a 1963 Cadillac Ambulance, and in 2006 they recreated that in miniature. MB700 did cause a few issues in general when it was released which is the reason why….
It became the MB780 ’63 Cadillac Ambulance. There were a few people not too keen on having a hearse as a toy, so it was altered into the ambulance casting, debuting in 2009. Gene Mercy is actually an anagram. You mix the letters up you get “emergency”. This casting too has seen an alteration into MB994 over the years.
I love daft facts. Every single classic Cadillac casting started out with its first release in the basic range with a chrome base.
You may also have noted that the ’41 Series 62 currently stands as the oldest Cadillac casting ever added to the basic range (’55, ’56, ’69, ’63, ’63, ’41). The Sixty Special was the first casting they ever put in, but it was a current vehicle at the time when added in 1960. Still newer. Now I don’t collect regular wheel models, so I don’t have a picture to show you, but I can quickly show off the other contemporary Cadillacs added.
Apart from the Sixty Special, this is everything from before the Mattel era. The S&S Ambulance ran as MB54 from 1966 until 1970, only turning to Superfast wheels for its final year in production. The MB189 Cadillac Allanté ran from 1987 until 1994 as MB65 in the ROW range, but added one more year running until 1995 as MB72 in the US range.
Mattel has really embraced Cadillacs a lot more. We have 2 Escalades. MB567 began in 2003 in black, but had a sporadic basic range existence, popping up in 2005, 2008 and 2010. MB1096, the current generation Escalade debuted in 2018 in charcoal, but skipped 2019. We will see more of it this year though.
We also saw a pair of CTS models, the MB806 Wagon and MB815 Coupe, as well as MB974 Cadillac One. I am still waiting for a pink version of that casting. But I digress. Time to move on from Cadillacs.
Next up is the MB1130 ‘471/2 Chevy AD3100 Pickup.
This 2020 MB96 is the latest in a long line of National Parks models, but I am not going to dive into that one quite yet. But expect a dive into the history of the National Parks theme to appear at some point soon as I know I will not have all new stuff to show all the time. It is something I will be exploring more of in the near future.
But for now, let’s just concentrate on all the other Advanced Design (that’s what AD stood for) models to date. It started off in the 100 years Chevy Trucks set in 2018, which was exclusive to Walmart in USA. Plus it wasn’t ready for production when they did the first run and only appeared in later batches. It was quite a popular model.
It didn’t actually arrive in the basic range until last year when this blue version appeared as MB19. The tampo design is actually a nod to Jim Gallegos, who each year puts on the Gathering in Albuquerque. He puts a lot of effort into setting up the show each year and it is nice to see him get his name on a model as appreciation for all his hard work. He is also a former Ambassador for the brand too.
Finally, the last issue before the current one was also from last year, where it was a part of the first Sweets set, available to smaller stores and hobby stores (like Wheel Collectors) in USA.
It’s a very nice little casting, and hopefully there is still a lot of life in this one for a number of years to come.
MB999 Chow Mobile. I still refer to it by its original name of Food Wagon. The base did see a change of name a few years ago, but I like to stay consistent.
Released as MB18 this year, this is a casting that you only get to see the cool side when you open the package.
The far side is where all the fun is. I always enjoy opening this casting up to see what is on the other side, and I have been doing it for quite a while now. Because….
Mr Lugo’s was its debut basic range issue back in 2013. You may notice the food racks are a little different. Originally it was MB889 and the racks were part of the interior, but it was altered a few years later into MB999 and the racks moved to the body of the casting.
I’m not doing too much more with this one at this present time, because shortly I will be diving into the latest Sweets set, which also features a Chow Wagon and it will include a little more of the history of the casting. Stay tuned for that.
So that moves us on to MB327. The ’33 Ford Coupe in this guise makes its basic range debut in the MB16 slot.
Released in metallic brown with a side design mainly consisting of a pale yellow side flash.
I do like all the little references to Matchbox in the design. It’s actually the third time we have seen the casting like this though.
It first appeared in the 2018 Dirty Mudders 5-pack in red with a 79c design.
Popping up in 2019 in blue with flames as a 9-pack exclusive, which appears quite elusive in some areas of the world.
The reason behind its low manufacturing number is actually because it was originally created back in 1998 but at the time had an open hood with exposed engine and grille section which also incorporated side exhausts. It ran until 2004 in various guises as a civilian vehicle and was left for 14 years before being tinkered with and brought back again in 2018.
However, it did also see an offshoot in the MB508 Police version, which was simply the model with a roof light attached. It only saw 2, well 4 in reality, uses. It debuted in the 2001 D.A.R.E. 5-pack in purple, and saw a second through fourth issue as a 10-pack exclusive in 2006. At the time we would see 3x 10-packs released each quarter, with 1 pack being all exclusive, and 2 additional parks released alongside which both featured and exlusive model. However, each quarter for 1 year would see the same 2 vehicles as the exclusive, but in alternate colours. Sadly, the final issue was cut short and we only saw the all-exclusive pack, meaning the 2 non-exclusive packs were unreleased, leaving us with only 3 of the model. It was never seen again.
The MB982 Hummer H2 SUV Concept feels like it has been around for quite a while, but when you realize that not a lot were basic range issues, it doesn’t seem too bad.
I like the new design on this one.
Released as MB89, it is one of the models in the new MBX Coastal sub-section of the Matchbox basic range. This year the original 5 sub-sections have been tweaked to 6 now, with the coastal sub-section being all new.
Plus, I got a shade. I love shade variations, and thanks to Wheel Collectors who sent over Power Grabs and long cards, the 2 production runs of M45 and M47 are yielding different shades of orange.
So let’s do a basic range recap. The casting was first used in 2003, where it was initially known as MB526. It was sold as MB73 that first year, and the first 10,000 examples sported a Hero City logo on the side door.
After that it popped up as MB35 in 2005 in charcoal with simple light detailing.
It carried on in 2006 as MB75, this time sporting a camouflage side design.
Hey look, it’s National Parks again. This was 2008. Yes, the series has been going quite a while now. This is why I mentioned creating a whole blog post just about National Parks, as we are now in our 13th year of National Parks models. This particular issue was sold as MB100 exclusively in the US range.
After that we did not see it in the basic range until 2013, where it saw its final outing under its original MB526 manufacturing number. Sold as MB97 that year, it usually sported cog wheels, but a production run saw 6-spokes used instead.
Since moving to the MB982 casting (the changes are between the linkage of the window section to the base and are mainly internal, you can only see the edge of it through the wheel arches) we have seen a 2018 MB43 in yellow and 2019 MB40 in white meaning that the orange 2020 issue is the first time this casting has seen 3 basic range issues in a row.
In total it has been in the basic range 8 times.
Of course it has seen a lot of other uses too, and this will be touched upon further as this too is in the new Sweets set, and will see more of a review in that report.
The penultimate model in this review is the MB867 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Polizia. The packaging just say Police, but the base has the full and proper Italian name for it.
It’s very impressive, as Mattel do have a 2-pass rule for basic range models, but sometime a little clever manipulation and we can get some additional printing.
This model see both sides and the hood/bonnet printed. Sometimes you need to give the Matchbox team, and sometimes even the factory workers some recognition for the efforts they make to create these little workarounds to the limitations they have to work by. They do work hard ot try and get as much out of things as they can, and I for one do appreciate all the effort.
This casting first debuted back in 2013 where it was sold as MB22 that year. It also appeared in a Police 5-pack, as that was the year when each pack had 1 model pulled from the basic range too. It wasn’t the most successful change they made, and the idea was dropped shortly after.
It also saw its first premium issue that year too, as it was included in the 60th Anniversary celebration series with a box in a blister and full tampo printing.
2014 saw the first white version sold as MB81 that year.
It was also in white for 2015, where it was sold as MB61, but was also included in the first batch of Power Grabs. Unlike the current Power Grabs which comes in small boxes, the first batch was sold in bags, with just 11 models in the set for the entire year, 4 of which were in exclusive designs, the other 7 in designs also being sold in the basic range. This was one of those.
2016 was, until now, its last basic range outing where it was sold as MB92. Since then it moved out of the basic range and into other areas.
After taking 2017 off, it returned in 2018 with its second premium issue. Part of the Globe Travelers series, this time as a foreruner to the current Superfast premium series featuring full tampo printing and 2-part rubber wheels.
And last year, it too was part of a 9-pack as an exclusive design.
So to date, this model has seen 8 releases, 5 of which are white. Is it a Gallardo signature colour? I don’t know.
Finally, the 8th model in this batch (alphabetically speaking) is the MB1176 MBX Backhoe.
Another themed design, INC is not as big as National Parks, but has also seen a number of issues so will be looked at in more detail in the future.
Daft fact number, errm, I don’t know. I just keep rattling off daft facts. This is the only casting in this batch with a moving part. The front bucket moves up and down.
There is not a lot to talk about with this model. It is only on its second outing as it debuted in 2019 in white with an orange and black design (but not Ranec, another ongoing design for this future blog post).
So although you will see more talk more about the model, it will only be with the INC models.
So that is the first half done. Power Grabs are available on them all, as well as blisters.
So that’s 8 down, 8 more to go, as I finish off M through V. But as I said, that will be a few weeks down the line, as I have a couple of different posts to slip in between. Until next time, enjoy.