Matchbox Monday finishes off batch B 2020

Well I did post the first half of this a few weeks back with a mention that I would finish it off shortly. As batches now arrive every 2 months in larger quantities I wanted to try and pace the reports a little so as not to do it all in 1 go and leave nothing for a few months. I hope people are happy with that. As usual, I have to give a large thank you to Wheel Collectors who supplied me with both long card and also power grab boxes of the batch as they are dealers for both types of packaging.

Although I have also seen the batch on short card at Tesco in the UK. I know many are still to find them, but I have seen them twice now, so they are starting to appear.

So let’s get stuck in with a brand new casting. The MB1201 2019 Mercedes Benz AMG GT 63S. It is one of 3 different Mercedes models in this batch.

This is a lovely model and looks really good in irridescent white. It is being sold as MB44 in the 2020 range.

It sports a really nice front and rear tampo treatment incorporating both the Mercedes and AMG badges.

Being a new casting I thought I would also include a base photo for those who may be interested in seeing how the base looks.

If you hunt around you may also find them “Ford Ranchero-ing” a few models. I found an example at Tesco in the UK with a very thin paint covering which almost gives the model a spackled look, particularly towards the front. Fun to be me! So seeing as this is the debut release for the casting, what do I do for some comparison shots? Look at the history of AMG and Matchbox.

The first time we saw the AMG name used was on the MB135 Mercedes Benz 500SEC casting. Shown here are some reds with AMG written down the doors. The casting itself didn’t make mention of AMG on the base, but the tampo design quite often included a nod to the, at the time, independent company. AMG was an unusual acronym. The company was founded by Hans Werner Aufrecht and Erhard Melcher, who were former Mercedes employees, who left to set up an after-market racing tuning specialist firm for Mercedes models. The A & the M came from their surnames, with the G coming from Großaspach, which is where Hans was born. But they set up their company in Burgstetten, so why AMG and not AMB is completely unknown to me.

Until 1993 the company was an independent one, so all these 500SECs were simply tampo printed with AMG at times. These were from a cancelled BP promotion in 1987, where they took the debut white version of the casting and simply added BP to the front. However, with the late cancellation of the promotion, production had already started and many thousands had been produced. So they simply re-tampoed the front with another AMG sign to cover up the BP logo and these were sold in USA in multipacks mainly.

Next up was the MB288 AMG Mercedes Benz C-Class. In 1993 Mercedes signed a letter of co-operation with AMG to work closer together in racing vehicles. One of the early co-operations resulted in the 1994 original DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft) AMG C-Class, which had replaced the 190E that AMG had just been tuning up on their own for the championship). DTM turned into ITC (International Touring Car Championship) in 1996 and then to the new DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) since 2000. Matchbox released their version of the touring car model in 1996. Oddly enough packages never stated AMG, and the tampo printing never made mention of it either.

But it was clear to see on the base. The model only ran for 2 years in the basic range in blue for 1996 and yellow for 1997, as well as a Racing 5-pack also in 1997 in silver. There was a gold challenge for USA in 1997 too, and a premier edition in 1998, but the 3 DTM vehicles that Matchbox came up with in the Tyco era did not last a long time (Alfa Romeo 155 and Opel Calibra being the other 2, Opel lasting the longest).

The next we saw of AMG in the Matchbox range was 2005. It was quite fitting, as AMG had just become a wholly owned subsidiary of Mercedes that year. In 1999 they took a 51% controlling share in the company, and in 2005 Hans sold them the remaining 49% to take complete ownership of the name. So the MB673 Mercedes Benz SL55 AMG Convertible arrived at a pivotal time in AMG history. Running from 2005 (silver) until 2009 (tan) in the basic range it saw quite a few variations.

Each one sported front and rear tampo printing which included the AMG logo on the right hand rear.

The final model in AMG Matchbox history is the MB1056 Mercedes Benz G63 AMG 6×6. First arriving in cream in 2017, then charcoal in 2018 and red in 2019 this model is still going at the moment.

It is a very clever dual version casting where there is an interior section that may or may not be used depending on the pricepoint. Basics sport a blacked out window, but these are all premium related versions. We saw it used as a Toy Fair model in late 2016 (its debut) for the 2017 event which took place in September 2016. It was also used in a triple-version for the 2017 Leipzig Modell Hobby Spiel as a show model, dinner model and early bird dinner model. It is also in the Current 2020 Superfast batch A in blue. They also managed to sneak in the Target Superfast anniversary gold model through as a premium with added interior and see-through windows. Each one obviously carries the AMG logo on the rear too. This is the first time that we have 2 different AMG-related Mercedes models in use at the same time.

This was a little unusual. The MB1220 ’62 Mercedes Benz 220SE Sedan is still included in the batch. It was a part of batch A, and with the new 2-month larger batches we normally don’t get any carry overs, but this is a bit of a special model, so they have carried on for a second batch with it.

Which brings us to the 3rd Mercedes in the batch. The MB728 Mercedes Benz Unimog U300.

For 2020 we see a nice green design which also does feature a 3-sided tampo print, with sides and the front all receiving tampo hits.

The Farm Fresh livery is all new for 2020, however, it is not exclusive to this model.

It is also included on the side design for the MB703 Tractor in the 2020 MBX Countryside II 5-pack. The team like to revisit older designs to create themes, but they do also start new themes from time to time too. I wonder if we will see more of this design in upcoming models.

Unimogs have been a part of the Matchbox range since before I was born. The first one arrived in 1967. The 406 series had been in use in real life since 1963 and Lesney came up with a simple single cab no snorkel design, which I feel the current basic has a nod to. The original ran in tan at first then blue converting to Superfast and continuing on until 1972. It then came back as a twin pack offering paired with another army related vehicle in the TP-13 pack in 1978/1979.

We then saw the MB125 Mercedes Benz Unimog with snow plow attachment. This was the later heavy duty 425/435 vehicle which ran in the ROW only basic range as MB48 from 1983-1985 in yellow, before being added to the twin pack range as TP-112 in 1985 still in yellow with a matching trailer, before turning red in 1987 and white in 1989. It did see some other uses in other ranges too through the late 1980s and through the 1990s.

Apart from the current basic range casting, we have seen 2 recent Jurassic World Unimogs too.

MB1111 Mercedes Benz Unimog U520 and MB1123 ’97 Mercedes Benz Unimog U1300 have so far only been in the Jurassic series, so now to concentrate on the MB728.

First arriving in 2007, it was one of the models chosen to sport 2 looks throughout the year. It started off in orange, and then moved to greenish silver, both simply featuring simple front and rear tampo designs.

2008 was all green and blue. It was sold as MB61 in darker blue with CarGo design, and in the all-exclusive Action 10-pack in silvery blue with a simple side design. It was also in the 2008 Superfast series in dark green with a City Crew design, and in the 2008 Euro Edition series in Germany in lighter green with a GCo design.

2009 saw its final use in the basic range for a decade, in teal with HDR on the side. It was also in the final Euro Edition series too, and this saw a running change with the initial maroon base turning brown in a second production run.

After that things did go a little quiet for a time. There was a hiccup with Mercedes licensing which thankfully was sorted after a while, but the Unimog was a little slow to return. It finally popped up in the Explore the River 5-pack in 2017 in the same HDR design as the last basic in 2009, except now instead of teal it was tan. It was also in the 2018 Mercedes Benz Walmart exclusive series in National Parks mint, and finally after a decade, in the 2019 basic range as MB37 in red with a Molten livery which had previously been used on a Real Working Rig.

This brings us to Porsche! I am a huge Porsche fan, so am always happy to see them pop up. The MB816 Porsche Panamera has not had the most productive of uses. Being MB85 for 2020 gives it just its 4th (or 5th depending on how you count it) outing in the basic range, and 6th (or 7th again) outing overall.

The casting looks very nice in charcoal.

And for some reason, I always enjoy checking out the rear license plate on these. They tend to have some fun with them. The latest has “Make Waves” on there.

As I said, this hasn’t had an awful lot of use. It first arrived in 2011 as MB33. Chosen as one of the models to sport 2 versions for the year (meaning the latest is the 4th year in the basic range, 5th basic range version). After debuting in purple initially, it turned green 3 batches later. It was also included in the 1st Editions 10-pack at the end of the year in red, with a C YA L8TR license plate. How right they were.

It was not seen again until popping up as MB7 in the 2014 basic range. I did have a little fun finding shades of silver though (I actually have 4 of them), but decided not to show them all as the shades don’t come out too well in picture. Even these 2 here are not the easiest to see.

It took another 4 years for the model to start showing a little traction. After coming back to the basic range in blue for 2018 as MB26, it then saw an outing in 2019 too, as part of the Blue Highways 5-pack in light red, before the current charcoal appears for 2020. The first time it has seen issues longer than 1 year at a time, and we are now up to 3. Will we see a 4th?

Road Raider. A Matchbox originals casting, MB895 first arrived back in 2013 and has seen a number of outings since.

It now arrives as MB23 for 2020 in white with a blue and yellow design mirroring that of the Chevy Blazer in 2019.

I completely forgot to take pictures of the 2 together so have just shown my photo of the Chevy Blazer from my collection as a comparison. I do enjoy repeated liveries.

I always liked that the model was cast with 2 dogs sleeping in the rear.

So there are not a lot of versions of the Road Raider to be honest. First arriving, as I mentioned, back in 2013, MB113 was black with white doors.

2014 saw it turn silver as MB65 and if you paid attention you may have noticed that it sported a wheel variation throughout production.

2015 saw it turn blue as MB69 and a black SWAT version appeared in the Police Response Mission Force set.

After that saw a trio of Military Police models all sporting the same tampo design. It was MB85 in 2016 in olive green, then MB67 in 2017 in gunmetal blue and a second release for 2017 this time as MB79 saw it in dark red. It then saw a new design in blue for 2018 as MB77 before taking 2019 off.

Which bring us to our next model, the MB843 Seagrave Fire Engine. Founded in 1881 by Fredric Seagrave, the company is the oldest in USA that is still making fire apparatus. In 1951 they launched their signature 70th Anniversary fire engine which was produced for 19 years, and this is the one that Matchbox make.

This is being sold for 2020 in yellow as MB26 featuring a South Australia Fire Services design. You may think it is familiar, as this too is a repeat design.

We saw a number of South Australia rescue vehicles in the 2019 MBX To the Rescue 5-pack.

But this is about the Seagrave. Life started in the Matchbox range in 2012 where it was red as MB70. However, it also saw 3 different promotional issues in its debut year. It was a dark burgundy for the 2012 Matchbox Gathering in Albuquerque in July, white for the annual Everett Marshall Golf Tournament in August, and gold for the Leipzig Modell Hobby Spiel in October. Quite a productive start.

After that it continued on in the basic range for 2 more years, in yellow as MB17 in 2013 and red as MB77 in 2014. It then took 2015 off.

Obviously it wasn’t keen on odd numbered years, as after taking 2015 off it appeared in 2016 as MB70 then took 2017 off returning as MB72 in 2018 in orange.

Okay maybe I was wrong. Odd numbered year 2019 and we see 2 different issues. It was MB55 in red, and was also one of the golden 50th Anniversary Superfast models sold exclusively at Target in USA before this year’s yellow issue.

I do think this is so cute. The MB1188 2014 Subaru Sambar.

Released as MB16 for 2020 in white, this is only the second release for the casting.

It debuted in 2019 as MB82 in blue. However, where the blue saw side and rear tampo, the white one sports front and rear.

View from the back. It is not something you see a lot of, a kei truck. Built for the Japanese market in real life, kei trucks ( 軽トラ or Keitora as they are known in Japan) are built to satisfy keijidōsha rules, and as such can only be so large.

So when you put vehicles like this next to, say a fire engine, you really see just how small they are. But I love it. Plus I am always happy to see more Subarus in the range. For some reason Matchbox just never made any until recently.

The first was the MB751 Subaru Impreza WRX Police. It was a tough first pitch to Subaru. Matchbox wanted to make a police version of the car, but Subaru were unconvinced. It took them many photos of real ones for them to say okay. We saw our first 2 releases in 2008 as MB45 (you know, one of those 2 per year models) in white and silver, but then Subaru didn’t want more police. It took them until 2012 to convince them it was good. At this time we started to see more. Another silver, this time with white wheels followed by a black and a blue in 2013 and 2014. Then, as noticed already in the Seagrave post, it has popped back up (with an altered roof line now incorporating the light into the window section) as part of the 2019 MBX To the Rescue 5-pack.

The next Subaru was the MB1049 ’15 WRX STi (no longer part of the Impreza family) police car. Debuting in 2017 as MB60 it was only used twice with the 2018 MB67 in black being the last it has been seen to date.

And as has been seen recently, the MB1171 ’95 Subaru SVX recently debuted in the basic range in late 2019 as MB5. It does actually mean that in 2019 we had 2x basic Subaru castings and 1x 5-pack Subaru casting released in the same year. 15 years ago we had never even seen a Subaru in the Matchbox range. I hope we see more in the future too.

Finally, the MB1200 ’76 VW Mk1 GTi Golf. That’s what it says on the base which is where I tend to get all my details from whenever possible.

The VW Type 17 (as it was known internally) first debuted in 1974 as a supposed successor to the Type 1 (or Beetle as it was known), but sales of the Beetle were not dwindling fast enough so it continued. At first there were no plans for a sportier version, but they soon changed their minds and the GTi was launched in 1976. This is the version Matchbox have recreated here. BTW did you see my mini moment article on the blog the other week? It shows that the Golf has a parcel shelf variation.

Obligatory base shot of a new casting showing off the name and detailing. Obviously the Golf was known by a number of names at first, with Rabbit being common in USA. Now this is far from the first Golf in the Matchbox range, and as this is the debut, I shall delve into the Golf history.

Strangely enough it all started the year that this depicted model represents. 1976. MB7 was a Golf LS which arrived in green sporting a pair of surfboards on the roof.

Over the course of the next 5 years, shades of green were noticeable, as it tended to get darker as it went on, and in 1980 red interiors started popping up too. Of course with the surfboards being removable you quite often see it without them now.

In 1981 the model turned yellow before becoming an ROW exclusive MB7 in 1982 for its last year in the basic range. However, it was made a Japanese exclusive in black between 1984 and 1987.

It was also used in the twin pack series from 1979, and during the Lesney era was red, although shades ranging from a darker red to an orangey red exist, as do interior variations. It came back as TP-114 in 1985 for 3 years but used the same casting as was being sold in Japan at that point.

It also saw uses in other areas too. We saw a German exclusive MB7 in yellow in 1977, where it had an aerial instead of the surboards, and a sticker to try and cover up the holes. That model also popped up in Japan in 1978 too. It was also one of 6 castings that were randomy grabbed and short-produced in 1988 to hold on to a Dinky license that Matchbox Universal had previously acquired but were close to losing due to taking too long in setting up the models. Also, Universal shipped over the casting to Bulgaria for local production in 1993 as part of the last batch of castings sent over. But as they were being taken over by Tyco, nobody collected the castings back and over the years we have seen many variations made. It also had a change to the base, where the Matchbox logo and details went and replaced by the Universal logo and details.

I did mention how 1982 was an ROW only issue. This is because the US range saw an alteration and large wheels added. The original casting was designated MB007, and this was MB099, but was sold as MB7 in the US range from 1982 until 1985. 1982 was in white, but 1983 onwards (also added to the Japanese range in 1984 until outlasting the US release in 1986) we saw yellow, with variations in interior and the direction the rabbit runs in on the front, being found.

The next Golf we saw was the MB152 VW Golf GTi. This was a MkII GTi, which was launched from the offset when the new vehicle was launched. This one sported an opening bonnet (or hood) and after debuting in 1985 with a small Golf GTi side design as either MB33 in the US market or MB56 in the ROW market, 1986 saw a small change to a large GTi side design and fun with wheels. Dot-dash, 8-dot chrome or 8-dot gold were to be found over the next 3 years.

After 1988 the model was dropped from the USA range, but was changed to charcoal for the ROW range in 1989 before being dropped there too. However, it came back to the ROW range as MB61 in 1991 in a rather abstract design. Pun intended.

The casting did see some shorter run models, like the white FedEx model from a 1987 giftset, 1987 UK Quantum promotional model, 1989 Swiss Collection release in yellow and 1991 LippischeLandes-Zeitung promotional model in Germany. But after 1991 the casting was never used again. Especially unusual as the Mk1 was not yet sent to Bulgaria, so had outlasted this one in a way.

We never saw another Golf in the basic range until the MkV GTi arrived in 2006 in red. MB684 has seen a number of basics over the years. Red – 2006 MB1. Black – 2007 MB5. Lime gold – 2007 MB5 version 2. Orange – 2008 MB28. Purple – 2009 MB30. Green 2010 – MB28. Yellow – 2010 MB28 version 2. Grey – 2017 MB118. The 2017 was a surprise after the 6 year gap.

I decided to try and lump these in one go a bit as I thought I had been going on about Golfs too much. Non-basic range issues. 2006 saw it in white in the Superfast range. 2007 saw a Real 10-pack issue in greenish grey, and Srars of Cars exclusive to Germany in silver. 2008 again in the Real 10-pack, this time in blue along with the licensed 5-pack Nickelodeon issue in lime gold. Finally, another Real 10-pack issue in charcoal, this time in 2009. The Mk V Golf has seen quite a few releases.

The new Golf is actually the second retro Golf, as the MB1038 ’90 VW Golf Country, which was based on the MkII design is also in production. It first arrived as MB4 in 2017, and just like the new casting you can find a rear parcel shelf variation on it. The first run turned out green, but it was supposed to be teal and a running change for the second production run changed it. In 2018 it arrived as MB99 in red, and was also a Target exclusive, this time for the 65th Anniversary in sapphire. 2019 saw it in the Service Squad 5-pack in blue.

So that’s it for another blog report. I finish off with a few random power grab models from the batch. Next week I don’t think there will be anything new for me to report on, so expect me to do a little dive into my collection. I wonder where my dive will take me?

David Tilley

2 thoughts on “Matchbox Monday finishes off batch B 2020

  1. I think the names on the bases of some of these cars are just bollocks. Take the Mercedes for example. The card correctly calls it a Mercedes-AMG but the base says Mercedes-Benz, which is not right as the Benz name should not be included (Mercedes themselves don’t call it as such). And then take the Golf. It should be Golf GTi, not GTi Golf. God knows what they’re doing.

    Anyway, rant aside, I am really excited for the GT 63! Finally MBX has done a proper performance saloon and it looks good. Wish they did it in a better colour but it’s okay. (Imagine this in premium!).

    Nice to see the mk5 Golf GTi getting some screentime. It’s an underrated car they need to bring back, now that the mk1 is also here.

  2. I love the Subaru Sambar too, and thanks for the little bit of info there on kei trucks–I had no idea of the existence of that. Another great little quirk in the JDM, eh. Reminds me of the Suzuki Carry, a little van of similar dimensions that was popular in my home country Australia in the mid-80s. Perhaps elsewhere too. Would be good if MB added this to their range one day.

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