Matchbox Monday begins working through 2020 Batch C

Well it’s that time of week again. Luckily for me, Wheel Collectors have been awesome to me. They got the new “U” case of basics in at the end of February, and rushed through a set directly to me in the UK. Luckily it arrived by the weekend and I was able to make a start. There are 17 models in total in this assortment, so I have decided to split it into 3 parts. Two of those parts will consist of 6 models each, the other part will only sport 5. But one of those will have a nice “additional” story added to it which I think will be a great little read in itself. Something to look forward to. In the meantime let’s get on with the first batch of 6 models.

So last time I went alphabetically. This time? Random. I tried my best to split new castings between the 3 reports, and also try and split the generics (or Matchbox Originals as they are known as officially) too. Even modern cars, classic cars and utility vehicles I tried my best to split. I know the Matchbox team try to do this on a larger basis for the whole set of 100. It’s tougher than you think. So the first model I am tackling is….

The MB1195 ’15 Mercedes-Benz G-Class (or G550 as the package states). This is actually the basic range debut for this model which has been around since 2018. It is also the first time we have had a “regular” 4-wheeled G-Wagon in the basic range since 2005, as the G63 AMG 6×6 is a bit of a unique creation.

The new addition comes in a nice matte purple. A little different to the norm. You don’t get a lot of purple models done by Matchbox.

It takes the MB49 slot in the 2020 range.

The base is very similar to the ’14 G-Class which is a part of the Jurassic World theme. I always check bases to make sure they put the right one on there. I am sure they are interchangeable.

Well the MB665 Scion xB wanted to point out that in the 2006 Cars 5-pack it was also in purple. Of course that is a glossy metallic, and the Merc is a solid matte finish. But yeah, we do get purples. Okay so the Merc reminds me of the old days as the MB149 Mercedes-Benz 280GE G-Wagon was launched in 1985 and was a staple of the basic range for quite a while.

Its debut from 1985-1987 shows up here in red. Of course it was actually just a staple of the ROW range until 1996, as it did not show up in the US range.

After retiring from the basic range, it did see a brief appearance in Germany in 1999 (in one of three different Polizei designs) before finally going worldwide in 2000. After that 2001 saw a UK only release, and 2004 an ROW issue before its basic range swansong was only the 2nd time it was sold in the US range in 2005.

The 2005 MB10 is shown alongside the very last time the classic car was used. The 2009 Euro Edition series in Germany was the last time there was an exclusive series in Germany (Stars of Germany – Stars of Cars – Euro Edition) and also the last time there was a regular 4-wheeled G-Wagon.

Of course the new casting is an offshoot of an exclusive casting created for the Jurassic World license. MB1109, which is officially classified as a 2014 model, has bullbars across the front (its only major difference) as they were a part of the vehicle for the Jurassic World film. We saw both the regular silver and “Battle Damaged” edition of it in the 2018 series, as well as a second black version in a later 2018 5-pack too.

This led us to the debut of MB1195 as it was used as a promotional item for the 2018 Leipzig Modell-Hobby-Spiel. The most common yellow version was created as a show model, with a green alternate in lower numbers as a convention model. However, early bird attendees for the convention actually saw an even shorter released silver version. Of course there was also a rare pink version, which Dirk called the ladies model. It was created for those who helped him to run the convention. Those are really tough to find now.

The only other issue we have seen for the model is a red version that was included in the Mercedes-Benz 5-pack in 2019. An off-shoot of the Walmart exclusive Mercedes-Benz set from 2018, the G-Class was due to be a part of the 6 models found in Walmart, even appearing listed on the back of the packaging, but it never appeared. It was only later when we saw the 5-packs arrive (in various other places) that the G-Class finally turned up. It’s good to see it in a worldwide release.

Next up on my random merry-go-round of models is the MB1203 Polaris RZR.

This is the debut of a brand new casting, and arrives in the MB59 slot for its first outing. For those not familiar with it, The RZR is not a set of letters when saying it. It may read RZR, but if you were talk about it, you would call it “razor”. That is direct from Polaris.

The RZR is what is know as a UTV. This stands for Utility Terrain Vehicle. It is a form of SSV, which itself stands for Side-by-Side Vehicle. This means that these vehicles have 4 wheels, and also a roll-over crash structure in place. That makes them different to ATVs or Quad Bikes which don’t have such roll-over structures. A UTV can be a sporty pleasure seeking vehicle, which the RZR falls under, or perhaps be more of a utility style of vehicle too.

Being a new casting, I will automatically show the base of the model for those that like to see that sort of detail.

Although I think that this casting has been very well crafted, as the real vehicle has quite a lot of detailing just in the body section itself and the Matchbox team have replicated that very well.

So this is the second Polaris vehicle. Last year we saw the MB1186 Polaris Slingshot debut towards the end of the year. Although that one is quite a different vehicle.

Officially the Slingshot is a motorcycle, as it has 3 wheels, although some places may classify it as something different. Some US states classify it as an autocycle. There is a rather large grey area for it to fall into. But we are here about the RZR, so with no previous issues to pull out, let’s just utilize a few other licensed Matchbox UTVs.

Like the MB804 Yamaha Rhino. Four wheels, roll-over cage, yes this is the same type of vehicle. Obviously the Rhino was designed more for work purposes than the RZR is.

It ran 3 years in the basic range from 2010 until 2012 as well as seeing some 5-pack issues. After 2012 it only saw 1 more use in the 2017 Camo Set. It had some fun variations, particularly during 2010 when the logo on the front kept shrinking and growing.

Of course a UTV may have a roof. The MB1101 Kawasaki Teryx4 LE, which was only used once in the Jurassic World series in 2018, is an example of a roofed UTV. But as a whole, UTVs have not had a large use by Matchbox. It is good to see them diversifying the vehicles included in the range.

So we have 2 different Polaris vehicles now, and the latest is a different type of UTV to those seen in the recent past.

Next up in the random lottery is the MB1180 1959 Dodge Coronet Police.

This is only the second release of this casting which debuted in 2019.

It comes in white with a light blue side design and Matchbox County Patrol livery. Very simple, very clean design. I like this one.

It looks good alongside the original issue with the white working with the black very well.

It also retains the chrome base, which I see has made quite an impact on this year’s models. Quite often a model gets a chrome base sparingly. It is good to see this acheiving multiple chrome releases.

There’s not much else to add to this one, so let’s throw up some random stuff. It is from the 1950s, and recently Mattel have dipped into the 1950s quite a bit for police vehicles. We have the MB858 1956 Buick Century, which I show my favourite version released so far of this one. It is actually a promotional item, as it was the 2013 Albuquerque Gathering dealer model. I loved that the attention to detail was so big on this one that they even painted the light on the roof. We also have the MB1046 1951 Hudson Hornet which this time I show off the debut, as I like the black and white look to that, which just like the debut of the Coronet works well with the Dodge.

Finally, before I move on to the next model, how about a Dodge Police group shot. All white! The MB762 1978 Dodge Monaco is the only other “classic” done so far from Dodge, with the 2011 Police 5-pack version shown here. Next to it is the 2013 debut (and only) MB846 Dodge Charger Pursuit. It was altered after the debut to incorporate the roof light into window section. At the back sits the MB680 Dodge Magnum. It was the 2009 Superfast issue. In the far right corner is the unusual MB676 Dodge Charger. Being a civilian vehicle, it kept actually seeing police designs on it, even though it had no roof light. It was part of the reason why the Pursuit was developed for 2013, as Chargers are popular as police cars, and the Matchbox team felt they should create a proper police vehicle, rather than just use the civilian and pretend it is undercover.

Next up is the only Matchbox Original I will showcase in this week’s batch. The MB834 Crop Master. Although the name doesn’t actually appear on the base of the model due to the lack of space there. Luckily it tells you on the package. It takes the MB91 in the 2020 range.

Or in this case, on the side of the model. This is the first time that the name of the vehicle has actually appeared on the model. I’m full of completely useless information aren’t I.

It is a small vehicle, but does have something most don’t nowadays. A metal body and metal base. I would say it is just abut the heaviest model in the batch.

It also has another fun little extra. A tow hook.

Perfect for pulling things around, like the MB829 Farm Trailer. These would work very well in a future 5-pack. Just saying….

Now this model has been around a little longer than anything I have previewed so far. It all started back in 2012, when it first debuted, in red as MB62.

It also re-appeared a few batches later, as it was one of the chosen models to sport 2 liveries that year, and the next one was yellow.

After that it was dropped from the basic range, but did see an outing in the 60th Anniversary series. Being a premium range, the model saw a full tampo print, which is the only time you will have seen the front end received a print.

After that it took 2014 off entirely before turning up in its first (and only so far) 5-pack issue. It was green with a Lopez Ranch side design.

After that it returned to the basic range in 2017 as MB40 in Canon Construction livery (which was a matching livery to a 2014 issue of the GMC Stepside).

And if that returning livery was good, for 2018 it saw a second year in a row in the basic range as MB40 again, plus it was in the popular and long lasting INC design.

2020 is an all-new design, and lucky for the model (well it is its 7th issue, if you are in a country that counts 7 as a lucky number) it finally knows what it is called.

Well this one I can dive into. The MB726 Audi R8 has been around since 2007. It is the oldest casting in batch C. It is actually the first time it has been in the basic range since 2013. It takes the MB29 slot for this year.

It comes in a charcoal colour scheme with simple front detailing and chrome lipped double 10-spoke wheels.

Plus a simple rear design too.

So let’s do a recap of what we have seen of this casting. As stated it started back in 2007. It arrived in silver first, then changed to light blue later that year, both under the MB14 slot.

2008 was a hectic year for this one. It was MB18 in the basic range in charcoal, but as you can see, the shade of charcoal was much darker on that one. When put side by side, it was way more than just a shade variation. Plus the front and rear design sports a different license plate and slightly different tampo design. The wheels too are fully chromed rather than just chrome lipped. In addition, it also saw its first bladed design as it was also in the 2008 Superfast series which allowed it a full tampo print that saw the blades in an alternate colour to the rest of the body. A red version also appeared in the Modern Rides 5-pack that year.

2009 was back to just being in the basic range, where it was sold as MB21 in the US and ROW ranges that year. The range had been split into 3 at this point, but the LAAM range did not see it. However, this was an unusual one as the majority were made in a very dark metallic charcoal with a silver side blade (no rear tampo), but a small run was solid black. You could almost miss that one as the metallic was so dark to begin with.

2010 saw the most clever designs. With careful positioning it is possible to create a 4-sided design. Limiting the colours used front and rear allowed the side blades to get a hit too. The white was MB15 in the basic range, and the blue was in the “Real” 10-pack that year, so both were officially sporting a limited number of tampo hits.

After that we saw 2 basic range runs with a different wheel for the first time. The 5-spoke wheel had not been used on the Audi before, as it always saw double 10-spokes. In 2011 it saw a red release in the US (MB13) and LAAM (MB10) ranges only, with the ROW omitted this year. Then after taking 2012 off, it had one more go in the basic range with front and blade printing in a blue model as MB63 worldwide. That was its last basic range release until now. After that the model took some time off.

Five years later, it finally sports a new design. It was part of the Globe Trotters series in early 2018 with 2-part rubber wheels for the first time and a full tampo design. 2019 saw a gold release as part of the Autobahn Express 5-pack. Daft fact, the gold version sports the exact same design as the new one. I like repeated designs. Of course that did also see chrome lipped 5-spoke wheels instead of the chrome lipped double 10-spokes the latest one has. But it is good seeing Audis in the range. Hopefully we will see a new Audi vehicle in the future. Personally, I would love to see a modern A4 Allroad Quattro, or a classic 1969 100 Coupe S. Or both. Because, why not?

Finally, another new casting. This is the MB1206 1995 Nissan Hardbody (D21). It states it on the package and on the model’s base. This is because Hardbody was the US designed model. The D21 was Nissan’s design, but the US had a different front end, where it was known locally as Hardbody. Other countries saw the D21 body style sold under a variety of other names, with Navaro being more common in many, especially in Europe. However, they had the Japanese styled front end, not the Hardbody front end look. So the D21 is in brackets, as it is one of two official looks of the D21 vehicle. It arrives as MB62 for its debut year.

The model is red with a simple side flash on it.

There is also a very slightly raised sunroof on the model, and a tow hook on the rear.

As I said, new castings get an obligatory base show for those interested how it looks.

There is a spare wheel and some chains in the rear. I have not heard of an alternative so far, so this may be a single version casting.

It’s always nice to have more vehicles in the range with the capacity to tow things. It’s actually quite a long vehicle, and adding the tow hook just stretches it out even further.

This is the debut of the new wheel design in the basic range. It suits these types of vehicles very well, and has only been seen so far on the MB1225 2019 Ford Ranger that recently debuted in the Moving Parts series. That model had gold lipped wheels, so with this being standard chrome, you can really make out the hub design.

So being a debut of a casting, I have no back-catalogue to dip into. So what about Nissan Trucks in general? We have the MB1041 2nd generation 1962 Nissan Junior. The Hardbody is classified as a light duty pick-up, with the Junior a medium-duty. So Junior is actually based on the next step up. It has seen three basic range issues so far, with the blue being the 2017 MB7 debut, green the 2018 MB14 and red the 2019 MB89.

The only other Nissan Pick-up seen so far is the MB1181 2016 Nissan Titan Warrior Concept vehicle. Showcased in 2016 as a more extreme version of the 2nd generation Titan heavy duty pick-up, so is based on an even larger pick-up to the Junior, and 2 steps above the Hardbody. We have seen 2 releases so far. Both are fairly similar and in keeping with the Concept’s look, with the biggest difference being that the 2019 MB61 has chrome wheels, the 2020 MB76 has dark grey wheels.

So with that in mind, I wonder what else I can dig up for fun?

Well the Hardbody is a 1995, so why not look at 1995 itself? This was the year the MB248 Ford F-150 4×4 debuted. It was sold as MB65 worldwide in red with a simple white design on the side. As I mentioned earlier, chrome has a habit of not lasting. When it came to the roll bar on this one, it didn’t even last a year. When debuting it had a chrome base and chrome roll bar, but by the end of 1995, the roll bar had already turned black.

There were 2 other pick-up trucks in the 1995 range, and as with the F-150, these were both Ford too. However, they were much older castings from the Lesney era that were still lingering on in the basic range. We had the MB053 7th generation Ford F-150 Custom Flareside Pick-up, which had been upgraded in 1986 to ride on racing slick tyres after debuting originally with treaded 8-spokes. After being dropped from the basic range at the end of the 1980s, it had returned in 1994 as MB55 where it ran another 3 years in the ROW range, and added an extra for the US range until 1997. The MB063 Ford Mini Pick-up 4×4 was also from 1982, where it had been converted from the earlier 1980 MB38-D Ford Camper casting, although by now it was only being sold in the US range as MB13. Although the white with dripping blood and bats design saw some mis-packaged as MB76 in 1996 in USA.

So the Hardbody gets to meet the debuts of the Flareside and Open Back Truck, both from 1982.

It also gets to meet the final design of the F-150 4×4 which appeared in the 2003 Construction Heroes 5-pack in fluorescent yellow.

So that’s it for part 1. I thought it best to try and spread things across more blog posts to cut down on such long reads. Next week, I spin the wheel to see which are the next 5 or 6 models I showcase. Until then, I hope you enjoyed this group.

17 Replies to “Matchbox Monday begins working through 2020 Batch C”

  1. Looking good. Still on A again put out on Saturday….. And since October last…. No Radness here. Tesco only?… Why? They are good with pricing and so on… But.

    1. If you are talking of Tesco UK, I see that they are currently on a buy 2 get 1 free deal. Hopefully they will get rid of the last As and finally put the Bs out. The Bs will definitely arrive, but the knock-on could affect this batch, as it all depends on when they put their next order in. I am sure there can’t be much A left now.

      1. 3/4 batches a year at this rate. As again why do Mattel only supply Tesco?.. Hotwheels at every outlet’s ….!…may not be all ,but EVERY outlet….. ! ,Asda calling ……. This brand needs and deserve more…… British it again.

  2. I’m afraid these models, for the most part, are not doing much for me. When one looks at all the offerings from other manufacturers, MBX appear to have taken the place of the cheap Chinese toys from 30 years ago. There was a time when Matchbox was the best in quality, appealing to both children and collectors. Today, collectors have many better options. As a Matchbox fan and accumulator, I tried to get into the modern offerings. In the end, all that plastic and lesser quality details have finally broke my collector back. I feel there are two problems unlikely to ever go away. First, as long as Mattel own the brand, there will never be any meaningful reason for Matchbox to put up a real fight. Second, that $1 price point forces the models into an unwanted cheap-o universe where limited tampos and creeping plasticity know no bounds.
    I want them to be as great as they were when Lesney owned them. Until that day, I’m tapping out.

      1. If you mean the use of plastic bits, don’t care and never did. I think the people complaining about the plastic parts are just looking for something to complain about. 🙂

    1. That’s a shame you feel like that. I know this $1 price point is determined by the stores and Mattel, just like any other manufacturer, will create things that will sell in stores. But I see it with everything. You either have very expensive items or cheaper items. There never appears to be a middle ground any more. But, particularly when it comes to the cars, they are basically as they have been since the late 1980s. Universal cost reduced a lot of things out of them during the 1980s. That Audi R8 and Nissan D21 would have likely been made roughly the same had Universal owned them.

      1. I totally agree with Stephen – I only enjoyed the Audi R8 re-release and The New Beetle convertible casting in the City line. In my view those continue a level of refinement that models of the ‘Golden Era’ of Matchbox showcased during the early 2000’s. Regardless of price limitations, I wonder why the beetle still can, whereas most other new castings these days lack such quality and look so clunky by comparison?

    2. Couldn’t disagree more. The current offerings, for the most part, blow the old Matchbox cars away in terms of detail. They make the 1970s-1980s models look simplistic in comparison. I will agree, though, that it does seem like Mattel is pushing Hot Wheels and basically ignoring Matchbox. Or stores are, anyway.

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