Well this is the last group of Matchbox models from the recent batch that arrived a few weeks back. As always I want to give a big shout out to Wheel Collectors, as they were instrumental in getting the batch over to me super quick. Due to there being 17 models in the batch, I split it into 2 lots of 6 models with the final post only having 5. But there is a reason behind it. The first model that I tackle this time will have an additional story behind it. So let’s crack on.
You see the first model in the batch is the MB817 Ford F-550 Super Duty. For 2020 it takes the MB22 slot in the range.
It comes in all yellow this year.
The side tampo design is a real licensed one, for the San Luis Obispo Fire Department. If you keep reading you will find some more information about it.
Has anybody ever noticed how intricately detailed the rear is? I know it is plastic, and some are not keen, but you can create so much better and finer detailing using plastic that you can with metal.
So how about a history of the casting. It all started back in 2011 where it first debuted in lime with a grey rear section and a few batches later turned into a red with grey rear model. It was one of the models chosen to be a 2 version release that year. At the end of the year it also saw a run in the all-exclusive 1st Editions 10-pack in orangey yellow also with a grey rear.
2012 proved to be a fun year if you are a variation collector. First of all, it was MB119 in the basic range, where it was designated as one of the National Parks models in mint, with a white rear. However, there was a slight mix up in the first batch which came out lime. A quick running change to the correct mint release and off it went.
The 5-pack was also a recurring theme with the alternate parks mint model being chosen for the Brush Fire Rescue 5-pack. However this variation was a little more subtle as during production the windows changed from a red to a milky red look.
For 2013 it was MB77 in white and red. It also saw its first (and only so far, who knows) promotional issue, as the Annual Everett Marshall Golf Tournament in the summer chose this casting. It came in red and chrome with full detailing.
In 2014 it saw a chance for another variation as it came in yellow with grey rear. However, there are times when the factory runs out of something and the wheels sported a yellow hot foil printing, but it temporarily ran out, so they swapped a production run to use gold chroming instead.
After that it took 2015 off. Since that time it has only been seen in the basic range each year, and only 1 official variation for each release (there may be random shade variations to be found). The 2016 MB89 was red and white, 2017 MB125 silver and green, 2018 MB45 silver and maroon with the 2019 MB47 being a repeat of the 2014 issue, which in this case was simple a shade variation.
But I am also going to come at this casting from another angle. I mentioned already that it sports a San Luis Obispo tampo design. It’s not the first time we have seen them. This is because of a gentelman called Sammy Fox, who works for the San Luis Obispo Fire Department. Through him they have secured a license to use the SLO design.
It was first seen in miniature back in 2010 when the MB771 Ford E-350 Ambulance sported their design on the side of the MB54 release, although this was exclusive to the US market.
The MB796 Hazard Squad was the second miniature to sport the design as it was a part of the 2015 Supreme Heroes series.
And earlier this year we saw the name utilized on a police car for the first time, as the MB1046 ’51 Hudson Hornet Police was included in the 2020 MBX Countryside 5-pack.
But this one is a bit more special. There is a whole meaning behind this release.
Although it is not the exact vehicle in question, the idea is that it would be based on this very special vehicle from their past. I am now going to pass over my next part of the report to Sammy for the following write-up.
San Luis Obispo City Fire began its Paramedic program in the early 1980s. It staffed a crew cab Ford Pick-up truck with a utility bed on it, much like Squad 51 from the popular TV series Emergency! This rig was called Squad 1and was outfitted with Paramedic Advanced Life Support equipment and staffed with two SLO City Firefighter Paramedics. This vehicle (the original SLO City Squad 1) ran 911 calls in the streets of San Luis Obispo for many years until it was eventually retired from service in the late 90s when our department transitioned to placing Paramedics on every fire engine and laddertruck in the City. At that time the vehicle was repurposed by our Department and became our Fire Mechanic’s service truck, and was nicknamed “Old Yeller”. Our Fire Mechanic at that time was Master Mechanic Bill Dugger. We all referred to him as Dugger or “Smudge”. Dugger was trained by our previous Fire Mechanic Don Hale (who retired and went on to become the head mechanic at the world famous fire museum called the “Phoenix Hall of Flame” in Arizona, restoring hundreds of antique fire apparatus). Anyway, Dugger worked for SLO City for over 35 years and designed and maintained our emergency and non emergency fire department fleet. He was an amazing person and incredible mechanic that could fabricate anything and he kept us safely rolling to emergencies. Since Dugger designed, painted and maintained our rigs he knew every detail about them. When I started working with Mattel / MB to make several SLO City Fire models over the years Dugger was very excited about this and helped out in anyway possible. He provided design specs, drawings, logos, and info on these apparatus for the projects. Over the past 15 years or so Matchbox has made three models other SLO City fire models including the Ford ambulance marked as Squad 1, the Mega Ton tiller fire truck marked as Truck 1 and the Hazard Squad marked as SLO City’s Engine 4. Dugger took great pride in this and was always happy to help out. He often said to me “I would love it if they would make my Mechanic truck!”
Our dear friend Dugger retired in 2013 and sadly passed away in 2015. When Matchbox approached me about making this model I couldn’t have picked a more meaningful rig for them to make. They didn’t know the significance of this model, or how much it would mean to Dugger’s family and coworkers. Although Dugger never got to see his truck made, I ‘d like to think that he is smiling down from Heaven as it hits the shelves.
Sammy has also graciously passed on a few pics with another SLO rig that Matchbox has made. The Mega Ton Fire Truck was part of the Super Convoy series in 2011.
As I don’t personally collect the Super Convoy (they were too large for my collecting parameters), Sammy has passed on these photos of the Super Convoy with the other SLO models. So I think this particular release is likely one of the most significant of the batch.
So now on to the last new casting of the batch. The MB1218 2019 VW Beetle Convertible. It is known as “The” Beetle in certain markets and the package has it on it.
It debuts as MB2 in the 2020 range and is based on the last vehicles that rolled off the production line ending a very long line of models dating back to the first Beetle many decades earlier.
The first vehicle ran from 1938-2003 with final production taking place in Mexico. By then the 2nd generation Beetle was already in production in Germany and it was replaced by the 3rd generation in 2011.
The final 3rd generation rolled off the same Mexican production line in July 2019 as the original Beetle in a similar blue to the Matchbox debut, although the real one was the coupe not convertible.
Being a new casting, I show the obligatory base shot as I know some like to check out the detailing there. So being a debut, there are no previous issues to bring up. But where to begin with other Beetles?
Now I only go back as far as the Superfast era, and the VW 1500 Saloon was the 2nd Beetle casting that Matchbox had done, and was one of the first 10 Superfast in 1969 (it was 1 of the 5 models immediately converted to Superfast to join 5 brand new castings debuting that year, before the majority were converted in 1970). The casting ran until 1972, but did pop back in 1977 for the Japanese range for 3 years.
The Mattel era has seen a 3rd “classic” Beetle casting arrive in the way of the MB363 ’62 Beetle having been around since 1999 and still going strong (it saw a tweak to the casting in 2018 to enable it to continue even longer).
I could pull out a bunch of off-shoots, as many hot rod style, fantasy vehicles and 4×4 buggies have been made by Matchbox over the years with the Beetle as a basis, but that could be a whole article on its own. But as this is the “new” Beetle, perhaps I will just work with other Matchbox “new” Beetles. Oh wait, there haven’t been any. Not strictly, and I know this is officially the designation A5, which wasn’t referred to as a “new” Beetle. But this is the first time a modern Beetle has officially been created by Matchbox. You may be thinking that they have done one.
Strictly speaking no. That was the MB287 VW Concept 1. It was the original concept that debuted at the 1994 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). It also evolved into the MB465 police variant with a light bar on the roof. The Matchbox casting was used between 1996 and 2009.
So what to do? Well there was a secondary concept. At Geneva 1994 they unveiled a convertible version of the original Concept 1. It was the response to these concepts that pushed VW to begin proper work on the “new” Beetle which arrived in late 1997. Hmm! Convertible! New one is Convertible. Bingo…..
Matchbox released the MB438 Concept 1 Beetle Convertible in 1999 as a German exclusive casting. It was sold as MB73 in 1999 in blue.
Before it moved to a worldwide release in 2000 as either MB81 for the US market or MB61 for the ROW market. Due to rollovers of castings at the time into subsequent batches a later run of the 2000 issue was made in early 2001 at which time the concave 5-spoke wheels were replaced with the new flower wheels that were debuting in 2001.
It’s quite unusual because the 2001 release had already began production and both years were being produced at the same time. It was MB1 that year, and due to the flower wheels not being ready for the first batch a small run of the newer 2001 release also saw the concave 5-spokes before turning to flower for the main production.
After that it took 2002 off from the basic range, and in 2003 returned as an ROW exclusive MB70 in green. The first 10,000 made sported a Hero City logo on the window.
2004 saw it continue as an ROW exclusive, as the ROW range only had 15 Ultra Heroes, filling up the other 15 slots with more realistic vehicles. It was MB17 in gold.
2005 saw the US/ROW split fade away and the model was sold worldwide as MB38 in white. before taking a few years off again.
It had one more appearance in 2008 as MB32 in pastel lemon.
Of course the casting was used in lots of other ranges too. Across America (the green Puerto Rico bonus model in 2002), 5-packs (the 2004 Spongebob Squarepants pack in yellow), Superfast range (2004 SF22 in orange), Coca Cola (2002 in silver) and Stars of Cars in Germany (2006 in red) are just some of the other series that saw it used.
But I do like seeing patterns. The Concept Beetle Convertible started in blue (as mentioned, the 1999 German exclusive) and finished in blue (it finished in the 2011 VW 5-pack), and now we have a replacement which also arrives in blue. Will it too finish in blue?
Next up is the MB1083 ’63 Austin Healey 3000 Mk2. Or Roadster as the package states.
Now I have to say, this latest release looks amazing in cream as MB42.
I think it’s my favourite version so far.
Yeah I took a bunch of photos. I think it warranted it.
It is also nice to see it using more period-correct wheels. Until now it had been sporting double 10-spokes. Mind you that was only 2 previous releases as it is on year 3.
It started off in red as MB87 in 2018.
Before turning blue as MB78 in 2019.
So this is it so far. Hopefully there are plenty more to come. It is a lovely little casting, and I think there is still lots to develop. I am particularly hopeful for black with red interior and British Racing Green (BRG) with tan interior releases. Fingers crossed. So is that it for this? It’s not the easiest to dig back into.
It did say Austin on it. The MB713 ’65 Austin Minivan (2008 Best of British in green shown) and MB765 ’64 Austin Mini Cooper 1275S (2009 MB2 version 1 in red shown) are the only other Austin castings I have. Matchbox stopped making any Austin castings in the 1960s, long before my collecting started. But the Healey was a collaboration between the larger Austin Motor company and the smaller Donald Healey Motor Company.
So I thought perhaps bring in a few other classic British convertibles from the era. Like the MB502 ’60 MGA (seen here are the 2002 Avon exclusive Elvis model in red and the 2010 Lesney Edition in BRG).
Ot perhaps the MB1094 ’56 Jaguar XK140 Roadster that is also in current production (2018 MB3 in charcoal and 2019 MB9 in BRG the only 2 releases so far).
Mind you the MB138 Jaguar XK120 which first arrived in 1984 in BRG and last used in the 2008 Superfast series in light blue works very well too.
Especially as that casting has had 2 creamy releases too. It was actually a proper vehicle. The license plate on the casting had NUB120 on it, and was the official racing car that Ian Appleyard raced and won various races between 1950 and 1953. It was actually cream, which is why this colour scheme is quite an iconic one (perhaps the most iconic outside of BRG in the UK), and since 1953 NUB120 has been back with Jaguar and preserved, making occasional promotional appearances. So for classic British sports cars, seeing a BRG appearance is always great, but also cream is a great choice too. I have a feeling the new Jaguar XK140 may be sporting a cream design too. Cream rises to the top? Cream of the crop? I am already planning my quotes in readiness.
Next up is the MB1177 2016 RAM Flatbed. It is MB77 in 2020. I like the fact that the package just calls it RAM Work Truck. Straight to the point with that one.
This year’s release is in green and grey.
The model sports various items in the rear, and appears to be a single casting style, as I know sometimes the Matchbox team likes to surprise us with casting variances.
Sporting a Sierra Summit Campground, since 1948 livery on the side, I am not sure if this is a fictitious livery or if it is somehow linked with a ski resort in California.
Last year saw the casting debut as MB24 in silver and black so there isn’t a lot to delve into with this one.
It’s only the 2nd issue of the casting, so that is it for that one.
It is also only the 2nd official RAM casting too. The RAM company was spun off from Dodge in 2010 and since that time we have seen the MB1021 ’15 RAM 1500 Police arrive in 2016 in a National Parks theme as MB61.
That only saw 2 basic range releases with the 2017 MB62 appearing in red.
With the addition of the 2018 Texas Rangers 5-pack version we now have in total 5 different RAMs from Matchbox across all variations. I could have dug in to the Dodge history but again where to start/end with that one. I dig; I could fill up a whole report. So I will leave this and go on to the last model.
The only Matchbox originals casting of this group. In fact, you may have noticed that each of the 3 reports of this batch has only had 1 Matchbox original. Out of 17 in total, 14 were licensed vehicles. That’s a very impressive statistic, as we have not been seeing such a percentage of licenses since the Universal era. Obviously in the 1950s and 1960s they didn’t need to obtain licenses. Even the 1970s were largely license free, although by then they were creating a large array of original creation fantasy vehicles anyway. Universal pulled back a little from fantasy vehicles but by then licenses for making models were making the rounds. Most were still licensed but by the end of their tenure more originals were making their way in, mostly based on real vehicles with slight tweaks to sidestep licenses. Through the 1990s and Tyco into Mattel we started seeing more originals in the range. As the range ebbs and flows we see more or less licenses as things dictate, but at the moment licensed vehicles are flourishing. The MB742 ’08 Garbage Truck takes the MB20 slot for 2020.
It comes in a very nice white and blue design.
Sometimes it is nice to take a look at the effort on a design. MBX City Waste Services is the main livery. The Matchbox logo to the side is a circle with the Matchbox name around the top and 19 & 53 written either side of the inner design. Little details like that often get overlooked. The MB742 moniker appears twice, across the top, and going down in the section just behind the cab too. I think this is a very nice design.
For those who may not have noticed, the casting was re-tooled in 2018 to tweak how it is put together, and turn the rear section into plastic. But while they made the tweak they also changed the name. I called it the 2008 Garbage Truck, but since the first of the “tweaked” models arrived in 2019 it is now known as Garbage King.
But this model does have a history. So let’s view it.
Being a 2008 Garbage Truck, it obviously arrived in 2008. It was MB47 for its debut year, but this was the year that the range split into 3. The US range consisted of 100 models, with the ROW range only having 75 of the 100, and Latin America (LAAM) also receiving only 75, but a different group of 75. This was released in the US and ROW ranges, but was not a part of the LAAM range. The first batch arrived sporting 6-spoke wheels. However, during production, the notched wheels that were being used for Convoy models started appearing on this model. And then at the end of production the base turned dark blue. What a start.
Considering how hectic its debut year was too. As well as the basic range issue in multiple variations, it also saw a second version later in cream, as well as a Euro Edition in orange with “pur” livery (German for Pure) and another orange in Matchbox Sanitation & Recycling livery as part of the 1st Editions 10-pack at the end of the year.
2009 continued with the fun. It was MB46, this time worldwide. But after first arriving with a grey interior, a later production run turned it black.
Again we saw 3 more issues that year too. Yellow was the German exclusive Euro Edition model, blue was in the City Services 5-pack and white/green was the Superfast issue. At the end of its first 2 years, we had already seen 8 official releases and a number of variations.
But things started quieting down. For 2010 it was chosen to appear in 2 versions again, and MB66 worldwide started off in white before turning sea green a few batches later. No variations and no other ranges.
2011 saw just the 1 basic range issue in green as MB66 again, although this time it was exclusive to the US range, with both ROW and LAAM markets not receiving it.
However, it was also in the City Life 5-pack. As you may notice, things were “wheelie” good with that one. During production it sported 3 different wheels. At first the model sported cog wheels. But then there was a short batch mid-production where some older crown wheels were used before reverting back. Then later on 6-spoke wheels were used instead.
For 2012 it only saw a 5-pack release. It was in the City Works 5-pack. But yet again, we saw variations. At first the 6-spoke wheels used were what is known as “small”. This means that the central chromed hub section is small, and the surrounding Tyre section is thick. But for a batch later on they had the alternate “large” wheels. The central hub is much larger, and the surrounding tyre section is much thinner. The overall size is identical with the small/large note dictating the size of the central section, but for a while we saw quite a few models sporting both the small or large hubbed wheels.
After 2012 the casting was retired. That was until 2018 when the team took it and made some adjustments, changing around the way it was produced to enable it to return, re-copyrighting it and giving it a new name.
The 2020 issue is the second of the re-tooled MB742 casting, as it was also in the 2019 basic range as MB91 in the (already seen twice in this report) National Parks livery.
Part of the change was to alter the way it was put together. Before it involved a slotting in procedure at the rear, but has now been moved to the drop procedure. The aim is for castings to have the body section on its roof upside down, and then each subsequent part “dropped” into it, rivetted and turned over. It means that we have a faster and more efficient production process. Many models have had their castings altered from a slot-in to a drop procedure for manufacturing.
So that’s it for another review. Next week I have something fun planned, but I honestly am not sure when I will be doing a report on something new. I hope to see something new at some point soon. I’m trying to stay positive. But for now, I think I will be doing some diving into the collection for a short while.
Time to start formulating ideas.