It’s that time of week again when I go nuts showcasing a few models from my recent haul from Wheel Collectors in USA. Two weeks ago I began my journey through the latest batch of basics, although last week I cut it up by showcasing some Moving Parts. However, with 15 models in batch D, after doing the first 5, this time I move on to the second group of 5. This time I am going to go alphabetically.
Which means I am starting with the MB1014 ’15 Chevy Corvette Stingray Police. As noted 2 week ago, Wheel Collectors have both large blister and power grab boxes available and they sent me both over.
One of 2 different castings of the C7 generation of the Corvette, this one makes a welcome return to the basic range as it took last year off.
This particular release, MB24, is a nice solid grey with Matchbox Highway Patrol Trooper side design.
The casting first debuted back in 2016 as MB63 in yellow, where it actually sported a Fire Rescue design on the sides and front. If you are thinking that is a bit unusual, you may not know that it is based on a real design. From Dubai! This was based on a special vehicle ordered by the Dubai Fire Department. It was more of a show vehicle than actually being in general use, but it definitely turned heads.
But that wasn’t all. The 2017 MB64 release was silver with a Polizei design on it. Again, based on a real vehicle. In 2016 the German Federal Ministry of Transport, in conjunction with the Association of Automobile Tuners (VDAT) created a 1-off special unit officially called the “Tune it! Safe! Corvette.” “Tune it! Safe!” has been around since 2005 and is there to promote sensible and safe tuning of road vehicles. The Corvette they created saw a variety of tuning and modifications, all on the safe side, to promote how to do it properly, but the vehicle is out on the road to pull over anybody who has an illegally tuned vehicle.
After those 2 we did see a more simple traditional look. Black with a white door. This wasn’t for any particular police force, just a Matchbox originals design. But it still looked nice as MB62 in 2018.
As I mentioned, in 2019 it wasn’t in the basic range, instead finding itself as one of the 9-pack exclusives that year. This was the white one with CHP side design. With the 2020 issue reverting back to basic range release. So that is all we have had from this particular police car. But what have we had in the way of Corvette Police cars?
Not a lot really. The first time we saw a Corvette Police was in 2000 as part of the Collectibles D.A.R.E. series. They took the classic MB062 C3 casting, which happened to be the first Corvette they created back in 1979 and popped a set of Vee lights on the roof. In doing so, they gave it a new MAN number MB464. It was a part of the second set of 6 models in the short lived D.A.R.E. series and depicted the real vehicle that was in use at the time by the Moorhead MN police department. It was also the only release of MB464. It was a 1-and-done casting.
However, set 3 of the D.A.R.E. series also had a C3 Corvette. This was the real vehicle that was being used in Suffern NY at the time by their police department. But the eagle eyed may have noticed this sports a LoPro roof light on the roof. As was common at the time, because we had a number of different roof lights styles, each style would be given its own MAN number on the model it was on. Therefore this was assigned MB473. Again a 1-and-done casting, as the D.A.R.E. series was cancelled after set 3. A fourth set was planned and some pre-production samples created, but it was never produced. The C3 Corvette sporting any type of roof light was never utilized again.
However, unlike the Dodge Charger which I previewed the other week that kept seeing civilian models dressed in police clothing, we have only ever seen one Corvette like that. The MB749 C6 ZR-1 saw a black and white release in the 2011 Police 5-pack.
I could have gone through a bigger history of the Corvette in general, but we have the brand new C8 coming later this year. Who wants to bet which way I am taking that preview? So with that, the C7 has seen a second casting, in the way of the MB1161 ’16 Corvette Stingray civilian style.
This one was released as a part of the 2019 Superfast series and featured the opening hood.
Next up, a Jeep. The MB1182 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL Unlimited Rubicon. JL being the name of the current 4th generation Wrangler, Unlimited meaning it is the 4-door variant and Rubicon denoting the highest spec level of equipment it has (barring any special editions).
It comes in white as MB64 this year with simple side detailing and the Rubicon badge on the sides of the hood.
Although this seems to be continuing a trend of very thin white paint on models. The Ford Ranchero saw it, the Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 63S has seen it, and now the Jeep also sees a very thin paint spray. I only seem to be noticing it on white vehicles. Plus it appears to be this type of iridescent white. Solid white doesn’t seem to have an issue. Although saying that, the Subaru Sambar didn’t seem to be as thin. But I did check, and both power grab and blistered example were very thinly painted across the front. Not that I mind. You just know I will be keeping an eye out for thicker paint on some.
The casting only arrived last year, so it hasn’t had a lot of history in itself to dive into. It arrived in batch F in 2019 which meant it had a very short production life. Until batch F the assortments were smaller and consisted of a new set of 7-8 models with the previous assortment carried forward for a second month. Production usually ran around a month or so per batch. But they changed it for batch G. It was a double sized batch of all new models, meaning batch F only ran for the one month instead of the usual two. MB62 looked very nice in green and sports the same tampo design as the new one.
However, we did see an additional release. It was also a part of the Walmart USA exclusive Jeep set. This was dark charcoal featuring the Skyjacker Suspensions side design. The design is the same one that Skyjacker themselves used on a JLU which they then fitted with 40″ wheels and lifted it. They have also used the same design (including the Matchbox logo) on a JLU which was showcased at SEMA 2019 which was the no top version with a black canopy over it. It is therefore a bit of a signature look to Skyjacker Jeeps now.
So with that being it for the current casting, I wonder what we have had in the way of Jeep Wranglers?
The Jeep Wrangler line was launched in real life in 1986, with the first generation known as the YJ generation. It replaced the older CJ-series of models. At the time Matchbox were still plugging away with a number of castings based on an older CJ-series model which did see uses one way or another all the way until 2004. The Wrangler YJ generation was skipped entirely at the time. However, as part of the Jurassic World license that they obtained, we have seen a trio of classics appear recently. Marked up as 1993s due to the time of the original film, we saw the MB1122 Wrangler with canopy debut in 2018 as a part of the Jurassic World Legacy Collection, which in USA was exclusive to Target stores. This was a single pack exclusive as there were 6 models in the set, with a Mercedes sporting an alternate design between single and 5-pack release, and the other 4 being found in both ranges. Outside of USA it was available in select places, like Smyths in the UK. Jeep 12 (as it is often known) then saw a muddy version in batch A of the 2019 series.
The casting was also in the regular Jurassic World series in 2018, except now in a more modern Jurassic World looking silver rather than classic Jurassic Park style. This too saw an alternate, as a Battle Damage version with scratches down the sides appeared later in the year too.
The MB1127 Wrangler with roll bar was also in the Jurassic World Legacy Collection, except this was as a single and in the 5-pack. It proved so popular they brought it back in 2019 in the Jurassic World series as a carry forward. Again in 2020 it has been utilized again as a carry forward into the basic range itself. First time we have ever had a proper Jurassic model in the basic range. Jeep 18 never saw a muddy version though. The casting did, but if you look closely it is actually Jeep 29. That one appeared later in 2018 only. I am still holding out hope for a clean Jeep 29 and muddy Jeep 18.
Of course there is also the rare “error” version too. A few Jeep 12s (the one with the canopy) were found with roll bars instead in the Jurassic World Legacy Collection 5-packs. I have not heard of any found in single packs.
Finally, a little late to the game, the MB1105 Wrangler with vet bags arrived in the 2019 Jurassic World series. Jeep 10 was in the series in muddy clothes, but a clean version was also found exclusively at Walmart in their 2019 Jeep set, which was the first time we had seen a Jurassic release outside of the Jurassic series itself.
Now the second generation Wrangler, dubbed the TJ, has been done by Matchbox. Quite a bit. In a number of castings. It all started in 1999, 3 years after the real debuted, with the launch of the MB369 ’98 Jeep Wrangler with roll bar. 1999 was a bit of a fun year, as many models saw small tampo differences between the US issue and ROW issue. This was one. The idea was that US issues were mainly sold in English speaking countries at the time, so writing various things on them was logical. However, ROW issues were sold in many countries where English wasn’t a first language. So much of the writing was removed on many models or replaced by more logos. Pictures are a universal language. So when it was launched as MB68 in the US range we saw Ranger, Forest Ranger and Safety First tampo printed on it. But the ROW release (where it was sold as MB63) had those parts removed. Not being content by being in the basic range, the model was also released in the Dude Ranch 5-pack too, which arrived about the same time. Now please note as I continue I don’t have the premium issues yet (2 Cokes and a Toy Fair) so have not included those.
In 2000 the tampo changes experiment fizzled out, leaving us a set with the same tampo worldwide. However, the US market still saw something unique. The first 10,000 models made of each basic range sported a Matchbox 2000 “millenium bug” logo. We saw the model released in blue worldwide as MB8, but the first 10,000 sold on US long card had the logo added to the spare wheel on the back.
But 2000 was quite a busy year for the casting. The Launcher series had just arrived, with 5 models and a launcher unit sold as a set. Base 2000 featured a white Wrangler with the Base 2000 logo on the side. It was also in the Camp Jeep 5-pack that year in one of my all-time favourite looks for the model. Silver, plastered in mud and even the window having the wipers clearing off the mud there too. An alternate green version appeared in a new series of hardback books. Matchbox had teamed up with a company called Pleasant Company Publications in 2000 for a series of thick carded hardbooks for young children. Each would come with an exclusive Matchbox model attached to the side, and would feature that model inside in a short story. The Jeep was part of the first series in a book called Safari.
In 2001, the Jeep was MB25 worldwide again, this time in bronze. But what was that on the roof? A luggage set. This was a modified casting, and as such saw a new MAN number of MB486. The earlier MB369 casting was still firmly in use, they had just created an alternate. In fact, the MB369 was a part of the Kellogg’s licensed 5-pack that year in white advertising something called Corn Flakes. I believe they are some sort of cereal or something? I’m only kidding, I think everybody knows what corn flakes are. Kellogg’s oldest product basically as they created them.
In 2002 the basic range issue was an ROW exclusive and not sold in the US market. Again the later luggage variant was used as MB49, and in 2002 all releases worldwide in the basic range were sporting a logo on the first 10,000 made, which in the this case featured the “50” logo on the hood.
2002 also saw the model included in the Across America series. Both versions were utilized with the luggage variant advertising North Dakota’s Mt. Rushmore on the side, and the brightly coloured roll bar version for Hawaii.
But that still wasn’t it. You could sort of see why they made 2 different versions, as they could use it a lot more without wearing the casting out. The roll bar variant was a part of another Launcher set, in orange for Mission H20. It was also in olive green for the World Zoo 5-pack. Another unique model was also created. At the time, there was a deal to create certain blanks for promotional code 2 usage for companies like ASAP and Color Comp. In 2002 Matchbox ran a load of plain whites for these to use.
But after all that madness of 2002, in 2003 things got a lot quieter. Only 2 releases and neither were basic range ones. The luggage model was a part of a special Camp Fun triple-pack that also came with a torch. With lights out the luggage and spare wheel would glow in the dark. The roll bar version was released in the 2003 Mission H20 Launcher set in alternative colours to how it had been in 2002.
It got even quieter in 2004, as we only saw a single issue with the roll bar version now a part of the Superfast series as SF57.
It continued in the 2005 series, but this year saw the Superfast range split between the USA specific market and all others with the ROW market taking a tan version and USA having a white SF57 that year.
Not to be outdone, the luggage variant also arrived in the Superfast series, and SF29 was sold in blue for the ROW market or dark green in USA. It was also a part of the Off Road Riders 5-pack that year too in lighter green.
But after being exclusive to the Superfast range, after 2005 the models started turning up all over the place. In 2006 the roll bar version was in the Adventure 5-pack. Full disclosure, there is a wheel variation to be found. Usually sporting sawblades, a small run had crown wheels added. I never got it at the time as it was just before I decided to add wheel variations to my collection and have not seen it since. The Off Road 5-pack saw the luggage model in white, which only came with crown wheels.
Outside of 5-packs we also saw a Hitch ‘n Haul issue of the roll bar model in a Tut’s Treasure set and the luggage model started its run of Battle Kings issue as a part of the Courage set.
I did get the wheel variation on the Monsters model. A Target exclusive in 2006, each model was assigned a monster to deal with although in this case it was a T-Rex skeleton. But I did obtain both the sawblade and crown wheels here.
2006 wasn’t done with yellow Jeeps either. Although the roll bar version was no longer in the Superfast series, the luggage version still plugged away with this yellow SF29.
In 2007 we saw something very unusual. MB71 arrived but it had no roll bar. Or luggage. It wasn’t assigned a new number. They just used the MB369 casting and didn’t insert the roll bar.
They did on some other issues though. It was a part of the Wilderness 5-pack in white and in a licensed Cartoon Network 5-pack in blue. The luggage model was continuing it’s run of Battle Kings releases as it was now in green as a part of the Island Defense pack.
2008 saw the Wrangler’s last jaunt in the basic range. It left it as it arrived, with a roll bar. It went out in style too, as it saw 2 different releases in either gold or blue with the same side design. It was sold as MB99 in the US market, MB74 in the LAAM market or MB68 in the ROW market.
But it wasn’t stopping elsewhere. The non-rollbar version of the MB369 casting made a second appearance in the Adventure 10-pack that year in yellow. The luggage variant was in a Dino Adventure 5-pack in reddish-brown and in a Target exclusive Skybusters multi-set for Amazon Adventure in tan too.
2009 though was a bit quieter. But we did see the luggage model finish its little run of Battle Kings releases in grey as a part of the Urban Patrol set.
In 2010 the Wrangler with luggage saw just the one release as a part of the Desert Adventure 5-pack. I believe, I may be wrong, but this was the first time we saw a Superlift logo on a model. Matchbox were just beginning a new relationship with the Superlift company which I will get to more of shortly.
Things were tailing off for the Wrangler TJ. 2011 saw no issues at all, but in 2012 the luggage version saw another 5-pack issue in the Beach Rescue set.
In 2013 it saw a few more luggage variant issues. There was a blue model in the Battle Mission 5-pack. This was another that sported a wheel variation through its run with the usual cog wheels swapped for large 6-spokes for a short while.
It was also in the Jungle 5-pack too although that variation was not as big. The interior went from a lighter to darker orange.
In 2014 it was in another 5-pack too. Jungle Reconnaissance saw it in silver.
With another silver arriving in 2015 as a part of the Jurassic World license. This was due to the initial film’s merchandising which was picked up by Mattel so late that they didn’t have a lot of time to really get things together. This was one of the closest models to an actual film’s model that Matchbox made as a tie in to the first film. We all know that the second film saw extensive and realistic tie-ins galore. Three years to plan made it a lot better.
The luggage model kept plodding away didn’t it. 2016 and another one, this time in green, which was a part of the Walmart USA exclusive Jeep set.
However, in 2017, the roll bar version returned. The casting had seen a subtle modification, which was mainly to strengthen the roll bars and tidy a few things up. It was part of the Desert 5-pack in dark grey.
Finally, the last issue of the TJ Wrangler was the 2018 Globe Trotters issue with luggage in premium guise with 2-part rubber wheels. Will we see more TJs? Hopefully if we get another Jeep set, the roll bar version could make a reappearance.
Which brings me to Superlift. As mentioned, in 2010 a Wrangler TJ was issued in a 5-pack with a Superlift logo on the side. Nobody really took a lot of notice of it at the time. But little did they know that Matchbox had teamed up with Superlift to create a special model for display at SEMA 2010. It was a 3rd generation JK Wrangler which Superlift had modified, lifted and fully loaded with accessories. Obviously Superlift did the bulk of the work, but above the front wheel arches was a Matchbox logo. Matchbox were busy creating a model of the SEMA show vehicle. It was due to arrive in the 2012 basic range, but we saw a sneak peek of it in the way of the 2012 Toy Fair edition which was showing off the new casting in September 2011.
The MB832 casting then arrived in early 2012 as MB51. Due to tampo constraints the model actually moved the Matchbox logo from above the front wheel arches to the door. The only other minor change was that logos for the various Matchbox team members were also added above the rear wheel arches. But this was a replica of the actual green and orange vehicle that was showcased at SEMA 2010.
The model carried on in the basic range in 2013 as MB115, but during production we found it with either ringed 8-spoke wheels or ringed gear wheels.
It was also a part of the 60th Anniversary set of 24 models too with slightly enhanced tampo detailing. It could be found in a number of shades of yellow from quite light lemon yellow to quite dark.
In 2014 it was sold as MB52 in tan.
And in 2015 it was sold as MB97 in orange. It seemed to be a model that was just available in the basic range.
Oh no, wait. 2016, and 2 issues. Finally it was being given a chance to stretch out beyond the basic range as a red version was a part of the Walmart USA Jeep set that year. We also had a blue MB119 too. However, it appears I spoke too soon, as that was it. No more releases. A decent basic range run of 5 years but only 2 other issues outside of it.
So that is the Jeep Wranglers bringing us up to date. Except one little thing….
Color Changers! The Jeep Wrangler was an unusual vehicle in Color Changers circles. Whereas all other models were derived from existing tooling, with parts swapped between metal and plastic for the process this was unique in that a Color Changer appeared first. MB1024 was actually a 2016 Wrangler Rubicon and appeared (delayed) in the 2019 Color Changers series before the 2018 Wrangler Rubicon arrived in the basic range.
It was quite a different build, and noticeably thinner. The newest Wrangler had a spare wheel designed to match the latest wheel type created for the core ranges, whereas the older one had a cog style spare.
It wasn’t the only Wrangler either. The MB369 TJ with roll bar had been modified into MB1064 too. The green with black stripes design was a part of the 2017 Color Changers series and the darker green with dirt and dino side was in the 2019 series.
For anybody who might have been paying attention, the 2019 issue sported a look that was much akin to the 2008 Dino Adventure 5-pack release of the luggage variant. It is a different dinosaur on the sides though.
So that’s it for the Jeep. A bit of a long one. But before I move on to the next model, I had been showing the Color Changers in warm mode. A quick shot in cool mode with the 2 TJs now almost black and the JL now orange.
Okay after a mammoth dive back into the Wrangler history, shall I be a little shorter with what’s next? What do we have? A Mini! Hee hee! The MB1167 ’11 Mini Cooper Countryman to be exact.
This is the vehicle’s second outing in the basic range where it slots into the MB11 position.
It looks very nice in red, which is a very common colour for Minis to come in.
And me going all out geek mode for a moment, I noticed that the earlier N11 dated batch sports a lighter smoke window/roof section than the later N13 dated model.
So as this model is only the second issue (so far, a Top Gun model will be shown very soon) with the 2019 MB1 being its debut I guess I will be diving back again. Splash!
I’m going on a Mini adventure. Amazingly, considering the original Austin Mini was launched in 1959, Matchbox (which was a very British company at the time, and the iconic Mini also being very British) never came out with a miniature until 1971. Even then they went with a Racing Mini approach rather than a standard road vehicle. MB29-B was first available in bronze with a 29 label on the side. The label featured orange edging. Considering it was only available that one year, we still saw a number of shade variations on it.
Plus you could find them without labels at all.
In 1972 the model turned orange. However, the label was initially unchanged. But an orange edged label on an orange car? It wasn’t really standing out. Against any shade of orange, because again it came in shades from lighter to darker.
So by the end of the year, the labels had changed to green edging to make them stand out more. It ran until 1975 in the basic range and stayed orange with green edged labels until the end. Again, shades were quite easy to spot.
Then they started having some fun. After being dropped from the basic range, it was immediately added to the twin pack series. TP-6 ran from 1976 until 1980 and mainly sported a Toe Joe towing the Mini. It was now red but still featured the same label.
Of course red is not a lot different to orange, and quite often people get them mixed up. Especially if you are just seeing one model loose on its own (particularly in pictures).
Of course with 5 years of twin pack production we did see a few variations. Center-cut wheels, usually found on the Boat & Trailer were sometimes added, and you could also find some sporting a 3 label that was supposed to have been on the side of a Y-8D ’45 MG TD in green. There is also a dot-dash wheel variant, but I don’t own one yet.
I suppose if we are doing the classic Mini, I should also point out the MB14-B Mini Ha-Ha offshoot too. Part of the fantasy line that Lesney were moving into in the 1970s, this was a heavily modified casting with a large engine on the front, huge rear wheels and a man sticking out the top. It only came in red, between 1975 and 1980, although over the years there were a number of variations to be found with wheels, the man’s face, helmet and the windows. It usually came with a 4-colour roundel on the doors, but there were some that sported a 2-colour roundel that was supposed to be on the wings of the SB-21A Lightning.
After 1980 with the Ha-Ha no longer in the basic range, and the Racing Mini dropped from the twin packs, we had no more Mini until Mattel arrived.
In 2003 the new Mini was launched in the basic range. MB579 arrived in the basic range in the last batch of Hero City logo models, and was quite unusual in that the Hero City logo was formed around a Matchbox oval that was being applied to the model anyway. After the first 10,000 it was not completely wiped off, just reduced.
In 2004 it moved to the MB65 slot in the range in yellow with a black roof and hood stripes, while joining the Superfast range as SF12 in red with a black roof.
For 2005 it got a little interesting in the basic range. Matchbox sometimes, at the request of a vendor, or sometimes just because they felt something wasn’t right, will create a running change. But this didn’t get just one. It saw 2 during production. Originally MB7 arrived with dual hood stripes, a large Cooper logo on the middle of the hood and a full grey grille. However, during production, it was altered. The Cooper logo was shrunk and moved to the front of the hood. This was a very short change, as almost immediately a second change was made. The hood stripes were removed, the grille more intricately detailed, and you may notice that the door pillars were now painted black.
The changes were also noticed at the rear. At first it didn’t have any rear tampo. But red lights were added at the middle stage along with a small Cooper logo on the rear too. This carried over to the final change which also included the pillars detailed at the rear too. Not very often we get running changes, let alone 2 in one model.
Outside of the basic range, it continued in the Superfast series where ROW markets saw SF12 in white and USA saw it in charcoal. The model was also added to the latest Stars of Cars series exclusively in Germany in black.
In 2006 it never appeared in the basic range. They had enough after 2005 (ha ha). But it saw another SF12 release in British Racing Green with a white roof.
In 2007 it saw a new charcoal with Union flag roof in the Best of British series.
And a final issue in the basic range as MB6 where it returned to its original red, albeit now with completely different tampo. It then made a shock return in 2020, again in red, although this is a much more orangey red as MB39. The eagle eyed will notice that the casting has been tinkered with a bit to make it look a little better, and even give it some wing mirrors.
The more modern Mini has seen another casting too. The MB822 Mini Cooper S Convertible. It debuted in 2011 as MB28 in both yellow and red as one of the dual release issues that year.
In 2012 it moved to MB13 in the range and saw a blue release with a 6 and checks side design.
It only saw one more basic range issue in 2013 before being dropped from the range. MB65 was British Racing Green with dual white stripes.
Since then we have only seen one more issue, that being the 2018 Globe Trotters release in charcoal with a full set of tampos and 2-part rubber wheels.
There was also a classic Mini introduced during the Mattel era, but that is for another time. It is going to “Bean” awesome!
Next up is the MB855 Oshkosh M-ATV. Which now has the word “Defense” added to the packaging.
This one comes in a lovely matte blue with a Federal Police side design.
It is being sold as MB70 for 2020. This casting has had a bit of a sporadic life as a Matchbox model, but a lot of missions.
It started off like any other, with a debut release in the 2012 basic range as MB110 in green. It simply had its name scrawled across the side.
In 2013 it continued as MB84 in orange, but was also lumped in to the Battle Mission 5-pack that year too as a model pulled from the basic range. It did see a second release in Mission Force itself, as it was added to the Tactical Crew set in red. 2 missions in 1 year.
2014 and it was in its final year of its original run in the basic range in sand as MB83, but had another Mission in the Tactical Mission Force set in a light matte blue.
It was really on a mission in 2015, as it was a part of the Battle Mission 5-pack in grey, which saw the regular cog wheels swapped out for large 6-spokes at one point. Plus it saw another Mission Force release in the Strike Squad. This time it was tan.
After that we saw nothing for a while until it popped back up in the basic range again in 2018. It was MB122 this time looking rather familiar.
Yes it was a carry forward model from the 2014 basic range. The shade of sand was slightly different and the more noticeable change was that the hot foil on the wheels was a much lighter grey. But for 2020 we have an all new version again.
Finally for this batch a brand new casting. The second of 3 brand new castings arriving in this particular batch (I showcased the Renault Kangoo last time).
This is the MB1212 Self-Driving Bus. Although the packaging adds MBX to the name too.
This is a Matchbox originals design, one of only a few that they have created for this year as they have done a tremendous job of upping the proportion of licensed vehicles in the range. The Self-Driving Bus has no official front and rear, although with the way that the artwork for the packaging shows it, the MBX logo is on the front half of the side window. Inside there is no steering wheel, and simply a set of 6 bench seats running around the edges.
Its debut look is a blue window section, with white interior and zamac base.
A very basic design, but somehow it seems to work. It’s a cute little model. As you can see the base itself is also very basic. So I could finish it there, but nah! This is me. I scramble around for things and well I could go a bunch of ways.
There have been plenty of buses over the years in the Matchbox range, and I could go with some classics. This old Lesney era MB17-B The Londoner had side labels that could go either way. Just like the new Self Driving Bus. But I decided this time I would just go with the last single decker bus that has been made.
Purely because the Self Driving Bus is a single decker itself. The last single decker bus was the MB662 City Bus. I could have gone double deckers with the classic Routemaster and the Two Storey Bus. Maybe for the next release. And for those curious, the GMC Scenic Cruiser is a coach. So City Bus it is. This started in 2005 as MB18 in the basic range.
It was also added to the 2005 Superfast series too which saw a blue version for the ROW market and a white version for the USA market as SF60.
Capping off a very hectic debut year it was also added to the Stars of Cars series exclusively in Germany. For those who may not know, the 2005 Stars of Cars series began production in China and ended production in Thailand. The blue tampo in Thailand issues is quite a lot lighter than China issues.
2006 saw it continue in the basic range, now as MB33 in silver with a very Los Angeles inspired side design. It also continued in the Superfast series in yellow as SF60.
It was also a part of the City Transport 5-pack in iridescent white. The wheels in this pack could be found with either crown or sawblade during production.
In 2007 the basic range saw a full-on Los Angeles Metro look. MB35 began with the orange sides for Metro Local. LA actually calls it California Poppy. The local routes make lots of stops. Later the model changed to the “Rapid Red” look of the Metro Rapid buses. These are designed to make less frequent stops to get people where they need to be faster. During production both variants found both the small and large 6-spoke wheels on them.
The Airport 5-pack saw a yellow model. However, this started with a black base and sawblade wheels, but mid-production changed to a grey base and 6-spoke wheels. I did hear there was a crossover, but I think that may literally have been a few as parts were running out from one to the other. I never found one.
The Action all-exclusive 10-pack that year gave us yet another Metro model. Business blue, as they called it, was for the (short-lived I believe) Metro Express routes. The Express bus routes were not used enough along freeways etc. to make the system last and were phased out and mixed in with the others now. It also saw a couple of licensed 5-pack issues as well in 2007. A Cartoon Network 5-pack saw a purple bus with “The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy” on the side. A white model with Diego on the side was in the 2nd of two Go Diego Go 5-packs released that year.
After 2 years of Los Angeles designs for the bus, in 2008 the MB50 for 2008 (which was only sold in the US and ROW markets, not in the LAAM market) saw another real livery from Everett Transit in Washington state. The red, silver and white design was how the real buses came. We saw another Action 10-pack release in blue with City Tours on the side, and the Skybuster Action Packs had a white one for the International Airport set.
In 2009 the model was now only in the US range as MB50 (neither LAAM or ROW markets saw it) in black with a red side design and Matchbox branded advertising signage on it. It was also n the final German exclusive set, which was now going by the name Euro Edition. It was white with a Swiss Adventures theme. It saw another licensed 5-pack issue too in grey for the Nick Jr set. This featured a Backyardigans themed side design.
Again we saw both small and large 6-spokes, this time on the City Services 5-pack issue in teal. I always liked that one with the “Advertise here” side banner.
Although perhaps not as much as the 2010 basic range issue in white with the “What’s Your Matchbox Adventure” side design. More on that in a minute. There was only 1 other issue that year, as it was still in the Action 10-packs, this time in white and orange.
MB660 finished in 2011. This orange issue was sold as MB67 in the US and LAAM ranges only, as it was not included in the ROW range. After that the casting retired.
But the City Bus didn’t. It returned in 2015, except now the body and base had been flipped material-wise. The body was now plastic (was metal) and the base now metal (was plastic). Therefore it was assigned a new MAN number, MB992. It debuted in the City Works 5-pack in white with a Pop Art side design.
Before making a 1-off appearance in the basic range in 2016 as MB22. It was white again, with a simple City Bus side design on the side.
Since then we have seen a yearly release for the last 3 years in 5-packs. Blue was the City Service 5-pack in 2017, green the Metro Transit 5-pack in 2018 and grey the Service Crew 5-pack in 2019. The grey may look a little familiar.
See I told you I liked the 2010 basic range issue a lot. I love when they repeat liveries. But that wasn’t all. You may notice a number of small details on the model. This was a Michael Heralda design and he does enjoy putting little nods to things in them.
One of them, under the driver’s window, it says “Do not disturb driver, he’s Checking for variations!” This is a nod to people like me who are a little bit crazy when it comes to finding small variations. Shades, wheel variations, base variations, countries of manufacturer, label changes, interior shades, casting updates & window tints. I have mentioned them all just in this report. You can say I fit in absolutely perfect with that statement. I love these little tidbits that Michael adds to his designs.
Still, I could have done a comparison with the MB649 Bass Bus! Oh wait, I just did….
And on that note, I think it is a good time to wrap this one up. Until next time.