Matchbox Monday takes on Superfast batch B

It’s that time of the week again when I come at you with a bunch of Matchbox models. Only 5 to review, yet somehow I can massage them into a very large group. Now usually I would simply delve into the history of certain castings, but it recently dawned on me. I keep doing that and the next thing you know I am doing the same history again because a new version of the same casting has appeared. So where some models will still see me bouncing back into their history, you will also see me go off at a tangent with something totally out of left field.

Case in point. The MB1143 1963 Chevy C10 Pickup. Number 06 in the 2000 series of 15 it makes its debut in premium clothes. This is the only one I am keeping in the blister for the first photo. After this, all the rest simply sit on the included box for their debut shot.

Which does mean we get an absolutely incredible engine detail in it under the opening hood. For such a small model this is a really beautiful level of detail.

Plus, I have to say, I absolutely love the level of detail to the rear bed. I had to double check that it wasn’t actually wood in there. These are the things we tend to see with premium releases that the core ranges don’t get.

The model itself is a metallic black with simple side detailing.

Not too dissimilar to the 2019 Moving Parts version of the casting, where it made its first appearance.

But obviously being a core range, the tampo hits were more limited meaning no engine detailing and definitely no rear bed details either.

But that is it for this casting as we have currently only seen the 2 issues to date. So…. Where to go? As I said, I am trying to think outside of the box and am looking at some highly radical choices for dive backs. I could do older Chevy Pickups, but next time I will have utilized that option and don’t want to repeat myself. So I am going with the year. I bet you didn’t see that coming. It was 1963. ZIP codes were used for the first time in USA. Dr Who, a British sci-fi series was first broadcast. The Beatles launched their debut album Please Please Me.

And Matchbox had a 1963 Cadillac Hearse in their database. Yep. I am shooting sideways with this dive back. MB700 is the only Hearse that Matchbox has ever created. Highly controversial to some, and way cool to others. It proved hugely popular. It arrived in 2006 as MB57. It was actually based on a real Hearse that Felix Holst (who worked at Matchbox at the time) owned. It debuted in the traditional black look with chrome and silver pin striping. It looks good next to the black Chevy from the same year, 1963.

Of course not all the Hearses were black. In 2007 it moved to MB30 in the basic range. Early production runs had the rear wheel arch tampo printed grey, but this was dropped mid way through.

It also made its debut in non-basic form, as it was included in a Scooby-Doo licensed 5-pack too. Also, it was a lot of fun, as it appeared every production run had a different shade of brown for the model. It varied quite a lot.

In 2008 it saw a final basic range issue exclusively for the US market. This time it was silver, and saw the exact same grey tampo as the previous issue, and again mid way through production the wheel arch lost its grey tampo cover.

It also saw a premium run as a Superfast issue too in grey with a matte black roof and full tampo detailing. This time though, it was the wheels that changed mid run. At first they were white-walled 5-spoke, but a late production run swapped them for white-walled tri-spokes.

After that the casting was dropped/altered to an Ambulance. Since then it has seen very sporadic use. In 2011 it popped up as a Lesney Edition with a metal base and a smurf-tastic blue and white Pearly Gates design.

It was last seen in the 2018 Coffee Cruisers 5-pack in green with flames and cobwebs down the side. Expect more of these random side-trips as I venture forward with my blog reports. Just to mix things up and not feel too repetitive.

Next up, number 07 out of 15 is the MB1164 ’36 Custom Ford Sedan.

Again, as with the Chevy, this makes its first appearance in premium clothes. It is very well detailed with the white over tan and the little attention to details inside. You can actually see foot pedals on the floor, which because they are part of the base not the interior, are actually chrome plated. Well it does say it is a chrome and plating service. Chrome its own pedals if you were to look inside the opening doors.

A couple more shots showing the different angles of the car.

As with the Chevy, this one followed the same pattern of debuting in the 2019 Moving Parts series (this one in green) before moving to Superfast in 2020.

Although I should also point out that this did see a carry forward into the first batch of the 2020 Moving Parts series too.

So I am being totally radical here. Stupid completely pointless fact time. I believe that the Custom ’36 Ford is only the second casting to have the word “Custom” etched into the base name. Others have seen the word used in the packaging, on tampos etc. But only the MB1052 Custom ’95 Chevy Van uses that name, right there in the base. But I thought I would bring it up as it hasn’t been used that much. It debuted in 2017 in red as MB87. It was actually based on a real van that Gerry Cody who worked at Mattel owned.

They even decided to give us some fun by creating a dual casting for it. Quite and easy one to spot, as the rear sports either a spare wheel or a bike.

It saw a second outing in 2018 as MB102 in brown. Again with the 2 different rear ends to look for.

Although in this case, if you were into that sort of thing, the shade of brown did vary quite a bit during production. But that is it. After these 2 releases we haven’t seen the casting since. Hopefully there will be more issues down the line.

Normal service is resuming for number 08, the MB1140 ’06 Ford Crown Victoria Police Car.

With its rear opening doors, this casting makes its first foray into the premium sector after debuting as a Moving Parts model.

It is sporting a Texas State Trooper design and white hood.

As well as a white trunk too.

Its actually the third version we have seen of this casting. It debuted in batch B of the 2019 Moving Parts series in white with an NYPD design. Strangely though, being a US vehicle with a very USA-specific side design, USA itself didn’t actually see this batch. It was found in other countries around the world. But due to unlucky timing USA ordered a late batch A then put in their next order when batch C was just starting production, missing batch B.

They did see the other release, which is another in the long line of Boone County Sheriff models. Although they have done some in alternate colours, this sports the more traditional brown with yellow side stripe look. So 3 incarnations of the Crown Vic, and all 3 sport real designs on them.

There is one small detail I wanted to add. When it debuted in 2019, it was an offshoot of the MB901 ’06 Crown Vic, which itself was an update of an earlier MB689 casting. MB901 used 2 different window molds, one has Taxi embossed on a straight edged roof section, the other a 3-block style for police cars. The same window piece can be used on the new casting, and last year, they accidentally used the Taxi version for the police cars. By the time the mistake had been noticed (on the NYPD version) the Boone County issue had already begun production. This year, they made sure they got the right window piece.

So I could go into the Texas State design, but it does not have an awful lot of history (the MB933 Dodge Charger Interceptor shown here is from the 2018 Texas Rangers 5-pack), but as I was talking about previous incarnations of the Crown Vic….

Let’s do ’em! Well, I can’t go all radical and change everything in one go. So the ’06 Crown Vic debuted in, oh yeah ’06. Arriving as MB26 it was released in the CHP livery (as recently shown on the blog) and also saw a rare variation that came with chrome lace wheels and a grey base instead of the usual black 6-spoke wheels and black base. It sported a lo-pro roof light (that detail becomes important later on).

But this one had quite the debut year. Superman Returns was just hitting cinemas, and some of the police cars in use were brand new Crown Vics. So this was added to one of the 5-packs for the year as a tie in to the film, in blue with white doors and Metropolis Police on it. Another blue, this one more metallic, was also created as a promotional vehicle for a pair of USA Matchbox conventions that year. Production was split 50/50 for the 2 events. It actually used the same CHP design as the basic, except now on a blue model, and also included a West/East logo on rear trunk.

Yeah I am still not done with 2006. As I said, this hit the range full steam. Basic, promotional, 5-pack and also we had a Superfast issue. The first non-Police livery, with this one coming in white with a Fire Chief look to it. As well as a more detailed tampo print (which also included tampo printing the front light section, as it is actually a part of the window piece).

Yep, I checked. That was definitely it for 2006. In 2007 it was MB49 in the basic range. At first it was white with blue and black stripes, but flipped to a version 2 which just swapped the black and white parts around.

And we had a second CHP design in the Police 5-pack too.

In 2008 we saw another black issue for the basic range. This was a US exclusive, and they went a long way from their HQ in El Segundo CA to obtain the license for the side design on that one. It was also added to the Action 10-pack that year too. This was the second Fire Chief release, this time in red after the Superfast white one. It also saw a second Superman themed look, although this was in the licensed 5-pack DC Super Friends which is more cartoon based.

Then in 2009, they did something a bit unusual. We saw a Police 5-pack issue in black with white doors and a Sheriff theme.

But the basic range? That’s not a lo-pro roof light. With the move from the Chinese factory to Thailand, a decision had been made to tweak the MAN number system. It has seen a further tweak recently too, but this particular one was simply to ignore any new roof accessories as new MAN numbers. MB689 was simply a 2006 Ford Crown Victoria. What they attached to the roof was not important. In previous years every time a new roof piece was added, or even non-roof accessory (making it into a civilian), would automatically generate a new MAN number. But the new factory thought it was easier to keep the slots for the parts with just the core Crown Vic pieces, and keep a different section with various roof accessories that could be used on whatever casting was required, rather than have a number of lo-pro roof light master sets which was being kept with each model it was being used on. You see the manufacturing number system was devised after the 1981 confusion from the range split to help the factory out. We as collectors like it because it helps us to keep track of things too. But we were not the target for creating it. So when the factory comes up with a change that would help them co-ordinate things much better, they are going to implement the change to do that. We just have live with it. So they came up with a new roof accessory for the Crown Vic. A large Taxi sign. Obviously, it is still MB689. It is still the Crown Vic. It just comes with an alternate roof piece. This was sold as MB51 that year in both the US and LAAM markets. However, it was not a part of the ROW market. It was also fun because it was found in both a lighter and darker shade of yellow, and came with either tri-spoke or 6-spoke wheels.

In 2010, the Taxi model was now a part of the US and ROW basic range as MB68 in green. LAAM was not included this time. Again it could be found in lighter or darker shades of green, although it only sported disk wheels during production.

Of course Police was not forgotten. The 2010 Police Squad 5-pack saw a white version appear. But you may have noticed, that’s not a lo-pro roof light either. In years gone by, even just a small change like using a narrow roof light instead of a lo-pro roof light would have warranted a MAN number change, and all master castings for the core Crown Vic (body, base, interior, windows) would have needed to be duplicated (or by now triplicated) to create a whole new section for master parts to grab for use when required. I do see why they make these changes. one space for a Crown Vic, and one space for lights that got used on whatever, rather than 3 spaces for Crown Vics with the only difference being a tiny roof part. The Taxi variant was used again in the Action 10-pack this time in silver.

In 2011, the taxi variant was finally available worldwide in the basic range. What’s more, it even had 2 different issues. MB68 started off in blue and then later turned gold. Another red Fire Chief was a part of the 2011 Fire 5-pack that year too using the narrow roof bar, which was the last time it used that particular roof piece.

After that, things got a bit quieter. 2012 saw just the one issue. The Airport Ground Crew 5-pack saw a taxi variant in green.

And in 2013, the Airport 5-pack saw another taxi variant in orangey yellow. Again, this roof piece was retired after this release.

The lo-pro light was back. The Fire Command 5-pack saw this white MFD design on the model.

And just as the lo-pro roof light was returning, it was going again. In fact, MB689 itself was. This was its swansong, as a part of the premium Supreme Heroes range. It sported 2-part rubber wheels (in fact the exact same wheels as the new one with only a chrome lip to it being different). It also sported a licensed side design for Kootenai County’s Sheriff Department in Idaho, USA.

Because in 2015 the casting itself went through a small change. As part of the phasing out of separate roof pieces for 4-part builds, the casting itself was altered into MB901. Due to the roof being opened at a different size, and the window section being recast, this was still, at the time, enough to give it a new number. Nowadays, if these alterations are made and they completely replace the original, the MAN number stays the same. If they don’t completely replace it and the original still exists, they will get a new number. The factory were noticing that as many castings were being altered (like this one was), the original was being replaced and gaps were then starting to appear in their tool bank. Suddenly they were creating extra space for things with all these gaps everywhere. So a later decision was made that if the original is no longer available after an adjustment, just use that original number. It saves space in the factory. Again, the MAN number system is a factory tool that we just like to use. But what they also do is create dual molds for things. In this case, the new window section was created with 2 upper parts that stick out the roof. The straighter “Taxi” embossed version was used in the 2015 City Adventure 5-pack. It does sport a wheel variation (tri-spokes as well the pictured disks) but I forgot to do the photo as I was concentrating on the roof.

In 2016 it was in the City 5-pack and was blue with LAX side design, so obviously a taxi variant and sporting the taxi style window. It was also included in a Monster Week 5-pack too. Again this used the taxi variant of the window piece.

In 2017 it saw a use as a Fire Chief vehicle again and was the first to use the alternate window piece with the triple block upper design. This red model was a part of the City Service 5-pack.

And in 2018 the Metro Transit 5-pack saw another yellow Taxi design, so utilized the taxi variant of the window mold.

Finally, the casting returned to the basic range as MB56. Although strictly speaking, it is the first time that the MB901 casting has been used in the basic range. Being a police themed design it again used the triple block version of the window piece. Which brings us up to date.

So what’s next? The return of the MB1022 ’71 Nissan Skyline 2000GTX. Superfast is a premium range, and as mentioned before is not a premium moving parts range. Therefore not all Superfast sport opening parts. This is just the regular issue dressed up in full attire.

Which does mean they can go to town on the tampo printing. Front and top as well as sides.

The rear didn’t get a hit, but the model is red. Trying to detail the rear lights might have actually been weird. So I don’t mind.

The tampo was obviously a Michael Heralda special, the 58 gives it away. What he has done with this one was give a nod to a couple of former Matchbox Ambassadors with the 2020 Ambassador Classic. Dirk Schleuer from Germany and Nigel Cooper from England. Now please note: this casting has a dual interior. One features a harness seat belt, the other does not. Both can be found on this release, as they have done on all non-promotional releases in the past but are difficult to photograph so I haven’t. Talking of which….

It’s not got a big past. Which is quite unusual as this casting has been a massive hit since day 1. It debuted in the 2016 basic range as MB5 in silver.

It was then chosen to be the dinner model for the 2017 Albuquerque Gathering. If you were an early bird (the first 75 to book) your example would feature an additional logo in the middle of the trunk/boot.

And it saw a second appearance in the 2017 basic range as MB11. This time it was in matte gunmetal blue. But that was it for the basic range.

Its only other issue was in the 2018 9-packs as an exclusive in orange. However, there is a rare promotional using this version that was given away to some people at JCCS in September that year. It sported some additional side tampo design and came in an exclusive black picture box reminiscent of the Japanese Matchbox boxes of the late 1970s. I do not possess that one so was unable to show it. But since then, we have not see the casting until now. It is nice to see it return.

Finally, it is the turn of the MB1163 ’18 Range Rover Vogue SE. It takes the number 10 slot in the set of 15.

It looks really nice in burnt orange. Land Rover call this Madagascar orange. It is an official colour choice for real vehicles.

Being a premium it gets a good level of detailing all round.

The opening rear section when closed has matched up very well due to being made of a different material. So let’s dive into its history.

Which consists of 2 models. First of all, it debuted in the 2019 Superfast series in blue. Land Rover call this Balmoral Blue. The tampo design is almost identical to the new issue, except in 2019 Superfast models were sporting a 65th Anniversary logo on the first batch which this was a part of.

The only other difference is with the rear. First of all, the license plate. Originally it had MBX on it, the new one has the Land Rover logo. The new one also doesn’t have the rear lights detailed.

But this model was also included in the first batch of Moving Parts earlier this year. It came in metallic black, which officially is known as Mescalito black in Land Rover circles. Its only non-premium release, but still seeing a very high level of detail for a basic.

Well I can’t finish on such a short dive back can I? So I am going to pass on a story as to why I am absolutely loving having this model now. When I was a kid growing up in the 1970s I used to love my Matchbox models. I would play with them all the time, and used to really enjoy seeing all the different vehicles they came out with.

One such vehicle was the MB020 Police Patrol. This was clearly a Range Rover. No mistaking it. But they made no mention of the Range Rover name, and it didn’t have the letters etched into it either. It was launched as MB20-B in 1975 in white, with an orange sticker on the side that said Police, and a big roof light that would spin around as you rolled it along. Yes, this was a Rolamatics model. The thing is, I just wanted a Range Rover. I liked them. I smashed the light on mine and peeled off the stickers to sort of turn it into a civilian vehicle. But it wasn’t the same. Remember I was a young child at the time, attempting to pretty much destroy a model to turn it into something else. My parents bought me another which, although not totally smashed, was still quite beat up by the time I finished with it. As an adult collector now, I have been going back and doing it properly. But every time I picked up a new variant of Police Patrol, there was still the inner child in me that kept saying “if only it was a regular Range Rover”. So now we have one, I am ecstatic!

But as I did a story on the Police Patrol, let’s get a little into it shall we? The basic range issue was simply white with an orange stripe for 6 year. 1975-1980. However, after the first year, the Police writing on the side did shrink down quite a bit.

The rotating dome light would normally be orange, matching the side stripe. But other colours do exist, most notably blue. Clear windows do sometimes become quite smoke tinted windows too.

Black bases are known to exist as well as the usual unpainted look too. So there are quite a few variations to look for during those 6 years of production. Then there are the others too….

In 1976, the model was added to the G-13 Construction Site giftset. It is supposed to be orange with a Site Engineer sticker on the side.

But we talking Lesney. Both giftsets and basics could be found in alternates. Yeah, QC at the factory was not the greatest.

In 1977 they brought the casting into the Twin Pack series as TP-12 paired with a Field Car both in olive drab with an Ambulance sticker on the side. Part of their army sub-set in the series. However, the olive drab was deemed to dull by stores and was almost immediately brightened.

A much brighter army green was used for the remainder of its run in the twin pack series, which was in 1980 when they pulled all army related stuff from the ranges.

But that still gave us 4 years of production, which saw them coming out with a number of variations. Like labels. Usually Ambulance, at one time they decided to use some leftover Police labels that were left behind after the MB55-B Mercury Commuter Police had stopped production.

Or wheels. I brightened this picture to make it clearer. Usually it would have maltese cross wheels, but some were found with 5-spokes instead.

After 1980, things got just a little easier. Ha ha! Who am I kidding. In 1981 the range was split between a US and ROW range. Police Patrol continued on in both ranges for 1 year, but each market was supposed to have a different version. The US market was supposed to have seen a County Sheriff model. Early examples just had a sticker on the side, but later in the year a top tampo print was added too. First time the Police Patrol saw a tampo hit. Bases in black or unpainted. Yep. More variations too.

The ROW range on the other hand, this was supposed to have seen a Police with yellow/red stripe and checks on the side label. Again black or unpainted bases. But Lesney being Lesney, you could find either model in both markets. However, this particular one ran through 1982 as the US market dropped them model after 1981. Therefore it became a lot more consistent.

There was also a small run (roughly late 1981) made when they ran out of labels and they simply borrowed some small Police labels that were being used on the MB33-C Honda Police Motorbike. It had Police on it. It worked. It was better than leaving it blank. Unless you were me, praying for blank with no roof light. Oh yeah, I already talked about that.

The ROW range did soldier on with the casting for a few more years, and in 1983 it turned beige. It sported a label on the side that said Securite-Rallye-Paris-Dakar-83. Now full disclosure, there was a French promotional model made in late 1980 for the 1981 rally in blue with a side label that had 81 at the end. I don’t actually own that. It’s quite rare, and I still haven’t picked it up yet. But I do own the 1983/84 model. At first it was metallic beige, but then turned to a solid tan, and then later on the Securite front tampo print was knocked off. After 1984 it was dropped from the ROW range too. But that wasn’t it.

It was sold as a Japanese exclusive MB8 in 1984-1985 in black and white with traditional Japanese police markings on it. After that, the casting was shipped off to Hungary.

Where in 1987 the factory in Hungary, under license from Universal at the time, created an assortment of variations of the casting for just under a year. As a part of the agreement the tooling was all under loan for 1 year and had to be back in the Universal’s hands 1 year to the day after they shipped it out. You want to hear something daft? It still sported all the Rolamatics gear inside to allow the spinner to move, but the factory had no pin wheel wheels, and simply used off road 8-spoke wheels for production. So the spinners don’t actually spin round. They also created a tampo design based on the final ROW issue for it. The casting was officially retired after that.

So that’s it for another week. Superfast batch B is done and next week I will finish off my trip through the basic range D batch. I wonder which directions I will take those models in….

Until then stay safe and happy Matchboxing.

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David Tilley

4 thoughts on “Matchbox Monday takes on Superfast batch B

  1. Nice work David. Strangely, the Land Rover Vogue is identified on the base as “18 Land Rover Vogue SE”. Whoops!

  2. Great write up. Great history. Great pictures. But the series was a huge disappointment for me given the lack of detail. It is essentially moving parts with rubber wheels. Cars priced similarly with HW premium, AW and GL need complete detail. Or drop the rubber wheels in favor of plastic to save money.

  3. Love the Range Rover Vogue and have all 3 versions of this casting. I had completely forgotten about the white & orange Police Patrol Rolamatic. I am certain I had that model as a child, but of course it is long gone now. Thanks for bringing back those fond memories! The Skyline 2000GTX is another casting I’m a fan of, but have strong doubts I will ever see the Superfast release in the wild. Sadly, this is looking like another “eBay exclusive”.

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