In lieu of doing a rundown of new items from Wheel Collectors, or perhaps doing a dive into my collection, this week I am doing something a little different. You see I had 2 weeks booked off to head off to USA and attend the Matchbox Gathering in Albuquerque NM. Sadly, with the events of recent months, the Gathering was cancelled, and also my trip to USA with it. My plan is literally to do what I was intending to do this year next July instead. But I still had my 2 weeks off. Luckily I know how I can fill the time.
You see I have this collection of Matchbox. Over the years I have amassed some 14-15,000 odd models. I don’t know the exact figure to be honest. I have not added them up. The majority of them are currently piled up in a walk in cupboard in my house.
The floor models are stacked 10 cases high (I learned years ago that any more and they just start collapsing on themselves). Then I have 2 back sets of shelves which have stacks 6 high and 2 deep (24 cases per shelf), and 3 side shelves which have a single stack 5 high (20 in total per shelf).
Although right at the back are a pile up of tool box 24-car cases (7 high, 3 wide by 3 deep, total 63 tool boxes).
Unfortunately when I purchased the house many years ago I thought this was a perfect storage area for my cases but on my last amalgamation I filled it up. The 5 stacks on the floor have to be dragged out each time I need to access anything else, but I couldn’t quite fit everything in.
I had 5 additional cases over and above what was in the cupboard. They were currently sitting in my bedroom being guarded by Binky and Patches. Hi Binky and Patches.
But this is the thing. As I head downstairs, in the living room I had been piling up new additions to my collection for the last few years. I tend to gain around a case or so per month to add to the collection. So over the last few years I have gained 24 additional cases of models.
The thing is, I get a new model (or models) I photograph them, I catalogue them, and then I just slot them into the next spaces in these cases downstairs. There is no order, except the order they arrive in. So as the cases pile up, me trying to find one of those models can sometimes mean I am just opening the cases at random until I find the model I am looking for. As they pile up it can become a little frustrating opening a dozen or so cases until I find a model. So every now and then the time comes for me to amalgamate them in to the main collection. But the first thing I need to do is just pull out all the new stuff from the last few years to see what I am working with.
So this is what has been added to my collection since the last amalgamation. Just a few. It’s actually 16 short of 24 full cases. Or 1,120 models. Just a few then.
So I want to take these and put them in to some sort of order. Now, for me personally, as you have already seen, my models upstairs are mainly crammed into one big cupboard. I like to keep all of each particular casting together, so I need to pull these out into casting groups.
Now I am going to be honest. I am a car lover. Pick-up trucks I like too, and police cars. Occasionally there are other models that for some reason just appeal to me (4×4 Scrambulance for one). But as a general rule, it is road vehicles I like most. Non-road vehicles are the least appealing, so as such these tend to be buried at the back of my collection. What’s the most difficult part to get to? Those tool boxes. Guess which models are definitely in tool boxes? Yep, planes, boats, trains. So the first thing I do is to pull out my planes, boat and trains I have added recently. I know they are going to be the first items I will be amalgamating when I take these upstairs to mix in with the main collection.
So once I get into road vehicles, as I said, cars, Pickups, Police cars, things like that are my favourites. So utility vehicles tend to get pulled out quite quickly. So I need to go through and pull them out a group at a time. Like for instance the construction vehicles. Quite a big sub-set of the collection. I will sort them out and put them in one group with each casting lined up together.
I go through various groups pulling them out by style, like these towing vehicles.
But after a while I realize that my group I was going through is getting quite sporadic. Models are getting quite spread out. So time for a bunch up.
And if I am bunching up maybe I will do 2 bunches. One full of pickups and SUVs.
The other, the cars.
It becomes a little easier to go through them as they are closer together and I work my way through the cars. As with everything, there is a rough order to them. The more I like a particular casting, the higher up it may tend to be. It is not an exact rule, as over time castings get shunted about a bit to accomodate space in cases, but it is a rough guide. The closer I get to the front of my collection, the more I am likely to like the casting in question. It is just the way I do it. Everybody has different ways of collecting, and they will store things their own way too. There is no wrong or right way. It is all personal preference. I know many tend to do in model or manufacturing number order. I just go with what I like and the more I like it the easier it will tend to be to get to it.
But after a few hours of sorting I have re-filled the 24 cases in some vague sense of order ready to amalgamate with the main collection.
They won’t quite be in the same order by the time I am finished, but the ones at the front are some of my favourite castings of all time. And there are a few new ones in there. The 2019 Mustang GT, 1976 Honda CVCC and 1971 MGB GT only appeared this year, but I know for a fact these will be high on my favourites list. They are lovely. Already contenders for my 3 favourite castings of the year. Of course the top tray (barely visible as it only has 8 models on it) are all Porsches. My favourite castings are all 911s, so those will be at the very top of the collection.
So as I finish off day 1, I take the 24 cases upstairs into a room that is currently mid-way through a repaint (hence the green strips around the walls) ready to begin in the morning with the amalgamation. Luckily it is not getting a second coat until the weekend so I have a week to sort. Giving myself a deadline.
Day 2. The first thing I need to do is pull out the 5 stacks of cases from the main cupboard. For the next week they will be sitting next to my bed. It seemed like a good idea at the time except when I get up and keep kicking them each morning. Who’s idea was it to put them there?
But what it does do is give me space to get to everything else in the cupboard.
So first things first, get those 63 tool boxes out.
Here they are. Lined up ready to amalgamate in the other room. Yeah one of the labels is coming off. Quite a few cases are damaged in certain ways. Tool boxes tend to last, but labels do get ripped or start peeling. The larger cases often have broken handles. Although I do now have 2 that have the lids re-taped to them. As long as they close I am good.
So let’s open the first case. Rescue Helicopter. The very bottom model in my collection. Not that I don’t want to collect variations. Those 2 yellows in the middle of the tray on the floor? The 2008 Nick Jr 5-pack model. I have 2 shades of yellow on it. From start to finish, all models in my Matchbox collection are important to me, and if I can find a variation on one I will get that variation. But it’s a flying vehicle, and those tend to be the least appealing, and this happens to be first. Something had to be. But as you can see, there is a random one on the right. Yes, new addition. The thing is, the case holds 24, and I had 26, now 27. So they moved into case number 2. So the first case gets closed, and case number 2 requires an adjustment to slot in the new one.
So I open up some more cases to see what I can adjust round to slot in newbie.
So a few models pulled out (Stinger) and a Dragonfly Helicopter popped in, and now I have a case of 24. If I can fit all of one casting in a case, I will. If I had a group of 12 of a casting, and 10 slots in a case, I am not just going to put 10 in, and put the other 2 in another case. I only split a casting if I physically am unable to slot all of them in the case. This is why it can take a week to do this. For anybody who knows, I am not really keen on the Stinger casting. Only 2? There are 2 more to get. I will get them one day. Definitely no rush though.
So how do I catalogue them? It is a very simple solution for me. I just created a simple excel spreadsheet. I called it Matchbox Carry Case Model Finder, and literally the first column is the case, and then each cell to the right will tell you the casting and the amount. As you can see, I have 2 notes. Some castings are small enough that I can double them up in slots. If I can, why not? Saves a bit of space. I think every little counts here. So any casting that was doubled up will have a (D) after it, so I know the case doesn’t add up properly. Those that do spill into a second case I mark as (P) for part of set. That way, I do a search later for a model I instantly know without thinking that it is a model that will be found in more than one case. Because I have done it before, done a search, gone upstairs, grabbed the case, came back down, opened it and realized the model I wanted was actually in a second case. I see the (P) and know to check first before coming back down. It is a simple little thing that works for me.
So as I move on, when it comes to the end of the planes and boats, it turns out, I threw a lot of the Ultra Hero stuff in before trains. Because, well, it was Ultra Hero and they were, shall we say a low ebb in the history of Matchbox.
But I still got them. They join the animal cars, and these at the front are being added to them. I think the Banana Car is pretty cool, but I don’t really have much of a slot for it in the collection apart from being in this general area. I could have used it elsewhere, but I think I will just place it here. There are a few random Ultra Heros and Animal cars that were not with this group. You saw the Stinger was in the flying stuff at the start. Some I slotted with others they were similar to, but the rest just got bunched together here.
I thought I would explain something else too. You see, how a model will be put into the case will be specific to how it is showing in my picture database. I took photos of my entire collection (that took 7 years). However the way the computer is sorting them, is the exact same way as how my carry case will store them. So Rottwheeler here, I am slowly working my way through getting them. Until now I had 3, a gold and 2 reds. That was the order they were in the case. Recently I picked up the black one (I actually got it in Leipzig last year at Modell Hobby Spiele). My computer has sorted the Rottwheelers into the order – gold, black, red (China base), red (Thailand base). So therefore when I put these into a case, they will slot in that exact same order. Easy. Well until you get bigger groups and it take a while to sort them.
So now I move on to the trains. I actually had a bit of a run on them recently. I started really going to town on the Passenger Coach in particular. The 2 trays are the new stuff picked up in the last few years. I had 4 Passenger Coach variations before, and have just added 9 more. More than tripled it. That was serious going.
So I finish off trains and start the move to road vehicles. I have to admit, I am not the biggest bike fan. I fell off a pushbike when I was a teenager seriously injuring myself, ending up in hospital and still bearing scars. Just imagine what I would be like on a motorized one. I tend to put trikes and quads in with them too, so they all go in together.
Now as I said, some items can be doubled. The old Lesney Hondarora is thin enough to double up in each slot (later ones do need to unhook the rider to slot in properly), but the Honda Police Motorbike, with the additional section around the rear wheels, means it is too bulky to double up, so careful slotting in to ensure riders don’t get decapitated and in they go 1 at a time.
The Dirt Bike can also be doubled up purely because it is so short. You can physically put 2 in a row into each slot.
So I then move to the trailer units. I try to keep the majority of these together as well. Some, like the Pony Trailer, I have to be a little careful with. You see, some of that casting have extra wide wheels that stick out so far they don’t really slot in that well. But I discovered simply turning them upside down means they go in fine. So some will be right way up, others upside down. It is just the way it goes.
There’s no real rhyme or reason to things, but I try to keep subsets of models together and after trailer units next up were racing cars. Yes they are 4-wheeled vehicles, but they go on racetracks, not on the public road. I do prefer vehicles that you happen to see on the road (although stock cars do come up with the regular cars much later). The F1 Racing Car has 4 new additions picked up over the last few years. So they will need to be integrated into the group in the order my computer is showing them in.
Easy enough. Groups get bigger, meaning more stuff gets put out on the floor as the cases go on.
Case in point, I am now moving on to the trucks. What was on the floor was simply those that had come out of cases to make way for new stuff being amalgamated in with models already. I have picked up almost 3 new trays of models of trucks in the last few years.
Many of these are simply the front half of Convoy vehicles. I actually unhook the cab, place the rear end in a box, and then just slot all the cabs in with the others. I found it easier that way as not all cabs come with trailers, but I wanted to keep all cabs together just like everything else.
I also decided to include the Tyrone Malone Super Boss and Bandag Bandit with them as I couldn’t really see anywhere else they would slot in so easily. But Tyrone Malone has many variations to get and I am always on the lookout for more.
I had 10 at the last amalgamation (the 2 back rows here) and have now added another 4.
So a quick cross-reference of the picture database I have and….
My new set of 14 in the exact order the computer shows them. You can see why this takes a while to do can’t you.
Now sometimes we do get some problems, and trucks tend to be the worst. Some are pretty high. There are times, like with the Mack CH600, that I can simply lay it on the side. But others, like the new MBX Cabover, are just too tall. Even attempting to put sideways is not enough as they are too tall to do that too.
Luckily I am still in the tool box section of my collection. The advantage of the tool box is that there are 4 corners which are significantly higher than normal (to give it the tool box shape). The new Tesla Semi is, I believe, the tallest Matchbox model ever made. It fractionally usurps the Ford Cargo Cage Truck which was the previous record holder. So I am careful with my sorting to ensure that the Tesla gets a slot in the corner.
So this huge excess is not going to be a problem.
Lid goes down, aerofoil is hidden under the tool box space and job done. The later 48 car cases are just flat topped so it really struggles with them.
As I finish trucks it appears my next port of call is with the army. And space. And stuff that is sort of similar.
Look, aren’t they lovely? What? Where’s everyone gone? Still not ready to accept the Radar Truck yet?
Well fine, I will move to the farming section then.
The Dodge Cattle Truck is a fun little model to collect. I have recently been having quite a bit of fun tracking down variations on it.
The mid ’00s Tractor casting is one that continues on and on. I have built up a large group of those (sitting behind my Combine Harvesters).
It may not be the biggest section to work on, but it does lead me to a big one. Construction.
But also, this is the end of the day. I had been busy the entire day and had just worked my way through the 63 tool boxes. But I have always said, things do start picking up after this. Once I hit the 48-cases I tend to find I can pick up the pace. But that will be it for day 2.
So day 3 begins, and I have the bottom back row of 48-cases out. 24 of them in total and I still need to finish off the last few bits of the farm section as I move into construction.
I say last few bits, it was most of them. I had barely started.
But what I do find at this point, is that I have spare 48-model cases ready to go. So I can just start filling up cases without the need to pull out loads of models first. One of the reasons why things speed up now.
So farming stuff in, new stacks of cases still unopened.
The thing is, construction is a pretty large and wide area to deal with. So I just find it easy to open up everything so I can see what I am working with. I have just over 6 trays worth of new items to add in. Those are the 6 trays at the top just to the left of the orange cases (with 2 additional in front).
Or these ones, if I go straight to them. New stuff, old stuff. They will all need sorting, arranging and the cases all re-worked to make sure that each casting stays together as much as possible.
I do have some loose stuff, and I tend to grab a spare case when I have enough to fill it straight up. You may notice a Mixopotamus in there. An Ultra Hero model for sure, but I just decided to keep that with the construction stuff as it was a cement truck in the shape of a hippo.
But there is a lot of construction going on here. I didn’t really want to get caught up in it, but what can I do? It was unavoidable. Oh I can get some silly puns in occasionally can’t I. I need to lighten the mood as I am preparing for a slog here.
Sometimes, you do see a lifeline. It is great to just pull out entire cases that need nothing doing to them. Take these 2. No casting in either case has had a new addition. So they are good to go.
Others though, they require quite a lot of work. The upper case here. A box of 48 now requires 16 additional inclusions across 8 castings. Yeah I am going to have to pull them all out, and do a bunch of re-jigging.
But by pulling the cases apart and leaving gaps between I can grab all my new stuff, place them in front and help me to visualize just what needs adjustments.
Then there are the new beginnings. Castings that until the last few years I did not own an example of. Always useful as filler to complete cases that were so close to being full.
Then there are those I almost make a mistake on. I almost went to put the MAN TGS Dump Truck with the Pit Kings. I don’t specifically need to. Lucky I caught it, although it wasn’t particularly important. They were both going to be in the same area anyway, so had I put both together in a case it would not have made a difference.
But I still needed to make a change to the case. Out came the 4 Mack Dump Trucks because I needed to make a gap to fit in a new Tractor Plow addition.
Just one new addition to a box (this one specifically down to an earlier blog report I did at Easter) means that I woud have 49. So a group of 4 was to depart being swapped in for a group of 3 (and the new Tractor Plow).
I am surprised I have not finished a box yet on the Tractor Shovel. I know there are a lot more variations for me to find, so it is only a matter of time. But 3 new additions beings me up to 46 here. Getting very close.
The Screamapillar (sorry Dump Dozer, I still think it looks like the Screamapillar from The Simpsons TV series) gets pulled to put in another case.
A small cross-reference and I manoeuvre all the Tractor Shovels already in the case along up to 3 slots to accomodate the 3 new ones. I tell you, constantly popping models in and out of slots tends to do your fingers in. I am constantly jabbing all those bits that stick up.
But what I try and do is clear out as much of the big assortments as possible. I don’t want to waste the smaller groups too early, in case I need them later. So much so that I was able to fill up many cases, work my way close to the end of the construction section, and still have all the new castings ready to insert.
The last few construction related items get slotted in, including all 6 of the new castings shown earlier. The Poop King’s porta-loos get put on their side. They stick up too high when the case is closed if stood upright. Good job they weren’t in use.
So what’s next on the agenda? My bus and coach collection.
In case you were wondering, the empty slots here are because this was the crossover tray before and I had already pulled out the construction stuff to amalgamate.
Hence why I have a few random models loose as they have been pulled out of the next case as they were what was the end of the bus and coach section before.
Not too many new items to include, as being a much smaller section it will not take me long to travel through these. Get it? Bus, coach, travel? Ah forget it, I don’t know why I bother.
The next section is even smaller. Ambulances. Almost 3 cases originally, and 8 to add.
It won’t take long to re-jig this section around, as these will be easy enough to slot into place.
But as I work my way through the ambulances I discover I have now accumulated a new set of 24 cases to put on the bottom shelf. On they go, and off come the ones from the middle shelf.
I bring them out but still have a number of cases to go through before moving on to the next section. I wonder if you can tell what that is, bearing in mind 2 of them are sitting on what’s left of the previously brought out cases.
Oh yeah. Fire Engines. It was a logical progression.
This is what has recently been added to my fire collection. Not too many, but enough to keep me occupied a short while.
So again, I pull out my cases and line up all new additions to se what I need to work with.
I get one case that is just loaded with new additions, but next to it is a case that has nothing new to add.
Sweet. Catalogue this on the database and on to the next one. I love the easy stuff.
Sometimes a model can be a pain. The International Pumper. I had one addition. It happens to be the 4th model out of 31. So 27 models need moving along 1 slot.
It’s my way of doing it. It can be slow, but at least I know exactly where I need to go for everything. You may or may not have noticed that I slot all models in a zigzag pattern. I take a tray, go along the top from left to right, back across the middle right to left and finish along the bottom left to right again. I try to keep to the same pattern across everything so I know quickly where to go for anything, particularly on larger groups.
So I finish off my Fire Engine collection with 5 slots left to go. So what to do? I have an idea.
The Batmobile. Another oddity that I just didn’t really know what to do with it. Should it have gone with Ultra Heroes at the start? Should the Banana Car have been put with it? These are all questions that I will endeavour never to answer.
But it does lead me to other odds and ends. Various models that are in such niche groups that I just put them all in one big blobby group. I don’t know why. A random model gets put in at this point on a previous amalgamation and it just expands. I just leave it as is as it is just easier that way.
But I did want to re-jig my Desert Thunder V16 collection. Admittedly I only had 1 new addition, and it only needed to go at the end. But I decided to sort them from the start of a tray this time instead of mid way through a case. Sometimes I just make things harder for myself don’t I.
But it does move me on to tanker vehicles. The tray at the front is what I have added these last few years, and those on the right pulled from the next older case in my stack.
Easy enough. But mixed in with them was Arctic Thunder. Who remembers this exists? It came about in 2018, and that was it. I only have 2 because I found a shade on it. I wonder where it went?
I start working my way through towing vehicles and into garbage trucks.
However, daft fact. The GMC Wrecker is so cool that I never left the model mixed in with the rest. It will actually come up much later.
Which is really good, because I like it even more now. I mean this one has my name on the side!
But I continue working my way through the garbage that is my middle shelf. I mean the garbage trucks on my middle shelf. Where’s the edit button on this thing?
And realize that the middle shelf can now be filled again. In go 24 cases, and out the 24 from the top shelf. I may be tall, but even I can’t reach them all.
I don’t know if many people own their own kick step, but I have found this to be an invaluable tool around the house.
Yep slowly getting further ahead of myself. I hadn’t even started one of the previous stacks of 6 cases and was still working through previous ones.
More random stuff. For some reason the Ford F-350 Superlift didn’t end up with the fire vehicles. I have no idea why. It got dumped here. It might have possibly been a previous amalgamation where I had a random one and used it to fill a slot, then on subsequent amalgamations it got expanded and moved even further away. Occasionally they do. Sometimes I do try and re-jig something I know should be elsewhere. But I didn’t think about it this time, so it stays put in this motley crew of models.
Ugh! I knew this was coming. After those I start moving in closer to what is the most important part of the collection, the cars. But before that I reach the biggest casting in my collection. The Ford Model A Van. I try and keep it with the Model T Van as they both go together quite well, but I have added 4 new Model As to the collection and I do need to keep them in the order my photos show them to be in. So this is going to take a few minutes of nudging models along.
But once done it does lead me to the Hummer (and Hummer-like) stuff and the regular Ford Model A.
Oh yeah, it also includes ’57 Chevys.
And a realization that I have enough to fill the top shelf again. However, I discover something. Somehow, one of the stacks does not fit in. Front left wouldn’t let me slot the 6th case on top. At some point I will likely see if I can switch a few cases around by finding thinner cases. But for now, I just popped the top case on its side in the middle. I will deal with it later. I am amalgamating.
Which means, next on my list is the 5 stacks of 10 sitting on the floor under the side shelves.
But I still have 10 cases of models I am currently working on including extra stuff to add in. You know what? It’s late. I’m calling it. End of day 3.
So day 4 begins, and oh yeah, this is where I left things the previous day. As you can see, the ’57 Chevys have nudged up a little bit, split out from the Model As.
I also have quite a few models in new cases ready to amalgamate into future cases.
I still got 2 stacks of 6 cases of new stuff ready to amalgamate too. Am I even half the way through yet? Luckily things do get easier the more I get through things as I do tend to speed up. So time to dive in to a solid day of sorting.
I do tend to leave random models outside of cases while I look for space on them. The Field Tripper (I still call it that, I know it was changed to MBX Prospector because of German translations, google the German translation of Tripper and you will know) is quite a big group so will need a bit of space.
But I bring out the first stack of new 10 cases from the back row and an empty one to fill up as I am building a load of randoms again.
So I am going to go 5 cases as a time now. What was in the first lot? Oh look, the GMC wrecker.
So now I sort out my new collection of them to add in. I didn’t just get the new one with my name. I added in a few variations on older ones too.
Oh this is nice. I now have 48 of them. Case closed.
Another one that is going to give me a headache. I added a new variation on the Streakers Lamborghini Countach recently. I now need to figure out where it needs to sit.
So 27 Lambos, 1 new Lambo on the floor.
And I sit there cross-referencing on my photo database to ensure that the new one goes in the correct slot.
Found it. Oh good, not too far from the end. It goes between those 2. Which means I only need to move 8 up one slot.
There we are, 28 Lamborghini Countach models in the exact order the photo database is showing them. I still have lot of variations to find on this. I know in a few years when I next do an amalgamation there is going to be a large likelihood of doing it again.
Moving on to the next group of 5.
Plenty of Land Rover 90s. It went way over 1 case already.
But I did add one there so I will need to move quite a few up. It does mean that each case does need work doing on it.
I still have random models piling up on the floor. I take out random groups and line them up ready for slotting in future cases. Some could end up being slotted quick, others may need to wait a while until a specific slot opens up.
I got to the end of that group of 5 and still had the 4×4 Jeep in a partial case as I opened the next lot of 5. I did mention that stock cars tended to be further up than F1 cars. They are based on road cars, so I am more accepting of them.
So what do I need to add? Not a lot. Excellent. Nice and easy. And hello what’s this? 2 cases on the right with no new additions? Sweet? List and close.
A little bit of jigging about and well I only get left with these 4. That’s not bad going. I like it when things slot in well.
So time to bring the next lot of cases out. Yes there are Porsches in there. I have often stated how the Porsche brand is my favourite brand. But it does not mean that all my Porsches are at the very top of my collection. The 911 is (favourite car of all time it is going to be), but other Porsches do get put in wherever too.
Now there is a tiny rule I have. The Mercedes-Benz 280GE must be at the top of a stack. This is because of the Light & Sound models. The 2 yellow ones? Those lights are currently flashing in this picture.
So as I sort, I make sure that they stay at the top. You see, the model is fairly tall, and once I have stacked them 2 trays high and close the lid, if I put too much weight on them it tends to squash them. And if they get squashed, those lights are so close to going off that every time I walk past the cupboard the small vibrations in the ground is enough to set them off. So every time I go past I keep hearing those little alarms going. Of course they will die eventually, but why force the issue? It’s fun to press down on them and set the siren and lights off. I want to keep it going as long as I can, so I will keep them on top so they don’t get over-used for no reason.
But I am getting there. I take out stacks of models (in 2 pairs of 5) and immediately put in 2 new sets of 5 to stack them back up again.
But I do still have random stuff on the floor waiting to get slotted in where I can. I also make sure to keep an eye on new castings. The 1932 Ford Pickup and 1968 Dodge D-200 Pickup were both only started in the last year or so, so I know there will be nothing for me to be looking for to put them with, but I will be looking at putting them in the area of vehicles that are, in my mind, fairly similar.
I’m also still working on my Porsche 928s.
But once that case is full I bring out the next lot of 5.
Which includes a certain Dune Dog casting which is too wide to slot in unless I put it in upside down. Some vehicles do need to be put in unusual ways to ensure they don’t get damaged.
The 1956 Cadillac Eldorado is another that has to go in funny. Diagonally sideways. It is too long as it stands and only just manages to get in like that. The spare wheel section on the rear does mean that it is can’t angle the other way.
I do also get to the point of various Matchbox originals, some from the Lesney era, and others from the Mattel era.
And some things just seem to work out perfectly. The classic Lesney Chevy Van casting was in a case with the modern Mattel Chevy Van too. They were 4 short and I had 4 Sunburners in to fill up the case. Look who just added 4 new Chevy Vans and filled the case perfectly. Sweet!
I finish that group of 5 cases and have a number of spares on the floor ready to go. I could put them in a new case now, but I find it easy to leave them on the floor to try and fill slots elsewhere.
What’s in the next batch? More of the Matchbox originals from the Lesney, Tyco and Mattel eras. The Ford Group 6. The Chevy K-1500 Pickup and Ford Mini Open Back Truck are here, which is the reason why I had pulled out the Dodge D-200 Pickup from new stuff as I knew they would be likely coming up soon and that the Dodge is similar in style, so will be somewhere close to them.
Although the Dodge won’t be in that specific case. I have added 2 new Ford Open Back Trucks and as the case was those, the Chevy K-1500 and a pair of Ford Galaxie Police Cars, all I need to do is pull the police cars and add the Open Back Trucks. Ah and 2 more cases that didn’t need a thing doing. Excellent.
Well not too much being left behind now. The Dodge is still dodging it’s slot. Oh I can’t stop with the awful puns can I? The Baja Buggy also gets to sit it out for a short while.
I bring another 10 cases out (swapping in the 10 I had already done).
I’m already working through the next stack beyond too. 2 cases high (plus that Dodge and the Baja Buggies). So just over 12 cases ahead of myself now. Definitely over half way through adding new stuff. I had 24 cases, and they weren’t full. So I can see I am definitely over the hump.
I know it sounds daft, but I like as much as possible to keep all my Mercedes Unimogs together. All the different castings.
I think I can still do it. It appears the Mog case has the biggest group of newbies to add to it. But there is a case in the middle with nothing. Woohoo! Write it down, stack it up. 1 down, 4 to go.
Yes, 9 new Mogs, 11 random other models before. Excellent, this can still all go in 1 case. Fantastic.
It does mean the 11 that were in it are now in my overflow ready to amalgamate group. Oh the Dodge went. Couldn’t dodge it any longer. The Baja Buggy though. That is definitely moving on up.
What’s in the next set of 5? My first Porsche 911. Yeah even that one didn’t have them all at the top. As I said, my rhyme and reason for the order I put them in is totally weird. It just works for me. We are all different, we collect different, so we organize differently too.
What do I get to add? Hmm! Not too much. A few more Ford Sierras, but a certain Field Car/Holden FJ Panel Van case is good to go.
The Baja Buggies went and I am getting a nice pile up of loose stuff, along with some new castings I have felt are close to being in an area to insert.
Quite a few Jeeps in these ones.
But some things do happen. The front bullbar on one of the Jeep 4x4s has come off.
It happens. Things jostle about a bit and occasionally they get chipped just being in there or even worse, something breaks off. I will mark it down for future reference in that I need a replacement. Good job it is not a super rare one.
Not too many to add, and a few cases needing nothing at all.
Talking of Jeeps, this one was a part of my last amalgamation. An older Lesney era gun Jeep had the gun snap off. I decided that although the thing was totally mint apart from it, I would still go and find a replacement.
Well I did find one, only just though (I posted it yesterday on my Instagram feed). Same wheels, same base, same shade, same label, same casting variation. Everything about the new one was identical to the old one. It is just newbie has the gun attached. So in this case I am going to be swapping one out for the other. One of the little things with having a collection like this is that once in a while I have to replace something purely because of the way it was being stored. It happens. I deal with it. I just hope it never happens to a super rare model.
Another batch of cases done and a number of oddities waiting to find a spot.
More Jeeps. It’s quite a big sub-section and at one point they were all packed in consecutive cases, but over time and amalgamations they have slowly spread out a bit. I bet the Unimogs will start to do that too once they go over a case.
Rats! Stuff for every case. Looks like I will be doing quite a bit of jigging about with these.
But I am now working my way through the first shelf. All 5 stacks on the floor have been filled up.
At this point it is just easy enough to pull out all 20 cases. It will not take long to fill that shelf back up.
I’ve already got 13 cases ready to put in plus the loose stuff sitting on the floor.
So lets’ go through the first stack of 5. These models will mainly still be on that bottom shelf after the amalgamation.
Oh good, 2 of the cases don’t even need any work on them. Catalogue and put them on the 13 I had already. Three quarters of the way through re-stocking that shelf and I have only emptied it 5 minutes ago.
So I finish sorting that first batch of 5, and I am currently 1 case short of having a new entire shelf of cases again.
Three stacks of 5 cases and….
Just a few loose ones (including a new Tesla Model X which I feel is about time to slot in).
The next stack of 5 gets opened up.
There are oddities in my collection. The Vauxhall Guildsman has a really badly playworn model included in it.
This is the model I often class as my oldest. It likely wasn’t, but it is the oldest one I have memories of as a kid. It is badly worn, the wheels are bent, and the windows are almost as scuffed up as the paint. But even though I have minty replacements for it, I still keep it there as a constant reminder of my childhood. I can’t get rid of it. A minty fresh military Jeep with gun broke? Replace. But this, it’s totally worthless to anybody else, but to me this is a treasured part of my collection and will never be removed. It stays for life.
Well yet again, I only have 3 of the 5 cases that need any work doing to them. The Guildsman/Datsun 260 case has 3 new additions, and currently a set of 3 Ford Kennel Trucks in addtion to those 2 castings. That makes for an easy swap.
And my battered Vauxhall Guildsman stays in as part of a set of 23 now. All the other 22 are minty fresh, but this one is my favourite of the bunch. Sentimental aren’t I.
Now to move on to the next batch of cases.
And again, stuff for every single case to mix in. This will take a bit of work. But what is going on with that last case?
Holey moley! That’s almost half a case of extras. Every single casting in the case has seen new additions. Some quite a few. That Jeep Willys 4×4. I keep finding shades on it. It’s addictive!
Well as was going to be obvious, quite a few from that particular case were pulled out for future insertion.
The last non-orange cases. For some reason I keep the last issue Tara Toys Matchbox branded carry cases until the end. I have just finished the older blue, yellow and black ones. No order to them. They get mixed in any old how. But the oranges. They are always the last ones I use. I am weird. I am sure people have cottoned on to that by now.
Just need to finish sorting my first few orange cases.
Sometimes it is easy just to switch things around. You see, once I am into the orange cases, they are all the same. Which means all the trays are the same. So I mix and match trays as well, making things even faster from this point on. So I had a box needing a tray of 12. I just pulled a tray of 12 from another case and slotted it in. Very easy. Now I really get motoring with the amalgamation.
I have spare carry cases too which means spare trays galore. It makes things much easier. So you may be sort of seeing why I do leave the orange cases until the end. They have a different type of tray inside, with upper left and lower right slots missing meaning longer vehicles can sit in without getting wedged. But I don’t want these trays in other types of cases, so if I leave them all in one group I find things much easier. It works for me.
So let’s get on with the next set of 5 cases.
Cool classics like the Citroen CX….
Plus my Renault 5 collection which keeps growing and growing. In fact another arrives just after I do this, so I know for a fact come next amalgamation those R5s will be needing a re-jig again. I am not going to try and wedge it in now. I need to photograph it and catalogue it on its own before I worry about putting it anywhere else. It’s another rule of the amalgamation. Don’t try and do 2 jobs at once. I had a cut off point for models to be amalgamated. Anything that arrives after that cut off point is piled up downstairs in a new case (or cases) and will be piled up for the next amalgamation in 2022 (most likely).
Bring out the newbies. Ooh look at all the new Renault 5s. Yep, during the last 2 years I amassed 6 new R5s. 1 day after amalgamation another had arrived. I wonder if I will beat 6 for the next amalgamation. It will be going over a case soon.
Currently 7 away after slotting in the recent ones. Up to 41 there, with number 42 already here. It’s only a matter of time.
I also decided to just grab a whole tray of Ford Rancheros. They were all new since the last amalgamation. Two different releases, with the 2nd one sporting a wheel variation. However, across all 3 of those, I found 3 shades on each. It’s getting to be a nice little pattern. I bet I won’t be able to keep that up though.
Cleared out my middle shelf.
20 cases out ready to sort.
And 15 cases already sorted to put back in.
Plus I have what’s left of the previous assortment too.
So let’s grab another bunch of 5 cases.
Well one of the cases is untouched so another easy win. New additions to all the rest though.
It didn’t take long for me to fill up the shelf again.
And I still have over a box of items left to sort. These ones, plus….
Random stuff sitting on the floor.
What’s in the box(es).
Stuff that needs every single box looked at. Even one model changes the entirity of the box.
1 additional Pontiac Firebird means that having 25 Firebirds and 23 Ford GT40s is no longer viable.
So the easiest thing to do is put the 1 Firebird in a new tray and just pull both trays of GT40s. The advantage of inter-changeable trays.
And I begin my journey into my next group of 5 trays.
Some models like the Holden Pickup, have interchangeable parts (the bikes) so you need to ensure you know exactly which ones you have. Also it does contain what is known to be a fake model (one of the labels is supposed to have been applied later, but still in large quantities by somebody who had access to a whole sheet of them. But I keep it anyway. I bought it a long time ago, and it barely cost me any money so I am not going to get rid of it. It’s another thing you have to be careful of, particularly with Lesney era label models. People have been known to peel them off and stick alternates on. So collecting rare label variants should never be a costly endevour.
Well that’s good. One of the cases doesn’t need any work doing to it again. Although another one, I see a lot of Textron Tigers, VW Transporter Crew Cabs and ’95 Mustang Cobras that need inserting. But with 3 other cases all having just 1 additional, they will all end up needing just as much work doing to them.
The next set of 5 cases brings out another big group. The Land Rover Defender 110 went way over a case already.
Yep quite a few of that one, inclusing quite a few shade and wheel variations. I recently did a casting update on the Lamley blog, but didn’t show off every single shade I have. Just the ones that were more noticeable in picture.
Well luckily once I pulled out the additionals there was nothing new to add to it, so that is a case that can be closed.
A sign of madness. Six different Gulf VW Beetle 4x4s, Base shades, blue shades, orange stripe shades. Yeah, I can’t stop. Seriously, somebody stop me. As I write, I have a 7th sitting in a case downstairs ready for the next amalgamation.
But you know what? There is something inside of me that is telling me to do this….
With 6 examples of the new Land Rover Gen II Safari and 6 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL models, it was an easy swap, and means that the 2 Land Rover castings get to sit together. Me? Weird? What?
But what I find I do quite a lot now. If I have more than 6 of a particular casting, I just grab a tray and fill them in. That way I can just put the trays out and see instantly without the need for counting what I have to work with.
Well it is time to take the top lot off. It’s really daft. I have a light that is in the way of the 3rd stack. So if I ever need to get to the middle back set of 5 cases I have to pull out the next set across, then slide them across to get at them. One day I will change the light fitting for one that doesn’t stick down. But doing that is taking money away from buying more Matchbox. So I keep delaying it.
New stack out.
Old stack getting close. Just 3 cases to go.
With these loose (or in tray) models waiting to go in too.
So it is time for the next batch of models.
And a fairly easy batch to deal with. Well sort of. Two boxes already sorted and close to finishing off the new top row.
So that didn’t take long.
I still have a number of the stuff from last time still ready to mix in. Plus a few new additions. But I am calling it. The day is getting late and I am getting tired. I have been at this almost non-stop today. Just solid amalgamating. Tomorrow, day 5 and the home stretch.
So day 5 begins and I get straight into it by opening up a new set of 5 cases.
I also decide it is now easier to just have all the new stuff ready to amalgamate open and immediately visible for ease of finding stuff. The order for new stuff is not identical to the order of the older stuff so gaps appear in places and as a tray runs low, I just move items to fill those gaps.
So I start be checking for new additions. Oh sweet! Three cases with nothing new to add. This makes my day start with a cheer.
But I come straight back down with a thump again. Wait? Wasn’t this amalgamated?
Yes it was! In fact, it was in the box with the Vauxhall Guildsmans I was talking about earlier. Oh no! In the past I have contemplated, and even just took them out and put them back downstairs for the next amalgamation, but no I am going to be good.
I grab the box it was in.
Take them out and insert another model in to the 25 spaces. This is now moving way up (this is how things can move around quite a bit) into a new batch of 26, putting a different set of 25 models in with the Guildsmans.
And then I get back to it. Ah! A Nissan Xterra with 3 new additions, and a group of 3 Jaguar XJ6 Police. Easy swap. Oh yes, back to normal now.
Those Mercs are also making quite the jump up too. Still not found a slot for them yet.
So let’s get the next lot out.
It includes the model that started me off on my hunt for shades. The Gruesome Twosome. I think it is by far the highest placed fantasy vehicle from the Lesney era in my collection. Always been a big fan.
And, well, it appears I have items for all cases again. No worries. I will get through pretty quick now.
Because as I mentioned, I am now putting everything above a group of 6 into a tray (or 2 or 3). This makes sorting them out actually quicker as I can just make quick additions in my head to work out a 48 total and throw them in a case. Well not literally. I mean I do place them in rather carefully.
Once I am done with those sets of cases I just have these to sort in. What the? Still the Mercs….
Opening cases, sorting things out, opening more cases, sorting things out. I am not going crazy. You are going crazy. Who am I talking to? Okay I’m going crazy.
Stuff for all 5 cases again. Okay let’s get to it.
Doing my patented “pile them all up in trays” method to see what I am working with.
Some trays are single, some like the Ferrari F40, have now hit a 4th tray.
Guess who got rid of the Mercs? This guy! Only a few random models left at the end of those. It was a good group.
So I am now starting to work my way through the floor in the cupboard. I put them in 5 cases at a time, and only 2 piles of 5 for a stack of 10 due to the overall weight being too much for the bottom cases if I go any higher.
It is now time for me to work on the stacks that have been piled up in my bedroom the last 4 days. Finally! No more kicking them with my feet as I climb out of bed in the morning. Why I thought it was a good idea 4 days prior I have no clue.
So I get to work on the next box.
Which appears will not take me long to do. Three boxes with nothing to do.
Very little change to my extras when I done.
The next group of 5 gets pulled out.
Not quite as much luck with this one. Only 1 case is untouched. And the new additions are a little more too.
Here is a daft fact. For the most part, a model will be in a rough date order. But I thought with the Lamborghini Gallardo Polizia I would share a minor blip with the system. That blue one at the end is from 2013.
But my computer will always put it at the end. In computer language, the bigger the number the further back it goes. It is not seeing years, just numbers. So when I photograph models each file name will be the model followed by the year it was from, the range, then any further details depending on the variation (which I do all without gaps). In 2013 they did a set of 60th Anniversary models. So all 24 (well 25+, there was a chase plus variations) I catalogued each picture finishing off with 201360th (followed by it’s number in that series). The computer is seeing 201360 which is a bigger number than the latest which is a 2020 issue. Therefore it goes after it. So when I sort my case, that blue one also goes after it. I follow the pictures exactly. Perhaps I should change my photo catalogue to “2013sixtieth”. I do actually do that with 5-packs. I list them down as “fivepack” (you will notice it with the LM002 on the left on the screen). One day I will re-list them and then on future amalgamations they will actually be in proper date order. I just haven’t done it yet.
But once I finish that group, I am basically at the point of filling another case. But I hold back. Just in case I struggle with the next batch. I have some smaller issues to slot in places, so may be able to utilize them better.
So bringing out the next batch of 5 and an exact case of 1962 VW Beetles.
I have 5 new ones ready to slot in. They weren’t just all at the end. There was a 2000 issue which means I will need to move them (nearly) all up one.
But apart from said Beetles, there was not a lot else I need to do. A pair of BMW 323is and an MGF. Both in the one case.
And if you remember, a case going over, I mark them up as (P) to remind myself.
So when I am done with that, it appears both the other 2 new additions have caused their whole group to be pulled out ready for re-insertion later.
So I get to work with my next set of 6 boxes.
Which includes a nearly full box of Austin Minivans (just a Mazda CX-5 filling up the final slot).
So I pull out the new stuff to mix in. But there appears to be 2 new Minivans. That means I now have 49.
Both newbies are actually at the end, so it should make things nice and simple. But I am weird. I think people have figured that out for definite by now.
I just felt it wrong to have a box with 48 of them, and then another box with just 1. I know, this is taking weirdness to all-new levels. But I would just feel sorry for the 1 that was left out. So I have gone to the trouble of moving them all along and splitting the group into 2 larger groups. 31 in one box and 18 in another. Much better. They didn’t need to be an even split. I just didn’t want a single example left on its own away from all the others.
Not too much in the way of extras after this group was sorted.
So the next lot of boxes get opened.
One of the boxes is full of Porsche 959s. However, I know that these went way over and the overflow is actually in my next group of 5. So I will hold off on this one for now.
Although I will still pull out its new additions. I had 3. Plus other items for all the other cases. Time to get to work on these.
I’m just going to plonk the 3 new 959s on top for now. I will sort them after. Just do my tray work with everything else.
Once I am done with the others, I can pull everything to the side ready to bring in the rest of the 959s and the next set of boxes.
Here we go. ’68 Mustangs, BMC Pininfarinas, Ferrari 308GTBs, Range Rover Sports. Yep plenty to keep me occupied. As well as the rest of the Porsche 959s.
There’s the rest of the 959s. Was 9, but with 3 new additions that brings me up to a clean 5 trays of models.
Which get re-sorted. I am okay with a box of 48, and then an additional tray of 12. It’s still a little group for a new box. Or 9 as was last time. The VW Beetles a short while ago is a set of 5 and a set of 48. It was purely just having a single model on its own. I need the Austin Minivans to get another, so I have 50. Then I can do a box and extras again.
You may have noticed another little weird thing I do. The Lotus Elise. They are all upside down. Not because of being too awkward for the trays. It’s actually the opposite.
I discovered that being quite small and having nicely rounded front ends, they tended to jostle about a lot and those front ends were bounding up against the front of the slots, or in the corner cases, into other Elises. So by turning them over it is stopping them from moving around so much. I could just put some tissue in the front and rear of each slot, but I do them, then other models, and before you know it, I have tissue everywhere.
I did sort out all the newbies for the boxes too. There was something for every one.
Once I am done, it appears I have all larger groups that between them do not make a 48. So they will all have to sit it out until later.
My pile of new items is thinning down quite a bit now. Not a lot left to go.
Because I have now finished my cupboard. Originally I was 5 cases over, which I haven’t even got to yet.
But I have quite a few to go. I decide to pull out many new castings that will not have had examples yet to work as filler.
As it stood, I only had 5 extra boxes, plus a 96 box at the end. But I am still working my way through what was in the cupboard before.
Case in point. Next stack of 5. This one has quite a few Minis in it. They tend to hover quite close together.
Hmm! VW 1600TLs.
VW Type 3 Fastbacks. Something tells me I should think about leaving those close by too.
Well I have plenty of new stuff to amalgamate into all the boxes anyway, so I think I should be able to sort those out while I am at it. I did put the VWs together. I just forgot to take a photo. Doh!
Sometimes you need to stretch. I spend so much time on the floor my legs start aching. So a quick walk up and down the room to get my feeling back.
I am working my way towards the end now. These are some of my favourite castings.
Some of my earliest memories are of the AMX Javelin. I have a nice assortment of them.
Rover 3500s, various BMW 3-series, 1969 Chevy Camaro. Yeah cool stuff here.
With not too many additionals. Still, there is only the 1 case left untouched.
It’s the one that has the ’69 Camaro. Are we ever going to see that casting get used again? It’s really cool. A great classic that will work at any time.
My next set of 5 cases. Plenty of US muscle cars. Many Lotus. The company itself has ruled that the plural of Lotus is Lotus when you are talking about cars. They made it official.
Lots of blue being added to the first 2 cases, and case number 4 has a number of Camaros. But cases 3 and 5 are done already.
I can see the end coming. I had 5 boxes over and above the cupboard before. These 17 are all sorted ready to go…. somewhere.
I still have a box of 5 over there to be sorted.
Let’s get into them. Plenty of Lamborghini Miuras in there. Plus more BMWs and some Mustangs. Oh and more Porsches.
1971 Camaro Z-28. I absolutely love this casting.
The Peugeot 205 Turbo 16. One of my favourite castings growing up and still way up there now.
I do believe the 1971 Oldsmobile Vista Wagon ranks as the number 1 wagon in my collection.
So what needs adding? It appears every case needs work. Okay.
It’s also time to bring out everything that’s left ready to amalgamate. The last of the new castings (the Alfa Giulia Sprint GTAs to the left were from the previous 5 I pulled out and ended up in shot). I’m 5 days in. My mind has turned to mush.
I sort everything out the way I have been doing since orange cases became the norm.
Once all done I am still left with some models. Why? Oh yes.
I told you. Brain! Mush! Hello Binky and Patches. Still guarding my original overflow set of 5 cases.
Now these are the top models in my collection. The ones I love more than anything.
Which of course means Porsche 911s. Oh yes. And the Monteverdi Hai. Daft fact, the original Porsche Turbo replaced the Monteverdi in the basic range. MB3-B became MB3-C. But how could I complain.
Plenty of Porsche 911GT3s, and a few Porsche Cayman and a 911 Rally models finishing off that case.
And a case just full of classic Lesneys. The blue Lotus Europa is one of the original 1969 Superfast, and as such one of the oldest vehicles in my collection. Still one of the best though.
So what actually gets shoved in? Stuff for 4 of them. One case is untouched.
It won’t be on the next amalgamation. The Matchbox team have already shown us a sneak at the latest 911 Carrera Convertible coming. The first white one. I can’t wait!
But I do need to sort out these last few.
Boxes get re-jigged to fill in gaps.
Isn’t that perfect. Porsche 911GT3s and Caymans fit a case exactly.
My last case fills with what will now be the top models in my collection. Of course it is Porsche heavy. But I also see 3 brand new castings from this year debuting right at the top. The 1971 MGB GT, 1976 Honda CVCC and 2019 Ford Mustang GT. Honestly, I think those are my top 3 new castings of 2020. I know what is left to come, and I don’t think I have any others that are likely to change that opinion.
But you may be thinking. Isn’t there something missing?
I now have 29 “new stack” cases as I have called them on my database. They are going in my bedroom up the corner. But there was something about a 96 case.
Okay, 1 random 96-car carry case. With something on top.
Of course. My number 1 casting of all time. The classic Lesney Porsche 911 Turbo. You may notice the new Mattel made ’80 Porsche 911 Turbo was the last thing added to the last case. As much as I absolutely adore the new casting, there’s just something about the original that I just have to say gives it the edge. A sentimental feeling when I open the case, harkening back to my childhood days? Possibly. I doubt I will ever have anything beat this one. Plus, look at all the variations.
Talking of which. Hello. New one! A prepro.
It actually slots in right neat the beginning. So I need to move them all up one slot.
And presto. Done and done! Last model in and amalgamation complete.
In case you were wondering what the paper was. It was a copy of the original blueprints for the Porsche Turbo dated May 1977.
As seen if I put one of the Porsche models on it, the sheet is pretty big. Hence why it was folded up. One day I am going to frame it and put it on a wall somewhere. But for now it stays with the box of Porsche Turbos. So I pack everything up and….
Oh yeah I need to do something with this. But what? If anybody has any ideas please let me know.
So I hope you enjoyed my little (or should I say extremely long) amalgamation post. Normal service resumes now. My next post will be new items again. I promise. This is a once in a 2-year or so thing I do. The next one will likely be sometime in 2022 and another week I need to take off work. I tell you, I go to work for a rest between hobby stuff.
Binky and Patches are now the guardians of 29 carry cases up the corner of my bedroom. I had to move my ottoman out and turn it sideways to accomodate the cases all piled up behind. I have no idea where to stack next. I need a bigger house….
So until next time I hope I haven’t done too long a report. I know I keep saying it, but I think I outdid even myself with this one. That’s it. Short and sweet from this point…