Matchbox Monday continues to look at 2020 Batch E

Another Monday and another roundup of what Matchbox has to offer in batch E. In total there are 17 models, so this week is the week where I only do 5.

With 3 different Jeeps in the batch each week I will begin with another one. Last week it was a brand new casting, but this week a casting that makes its first appearance in the basic range. The MB1196 1958 Willys Jeepster.

It arrives in the MB38 slot in a lovely shade of wine red. I really like the look of this one.

I think it is a lovely little casting, and the little W in the middle of the spare wheel is a great touch. I believe that spare wheel is a part of the interior section of the model so it might be we only ever see the interior in black. I don’t mind. That suits me fine.

So what to compare this one to?

As I said, it is the first time it has been in the basic range, but not its first release. It debuted as a Walmart exclusive in 2019 in their Jeep set.

The yellow debut and red version from now sport identical tampo prints which I like. I do think they look best when they are just front and rear to be matching (with perhaps license plate being the only thing to look at mixing up). So that makes for a very short comparison post. That’s not the concept of what I do here. Wait? Concept? Willys?

Hello Jeep Willys Concept. Well, it is a Willys and a Jeep, so I thought it was a nice segue. For those who don’t know what it is, the Jeep Willys Concept was showcased at the 2001 NAIAS event, with a Willys 2 shown later that year too. It was a 4-seater designed for off-roading. It could only do 90mph. But with tiny overhangs and huge wheels it was great at going off road. But here is something that will make you laugh. We have often noted how many models have had metal parts reduced and turned to plastic. The real Willys Concept was plastic. Honestly! With Matchbox making the model out of metal, they actually did it wrong. Should have been a plastic body and metal base, to make it authentic. So anyway, this model debuted in 2003 as, well you guessed it, MB71. 2003 was the year that Matchbox tried to add the model’s number in that year’s basic range to them all. It did not go down well and was dropped after. Also dropped after 2003 was the idea of the logo model. After first being used in USA for 2000, the scheme went worldwide in 2002 and again in 2003. The first 10,000 of this model had a Hero City logo added just before the rear wheel.

It was immediately thrown into a 5-pack too. In this case, a licensed Justice League 5-pack featuring Martian Manhunter on the side.

In 2004 the model was issued in a lovely wine red. A very good match for the latest Jeepster. It was MB53 in the basic range that year, and yes it had no tampo printing.

It also saw a run of other issues too. From left to right we have a Coca-Cola promotional model in red, a SpongeBob SquarePants licensed 5-pack release in purple featuring Patrick, and an Around the World Tiki of Hawaii issue in green.

For 2005, the model was dropped from the basic range, but was seen in a licensed Ed, Edd ‘n Eddy 5-pack with Ed on the side, and also in the Off Road 5-pack with a muddy green design and weather worn looking wheels.

After that we only saw Sid gracing the side of the Ice Age 2 licensed 5-pack in 2006.

And in 2007 a final outing for a few years in the Pirates 5-pack. This was during the time when a lot of coded words would appear in tampo prints. Many were simply the letter transposed with its numerical equivalent (a=1, b=2, c=3 etc) with TR5 1 19 21 18 5 turning into “Treasure”.

After that it was 3 years before we saw our next issue. It was in the 2010 Nickelodeon 5-pack featuring Diego on the side. Go Diego Go was an American TV series where the main character was bilingual. As such he used to speak in English or Spanish at times. The model had “To the rescue” on both sides, but each side was written in one of the 2 languages. Very rare to see a Matchbox model with any Spanish on it. Even if it was only on one side.

In 2012 things looked up for the casting. It returned to the basic range for only its third outing. MB74 was green with Polar Team 2 (and a polar bear) on the side. It also appeared in the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse licensed 5-pack too in orange.

After that we saw a final basic range outing for 2013. It came in grey as MB117.

After taking 2014 off it popped back up in the Jurassic World series for 2015. It was a part of the Jungle 5-pack in the set.

Finally, in a complete opposite to how things usually happen, the casting was used one last time in the 2016 Jeep set exclusive to Walmart. This silver with grey base, white wheels and black hubs, plus a turquoise interior, well it was the actual look of the show model when the real one appeared at NAIAS in 2001. Except you have to imagine in real life the vehicle having a plastic body and metal base.

After that, I turn my attention to another brand new casting. The MB1217 MBX Garbage Scout.

This is a Matchbox originals design but I think it is a really nice looking representation. It takes the MB10 slot in the 2020 range.

Although clearly generic, you can imagine a real front end of a truck being like this. Simple, understated, pleasing to the eye. Yeah I like it. I wasn’t too sure when the first 3-D mockup was shown at the 2019 Gathering, but I always wait until the model arrives before making my mind up.

Plus this model has added fun factor.

The trash can on the back pops off and can stand on its own. I can see people creating custom little bags/boxes of trash to put in the back of them. Perhaps a little mini graffiti down the side too. Oh yeah I can see a lot of potential with this.

It’s a very simple setup too. The trash can only be slotted on one way, and is simply a slot/slide into place action.

Once in place it feels pretty sturdy but not tough to pop back off again. Very clever work with the team on this.

I know people often bemoan Matchbox originals designs, but some of them I think are really nice. This is one of them. Once in hand I have grown to really like it, and am already looking forward to seeing more of them in the future.

I can imagine having a lot of fun with those bins. Anyway, a brand new casting, and first of its kind. But you know the model it reminds me of the most?

The MB542 Trash Truck from 2002 where it debuted as MB57. It might not have been the prettiest of models, but boy did this have the play value cranked up to 11.

Seeing as the first 10,000 of the debut release had a logo it gave me a chance to show off what it could to. It contained a dump on the back with another dump that was lodged inside. That secondary dump could be left to be scooped up by the forks on the front of the model that would slide out and then lifted up and tipped in the back. The external dump could also tip things out too. There was a lot of effort going into creating this model. As I said, the front end was perhps not the prettiest, but the rest of it was incredible.

Look, loads of items waiting to be collected. Yeah I was having a bit of fun here. Some models have a lot of play-ability.

Sadly that model never saw an awful lot of use. In 2003 it was sold as MB19 in yellow and green with a black removable dump. Again the first 10,000 saw a logo, this time on the front window.

2004 saw its final use in the basic range as MB56. Two-tone green with a red removable dump.

In 2005 it made its first appearance outside of the basic range. It was in the City Services 5-pack. However, when the model first arrived it contained a white removable dump which matched its white windows. The forks were also grey. But then during production they all turned grey. I don’t know why, they just did.

After that it only made 1 more appearance. In 2006 it was a part of the Shonen Jump licensed 5-pack featuring Gaara on the side. The casting was retired after that.

This brings us to the next model in the showcase. The MB926 Sea Spy.

It takes the MB84 slot in the 2020 range in a rather familiar theme.

I have to admit, I am not the biggest boat fan, and am never too bothered if we don’t get any in the range. But if we do have one, this is the sort of look I would like to see. National Parks has been a staple of the Matchbox design ethos for over a decade now so I am happy to see it on this one. Now if you were thinking this was my cue to delve into the history of the National Parks theme, unfortunately I have plans for that at a later date so I am not going to be going through yet.

For now I am just going to go through the history of this casting itself. It debuted as MB120 in the 2014 basic range. It was blue, white and orange with a zamac base.

In 2015 it saw 2 releases. The grey, orange and black issue was the MB104 issue that year. It was also one of the models that was released in the Jurassic World series, as a single in the first batch that year. But that was it. Short and sweet. The latest issue is only the 4th time the casting has been used, and first for 5 years. As I said, this is a sort of boat I can get behind.

I am now going to move on with the next model on the list. I like that particular boat release, but not boats in general. Please let me know if you want a deeper dive on boats next time we get one. I do have other boats. I just didn’t want to dig them out. If you saw my amalgamation post a few weeks back you will know they are buried right at the back of the collection. So this brings me to the MB1183 ’68 Dodge D-200 Pickup Truck.

This one is on its second issue after debuting in 2019. For 2020 it is in the MB65 position in black with a red side stripe.

After debuting with a nice simple side design, I was curious if this was going to be a little more extravagant, but am loving the look of this one. I prefer it to the debut.

Which if you remember was the 2019 MB63 in cream with a larger green side design.

So as there are only 2 issues of this casting to date, it looks like I will be diving back on this one. And I know just the perfect vehicle.

The MB248 Ford F-150 Pickup. Why I hear you wondering? Well it will become very evident as you continue reading. But for now, I start at the beginning of this model’s journey. The casting first debuted back in 1995 as MB65. That first year though, it was quite the ride. Production began in Thailand and it had a chrome roll bar in the rear bed. However, shortly after production began the chrome bar turned black. It later got shipped out to China where production finished on the first year.

In 1996, it was still MB65 at the time, but was now blue instead of red. It was also added to the Off Road 5-pack in purple with a bright side design.

And then, the model that inspired this match up. 1997 and a change to black with a red side stripe (still MB65). Oh look, the new one was black with a red side stripe. Now you see why the Ford was my go-to choice to dive back with.

Of course that wasn’t it for 1997. In USA they were running a special set of models that were included with the basic range. Each of the 75 releases had some in plain gold (called the 75 challenge) and they came randomly inserted in basic assortments, but were in special packages. Another 5-pack, this one called Rugged Riders, saw a red with blue/white side design.

In 1998 the ROW range dropped the Ford from the range, but in the US it continued, now as MB53 for 1 more year. It was now white with a blue/orange side design. Rugged Riders continued for 1998 but all models changed colours, with this one now tan with the same design as the previous year.

In 1999 the model only appeared in a 5-pack. Dude Ranch. The model did actually see a difference between the US and ROW releases, as onlt the US release had a “Don’t Mess with Texas” sign on the side.

In 2000 the model popped back up in the US range again 1 last time. It was MB14 with a Beach Patrol design. As was customary at the time, the first 10,000 examples had a Matchbox 2000 logo added to the rear of the model.

In 2001 we saw a Construction Heroes 5-pack release in black with a rhino head design on it. The model was also run in plain white for use in ASAP/Color Comp code 2 releases too.

In 2002 we saw a Team Players 5-pack with 5 vehicles all sporting various sport designs on the side. This one had a baseball themed side design.

The casting finished off in 2003 with a return to the Construction Heroes 5-pack. It was fairly common for models to see the same design in singles and in 5-packs for multiple years and although this was now in fluorescent yellow with the rhino design as seen in 2001, the front print was removed only leaving the side one. And that was it for this particular casting. MB248 did not have a long life. MB249 (the Chevy K-1500) that was the next model up is still going. It is now modified, but the latest release is in the next batch of basics and will be seen in an upcoming dive.

So this leads me to the last model this week. Mr Bean’s Mini. Sorry, I should say the MB765 ’64 Austin Mini Cooper 1275S.

But it’s Mr Bean’s Mini. It is in the MB30 slot for the year and the packaging is extra special with varius Mr Bean related items (plus himself). It is hard to believe how this character has endured over the years. The first TV show episode was broadcast in the UK on New Year’s Day in 1990 and he only ever made 15 of them in total between 1990 and 1995. It was followed up by a feature film in 1997 which spawned a sequel 10 years later. There was also a cartoon series which ran from 2002-2004. However, due to its popularity it returned in 2015 with loads more new episodes. The next series is due to drop some time in 2021. He has had cameos in music videos, adverts and even in a British Airways in-flight safety video.

The front of the model resembles his car with the front license plate in place too. SLW 287R. It was not the original car he owned. In the first episode he had an orange Mini but it was crashed at the end of the episode and since then he had the Austin Citron Green (it’s official colour name) as his daily driver.

Due to the front receiving 2 tampo hits (body and base are 2 different parts) we don’t see a rear tampo print on this one. Of course there is another that is very similar, but again I begin at the beginning.

With the 2009 MB2 debut of the Mini. 50 years after the real vehicle debuted we finally saw a traditional stock road car in the basic range. Dinky had seen one, and in the Lesney Superfast era we had a racing one, but never a simple road version. That is quite an amazing feat. During the year the red turned to green.

It was also chosen to be the dealer model at the 2009 Albuquerque convention with a nod to its 50th anniversary and a rear license plate referencing Jim Gallegos.

In 2010 this model did see a small error. Walmart in USA had requested some exclusive models. Matchbox created 4 and interspersed them in the basic range. Each model was the same as the usual issue but in a unique design just for Walmart. MB19 that year arrived in Walmart in blue with a white roof with blue squares. However, this version then appeared on ROW short card outside of USA. It was also found in shades of blue too.

The ROW release should have been white. This was the version that appeared on long card in all markets that took them except Walmart stores in USA. Again this model varied from quite a bright white to a very creamy white.

Another high end release was for the Lesney Edition that year. The only release to sport a metal base and a Lyons Bros racing design. De-coding that rear plate, 7 18 15 23 12 = GROWL! Lyons? Growl? Get it? Well I thought it was funny.

In 2011 the model was blue again, this time worldwide as MB19. Except it was a lighter blue and instead of a rood print, this saw dual hood stripes.

We never saw it in 2012 but it came back with a flourish in 2013. The basic range MB12 was red with quite a ’60s looking side design. It was also in black with a roof print advertising the 60th anniversary of the Matchbox brand that year. All 10-pack exclusives that year sported a single upper print only with the 60th Anniversary included.

As I said, it was having a bit of a flourish that year as it was also a part of the 60th Anniversary set too in gold. During production you could find variations in the shade of gold used too.

But that turned out to be the last we saw until 2017. When it returned as MB117 it was green with a black hood. The Mr Bean comparisons went nuts. They did say it was a different shade, and yes they were right. It is definitely more green than the new one. But it is very similar.

Of course that one didn’t have Mr Bean’s iconic license plate (I should actually say numberplate, as that is what they are called in the UK, and this is a real British numberplate).

After that it took 2018 off before coming back in 2019 as a taxi. MB96 was found in varying shades too.

Finally, the model was a part of the Happy Holidays 5-pack too.

But I don’t think anything is going to beat the Bean.

And that brings us to the end of week 2 of my 3 week dive into batch E of 2020. I hope you enjoyed the report, and if you do want to see a bigger boat presence please let me know.

Next week I will conclude with the final 6 models of the batch. Until then try not to fall in the National Parks lake.

David Tilley

11 thoughts on “Matchbox Monday continues to look at 2020 Batch E

    1. Yet another batch I had to source from the U.S. Most of my Tesco stores are still awash with Case B and the UK so far never got passed Case C. Tin of beans indeed..

      1. Never seen case C in my local area. The sea spy boat might be popular here .5* tin of beans for us I suppose ☺… No meat. Its a shame there is some good stuff from Mbx at the moment. Even if poundland at £1.50… Stocks the brand. Many more…. Hti still wins hearts with retailers..

    2. I think Tesco will get them eventually. I think they over-ordered batch A and now are busy playing catch up. But I have noticed that they are getting monthly models. I have seen 2 different batch dates to batch B and 2 to batch C. The Chevy Brockwood 9-packs are either M45 or M50 so again monthly production. Something tells me that it is going to take a while, but we will start edging back towards being up to date again. I hope they don’t over-order again for this coming Christmas.

  1. Goodbye chrome bumpers, grilles, etc.!… Hello drab, boring ash colored plastic… sad times for mainline MBX models..

    1. I agree. The loss of chrome grills & bumpers on the vintage models is sad to see. That bit of chrome makes a world of difference. I wonder if there is anywhere else they could cut cost in order to keep the chrome on those models where it makes the most impact?

  2. Cool article as usual. The trucks are really cool. Yeah, the play value in the garbage truck is immense! Can’t wait for a write up about the national parks theme.

  3. Don’t get me wrong, some models are nice, jeepster and ’68 dodge pickup comes to mind, but as a whole i find this mix average at best, best part about this mix is that we are one mix closer to the almighty 2021, and that pretty much sums it up.

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