Matchbox Monday is on a mission to move from the jungle to space

Now I know this type of set may not be to everybody’s tastes, as there are a number of Matchbox originals castings in them, but I love getting them. I was a huge Mission force fan when it first appeared in the early 2010s, and was sad to see them fade away after a few years. They originally ran from 2012 until 2015, but in 2020 we were suddenly faced with them again. Now admittedly these are all mainly carry forwards from previous issues included in the sets, but for the most part, models are all sporting some sort of variation. For the variation hunter, this is a gold mine of new stuff and we are having loads of fun with them. With many thanks to Wheel Collectors, who have supplied me with a set to go through, I have decided with so much to split into 2 parts. The other part will drop next week.

I am going to start with the one set that only came with Skybusters and basics. There are 4 sets in total, but the other 3 all contain just the 1 Skybuster and a Working Rig in place of the other 2 Skybusters.

I am also going to show the back of these 2 sets along with a picture of the front. Partly because they show a really cool art design of the models in the sets, but also I want to see if people notice the difference I spotted between the 2 pictures.

So as I said, this set came with 3 different Skybuster castings.

As well as 3 different miniature castings. Now I am not going to take a lot of time over the Skybusters. I don’t actually collect them, so I am simply taking shots of the models in question and moving on.

First up is the SB-132 Sea Soarer. I believe that this is a carry forward of a 2016 single issue, which was also the debut version of the model.

I took a few angles as I was not sure whether people wanted a good look.

Not a bad plane, admittedly planes don’t do much for me, so this is why I never bothered with them when I was younger.

Although this one is quite a cute one. The SB-84 Sea Plane.

From what I can tell it is supposed to be a Boeing 314. The design is a carry forward of a 2010 4-pack issue. The casting itself has been around since 2004.

I also believe that the landing gear has had an alteration during the time between the 2010 and current release for a variation.

Finally there is the SB-141 Aero Junior II.

Now I may be wrong, but I believe this casting first debuted in 2018 and has only been issued in this 1 design.

With this release being a carry forward. One things I did notice was, it had a little party piece.

The wings come off. Revealing, err Gort? From the 1951 film “The Day The Earth Stood Still”. That’s what he reminds me of anyway.

but I appear to be going off on a huge tangent here, so I had better stop with the Skybusters, and move on to the part that I know more about.

Miniatures! Oh I know this one. The MB748 MBX 4×4. The daddy of the “MBX” models, as if you were to go by manufacturing number, it is the first one. Obviously the MB756 MBX Motorhome arrived in the same year, so perhaps joint parent? But what is it withe me and tangents? So this model arrived in 2008 and is still going strong. But as I mentioned, we were getting carry forwards.

This model looks very familiar.

It was originally the 2010 MB99 in the US range or MB71 in the LAAM range. It was not a part of the ROW range that year. The 2 models are extremely similar, although you may note a slight paler shade to the older one.

But one big difference is the wheels. The new addition is sporting chromed dual ringed 8-dot wheels instead of the gunmetal grey cogs the original one had.

The yellow printing on the front (well it is on mine) is a darker and more vibrant shade too). But I did say that this has been going strong since 2008, so I will show them.

It debuted as MB88 in the US range and MB62 in both the LAAM and ROW ranges that year, as in 2008 the range was split into 3 zones, with the US seeing a set of 100, and Latin America (LAAM) and the rest of the world (ROW) seeing 2 different sets of 75 (made up out of the 100 models, no exclusives for those markets). Usually sporting chrome wheels, some were found with black wheels instead.

A few batches later and a version 2 rolled in too, but this time the chromed cog wheels turned into chromed oval wheels temporarily for a production run.

It also was an exclusive item in the seasonal Christmas Stockings sets as well, coming in a bright red “Happy Holidays” design.

In 2009 it came with 2 different looks again. first off, MB79 (for the US range), MB19 (for the LAAM range), MB11 (for the ROW range) came in brown. No wheel variations this time. What the…? Fine. I will just grab a lighter and darker brown then.

That’s more like it. The version 2 in blue came with the same wheel variations as version 2 did in 2008. Coincidence? Most definitely. The oval wheels came about due to a temporary shortage of cogs at the factory.

It also saw its first appearance in a 5-pack too. The desert Adventure pack saw an orange version, which again I found a nice shade variation on.

And oh, the oval wheels popped up there temporarily too. Being a short run I never saw shades on that one.

It then made its premium range debut as it was added to the 40th Anniversary Superfast series too. Blue with all round tampo printing.

2010 saw, oh wait I have already done that.

Although that wasn’t it for 2010. We saw a Mountain Adventure 5-pack edition in green and an Adventure all-exclusive 10-pack version in purple.

In 2009 it was in all 3 ranges, 2010 saw ROW lose it, but in 2011 LAAM lost it too. MB99 was only sold in the US range as MB99 in green. It was also added to the Mountain Rescue playset as an exclusive too.

2012 saw the basic range unite as one again, and all markets saw the MB99 in purple. This time it was also in 2 different 5-packs. Mountain Adventure returned with an all-new look, and this was in white. But we also saw a licensed Kung Fu Panda 5-pack edition in yellow.

2013 saw another green release as MB56. I actually own 5! I know, crazy or what. I found that this green shade was incredible for variations. I only showed 2 though. But that was it that year.

It was going through a lean period where it was only in the basic range, as in 2014 it was only in the basic range again, this time as MB60.

But in 2015 we did see an additional release. The basic was green as MB119, and again the green was good for shades. It was also included in one of the Jurassic World singles releases (as well as a multipack with a Skybuster, and an Island Escape playset).

But then something odd happened. We didn’t see it in 2016. It next popped up in 2017’s basic range as MB105.

In 2018 it came in a rather familiar look as MB115.

It was the same design as the 2009 5-pack issue, except now the 33 roundel was smaller and a darker silver.

In 2019 the basic range was the first to show off the “Warn” logo which is returning this year, and apart from MB74, we saw another familiar look in the Happy Holidays 5-pack too.

Except now it is a metallic dark red, not solid light red. Plus the wheels are completely different.

Next up is the ATV 6×6. MB831 is another in a returning livery which you may guess originally came from a Jungle Adventure 5-pack (due to having the Jungle Adventure logo on it).

I always thought this little casting was quite cute, with the asymmetrical sides (one has a shovel on it).

The difference between the current and the previous Jungle Adventure model is quite clearly the wheels. They were chrome, but are now bronzed.

This casting hasn’t had quite as much action in the Matchbox range. The casting debuted in 2011 as MB82 in the US range, MB42 in the LAAM range and MB27 in the ROW range. The debut release was purple.

In 2012 it moved to the MB71 slot and this blue issue featured white wheels (as did a few vehicles that year). For variation nerds (like me) there was a variation between darker and lighter grey interiors to look for.

And that was the year that the Jungle Adventure 5-pack appeared too. Now at that time I found a lovely shade variation on the model. I wonder if I could find a similar one this time?

In 2013, during the short-lived era of pulling singles for 5-pack use, this one appeared both as MB116 and in the Jungle 5-pack that year. I loved the dual coloured look to the spade on that one. It is the little things I notice.

2014 and more of the same. MB58 was also in the Ice Mountain Mission 5-pack that year.

But this was also the year that things got a little busy for the casting. Mission Force sets in particular. It appeared in 2 different sets that year. Oddly enough both are sets that sort of feature this week. Now you see why I chose these 2 particular sets (although I will show another pic later that shows something else). Mission Force: Jungle was in yellow and Mission Force: Space was in green. Either one of these could have been brought back for either of these 2 sets and worked.

In 2015 it only saw a basic range issue as MB94.

With 2016 also getting a single outing, this time in the Jungle 5-pack. Green is often good for shade variations, and yes I found lighter and darker shades for this one there.

In 2017 it appeared as MB121 in yellow. A rather familiar yellow.

It was actually the same model as used in the 2014 Mission Force: Jungle set. The only real difference between the 2 was that the orange tampo was much darker on the single issue.

Finally, in 2018, it saw 1 more issue before taking some time off before this release. Again this was a carry forward release again.

MB75 for 2018 was the same as MB71 for 2012, except the wheels now sported a chrome ring around the cogs, and the paw print over the front wheels was noticeably smaller. The orange was also much deeper too.

Which brings us to the only licensed miniature in the set. The MB1056 Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6×6. Daft fact, Matchbox have 2 6×6 vehicles in their current database, and both were in this set. I come up with daft facts don’t I.

Now to some, this may look like a brand new variation, but it is not. It is also included in the new MBX Wild II 5-pack that is just starting to hit stores around the world. So this is a bit of a sideways move, rather than a carry forward.

The Merc has not had such a big history. Debuting at the 2017 Toy Fair model in 2016 in bronze with full tampo printing and, because this is a unique casting with an optional interior, get the interior for the release.

It then arrived in the 2017 basic range as MB91. If you look carefully you may notice some being found with no rear lights.

And of course, as only shown last week, Leipzig in Germany say an abundance of promotional issues for the 2017 Matchbox Convention there. Show model, convention model, convention model early bird special (in the order as they run towards newbie).

2018 saw 3 different releases of the model, all core ranges so all had blacked out windows. The basic range issue was dark grey as MB105, and Walmart stores in USA also saw a yellow release as a Mercedes-Benz exclusive. We also saw a champagne coloured Jurassic World issue too.

The Jurassic World issue continued on for 2019 but now sported mud down the side.

MB79 for the year was in red, but the Target exclusive 50th Anniversary Superfast model managed to sneak in the interior into a core range model, with its gold issue.

Finally we saw a 2020 Superfast release in blue, which being premium also sports an interior.

Which brings us to the end of that first pack. 3 Skybusters, 3 miniatures. The only pack out of the set to feature this combination of vehicles.

The other pack I am tackling this time is the Lunar Team pack.

I show the back again for the cool artwork, but also to see if you notice a difference between the 2 rears? I noticed it immediately. I thought it was funny. But then I am weird.

So as mentioned, only the Jungle pack contained 3 Skybusters and 3 basics. All the other packs feature a single Skybuster, a Working Rig (they did actually drop the “Real” part of the name when they came back the other year) and 3 basics.

And as with most thing, the basics are what I am here for. The others are just along for the ride. So I will showcase those first.

The Skybuster casting is the SB-89 Space Shuttle casting. This particular issue features the Endeavour name on it, and was originally a part of the 2012 Mission Force: Space Crew set.

It is a shame they never re-added the MB1080 NASA S.E.V./Chariot casting to the set too with matching NASA livery. I am still hoping to see that casting return, perhaps with a grey lower area and greyed wheels (giving it the impression it is bouncing around on the moon). I hate seeing 1-and-done castings.

As already mentioned, I don’t collect Skybuster models, but as far as I am aware, between the 2012 run and new run, the lower section of the model went through a revamp which means the landing struts/wheels are a little different now.

The RW030 Freightliner Business Class M2 106 Satellite Communications Truck was also from the old 2012 Mission Force: Space Crew set, and features this aerospace side design.

As well as 2 satellite dishes that lift up and rotate.

As seen in these pictures. Again, not being a collector (I do only collect miniature sized Matchbox) I don’t have the original to compare against. But I do know that the rear is now plastic, whereas it used to be a part of the metal body along with the cab.

That is because I do actually own one. This was in the 2013 Mission force: UFO Crew set in green. Ever since I got the pack, this model has sat in front of my computer monitor at home. I wasn’t a collector of RWRs, but this one just spoke to me. So I kept it. Obviously, 7 years later, it is still sitting in front of my computer monitor. I did have to dust it (which I do occasionally) before photographing it. I might have to keep newbie alongside it.

But what I came for was the miniatures. I start as I often do, with a Jeep. Hey, I did all of batch E like that. Talking of which, the MB784 Jeep Willys was also in batch E, and I did a deep dive on it at the time, so it seems silly to do another so quick.

But obviously I will show off the new one, because that’s the whole point of the report.

This one comes in an MBX F.D. livery.

The same livery that was a part of the 2013 Desert 5-pack. The new release has a much brighter yellow tampo than before, and the wheels are now gold lipped hot foil printed rather than full yellow hot foil printed. So quite noticeable.

It is a different shade too, and also sports a more satin feel to it than the more matte feel of the original.

So how do I go completely sideways from here? I know, with this being a vehicle being used by one type of personnel (a fire department), let’s go with another that was in use by a different type of personnel (the mail carrier). And after all….

the MB784 casting did have a nod to the classic Lesney by incorporating a shovel on one side (and a jerrycan on the rear). Now this model had a 4-year shelf life. It started in 1978 as a limited edition model for the US market. Known as (Roman numeral) II Sleet-n-Snow. It was a clever pun on an informal motto used by the United States Postal Service: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds”. It is not an official motto, but is often quoted due to be etched into the front of the James A. Farley Building, in NYC, which is the main post office building in Lower Manhattan. Neither snow / Sleet-n-Snow. Quite similar. Quite clever.

It is quite difficult to pinpoint where a lot of the variations come from. However, after the 1978 limited edition run, it was decided to add it to the basic range as MB5 in 1979 and run it until 1981. One of the things I do know, if you see a large rear side window on the canopy, it is a late 1981 run.

Black wheels? Oh boy, that could be anywhere.

Missing tampo on the front? Yep, anywhere.

But pastel blue. Well that would place it in the early limited edition run year, as both shades were found there.

Although for some, trying to find base variations also proves to be a challenge. No.38 Jeep? II Sleet-n-Snow? No.5 U.S. Mail Truck? It was one of those things at the time, with the Jeep casting being used in a few places, and coming with different names, they would often mix them up.

Okay let’s get back to the modern stuff. With the MB912 Trail Tracker.

Another model with 3 axles. Although this one doesn’t say it is a 6×6 (as I noted, the 2 that do were in the same pack). But Matchbox really put a lot of “wheel-y” good vehicles in these packs. Oh my puns get worse.

This is another model that has seen previous use.

And this one was quite recent. It was the 2018 MB80.

So with a shorter gap between them, these are very similar. No wheel variations. The tampo printing on the new one appears to be a slightly brighter white, and (at least on mine) the shade of silver is slightly duller on the new issue.

The interior section, which forms the rear bed appears identical. It’s a shame they never made a dual casting out of the rear bed detailing for this model. Just imagine if they did a mirror image version. What is on the left being on the right and vice-versa. But I digress. I am going to showcase the whole series of this one.

Because this had a fun debut. It arrived in 2014 as MB106. The standard run was supposed to be with yellow cog wheels (middle of the stack). But there was a run that appeared with gold wheels (at the bottom) and another with 6-spoke wheels (at the top). That was quite the explosive debut.

In 2015 it was MB63 in mint, which I found in darker and lighter shades.

It also appeared in a Mission Force set that year too, Fire commanders. That one I didn’t find a variation on.

In 2016 it was a part of the Fire 5-pack, and just like the debut release, the usual cog wheels did give way to some 6-spokes briefly again.

Toxic Rescue. That was the name of the 2017 5-pack which this bio waste version appeared in.

Before it popped back up in the basic range, as already mentioned, as MB80 in 2018.

Finally, it was a part of the 2019 MBX To The Rescue 5-pack in a South Australia themed design.

Finally, this one feels very familiar.

The MB813 Express Delivery, with its opening rear.

This features the same side design as the Working Rig in the set, because this too was also in the 2012 Mission Force: Space Crew set.

But it was also in the Convoy series a short while ago too, alongside the MB1026 Lonestar with Rocket Trailer set. I cannot see any difference between the latest run and the one from the Convoy set earlier this year.

Now when I showcased convoy, I didn’t do a dive back on the Express Delivery, so why not do it now? Of course, it wasn’t always MB813. The 2010 debut was MB787. The first year it was a metal body with plastic base. It was MB60 in the basic range worldwide in white with a Speedy X-Press livery and was also added to the 1st Editions 10-pack at the end of the year in green with a WDS side design.

But for 2011, the model was reversed to a plastic body/metal base combo for future issues, and as such received a new MAN number. Again it was MB60 in the basic range (it was something they did in 2011, with as many models as they could keeping their number from the previous year), and this time it was a light blue with DARTS livery. It was also added to the Police 5-pack in SWAT livery.

2012 saw a glut of releases. The basic range was in green with a Warrior Burritos design as MB36, the Airport Ground Crew 5-pack saw an ivory issue with Express Delivery on it, and the Batman licensed 5-pack was in red with a scene on the sides.

Plus, this was where this originally turned up. Of course, I did show this one in the Convoy blog report, and the base was black before (zamac now) with the logo larger than it currently is.

For 2013 it was MB28 in ts last basic range run for a few years, and also appeared in the Mission Force: Airport crew set too in white.

2014 saw a City Works 5-pack release in blue. However, after the first run was printed, they decided the Express Delivery writing on the side was not clear enough. In computer design, the white on silver looked good, but when it became tampo printed, it was tough to read. So a running change was made to alter the words to a red print.

It also saw another Mission Force release too. This was in the Space set in white.

2015 saw another 5-pack release. The Trinidad Medical Response Unit was included in the EMY 5-pack.

And in 2016 it came back to the basic range as MB21. This sported a nice wheel variation. The central hub was either gold painted or left blank just leaving the outer ring detailed.

After that the casting lay dormant for a few years until returning in the 2019 basic range as MB88 in a classic NASA livery.

So that brings us to the end of that pack. But I have to bring in that Lonestar and Rocket Transporter don’t I before finishing.

After all, this particular Convoy model was deliberately designed with the same design that appears on the Express Delivery and Freightliner. They make for a great trio in matching liveries.

I was just being curious. No the Space Shuttle doesn’t really fit on the rear of the Rocket Transporter. Rockets? Yes! Space Shuttles? No!

So that brings us to the end of the first half of the Mission Force sets. Thanks again to Wheel Collectors for sending me these so I could do the reports (as well as the Convoys too so I could add that in at the end). Next Monday I conclude Mission Force with the other 2 sets.

By the way, did anybody else notice the difference between the rears of the packages? If not, a clue. Names….

One Reply to “Matchbox Monday is on a mission to move from the jungle to space”

  1. Problem of the scale of the Shuttle Orbiter, is that a 1/64 truck is carrying a 1/600 spaceship. Sigh. (I worked on the STS program.)

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