Matchbox Monday is on a mission to rescue the construction crew

It’s that time of the week again. If you read my article last week, well then you knew this was coming. It is time to delve in to the second half of the Mission Force releases. Last week I ran through the Jungle Action set and the Lunar Team sets. This time it is the Construction Crew and Rescue Squad sets. So let us dive right in with the Construction Crew set.

Apart from Jungle Action, all the other sets feature one Skybuster, 1 Working Rig and 3 basics. For a miniature collector like me, these second 2 sets really hit home runs for variations. I am loving them. And for me, personally, I think this set is the best of the lot for variations. But first.

There is a case of 2 vehicles I have not been collecting, so unfortunately do not know full details about. I will try my best though.

The Skybusters casting is the SB100 Blade Force. It was originally a part of the 2013 Construction Crew Mission Force set, as a time when there were 2 Skybusters, a Working Rig and a single basic in the sets.

However, it returned the following year in the 2014 Construction Crew set, which had changed to 2 Skybusters and 3 basics, with both Skybusters and the one basic returning, and 2 new basics in place of the Working Rig.

But since this casting last appeared in 2017 it has seen a radical re-construction of its own. The front wheel is now a part of the base (not a separate piece), the separate tail fin rotor has been removed, the side legs are now a part of the base section instead of body, and the rotors and undercarriage are now yellow instead of orange. However, what this does do is enhance the little orange hook in the undercarriage.

Which drops down to hook things up. When it is in the down position it hangs lower than the side legs. But I guess it would really, if you wanted to ensure it would hook things as it went by.

The Working Rig is the RW026 New Holland Bi-Directional Backhoe Tractor TV6070.

I suppose the clue is in the name. Bi-directional.

Having never had one before, I didn’t know it had a central pivot for the casting. Very cool.

A backhoe section that stretches out quite a bit too.

The thing is, as far as I know, this model has no differences to previous issues. It was first launched in 2011 in blue, with this yellow re-colour coming later that year. It carried forward to a 2019 release in the singles too. This is the first time it has come in a multipack. But so far, out of 4 releases, we have seen 1 blue and 3 yellows. Mind you, try googling it. All the pictures of real ones tend to be either blue or yellow. Are they being strict? We don’t know.

Of course, the Blade Force does have the capability of lifting up the New Holland. The hook is good for something. Well I do like to have some fun while I am doing this.

So this brings us to my favourite part of the set. The basics. And woowee! All 3 of these are really cool variations.

Let’s start with the little one. The MB917 Mini Dozer. You probably noticed in the last picture it is quite a bit smaller than the other 2. Hence the name.

It still get a little moving piece on it. The side arm lifts up with the bucket on it.

And yes mine did come with this little scratch inside of the front grille. I don’t worry about things like that. I still find it cute.

This casting has been around since 2014 where it debuted in this same design. The white, black base (which also forms the interior) and yellow bucket combo are the same as that debut issue.

But a small tweak has been made to the tampo printing. The green of the original has turned blue. I love it.

I am a big fan of the little things, and when you make these little changes I get really excited. Yeah I know, I’m easily pleased. So the original green tampo was the 2014 MB111 debut. What else was there?

Not a lot really. In 2015 it was orange as MB27, and was also a part of the first series of power grab models as they debuted that year in little baggies, before moving to boxes in 2016.

In 2016 it was a part of the Construction Zone 5-pack, which I found came in a lighter or darker yellow. But after that it lay dormant for a few years.

Resurfacing in 2019 as MB29. And yeah, I do own 5. Believe it or not they are all shade variations, from a very dark orangey yellow to a much lighter yellow, with 3 in-betweens for good measure. I could have lined them all up from darkest to lightest, but the camera doesn’t really show it as well as my human eye can.

So that is it for that model. So far 5 releases, with the 5th being a sort of 1st repeated, but tweaked.

Which brings us on to the second model. A classic. Really. This is the MB710 Dump Truck. Or should I say Turf Hauler?

It sports an ROK design on the front and sides.

As well as the tipping dumper section.

It is a repeat of the 2010 MB49. But there are differences. You can see in this picture that the black edging out of the front window has been removed.

But also the wheels are totally different. The original sported grey cog wheels, the new one blue dual ringed 8-dots.

But as I said, it is now called Turf Hauler too. They recently changed the name of the model. Now it says copyright 1989, but anyone who knows Matchbox will actually testify it is a lot older.

It was launched as MB58-C in 1977. But when it debuted it was called a Faun Dump Truck. It ran until 1982 before being dropped.

You can still see a lot of the original elements are in place. A few tweaks here and there over the years, but the basis of the vehicle is still as it was.

Of course the dump was originally metal (now plastic) and was affixed to the body of the casting whereas now it clips on.

As you can see it was originally copyrighted in 1976. A real Lesney vehicle. So how did it change?

Well after 1982 the model was deleted from the range. MB058 was retired. However, in 1989, a new casting appeared. MB209 Dump Truck. It was MB9 in the US range or MB53 in the ROW range. The difference? Literally, they wiped off any mention of the company Faun. It was cast into 2 areas of the front of the model, and also mentioned on the base. They just blanked it out. There were no other changes.

Funnily enough the casting was altered into MB710 in 2006. The change was to turn the metal dumper section into plastic. But here’s the twist. The final “metal” MB209 was in the basic range as MB47 in orange with a 49RT design.

The first of the “plastic” MB710 was in the 2006 premium Superfast series. It did rile a few people up. But I think it even took the Matchbox design guys by surprise. The tampo design for the Superfast issue still had 209 as part of the design for it.

It is also the only time the Dump Truck has ever seen a premium release. It was just the timing of it, also being the first with an altered casting.

So as I am here I may as well carry on.  2007 was a year where we saw one of the CarGo recurring theme models in the Construction 5-pack.  However, this model was not always a part of it.  The set originally came with the MB536 3-axle Dump Truck at first, but a running change mid way through saw it change to this MB710 model in the same green and white combo.

It was also a part of the “Action” 10-pack that year in green and orange.  However, if you are a variation nut like I am you would have loved checking out the wheels as the shade of brown did vary quite a bit.

In 2008 it was a part of the basic range as MB63, except only in the US and ROW markets.  This was the year that the range was split into 3 (running like that until 2011).  The model arrived in batch D in silver with an orange dump on the back.  But later on the dump turned dark red.  It was not a version 2 model, it was just a running change.  I have no idea why it happened.

Also in 2008, it was in the Construction 5-pack again, except this time it was blue with a grey rear.  And it ran the entire production run of the set.

2009 and another Construction 5-pack.  This time it was white and orange.  But not a Ranec liveried white and orange.  That would come later.

Now I have already made mention of the fact that the newest model is a carry forward of the 2010 basic range issue, but that was not the only 2010 release.  Because, believe it or not, it was in the 2010 Construction 5-pack.  Oh wait, Construction Trucks.  It had a small package name change.  This was red with a grey dump.

2011, and yes, it was just Construction again, the name of the 5-pack that is.  The model was now in it’s 5th consecutive appearance in the annual construction themed 5-pack.  This time it was black and yellow.

But that was it.  After 2011 we did not see the casting again until 2017 when it popped back up in the basic range as MB45 in dark red and grey.

Although strangely enough that was also a carry forward from 2010 just like the newest addition is.  Except this time it was the Construction Trucks 5-pack issue repeated, except now the shade of red was significantly darker.

And here’s Ranec.  I did say it was coming, when we had a white and orange issue in 2009.  It took a decade, but it got there, when it appeared in the 2019 MBX Construction 5-pack.  Which brings us up to date with MB710.  So let’s get on with the last model of the set shall we?

The MB399 Chevy Silverado 4×4.  No wait, MB981 Chevy Silverado 4×4.  It had a running change 5 years ago.

This model is in blue with a yellow and black “Build” design on the sides.  That livery was first used back in 2013 on MB53.

The running change to the model saw the interior section become the rear bed of the model, which means that as that occurred in 2015, we have a different model anyway.

Well, it’s more than that.  Originally, the design was on MB398.  Matchbox created their first Silverado casting in 2 different ways.  A stock version as MB398 on regular wheels, and a 4×4 version as MB399 on larger wheels.  The stock version has not actually been used since 2013 when the “Build” livery first arrived, and only the 4×4 version received an alteration in 2015.

So carrying this livery forward from 2013 has allowed it to jump to the 4×4 version.  So cool!

Even more so, as the rear box art for the package shows the stock MB398 casting in the artwork.

So which way to go with my dive back?  I am going to stick with the 4×4.  It first debuted back in 1999.  An absolutely awesome year to be a Matchbox collector.  It was early in Mattel’s tenure as owner, and they came up with a unique scenario.  The US long blister assortment was mainly being sold in English speaking countries, but ROW short cards (and at the time window boxes) were being sold in numerous countries with many different languages.  The Silverado 4×4 was arriving as either MB65 in the ROW range or MB70 in the US range, and the design was basically the same.  Except, models would also sport additional writing.  But this one was actually an oddity.  The US version had “Protect Wildlife” over the rear wheels.  But check out the door logo.  The US issue had “Game Warden”, but rather surprisingly the ROW issue had writing in there too.  But it wasn’t “Game Warden”, it was “Canyon Mission”. 

In 2000 it was only sold in the US range as MB11.  The first 10,000 examples sported a Matchbox 2000 logo on the front window before being removed for the rest of production.

It was also a part of the Mount Discovery 5-pack that year too.  This release was in yellow with a black and white side design.

2001 and back to being a worldwide basic range issue.  This was the dynamic shift in the look of models, as they were tweaking the Matchbox look heading towards the dreaded Hero City period.  MB7 was white with a a very bright design and the new oval wheels they had launched that year.

2002 and back to being a US exclusive again.  MB22 was purple with a skiing design on the side, and again the first 10,000 sported a logo.  This time it was on the hood.

2003 and we were now in Hero City.  It was not a part of the basic range (4 years was enough apparently) and only saw 1 release during the year, as it was in the 5 Alarm launcher set.  It came in red with, errm, whatever that is on the side.  The only thing I do know, there were 5 models in the launcher set and each one was numbered from Unit 1 to Unit 5. 

2004 was cute though.  Again it only saw 1 use through the year, but this was as a model in the Around the World series, with a nice little side design featuring Komodo Island on it.  Maybe one time I will do a run down of Around the world.  Just like I did with Across America earlier this year.

In 2005 it saw its final use for quite a while.  It got kidnapped by pirates and held to ransom for 7 years.  Oh no, sorry, it was in the Pirates 5-pack that year in yellow.

Because, as stated, it was 7 years before we saw it again.  Well some of us did.  It was in one of the 2012 10-packs as an exclusive, but these did not appear in many markets.  I had to source mine from Canada, as many people in USA were unable to find them in stores.  But that was the end of MB399.

When the model returned, in one of the 2015 Jurassic World 5-packs (the Construction set), the casting had been altered into MB981. 

The main difference being the change of rear bed to being a part of the interior section, not the body section.

Although if you flip the model over to check the base, you may also notice that some of the base detailing (like part of the exhaust pipe) have been removed.  I notice the weird stuff don’t I.

So that brings us to the other set.  Rescue Squad.

I thought it funny.  Last week I pointed out that the rears of the 2 packs I was reviewing had a difference.  That difference being that one listed down the models included next to their pictures and the other did not.  These 2 are the same.  Construction Crew didn’t tell you what the vehicles were on the back, but Rescue Squad does. 

As with the other pack this week, the set features 1 Skybuster model and 1 Working Rig model.

As well as 3 miniatures.

The Skybusters model in question is the SB-86 Airblade.  A casting that first debuted in 2010.

The model is in black with white plastic parts and sports a Police livery.

This is because it was originally a part of the 2012 Crime Crew Mission Force set.  I believe the only real differences between the 2 releases are that the base having been updated with more current legal information, an extra rivet introduced and the central hub of the rotors has been strengthened.  It did see a little minor tweaking between issues.

The Working Rigs model in question here is the RW006 International DuraStar 4400 Flatbed. 

Just perfect for taking away the vehicle and police car if it was damaged in pursuit. 

Obviously I showed this casting recently with a Working Rigs mini moment earlier this year too.  The model sports a ramp that slides and tilts, and the wheel lift pulls out the rear too.

In comparison is the 2020 single pack issue that was out earlier this year in white.  This blue was the 2018 issue, and I believe aside from minor shades, is identical. 

Still reminds me of Alf.  Every time I see the MB824 SWAT Truck I see Alf (Alien Life Form, he had his own 1980s sitcom).

It comes in black with white side detailing.

This MBX County livery was originally used in 2013 as both the MB7 basic range issue and as a part of the Police 5-pack, as it was during the short period where 5-packs would pull odd models from the basic range.

So let’s bring in the original for a comparison.

From the side they do look the same.  But there is a key difference.

At the rear, the casting was changed in 2017.  The daft thing is, when the casting was first issued as MB824 there was supposed to have been an immediate change into MB830.  We have never seen MB830.  Some do wonder if this was the change, but it never materialized for a number of years.  But then the base still states MB824 on it.  So we just leave them as MB824.

Well I might as well go through the history of it as I am here.  Alf began by crashing into the Tanner’s garage… Wait, going off at a tangent again.  The SWAT Truck began in 2011 as MB59 in black with a SWAT livery. 

Before turning blue in later in 2011 with a Police livery on the side.  It was a 2 version debut. MB59 did come with a noted shade variation to the window section on that release.

This Guard Services red issue was the 2012 MB2 release.

And we already know of the 2013 issue.

In 2014 it was black with a SWAT livery as MB78 (third SWAT liveried black issue), but this one was also included in the 2014 Crime Squad 5-pack, as they were still pulling models for 5-pack at the time.  But we also saw a grey with SWAT livery issue in the 2014 Police Mission Force set too.  Its first non-black SWAT livery issue.

In 2015 we saw a second blue model, and second Police liveried model of the casting.  I’m seeing patterns here.  This was MB65 in the basic range.

2016 and a second grey SWAT liveried model.  This one was also in the basic range as MB78.  It also sported a wheel variation, as the usual cog wheels gave way to some 6-spokes for a short run. 

The SWAT gets lighter and lighter.  It went from black to grey to white now.  It was MB69 in the basic range.  However, a later issue in a non-exclusive 2019 Police 5-pack threw up a wheel variation too, as the regular dark blue wheels turned into chrome blue.

2017 was also the point at which the casting saw this change, with the window section now forming the rear instead of the base section.  As stated, both specify MB824 on the base, and we have never seen one specifying MB830. 

MB74 in 2018 finally saw a different type of SWAT Truck.  This was green.  The first time a proper colour was used (after the black, grey and white uses in SWAT livery).

With 2019 seeing another grey SWAT liveried basic range issue.  This was as MB59.  Wait, is that another?

Well no, it was a carry forward of the 2016 issue.  But as I noted, the casting saw an alteration after 2016 so the newer one was the later version of the casting.  This makes the 2020 Mission Force model the second carry forward from one side of the alteration to the other.

So what’s next? Let’s go with the police car. The MB821 Ford Taurus Interceptor casting which has been with us since 2011.

For this set it comes in black with white Police markings on the side.

Which I am sure as people will know by now, has been with us already.

Meet the 2013 MB58.

Now for those keeping tabs, MB821 was originally cast with a separate light bar on the roof. It was altered in 2017 to be a part of the window section, which means instant variation. You may note that the side indicator lights are more orangey yellow than before too.

But this is brilliant. It was Unit 7, but is now Unit 6. I love it! These little tweaks. They should do these more often. Just imagine for every vehicle with a number on the side they would create a bunch of different numbers during production and watch us zany variation collectors as our heads explode!

Just imagine all the different versions of this casting that have been done over the years. Like the debut year when MB49 arrived in black, with Unit 7 on the side, and then turned white with Unit 9 on the side.

Okay so the 1st Editions 10-pack version from the debut year will not work quite as well. The only number was the MAN number. What’s that? Change to the letter equivalent? 821 = HBA? Hubba hubba! Get it? The number is in the shield and at the rear. 2x HBA, hubba hubba….

Okay I think you get the gist of it. I won’t continue. But I will continue with the casting itself (I came this far). 2012 saw 3 different releases in total. The basic range was grey as MB6 in an Airport Police livery. Then we saw 2 black ones. The red windowed one was in the Police 5-pack. The blue windowed one was in the same Crime Crew Mission Force set as the helicopter I showed above was. Hence the same design. I wonder why they didn’t actually go with this as the carry forward model to match them up better? Admittedly, a K-9 Unit is specific to a canine unit, so you can’t really call it a K-8 or anything. But we would have still had the casting alteration variation.

Oh yeah, the 2013 basic. With such a large white area of tampo to print, you would find some where quite thinly printed, whereas others saw a thicker more prominent print.

It was also in another Mission Force set, known as Police Crew. Is it the go-to police car for Mission Force. Before you ask, there were others, it is just the most popular casting.

2014 was fun. MB87 was released in green that year with a Marshal livery on it. Except a slight mix-up occurred and the early batches sported 2 L’s at the end. Somebody had been shopping at Marshall’s. A running change corrected the spelling mistake down to 1 L.

And what do you know. A Mission Force issue in white. I told you. Go-to model.

In 2015 it was only seen in the EMT 5-pack in blue.

2016 saw the first time it was used as a Fire Chief model, this being in the Fire 5-pack.

As stated it was altered in 2017 so that the light bar was now a part of the window section.

It has been fun to collect ever since too as each release sports variations.The first of the updated casting was in the 2017 Open Road Cruisers 5-pack. Usually sporting disk wheels, a run was made with 6-spokes instead. Plus, if you hunt around enough you could find a more creamy looking model too.

It becomes a pattern. In 2018 MB84 went through the exact same process. Disk wheels check. Later run sporting 6-spokes check.

After taking 2019 off, they didn’t forget. Disk wheels for the MB28 for 2020 as usual, and get that run of 6-spokes in too. For the utter nerd the blue tampo did find shades too. Mission Force being a smaller run series may not find a wheel variation though. Although it has actually started with 6-spokes. Maybe they just anticipated it and jumped straight to it.

And this brings us to the final vehicle. The MB759 Dodge Challenger.

Looking lovely in purple.

And of course this is not the first time we have seen this. Step forward….

The 2012 MB27. Even though it didn’t arrive until late 2013. The story goes that in 2012 they were going to issue the Dodge Challenger in green as MB27 (as well as the new Charger Pursuit and a Magnum). A first run was made for some 10-packs, but then a small hiccup meant that all Dodge related models were suspended. At the end of the year we were 3 models short of a full set. The hiccup was fixed in 2013 and Dodges were back. However, only the Challenger saw a chance at playing catch up with the 2012 issue. But when it did arrive it had changed to purple. Still marked down with its 2012 number. The Charger Pursuit ended up being a 2013 new casting, but the Magnum was gone forever.

With 7 years between production runs I have to say, the difference in shade of purple it really noticeable. the new one is so much lighter.

It also means I get a chance to do this. A pair of purple Challengers for the Flatbed.

But also, I have been rather busy with Challengers this year. Especially this casting which has seen 3 issues about as many months. The Top Gun Maverick and Highway Speeders 5-pack issues were recently showcased by me on the blog so where to go.

You know what? I know I already did it when I showcased the MB1193 ’74 Challenger Moving Parts model, but let’s finish off with a little Lesney action too.

Because I still see this when I hear Dodge Challenger in my head. My first memories are of the classic Lesney MB1-C in red. With a chrome interior. I had one as a kid, loved it, destroyed it, had to buy a number of replacements to cover it up. Ha ha! I’m a variation nerd. If course I am buying many.

Because when it debuted in 1976 as MB1 in red, at first it sported a chrome interior, but with 3 years of production like that there were bound to be changes. Like wheel variations. Usually it sported 5-arch wheels, but some were found with dot-dash.

And shades. Oh yes, I do love me a shade variation, and this varied quite a bit between an orangey red and a darker pinky red.

But as time went on, it started to see changes. The chrome was removed in 1979 for its final year in red.

In 1980 the model changed to blue with a red interior but Lesney being Lesney never tied anything up correctly. They ran out of white interiors before they ran out of red bodies, so the final production run was red and red.

Before the proper blue and red issue arrived.

With blue running for 2 years, before the model was modified severely into a stock car for 1982, shades of blue were inevitable.

It was due to be resurrected (or paid homage to, depending on how you see it) in 2019 under the Superfast series with an opening hood, but the casting wasn’t quite ready in time. This pre-production sample from 2019 shows an almost finished product.

With it finally arriving in batch A of the 2020 Superfast series.

As I said, it was close to finished. At the time of the prepro I have, the word Dodge had not been etched into the rear yet.

And that brings me to the end of another report. I hope you enjoyed it.

I had fun with it (if you didn’t guess) and the non-miniatures are growing on me. I had a couple of Skybusters as a child and random ones since, but will likely not worry about them in the future, but these Working Rigs are growing on me more and more each time I get new ones.

Construction Crew….

Rescue Squad….

Worst case scenario. Being stuck behind a tractor. Oh I enjoy myself. You may see that in next week’s blog post as I will be digging in my collection for something that will perhaps be a little seasonally appropriate.

Until then….

One Reply to “Matchbox Monday is on a mission to rescue the construction crew”

  1. I’ve always liked the ford Taurus interceptor police car. I have both Marshall…. Sorry Marshal 2014 variations. Is there one which is more rare than the other?.My local Tesco have just put out new 9packs with the 510 exclusive. Your name is Tilley is on the side!. I’ve bought both black and white versions. The rest in those 9 packs…. Yeah. Good job there is a sale at £6 each!. £12 for cars!… Take care and good write up.

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