It’s that time of the week again, but I am temporarily between boxes of new items from Wheel Collectors as batch F is heading over as we speak. So what to do what to do? A mystery indeed. Who best to sort out a mystery? The Scooby gang!
With Halloween coming up in a matter of days, I thought I could have gone a few ways with a topical post, but I decided to go with my Scooby snacks and create a post about my favourite cartoon growing up.
Scooby-Doo, and all of the off-shoots over the years have now been going for over 50 years. We celebrated Matchbox Superfast hitting the 50 year mark last year. Scooby-Doo is the same age. I was born in 1972 and so grew up watching many MANY Scooby-Doo shows. I was a massive fan, and (unlike quite a lot of fans) was a massive fan of Scrappy-Doo too. Sadly Matchbox never made a model with him on it anywhere, just the main 5. As the main premise of the show was to solve spooky mysteries, I thought this was the right time to dive into them and show what ones were made.
So let’s start by introducing the gang. The majority of the Scooby-Doo models that Matchbox made had been through licensed 5-packs, but the first 5 models were actually released as singles under the Collectibles banner in 2001. Now full disclosure, they also released the MCi Bus in the Collectibles series too before it in 2000 featuring the whole gang on the side, but as I don’t collect the buses I never got it.
We will start with the main character himself, Scooby-Doo.
he comes adorning the MB360 Ford Expedition casting. Being a premium release the detailing to the picture is absolutely amazing. But there is one thing that sets this model apart from the other 4 models in the set. Scooby-Doo is brown, but the model is black. All the other character models were on vehicles that were also their signature colours, which you will notice as I continue. This design shows Scooby running away from a spooky castle into a spooky forest.
Also being in the Collectibles series, each model sported more than the usual printing with sides and top seeing designs. The upper design on this also featured one of his signature sayings (ruh-roh), and the side his other (Scooby-dooby-doo).
Shaggy Rogers is Scooby-Doo’s owner and is known for wearing a green top. Hence having a green model.
The MB390 VW Transporter was chosen to be his model and saw him running through a spooky forest as a background to his portrait figure and name.
Zoinks! One of his catchphrases adorns the roof of the Transporter and the opening roof section is also detailed in maroon.
Apart from the 2 main characters who have spanned the entirety of the franchise, for the most part, they would be joined by 3 other teenagers to help solve mysteries. Daphne Blake was known for wearing her purple dress (oh look the car is purple), and often getting into trouble, being accident prone, and the most likely to be kidnapped and tied up.
She is shown on the side of the MB295 ’97 Chevy Corvette. Daphne appears to also be running through a spooky forest, but this time she is being chased by a mysterious figure. As I said, she was most likely to be captured by the villain each story.
Now I am not too sure that “Like Who?” was as big a catchphrase for Daphne as those for other other characters. As far as I remember “Creepers” was more her catchphrase, but this does sort of lend itself to her character as being a bit ditsy.
We then move on to Fred Jones. The self-appointed leader of the gang (and the one who drove the van when all 5 were there). He would uusally sport a white top which is why the model in question is also white.
This one was the MB367 1999 Ford Mustang which has Fred running through a spooky forest on the side. Was there a pattern with spooky forest runs? I think so.
His catchphrase was not “like Wow!” It was “Let’s split up gang”, but I can see it being used at times by him.
Finally, Velma Dinkley. The smart girl to Daphne’s ditsy girl, often losing her glasses during the mysteries, but always sporting an orange top.
She is seen on the side of an orange MB363 ’62 VW Beetle running through what appears to be another spooky forest, being chased by a very creepy silhouette. I think that would have got most people running.
Jinkies! Now that’s a catchphrase!
After their Collectibles debut, we did not see anything more from Scooby and the gang for a number of years. However, 2007 they started throwing sets at us fast. Licensed 5-packs had been going for quite a few years by then, but the Scooby-Doo sets were a new addition. The first of 2 sets arriving that year appeared in February 2007 as the third licensed 5-pack of the year.
So as they didn’t have a casting of the actual Mystery Machine (well it was a cartoon), they created the look as a homage to it on the MB102 4×4 Chevy Van. Over the years many fans of the show have created homages to the Mystery Machine in real life, so this is not totally unrealistic.
The colour and design were, well as the cartoon vehicle depicts it.
The MB363 ’62 VW Beetle made a return to the Scooby-Doo franchise, and with it came a lovely opportunity to find shade variations. The lime gold to mustard gold variance was quite common on vehicles produced around the time.
This time, as with the model only seeing 2 sides of printing, this simply had Scooby-Doo himself on the sides.
The whole gang would appear on the rear canopy of the MB606 Armored Response Vehicle. This had quite a psychedelic vibe to it to me.
With the canopy being removable, if you were to slide it off, the rest of the vehicle would show no indication of what range it came from.
The MB593 4×4 Fire Truck was up next in red featuring Scooby-Doo and Shaggy playing with water. Although why Shaggy is still fully clothed I have no idea.
But it did fit in with the type of vehicle being used.
Finally, the MB700 ’63 Cadillac Hearse had only just debuted that year due to being a late arrival for the 2006 model year, and as we were just seeing some black issues turning up in stores, suddenly we were seeing the second issue appear too. The white basic range would not be seen until the end of the year. Even more, the shade of brown used for this model varied wildly during production.
As seen in this picture, I picked up a bunch of the set to find a number of shades of the Hearse myself.
Not content with just the 1 pack, a second Scooby-Doo licensed 5-pack appeared in October as the 8th of 10 sets released that year.
First up was the MB131 4×4 Jeep in green with a Safari Camp design on the side. Safari Camp merchandise has appeared throughout the years tied in with Scooby-Doo, and the 5-pack also included a Safari Club sticker inside.
although for the life of me I cannot figure out where Safari Camp (or Safari club) originated.
We get another model of the MB390 VW Transporter included in this set. This time the vehicle is painted a similar blue to the Mystery Machine blue and features the whole gang on the side. Although is it just me, but does Fred look evil and Shaggy menacing?
Still no Scrappy-Doo though.
After seeing a fire related vehicle in the first set of the year, we had another in the second set too. The MB594 Airport Fire Tanker in yellow.
This one featured Scooby-Doo surfing on the side.
The MB592 City Police Car is up next. This is an unusual casting, not by being a Matchbox original design, but the fact that the driver side window is open….
But the passenger side window was closed. I never knew why. Here it is in black and again featured Scooby-Doo on the side.
Finally, another Corvette. Except this time it was the MB630 Chevy Corvette C6 casting. Again we saw a yellow model.
And again, 4 out of the 5 models sported just Scooby-Doo on the side.
2008 carried right on where 2007 left off, and provided us with 2 Scooby set again. The first of which was the second pack of the year arriving in January 2008.
The first model in this set is another fire related model. They enjoyed putting fire related vehicles in the Scooby-Doo sets. I am not sure why. I don’t recall there being such an influx of fires in the cartoons.
This was the MB506 Police Hummer which featured an opening rear canopy that showed off a quad bike inside. Scooby-Doo featured in 2 different firefighter poses, 1 on either side.
Next up in this pack was the MB550 Chevy SSR in green. It had a bit of a sporting theme to this model as Scooby-Doo was seen trying to catch a baseball.
Although if you look closely at Scooby-Doo, you will notice he is in 2 different positions here too. It is not a mirror image. Now a word of note, this model did see a wheel change later on. I never found it (it turned to double 10-spokes).
That word of note. It applies here too. This MB577 Taxicab also turned to double 10-spoke wheels later on in the batch I couldn’t find.
Scooby is again on his own on this model, this time as a part of a Scooby-Doo Extreme Sports character.
Before we finally find another character and more of a spooky look to a model, more in line with what the show was about.
Definitely the best looking model of the pack to me, this does give off a proper spooky look in black, with orange windows, cobwebs, gravestones and both Shaggy and Scooby-Doo looking rather scared. The MB627 Jeep Compass was the model in question. I didn’t mention that already. Too busy enjoying the spookiness of the look.
Finally, we had the MB731 Baja Bandit in the set. This one featured Scooby-Doo on his own on a sign with Southern California on it.
There was a small side printing too. I am not sure the significance of the Southern California mention. If anybody knows I am curious to find out.
In September 2008, the 8th of 10 licensed 5-packs arrived that year and it was the second Scooby set of the year.
It contained what turned out to be the final version of the MB281 Ford Transit casting (the later police version would carry on until 2012, but the original civilian stopped here)
This was the only one of the set to feature the entire gang again. Plus, unlike the 2007 set with the VW Transporter, this time they all looked happy. I do actually really like this design. Very trippy.
We then had the MB516 Chrysler PT Panel Cruiserin silver featuring Scooby-Doo wearing a secondary dog tag as a ring.
The small graphics on the side of the vehicle, particularly around the rear wheels were all done using fusion graphics which allow for a broad range of colours. Plus they also allow for a fine level of detailing.
The MB537 Limousine featured a rather batty Shaggy and Scooby design.
Get it? There are bats flying about all over. No? Oh why do I bother. Ha ha!
The MB586 Billboard Truck was next up.
It was in red with a blue billboard featuring Scooby on it.
Again, only one model really felt like it was sporting a bit of a spooky vibe in line with the show. Again it was black, and again it had ominous windows. This time red windows.
The MB667 London Taxi looks really cool with Scooby on the side on a skateboard, but I did feel that was a monster lurking in the background for him to clumsily run into. That was something I could imagine being from the cartoon.
Which brings us to the final set. I admit I was going for a bit of a Halloween vibe, but after the 5 Collectibles models, the 4 licensed 5-packs depicted so far haven’t really given us much to get spooked about. But 2009 did! July 2009 saw the one and only Scooby-Doo set as the 4th of 8 packs released that year. It never returned after this, but I felt the designs on this one were the best. Apart from a classic Mystery Machine look and the 2 black 2008 models.
And look, I had to start by getting a bit shady here. The MB479 Ford Panel Van was included in the set in orange, but over the course of production the shade of orange did vary quite a bit.
It featured a great side design of Shaggy and Scooby being scared surrounded by animated skulls, gravestones and cobwebs. Even the Scooby-Doo writing was spawning bats.
The MB530 Ice Cream Truck (or should I say “I scream”, Rikes!) was being used for the last time as a new classic Ice Cream Van was debuting that year in the basic range (and still going now).
I do love the little attention to details. Scooby-Doo was saying Yikes! So the writing on the side was “Rikes”, as that would be more how he would say it. The ghost and haunted mansion look were sufficiently scary (well they were for him). This casting still featured the opening sliding side door. When opened a man would appear at the open window holding an ice cream. Double Rikes!
Another thing that was happening during 2009 was that the licensed 5-packs were being slowly being switched from fusion graphic printing to ink-jet printed designs as they were experimenting with the ink jet process, which I will explain in a moment, but first of all, the MB585 Pontiac Vibe was a part of the set in pastel yellow featuring Shaggy and Scooby-Doo in a graveyard being chased by a Mummy.
So the difference between fusion graphics and ink-jet printing are down to the end result. Fusion graphics are applied very smoothly. The fine details are depicted looking very sharp. However, it can be quite costly which is why they are not used for many things. However, unlike a regular tampo printed surface, they have a full colour palette. You can use whatever colours you require through the printing. Plus they can be done on a model once it has been constructed and differences in parts, crevices etc can all be printed on with ease. Tampo printing is 4 colours maximum, is prepared on a single surface, and if there is too much of a difference in the height of parts, certain areas can be missed.
Ink jet printing is done the same way as fusion graphics. Prepared on a completed model, a full range of colours used and deep holes and crevices can be reached giving us full coverage with no gaps. However, being a more cost effective way of doing printing compared to fusion graphics therefore it is cheaper to do, but the end result does leave you with a thicker and more coarse final product. It is a sort of mid-way point between a tampo print and fustion graphics. Over the years the ink jet print has been improved, but these early runs you can quite easily see the difference.
Monsters! See; Halloween-y. Well at least to me. An MB614 School Bus full of monsters.
Poor old Scooby-Doo looks scared silly here doesn’t he. Mind you, it never took much to scare him did it.
Finally, the MB712 Desert Thunder V16 and again the only one in the set to feature the entire gang.
They are all looking rather worried, what with the eyes, the bats, the spooky mansion. I mean why did they even go to all these spooky places in the first place? But I do think this final set was the best set they did out of the 5 licensed ones. All very fitting with the theme of the cartoon series. And all giving us a quite spooky Halloween style look.
Like, 2 Corvettes as Daphne might say.
“Jeep”ers, 2 Jeeps too. As well as another bunch among the 30 models used across these 6 series. I hope you enjoyed my little detour into the world of Scooby-Doo.
Next week I am will be doing another dive back before returning to modern times. But next week’s dive will be back to the beginning. But beginning of what? You will find out next Monday.
Until then, have a happy Halloween, don’t eat too many sweets, don’t get too scared and most of all stay safe.