And so begins the final batch of the 2020 year, which have arrived courtesy of Wheel Collectors from USA (although as I write, Tesco in the UK has just started receiving them too on short card). Sadly, it is not quite the final models. Out of 100, this will bring us to 98. The MB4 Western Star 4900 Cab and MB41 Mazda 3 missed the deadline so will be arriving later. But considering what we have all been through in 2020, I am very impressed they got as much sorted, signed off and produced as they have. This has not been the easiest of years to deal with, and you often don’t think about how a company like theirs will have had to deal with many MANY adjustments going through all their usual channels for signing things off. And I have to say, this is very licensor heavy. So let’s get on with the first third of them, as like always I split them over 3 blog reports.
To make things easy I will simply do every report the same way this time, and go in number order in the 2020 range. First up, taking the MB35 slot for 2020 is the returning MB1012 Mazda MX-5/Miata casting. Wheel Collectors have sent me over both large blisters and power grab boxes for the report, which, as you will see later will be of great use.
This Mazda looks great in a dark metallic tangerine colour.
Featuring simple front and rear detailing. I am really happy to see it return as it was not getting an awful lot of action over the years.
Which, if you have read previous blogs you knew it was coming, I am going to delve into now.
The model debuted as MB3 as a part of batch F (when batches were smaller) in April 2016, this time in red with a similar front and rear tampo treatment.
It then saw a fantastic promotional release in the July, just 3 months after the debut release, in green as a dinner model for the International Gathering of Friends in Albuquerque NM. The first 75 “early bird” models saw an additional piece of tampo writing on the back of the trunk or boot (depending on where you live) after which the rest of them simply had a Matchbox logo there. The design drew inspiration from the racing Mazdas of the 1990s, most notably the 787B which won the 1991 24 Hours Le Mans. It also came with double 10-spoke wheels instead of the usual 5-spoke.
After that came its last basic range outing, which was back in 2017. This time it was MB10 and came in grey with a front and top detail with the little white and red strips going all over the top of the model.
Between basic range outings this is the only other release it has seen. This blue with 6 roundel design was a 9-pack exclusive in 2018. 2019 saw no Mazda MX-5/Miatas at all. As I said, I am happy to see this return.
And also extremely happy that Matchbox are quick on the ball again with a new Chevy Corvette. The MB1221 ’20 Chevy Corvette makes its debut in the MB47 slot for the year in blue. Packaging denotes the model as a 2020 Corvette C8….
But the model itself simply marks it down as a 2020 Chevy Corvette. Chevy on the base, C8 on the package. I have no idea why, although it is often common for packages to state things slightly different to the bases. It is called the VW Caddy syndrome. Not really, but I like to refer to it as that. For anybody who doesn’t know, when the VW Caddy was created by Matchbox, they were not allowed to put the name on the base. It simply states “Licensed by Volkswagen” on there. Packaging fine. Even the model itself is fine. But the base? Nope! Although technically it has been going on for the longest time in the range. Who has seen the Holden Pick Up from the 1970s being sold on a card that stated it was a Chevy El Camino? It has been going on for decades.
But anyway, I am heading completely off track here aren’t I. Back to the Corvette. Being a new casting, I already showed an obligatory base shot for those that like seeing them, but here are some views of the model in general. And yeah, I have already chipped the front.
I am very happy to see that Matchbox have been given a chance to include a brand new generation of Corvette so quick after the real vehicle’s debut again. The rear in particular is absolutely stunning. Notice the tiny Corvette writing under the rear wing. You almost miss it, but it is there.
They had not been given the opportunity to do a model immediately with the last generation, but they did with the C6. So you know what?
I’m bringing in the C6 to showcase too. The C6 debuted in real life in June 2004 and the Matchbox offering was a part of the final batch of the year. Sound familiar?
But did you know that was not the debut? It was beaten to the market by a SpongeBob SquarePants liveried licensed 5-pack issue by 1 month. That’s right, SpongeBob SquarePants is faster then a Corvette. He is fast….
But not “Superfast”. Because Superfast beats them all. The model was a part of the first Superfast series under Mattel ownership, which started in mid 2004. The Corvette was number 24 in the range, and was also the chase model for the year. Half production was in black, the other half in dark blue. On top of that, the model also sported 2-part rubber wheels instead of the blinged out Superfast wheel the majority of the 2004 set received, and (if you were to look closely at the window) the interior was also detailed. I am trying to remember, but I think it may have been the last Matchbox premium issued model to see the interior section detailed. I may be wrong on that, if anybody remembers any later ones. These arrived in the summer of 2004 shortly after the real vehicle debuted.
Plus, yeah I am not done with 2004, if you were to attend the Matchbox Convention that year, which took place in Hershey PA, a unique red Superfast issue model (which did have the bling wheels and plain interior) was the show model for the event. Okay, I think that is it. 2004 done, on to 2005.
For 2005 the model was MB5 in the basic range, and came in brown with a fancy side design on it. I was lucky to find one that missing the tampo printing on it. It is actually a darker shade too.
2005 also saw further Superfast uses too. With the range seeing one version for the US market and another for the ROW this time we saw both a US silver and blue ROW.
And again, it was used at Hershey. Except this time it was not the show model, but one of the 4 dealer models that was made in zamac with just the Hershey show logo on the roof.
2006 was a bit of a quieter year for the model. The basic range saw a silver version as MB20 and the Superfast, now back as a single range worldwide was in yellow. It was still in the 24 position in the range as the first 3 years of Superfast saw models that stayed keeping their number, akin to the old Lesney/Universal/Tyco days.
For 2007, the basic range issue was dark blue as MB22, and although I was able to find a shade on the blue, I did also discover something else.
The lace wheels that were in use had 2 different thicknesses to them. The lace part either sported a thin black area around it or a thick black area. This was commonly used on vehicles like the Corvette C6 as a front wheel/rear wheel combination. Thin wheels at the front, thick at the rear. The wheels match, but it gives the model a slight aggressive stance much in line with real ones. However, I found an error with both front and rear sporting thick wheels on one of them. It was the only time I ever found it on this model.
Outside of the basic range, there was the Scooby Doo licensed 5-pack issue in yellow, and the “Real” 10-pack for the year saw a lime gold model as one of the 10 exclusives in the all-exclusive pack.
But, in a complete surprise, alongside the “Real” 10-pack were 2 additional 10-packs. Each one would contain 1 exclusive top corner marked up as the exclusive and 9 other models pulled from other ranges. However, the 1999 Ford Mustang Convertible exclusive pack contained 8 pulled from elsewhere and this light blue Corvette randomly inserted. It was likely planned to appear in something that got cancelled (although nobody knows for sure), but the model was produced and thrown in the 10-pack anyway. So it ended up being a second exclusive to that pack.
2008 saw uses of the model slow down. A newer ZR-1 casting had been created which was doing the main circuit, with this consigned to other sets only. The Modern Rides 5-pack saw a lovely orange one with dual black stripes. Of course metallic orange is often good for shades, and this did not disappoint. I found a noticeable difference between batches.
It was also added to the Best of US Muscle series too. This one was in red.
2009 saw a Disneyworld/Disneyland exclusive licensed 5-pack. Usually they just do planes and coaches each year, but in 2009 they also added a 1-off 5-pack to the mix. A purple Corvette was adorned with Tigger & Pooh (as well as Christopher Robin) on the sides.
After taking 2010 off, we saw another licensed 5-pack use. This time in yellow with Mickey Mouse on the side in the Mickey Mouse clubhouse pack.
Finally, 2012 saw 1 final issue. 10-packs by now had lost their all-exclusive sets, and we were simply getting packs with 1 exclusive in them. One of the 2 sets that came out in batch B saw this orangey red Corvette with Pace Car side design as the exclusive. However, in some markets, the “10-pack” had already been shrunk to a “9-pack”. So in those markets (like USA) it was strictly speaking a 9-pack exclusive.
The MB1184 ’65 Land Rover Gen II Safari. Long name. So long they couldn’t fit it all on the package. This casting debuted in 2019 and came with 2 different roof sections. Luckily Wheel Collectors knew this, and had pre-opened the power grab to ensure that I would receive both types for the photo shoot.
Sold as MB63 for 2020 it comes in khaki with a black snakeskin style side design.
And of course a removable green roof section that comes in either full load or partial load with spotlights designs.
Giving us an instant variation to collect and increasing the amount of models to add to the collection from the 1-100 series.
As it is only the second year, we only have the 2019 MB64 to add to the showcase. Of course that came with a brown roof section.
But you can have fun with it. A little mixing and matching. Brown luggage on the tan models, green luggage on the blue.
Or a little bit of both. I am waiting for them to come up with more models with these roof sections that come off. They are so much fun.
Now of course there was a promotional use for the Land Rover last year too. Leipzig saw 4 different models used for the European Convention in October. Only one actually came with the standard Land Rover roof part, which in this case was the fully loaded version. It was the convention model in green.
The other 3 (yellow show model, white convention early bird and blue ladies model) all came with the canoe that usually sits atop a 1959 Chevy Brockwood as the roof parts are interchangeable. Except on these convention models. They were glued in.
I could have gone through the history of the previous Land Rover Defender model as this has basically replaced it (although you never know we may see an odd one pop up still, with this Globe Trotters 2018 issue being the last we have seen so far of MB697. But I did do a casting update post here on the Lamley blog only 5 months ago for this model. If you didn’t see it, or wanted to read again, simply click here for immediate access.
So I will just say that if there was anybody who did not know, the roof accessories, the full luggage is a homage to the luggage used on the classic MB12 Land Rover Safari that Lesney created back in 1966 which ran until 1970.
As I only collect Superfast I do not own the original green regular wheel issue or blue. I have been close to getting the rare blue Superfast transitional issue, but the price it so high I have been put off. Hopefully one day. But for now, I just own 2 golds from 1970. They sport a lighter and darker brown luggage section.
Next up we have the MB1179 ’16 Ford Interceptor Utility in black.
Sold as MB78 for 2020 in an El Segundo livery.
Which isn’t the first 2020 issue or the first black one.
Because as we know, it was also sold earlier this year as MB48 also in black but in a CHP livery. It is one of the models this year that has been utilized twice in 2 different versions at 2 points in the range.
It is the model’s second year in the range, after debuting in 2019 in a Fire Chief design as MB42. So that was short and sweet. Obviously I could compare this to a variety of vehicles. The Interceptor Utility is based off a Ford Explorer but specifically modified for use as a law enforcement vehicle. What else was modified from a standard Explorer?
Why the Jurassic ones of course. I had to pull these out again. I love these classic ’93 Explorers. The first of them was the MB1128 which was the modified with roof section vehicle, number 05 for the Jurassic World series. Part of the Legacy series in 2018 in the traditional Jurassic Park look.
This model was joined by 04 which has only been seen under the MB1128 guise with mud on it. They have not made a clean one.
But it still gives us a nice pair of models as they were seen in the first Jurassic Park film back in 1993.
Of course, if we have seen the film, we know exactly what happened with 04. The “wrecked” Ford Explorer was not seen until 2019 where MB1108 debuted in the 2019 singles series as number 6 of 24. The windowis smashed, the bodywork dented, the front bullbar is all twisted and the wheels don’t even sit straight. Its default is front nearside wheel up in the air. You push it down, the rear offside will pop up. And I love it. You don’t see much in the way of damaged vehicles in the Matchbox range, and this really sticks out. Hence me wanting to pull these out for another photo shoot.
Of course there is a second version too. Part of the Dino Rivals 5-pack series for 2019, the 1st batch was easily available, but the 2nd batch of 2 sets has proven to be pretty tough to locate. The Land Action Squad set out of the 2 saw the Explorer now sporting a muddy base and wheels too.
Which is a lot more evident when you knock the models over. Well, they are damaged already.
And in total gives us a really cool quartet of models. Ignoring the numbers (05 or 04) you get clean complete, dirty complete, dirty wrecked and dirty wrecked extra mud.
So what is next? It is the MB1076 Trailer Trawler.
This casting has been in the basic range before as it debuted in 2018, and makes its return to the basic range as MB79 in mint. Wait? Mint?
Yeah you know what that means. National Parks! It is not the first trailer unit to be in a National Parks livery either as we have seen the MB743 Pony Trailer already used there.
What’s more, this is the 3rd National Parks liveried vehicles being released in the 2020 basic range. It has been a good year for the design. I will be doing an update on the design soon, but not yet.
You may have noticed I did not mention this with the Land Rover, but the boat on top is removable.
And can be swapped over with one of the units on the Land Rover, which is also a part of the batch. Hence me making sure I did both these at the same time.
What I also did was make sure the Ford Interceptor Utility was included in this particular rundown as it contains a tow hook for towing the trailer. Now there’s an idea for the future. Surely a National Parks themed Utility is in the works for the future.
Now as I said, this casting debuted in 2018 where it was sold in green as MB94.
Apart from that, it has seen one other usage, as it was a part of the 2019 MBX Wild 5-pack being towed by a Ford Bronco. Still my favourite license plate!
But you know what this means….
Yeah I love these removable roof items. It is just so much fun mixing them up. You may have noticed with my Instagram post last night if you follow me on Instagram (at @davidjtilley) as I was mixing things up quite a lot with both these 2 new castings. But as I wait for my planned National Parks rundown, what to do in the meantime. A trailer with a water based piece. Something like….
The MB373 watercraft with trailer. I do enjoy trailer units and do wonder if this casting is still around. It first debuted in 1999 as MB51 in the US range or MB46 in the ROW range. in teal, white and purple on a purple trailer.
A little shot of both water items off their respective trailers.
It moved to the MB8 slot for 2000 and I have discovered I don’t own a logo version of it yet. OMG! I had forgotten I was after it. It’s back in my head now. One day I will figure out which of the Matchbox 2000 logo models I don’t own. I must be close by now. If I had one, it would be on the back of the watercraft.
But for somebody who doesn’t own a logo version of the 2000 edition, I do own a pre-production sample of it. Yes, of all things, I have a prepro of this model, and it sports an unpainted lower section to the watercraft.
It was also included in the Ocean dock 5-pack that year too, where it would be towed by the MB398 ’99 Chevy Silverado in yellow.
2001 only saw a single 5-pack issue, where this time it was in the Wings ‘n Water 5-pack being towed by the MB363 VW Beetle.
2002 saw another basic range outing, except this time it was only in the ROW market. It was sold as MB50 that year, and the first 10,000 sported a logo on the seat of the watercraft (which I did remember to get this time). It also saw 1 more 5-pack outing in the way of the Weekend Heroes pack. Again, the MB363 VW Beetle was the vehicle of choice for towing it. Although for some reason I completely forgot to photograph it. Although I did photograph it as a part of an older blog report where I was hooking up some 5-pack models, which you can check out again by clicking here if you wanted to.
In 2007 the casting returned in the Hitch ‘n Haul series, where this version was a part of the Orca Monster set being towed by an MB437 Chevy Suburban and also including a shark, an octopus and a diver in the package.
Finally, another Hitch ‘n Haul offering, as in 2008 the Wild Water set featured this particular issue being towed by the MB406 Land Rover Freelander. This was the final year as such for Hitch ‘n Haul, but the sets kept rolling over into subsequent years. Eventually in 2012 the set saw a slight refresh with a new design for the Land Rover, but the Watercraft and trailer stayed the same.
The Trailer Trawler would make for a good Hitch ‘n Haul set wouldn’t it. BTW the Chevy AD doesn’t have a tow hook. I just balanced the trailer on the rear bumper. Maybe they should make an alteration to the base of the Chevy AD. I think a cool classic pickup truck with a trailer on the back would make for a great pairing.
Finally, the 6th model to be done this time is the MB878 Jeep 4×4. This is the third consecutive basic range outing now for what was originally an old Kenner casting from the early 1980s. That is pretty good going. BTW I don’t know if I have ever pointed this out before, but one side flap of the power grabs box sports the model number for the year. In this case, MB80.
This model is looking rather nice (and familiar) in white.
And it also sports a tow hook on the rear.
Although it does struggle to tow most things. It’s a good job that boat is wedged into the top of the Trailer Trawler.
As I mentioned, this model has a rather familiar feel to it. Step forward the 2019 Jeep Set model from Walmart. Black with the same tampo design.
Which, for anyone who was taking note at the time, was a nod to the debut version of the Jeep. Back in 1984, when it was starting under the manufacturing number MB131, the Jeep 4×4 was a US exclusive MB37 for 2 years in black with a similarly coloured tampo design.
It will probably not surprise you to find that the white version at the time was a replacement, where in 1986 it turned white with the same design running until 1994 (with the ROW range only seeing it in that final year as MB25), but now has an orange, red and blue coloured design. The newer black new version has also turned white with an orange, red and blue design. And I love it!
I could go in with a deep dive into MB131, but there is quite a lot, as it ran until 2009 (this black D.E.R. version being the last MB131), but I am leaving that for the time being. A Target retro series report is coming soon and it will be a better time for it.
So I will just run through the short time it has been MB878. After 2009 we didn’t see the model for 3 years until it popped up randomly in a 2013 Desert 5-pack. It was sporting 2 different types of 4×4 wheels during its time in production, but once people looked closer, they discovered that the casting had also been tweaked. It used to come with an aerial on the rear, and a separate rear wheel on the top. A newer build had seen the spare wheel now a part of the interior section, which also formed the roll bar. Various other tweaks involved strengthening the bullbars on the front and thickening the rollbars too.
But after the 2013 5-pack issue the casting fell silent again. It wasn’t until 2018 that it finally saw a proper new lease of life. It returned to the basic range as MB109 in 2018 in blue before….
Seeing a pair of 2019 issues paying homage to older ones. We know the Jeep set was a homage to the original issue, but the 2019 MB76 was a refreshing look at the 1996 MB73 (US)/MB25 (ROW) issue.
With the 1996 rolling into view for a final shot. As we know this year has also seen a Top Gun Maverick issue, but there is a third coming from the Target Retro series which will see me diving more into the history of the casting too.
But I am going to finish this particular blog report with a little addition. We have seen a few models from batch E roll over into batch F too but there was another model. Back in batch A we saw the MB100 ’62 Mercedes-Benz 220SE Seadan arrive in grey with an accompanying video from Mercedes-Benz as it pays homage to Ewy Rosqvist. Well, it carried over into batch B before going away. But it has returned for this final batch of the year. One final push for this unique and special model.
I am sure you don’t need reminding of what it looked like. Grey with a white roof, as well as Ewy’s name and racing number on it.
I did compare the release from batch B with batch A but did not see any significant differences between them. However, this new production run does appear to be a lighter shade of grey. It is not a massive difference, but it is enough for me to now have 2 in my collection. Just in case there is anybody out there who is as cЯazY as me!
So that is it. My first run down of the final batch of 2020. 6 models (or 7 if you include both Land Rovers) down and 12 more to go. There will be 2 further posts coming, although not next week. I have something different planned for next week. Until then, have a good week.