Yes it is that time again. Monday morning (UK time, which means a whole variety of different times depending on where you are around the world) brings us another run down of various Matchbox models. Two weeks ago I began my journey through the batch F assortment which has recently arrived, with thanks to Wheel Collectors who sent me over both long card and power grab models to go through. Last week a little side trip, and next week will be another side trip, before I finish off batch F in 2 weeks from now. I just wanted to mix things up a little bit as I go along. So I chose another 6 vehicles to showcase this week. As I often do, I will go through these 6 in number order from the 2020 range.
Which today means I start with MB36 for 2020. That slot is taken by the MB1195 ’15 Mercedes-Benz G550 G-Class. I know I don’t pay a lot of attention to card art, but those wheels look cool.
Obviously in miniature form they are the standard 6-spoke wheels we know and love that have been around for many years.
The model comes in blue which does look rather familiar.
Yes definitely, and I love it. The Superfast MB1056 Mercedes-Benz G63 6×6 AMG that appeared earlier this year is basically the same blue. I love these links to other models. Even the look of the wheels between the 2 are the same. Obviously the 6×6 sported 2-part rubber wheels, but at a quick glance, they are very similar. I love this consistency between things. Linking models together is just awesome.
Now the Mercedes-Benz G550 first arrived in 2018 as a part of the Jurassic World license. The Island Transport Team release (both single and 5-pack) saw it in silver with simple striped side design and modern Jurassic logo.
Which later on was also included as part of the Battle Damage series, with scratch marks and mud adorning the model.
Later on, the Land Rescue Convoy set saw the model recolored to black, but this time it was exclusive to the 5-pack release.
But strictly speaking, they are not the same casting. These are MB1109, not MB1195. The differences are that the MB1109 has an additional bullbar across the front of the mode and, if you can read it, is marked up as a 2014 Mercedes-Benz, not a 2015 Mercedes-Benz. Externally, the only difference is the bullbar.
MB1195 itself did not appear until later in 2018 when it debuted as a Leipzig exclusive. The Matchbox convention in Germany took place in October 2018 linked in with the annual Modell-Hobby-Spiel and Dirk Schleuer commissioned a set of 4 models to tie in. Yellow was the most produced at 300 units, and was simply the show model.
Green was the convention dinner model and was produced in a smaller, 125 piece run.
But for the 75 people who registered first, they received a silver “early bird” model instead.
Finally, as Dirk dubbed the “ladies model” was a rare 1 of 25 issue in pink, which was provided as a model for those who helped Dirk with the event.
Funnily enough a regular MB1195 was shown as part of the preview of upcoming items in Leipzig. Our first look at a standard offering. Which was good news, as the Walmart exclusive Mercedes-Benz series had just started showing up and only 5 of the 6 models appeared in it. The G-Class was advertised on the back of the card, but was nowhere in sight. But seeing it in Leipzig with other new and upcoming items gave us hope. However, the Mercedes-Benz set sold through at Walmart and they moved on to the next series before the 5-packs were ready to go. Until Mercedes-Benz the Walmart exclusives were giving us 6 models, of which 5 would also be a part of a 5-pack. But they decided to drop the 5-packs part of the run at this time. Production had begun and the G-Class was included, so these ended up being sold through other avenues instead. By the time they arrived it was 2019.
And as we know, especially if you have been following my Monday reports, a G-Class has already been seen in 2020. Batch C saw a purple version released as MB49. There have been a few castings this year that have been seen twice in the range. These things have happened over the years. 1983, the US range saw MB21 and MB62 as a Chevy Corvette. 2017 saw a Sonora Shredder appear as both MB61 and MB93. Those are 2 just off the top of my head. Yeas this year has seen half a dozen models or so appear twice, but I am okay with it. Should they revert back to a 1-75 series and have 25 models in 2 versions? An idea. But things have tweaked rather a lot since 1981 when they first decided to alter the way the basic range runs.
Of course one thing I would like to point out too is the change each time to the spare wheel on the rear. The red version had a simple stripe painted as well as the tri-star, the purple just the tri-star (much like the 4 promotionals) and now blue has all but the single stripe tampo printed (what I call the Pac-Man look) as well as the tri-star. Had it been yellow, I would have laughed. The Pac-Man puns would have been off the chart….
Oh yeah, my personal favourite model of the batch. Not that I am biased or anything due to my love of the Porsche 911.
The MB423 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet sees a welcome return after 7 years. It appears for the first time in iridescent white as MB37 for the 2020 year.
And considering the model has been around since 1999, I must say it is looking remarkably sharp still. The detailing is all so crisp and, well new looking.
Ah! It may be because during those 7 years sitting on the shelf, they have decided to do a little tinkering to the casting. Copyrighted in 1998, and again in 2019, but as is the current ruling it is keeping its manufacturing number. The older MB423 casting is no longer around, so rather than leave a gap and create a new number, the revised casting simply slips into that slot.
So I should do a rundown of previous issues as obviously I have not done one before. But before I get really stuck in, perhaps a little comparison to a few models.
You see the model saw quite a few outings between 1999 and 2013, which meant that over time the mold started to wear down and some of the details start to fade away.
So they have been busy enhancing the details. In fact, considering the yellow is the 1999 German exclusive MB72 debut model, you can see that actually the work they have done has actually improved how the model was to begin with. Casting lines, door handles, fuel filler cap, all these have been meticulously re-carved out to make them more prominent. And I must say the end result is amazing. It gives me a lot of hope for seeing a number of new additions of this casting over the coming years too. They even added wing mirrors to the casting now.
It’s not just the body that has been tinkered with.
The interior has been rebuilt and seen here there is now a gap in the floor under the front seats with the base now sporting pedals meaning it too was tinkered with. Yes the steering wheel is actually a lesser detailed section but it appears to be the only part. All other aspects of the interior have been enhances and further detailed. The front window has also been re-molded too giving us a slightly different curvature and visors appear smoother and thicker. This may have been to accommodate the wing mirrors on the body section. But it does appear that all parts have been looked at and altered.
So I am extremely happy that they have taken the time to sit down and improve one of my favourite castings of all time. So anyway, a rundown….
Well I had already shown the debut 1999 MB72 in yellow. It stayed as a German exclusive in 2000 and was now red as MB36 in the basic range.
But for those outside of Germany, they found their first taste of the model when it was also included in the Euro Sports 5-pack. Early runs sported concave 5-spoke wheels, but later on it was altered to the flower wheels as production continued into early 2001 when flower wheels debuted. If anybody follows my @davidjtilley Instagram account, they will know that I only picked up the flower wheel variant recently. It may be a big favourite of mine, but I am still looking for more variations to add.
In 2001 the model finally saw a slightly broader basic range release. It moved from being a German exclusive to being an ROW exclusive. It was sold as MB50 in the ROW range in blue. It was also a part of the 2001 Auto Carrier Launcher set in silver, which saw the model sport a black tonneau cover tampo. Something that was very rarely done by Matchbox. Launcher models was also some of the early ones that really started seeing detailed lighting, and this also saw a continued use of the concave 5-spoke wheel which had largely been faded out by then too.
In 2002 we only saw an Auto Carrier release again for the Launcher series (Launchers were sold alongside 10-packs during the early 2000s). This time it was red, looking similar to the 2000 issue, but now with different window tint, different tampos and wheels.
A comparison with the 2000 issue showing the shade of red was slightly lighter too.
In 2003 the model saw yet another Auto Cargo Launcher release, and like the 2001 was silver. Except this too had different tampo (no rear tonneau cover tampo), a really dark window tint and lace wheels. But it was not the sole release this time, as the model was also included in the 2003 Stars of Germany series, back in Germany. This model was plain dark blue with no tampo printing at all.
In 2004 it was back in the basic range. But still only as far as the ROW areas. sold as Mb16 in came in metallic red with a tan interior and simple detailing. It was also added to the first Superfast series too in a dark plum with dark grey interior in the number 36 slot.
After that though, the model finally appeared in the worldwide basic range. 6 years after the first basic arrived in Germany, people all around the world were finally able to buy a Carrera Cabrio. It was sold as MB14 in blue. It came in a metallic blue with light grey interior and detailed rear lights and silver headlights. However, I managed to obtain the poster model. Hand painted for use on the poster, it was a softer metallic blue and included detailing around the window (which was not included for production). The interior was simply the dark grey one from the Superfast and hand painted lights were very similar at the rear, but white at the front. If anybody has a 2005 poster, that is the exact model depicted on it.
It continued on for 1 more year in the Superfast range, seeing an early release before the bling wheels were changed to a better design. If it was an ROW release it was silvery blue and if it was a USA release, it was dark grey.
For 2006 it was back to being only found in Germany. This time, as a Stars of Cars issue.
2007 saw another basic range outing as MB10. Shades of paint were found between a darker mustard gold and a lighter lime gold over time.
It was also included in the “Real” 10-pack for the year in dark metallic red too.
In 2008 it was sold as MB18 in blue. Just as with the 2007 issue, you could find shade variations in the blue paint used.
But that was nothing compared to the next release. It took 2009 off before coming back in 2010 as a 5-pack issue, again in blue. The Modern Rides 5-pack ran for quite a few months and during that time it varied from a mid blue to a very dark blue.
There was also a random production run when they were out of 5-spoke wheels and threw on some classic tri-spokes instead. It was a very short run and is not easy to find. By pure chance I happened to be in USA at the time as they were only found there.
After that the model went on its first hiatus, returning in 2013 for 2 issues. MB25 for the basic range was a very pale pastel lemon colour with black wheels, and the Exotic Rides 5-pack came in a much darker yellow with matching yellow wheels. Until now, they were the last we saw of the model. I for one am very happy to see it return.
Next up in today’s run through is the MB1186 Polaris Slingshot. A rather unusual little 3-wheeler that is definitely something we do not see every day.
It is the model’s second release after a 2019 debut, and for 2020 it takes the MB57 slot in light blue with black and orange detailing on the front.
As well as the Polaris logo too.
Talking of the 2019, it rolls in for this shot. It was MB66 last year. The design is not too different to last year.
It’s as if they took what they had last year and enhanced it. I like it. I am a huge red fan (it is my favourite colour) but the blue is definitely the nicer looking out of these too. But as that is the entire history of the model I need to think like the Matchbox team did when they came up with this as a choice and think outside of the box.
Lotus Super Seven anyone? That’s a blast from the past. The Lotus was MB60-B and sold between 1971 and 1976. But you know, 2 seat open top sporty looking vehicle, low to the ground. It sort of fitted in. I told you, I was thinking outside the box. Not too far outside, but just enough to make people think.
Obviously this was during the Lesney era and in those times a model would officially be unchanged for many years. The Lotus ran from 1971 until 1974 in orange with a devilish flames label on the front. But during 4 years, the shade of orange did vary a little.
Plus you would sometimes find it without the label. The angelic look.
In 1975 it was one of the recipients of the new Streakers designs, and was now yellow with a red check, blue stripe and 60 design.
Again, albeit with only 2 years of production to go with, you could still find shades of yellow from quite light to almost back to orange again.
And yeah, this was Lesney. They forgot tampos at times too. So 2 specific variants over the years, 3 variations to each variant.
The Lesney era is always fun to collect.
You never know what unusual variations you can find on models. I bet the new Slingshot won’t be found without tampos.
Welcome back Toyota. We have had a lean few years when it comes to Toyota castings, but I am very happy to see them back and running again. We even get some new stuff next year. Very exciting. The MB1025 Toyota Prius Taxi makes a return to the range in silver.
It takes the MB58 slot for 2020 in silver with a Matchbox Rideshare design.
A very modern look to the design too, with the smartphone behind the rear wheels. I like this one a lot.
Well I definitely haven’t done a dive back into the history of the Prius yet, so I will do that now. The casting debuted back in 2009 as a regular civilian model. It was sold as MB25 for the debut year, and the plan was to release it in 2 versions that year. First up would be a light metallic green. something that I was very happy to find shade variations on. But that was nothing compared to the first run.
It came out very weird. Quite a greyish shade. Totally wrong. A running change was swiftly made to alter it to green so in some respects we sort of had 3 debut issues.
because after green came brown. Later assortments swapped to the new colour scheme, and yes if you looked you could also find nice shade variations on that one too. It was quite the debut year for this casting. I tell you, the more Matchbox do variations like this, the more they will get to sell. Because I know I am not the only crazy collector who goes for the shades.
So after that fun filled first year, what happened next? It turned black for 2010 as MB26. You don’t tend to get a lot of variation to black. So I only got the one. It was only in the basic range too, so no other ranges.
In 2011 it continued on as MB26 for a second year (the 2011 range had a lot of models keeping their 2010 numbers), except this year it was already dropped from the LAAM range. Only the US and ROW markets continued for a 3rd year. This time it was red. After this all markets dropped it.
We never saw anything from the model until it popped back up as MB9 in 2016. With the real vehicle now surpassed by a newer generation, they thought it would be fun to utilize the casting in something they have become quite well know for. Being a taxi. It came in green with a taxi design on the side. But there were people saying that if it is a taxi, it should have a taxi sign.
The guys heard, the guys did. The MB774 civilian casting was turned into the MB1025 taxi casting for 2017 where it was sold in yellow as MB15. Of course we did have a bit of a blip with Toyota the last few years, and so it was not seen in either 2018 or 2019. I happy to see the blip is over and Toyotas are back up and running.
But before I move on to the next model, I don’t know if anybody else noticed that when they altered the casting into a taxi, it was not just a case of adding a taxi sign to the roof (new window component, new body component). At that time they also made an adjustment to the rear of the model in that the additional section of the window is no longer included under the rear upper lip of the body. I guess that this meant that the window component was not the easiest to slot into place on the production line and was deleted off for faster production.
Ooh is this a new casting? You bet it is. The MB1210 2020 Jeep Gladiator. It debuts in this batch as MB60 in red.
Matchbox could have gone with quite a standard looking configuration, but again, thinking out of the box has given us the option of the “top off/doors off” variant. You can choose to have them taken off if you want, and so Matchbox have done this with the model too.
It debuts in red, which I believe is a nod to the “Firecracker red” that is a Jeep option on the model. It is also in the Rubicon trim level too.
Plus being as open as this is, it really stands out from the regular pick-up truck crowd.
Ah yes, the obligatory new casting, show the base shot. Is it just me, or did somebody cast the base while accidentally leaving a plastic paper clip on there? That’s what it looks like to me.
Well there was only 1 way I was taking this for a first run around with the new casting. It was always going to be joined by the last Jeep Gladiator casting. Matchbox has made 2 other Gladiator castings over the years, but their first one was way WAY back in 1964. Before my time of collecting. Lesney created a J-series Gladiator which was based on the SJ Wagoneer platform and sold from 1962-1988. A model was added to the range in red which ran until 1968. Having never transitioned into Superfast, which is where my collecting begins, I do not own a sample. So therefore that leaves me with just the one. The MB1057 Jeep Gladiator Concept. It debuted in the range in 2017, and as such the base of the model was marked down as 2017. However, this is actually the concept vehicle, and as such it debuted way back at NAIAS in Detroit in 2005. It was created as a nod to the original Gladiator, and ever since there had been rumours of a production version being released. It only took them 14 years! But as the rumours intensified, Matchbox decided to create a model anyway. The 2017 MB92 debut was actually in the 2005 show model colours.
During production the shade of green stayed pretty consistent, but the interior section did change. You can make it out in this shot, some are quite a dull grey whereas some are a much more shiny silvery grey.
It was also the first casting to sport the new Y-5 wheels, which were also incorporated into the spare wheel design. During production these sported either a greenish tint or a bronzed tint to them.
In 2018 it moved to the MB106 slot and was in a lovely red shade, very much like the new model. Again the wheels did find a more greenish or bronzed look to them depending on the production run.
In 2019 it moved out of the basic range and into the No Road, no Problem 5-pack in orange. These metallic oranges are always good for a shade or 2, and this one did not disappoint.
Finally it was added to the 2019 Walmart exclusive Jeep set, where it saw a white with Moab side design on it, featuring the iconic arches from the “Arches National Park” which is located just outside the city.
This brings us to the next model on the list. The MB976 Ghe-O Rescue. It’s always nice to see random manufacturers from around the world included, and you don’t very often see them from Romania.
It is MB88 for 2020 in olive green with a Jungle Guides side design.
This is a really cool design from Michael Heralda which has actually created it for 2 different models.
The MB1053 Ghe-O Predator also sports the same design in the MBX Wild II 5-pack. I love consistent tampo designs, and both being from the same company too. It makes it even better to me.
The model debuted in the 2015 basic range as MB49 in red with the standard look that Ghe-O have been using for the model to promote it. They still do.
After this the Matchbox team used it as a promotional tool for the 2016 Toy Fair. Fully detailed in bronze, they really showed off exactly what can be done with a casting when you have free reign over it.
2016 saw its last basic range outing before the current one, where it was sold as MB79 in dark grey.
In 2017 it made its 5-pack debut in the Desert 5-pack. Usually sporting brown wheels, a run was made with plum wheels instead.
2018s 5-pack was the one that didn’t sport a wheel variation at all. Sold in silver as a part of the Ice Voygars 5-pack it stayed consistent throughout production.
The same couldn’t be said about the 2019 5-pack issue. No Road, No Problem (again, like the Jeep just shown), you could find shades of yellow between a light and dark.
But it had brown wheels. It needed some plum ones. Production finished on the 5-pack before they realized, so they added it to a 9-pack and threw them in there. I’m only kidding. It wasn’t a deliberate thing. It was pure coincidence.
But it is funny how the 2019 5-pack issue did end up following the same pattern as the 2017 5-pack issue. I can’t help it. I love patterns, even completely random ones like this.
So now I come back to earth with a thud. I mentioned last time about some repeat issues in the mix. Last time I showed the MB1220 ’62 Mercedes-Benz 220SE that had popped back up in the mix. This time a pair of models that simply rolled over from batch E. The MB1183 ’68 dodge D-200 Pick-up and MB327 ’33 Ford Coupe.
The Dodge was completely identical. I could not see any difference. But the Ford?
It may just have been me, but the shade of yellow on the new run was slightly lighter than the shade on the older one. Not a great difference, but it was enough for me to keep the pair. Now I have a pair of “moon” eyes.
And I think on that terrible pun, I should wrap up another week. Next week I do another sideways trip to showcase other Matchbox new items before returning in 2 weeks to finish off batch F. Until then, enjoy your week.