It’s that time of the week again. Mondays roll around too quick. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? Bad for those who need to start another week of work, but good if you are a Matchbox fan getting another fix of weekly goodness. As always, with many thanks to Wheel Collectors who supplied me with batch F both on long card and power grab box, I can finish off my dive into the contents of this batch.
As I have done with both my previous 2 dives into the batch, these last 6 models will be dealt with in the number order they are in the 2020 series. Which means the first model is the MB1187 ’10 Ford Animal Control truck.
It is being sold as MB32 in the 2020 basic range and comes in white with a grey rear end, and an Animal Protection Rescue side design. The logo in the middle of the door, it is difficult to read but I think it says MBX in the middle, and around the edge it has Diecast Metropolis. Therefore it is a Matchbox originals design.
Which does look a little familiar, as the model debuted in the 2019 range looking quite similar.
Let’s bring in the 2019 MB81 for a comparison shall we?
As you can see, both models come in white with a grey rear, blue windows and black base. A quick google of real Ford Animal Control Trucks will actually uncover a small fact that the majority are white with a grey rear.
This one is all about the different tampo print. Not massively different, but it is noticeable. The previous one was Unit 5, the new one is Unit 4. The dog has been joined by a cat, and the chevrons are now red and silver, not yellow and silver. I wonder if we will see a Unit 3 looking similar, then a Unit 2 and a Unit 1? Who knows. But that being all there is for the Animal Control Truck I can’t a-“Ford” to quite now.
Which is why I continue this release by bouncing back to a classic Ford. The MB57-C ford Wildlife Truck. First debuting in 1973, I did have this early pre-production sample in green. The turnstile on the rear is brown but I focused on the fact it had no windows.
It actually debuted in yellow with a Ranger label across the front which depicted an elephant, yet the model had a lion in the rear. Imagine getting one of those in the Animal Control Truck. This was a Rolamatics model. Something that Lesney trademarked in the early 1970s. It sported a tab on the inside of one of the rear wheels which when rotated would strike against pins on the bottom of the turnstile allowing the lion to “roam” around the rear.
The yellow issue was a long lasting issue, and from 1973 it was sold until 1980. But if you looked closer you could find changes. For instance the lion was an orangey-brown for the first 3 years. During that time the canopy would change between amber or smoke. Some smoke can even be so pale that they are basically clear, and some had a slight blueish tint to them. There is a small run with silver base too, but I don’t have that.
In 1976 the lion changed from an orangey brown to a tan which tended to alternate with the orangey brown throughout the rest of its days. Although it is tough to confirm them as they are removable so can be switched. The only thing we know for sure, the tan lions did not appear until 1976.
Shades of tan also exist too as well as more shades on those smokey windows.
In 1981 for a final year, the model changed to white with a zebra striped side design. Early issues still had the red windows from the yellow issue.
Before they swapped out to purple for the rest of the year’s production. Mind you, there is a very small run of orange windows on late 1980 yellows and early 1981 whites, although I am yet to find either.
Just imagine the Animal Control Truck dealing with larger cats than he was expecting.
The second model in today’s run through is the MB1087 1933 Plymouth PC Sedan. After 2 Police liveried issues in previous years, MB40 for the 2020 range finally sees a civilian issue.
It comes in blue with black runner boards, silver grille and silver door handles.
A very nice look for this model. Now to dig into the history of this model.
As said, this is the first civilian issue as it debuted in the 2018 basic range as MB55 in brown with a Matchbox Police side design and silver grille.
I very rarely do non-Matchbox original issues, but once in a while something comes up which I take an interest in. Like this particular issue. It was created by Keith Hoskins, who works at the Sheriff’s Department in Boone County MO. You might recognise the Boone County name, as their design has been seen on a number of Matchbox models over the years. It all started back when I was the Ambassador for the company in the late 2000s. Keith was chatting to me about using his design, so I got in touch with the Matchbox team who loved the idea. I got the 2 together and now we have seen a number of their designs. So I am always a little proud whenever I see a new one, thinking I had a hand in that. So when Keith created this special run through Color Comp that was dedicated to Sheriff Roger Wilson who was killed in the line of duty back in 1933. 2018 had been the 85th anniversary of his death and in Boone County they still remember it. With a 1933 police car just being issued that year it seemed like a perfect opportunity to create a Matchbox memorial. One of those ended up in my hands, and although I rarely pick up any models altered after leaving the factory, once in a while one pops up that speaks to me, and I do add it to my collection. The original Matchbox Police side design was wiped, and the Boone County badge added in its place, in a very similar colour. The roof was also adorned with Sheriff Wilson’s memorial too.
Anyway, I digress, it helped to bolster my collection to sort through. Last year saw the Plymouth’s second official release by Matchbox, and again we saw a police themed side design, now on a black and white model. MB45 featured a Metro City 3 Police door design.
And if you are like me (a little mad, crazy, nuts etc), the whiteness of the door does vary. The bottom one here is a very bright white door, whereas the top one has quite a thin, pale look to it.
And although the model is in the last batch of the 2020 basic range, the first batch of the 2021 5-pack series also starts to appear around the same time, which gives us a civilian red issue in the Coffee Cruisers II pack.
Okay so next up is a brand new casting. I think I am safe to say it is one of the most anticipated new castings of 2020. A Bugatti! First time we have ever had a Bugatti in the Matchbox basic range. And it is a stunner too.
The MB1211 2018 Bugatti Divo arrives in the MB46 slot for the year in a grey and blue design. Named after Albert Divo, a racing car driver who drove for Bugatti in the 1920s/1930s, the vehicle was unveiled at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show in these very colours. Based around the Vision Gran Turismo concept from 2015, along with a nod to the classic Type 57S Atlantic from the 1930s (hey look it ties in with the last model), the new Divo will be limited to only 40 examples in real life. They opened the order books in secret before the unveiling and all 40 examples had already been sold before the vehicle even broke cover.
Quite an impressive feat too. This is designed to be more of a track car than a road car, although not a racing car. So the chances of seeing them on the roads are pretty much nil. But we can imagine with a Matchbox version though can’t we.
Being a new casting, I show the base for those interested. As you can see, it is quite plain. From what I can tell, all we mainly have are lines denoting the air resistance, much like you would likely see in real life. The chances of me looking under a real one to be sure are likely even less than seeing them on the road. I can imagine though.
I am very happy to see this though, as we have not had a proper Supercar in the Matchbox range for a long time. So, seeing as there is no history to this casting or manufacturer in the Matchbox range, I need to look sideways for a dive back.
Is Jaguar XJ220 sideways enough? One of the last Supercars we have seen from Matchbox, this model arrived in the 1993 basic range as either MB31 for the US market or MB26 for the ROW market. The MB239 casting debuted in blue for the basic range, and during the year if you looked carefully you might find the shade of blue varied a little.
It was also in silver that year as part of the Showstoppers series (something I did a blog post on earlier this year) hence me thinking of this. the Bugatti starts in grey and blue, the Jaguar starts in grey, and blue. Yeah? See the link? Oh wait, there was a purple as well. Oh rats, that’s just ruined it. That was in the World Class series in the premium side of things though. So I am just going to ignore premiums now. There were 3 more of them, 2 in 1997, one in 1998. There you go. Purple, you ruiner. Is ruiner a word?
So in 1994, under the careful watch of the at the time Tyco owners, they came up with an idea. The ROW range would see a little more of a realistic approach to things. The blue MB26 would continue, but now had an added Jaguar logo on the side, as well as the brand new spiral wheels that they had created, which for 1994 were gold.
The US range though. MB31 split away from its MB26 counterpart by being half fluorescent yellow and half fluorescent orange, all stuck together with blue tape. That was just a tampo print, they didn’t literally stick it together. But this was the beginning of the Tyco tumble. Take beautiful castings of models, lovingly created by designers, and slap the most horrific designs you can think of on them.
Of course that first year it was just limited to the basic range. In 1994 an MC-21 Jaguar Gift set was released which included 4 different Jaguar models in unique colours, and a Convoy model with a Jaguar theme too. The XJ220 was definitely a track focused model looking like this. Get it? The Divo is a track car, this is a track car design. You see why I chose the XJ220 now?
There were plans to add the Jag to the Graffic Traffic series too. A new Hot Metal series was launched for 1994, which instead of selling plain white models with stickers and markers, they sold them with flakes in addition which could be applied. A whole range of model was due to be launched, but only a few arrived. This Jaguar only got as far as pre-production stages.
In 1995 the ROW range was still trying its best to stay sane and the Jaguar continued on in the blue with logo design, but for 1995 the gold wheels turned chrome.
The US range though, knee deep in weird and wonderful designs, also carried on and again the gold wheels turned to chrome that year.
But things were starting to turn for the ROW collectors too. 5-packs until now were still relatively realistic, but in 1995 they came up with a new series of packs that were sold worldwide in designs more akin to the US basic range than the ROW basic range. The Super Cars 5-pack for the year saw a silver Jaguar with a fluorescent yellow design and blue squiggles. For production it only saw this top design, but in pre-production form there was an additional side stripe being weighed of for inclusion too. It got dropped though. The windows were also darkened for production too.
1996 saw no change for the ROW version of the Jaguar ZJ200, but the US issue lost the fluorescent yellow half, and the top tampo printing. Even the side printing turned black rather than blue.
The 1996 Super Cars 5-pack changed the look of the Jaguar into a blended red into black model as qas quite common with a lot of models at the time.
In 1997 the 2 ranges married up again and this time they both saw the same design, much like the 1995 Super Cars 5-pack issue’s top design. It only came with concave 5-spoke wheels, but pre-production samples exist with spirals.
But if you lived in USA there was a series called gold Challenge. Each of the models in the basic range were found randomly in assortments in unique boxes and they were all plain gold. the final production of gold was a metallic look, but the whole series was first envisioned in solid gold, and the model on the left is one of the prepros. I am actually amazed at how many pre-production samples of this casting I actually own.
1997 also saw another 5-pack release. Super Cars again, except this time the model was now green with a green and white side design.
1998 saw the US market drop the model after 1997, but the ROW market saw one more look. As Mattel had just taken over, the range saw a revamp with models moving around each year, and the XJ220 moved to the MB75 in the ROW range in a green with the Jaguar logo on the side. Production of the model also moved from Thailand to China during the year too. China issues are darker and have smoke windows.
After 1998 the model was dropped from the ROW range too. It popped up briefly in 2000 as a UK exclusive in red with a Union Jack side design. It was a UK exclusive MB12 that year.
In 2001 it returned to the ROW basic range in plain silver with blue windows. It was MB16 for the year.
Finishing off the following year as MB21 in the ROW range again. The US had seriously given up after 1997. As per the rules of 2002, the first 10,000 produced saw a “50” logo added to the print, which in this case was across the front. the only other tampo was a solitary Matchbox oval logo which was a short-lived addition to the range. Thankfully they stopped adding the Matchbox logo to models.
Next up in the list is the MB1083 ’63 Austin Healey 3000 MK2 Roadster. This is actually the second outing for the model in the 2020 basic range, and this time it takes the MB55 slot.
It comes in a lovely British Racing Green and disk wheels look. Definitely a highlight for the model. A classic British sports car in classic British colour.
The model has seen some very nice issues from day 1, which amazingly was only at the end of 2018. Even more so in the fact it was not originally planned to be a 2018 release. It was swapped in last second. So let’s remind ourselves of what has come already.
The 2018 debut. It first arrived sold as MB87 in red with a golden tan interior.
Which if you are crazy like me you will have discovered comes in different shades of golden tan.
2019 saw the model turn blue as MB78. I have been told that this blue paint also varied in shade, but sadly it was sold during the period of time where the UK was not stocking Matchbox at all, and I was relying on only getting items shipped from USA. So therefore I missed out in finding a shade myself.
But as I said, earlier this year it was already seen in the 2020 basic range, where it was sold in Britain’s second most iconic paint colour for classic cars. Cream. Little did I know that the second most iconic British classic car colour was about to surpassed by the most iconic.
But what the cream also gave us was more shades of interior. Somehow I don’t think the latest issue’s release is going to give us many interior variations due to it being black. But that’s never a 100% guarantee. I always keep an eye out just in case.
So, bringing in the recently released MB1214 ’56 Aston Martin DBR1 in green too for a quick photo, it is time to move on to the last model in the new batch and the return of a classic casting.
The MB953 Chevy K-1500 4×4. Or is that MB1000? It was supposedly modified a second time shortly after its first modification from MB249, but the base has only ever stated MB953 since that first change, so I am not totally sure.
Now this design is a nod to Todd Gionet, who works at Mattel, on this MB69 issue, which is actually the first basic range issue since the casting saw its modification (or 2).
The Gionet Tours Trail Hiker theme is based on stories he tells of his family going hiking in his spare time. This grey issue also reminds me of one of the model’s very first issues way back in the 1990s. So for the Bugatti I pulled out a classic from the 1990s, this time I am simply looking back at this model from the 1990s onwards.
Because this model first appeared in 1996. At that time it was MB249, and for the first year was a US basic range exclusive. It was sold as MB72 in black with a yellow and pink side design.
But the Off Road 5-pack that year also gave us a K-1500 too. This was available worldwide and was orange with a mountain themed side design. Oh look, the latest has a bit of a mountain themed side design. See I said it reminded me of an oldie.
1997 saw the US continue as the only market for the model, and this time MB72 turned yellow with the same side design, but now in red and white. Of course, as mentioned with the Jag previously, 1997 also saw the US range sport a 75 Challenge with all models in metallic gold. I don’t have a solid gold prepro of this one though.
Again though, we had a worldwide 5-pack issue. This time it was called Rugged Riders, and the K-1500 was now green with a, well, I will just say a design on the side.
1998 and it only went and finally saw a worldwide basic range release. It was MB54 that year in blue, again with the same side design that the previous 2 basic range issue had. Except this was now green and white. It was also the first shade variation I found, discovering the blue coming in lighter and darker shades. There is actually a crossover too. the blue does come with the same red and white side printing that was on the 1997 issue. These were found in a 25-pack being sold out of Sam’s Club, the Walmart membership store. I am still to find one. They are not easy to come by.
Seeing as Mattel had not long taken over the brand, we saw quite a lot of alternate colours for models in both basics (as already seen) and in 5-packs, with the Rugged Riders 5-packs seeing the same design as in 1997, except now the model was red. But there was a new 5-pack out too. They created a whole series of models for the 1998 World Cup, and we saw a model appearing as a single, with alternate plastics as an Action Twin Pack with a second model, and both models in a further plastics variation in a 5-pack along with 3 other models. One of those other models was the Chevy, which saw a France ’98 themed World Cup livery on the white model.
1999 came, and with it no more ROW issues for now. It was a 1-and-done for them at the time. The US range had been expanded up to 100 and the K-1500 took the last slot. MB100 for the year in an Evergreen Landscaping design.
Which proved to be it for the basic range for a few years. After taking 2000 off, the casting returned in lime green with a snowy theme in the Summit Seekers 5-pack in 2001.
Before the US market got a random basic range issue again. MB23 for 2002, and as with the Jaguar, the first 10,000 saw a 50 logo across the front. This time it was dark green with a River Outfitters side design.
This New House. A rather unusual name for a 5-pack, but it was one that was created in 2004 during the Hero City era with the side design on this blue model sporting a gardening themed scene.
Being a little more sporadic now, but the casting just keeps plodding on. 2006 now, and not one but 3 releases that year. The first was in the Jungle Recon Battle Kings set. If you look closely you will see that the camouflage design on the sides does vary between models, much like the camouflage Walmart series did a few years ago.
The other 2 were in a Mummy’s Gold 5-pack also in green, but this time sporting a muddy F9N4 (code for “FIND”) design, and it was also added to the premium Superfast series for a 1-off look too. The only time the casting has ever seen a full tampo print. It is also the only time the front and rear have ever been tampo printed too.
In 2007 we saw a white version appear in the all exclusive “Adventure” 10-pack and a Bowser and Mario design on the orange Super Mario licensed 5-pack.
2008 saw the model finally return to the basic range for another outing. But after amalgamating the basic range to one worldwide range in 2005, they split it again in 2008 into US, LAAM and ROW. Guess what? It was a US exclusive again. Still only 1 basic range outing outside the US market. MB97 for the year in orange, which I did find a small shade variation on. Enough for me anyway. It didn’t come up too well in the picture.
In 2009 it returned to the “Adventure” 10-pack in blue with a 181 design on the side. Again, I found a shade, although this one does come up a bit better in picture.
After that we saw nothing from the casting until 2012. But guess what? Basic range, which that year had amalgamated back to one worldwide range again. The ROW’s 2nd release. It was MB116 in green with a Snow Chains Installed side design.
It came back in 2014 in white with a blue and red BF Goodrich design as MB40. During production you could find it sporting either ringed 8-spoke or ringed gear wheels.
And in 2015 we saw one more issue of MB249 in yellow as MB112. You can see the alterations that were made as the interiorforms part of the rear bed and also now the roll bars.
This occurred for 2016 with the first issue of MB953 being in a Monster Week Discovery Channel licensed 5-pack in blue with an Octopus themed side design.
We were told that MB953 was being further modified into MB1000 but I have not seen any differences in any of the 3 models that have appeared since the change. Have we seen only MB1000s and they altered straight away before releasing any MB953s? If so, they could have forgotten to re-update the MAN number on the base. Or did the MB1000 change not take place and the spot left empty? I have no idea. But after that 2016 issue, the only issue before the current one was in the Walmart exclusive 2018 Chevy Trucks 100 Years set in green. Will we see it again? Who knows, it’s quite possible.
And finally for the new items, a little short piece on the last brand new casting. The MB1204 1956 Powell Sport Pickup. A real left field choice this one, it managed to get a lot of people googling. The Powell Manufacturing Company ran from 1926 until 1979 based out of California. the majority of their existence, they built motorbikes but in the 1950s they ventured out into SUV and Pickups briefly, by converting old Plymouth Chassis into something new. Some saw this as an early forerunner to the Ford Ranchero or Chevy El Camino, and they carried on converting until they pretty much ran out of old Plymouth Chassis to modify.
Matchbox have created a model if the vehicle in pale yellow and added it as MB90 in the range. In among the plethora of pickups they have in the range, this one really does stand out as unique.
At the rear you can see 2 unusual items just above the lights. These were actually removable tubes where you could store fishing poles or similar items. They were colour coded so the fact that they are casting detailed but not tampo printed it actually correct. Each pickup was basically a custom build using old parts, and as such the choice for 1 or both sides having this removable tube was up to whoever was buying it. It can come with either.
So definitely a left field choice, but I think quite an adventurous one too.
And, well, this is a new casting, so I show a little base shot. Again not too many details, but then I wonder how much there was on the real vehicle?
So I am going to go left field with my choice of dive back. I could have gone with one of the aforementioned models (Chevy El Camino or Ford Ranchero), but seeing as this was a bit of a surprise when first announced, I am going to go with another total surprise. The Buster! Oh yes, MB286 The Buster was quite a shocking addition to the 1996 basic range. A Matchbox originals design of a pickup truck and no interior. I remember hearing people at the time saying it was the end of the brand. That was 24 years ago. I actually liked it. It had a certain cuteness to the casting. It didn’t last very long. 3 years to be precise. It debuted in 1996 as MB13 in the US range or MB28 in the ROW range in blue with a fluorescent yellow side design. But me, as I said I like it, so I managed to obtain a pre-production sample where the side design was fluorescent peach instead.
In 1997 the model turned red with a new yellow and white design, although if you hunted around you could discover lighter and darker shades of red.
And being 1997, this does mean that the US basic range also sported a Gold Challenge issue too. I am amazed, I have done 3 dive backs this week of models that were around in 1997.
The model saw one more issue in 1998, where it was now sold as MB20 worldwide in green with the same side design as the red one had. It is the only issue I have currently not been able to find a variation on, although I am confident there is one. The model was never sold outside of the basic range, and after 1998 was not sold at all. Out of all the generic Matchbox originals that Matchbox have made over the years, going right back to the Superfast era in the 1970s, The Buster is one of my more preferred ones. I thought the shape was actually very nice, and it had a bit of a sporty feel to it too.
But before I finish batch F, I just wanted to add the last 2 carryovers from batch E. The MB1208 LEVC TX Taxi and MB1199 Jeep Renegade both rolled over in to a second batch. I have not seen any difference in my Taxi, although I am hearing that different production runs are showing different shades of yellow to the rear license plate (or should I say numberplate as it is a UK vehicle).
But I do now have 2 Jeeps. But not for the reason you would think. the shade of green is actually quite consistent, perhaps just a tad darker.
I don’t know if you see well enough in the picture, but the interior section, which forms wheel arches and the lower front end is now a darker shade of grey. It is not a massive difference but enough for me to keep both.
Proof that the interior forms the front as you can see where it is different from the base.
And that is a wrap for another week. The 2020 basic range (minus 2) is now complete. 98 models out of 100 finished for the year, which I do think is quite an achievement under the current circumstances. The other 2 models are still coming. The Mazda 3 and Western Star truck. They will be with us as 2021 rolls on. So roll on 2021, which I think I might dip my toe into a little next week. Until then, have a safe week.