Matchbox Monday takes a look at some 2021 5-packs

Today for Matchbox Monday I am in 2021. Wait, it’s still a couple of weeks away. Well, the first of the 2021 batches are starting to appear, with 5-packs leading the way. Basics are just filtering in, 9-packs are slipping in and Working Rigs have just launched too. 2021 is upon us in Matchbox-land. I still have quite a lot of 2020 related items to work through in my reports so bear with me as I move back and forth a little over the next few months. Newer stuff, older stuff. I have not even started Target retro yet, or done the last 2 batches of Moving Parts, last batch of Superfast, last batch of Off Road Rally, final Convoy. These are coming. I am just mixing things up a little. I might even do a 9-pack review of 2020 too. Because, why not? But for now, as it is the Christmas week and people may have a little extra time for things, I thought I would do a 2-for-1 and extend my article.

In November 2020 Matchbox released the first two 5-packs of 2020. And normally I would just do 1, but this time I am going through them both. The first of them is called Coffee Cruisers II, and as has been done a couple of times this last year, the name is as a previous recent set, with more of a similar theme. Coffee Cruisers was first done in 2018 and I hope this means we get to see more returning visits to themes. Although this is just a fancy way of saying a classic car pack, I do think with a tie in to the last one, this is something just a bit more special.

Especially if we see a model directly associated with one from the last pack. I will get to that shortly, but for now I will start from the top and work my way down.

The first model is the MB363 ’62 VW Beetle. This iconic casting just keeps on plugging along. I am a huge fan of seeing it continue, as the Beetle is such a cool vehicle.

It comes in a pale blue colour with simply front and rear details as well as a rather buggy license plate.

Quite similar to the look of the 2007 10-pack “Real” model. Although that was a lighter shade of blue.

Plus it had a totally different rear plate meaning it is not a carry forward livery. It is new. So why 2 of that one?

It is because during production of the 10-pack model the wheels were found in either disk (the older disk style) or tri-spoke. But rather than do a dive back into the MB363 casting, I though I would slant slightly sideways with MB578 VW Beetle Taxi casting. An offshoot of the original, it has seen much fewer releases over the years, and has not been seen at all for quite a while.

It debuted in 2003 as MB31 in Mexican green with white roof design. As was custom for that year (aside from adding the number from the range) was the fact that the first 10,000 examples sported a Hero City logo on the side. This was definitely one of the stars of the 2003 series.

2004? Perhaps not so much. This was the peak of Hero City and the red model was a part of the basic range as MB44 and the purple with clowns on the side was in the Fun Park 5-pack. Fun Park is a 5-pack we definitely do not want to revisit.

But with the move to El Segundo for 2005 saw a much improved look for the models. The basic range issue that year was a lovely realistic yellow as MB41.

The casting was also included in the 2005 Superfast series as number 73, with the ROW range receiving another Mexican green and white issue, and the USA market seeing a yellow edition.

2006 saw a much nicer 5-pack release of the Taxi as it was included in the City transport 5-pack that year.

Before it took a break for 2007. It came back in 2008 for what is, so far, its swansong. Back in the basic range again, and back with the Mexican green and white. It is a bit of an iconic look for the model after all. But this was the first year of the US/LAAM/ROW split, and it was sold in the US market and LAAM market as MB56. The ROW market did not see it.

All 3 Mexican green and whites lined up for a final shot before moving on to the next casting.

Which is the MB761 ’72 Lotus Europa Special.

A cool little addition in yellow with 6 roundel. That is it’s own recurring theme. I will dive back into the model’s history to prove it.

Of course I can’t start this off without showing my prepro. This pre-production sample with double 10-spoke wheels and chrome interior/base is a matte black finish.

It was won at one of the Albuquerque Matchbox conventions at a time when the details of the auction it was in (the 7th ABQ Convention) was etched into the base. Talking of which, you may notice the lack of any writing on the base too (apart from said ABQ 7). This was an early prototype first paint sample shot model. A very nice model in my collection.

Of course it debuted in blue. A nod to the classic Lesney debut of the original Europa, and MB3 for 2009 was found in lighter or darker shades of blue.

It was also given an early premium treatment as it was chosen to be the show model for the 7th Albuquerque convention too. This was the 2009 event and as such it has various nods to the 40th anniversary of Superfast incorporated into the design too.

It was also added to the 1st Editions 10-pack at the end of the year. It was green, no wait yellow, no wait greeny yellow. Yeah it varied quite a bit during production from a light lime to a pastel lemon and shades in between. And yes, I did buy quite a few of that 10-pack. I am that crazy.

2010 saw its first proper yellow release. This time it was a plain yellow with front and rear detailing. Being MB21 for the basic range gave me a few chances to find a shade variation, which I did. Something I hope to replicate with the new one.

It also saw a second premium addition that year too, as it was a part of the 2020 Lesney Edition series, which incorporated a metal body + metal base, making it significantly heavier than the rest. This was purple with, oh look the 6 roundel. I mentioned about that.

A green example was also found in the Classic Rides 5-pack that year too, which meant strictly speaking we had 3 releases in each of its first 2 years.

Ooh! 6 Roundel! See I told you this is a bit of a recurring theme. I don’t know why 6 has been chosen to grace all the releases that had a number (apart from the Gathering Show Model), but it is something I have noticed. Maybe I will discover the reason why some day. This was its only 2011 release, MB21 in the basic range.

With 2012 seeing a slight tweak in direction (which luckily hasn’t lasted) many classic vehicles were dropped from the range. Luckily the Lotus was not one of them, as it continued in orange as MB64 that year. Again I found metallic orange to be good for shades and have a few of these too.

It did see a final basic range outing in 2013 in dark metallic plum as MB78 before going on hiatus.

It made a return as MB15 in 2019 in metallic black with gold pin striping on it, in a nod to the iconic JPS design of the real vehicle. Matchbox made a JPS model for the Japanese market of the original Europa casting back in 1977, which ran until 1979 and saw additional multipack issues in 1980/81. But how times change. John Player Special is a brand of cigarettes, and it is now against the law to sell what is in effect a children’s toy with anything resembling cigarettes on it. Hence the metallic look to the model, not solid black. It is about as close as they can get without stepping over the line. They see these boundaries. They do attempt to carefully nudge these boundaries as far as they can. I do see the efforts the team makes with the new stuff. They have limits. They try to stretch those limits as far as they can. I often hear people saying they are not like they used to be. Some things legally cannot be. It was a different time back then.

But what else was back then? Way WAY back then? 1933 to be exact. The MB1087 Plymouth PC Sedan was back then. This is a real classic. Or should I say vintage now? First time seen outside of the basic range, and second civilian issue straight after the first which I have just showcased.

So as I have just done a run down of the previous issues of the Plymouth, it would be a bit silly to do them all again. So what else to do? What else to do? Tapping fingers…. Looking around aimlessly…. A-ha!

Citroën 15 CV. I bet you were not expecting that one. The Citroën Traction Avant was launched in 1934, so only 1 year later than the Plymouth, although it was not called Traction Avant at the time, only getting the name retro-actively (reminds me of Matchbox regular wheels being a retroactive name). CV stands for Chevaux Vapeur. In France, they would assign taxes on cars depending on how much horsepower they were generating. When the vehicle first launched in 1934 it was a 7CV, rising to 11CV then to 15/6CV. The higher spec model was actually closer to a 16CV than 15CV hence the unusual name. However, the model was also built in the UK for right hand drive markets. It was not built in the first year, and by the time they started building them the 11CV engine was the norm. However, the UK did not use the traditional French tax ratings. They had their own and as such they called the vehicle by its actual horsepower rating. 15hp. But they still used the CV ending, so British made models were known by the 15CV name. French made were either 11CV or 15/6CV.

However, and yeah this is another pre-production sample with a yellow interior, you can clearly see the vehicle is a left hand drive model. Strictly speaking it is still correct. 15CVs were made in the UK in right hand drive form, but as was the case back then, people buying the models could opt for personal touches, and the UK factory did make a few with left hand drive if requested. It may be rare, but a left hand drive 15 CV did exist. Most 15 CV models would be right hand drive, and most left hand drive either 11 CV or 15/6 CV, but this is a real vehicle. There you go, a little history lesson.

So the model. As I said, yellow interiors were never made. The MB124 Citroën 15 CV was launched exclusively in the ROW market as MB44. It was moved to MB12 in the Japanese market in 1984 for the rest of the time in the basic range as Japan had an exclusive range for a while. In 1983 on debut the interior was grey. It could be a lighter grey, or it could be a much darker silvery grey. But in 1983 grey was the word.

In 1984 they lightened it up a little. Cream or white. These were the new options for the 1984 range.

In mid 1985 they moved production to Macau from England. By doing this it reverted back to a grey interior again but through these first 3 years the model stayed black.

It finally saw a change to dark blue for the 1986 basic range. This was its final year and at first final stocks of grey interiors were used up before the new red interiored one arrived.

After that the model saw one more use. In 1987 Universal had the rights to the Dinky name which they had purchased a few years earlier. But they discovered that their plans to come up with a new range using the Dinky name were taking so long that time was about to run out for them to be allowed to keep the name. If nothing was in stores before a certain date they would lost the rights to the Dinky name and it would be up for sale again. so they rush released 6 basic range models in all-new colours, all in good old fashioned Dinky packages. They literally ran them out to a local store to sell, got a receipt from the store owner to say he had purchased a range of Dinky models from Universal, and they had done enough to keep hold of the name. One of the model was the Citroën, now in green.

But this was not the end of it. A Super Value Pack was created in 1991 and a number of older castings that were not in use were shipped over to China for production. These models were mixed in with other models already in production in 6-packs, and were sold in the US market. One of the old castings dusted off was the Citroën again, and as with a number of vehicles that had been dusted off, it was using an older look, which in this case was the original black. It also sported a creamy interior like some of the 1984s but there were a few other differences.

The 5-crown wheels were now 5-arch and the chrome base was now grey. Oddly enough, this SVP model was the only one ever to be sold outside of the ROW market.

This brings me to the next model in the list. The MB1130 ’47½ Chevy AD Pick-up. The Advance Design (as it was shortened from) replaced the AK-series in 1947, but due to the late start it was known as a ’47½ seeing as it started half way through the model year. Matchbox created a casting of the ’47½ and debuted it in the 2018 Walmart exclusive Chevy 100 Years Trucks series. This Coffee Cruisers issue is the first 5-pack release for it (unless you include the debut also being in a 5-pack as well as single).

The newest release is in satin olive green with a black base and a Coffee Cruisers design on the side. Talk about self promoting a pack name.

Of course who can forget the debut. It was a late arrival to the Walmart set as the first production run did not include it. Luckily it was not far behind and the second production run finally saw it issued (and as I said also in a 5-pack). It had a very retro look to that model too, much like the new one does.

2019 saw it arrive in the basic range for the first time as MB19 in blue with a Jimmy G’s side design. A nod to Jim Gallegos who runs the Albuquerque Matchbox convention each year.

It also saw a Butterfinger side design in the Candy sweets set that appeared during the year too.

And of course 2020 saw the National Parks theme in action as MB96 in the basic range was a recent induction into the National Parks Hall of Fame. And if you are somebody like me, you would likely have discovered shades of mint throughout production too.

Which brings us to the star of this pack (well to me it is). The MB987 ’78 dodge Monaco Police. This is actually the most modern vehicle in the pack. The years were 1933, 1947½, 1962, 1972 and 1978 for these 5 models. It is a classics pack without being called a classics pack. Last time out the Coffee Cruisers included a Dodge Viper RT/10, which was a 1990s model.

But everything is at least 40 years old here. I really like the set, and this model in the Matchbox State Police design is just the icing on the cake.

Because those who remember the original Coffee Cruisers pack may remember that the MB858 ’56 Buick Century Police also sported the same design. Brilliant! I love these themes. I am hoping we see a Coffee Cruisers III pack soon with perhaps the Dodge Coronet or Hudson Hornet in. I mean we do have more precincts to go through.

If you look carefully, the Buick is the 4th Precinct and Dodge is the 5th. They also have their MAN numbers included in the door shield and at the rear. I think these are brilliant. We need 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 7th Precincts etc.

So as I have not done a dive back into the Dodge Monaco yet, why not do it now. When the car was first created for the 2009 basic range, it went by the Manufacturing number MB762 and sported a separate light bar on the roof. It was added as MB54 in black with white doors.

It was then added to the 1st Editions 10-pack at the end of the year in a light blue and white State Police design too. It was the same 10-pack that the yellow or green Lotus Europa I mentioned already in this article was in. Yes, both the Dodge and Lotus in Matchbox-land are the same age. I mean MB761 (Lotus), MB762 (Dodge), they were literally consecutive models. Of course the Dodge has been modified since, but the Lotus carries on unchanged.

Anyway, I am digressing, on to 2010 and the year that Walmart in USA first asked the Matchbox team to do something unique. Before the current scenario of unique mini-series exclusive to the store in the country, they came up with something a bit different. 4 models from the basic range would see their release in Walmart USA stores in a different look. The Dodge Monaco was one of them. It was a US exclusive anyway as MB53 that year, but where all the other stores were seeing a blue issue, Walmart saw a golden one. What’s more, if you check the name on the side of the gold one, you may notice “Tramwal County”. Tramwal is an anagram of Walmart.

In 2011, the model returned to the ROW range, but the LAAM range at the time (LAtin AMerica) was still missing it. A black CHP version was sold as MB53 in the US market and MB36 in the ROW market. The model also saw its first 5-pack issue 10 years ago too, in the Police pack in white with a State Police side design.

2012 saw the 3-way split of the basic range disappear and as such MB43 was now available worldwide, being a silver Sheriff version of the model.

And what would prove to be the final outing for the original MB762 casting, 2013 saw a blue version released as MB110.

After taking 2014 off, the model was altered to incorporate the light bar on the roof into the window section and since then the model has been a multi-pack exclusive. MB987 has never been in the basic range. In 2015 it was a part of the Police Squad 5-pack and shades of gold were to be found during production.

With 2016 being the only other issue until now featuring a white State Police design as a 9/10-pack exclusive (depending on market). The model was quite familiar looking.

But it wasn’t a carry forward design. I like how they come up with designs that are similar like this.

So that is the end of 1 pack. Normally I would take a break about now, and come back next week with something else. But both packs came out together, it is Christmas week (unless you live in a country that celebrates it on 7th January, or possibly another date), but I am a 25th December Christmas celebrating person so for me this is Christmas week, so I am going to double up and go through the other pack too.

Off Road Rally. Continuing a theme that was started in 2020 with the Walmart exclusive series (I will be going through batch B of that shortly), for 2021 the world saw a rally themed pack.

Although does one strike you as not very off-roady? I mean a a set of 4 models with rallying style designs on the side, and a red Fiat. Not that I’m complaining, as I love the look of the Fiat (it is my favourite look of the model to date) but I thought being in a pack like this it would have had a bit of a different look to it.

Anyway, I am going to go through the pack the same way I did with the first pack. Start with the top model and work my way down. Oh wait, I didn’t show you the packs. Oh dear, ripped them all apart too quickly. It’s packaging. I am here for the models.

The first of which is the MB1038 ’90 VW Golf Country. It comes in white with a “Rompin’ Racing Team side design with little rabbits running along. However, did you notice the grammatical error? ‘Rompin. Not Rompin’. The apostrophe was on the wrong end.

What else is there to notice? Why of course it is a VW Golf. Current VW Golf castings from Matchbox have rear parcel shelf variations. In this case it is what I call the chainsaw or fuel can in the rear difference. The worst part is though, is that this is the top model in the pack so I cannot see the difference in the pack. I have to rip the models out to find it. Oh that’s just terrible. I mean, having to open the package with no choice if I want to find the variation. What will I do?

So how about a quick recap of what we have seen from this casting. Debuting back in 2017 as MB4 the first batch was not quite right. It was green and had double 10-spoke wheels. Totally wrong obviously.

It saw a running change after the first batch to metallic teal with 5-spokes. I am still holding out hope that we get more terrible errors like this that have to be adjusted with a running change. I do love a running change.

For 2018 the model moved to MB99 and this time was in red. No running change, but there was a change if you were a Target USA customer.

That’s right, it continued in Target assortments now in 65th anniversary sapphire blue.

That is the last we have seen of it in the basic range, as for 2020 it made the jump into 5-packs. Before 2021s Off Road Rally release, the model was a part of the 2020 Service Squad 5-pack. It was blue in that pack. You may have noticed every model was doubled up as each release I have made sure I obtained both the chainsaw and fuel can interior variation. Because you know, I am crazy.

But before I move on I just want to take one more look at the rabbits. Remind you of anything?

Why of course Rompin Rabbit. That one didn’t even have an apostrophe! Jeez! The spelling on these models. Although I won’t say too much, as I may have made some grammatical errors in this blog and not noticed them. They happen.

I do believe the design scheme of the newest issue was influenced by this model. The MB099 Romping Rabbit (and yes its official name is “Romping” with a “G” at the end) was a US exclusive MB7 from 1982-1985, and was also added to the extended Japanese range from 1984-1986 too. The Japanese range saw many US and ROW exclusives together as well as some exclusives between 1984 and 1987, with Romping Rabbit being MB54 there for the first 3 out of the 4 years. The model was white in 1982 where it was made in England, and was based on the older MB007 VW Golf LS casting but the base was changed to a new one with massive 4×4 wheels. The name on the side of the model inspired the team name for the new one. But the rabbits?

The actual rabbit on the side of the new one is the same as the 1983-86 yellow Hong Kong/Macau made model. I love these subtle nods to the past. This one had a pair of variations. The rabbit on the front would run either way, and the interior could be blue or red. All 4 variations exist. I should have photographed all 4, but it’s too late now.

So that Fiat. The MB1037 Fiat 500X was also included in the set. Again second time in a 5-pack, but this is a simple red scheme with front and rear tampos.

It is a lovely little model, and as I said, this is my new favourite version of the casting, but the final look of the model puts it out of place with the others. I know it sounds daft, but perhaps the Quick Sander could have been a better choice for adding. It hasn’t been used in a few years, is a Matchbox originals design and they could have had some fun creating a side design with nods to past models. But this isn’t a complaint, because you know I love it! Merely thinking out loud.

Well I have been doing a lot in this particular blog, so this will be a quick one. A recap of this model’s history. It started off as MB3 back in 2017 in dark green with a “so dark it is almost black” window. I believe the window component was not supposed to have been that dark. It was a small blooper as it should have just been smoke, but by the time it was noticed it had finished production. No running change! Rats!

In 2018 it was MB12 and was now orange. Orange, particularly the metallic orange, is always good for shade variations. Sure enough I found some nice shading on this one.

Last year saw it follow the VW Golf Country from being a mainline model to being a 5-pack model. This one was in the MBX Highway set in 2020 after taking 2019 off and again I did discover some nice shading on what is now a blue model. Will I find some nice shading on the red? I am hoping so.

Next up is the MB1082 Jeep Wagoneer. This model comes in tan with a muddy brown/orange/red 88 side design with various logos running across the top.

This is the first time that the model has been issued without the wood panel side. Something of a theme in itself, but instead it is sporting another ongoing theme. Desert Endurance Race (D.E.R.). That scheme was used quite a bit about a decade ago but in recent years had fallen by the wayside. With the Off Road Rally models at Walmart bringing back a few classics with the logo, it is nice to see it has kickstarted the theme again. Hopefully we will see more D.E.R. models as time goes on.

It may be a new pack, but I am already starting to find shades of tan on the model.

A reminder of this model’s history. It arrived in 2018 as MB88 and boy was the first issue fun. You could find variations in the shade of burgundy.

Plus if you looked hard enough you could find variations in the wood panel side print too.

In 2019 it moved to MB14, this time in charcoal but using the same design as 2018.

And just like the other 2 already mentioned, 2020 saw this move out of the basic range and into 5-packs. This was in the MBX Countryside pack for 2020 and although now blue, it still had that same wood panel side design.

So this new edition is a bit of a departure for the model’s signature look. So, wait, have I just done 2 models in a row with only a tiny dive back. Oh that’s not on….

Hello Jeep Grand Cherokee. Yes, that’s right. So far this pack, the dive backs have been small, so I need to make a bigger one. So I went with what is about as close as I could get. The Wagoneer was classed a full size SUV, but after it retired in 1993 it left the Jeep Grand Cherokee as the largest SUV in the line-up. Although Matchbox never made the ZJ first generation, they did create a model of the WJ second generation and MB442 was first launched in 2000 as MB65 in the US range or MB45 in the ROW range. It was a rather plain silver with simple side detailing and rear lights, and it contained a raft on the roof. The first 10,000 MB65s in USA sported a Matchbox 2000 logo in the rear window. A second non-raft version was created too, but for now I will concentrate on the raft issues.

In 2001 it moved to MB22, where it saw an Action Canyon side design on a blue model. First run sported concave 5-spoke wheels before it was switched to the new sawblade wheels that debuted that year.

In 2002 it was MB48 in purple with another water themed side design. This one a little more generic, with just a wave picture. Again the first 10,000 saw logos. This time they were on the front and it was worldwide. Another yellow issue was a part of the Across America series depicting West Virginia.

It took 2003 off, but returned in 2004 in 2 different looks. Around the World saw a Grand Canyon themed look and a Nick Jr licensed 5-pack saw Dora the Explorer on the side of a bright green model.

In 2005 this model was a part of the Jungle Adventure 5-pack. During production of the pack it moved factories from China to Thailand. Daft story, this is the pack that I first went for a change of country variation on. Until 2005 I was not being so specific over which country they came from, but had reached a point in my life where I could afford to open up my search a little more. I saw both at my local Tesco and could see variations between them. I had already been doing shade variations on older models, particularly from the Lesney era, but it dawned on me looking at the 2 packs. A change of manufacturing country means a change of shade. I bought both packs and that started my hunt for different countries on models. So there you go. 2005, a turning point in my collecting.

It continued being a 5-pack only release in 2006 as we saw a Mummy’s Gold edition in yellow.

And 2007 saw my favourite 5-pack edition (from the Beach 5-pack) as this one also sported the wood panel sides that the older Wagoneer would normally see. It also had a little I love Eco Tours banner on it. I love these little random extras. I wish we had more of them.

2008 almost proved to be the swansong for the model. It was a part of the Ocean Research 5-pack in blue. The model went into semi-retirement after that.

Popping out once for a random outing in the Walmart exclusive Jeep set in bronze in 2016. As I often do, I managed to find a nice shade variation on that one too.

Okay I am going to have some fun now. The 4th model in the set is the MB1183 ’68 dodge D200 Pickup. I only recently showed the recurring theme for this design in my Off Road Rally post the other week, so I will not bore you with it again.

Instead I think I will bore you with my own unique craziness.

Shade variation! Yeah I love it. This is metallic orange. I mentioned with the Lotus, I mentioned again with the Fiat, and now a trifecta of mentions. Metallic orange is cool for shades. This pack has literally only just been released and I am already finding shades on it.

The thing is, there is not a lot of background to this model. It only just turned up in 2019 as MB63.

And I just did a rundown of various models when I did the batch E 2020 release of MB65 in black. So What can I do with this one? 1968? That was 1 year before the beginning date of my Matchbox collection.

So why not do some of the oldest Dodges in my collection. Dodge in the late 1960s/early 1970s in the Matchbox range were not the US style Dodges we know today. The UK had a subsidiary often known as Kew-Dodge, due to being built in Kew in Surrey. One of the main trucks being built out of Kew from 1964 onwards was the Kew-Dodge 500 with tilting front end, and Lesney made a number of models using the same cab front mated to different rear ends.

Like the MB4 Stake Truck. It ran from 1967 until 1971 and after transitioning to Superfast wheels in 1970, during those last 2 years it saw various shades from lighter to darker yellow.

As well as rarer spiro wheels in place of the standard 4-spokes.

We also saw the MB37 Cattle Truck. A shorter vehicle that ran from 1966 until 1972, and after transitioning from regular to Superfast wheels it went from yellow to orange in 1971.

It may have been smaller, but this one had cattle. And an opening rear.

It was also in use as a Crane Truck and sold as MB63 between 1969 and 1972.

It only ever came in yellow throughout its time in the range, and apart from transitioning from regular to Superfast wheels in 1970 it didn’t see too many changes although you can find shades of yellow both on the model itself and the hook.

The other casting in the range at the time was the Kew-Dodge 400-series which had seen this generation launch in real life in 1963, and this again had different vehicles made from it. The MB48 Dumper Truck ran from 1967 until 1971 and after running in red through its regular wheel days, when changed to Superfast those last 2 years were blue with a yellow dump. Yeah I know, INC without the logos right? Of course in 2 years, shades of blue were easy to spot.

It does come with 5-spokes as well as 4-spoke wheels, but I haven’t got as far as grabbing one of those yet. Too busy concentrating on my shades. It’s an addition I tell you.

The other 400-series model was the MB13 Wreck Truck which was actually the first Dodge that Matchbox made. It was first launched in 1965 and ran until 1970. Officially it was always yellow with a green rear, but they mixed it up one run and made it the other way round. That was during the regular wheel era, so I do not worry about trying to find it. There is a rare late run with Shell labels instead of BP. But due to a spate of fakes coming on to the market a while back I have been very cautious about finding one.

Hmm! I think the new D-200 casting is a little tall to be towed….

There’s always a get around.

Which brings us to the last model in the set. The only one that is not licensed too. The MB731 Baja Bandit.

This comes in yellow with a Beach Rally 2021 design on the top. When was the last time we saw the year of the model’s release incorporated into its design? I can’t even think. I only have some Duracell promos from 2003/2004 in my head. Anyway, I digress, I have always liked this casting. It may be a Matchbox original, but I have always thought it to be so cute, so am happy to see more of it. So why not check them all out.

This one traces its roots back to 2007 when it debuted as MB59 in the basic range. I do enjoy shades as you know, and I did find darker and lighter shades of green. But I did say I thought this was really cute didn’t I.

Well that meant I was eager to get a prepro, and this took the form of an early draft of the debut issue, which was originally going to be more of a golden lime shade, before making a last minute switch to a deeper green.

But 2007 wasn’t done. Oh no, there was a version 2 coming later in the year too, and the green turned to purple with a new design later in the year.

It was also added to the 1st Editions 10-pack that year too, and again I found lighter and darker shades of red on that one.

2008 saw a number of issues. The basic range moved to MB90 in the US range and MB24 in the ROW range. It wasn’t sold in Latin America (LAAM). Again it was green, now with a 26 and checks design. It saw a licensed 5-pack issue in a Scooby Doo set in blue too.

Another yellow was a part of the Adventure 10-pack that year, and it saw its one and only premium release in the 2008 Superfast range in bronze.

The 2009 basic range issue was now a US (MB80) and LAAM (MB20) issue, as this time it was the ROW range which didn’t see it. This one was one of my favourite designs on it too. Typical. Well I still got it obviously, but I never had a chance to check for variations.

Like I did with the Beach Patrol 5-pack issue in blue. Or in my case blue, and very dark blue.

In 2010 it saw, well, a lot again. Love it! Still a US (MB80) or LAAM (MB40) only issue in camouflage brown in the basic range, we saw another Adventure 10-pack issue in dark teal, a licensed 5-pack SpongeBob SquarePants issue in yellow and a Camping Adventure 5-pack issue in dark mint.

2011 saw only licensed 5-packs (go Diego go in white) and regular 5-packs (Camping Adventure in red) see new releases of the model as it was not in the basic range.

But it returned to the basic range in 2012 in blue with a Grizzly Bear design as MB60. It also saw another SpongeBob SquarePants licensed 5-pack release too in lime gold.

2013 saw another 2 releases in the way of a dark red issue in the Beach Rescue 5-pack, and as licensed packs were winding down they had gone from 5-packs to 3-packs, and Jake & The Neverland Pirates saw a 3-pack release with this in light red.

It took 2014 off, but returned in 2015 as one of the Jurassic world models in tan. It was in the Desert 5-pack, which later was renamed Island when they discovered there was nothing desert-related in Jurassic World.

2016 saw a return to variations, as the desert 5-pack that year threw us a lovely wheel variation. It could be found with brown wheels or gold wheels.

It was also in a Shark Week 5-pack in orange too.

2-17 saw another orange issue. This one was in the basic range. Mb104 with a Tiki on the front alongside the model’s name.

After taking 2018 off, we saw 2 different releases in 2019. the basic range saw a carry forward issue as the 2012 release came back as MB71. A pink MBX To The Rescue 5-pack release was also released, which was the last one before the newest arrival.

Comparison of the 2012 vs 2019 issues of the basic range. As you can see they are very similar, but the tampo design is different shades. The blue is fractionally different too.

And that brings us to the end of the second 5-pack (or in my case, 8-pack. I get the variation on the Golf, end up with 2 Jeeps and 2 Dodges. Now to keep my eye out for future production runs giving me variations on the other 2 for a full set of variations. I set myself strange goals don’t I.

So that brings us to the end of another article. I hope it wasn’t too long. I did a bit extra as it was Christmas week.

All that is left for me to say is have a happy Christmas and stay safe. And did anybody notice there was a Dodge and a VW in both packs?

11 Replies to “Matchbox Monday takes a look at some 2021 5-packs”

  1. Great write up as ever. There has been some good 5 packs this year. £3.50 offer currently in Tesco. Is there going to be anything unique for the EU or UK being produced in due cause?. The thing is I would like to see this brand taken seriously for this UK/EU market. Mbx is made to dwindle behind Mattel’s other brands here( fed to every outlet ). Retro line for us?….. Royal mail vans.?. Thanks set for NHS?!……. Many more items could be done but it doesn’t happen here no more…. Thank you for your great write ups and lamley . Merry Xmas.

      1. UK series?!…. What like a best of British series in the future?. Nice one. Tbh, i take it as it come with this brand now. So much this brand could do. Even the old stars of Germany and so on… Good to see if it happen and availability. UK series would be great. Even an odd unique 5 pack. Take care.

    1. Ironically there is a new German themed set too. Not premiums, just recoloured mainlines but a nice assortment. Hopefully the UK set will appear at Tesco.

      1. I’ve just found a website where it said there is a 10 lineup. Wave 1 release Jan 2021… The advert writing ” Take a drive around big Ben… Have a spot of tea….👍😀”… The pre order price is $12.99…. As for a German lineup I saw written as a proposed possibility. Thats good when released. Tbh Mr Tetlow it looks like more cups of tea for us!… Hope to see in due cause but?..Tesco only?.. Cheers.. Clink!….👍😀..

      2. The first batch of UK models is scheduled for a January release. I believe they will be available in the UK and likely at some hobby stores outside of the UK. But not mainline stores outside of the UK. There will also be a German batch released in Germany with the same hobby store availability. A French set is scheduled at some point, and possibly other countries like Italy too later in the year, although things are still being confirmed and could change. However, these sets are scheduled to have 12 models in total. The aim is for a batch of 6 first, then a second batch of 6 later. They will be boxed up in cases of 10, so some models will be 1 per case, others 2 per case. Each set is also scheduled to have 3 brand new items and 3 carry forwards from older products. They will be released under the “Regional Theme Assortments” banner. Each regional set will feature its own card art design.

    2. Matchbox is making some fantastic models. There is only one complaint and it’s minor really or could be fixed quick and easy. With all the trailers they have been doing, not enough models are being done with the hitch. I recently took a photo with the Jeep Gladiator and the MBX Cycle Trailer and thought it would of looked great hooked to the Gladiator. I personally think most SUVs should have them but not upscale like BMW or luxury models. Same with trucks unless their high 4x4s. Just a thought…………

  2. Thanks Mr Tilley. All that efforts for regional Euro lineups would be a great intro into the countries who don’t that much attention from this brand.

  3. The only one I’m really interested in is the Golf Country. The deco on this one is incredible! The question being, do I love it enough to pay $5 for it? The Lotus Europa is a nice casting, but I’m not really caring for the deco on this outing. I think I’ll be happy with my JPS inspired metallic black with gold pinstripes.

Leave a Reply