Matchbox Monday begins working on some 2021 rigs

Yeah I admit it. When these first came out I thought to myself they were too big for my collection as they didn’t fit in the carry cases, and so decided to ignore them. But thanks to Wheel Collectors I have been getting the more recent issues for showcasing on the blog due to popular demand, and the more I get of these, the more I enjoy them. The clue was in the name. Working rigs. They have a number of working parts on them. It’s fun to mess about with them. Now the “Real” part of the name was dropped a number of years ago, but because they had manufacturing numbers based on the “Real Working” part of the the name, this system continues on to this day, as evidenced with the first model in the set of 16 for the year.

It is the RW050 International Durastar Box Truck. This is the debut version for the model. It takes the number 1 position out of the 16 being released, with plans for a set of 4 each quarter.

The model debuts in a Speedy X-Press livery, which is a recurring theme that I always enjoy seeing.

The cab is a metal part, and the lower edge of the box section with ramp area is also metal. The rest is made up of plastic parts.

I love this rear ramp section. I know we have a metal section permanently sticking down to accommodate it, but I do think it is an ingenious design.

You tilt the ramp down and then slide it down the metal section so it rests on the ground, which then allows you to open the rear doors.

The ramp can only be tilted when fully up the rear section, as the way it is built you cannot tilt it in any other area of it. I wonder how long it took them to get that right. Plus it is not a loose fit in there. As seen here it holds up mid-slide. It doesn’t just drop down when tilted out the back. There must have been quite an effort to get the logistics of it correct.

Plus because this is a brand new casting so we get a base shot.

Now as I mentioned before, this is a recurring theme. It first appeared on the MB787 Express Delivery Truck. This too was a debut, on a casting that only lasted in that guise for 1 year. After debuting in 2010 as MB60, and then seeing a 1st Editions 10-pack release, the casting was altered into MB813 for 2011 onwards.

We then saw the design return on the MB444 Ford Panel Van in 2018 as MB69.

This makes the new International Durastar the 3rd vehicle to sport this design. I am really hoping it will not be the last. Transit, Transit Connect, eStar Electric Van…. There are candidates for version number 4. Although personally I would have a Convoy version with a re-issue of the Express Delivery included, which means that model will be sporting the same livery on both castings of it. So now would be a time I would go into some sort of history. The thing is, my collection is basically all miniatures, so that is where I end up.

So I am going to go back through the history of MB444. But only in its first incarnation. The Ford Panel Van first started out as MB444, which originally meant that it sported a roof rack with poles and a ladder on top. They later created an MB474 offshoot which came with a light bar on the roof instead of the roof rack. Later on a civilian version also appeared as MB479 with nothing on the roof. Between them the castings ran until 2012 and that was it. Later in the decade, the Matchbox team worked on a cost reduced system and used the original number as a means of creating a new police unit with window section also forming the lights. Not the later police version number. Just to confuse us that little bit more. But the original MB444 first started out in 2000 as MB38 in the US market, or MB23 in the ROW market. The first 10,000 MB38s for USA sported a Matchbox 2000 logo on the front window.

They also immediately created a “blank” for companies like Color Comp to use for promotional models.

The casting was not used in 2001, but returned in 2002 as a US exclusive basic range issue. Again, this was a logo year, and the first 10,000 examples sported a “50” logo on the rear of the model. However, most ended up in Latin America, which at the time was also taking the US range, and as such very few ended up in collector hands.

That was the last time we saw the casting in the basic range in that guise (only now seeing it again in the updated with window/light section guise). In fact we didn’t even see MB444 after 2002 until 2005 when it popped up randomly as one of the Nickelodeon Easter Egg models.

After that we saw what will likely go down as one of the best looks ever (in my opinion). The 2007 Garage Works 5-pack saw this awesome BF Goodrich design on a creamy model. I just love the look of this one.

But after that, we only saw a few final issues in licensed 5-packs. First in 2007 when it was a part of the Go Diego Go pack 2 of the year. Yes, that year saw 2 different Go Diego Go 5-packs. It was a popular show at the time.

The 2008 Kung Fu Panda was next to use this model.

And finally in 2010 it saw 1 more appearance in the Handy Manny 5-pack. I did notice that the ink jet printing that was applied to this model during production did vary a bit. You can see it in Manny’s face.

Number 2 of 16 for 2021 is the RW048 GMC 3500 Attenuator Truck.

This is the third outing for the truck which first appeared in 2019. This release is yellow with an MBX Country Road Works side design.

The model has 2 areas of movement. The rear tilts down as a temporary crash barrier, and the arrow signage on the roof tilts and can even be removed and re-inserted the other way.

I like this vehicle a lot, and have a lot of fun playing with the features.

Now the thing is, version 1 appeared in orange in 2019, but….

I had made a start on my Working Rig reports for the blog by the time of the 2020 release, so I can pop back and show that one again.

As you can see, I flip arrows on these so they face each other. But I also notice that the rear sign matches the body colour of the model. This leads me to ponder whether the orange debut version also had the same at the back? At some point I know I will end up going back for filling in gaps on these.

You know what all these working rigs are reminding me of? Some of the older basics that had numerous features. One in particular stood out to me. The MB401 Ford Cargo Scissor Truck. It had such a cool moving part.

This was a vehicle designed to load cargo into an airplane, and I have seen numerous ones at airports while sitting on a plane waiting to depart. You could lift the rear box up in the air. Very ingenious. This was the debut version where it was sold as MB7 in 1999 in a World Jets livery.

Except in Germany, which saw its own version as MB12 in LSG Sky Chefs design. I only recently picked that one up, as it is not easy to track down now.

It also saw 2 different multipack issues that year too. It was in the Airport Adventure/Action Pack (depending on market as to whether it was called an “Adventure” pack or an “Action” pack). We also saw a 5-pack release as either Airport or Airways, again depending on market. This white issue, as shown here is the ROW version. The US release had World Airways written in the tampo design, but as the only one of the 5 with an alternate variation between the 2 packs, I am still to pick one up. Hopefully I will find a loose example one day.

In 2000 the model was sold as MB37 in the US range or MB22 in the ROW range. Again, the first 10,000 US issues saw Matchbox 2000 across the front window.

We also saw another 5-pack issue, which simply had a boat and crates design on the side, as a part of the Ocean Dock set. But after 2000, the casting was not used again. It was a 2-year use casting. Note to self: there is a 2000 blank issue too in all white, which, just like the Ford Panel Van was for Color Comp and the like to create small run promotionals with I still need to obtain.

So number 3 of 12 is the RW020 MBX Road Grader.

This model comes in red and black with an Adler design on it.

It comes with a swiveling blade underneath.

Which is demonstrated with these 2 pictures. I am aware that this model is actually a carry forward design of a 2012 release with only minor shade variations on it, particularly in regards to the yellow tampo printing. However, as I do not own the original I cannot do a side-by-side to showcase.

But what I can do it pull out my collection of MB886 Ground Grinders for a little photo shoot, as these are just like smaller versions of that one. Now that model began life as MB41 in 2013 in yellow with an RG165 tampo print. With the larger one being an R125, I wonder what the significance is with these details?

It was also included in the 60th Anniversary series that year too, in green. This too had RG165 on the side, which I guess the RG stands for Road Grader. Curious on 165, or 125 for the bigger one though.

In 2014 the Ground Grinder saw its first INC look, as it was MB13 for the year. But this was also included in the Construction Zone 5-pack too, as this was during the short period where not all 5-pack issues were exclusive.

For 2015 the model was back to just a basic range release, and sold as MB39 in charcoal.

And in 2016 it was back in the Construction zone 5-pack again. This time it was a dark red, which I discovered can sometimes get very dark indeed.

It took 2017 off but this also then saw a carry forward, as the debut issue returned in 2018 as MB48.

There was precious little between the earlier and later issues when viewed normally.

But the base section was a different yellow to how it was originally. That was a very subtle difference.

But not this one. INC again? Ah yes, but this one is a different INC look.

As you can see the MB39 for 2019 was totally different to the 2014 MB13.

Although this sported a lighter and darker shade of yellow base all on its own (the 2014 issue had a grey base). The model is returning in the new MBX Road Crew 5-pack for 2021 in a Ranec theme. Which brings us nicely to….

The RW010 MBX Crane. This was where the Ranec theme started. Ranec, anagram of crane.

This was the debut look for the Crane and although the casting itself has only had 3 different looks, it still created a legacy of creating a whole new theme which many models have sported over the years. As I said, the Ground Grinder is in a new 5-pack, but all 5 of those are Ranec themed.

Which is partly the reason I guess why this was chosen to be a carry forward model too. This is a repeat of that 2010 debut. The only major difference I hear is that the orange tampo is much lighter this time around.

But seeing as this is the first time I have this model I am still going to have a good look at it. So the Road Grader has a spinning blade. This has a tonne of stuff. The boom raises.

And swivels around on the platform. This is reminding me a lot of my old cranes from when I was young.

It also extends out too. Wow! This goes out a long way. Much further than the ones I had as a kid. But then the model is bigger, so I guess that would be expected.

I have to say, this is quite an impressive vehicle. I see a lot of fun and play with this one. Talking of which….

Well I was mentioning my old crane from when I was young. This is the one I was thinking of. The classic Lesney era MB049 Crane Truck. Released in 1976 as MB49-C, it ran until 1982 worldwide. Just like the modern one this too was a Matchbox originals design.

And just like the modern one, the plastic boom raises and extends out on the rotating platform. But as I said, it was nowhere near as long.

Now Crane Truck, as they literally just called it what it was, debuted in 1976 in plain yellow. It ran until 1979 like that. Of course with 4 years of production shades were bound to happen. But not just with the body. The boom too can come in lighter and darker shades. The first production run sported dot-dash wheels before they switched to 5-arch. Windows were always green but you may find some in a lighter shade.

However, in Germany, a special 3-pack of models was released in 1977. It was called 1000PS and contained 3 models in exclusive colours. This one was in red instead of yellow, although did contain the same yellow boom on top. The windows for this release were supposed to be clear, but some were made with the same green windows as the regular issue. I am still to find that one.

1980 saw the first minor change to the model. The boom turned black. Everything else carried on as before, but even with 1 year of production you might find a shade or 2. This was also when windows started seeing a bit more action, as over the next few years, red, purple and blue were also found on models.

In 1981 they further added to the model by including tampo printing for the first time. Safety first and lines over the roof, and a Caterpillar logo on the side. the boom also saw action as an A-1 Crane Service sticker was added too.

Although in 1982 the Caterpillar logo was removed. At the end of the year the model was dropped from the range and never seen again.

So discounting the 1000PS issue, the model as a basic range casting was pretty much always yellow. It was just the boom that officially saw some changes, and later on some tampo printing too.

Which brings us to the end of another Matchbox Monday. It was a slightly shorter read this week as there was only 4 models to go through. Although I am sure when it comes to write-ups in general, this is still a longer read than the average.

What do you mean I waffle on? Next week part 2 of my rundown of batch A 2021, which will consist of 5 pictures. 1 of each model and a quick paragraph on how they look. What? Too short? Okay, maybe I will continue waffling on about stuff. Until then, have a safe week.

2 Replies to “Matchbox Monday begins working on some 2021 rigs”

  1. Thanks for showing the Working Rigs. I feel that these are underrated by die cast collectors. A lot of them are licensed models, and those that aren’t are realistic imaginations of real vehicles. For the Matchbox collector, these are a remaining link to the King Size, Super King and Speed King lines of the golden years. As David points out, they have moving parts that are fun to play with and pretty extensive details. For those concerned with scale (you probably shouldn’t be as a Matchbox collector) the Rigs are a nice size and some of them fit scale with mainline cars fairly well. But scale is not consistent at all–it’s whatever they can get to work in the general size they produce within budget.

    The International Box truck is a brand new casting! As an enthusiast of Working Rigs as well as their forerunners, Super Kings etc, this is very exciting. Since the reintroduction of Rigs a few years ago, brand new castings are rare. The line only has 16 models a year and almost all of them are repaints of ones from the reboot or the a bring-back from the original early 2000’s-2010’s iteration. Brand new castings are rare and a thing to celebrate! This box truck is wonderfully done, very realistic with beautiful proportions. It will be fun to see different decos of it in the future, too. I was excited for this model and it exceeded my expectations.

    The Attenuator truck is a recent new casting, but already this is it’s 3rd coloring. It looks nice in yellow! The crane is from the original run, but has appeared in the new run once in lime green. Nice to see the Ranec deco (which I believe appeared in the original Working Rigs run). The grader is also a casting from the original run, which came out in yellow first (a deco from the old version of rigs) and now in red (also an old version deco, and quite snazzy).

    Collect them all!

  2. I am extremely saddened by these poor quality diecast rigs that are produced my Mattel/Matchbox. Matchbox needs to bring back the amazing Matchbox Premiere Rigs Series back from the 1990s. The ones that feature real rubber tires, chrome wheels, and the amazing trucks made by Peterbilt, Kenworth and Macks. Does it really cost that much more to put paint on for tail lights and headlights? Those rigs were amazing and I still have everyone released. They are great collectors items. I would love to see those rigs back and perhaps for companies like Coca Cola, In’N’Out, Good Year, The Habit Burger. … The options are endless.

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