Matchbox Monday begins its look at 2021 9-packs

I will be returning to items obtained through Wheel Collectors soon, but have a few other things to showcase as well, including a few leftover items from 2020. But this week I am in 2021. This year sees a tweak to how 9-packs get sold. Back in 2006 when 9-packs were being sold as 10-packs, Mattel came up with a tweak to how they marketed them. Rather than all 10 models being pulled from the basic range/5-packs, they decided to give us an exclusive model in each set. In 2007 it was expanded to include entire 10-packs of exclusive models, as these were replacing Launcher sets and various offshoots. Eventually the all-exclusive pack was taken away and we were left with just a single exclusive pack again. During the 2010s the 10-pack was cut to a 9-pack, first in USA then worldwide. But we still saw just a single exclusive in the top corner. However, for 2021, they have increased the fun with them. There are 6 batches of 9-packs coming this year. Each batch will contain 2 different 9-packs. Each one still has that one exclusive model in the top corner. It will be only in that 1 pack. But there will now be an additional 3 models in the packs that are, for no better way of saying it, semi-exclusive. They will be appearing in both the 9-packs of the batch and not elsewhere. So if you were to pick up only 1 pack each time, you are guaranteed 4 of the 5 models. Pick up both packs to get the 5th. But with 5 models now to talk about in each assortment, I thought this was enough for me to do a blog report about them. So let’s start with batch A.

There are 2 exclusives to the batch. Each pack has one of the exclusive models in it. This is the MB697 ’97 Land Rover Defender 110 which is the exclusive to one of the packs.

It comes in green with a yellow check side and Yorkshire Ridge tampo print. There is no actual “Yorkshire Ridge” as such. Yorkshire is a county in the north of England, and as such does have a number of ridges across the Dales. The Chevin is perhaps the best known of them, overlooking the town of Otley. Pickerstone Ridge is the highest. But none are actually known as Yorkshire Ridge. A clever way of making it sound very British without actually using a British name. Matching the yellow checks is a yellow interior which also form the front grille area and spare wheel. We also manage to obtain a 3-side tampo print as both sides are done, as well as the front. I notice the little things. It is nice to see the Land Rover Defender still being used, as it has not seen action since 2018. But as I recently prepared a whole casting article giving a rundown of the Land Rover Defender recently on the blog (you can check it out here again if you want), I thought I will not go with a recap of them all again. So thinking about it, I knew where I wanted to go with this one.

Another Land Rover, the Discovery. Although I should say Discovery II. Matchbox never made that distinction. The original Discovery and Discovery II did look pretty similar, many calling it an evolution rather than redesign. But here is one way to know which is which. The original Discovery has the rear lights by the side of the lower door section at the back. Discovery II moved them up so they were partly in the lower area, partly by the window. As you can see, even without tampo printing, the casting clearly had lights depicted partially by the side of the window. Discovery II it is. This is the 2001 MB67 debut for the MB524 Discovery casting. Originally planned to have an opening rear door that pivoted to the right, it arrived as a sealed unit.

You see, this is why I chose the Discovery casting. Yes, it’s a Land Rover, but it is also green. the new vehicle is green, and as I go on you will discover (pun intended) that green was a go-to colour for the Discovery too. 2002 and the model became an ROW exclusive. MB51 sported a “50” logo on the front of the first 10,000 models.

It was also a part of the world Zoo 5-pack in white with an Arctic Base side design. I thought this was a really good design, and would not be opposed to seeing it return (if anybody at Mattel is reading).

We also saw an Across America issue in green. Oh yes, see I told you. Plenty of green. This was for the state of Vermont. Goes well with the Land Rover Defender. US state, UK county. Seeing similarities.

So that is 2 official green issues.

In 2003 the model was issued in olive green in the basic range. The first 10,000 examples of MB50 sported a Hero City logo behind the rear wheel on the side.

So that makes it 3 green issues to date.

In 2004 there was only a single release. And it was green. This was in the Around the World series, sporting a Sphinx of Gaza side design.

Out of 6 issues so far, 4 have been green. It’s starting to make more sense now as we go on.

So 2005 rolls along and what do we have? A green one! Seriously, I am not making this up. It was back in the basic range, and again it was MB50. This one did have a lot of fun though. Early issues saw a brown and orange side tampo before turning green and orange later.

Although if you hunted around you might have found shades to the orange tampo too, as some of the green and orange tampos had a very dull orange look.

The model did move production from China to Thailand later on resulting in another variant. Although this was just a single run at the end, so I didn’t find any unusual variations on Thailand made models.

But what I do have is a nice pre-production hand painted sample of the model. A very dark green with a decal on the side for the design, and painted rear lights.

So, for those keeping count, out of 7 issues so far, we are up to 5 greens.

The model was also a part of the Superfast series that year, seeing the first instances of front and rear tampo on the model for real. So many colours to choose from. What did they think of for this? I know, green. Although it was sold in different colours in the 2 markets, and the ROW issue was the green one. The US issue was actually not green. It was red. Whoa!

But that brings us up to 6 of 9 issues so far in green.

It was also a part of the Superfast Off Road 5-pack too, and this one was actually white. Second white issue to date, although I am not keeping count so much with the white ones.

2006 saw more Superfast, although it was only a single release. This one was dark blue.

The model was also a part of the Coastguard 5-pack too in orange. Usually found with sawblade wheels you may be able to find lace ones as they were switched in for a short time. I love this Coastguard look too, and hope to see it return too.

2007 again only saw a single release. Best of British. It was given a Police look with a typical British “jam sandwich” police design. Jam sandwich is a common nickname we use in the UK for police cars that look like this with a red stripe through the middle.

In 2008 it returned to the basic range. But only for the US 1-100 series. This was the year of the 3-way split with the US long card sporting a 100 models, but LAAM markets only getting 75 of them, and ROW short card markets a slightly different assortment of 75. The MB85 US issue was not chosen to be included in either of the other markets. It came in cream with an Outback Adventures side design, and even though I was not in the right place to find them, I still managed to secure a nice shade variation.

Also in 2008 it was a part of the Adventure all-exclusive 10-pack, and was only the second model to receive a certain mint National Parks design scheme. It complemented a Chevy Tahoe that had first been seen in the basic range with it, and it got people buzzing. So much so that they kept adding more to the theme and it still is going strong now. Definitely the biggest theme they have created. I even managed to find a shade of mint on that too. Is this green? It sort of is. Do I count it? Maybe, maybe not.

In 2009 it was a worldwide basic range issue, and was also chosen to be one of the models given 2 versions through the year. At first, the MB96 (US), MB68 (LAAM), MB66 (ROW) arrived in brown with a Forest Retreat side design. Something I again was able to spot shade variations on.

Before a version 2 arrived later on in G4 Challenge orange. Sadly, this arrived just as Land Rover had cancelled the G4 Challenge itself, as it had been running since 2003 but they felt that at the time the economic climate couldn’t justify keeping it going. Such a shame, as I think having some other G4 Challenge models could have looked great. Again, I did find a nice shade of orange on this one too.

In 2010 the model was in the US range, and was chosen to also be in the LAAM range too. No ROW release this time. It was MB81 (US) or MB41 (LAAM) that year, and came in a Wildfire Rescue design, which many people often mix in with National Parks. They were 2 different themes, with Wildfire Rescue also seeing a number of releases over some years.

But because this was a light green design, it was fairly close to the mint look of National Parks. Plus having orange in the tampo design also didn’t help to differentiate the 2 either. Eventually the Wildfire Rescue theme was dropped in favour of keeping National Parks going. After all, it was the one everybody was calling for all of them.

But that one definitely is green. You see, I just wanted to make sure to keep mint out of the equation when going with my green theme. A way to separate those 2 models even further.

After that it took a year off before coming back in a National Parks theme. Another twist to that tale. You say Matchbox National Parks to most collectors and they will think mint vehicles. But a random few pop up in alternate colours. A pair of Hummer H3s (red or white), a 5-pack that had a grey Rapids Rescue and orange 4-Wheeler. Plus this second Land Rover Discovery which was in a dark green design as MB115 that year.

That is something I like with the Matchbox team, they do like to surprise us with a few things at times. Seeing a National Parks model not in mint was definitely a surprise, but having had a National Parks mint one already, I liked that it had a different look.

Oh and yeah, it was green. For those keeping count, we have had 19 issues so far. 8 have been green. If you include the mint National Parks model, that would be 9. Almost half. So you probably see why I decided to go the Discovery route with a dive back on a green Land Rover.

There was 1 more to come. We had 20 issues in total of this casting (unless they decide to throw us another at any point). It was a part of the 2016 Land Rover set in silver with a Police theme again.

So this brings us to the second exclusive model. Only available in the opposite 9-pack to the Land Rover was the MB815 Cadillac CTS Coupe.

This model is in iridescent white with simple front and rear detailing. It is good seeing the CTS Coupe return. It never had a lot of use through the years. But I guess with a Cadillac set being made for Walmart in USA they managed to dust it off, giving it a few more outings.

I will be digging in further into Cadillac when I run through the first batch in a month or 2 (I have loads planned over the next few months) so I will just do a quick recap of the CTS Coupes to date. It debuted as MB32 in 2011 in silver.

And was also chosen to be one of the models in that year’s all exclusive 1st Editions 10-pack in black with gold wheels. Awesome!

But after that we never saw anything in 2012 or 2013. It finally came back for another version in 2014 as MB12. Most sported a black interior, but there is a pretty rare chrome interior variation that was mainly found in Europe on short card. You may also notice a shade variation in the red too.

Something I also found when I got the only other release before 2021. It was blue in 2016 as MB19, but I found some in a dark blue and also a very dark shade. As I said, when I do my Cadillac batch A rundown I will be spending more time on the CTS.

Because now I move to the semi-exclusives. Three models that will be included in both 9-pack assortments in batch A and nowhere else. A different set of 3 semi-exclusives will be in batch B and so on. First up is the MB790 Honda Insight. They did mention that a number of the models we will see are of castings that have not seen much action in a few years.

But this is a bit more than a few years. This is the first we have seen of the casting in 10 years. It arrives in matte black with simple front and rear tampo printing. So let’s showcase all that have appeared so far.

It debuted in 2010 as MB25 worldwide. It was also chosen to be one of the models that year that would be sold in 2 versions. The first version was metallic red. I found a shade. Shocking eh!

It later turned iridescent white, which again I found a shade on. I spotted a more creamy look to the model on some of them.

It was also one of the 10 models chosen to be in that year’s 1st Editions pack at the end of the year. But I don’t actually know which was the intended look. Half of them appeared to be a very light metallic blue, the other half silver. That was a very unusual change, more in line with a running change than a shade variation. I have to admit, I never asked which was the correct one.

In 2011, it moved to MB31 and turned blue.

And that was it. After that blue issue we never saw it again, until now. Finally a 5th version after red, white, silver and blue. Yes I went with silver as the 1st Editions model, but it might be light metallic blue. Honestly, that is now going to play on my mind. Why did I not ask at the time?

Next up is the MB818 Dune Dog. This model was first created back in 2010 by Jun Imai who doesn’t actually work for the Matchbox team. It was part of a team swap with their other brand where designers for each team created models for the other team. It was ready for debut in the 2011 range and after taking a few years off is back in the 9-pack.

It comes in an absolutely freaking awesome design. No I am not biased in any way at all. I love the colour, the metallic blue looks great. The Pismo Dunes design on the side, and golden interior section serving as a base to the sand dunes on it is a great touch. But, I don’t think anybody else noticed it. I did, as I pay a lot of attention to these. There are 3 tiny logos underneath the door handle. The first of those logos is Tilley. Woohoo! the same Tilley lozenge as appeared larger and more noticeable on the Datsun 510 Rally in 2020. I am so chuffed to see my name again. I don’t know why, but the fact that they came up with my name as a logo in a lozenge, the same style of lozenge that the Matchbox logo itself comes in, really means a lot to me. It is almost like my name is being linked in with Matchbox. Which is a real honour. After all, I focus purely on Matchbox. If people were to check back through my reports, through Matchbox forum postings, Instagram feeds, you will be hard pressed to find me actually even mention another brand. Just now, I mentioned Jun Imai, from the other team. I didn’t say what the team was. I just assumed most people who read this will know, and left it at that. So yeah, having my name in a little lozenge like Matchbox is, it is just the cherry on top of the icing on the cake of actually having my name on a model.

And because the casting is “Dune Dog” Jun even put a dog inside the model, which can be seen through the sides, or by popping the roof off, as it just clicks in place.

So as I have never done a rundown of Dune Dog before, I will do one now. It began, as stated, in 2011. Although not if you lived in a LAAM country. It was sold as MB90 in the US range or MB70 in the ROW range. It was also chosen to be one of the models that year that would see 2 versions. The first was green with a Desert Endurance Race side design with a black roof and base. Something that was being utilized quite a lot at the time, but I think is starting to make a return. I like the D.E.R. stuff.

It then morphed into a white model later that year for its version 2 showing. You might be wondering why I specifically mentioned roof and base for version 1. Daft fact, this model is the oddity. It has a grey roof, black base and orange interior. The only time the model has been released with all 3 plastic sections being entirely different colours. Note the new issue has a grey roof and grey base.

In 2012 it was sold as MB14 in yellow with a Beach Patrol side design. Black roof, base and interior. The only time all 3 were the same. Oddity in the other way?

And also started to see uses in other ranges too. In 5-packs, as this Jungle Adventure black and red issue also appeared. Red roof, red interior. Normal.

As well as a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse licensed 5-pack offering in white with a green roof and interior too.

For 2013 it was MB80 in the basic range in white. Oh yes, black roof and black base.

In 2014 it was MB62. But this one is all about the shades. The roof and interior are both grey, but there is a shade between them. As is the body shade between these 2. I found metallic orange is usually good for a shade.

It was also a part of the Jungle Mission force set that year too in mustard. Roof and base match this time.

For 2015 it was MB99 in the basic range in red. And again the roof and base match up in their blacks.

It took 2016 off before returning as MB112 in 2017 in white with a Rescue side design. Weirdly this used the exact same Rescue logo as used on the Jeep Rescue casting. That logo was officially created by Jeep. The rest of the design was all Matchbox though. Oh it was the interior that matched the roof this time, both blue.

And its last appearance before the latest was in 2018 as MB119 in a rustic matte red with Dune Dog Outfitters side design. And oh look, the tan roof matches the tan base. As I said, apart from 2010 version 2, the roof always matches at least one other part. Daft fact I know. I am full of them.

Which brings us to the last model in the mix. The MB1042 Glass King.

The model in the 9-pack is silver with a green rear section and Mr Payne’s Glass Service on the side. the Mr Payne in question is Julian Payne who works for Mattel and was at one point a part of the Matchbox team a long time ago. But did you know this has a removable section too?

The rear section can be removed, showing off the glass underneath; which is actually just an extension to the window section of the model.

It is nice seeing this model return, as it has not seen much action at all. It debuted in 2017 as MB30 in white with a Glass King side design.

And in 2018 was moved to the MB34 slot where it appeared in the ongoing blue/yellow INC design theme. But that was it. This is only the third release of the casting.

Of course you could make your own extras by mixing and matching parts. How about the debut version’s grey rear section on the new release’s body? That’s a whole lot of grey.

The one thing I loved about this model was that it was a spin-off. I love a good spin-off. As you can see, they used the same basic structure as the MB828 Pit King. It’s not the only one. We have a Poop King and Flatbed King too. This is the one that most closely resembles the original model though. The roof is slightly different but the cab area is pretty much identical.

They even both had a spare wheel cast into the base section of the model.

Obviously the rear 2/3rds of the model is where most of the changes take place, turning the model from a dump truck into a glass hauling truck. I love this philosophy of creating a cab, then using that cab to form many rear sections. It reminds me of the Peterbilt 359 which was created in 1982 as a conventional cab or tractor cab for Convoy, and as a dump truck, towing truck, tanker truck and cement truck for the basic range. Same cab, different rears.

So this being the daddy of the current same cab/multiple rear scenario I will finish off my report with a quick recap. It debuted back in 2011 as MB45 in green with an orange dump. Of course orange plastic can be good for shades just like orange paint, and the rear can be found in lighter or darker shades of orange.

In 2012 it moved to MB15 in yellow and white. with a Beach Maintenance theme.

It was also a part of the 2012 City Works 5-pack in burgundy and blue. During production the usual smaller 6-spokes with thick tyre section was swapped out for a short time with wheels that had a larger 6-spoke area and thin tyre section. Same size, but still different.

For 2013 it moved to MB79 in white and blue with a simple name check on the side.

And in 2014 it wasMB21 in green and grey.

Although if you looked carefully you might have noticed the window section varied from almost black to a light smoke. You can tell basically by seeing if you can spot the rivet through the window or not.

For 2015 it was purple and grey as MB41, and this time I happened to spot a shade to the purple paint being used on this City Transport & Hauling liveried model.

2016 saw another purple issue, this time with a black rear and M McCarthy Haulers on the side.

Before the casting finished up in 2017 in a familiar look. MB81 was a carry forward design from the 2012 5-pack.

But with 5 years between production runs this did sport a few small differences. Again one was the window. In 2012 it was smoke, and you could clearly see the rivet post behind the window. In 2017 it was almost black and you had to stare intently at it to just about make out the rivet.

Plus the blue plastic was much brighter than it was in 2012. Apart from the fact this 2017 issue has seen continued production for a few years as it was added to a Construction playset too, the model has not been seen again. Perhaps this too will pop up as a 9-pack semi-exclusive in the future.

And with that, another blog report is in the bag. I hope you like that I now include 9-packs in my reports too. I hope to try and keep doing as many “new and old together” reports, and less of just diving back into my collection.

So until next time have a safe week.

10 Replies to “Matchbox Monday begins its look at 2021 9-packs”

  1. Mr Paynes glass service UK..? Yorkshire Ridge.. Nice touch. That Glass king for a original is very good. That land Rover of batch A shows how realism is coming on. Are these 9 packs at any Tesco?. The Lamley UK bus 9 packs have just been put out in my local. At £6 each and very good. I see ya on the side!. I would love to see Norfolk county one day on a model. That would be pretty cool.

    1. I know it might not count as a matchbox per say, but McDonald’s had a pit king awhile back. Just thought you would like to know.

  2. It appears that the UK may have skipped batch A and moved straight to batch B. I guess they timed it wrong to order the first assortment of the year. Oh yes, me and the bus will be showcased soon. Ha ha!

    1. It would be good if that Land Rover was in the next or future UK batch. That’s a Shame. Its nice to see Yorkshire on a model. Lovely place. For UK stuff everything is London theme. Nice to see. Same for the lamley bus.very good and for all the hard work into this brand you deserve well.👍

  3. So does this mean the UK won’t get the green Land Rover? Why is it so hard for Mattel and Tesco to sort it out so the UK doesn’t keep missing waves/batches? You’d think they want to sell ’em?!

    1. Yeah it appears the UK will not get it. Sadly Tesco keep ordering too much of each batch. So they get less frequent orders in. You try telling them smaller and more often please.

  4. The Glass King is such a terrible casting. Get rid of the “glass” themed tampos and literally nobody would be able to tell you what the casting was supposed to represent.

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