Matchbox Monday bounces back into retro

Yeah I know, this batch has come and gone. There is a second batch of 2020 after this and now the first batch of 2021 has arrived too. But I was late in getting them personally and I just did not want to miss doing my own review of them properly. I did get a little sneak peek review going last May before they hit, thanks to Abe at Matchbox, which you can revisit here if you wanted. They arrived last June, and a second batch arrived later in 2020 too, and yes I will be going through those too in a few weeks time. As I mentioned before, there were still a few 2020 holdovers to finish up. This was one (well will be 2) and there is another small 2020 tidbit in another future post coming soon. But these 3x 2020 pieces will be mixed in with a plethora of 2021 stuff. A box from Wheel Collectors has just arrived and I will be going through new 2021 items next week. But for now, I am putting my retro hat on and diving in to these cool models.

First up is number 1 of 12, the MB811 ’68 Lamborghini Miura LP400S in a light minty green. This first batch of 6 models was split into 2 halves. The first half featured 3 “classic” cars in cool colours. The second half featured 3 castings that have been around a long time in carry forward designs from their early years.

The Lambo features 3 surfaces of printing as both sides are tampo printed as well as the front area. They have limits, they try to stretch those limits as much as they can. I always notice the extra little efforts. It is also nice seeing this model again, as it doesn’t get used an awful lot. Oh that means a run down, doesn’t it.

The casting debuted in the 2011 range as MB14 in yellow. MB14 did see some shade variations between lighter and darker yellow too.

I thought it was a nice nod to how the original Lesney casting debuted.

It happened to be one of the casting that was chosen to sport a second version that year too, and later the yellow turned orange on MB14. Again, for those who are nuts like I am, shades of orange could be found.

It was also added to the 1st Editions 10-pack at the end of the year in light green. A good start to the model, seeing 3 different versions in its first year.

Sadly, things went rapidly downhill as the model was not used in 2012 at all. It popped up in 2013, again in a 10-pack, this time as one of the exclusive models of classic cars that were being used that year. All 10-pack exclusives in 2013 followed the same pattern. They were of classic cars, and featured 1 tampo print going over the top that included the 60th Anniversary of the brand in the design. But due to the change of direction that brand was undertaking, most classic vehicles had been phased out.

It still managed another outing though. An MBX Exotics 5-pack appeared in 2014 and again the model was included. This time it was tan, which again was found to sport quite a bit of shade variation for people like me.

By 2017 the brand was back on its former path and classics were back again thankfully. but until this retro edition arrived in 2020 we still only saw one further outing. In 2017 it was a part of the Best of series, being the first time it saw a full tampo print and 2-part rubber wheels.

I do find it unusual though that considering the casting has had a total of 7 releases to date, 3 of them have been green. That is almost half of them. Whoa! I am getting Land Rover Discovery vibes again (for those who are clueless, it was in my Best of UK write-up the other week). But wait, there is a 4th one there. That’s right, the original Lesney classic was a part of the Bulgarian exchange programme in the 1980s, and saw green issues during its very short life there (the casting broke and it wasn’t made in as much quantities as the others from the batch).

Number 2 of 12 in the 2020 Retro series, exclusively sold in Target stores in USA, was the MB812 ’68 Ford Mustang GT/CS (CS standing for California Special for those who didn’t know).

This model was purple with red stripes and a white pin stripe. Very happy to see this one too, especially as in 2020 it had a bit of a renaissance. Oh that means another rundown.

Again this model was a 2011 debut. You might have guessed, I mean Miura MB811, Mustang GT/CS MB812. And no the MB813 Express Delivery is not up next. The Mustang debuted as MB25 in silver.

It only had the 1 basic range issue, and later in the year was also in the same 1st Editions 10-pack as the first green Miura. This one was metallic blue.

Not to be confused with a certain spectraflame blue issue that was created for the Matchbox International Gathering of Friends in Albuquerque NM in July 2011. Now there was a small issue that year. The original dealer model fell through last minute, so Jim Gallegos had to make a small tweak to the Mustang. He had initially created a pair, one to be used as the early bird special like he usually does. But the early bird model became repurposed as the dealer model. This is the one with the plain blue roof. Therefore all dinner participants received a white roof model regardless of whether they were in the first 75 or not.

It is the way things go sometimes. I did not mind as I was still able to get a pair of dinner models. Cool shade variation or what!

Unlike the Miura, the Mustang did see further uses in the basic range. In fact, for 2012 it was one of the models chosen to see 2 versions. At first in green, which was the first time a core range issue saw the little dual hood stripes that the new purple one has, and again I found a shade to.

But it was later changed to red for a second outing as MB61 that year.

In 2013 it also did not see basic range action, but this was obviously not a 10-pack issue, as it features side printing as well as top printing. In 2013, as part of the 60th Anniversary, a special set of 24 models was created in packaging with slightly enhanced tampo printing and a box inside the blister too. This was one of those models.

But it did go back to the basic range afterwards, as it was MB5 in the 2014 range in brown. This was another I found a nice shade variation on.

In 2015 it saw one more outing in the basic range before going on hiatus until 2020. This was in metallic black as MB15. It was also a part of the Classic Cars 5-pack too, as this was during the short lived era of pulling models from the basic range to add to 5-packs too. Luckily that stopped after 2015. Not so luckily the Mustang did too. This was because they created a 4×4 “Mudstanger” casting based on the ’68 which debuted in 2016.

But luckily it was not dead and buried, because as well as the Target retro release for 2020, we also saw 2 different issues in the Walmart Mustang series. first up, it was one of the carry forwards, being a repeat of the 2011 10-pack issue.

However, with a 9-year pause in production of that model, the shade of blue was noticeably different when it came back.

It was also in batch B later, this time in a new version. Gold! Have you noticed that was gold, and the retro one has gold wheels.

But that still wasn’t it. Mustang was a Walmart USA exclusive (officially, although they have appeared in a few other places, and other countries) and Retro is strictly a Target USA exclusive, meaning that for many, we still never saw this casting in 2020. Well step forward the Rocky Peaks 5-pack. How a 1968 California Special Mustang fits in with a Rocky Peaks theme is beyond me, but I don’t care. A really cool dark green model, which again I notice can sport different shades again. That was 4 different issues in 2020. As one of my favourite Mustang castings from Matchbox, 2020 turned out to be a very good year for me.

Number 3 of 12, and the third of the trio of classic vehicles in cool colours is the MB1169 ’80 Mercedes-Benz W123 Wagon (or S123 on the packaging nowadays). This model arrives in a solid orange colour scheme.

A very nice bright colour, I don’t think it was an official colour on cars that year, but I think Mercedes-Benz did use it on trucks. It does stand out, and I like it. Now me being me, I had to bring in something else, and this made me think of one model.

The classic MB6-B Mercedes-Benz 350SL which ran as a hardtop from 1974 until 1981. After all, that too was available in orange at the start, although as you can see, the shade of orange was much paler on the classic 350SL. Of course it wasn’t how it ended up. Let’s go back to remember them all.

As i said, it debuted in orange, and this ran through 1974 and 1975 gradually getting lighter as it went along. Of course if you were to look carefully you would also notice that the windows had a habit of changing too. Clear through amber into smoke as production ran.

It would usually sport 5-dot wheels but late in 1975 it changed to 5-arch.

Which then faded into a dark yellow model for 1976.

I swear it wasn’t just a change from orange to yellow, but a gradual fading, fading, fading as time went on.

Yellow too was good for shades running the gambit from dark to light shades.

And of course those windows too. Amber or light smoke anyone?

Now what was now yellow ran through to 1978, but there was a small change for the German market. In 1977 they ran an exclusive silver with Rennservice/checkered flag/AvD labels on the model as MB6 for 1 year before reverting back to the yellow in 1978. However, if you hunted around, you would discover that not all silvers sported labels.

The first major worldwide change came in 1979. They decided to change the model to bronze. The plan was to change it to a white roof, but this was Lesney. Somebody had boxes and boxes full of black roof pieces already made up and they weren’t going to waste. So production began with a black roof. As far as I have seen, not being a massive run, all bronze with black roof models sport an amber window, but I was able to discover shade variations in the bronze paint. Both fairly dark, but still noticeably different.

But a short while into 1979, those black roof pieces were used up and the white roof arrived.

Bronze ran through 1980 too, and with a much larger production run, the shade variation in white roof 350SLs was huge. Much greater than with black roofs.

And yes, those window variations kept popping back up too. Darker amber, lighter amber or clear.

Finally, in 1981, another change, as the model turned red while retaining the white roof.

Oh look, window variations. Bronze with black roof and silver models are the only ones I have not discovered window variations. They always came with amber. But on all other models, amber was one of a number of options for the variation hunter.

And if you are like me, shades! Darker red, lighter red. Of course the model did continue into 1982, but was altered in to MB006, which was the same vehicle but now as a convertible. I think that could be another bounce back for a future blog. I am sure this is not the last we see of the W123. Or the S123 as packaging is now denoting it as. Bases still state W123.

So that brings us to the end of the first half of the write-up, which featured modern “classic car” castings. The other half consists of classic tooling that has been with us for a long time, being brought back in throwback designs schemes from before Mattel owned the brand. The first of which is the MB129 Chevy Blazer 4×4.

This is a casting that has been with us since 1984. But not just that, this wasn’t originally a Matchbox casting. When Universal took over the Matchbox brand after Lesney went bust, in a bid to keep up with new castings, during 1983 they took a number of classic Lesney castings and gave them makeovers into new tools. But there was still a shortage for 1984, so in a bid to keep up with new toolings, they looked at another item line they owned, but had stopped. Kenner Fast 111’s. Originally released in 1980 with 16 models, in 1982 they added another 14 with another 8 in 1983 for a total of 38 models. However, not all were different castings, as both the 1982 number 18 and 1982 number 24 were the same casting. This one. At the time number 18 was known as Cruiser Bruiser, and number 24 Mighty Mule. Universal took the castings after phasing out Kenner Fast 111’s at the end of 1983, and re-tooled 4 of the castings into Matchbox ones. This was one of the 4. So although it begins its Matchbox life in 1984, it did already have 2 years of action before then. I do not own any Kenner Fast 111’s, so cannot show you those.

But I can show you the Matchbox ones. Like this debut offering from 1984. It arrived as MB50 worldwide but the ROW range dropped it after 4 years. The US range though, well it carried on until 1997 there as MB50. The first 11 years were like this. No joke, it saw the same Sheriff design for 11 years. I am not sure, but it may be about the longest over run for a single design on a Matchbox model. I will have to check to verify though.

But with 11 years of production there was bound to be some changes made. The first was easy. It debuted with a chrome base, but as with most Matchbox models, chrome doesn’t last forever. In fact it was only available on the first year, as in 1985 the base turned black.

Production moved from Macau to Thailand in 1991, which gave us a slightly different colour combination for the vehicle (brighter red tampo, different blue window).

And 1993 saw the roof/window components modified, as instead of a central bar made out of the body with 2 lights protruding up either side, they reconstructed it so that we just had one long light bar sticking out of the roof.

But while the basic range was seeing very little in the way of new liveries, there were some appearing elsewhere. The first of them was this purple model. Hello, this looks very familiar. Why this is the retro look the new addition was replicating. A 1987 Roadblaster issue.

Now obviously the new issue is not an exact duplicate. After all the casting has been altered over the years a few times. You may notice the original also contained a roof tampo print. So the Motor Lords team had Back Stabber on it, which was a Chevy Blazer with full armour. Wait, where’s the armour?

Hello armour. The technical bio for the model was…. High speed 4×4, filled with surveillance equipment. Has the ability to read a blip through a mountain making it difficult to hide from its high power missiles. It was a rank 5 support offense vehicle, specializing in covert surveillance , communications and trail blazing. Apparently it could hit 267mph from its V8 engine. The armour is titanium reinforced with a rhodium mesh windscreen and as already mentioned, is equipped with 3 high power missiles. But does this armour still fit the new model?

Why yes it does. Any cosmetic surgery done to this casting over the years has been relatively minor, and as such it is still the same size and shape as it always was. The armour still fits snugly over the light bar on the roof, clicks in to the door frame and the new model is ready to go.

See this is why I really wanted to go through these. I wanted some fun with my old Roadblaster stuff. What? Me? Big kid? Why do you say that?

It was a while before we next saw a different look for the Blazer. 1993 to be exact. This was the first year for exclusive 5-packs and as such the Blazer appeared in a new look in the Emergency pack.

But that wasn’t all that happened that year. In USA a Super Trucks series debuted as an offshoot of the 1992 Hot Stocks series, featuring a number of castings in new looks featuring chrome windows and accessories in the packs. There were 3 castings used, and each sported 2 unique designs. The Blazer was one of the castings and appeared in either black or white.

There was a 7/11 promo in 1994, but I discovered I don’t have it (this is why I enjoy doing these dive backs as I also remind myself of things I still need to get) which was all white with a 7/11 logo on the front. So I move on to 1995 and, drum roll, a final new design for the MB50 issue, now a US exclusive. This was only the second basic range look after the 11-year run of the 1984 debut and was now blue with a Police design and blue windows.

And they sort of went nuts with 5-packs that year, as it was a part of 2 different sets. The Off Road 5-pack saw a simple metallic red with no tampo printing at all, and the Police 5-pack saw, well, the Police one.

In 1996 the basic range issue saw a small tweak. The top tampo printing all went away and the window turned red.

And the 5-pack Police issue this time was white and blue.

It was actually pretty much the same as the 1995 Police 5-pack, except tampos printing was now just the one colour and the front saw a hit too (or was that just where the 1995 basic range’s front print went?)

1997 was the last year it was sold as a US exclusive MB50 and after 11 years of 1 design, we were now getting yearly refreshes. It was now an Off Road Patrol vehicle in black with a white roof area.

And being in the US 1997 range meant we also saw the Gold Challenge issue too, randomly packed in boxes.

1997’s Police 5-pack saw a different design from the previous 2 years, now in a blue and white scheme.

In 1998, after Mattel had taken over, the basic range saw a revamp with models moving around on a yearly basis into what we know now. This first year saw the model move from MB50 into the MB22 slot, and return in the same MB22 number for the ROW range. This was also the beginning of the proper yearly refresh for designs too, although many were quite simple. This was literally swapping the colours around from the 1997 issue.

The 1998 5-pack though, this was all new. Crime Patrol found the model in tan with a Park Police design, and as a first for the casting, a tan aerial. Until now, that piece had always been white.

In 1999 the model was back as a US exclusive, this time as MB32 in white with a blue and gold Police MB design.

The Survival 5-pack saw a blue issue with green stripey side design. Again I am missing an example here. This was 1999, and in that year many models saw a US/ROW alternate. For the ROW market the Emergency 911 & Rocky Mountain Rescue were replaced by dashes, and the 682/MB County line was omitted entirely. However, just to make things awkward, the UK saw the US issue of the pack, meaning I picked up what is usually referred to as the US issue.

In 2000 the model returned to the worldwide basic range as MB71 in the US or MB51 in the ROW markets (UK took ROW basics, US 5-packs at the time). For the US market only the first 10,000 models saw a Matchbox 2000 logo on the roof before it was removed.

And later on during production (actually shortly after the logo was removed) the model was altered to a slightly lighter shade. Okay maybe not slightly, that was a massive shade change.

It also saw another 5-pack release as a part of the Storm Tracker 5-pack in black.

2001 saw no basic range issue for the first time, but it continued in 5-packs. This was also the year the 4×4 oval wheel design was introduced as a move towards Hero City was coming. This was the On Patrol 5-pack issue.

2002 saw a US basic range return in white with Smokey the Bear on the side as MB6. Again, being a logo year, the first 10,000 had a 50 logo on the front.

The 5-pack issue this year was known as Rescue Chiefs and sported an olive green model.

In 2003 many 5-packs simply were the 2002 packs in new colours, and Rescue Chiefs was no exception. Although this changed from olive green to bright green, the tampo colours did change too. Although with the yellow tampo turning green it barely stood out.

In 2004 the model returned to its old MB50 slot it had been in from 1984-1997. Although it was not a sheriff design this time. Apparently it was an Ambulance. Yeah this was right in the heart of Hero City (it even said so on the side design) where a lot of things made little sense. At least it didn’t have a hat on.

With Hero City proving to be a really bad move for the brand, 2005 saw a sudden and very well received change in direction for the brand, and MB45 that year was brown with a camouflage side and Thunder design.

Before the model made its premium range debut in the 2006 Superfast series as number 47. This was the first time it had ever seen a full tampo print including front and rear detailing.

It was MB74 in 2007 in a Park Ranger scheme.

It took its first year off in 2008 returning in 2009’s Croc Zoo 5-pack in tan. If you are like me, you would have probably noted the different shades of tan being used during production.

It was getting a taste for the premium life now, as after another sabbatical in 2010, 2011 saw it included in the Lesney Edition series. A black and white Sheriff design on a metal base and even markings for the wheels.

It saw a final issue in 2012 in a Brush Fire Rescue 5-pack in orange before going on hiatus. Of course me being me, I found a nice shade of orange to finish up on.

After 5 years it returned in the upside down. Wait, no, stranger things have happened.

It came back in 2017 as a part of the Best of premium series, sporting a lovely tan design very reminiscent of the look of the Hawkins Sheriff Department in the Stranger Things TV series. But you may have noticed no aerial. It was not included on this release which meant that the model really could do with a retooling.

The 2017 Jungle Mission 5-pack issue also saw no aerial. It came in light metallic green which was very good for shades.

Mind you, so was the camouflage tampo printing on the sides. But the model had that little section sticking out the back which would usually hold an aerial.

So they altered it. Took that section away completely for the 2018 issue. This was a Ranger Rescue 5-pack issue, which a lot of people kept referring to as the National Parks pack because all 5 models had the same National Parks tampo design.

But as they were tidying up the casting, they did slightly alter the base section. As it also formed the front grille, over decades of use, it had slowly been receding into the body. The retooling straightened it back up flush with the front of the model. They also tidied up a few other edges over the model too.

And until the Retro issue, we had only seen one more release. This was the 2019 MB53 in white with a blue and yellow side design.

Number 5 of the 12 models in the entire series, and 2nd of the 3 retro castings is the MB180 Land Rover Ninety. This appears in yellow with a Park Ranger scheme.

Again this is not the debut look for the model, but definitely one from before Mattel owned the brand. Let’s run through these shall we?

The model debut as MB35 in the US range or MB16 in the ROW range in 1987. The first issue was blue with a simple orange and yellow side design and the Land Rover logo on the front. It ran for 2 years like that.

In 1988 a second issue was found in the MC-7 Farm set. Green with the same tampo design as before.

The Farming series ran though 1991 resulting in a location move with production starting in Macau and ending in Thailand.

Although other multipacks did not last as long. the SB-150 Skybuster Action pack featured a Royal Navy designed Land Rover included in the set. This only ran for the 1 year.

In 1989 the basic range issue changed from blue to red, and the side design was a little different. This ran for 2 years too, and production moved to Thailand in 1990.

As did a TP-121 issue in white with the same design as the red basic. Starting in Macau and ending in Thailand.

1989 also saw the arrival of the Commando series, and the Land Rover was a part of the Dagger Force team. However, that was only made in Macau as the series stopped before they shipped the castings to Thailand in 1990.

1990 saw a multipack MC-17 model for British Airways Cargo issue in light grey and navy blue.

Before 1991 saw a whole new design. Something that looks extremely familiar.

Yes this is the retro design chosen for the new issue. Of course MB180 has seen a change in the casting due to the roof no longer being a separate piece and now riveted to the base. Of course the base is also plastic not metal, and the tow hook is also a part of the base, not the interior. This was all done as part of an efficiency drive at the factory to move vehicles more towards a drop production technique. Models get built from the top down upside down, so a body has a window dropped into it, an interior on to that, wheels/axles next, and then a base section. The thing gets riveted together and moved off. Originally, the base needed slotting in to the body which is more fiddly, takes longer to do and slows production. Of course moving the tow hook to the base was logical as there was not a rivet in the way of where it would be protruding from.

From the front you will also note that aside from the roof being a part of the body (that was a cost reduction to fewer parts), they did add in a Land Rover logo to the model on the front too.

The original release ran from 1990 until 1994 and as such did see a few tweaks over the years. Early issues had green and black tampo, which quickly moved to green and very dark green. Very difficult to get that right.

In 1992 the Park Range writing on the side shrunk….

….and the base turned yellow.

Before they decided in 1993 to return to the base to its original silver. I don’t know why they did it. They just did. However, this was only on the ROW issue MB16, as the US MB35 was dropped after 1992.

While all this was happening in the basic range, the model was also seeing other issues on the side too. In 1991 a TP-121 promotional item was released for Bacardi Rum with the model (and a Seafire on trailer) in white. It did see 2 Skybuster issues in 1981 in SB-150 sets. SB-810 Alitalia and SB-812 KLM, both in white with the company logos on the side. At the moment I do not own either. More for my wants list.

In 1992 a plain white issue was added to the Graffic Traffic series.

It was not all that happened in 1992. Not be a long shot. Deep breath, it was in the EM-71 Action multipack in a police theme, MC-803 Circus Circus multipack and also a UK only Red Arrows MC-24. multipack. Three different multipack issues that year,

Plus it was involved in another promotion. This was an MC-806 Garden Festival in Wales.

This too was a part of the first year of exclusive 5-packs in 1993. It was in the same Off Road 5-pack as the Chevy Blazer shown above in metallic red. This was in a lovely orange zebra striped Safari Park design.

Plus it was in another multipack. EM-70 Rijkspolitie in The Netherlands.

In 1995 the basic range saw a new design for the ROW MB35. White with a pink/yellow/blue flash going up the sides. Of course, looking closely, you may find shades of tampo there.

This design also ran 2 years before 1997 saw a dark green issue as MB35. This was a very simple look with just Land Rover written on the front.

A Land, Sea and Air 5-pack was issued in 1997 too, which saw another Land Rover in red with Red Valley Camp side design. This is an important design and will be revisited here on the blog in the next month or 2 too. Production moved from Thailand to China during the year too.

In 1998 the model was moved to the MB53 slot for its final ROW issue at the time. It was white with a larger Land Rover logo and black marks up the sides.

It was also added to the Mountain Trails 5-pack that year too.

In 1999 it only appeared in the German market. MB41 Germany was dark green with an 0321 tree logo on the side.

2000 saw 2 unique looks for different markets again. After the US/ROW split of 1981, we saw a few times with additional splits (1984-1987 Japanese exclusive, mid 1980s Australian mix of US/ROW issues in their range, 1997 Australian exclusives and 1999 German exclusives) for 2000 there was a 5-way split that ran 2 years. The US range and ROW range, but now the ROW range was split further. 10 models were exclusive to the UK, German and Australian markets. Note: Australia includes New Zealand, Germany includes Austria, UK includes Ireland. Outside of these markets, any other ROW was due to see another 10 exclusive liveries. However, only the first 5 showed up there (MB11-15). Two from the second group of 5 (Airport Fire Pumper/Ambulance) appeared in a 3-pack, 1 (Mercedes TV News Truck) in a 10-pack and the other 2 (one was a Ford Transit Taxi, the other unknown) never appeared at all. The other ROW markets had a blip and jumped the second section of exclusives (MB36-MB40). MB12 for the other ROW market was the yellow LR in Canyon design.

the UK market did see the 2nd selection of specific exclusives and MB36 was white with a Metropolitan Police design.

2001 saw MB61 in black for the ROW market. This was year 2 in the 5-way split but only 10 were split all ways, with the other ROWs appearing everywhere outside the US market.

It was also a part of the Animal Helpers 5-pack that year.

In 2002 it only saw 1 piece of action. As a part of the Across America series, a special series of extra models were also made. Some were sold in 3-packs featuring 2 models from the main series alongside 1 of 4 country models for surrounding areas. This was for Mexico.

And in 2003, again we only saw the one release. This time in a licensed 5-pack. For those who haven’t already guessed, it was a Clifford the Big Red Dog pack.

2004 and it was back in the basic range. MB58 to be precise, as a pizza delivery vehicle.

2005 saw a Jungle Adventure 5-pack appear, and during production the casting was shipped back from China to Thailand where it still is being produced now.

It was also a part of the Stars of Cars series exclusive to the German market.

2006 saw a few issues. The Adventure 5-pack saw a dark green with 55 logo on the side.

A Mummy’s Gold multipack saw an olive green with black and white side design and loads of mud.

And this too, just like the Chevy Blazer, saw an addition to the Superfast range in the number 18 slot.

In 2007 it was a part of the first Best of British series in the UK in yellow in the number 4 of 12 slot. Shades of yellow could be found during production.

It also appeared in the Classics 5-pack that year too in blue.

In 2007 it saw a release in the Hitch ‘n Haul Dragon Castle set which proved to be the final issue in its original state.

As the next time we saw it, later in the year in the Pirate playset, it had changed. the base had been altered to plastic and it was now….

MB721. This was also the point where the rear was no longer slotted in and now riveted down.

You can see the changes in this picture. But the rivet was not from the roof. It was from the rear of the body and the tow hook was still a part of the interior at that point.

Now as MB721, the model continued in the Dino Adventure 5-pack in 2009. Again, shades of yellow exist if you were to look closely.

And in that year’s Adventure 10-pack a tan issue also appeared, which again saw shades of tan.

It took a few years off after that, returning in 2012 in the Jungle Adventure 5-pack. This time it was the wheels that saw the change, being found in either the 6-spoke or cog variety.

It then went on hiatus. A radical retooling scrapped the MB721 changes entirely, working again from the original MB180. As per the rules now, changing tooling, if replacing, means that the same number stays. MB721 was in addition to MB180. This was a complete replacement of MB180 into the current look. This means roof now part of the body, rivet coming from roof and tow hook as a part of the base. Its first appearance was in the 2016 Land Rover set.

Before it made a return to the basic range in 2017 as MB48 in silver.

There was one more basic range issue in 2019 with a 65th Anniversary logo adorning the rear of the light green MB118. After that we are up to date with this one.

And finally, it is this one again. The MB878 Jeep 4×4. There have been quite a few issues of this over recent months and I have done dive backs into both the MB131 and MB878 retooling of this casting recently.

So as I have done quite a lot this post, I have decided to keep this short and sweet to finish. Obviously the only number left is 6 out of 12 for this first half, and obviously it is the last of the 3 retro models.

Re-issuing a look that came initially from 1997, where it was sold as either MB37 in the Us market or MB25 in the ROW market. Officially this was the first year of Mattel, but they had literally just taken over Tyco at that point, so with things being prepared in advance, this was still a Tyco era model.

Obviously the new one is a significantly lighter shade of blue and does not feature the hood tampo (aside from being the MB878 retooling, not the MB131 original).

Which does beg one question. We have now seen a blue revisit (from 1997), and a pink revisit (from 1996). The original issue was orange, where it first arrived in the 1995 basic range. Are we going to see an orange re-release in our future? I hope so. I would like a full set of re-releases.

So that bring me to the end of another blog. I hope people didn’t mind that this report was on a set that has been out 8 months. I promise next week will be an up to date one. But I just couldn’t resist doing a full report on these, but sadly I did not get my entire set of 12 Target models until recently.

Especially as three of them were proper retro designs requiring me to have lots and lots of fun with them. So until next week, have a safe time everyone.

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