It’s that time of the week again, and after my little trip back to 2020 last week (and yes there are a couple more I am doing before finally leaving 2020 alone), I have recently received a lovely little package from Wheel Collectors. A whole bunch of 2021 goodies, and I couldn’t wait to jump right in and start ripping all the packaging apart and playing, I mean admiring the models. So I am going to begin on some Batch B stuff this week. Word of warning, as usual I split into 3 parts, but these will be very well spaced out with other items in between. But the first 5 models I have chosen I will run through in order of where they are in the 2021 range.
Which means starting with MB9. And this is a brand new casting. The MB1235 2018 Bentley Bentayga.
This model looks amazing in blue with front and rear end detailing. This shade of blue is an official Bentley colour, and is known as Oceanica.
Now I am sure people have noticed, this model does only have 3 parts. There is no interior on the model and the windows are blacked out to hide them. It doesn’t bother me too much. I know there used to be a time when Matchbox didn’t have interiors or windows. Some of the early stuff was very crude compared to the models of today. But they had their time and place, and people look back on them fondly. I mean I am starting to see a small inkling of people reminiscing on Matchbox Ultra Heroes from 2004 with fondness. Different times call for different measures, and as with everything, Matchbox adapts. The model still looks extremely realistic to me, which is the main thing I like.
Being a new casting, I will inevitably show a base shot. I know some people like bases. Unless you are a mechanic I don’t see the fascination with the underside of a car.
So, there is only one way I could dive back with this one. I mean, it is only the second Bentley that Matchbox has ever made in the basic range, and for the second time, they have chosen a game changer for the company.
Because the first one they did was the MB727 Bentley Continental GT. This was a huge model in Bentley’s life, as this was a real gamechanger after the VW Group took over the company. Stepping out from the Rolls-Royce limelight with a brand new grand tourer, it really turned the brand’s fortunes around. And what was the next vehicle that really stepped outside of Bentley’s comfort zone? The Bentayga. What’s the saying? Go big or go home? Yes, Matchbox went big with their Bentley choices. I still hope they can squeeze out a classic too one day. I would love to see perhaps a Bentley S3 one day.
Of course when the Continental GT arrived after much hype in silver, I did find a little shade variation to the 2007 MB1.
Later that year it saw a version 2 as it was one of the casting chosen to see 2 designs, and the red again saw a small shade during production.
But that was nothing compared to the 2008 MB39. This model arrived in off-white, or was that cream?
2008 also saw the Bentley added to the Superfast range, which was the first time it sported a different wheel to how it debuted. The Superfast 5-spoke wheel. Again, if you hunted around you could find a shade.
But more importantly, for most I guess, a late production run of the entire batch saw all the Superfast wheels replaced with regular wheels. The double 10-spoke is not an easy one to find.
It was also added to the Best of British series in blue. Its first of many blues.
2009, and still MB39 in the basic range, we saw this one in brown.
It was also added to the Best of British series in blue. Wait, haven’t I said that already?
It was in both the 2008 and 2009 Best of British series, and both were blue. But as you can see, they were entirely different blues.
And, well, the blues kept coming. 2010 saw blue move to the basic range as MB36. Oh look, shades. I do like my shades.
For those keeping count, that is 3 blues in 3 years.
In 2011 it was still MB36, but this time it was champagne. This proved to be its last outing in the basic range and also its final version for a number of years. It was initially scheduled to return in 2019’s basic range but was dropped.
But it did return for another couple of outings. In 2017 it was one of the Best of models sporting 2-part rubber wheels on a blue body.
Yes, a 4th blue version.
Finally, in 2019, it was added to the Autobahn Express 5-pack in blue. Oh wait, this is the same blue as the new Bentayga. Oceanica. Of course I did manage to find a shade on that one. I wonder if I will on the Bentayga.
Finally, for those keeping score, we had 11 Continental GTs released by Matchbox, and 5 of them were in various blues. So as I said, it was a bit of a go-to colour choice for the Bentayga. And now we begin its work backwards through the 11 colour choices. Wait? Is that not how it is done?
So I am going to move on to the next model in this photo op. The MB1199 ’19 Jeep Renegade. For 2021 it takes the MB26 slot in red.
Of course you do see it better out of the package. I love this model. I know some Jeep purists are not happy with it, thinking it is too small. But I hear plans are underway for an even smaller crossover SUV Jeep, which will see Alfa Romeo and Fiat equivalents later. Maybe Matchbox will be in on the ground floor and create a model of that one too. I would be up for it if it is as cute as this one is.
I believe this is what Jeep refer to as Colorado red. A lovely shade regardless. I am sucker for red vehicles.
Now obviously this is only the second issue of the Jeep Renegade casting, as it debuted in 2020 as MB1 in green, which I did find shades on. Me and my shades eh! But that is not much for a Jeep, especially after last week’s blog report glossed over the Jeep in that one. So I am bouncing back with one I noticed followed a similar pattern.
The MB627 Jeep Compass. Why was this following the same pattern you ask? Well it arrived in green in its first year as MB51. This was 2004.
And in 2005, its second year, it turned red. Pattern emerging yes. Of course this particular red had a slight variation to it. Notice the number 23 on the side of the 2005 MB23. On the top it is white, on the bottom it is grey. It was switched during production. If you look carefully the thin ring around the N circle also follows suit. But you notice the 23 more. And yes the whole model sports a slight shade, but nothing as extreme as grey vs white.
It was also included in the Pirate 5-pack that year in tan with a pirate themed side design. It was a tie in to a Buried Treasure playset and a treasure themed basic range packaging extra. All models in the basic range had a small treasure chest which when opened unveiled either stickers or a coin (although coins were USA only on long card, short card just had stickers). The coins could mean actual gifts when sent away. The top prize was a holiday, but I don’t believe anyone ever found that coin.
It was also in a Nintendo licensed 5-pack that year too in green.
Plus, it was added to the Oceanic Expedition launcher set that year. During production we did see a change to the model. As well as being totally different shades of yellow, the side design saw a change of colours used. There was a reason.
Production moved from China to Thailand mid way through, and when Thailand took over, the black segments on the door design were changed to red, and the white 627 turned black. I don’t know why they made the change. They just did. I have never heard of a crossover. China 1/2 black segments/white 627, Thailand all red segments/black 627.
So for the basic range, the Renegade debuted in green, then turned red. The Compass debuted in green, then turned red. If next year we see a blue Renegade in the basic range I will laugh. I mean they do have a real dark blue colour choice called Jetset blue. They even have a special one in a light blue called Bikini. I have no idea how Jeep came up with Bikini as a name for a shade of blue, but if Matchbox were to recreate it I would be happy. It does look nice. But totally sidetracking, the 2006 Compass was blue as MB72. Although this one did have a lot of mud all over it. I do like the muddy looks the models get occasionally. Especially the 4x4s.
After that though, the model became a bit of a licensed 5-pack special. Because in 2007 we saw a Go Diego go 5-pack issue in blue featuring Alicia on the side.
In 2008 it was in the Scooby Doo 5-pack in black.
In 2009 a SpongeBob SquarePants issue arrived also in blue.
After taking 2010 off it was in another go Diego Go 5-pack in 2011 in bright green.
Finishing up in 2012 in yet another blue SpongeBob SquarePants issue. 5 licensed 5-pack issues in a row.
However 2012 did see one more issue. A non-licensed 5-pack as this was chosen to be a 10-pack exclusive in a yellow Jamboree scheme. After this the casting went on hiatus before returning for a swansong in 2017.
It was a part of the Walmart exclusive Camo set that year. Most models from the series saw much movement in the camouflage printing all over the model, but in the Jeep Compass this was confined to the front of the model. Top and sides stayed in the same position. But the shades of tan-brown used did vary. The base colour of light tan sometimes had a bit of a yellowish hue, sometimes more of a pink hue. The lighter of the 3 brown camouflage prints also varied in shade too. The darker 2 shades of brown were pretty consistent. There was a limit to how many I wanted to try and obtain here. I could go nuts trying to get all the different crossover variations. I showed 3 here. I actually own 5. That was when I decided I really needed to stop. Talking of which, that was when the casting stopped too.
Which brings us to the next model numerically in the range. The MB1170 ’18 Ford Mustang Convertible.
The model is released as MB87 in the 2021 basic range in metallic black with gold wheels and a simple front/rear tampo print.
Gold wheels on a black car do seem to go well don’t they. I am not going to bother with a back history on this one at this time as it has only been with us a couple of years and I did one when the last blue one arrived for 2020 a few months back. So instead I am going to go with the last Mustang Convertible released.
The MB744 ’07 Shelby GT500 Convertible. It actually never made mention of being a Ford Mustang. But we knew it was. It debuted as MB11 in 2008 in red.
It was also included in the 1st Editions 10-pack at the end of the year in blue with dual silver stripes.
For 2009 the model moved to the MB15 slot and was chosen to be one that would appear in 2 designs. At first it was mustard yellow with lights and side stripes. Later on it would turn real with dual white stripes over the top and the same side stripe tampo.
However, a yellow with dual black top stripes and the same side tampo design appeared in the 2009 Modern Rides 5-pack.
A sort of a mid-way point between the 2 basics in a sense. Although as seen it is a lighter yellow.
It also saw its first premium issue that year too, as the Superfast series saw a white model with full tampo details going across the entire model.
Daft fact number…. Actually I lost count. Year 3 in the basic range for the last Mustang Convertible and it was black. Guess which year this one is in? Yes, year 3. Coincidence? Yeah, more than likely. The Shelby GT500 was MB7 that year.
But this was the second year in a row that this casting was chosen to receive 2 versions. This time though, the tampo design was the same for both models. After being black with red tampo it turned blue with white tampo later. Although i was unable to find a shade of black (strange that) I did find a nice shade of blue.
For the second year running, it was also in the Modern Rides 5-pack. This time it was charcoal, and I found a shade.
For 2011 it stayed as MB7 but this year only saw the one issue. So I had to double up again in my own way, by finding a shade of silver.
2012 saw a change in direction for the Matchbox brand and one of the models it was most noticeable on was the Shelby. After years of simple stripes, the 2012 MB16 was light blue with a TikiWai Surf Shop design on the side. But look carefully, a small piece of the original design was still evident in the design towards the front.
The model was also a part of the Batman Licensed 5-pack that year. This was the final year for licensed 5-packs as they moved to 3-packs then faded away after.
It is worth pointing out, for those who don’t open packages, that both sides of the model had unique designs. The advantages of opening models up. Those who keep them sealed could be missing some cool stuff.
2013 saw the model finish up in the basic range with, wait for it, another 2 version release. Six years in the basic range, and 3 of them saw 2 versions. It started off in the MB55 slot that year in silver with orange tampo (note it was also added to the Police 5-pack as a non-exclusive in the short lived era of pulling models from the basic range for 5-packs) and later on it turned blue with black tampo.
The model took quite a break after that before popping up in a 2017 10-pack as one of the exclusives in pea green. And yes I found a shade on that too.
After that, it took another break before returning as one of the carry forward models in the Walmart Mustang Series in 2020. This was a part of batch B in the series of 12 models and was a repeat of the 2013 version 1.
However, if you were to put both together you will notice that the cobra on the side of the 2020 issue is much larger than its original 2013 version. Will it pop up again in the future? You never know.
Model 4 in this little batch is the MB1194 ’61 Ford Ranchero.
This is the model’s third outing in the basic range, this time as MB96 for 2021.
It comes with simple rear and side detailing, and I love the shade of brown interior/rear bed on this one.
It debuted in the final batch of 2018 as MB30. It wasn’t originally scheduled for a 2018 release, but a new tooling had fallen through, and this was being penciled in for the start of 2019 anyway, so they just moved it up. It came in a sort of red colour. I have never really known exactly what to call this. I think cordovan? Cordovan is a cross between burgundy and rose and gives off a similar look to this. Well whatever it is, I found shades.
As it was bumped up from a 2019 to a 2018 release, there was no 2019 issue, and the next one appeared at the beginning of 2020. This time it was MB75 and came in white. Or cream. Yes, shade again. Although if you were to look carefully a lot was to do with how thick the paint was being applied. Some came through with a very thin layer. What’s more….
Half way through production the wheels changed from disk to 6-spoke.
Again shades were boundless. In fact.
The 2018 debut, and both wheel variations on the 2020 issue I currently own 3 distinct shades on them all. I am looking at you bluey to give me some more shades….
But I couldn’t be satisfied with just that could I. This was a 1961 model. Matchbox during the Mattel era have made a couple of 1961 dated models. One that hasn’t had much of a look in at all was the MB558 ’61 Dodge Dart Phoenix. It first arrived in 2002 as an exclusive new casting for the Elvis Presley Drive In collection in the Collectibles series. It was cast up purely because he drove one in Blue Hawaii. I am going to let you in on a little secret. When I was starting to prepare this article I had realized I had only just got this model myself, and then noticed I was only missing the one, so grabbed it quick because….
The other Collectibles issue was a 2003 Coca Cola model. Having not picked up Collectibles models at the time, I am still busy filling in gaps. I decided I could fill this in time to do the blog photos. Expect me to do one of my Instagram posts on this new arrival shortly.
The model saw its only non-premium release the following year, as in 2004 it was added to the Jimmy Neutron Licensed 5-pack with Goddard down the side of it.
As well as being added to the first year of the Superfast series in the number 27 slot.
After that we just saw some continued Superfast issues. In 2005 the range saw alternate colours between USA and the rest of the world. Outside USA a run of 7,500 in red, and in USA a run of 15,000 in white.
Finishing off in 2006 in silver. The casting has not been seen since 2006, but there was one little something I still miss.
A special promotional issue in light red was created as a giveaway at the July 30th 2006 Houston Astros game. Sadly the team lost, but for 10,000 children under the age of 15, they got to take home a free model car just for being there. Want to hear a daft story about how I go mine? Coming to a Lamley Dail…. Nah! Now! I went on eBay after the game and did a search. I accidentally typed in Astors instead of Astros. It appeared I was not the only one. Somebody had put one on eBay with the same mistake. Nobody else noticed. I got it for the starting bid of only $2. Sometimes mistakes can be beneficial. But what isn’t a mistake is the fact that this casting has not been seen now in 15 years. And as seen, when it was used, it wasn’t used a lot. I hope one day for it to return.
Which brings us to the last model in this report. The MB363 ’62 VW Beetle.
The model is in green, sporting a Taxi themed design. It is being sold as MB97 in the 2021 range. Now before anybody mentions, I will get this out of the way.
After creating MB363 back in 1998, an MB578 offshoot was created in 2003. The VW Beetle Taxi. Both castings saw some use for a few years, and the taxi casting stopped being used after 2008. The original stopped use after 2011. The eagle eyed will have noticed that when the MB363 casting returned in 2018, it was a little different. The casting had deteriorated while not in use. It warranted a refresh for re-inserting into general use. But the taxi casting was sadly a little worse off, and has not been refreshed for bringing back. So as it stands, the taxi casting itself is unavailable, hence the model being issued on the civilian casting.
I couldn’t help but notice though, A-58-363? I think I knew who designed this. Step forward Michael Heralda….
Colorways are inspired by Taxi’s I have seen (and rode in) in Mexico. The Eagle is an important symbol to the people origins of ancient Mexico (Mexico-Tenochtitlan) so I thought an homage to the brown Eagle would be appropriate to include in the deco. Unfortunately this particular tool did not include a Taxi Sign on the roof as do many Taxi’s in Mexico. Don’t know if collectors would enjoy the Lime Green tinted windshield but for point of different from previous models I thought I would add some color to the windshield. Don’t hate me for it! lol! I was able to slip in a subtle self promotion with the A-58. I can’t help it!
Thanks Michael. I personally don’t mind the green windows. It suited the overall look of the model. Especially as I grew up in the 1970s where various colours were used all the time on windows.
Well with this being green, I had one model that really stood out in my mind to bounce back to. A real classic. The MB43-B Dragon Wheels. Technically, it is not actually a VW Beetle, but it looks a lot like one.
You see officially it is known as a “funny car”. A type of dragster that is created using a fibreglass body that resembles those of real cars. Funny cars based on the VW Beetle look do exist in real life, and during the Lesney era, Matchbox created 2 funny cars in the early 1970s. A Dodge Dragster and Dragon Wheels. Dragon Wheels, a VW Beetle in all but name, first debuted in 1972 as MB46 and ran until 1977. It was always green and always had a Dragon Wheels label on the side.
Except the times they forgot to put the labels on. I mean this was Lesney. their QC was non-existent.
Between 1972 and 1975 the model was sold in a yellow box and sported 5-spoke front wheels and maltese cross rear wheels. During its years you could find various shades of green.
For its final 2 years (plus a brief reappearance in Japan in 1979) the wheels were changed to dot-dash front and rear, coinciding with a change of box style to a later orange box. As well as shades of green, you may find the amber window can vary a little, and the black base was occasionally left unpainted, or came in a dull blueish grey.
After retirement, when Lesney decided to split the brand between the US and ROW ranges, some of the tooling that was not going to be used in the ROW range was sent over to Hong Kong as they had set up a deal with a company there to build models for them in a local factory. This was partly to do with a falling out with a Japanese sub-contractor and pulling the 4 castings out. They sent those to Hong Kong, and realized if they were going to sell some items in the US range and not in other places, it would be cheaper to make them alongside these 4 in the Hong Kong factory. So as they decided to bring back some older castings for the US range in 1981, they sent those to Hong Kong. However, when coming back in 1981 and also returning to its original MB46 slot, they came up with a new design, and renamed the model too. It was now known as Hot Chocolate.
This resulted in the base being partially redone (and a small hole appearing in the rear axle area). In 1982 the model was assigned the MAN number MB085.
It continued on in the US range until 1984, but in 1983 they decided to give it a new design. It was now blue with a red and yellow “Big Blue” design on it. Unfortunately, the name Hot Chocolate now seemed rather odd, so they went and changed the name again. It was now called Beetle Streaker. Not many models change their name every time they changed their design.
Shortly after production started, they moved the casting to Macau. There is a late run made in China too which is proving very hard to locate.
After 1984 the casting was dropped, but saw a 1-off revival in a retro themed Premiere series in 1997. This set of 6 models were all classic Lesney models that had not been used in a long time, all recreated in 1970s looks, except now with more detail added to the models which in this case also included a little tampo detailing to the interior.
Apart from still being called Beetle Streaker, and production now being in China, it is quite easy to spot the differences between the 1997 retro models and the earlier Lesneys. As I said, much more detailing, the label was now tampo printed on and the wheels were 5-arch on the front and dot-dash on the rear. A combination not used during original production (unless an error model exists with that combination of wheels, because you know, Lesney QC). But with the new Beetle being green, I just knew this was the direction I was taking this one.
And with that, I believe I have just reached the end of another report. As I said, batch B will be a slow arrival over the next month or so as I mix and match my reports to give a variety of items on a weekly basis. Part 2 will be later in March and part 3 will be in April. I have a few alternate reports to insert in between to mix things up.
So have a good week, stay safe and catch you next week for another Matchbox Monday.