Matchbox Monday finishes 2021 Batch B

Yes it is about time I finish this batch off, as I already have batch C photographed and ready to work through.

I do believe this is a great time to be a Matchbox collector. Recently we have seen some absolutely amazing models arrive, and new castings are just amazing. With many thanks to Wheel Collectors again who sent through these (and also batch C ready to work on extremely soon) I am now ready to finish off with the last of batch B.

I thought I would begin with the one non-licensed model first. Some may call it a generic, the Matchbox team like to prefer the name Matchbox original, as not every casting that they put in the range is a licensed model. It hasn’t been like that since 1968, as the Field Car debuted in 1969 and was the first original design (based on an International Harvester). Although if you look back even further, there were plenty of trailer units that were not licensed going back to 1955, with the MB16 Transporter Trailer. So it is almost as old as the range itself having non-licensed models in the range. Mind you that wasn’t even a term really until George Lucas set up his unique deal with the Star Wars film, where instead of just taking money directly from cinema earnings, he set up a special deal where he earned off merchandising too, and any toy company wanting to make toys from it had to pay him for the privilege. It wasn’t long until that spread through the entire toy industry to everything. Anyway, I am going completely off track here aren’t I. This is the MB716 Ridge Raider.

For 2021 it appears as MB50 in red.

Now I couldn’t help noticing a certain Lyons Bros livery on the side of this, and various references to the number 58. I think you know where this is going. Step forward Michael Heralda.

Ridge Raider is one of my mine! I had the opportunity to continue using the Number 8 LYONS BROS Race deco! I really like that deco and wish it was used more so & when the opportunity presents itself I add it. You may notice a small logo in the side deco that reads 58 UNOME – 58 refers to ADLAR58 and the UNOME refers to You-Know-Me (subtle reference to ME!) My fondest memory of using the Lyons Bros Racing deco was on the Lesney Edition ’64 Austin Mini Cooper S – see picture below.

Thanks Michael. I knew this was very familiar. I love all these nods to the past. Whether it be from ages ago, or the perhaps not too distant past. The Mini was the 2010 Lesney Edition model. So only 11 years ago, but still a great nod from the Ridge Raider. Now the Ridge Raider has been around since 2007, and I prepared a rundown of it in my Off Road Rally batch B report a short while ago, so I decided to remind people of the fact that we had a second Matchbox originals from the same genre of vehicle.

The MB767 Quick Sander. After Ridge Raider arrived in 2007, they decided to provide us with a second model to partner it in the way of Quick Sander in 2009. It debuted that year as MB75 in yellow.

And was immediately chosen to receive a version 2 a few batches later too. The silver V2 I did find lighter and darker silvers, although the picture might not show it too well.

The model was also included in the Adventure 10-pack that year too (not the 1st Editions pack), and again shades of brown could be found.

Plus they decided to use this casting to promote the 2010 range at the 2010 Toy Fair late in 2009 too. This was where we saw just what could be done with the casting, as it got a full tampo treatment. And look at all the 58s over it. This too was a Michael Heralda special.

For 2010, as part of the 3-way split, the ROW range did not see this model. In the US it was sold as MB87, LAAM saw it as MB48. It was a silvery blue, and again I did discover some shading to it.

Although that was not quite as extreme as the shade of blue for the Adventure 10-pack issue I discovered too.

For 2011, the ROW range saw the model again, as it was still MB87 (US) or MB48 (LAAM) but was also now MB66 ROW. This one looks great next to the new model, both being in red and all. With yellow wheels.

The only other issue we saw in 2011 was a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse licensed 5-pack release, again in silvery blue.

For 2012, and the amalgamated basic range, it was sold as MB79 in burnt orange. And yes, those are white wheels. Something they experimented with for a few years.

It was also in the Desert Adventure 5-pack that year in orange with a King Cobra Adventure Tours theme. Plus mud! I like models with a muddy effect. I did also find a nice shade too, something else I like.

It was also added to the Kung Fu Panda 2 licensed 5-pack in green.

For 2013 we saw a simpler basic range issue as this white model was MB98 that year.

In 2014, it was sold as MB45 and this time the most significant part was that the windows were either a very light smoke or much darker.

And the 2015 MB106’s main cause for variation hunters to go nuts were the wheels being found in either 6-spoke or cog varieties.

The thing is, this casting has not been seen since this final issue in 2016. Another of Michael Heralda’s designs, part of his group of 5,000 design tributes. Coming in white, I did find a more creamy shade. I have to be honest, if I was given a choice between seeing more Ridge Raiders or more Quick Sanders, I will go with the Quick Sander. I always preferred this one. I am hoping it will return again for more outings.

But another model I am happy to see return is the MB970 ’15 Ford F-150 Contractor Truck.

It debuted in 2015 and had not been seen since 2017, so I am happy to see another issue now.

The Suny Solar white model is MB78 in the 2021 basic range. A great little design, very modern with its solar panel company look. But I did mention this had not seen much action, so I will showcase the other 3.

As the model debuted, also in white, in 2015 as MB26. This looked like a very plain design at first as the sides were blank.

But when you looked at the back, you realized it was a Ranec design on the model. A very cool debut. And if you look carefully you will notice that the left one is a more creamy white than the right one. Thin vs thick white paint coverage is not something that has only just started cropping up.

In 2016, it was MB38 in yellow with an Ian MK Construction theme. Again shades for me, as I discovered lighter and darker shades of yellow during production.

The Lochner Lumber model was, until now, the last we had seen of the model as it was the 2017 MB47. Again shades could be found.

It is quite amazing that so far there have been 4 releases of this model and all have been in the basic range. It currently has not been seen anywhere else.

I did contemplate going back to add more to this one, but I decided not to. I just hope we get to see more of it soon.

The MB1203 Polaris RZR (if you remember when it debuted last year, you pronounce it as “razor”, not as 3 individual letters).

This is its second appearance in the basic range, and after debuting in black in 2020 it is now black.

But the 2021 MB41 is not a carry forward of 2020.

If I was to bring in the 2020 debut MB59 version, you can see that it has a completely different design. They just both happen to start with a black body first.

Plus both do have the same grey roof and base sections. I don’t mind it, as it gives me a chance for this shot.

A pair of black and grey Polaris RZR models and a pair of black and grey MB1101 Kawasaki Teryx4 LE models. I would love for the Matchbox team to utilize both the Kawasaki castings outside of Jurassic World usage, as both would work in a number of scenarios.

I was a little short on the Ford Contractor Truck so let’s do a little backwards diving here with the MB1019 Four X Force. It sort of fits a similar criteria, as both are side by side vehicles, often known as SSVs, or UTVs. Obviously the Polaris is more of a fun vehicle, whereas the Four X Force was a Matchbox original design based on the utility sector of the field. But I am making it work here. Four X Force has not had a lot of use. It debuted in the 2016 basic range as MB97 in yellow. And body did the shades come on that one. There was a significant difference between the lightest and darkest I found.

It only had 1 further use in the basic range, as MB54 in 2017. This time it was orange, and again shades were to be found on the model.

The tampo design was actually the same as the 2016 debut, something which I am a big fan of. I love consistency, with the colours used in the tampo being the only thing that changed.

The model has only seen one further outing since. It was in the 2018 Dirty Mudders 5-pack in green. There was a shade, but it was on the wheels.

Ranging from a light tan to an almost brown print to the 6-spokes on the wheels, it kept up the tradition of me finding variations to every release. Sadly, there haven’t been any more since. It may be a Matchbox original, something which many are not keen on in general, but I always thought this was a cute little model, and enjoyed getting them. I wonder if the Polaris RZR will outlast it for uses?

Two more to go, and I am sure that for most people these are the best two. After all, they are cars. Something which I think is the most popular part of the range in general. First up the MB1214 ’56 Aston Martin DBR1.

It is being sold as MB44 in the basic range for 2021 in silver with simple front detailing.

As well as simple rear detailing. A lovely classy look for the model.

This comes after its debut last year in the Top Gun Maverick 5-pack. This is an actual vehicle in British Racing Green that was used in the movie, although with its many delays we still have not seen the real one in action. This was the reason behind Matchbox obtaining the license to make the model. I guess it will have quite a prominent part in the film.

This was before it was then added to the basic range in metallic green as MB73 later.

So we are currently up to 3. A red 5-pack issue is coming soon, which will add to the small but growing army of DBR1s. I can’t wait for that to arrive. But I can’t leave this here. Too many “too short” dive backs. So being a British vehicle, and being silver, I decided to come up with something that was also British, and this one arrived in its debut year in silver.

The MB692 ’06 Jaguar XK. Yeah I know, this is way out. But I always thought Jaguar and Aston Martin vehicles had a similar vibe to them. And with a lack of Aston Martins in the Matchbox range (hoping that we get to see perhaps a new DBX or maybe a 1977 V8 Vantage in the future) I went a little sideways with the Jag. Plus, I know I had somebody asking me for a rundown of this model, and I thought this was a good time to do it. It debuted as MB3 in the 2006 basic range in silver.

But was also a part of the 2006 Superfast range in blue. The Superfast number 37 actually has the official colour in the license plate. It was called indigo blue.

In 2007 the basic range MB21 saw 2 different issues, and now they stopped using the colour in the license plate. Because at first it was black. I think that was pretty obvious.

It turned a light metallic blue a few batches later.

It was also included in the Exotic Cars 5-pack that year in a creamy white look.

Plus we had a Best of British release in a dark British Racing Green.

And a German exclusive Stars of Cars issue in a light metallic silvery green too. 2007 was a very busy year for the casting.

In 2008 it was MB33 in the basic range, coming in a cranberry red colour, which I did discover could sport shades.

And it was in the VIP5 5-pack in red too. Again, I found some nice shades on it.

It was also included in the “Real” all-exclusive 10-pack that year too in a dark metallic green. And yet again I found a nice shade to the green.

It was also a part of the 2008 Best of British series too, this time in champagne. That was only 4 issues. Yes, definitely on the downward trend now.

2009 saw a dark blue MB19 for the basic range. Or, as the license plate puts it, midnight blue. Yes, the license plate calling the colour was back for this one. This was during the time when they often used codes, mainly swapping letters for numbers, so M4N78T becomes MDNGHT. And just like with the Polaris RZR, you lose the vowels. Am I good at tying things together?

Again it was in the Real 10-pack that year, and again I found a nice shade. This time on the light sky blue colour.

And its third and final release that year was a cream Best of British model. What 3? Oh definitely on the way out. Might as well just retire it.

And that’s just what they did after this final 2010 basic range issue. MB33 in brown. It has not been seen since. Although I still keep saying give us a Jaguar series (like the Walmart ones with Cadillac or Mustang), with this, the E-type, F-type, XK140 Roadster, and introduce an F-Pace and a classic 1983 XJ-SC Targa Convertible. Yeah I dream out loud a lot.

Which brings me on to the final model. A brand new casting of the MB1242 ’20 Audi TT RS. I had dreams of adding another Audi to the Matchbox range, as I felt this was an under-used company in the range, and this one I had come true.

It debuts in the MB16 slot in the range.

Being a 2020 TT RS means it is the facelifted version with the newer front end.

And a nicely detailed rear spoiler too.

Being a new casting I also show off the base, as there are a few people around who like to see what they look like. Now I did hear a few people were asking why they are doing a TT again, as we have had one, plus the model is going to stop production soon in real life. But I like this. You see, as it turns out the Matchbox brand has done the start and end of production.

Because when they created MB433 back in 1999, where it was sold as MB74 exclusively in the German range, this was a casting of the 1st generation in its original guise. The new casting is the 3rd generation in its final guise. A true first and last looks. I could be making comparisons between the 2 for ages. But I won’t. I just like this first and last thing.

I do also like that I have a nice pre-production sample of the very first one too. A very pale silver colour. It did originally come in a prototype package too, but that is long gone.

After being a German exclusive for its first year, it then moved worldwide for 2000. However, the US and ROW issues were slightly different. For the US range, it was MB4 in blue with TT Coupe and the Audi rings on the side. The first 10,000 sported a Matchbox 2000 logo too. There is a flower wheel version too. I actually have only just received my example. It came in an Egg-mobile package a little later on.

But the ROW version was a similar, but not the same blue, this time with just the Audi rings on the side, and now with additional lights front and rear. This was a late in the year release, and was still in production in 2001 and as such saw a batch with flower wheels at the end. That one I did get at the time, and therefore photographed it for the report.

A comparison of the 2 releases for the US and ROW markets. The blue is slightly darker on the US issue. I am not sure why they chose to make them similar, but that is what they did.

The model was also included in the Euro Sports 5-pack in green, and again this was a later in the year release that was still going in 2001. Therefore this too went from concave 5-spokes to flower wheels during production. In fact the last production run saw the base switched from plastic to metal too. But I am not attempting to get that for my collection, as I don’t worry if I have to flip a model over to see the variation.

Also in 2000, Launchers were, well launched. 4 different sets throughout the year, and one of them was the Auto Cargo launcher, which featured a black TT. Launchers were only produced for 3 months each and this did not see any variations to it.

2001 only saw the 1 issue though. It was sold as MB17 in the ROW market only. This was a dark red with just a front light depicted, although this was the year they started slapping the “new” oval logo on pretty much everything. Thankfully that stopped after a few years.

In 2002 we only saw 1 issue again, but this time it was in the Collectibles range. Part of a Coca Cola set. This was the only time the model sported a premium look and rubber wheels.

2003 and we were pretty much back at 2001. Just the one release still, and again it was an ROW exclusive basic range issue. This time though it was MB37. For 2003, all basic range issues across the world saw a Hero City logo on the first 10,000 produced. And yes, shades were to be found too.

After that we saw one more release before the model saw a small retooling. This was in the 2004 VIP Parking 5-pack. And yes, this was deep into Hero City territory. I have no idea what the bee and beehive look had to do with anything. It was something they came up with. It is no surprise that sales were crashing at the time, causing a radical re-think into the Matchbox brand as a whole. As we know, things do get a lot better.

The casting took a year off after that, but returned for a final flourish in 2006. As I mentioned there had been a tweak. Audi specifically requested that the rear spoiler needed to be included on the model now. So the casting was altered. A convertible alternate had always sported it, but the original coupe had not. It was sold as MB15 in the basic range in charcoal. During production the flower wheels were swapped out with lace ones.

but there was also a random change. The rear tampo printing had accidentally highlighted the wrong area for the rear light depiction. Known as the low light or high light variation.

But they didn’t just do it once. They did it a few times, and as such the low light/high light variation can be found on both types of wheels, for a total of 4 variants. I told you it went out with a flourish.

It was a super way to finish off the model. Talking of which, there was a licensed 5-pack for the Superman Returns film that also included the model in black too, with the Superman logo on the faded blue side.

So as we have not seen a TT coupe since 2006, I am more than happy to see a new one after 15 years. Although the new one will likely not need to be adjusted mid-way through production like the last one was.

And with that, batch B of 2021 is done and dusted. Time to set my sights on batch C. Although I do have a few other things to showcase first.

So all that is left to say is have a safe week everybody and I hope to see you all “moving” back here next week for another report.

9 Replies to “Matchbox Monday finishes 2021 Batch B”

  1. Some nice models in this batch, but when are we likely to see them in the UK? By my reckoning it’s around 10 weeks since case A appeared here and some stores locally now have very low stock left. Did the batch possibly get delayed by the recent shenanigans in Suez?

    1. Tesco have now officially no Matchbox singles or 9 packs in their distribution centres at the moment. Due dates on their shelf edge labels keep slipping back to the end of this month. This should hopefully signify brand new assortments whether that be Case B or C.

  2. It is a bit of a worry with Tesco UK. If they are currently out of stock, waiting on a shipment, there is a possibility that they could miss batch B and bring us batch C. Or they could be waiting on a late run of batch B. We just have to wait and see. I am also hoping that batch C 9-packs arrive too. I noticed the shelf edge label date kept moving back there too.

    1. Thanks, Craig and David for the information. Not good news but at least I can stop my trawl round local Tescos for the time being. It’ll be ironic if case B is missed as it’ll mean the Aston Martin, a British car if there ever was one, won’t be getting any UK distribution for the second year running. Maybe a future “Best of British” issue?

    2. We did get Case B and C last year, albeit very late, so fingers crossed they both still appear at Tesco. I do buy a lot of Matchbox from Tesco but admit I always buy each batch from overseas sources first these days as I cant rely on this UK retailer anymore!

  3. Loving the tampo print on that Ridge Raider. I don’t know why, but those off road, dune racing castings between Matchbox and Hot Wheels *really* appeal to me, probably my favorite of their fantasy models.

  4. It was a big story at the time when Audi had to change the Mk.1 TT’s suspension settings and fit a rear spoiler to improve high-speed stability after a string of fatal accidents. I had no idea that Matchbox then also had to retrofit a spoiler to the casting. I need to dig mine out and check!

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