As is now part of my routine, I turn my attention to the Working Rigs models that Matchbox is selling. With many thanks to Wheel Collectors in USA for sending me over these to do my report, as Working Rigs are not sold in the UK I continue to be fascinated by them. As of yet, I still have not decided to officially collect them but all of the stuff that has been coming my way lately is nicely setting up home at my house. So as I do my deep diving with these you will see I am busy dealing with miniatures as a rule. Only the odd older random Working Rig if I happen to have it.
So as this is batch B, and a total of 16 models will be coming this year, this is currently all being done in number order, and this batch are numbers 5-8. I will go in order, so I start with number 5. This is the RW046 Road Scraper.
I believe (I could be wrong) that this is the second time this casting has been seen after a debut in 2019. I wasn’t getting them then so I can’t show you it, but it was in the INC recurring theme.
This is in the Ranec recurring theme. Will we see a National Parks issue in its future? I can’t rule it out, as the smaller miniature one has seen a National Parks issue, so anything is possible.
Being my first time seeing this casting up close I did take some time to pore over it. Obviously it has 2 main sections, cab and rear, which pivot in the middle.
It also features a moving ejector in the rear to push the loaded products out. I am not sure if it was just mine, but the ejector was extremely loose. The slightest touch and it would just slip straight to the front.
Now I couldn’t go in any other direction with this than to run down the whole idea of Ranec. It started in 2010 as a simple little design on the RW010 MBX Crane. Ranec is simply “Crane” with the “C” moved to the end.
Of course this particular MBX Crane is the 2021 Working Rigs number 4 and was a part of the last batch. It was a carry forward of the original, and serves a timely reminder of what the theme was all about.
I go back now, actually to before the Ranec theme bagan. This was the MB492 Road Roller. One of a number of variants of the casting. It was the final basic range issue in 2005 where it was sold as MB70 that year. It came in white with a black and orange tampo scheme. I guess these colours are quite a well known combination as 5 years later the Crane appeared in the Working Rigs series sporting the same colours, but simply using the Ranec theme.
But later in 2010 we saw the debut of the MB789 Skidster, and this was actually sporting the exact same design as the MBX Crane that had arrived shortly before. It got quite a bit of buzz on the internet when it arrived, as people were busy taking pictures of the Crane and Skidster together saying this was amazing and they wanted more. Some found the Road Roller and added it in, but not actually having Ranec on the side made it slightly less authentic.
During 2011 things went quiet. Was it just a random pairing? Nope! In 2012 the MB745 Scraper appeared in the same Ranec theme in the MB32 slot in the basic range. Oh yes, a theme was born. This got people excited wondering when more would arrive. After seeing a few other themes starting to gain traction this was another that we could see lots of potential with.
It wasn’t the fastest out of the blocks though, as it took another 2 years for us to see another. The MB856 Load Lifter arrived in the 2014 range as MB27, and the now rather familiar white, orange and black was noticeable.
We didn’t have to wait another 2 years either, as in 2015 the MB970 ’15 Ford F-150 Contractor truck debuted in white. I still remember the first pictures simply showed the model in the blister from the front. We noticed the orange rear and thought is this a Ranec model? If so where is the writing? Was it a mistake? Was it forgotten? Then pictures surfaced of the rear of the model. There it was. Confirmation of a new Ranec model only 1 year after the last one. Excellent. But this MB26 proved to be it for a while.
Because the next one didn’t arrive until 2019. Part of the MBX Construction 5-pack that year was this MB710 Dump Truck. All the other models in the 5-pack had different themes and people wondered if we would see an all-Ranec 5-pack.
As this MB1043 Tree Lugger made its way into the basic range that year too. It was sold as MB26 that year in what is currently its final outing.
2020 arrived, and yet again we saw an MBX Construction 5-pack (officially MBX Construction II) and again just one model sported a Ranec theme. The MB840 Water Hauler. Itself an offshoot of the MB710 Dump Truck which had been in the previous year’s pack. But still no full Ranec-themed 5-pack.
Until now! Yes, finally, 2021 sees an all Ranec pack. 5 models, all in the same white, orange and black look. We have 3 construction vehicles in the 2021 MBX Road Crew 5-pack. The MB1008 Tilt ‘n Tip (front), MB886 Ground Grinder (middle left) and MB918 Drill Digger (middle right).
Joining these are 2 classic pick-ups too. The MB1041 ’62 Nissan Junior (left) and MB985 ’57 GMC Pick-up (right). Finally. A whole pack in the Ranec theme. It has been a long time coming, and definitely bolsters this theme. I am looking forward to see what else we will see in a Ranec theme.
Taking the number 6 slot in the set of 16 is the RW006 International DuraStar 4400 Flatbed in red.
This ever-popular model tends to get at least one outing a year (when Working Rigs are in rotation) and this latest version does not disappoint. It is red with a Newfield Towing Company door design, likely as a nod to Everett Marshall III who owns the Matchbox Road Museum in Newfield. He has had his hometown featured on a number of models over the years.
Featuring the rear pull our wheel lift section.
As well as the flatbed rear that slides out and down to allow vehicles to roll up.
Which does mean it has the capacity to carry 2 vehicles at a time.
As I said, this model likes to feature at least once a year, and last year was when I first started working on Working Rigs. This means I had 2 already. It was number 7 in last year’s series in white.
And also appeared in the Mission Force Rescue Squad set too in blue.
But I don’t know, all this talk of carrying 2 vehicles. What if I bring in a few that could carry a third. As many know, the Convoy series began in 1982 and this featured a red vehicle. See where I was going with this? CY-1 was used as the advertising design for the range, and also was one of the longest lasting models in it. Such was the popularity of a Car Transporter.
At first the set featured the MB045 Kenworth Cabover Aerodyne towing the transporter in red. The transporter itself was red with a cream plastic ramp/upper section. It sold more or less the same until 1987. Variations in the stripes on the cab and whether the rear had stripes or not were the main things to look for, as well as a move from England to Macau.
In 1988 it saw its first change of look. The Kenworth was now in yellow and the transporter was a dark navy blue with yellow ramp/upper. This ran until 1991 and saw the chrome exhausts later removed from the Kenworth and later a move from Macau to Thailand for production.
It then saw its final redesign, with the Kenworth now turning blue and the rear a lighter blue (matching the cab) and the ramp/upper staying yellow. This ran from 1992 until the end of CY-1s time in the range in 1997. The only major note was that production again moved on, this time from Thailand to China.
Of course when Convoy returned for 2020, one of the most anticipated (and I think most popular) was the number 7 of 8 MBX Auto Transport set featuring the MB1150 MBX Cabover in orange, and the transporter, based on the original Convoy one from 1982-97 in grey with an orange ramp/upper section.
Just perfect for hauling off a bunch of Ranec themed models (call back to the previous model’s dive).
So what comes next? Number 7 of 16 is the RW015 Pierce Velocity 100ft Aerial Platform Fire Truck. That name just rolls off the tongue.
It comes in black and gold with a Snake Bend Fire Dept design.
And that aerial platform really does extend well.
There is a lot of attention to this casting, even on the platform at the front. It is impressive.
As this is not the first one I have had , I will bring in my other.It was number 4 in the 2020 series with a San Diego Fire Rescue livery. I believe it is the 8th livery for it so far, and me? only have numbers 7 and 8.
But this black and gold definitely reminds me of something.
So I am going to do a rundown of the only miniature ever to be done from Pierce to show what. The MB755 Pierce Dash Fire Engine. Now that is a much shorter and easier to remember name. Now I am going to say something that might shock people. I never liked this model much. Nothing against fire engines as a whole, but this one just never resonated with me. For anybody reading this who might remember me from old forum days, I used to have a nickname for it. The fire thingy. I could never be bothered to call it by its real name. When a batch would hit that would include it I would be all enthusiastic saying I got this model [name], that model [name] etc. And then at the end there was an “oh and a fire thingy”. It was always the footnote at the bottom of the list. I can’t explain why. It is not awful, and the casting itself did the real vehicle proud. It just…. never spoke to me. But i am a completeist and as such I do attempt to get all variations of it. Like this 2008 MB75 debut in red.
And the version 2 which appeared a few batches later in fluorescent yellow with a Dallas Fort Worth side design. It didn’t take the long to come out with some real liveries for it.
It even appeared later in the year to promote the 2009 line at the toy fair too. Premium issue, fully detailed. Still a fire thingy.
In 2009 it was MB57, but only in the US and ROW ranges. LAAM did not get the model. Lucky LAAM people. I mean; shame!
It was also in the 2009 Fire 5-pack in red and white. And yes, I am that crazy that I still saw a shade of red on the model and own 2 of them. 2 fire thingies.
It also saw more premium action as it was chosen to be the dinner model at the 2009 Gathering in Albuquerque. The first 75 had a black roof and red windows, with the rest getting a red roof and amber windows.
It was also added to the 2009 Superfast series too, as number 17 in the set and again full tampo printing covered this model.
For 2010 they decided to have 2 versions of it again in the basic range. Really!?!? Oh well, we got a yellow one and a white one that year as MB56. LAAM were not so lucky this time as they also saw it alongside the other 2 markets.
It was also in a Blaze Busters 5-pack in white too.
And another premium issue as it was a part of the Lesney Edition series that year, and as such also saw a metal base as part of the model, as well as a full tampo scheme.
In 2011 they decided it would only be a part of the US market, although still as MB56. This was a dark yellow colour. But I am a completeist so I had to pay extra to get one shipped from USA. The things I do to keep my collection up to date eh.
It also appeared in a fire Station playset, which was the first time (outside of the Lesney Edition which had a metal base, so sort of doesn’t count) that the plastic base was not chromed.
In 2012 it was MB28 in the basic range in a nice simple red scheme.
Whereas it was saw a bit more of a radical design for the EMT 5-pack, as this was the beginning of the short-lived era of “brightening up” models. And yes, variations did exist. The shade of green altered during production as well as the shade of amber window.
For 2013 it saw a celebratory Pierce design for the MB67 issue.
And this time a Fire Rescue Crew Mission Force set issue in white and black.
In 2014 it only saw a basic range release, with a dark red M.F.D. design.
In 2015 it was MB62 in the basic range, and this MBX themed design saw a wheel variation during production. It could be found with disk wheels or tri-spoke wheels.
Its final premium issue to date is the 2015 Supreme Heroes series model, which this time featured 2-part rubber wheels as well as a full tampo scheme.
2016 saw it in the basic range for the last time (so far). A 9 year stint in the basic range is pretty impressive. Typical for me, it was a model I wasn’t fussy about. I still wonder where the 2 Macks are (MB906, MB964), the MB660 Fire Ladder Truck, even the MB881 Blaze Blitzer. But this one was significant here as this is what the new Pierce Working Rig reminded me of. Black and gold, gold and black. They do make for a good pair. This too also saw a wheel variation as usually the hubs would be gold, but some came out chrome.
Another green and black 5-pack issue arrived in 2017. This was the Toxic Rescue 5-pack and again the model saw shades of green during production, although I never saw a window shade this time.
Since then, it took 2018 off (yay) but returned in another 5-pack for 2019. This was the MBX To The Rescue 5-pack and featured a South Australia Fire Service design. This is to date the last we have seen of the casting. I know it was quite popular with a lot of people and as such it is logical that it saw a lot of uses. But to me, this will always be the fire thingy. One of those models I added to the collection just because I want them all. Everybody has the lesser favourites. Welcome to one of mine.
And this brings us to the last model in this batch. The number 8 of 16 Cement King HD. This has a manufacturing number RW040 as it was a retool of an earlier casting.
This is only its second outing after debuting in 2019 in yellow.
It looks good with the rotating mixing drumand a rear discharging chute that pivots.
So you can rotate the drum around and have the details on the side upside down, and angle the discharging chute to whichever side you feel.
As I never got the 2019 version I can’t bring in that one for a photo, but amazingly enough I do have the original cement truck.
The RW001 Mercedes-Benz Actros Cement Mixer. This was a 2009 issue in red with Tom’s Cement on the side.
The back 2/3rds of the vehicle are pretty much the same, but the front cab is obviously where the differences are. Instead of the Mercedes look they created the Matchbox originals design that is tied in with a number of other miniature models. If you have a Flatbed King you should check out the front end. Same!
You will find a few other minor tweaks to the rest of the model, but as a general rule, this is the same as it was.
Just an updated casting. Daft note, the took off the details for the Mercedes-Benz Actros as well as the RW001 detail but when they added Cement King HD to it, they forgot to also add the RW number.
So now I am going to surprise you. You see the logical back dive here would be the MB690 ’06 Cement Truck. It was the first casting that used that cab design. But I only recently showcased it here when I was doing a rundown of the first batch of Hitch & Haul the other month. I just felt it was too soon to re-hash that model again. So I nudged back one. This was the previous Cement Truck casting that was basically replaced by the ’06 Cement Truck, because you know Cement Truck HD replaced Mercedes-Benz Actros. You see my logic? Or am I the only one? And I doubt I will have many chances to go through this casting again. This was the MB495 Cement Mixer. The last Cement Mixer in the basic range to see 3-axles. The ’06 as supposed to have 3-axles, but the third one was removed at the last minute. Another Matchbox originals design, this debuted as MB40 in the 2001 basic range in white (again white vs white, good match up) with a simple 27/red stripes and plenty of Matchbox logos on it. 2001 was the year where they changed the lozenge Matchbox logo for a new oval one. It didn’t go down too well, and reverted back in 2005. This was also a rather unique Cement Truck as it is the only “front-pouring” design to ever be made as a Matchbox miniature. This does give it a bit of a strange look, but in comparison to real front pourers, I think this was a really nice look.
2002 saw the model as MB17 and was now yellow. However, the design was the same as the previous one (except also a different colour) and the first 10,000 examples had a large 50 logo over the driver side of the front window.
It also saw its first 5-pack issue that year, and a first time seeing the drum getting tampo printed too. Build ‘n Bash was the name of the pack, and this was a dark blue model with a bull head logo and 42 on it.
It also turned up in a Construction playset in a very plain dark red with just a Matchbox oval on the drum.
In 2003 it saw its final run in the basic range. It was MB22 and was back to being a white model, except this time with a yellow drum and different design. Again the first 10,000 had a logo over the driver side front window. This time the Hero City one.
After that we only saw one more new design for the model. It was in a 2004 Construction 5-pack in orange and yellow with 2 different logos on the cab and drum. But as 2005 rolled around and a change in direction for the brand meant a lot of the Matchbox originals created during the early 2000s were phased out, this did see one more outing.
It reappeared in the 2006 Construction playset. However it didn’t see the same red look of the 2002 original, but the same 2003 basic range look. Except for one small difference.
The dome wheels had been swapped out for crown wheels. The drum is slightly darker too, but this was made 3 years after the main bunch so there was always chances for shades. But because we now had the ’06 Cement Mixer in the range, they felt no need to utilize this casting any longer. So the first, and so far final, front pouring Cement Mixer from Matchbox fades into obscurity.
Which brings us to the end of another report. I hope you enjoyed it.
I am having fun with these Working Rigs. Still not getting older ones as yet, although as you saw I do have the odd random one.
Next week I will be back to dealing purely with miniatures, but it will not be continuing batch C yet. I have another report to slot in first.
Until then have a safe and healthy week.