We’ve all bought job lots of cars to pick up the one we really want for our collections, buried among a whole bunch that we don’t. For me, that recently took the form of a mixed bag of Matchbox Action System models from a series issued in 1997 for The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
I like a dinosaur as much as the next guy and here in Alberta we’re fortunate to have had some of the biggest dinosaur discoveries anywhere in the world. If you’re ever in the neighbourhood, don’t miss the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, about 90 minutes northeast of Calgary.
I’m not big into dinosaur movies though and confess to never having seen any of the Jurassic Park films beyond the first one, but Matchbox has done quite a few licensed models down the years and the ’93 Ford Explorer from a couple of years ago is a stone-cold classic.
What concerns us here however is the series from (or mostly ‘inspired by’) The Lost World, because they fall within my Mission 800 cross hairs. Click here to get up to speed with what that means, but essentially, I’m trying to obtain one each of every Matchbox casting/manufacturing number from MB001 to MB800.
Most of The Lost World models are not especially hard to find, nor especially expensive. If you’re interested, take a look at what’s currently on eBay.
I’d picked up almost all of the models over the course of the past 10 years or so but was still missing one of two versions of the Mercedes-Benz ML, known as the Mercedes AAV (MB337). It was originally issued in the huge Site B Garage playset, which I don’t have the space to store, so I’d been on the lookout for a loose one for some time.
Vectis Auctions has been in the news recently through the record-breaking sale of Graham Hamilton’s Matchbox collection, with the prices of some rare items with impeccable provenance going as high as £13,000 (about US$18,000). It’s years since I won anything in a Vectis auction, mostly because I don’t have especially deep pockets and the competition is now stiffer than ever, but I saw a mixed lot of loose The Lost World models for sale there in January and took a punt. And won!
The AAV was my main target and I’m happy to have finally ticked that box.
Here is the other “ML”, MB319, which was released in the Tracker/Trapper line of single models with human and dinosaur figures – the same basic casting but with different equipment. It has no name on the base but was named “4×4” on the packaging. Neither of these models will win any authenticity awards, but they weigh a ton!
But that’s not where the story ends. It turns out that the toys I bought originated with an unnamed former Matchbox employee, who first sold the same lot through Vectis in 2019. Most of the models appear to be straightforward production releases, but there’s also what is billed as a development model for of the MB331 Unimog. As per the 2019 auction catalogue, “a group of loose models to include Trial model Unimog Snowplough Truck that was used as the donor model to develop the Tracker/Trapper Rescue Truck”.
As you can see, a white production version of the regular MB125 from a 1984 Twin Pack has been trial fitted with the Rescue Truck paraphernalia that subsequently appeared on the model when it was issued in the Tracker/Trapper series. Cool eh? Here’s the final production model as well.
My Vectis lot also contained the two larger trucks that I didn’t previously own. These are about the size of the modern Working Rigs and are called Rage Rigs, although there are no model names on the base. Two different trucks have either a Wrecking Tyrannosaurus trying to eat the guy inside or a Raging Stegosaurus that breaks the cab apart!
Before we finish, here are the rest of The Lost World models. Each of these Tracker/Trapper releases came on a card like this.
MB316 Hook Truck (regular MB316 (Chevy) Breakdown Van with a modified base)
MB317 Skip Truck (modified MB178 Ford Cargo)
MB329 Humvee (modified MB256, base still says Hummer)
MB330 Chopper (modified MB153 Mission Helicopter)
They make for a fun set and must have had great play value for the kids that bought them. Hope you like them as much as I do. Thanks for reading!
(follow me on Instagram @diecast215)