So this week things will be ever so slightly different. I thought why not just dive in to the auction to begin with. After all, this is pretty important. Last week I finished off my promo report by showing Auction A which had 10 lots. However, Auction C is a little bigger. There are 30 lots in total, and these are live now. If you are interested, start bidding. I will remind you of the details again….
This is Auction C and can be bid on by anybody worldwide. Remember it is coming from Germany, taking place leading out of the Leipzig Convention, so prices are all in Euros. For those who attended the convention they had their own intimate auction just for them. That was Auction B. Us outsiders never saw them. After the convention finished, Auction C went live for the world to join in again. This will run until Sunday October 10th at 2pm (European time GMT+2). Bidding increments are in €2 increments up to €20, then €5 increments up to €100. After that it will just be in €10 increments. They are “up to” bids, so if somebody bids €2 and another €6, they will be winning at €4, not at the amount they bid. Every evening Dirk will post an update each day at around 10pm (European time GMT+2) for each of the lots and emailing those who have bid already. Say 1 bidder put in a €100 bid and a second bidder puts in €130 on one of the lots. A third bidder comes along at €130 too, so Dirk will send different emails. The first bidder to say that the auction has reached €130. The second bidder has an email to say the same but they are winning, also noting in this case another bidder put in the same amount. The third bidder will get an email to say that although they are bidding the highest amount, another bidder got there first and is winning. It is strictly a first come, first served system. Whoever emails Dirk with their bid first will be the highest bidder if another comes along with the same bid. Dirk’s email (very important for this) is email@example.com to send your bids. Please do not attempt to bid as a reply to this blog report. They don’t count! Only bids being sent to Dirk’s email will count. So, on with the 30 auctions to bid on. As I said, they close at 2pm GMT+2 Sunday October 10. And remember, if you are bidding, please tell Dirk the lot you are bidding on.
Lot C01 is another of the pink models from the 2021 Leipzig convention and is very limited to 25 examples (now updated with a new picture showing the model).
Lot C02 is an FEP (Final Engineering Pilot) sample of the 2020 MB88 issue of the MB976 Ghe-O Rescue.
Lot C03 is an FEP sample of the 2020 MB58 issue of the MB1025 Toyota Prius Taxi.
Lot C04 is a pre-production prototype sample of the MB1201 ’19 Mercedes-Benz AMG G63S with no mention of the country of manufacture on the riveted base.
Lot C05 is an FEP sample of the 2020 MB80 issue of the MB878 Jeep 4×4.
Lot C06 is an FEP sample of the 2020 MB31 issue of the MB1187 ’10 Ford F-150 Animal Control Truck.
Lot C07 is a selection of 3 postcards from the classic “The Dinky Collection” series from the early 1990s.
Lot C08 is an FEP sample of the 2019 5-pack No Road, No Problem issue of the MB723 VW Beetle 4×4 which has red-rimmed wheels instead of the usual orange for production.
Lot C09 is a bare metal pre-production prototype of the DY35 ’68 VW Karmann Ghia from 1995.
Lot C10 is a pre-production prototype sample of the RW002 Garbage King HD with a completely blank base that has no wording at all.
Oh look, a bigger shot of the model. I have a few larger shots to sneak in too.
Lot C11 is a pre-production prototype sample of the SB139 Airbus A400M from 2017.
Ooh close up again.
Lot C12 is an FEP sample of the 2020 MB37 issue of the MB423 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet all mocked up in a blister too.
Close up of the blistered model.
Lot C13 is a pre-production prototype sample of the MB1119 Mercedes-Benz ML320 AAV from the Jurassic World series with unriveted base (hence the elastic band) and no country of origin.
And yes they are rubber wheels too.
Lot C14 is a pre-production prototype of the MB1174 ’35 Ford Pickup which also has unspun rivets on the base and no mention of the country of manufacture.
Close up again of this one.
Lot C15 is an early 3D print mock-up made for the MB1226 ’19 Ford Mustang GT.
Close up of this one.
Lot C16 is a pre-production prototype of the MB1040 Duk-Duk, again with no mention of where it would be made on the base.
A close up of the Duk-Duk.
Lot C17 is an FEP sample of the 2019 Walmart Jeep Set issue of the MB574 Jeep Cherokee with lights casting.
Note the M02 dating signifies this was a 2019 model year, not the 2021 Target Retro carry forward.
Lot C18 is a pre-production prototype of the MB1186 Polaris Slingshot. Again this has no country of manufacture on the base.
Close view of one of the pictures.
Lot C19 is a pre-production prototype of the MB1167 ’11 Mini Cooper Countryman with again no mention of country on the base, and nice clear windows showing off the interior inside.
Which you can see even better in this close up.
Lot C20 is an extremely rare MB938 ford F-350 Superduty Superlift in bronze from 2016. This was supposedly a planned promotion at TRU in USA that got cancelled. It comes mint in blister. This is a late addition and has replaced the previous Lot C20 which has been partnered with lot C22 for one larger auction).
Lot C21 is an early 3D mock-up made for the MB1201 ’19 Mercedes-Benz AMG G63S.
Close up of the 3D mock-up. Note the detailed grille area which was later smoothed out to allow for tampo printing the details instead.
Lot C22 is (now extended to) an FEP sample of the 2019 MB76 issue of the MB878 Jeep 4×4. Also included is the matching MB700 Cadillac Hearse Colour Chip that was used as a guide for the p[aint choice on the model.
Close up of the model again.
And a close up of the matching colour chip. This was originally a separate auction lot (C20), but has now been partnered up with the Jeep for one big lot.
Lot C23 is a pre-production prototype of the MB1197 Big Banana Car. This model is again unspun so the rivets are not held together, and again also has no country of manufacture.
A close up of a blue banana.
Lot C24 is a pre-production prototype of the MB1092 ’15 Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe in blue. Again this is an unspun model, so the base is not riveted down and the country of manufacture is missing from the base detailing too.
A little close up again.
Lot C25 is a pre-production prototype of the MB1190 Nissan NV Van. Again, unspun unriveted base and no country of manufacture.
Another close up.
Lot C26 is a pre-production prototype of the MB1179 ’16 Ford Interceptor Utility. This model has been riveted, but again has no country of manufacture.
Close up. This and the Nissan make for a nice pair in matching colours.
Lot C27 is a pre-production of the Models of Yesteryear Y-14 Stutz Bearcat with a blank base and front section that is not riveted on.
Lot C28 is an FEP sample of the 2019 Service Crew 5-pack issue of the MB405 VW Delivery Van.
Close up time.
Lot C29 is an FEP sample of the 2020 MB36 issue of the MB1195 ’15 Mercedes-Benz G-Class.
Final close up shot for the auctions.
Lot C30 is a pre-production prototype bare metal issue of the Dinky DY-3 1965 MGB GT. This is not the recent miniature model, but the larger scale Dinky issue from the late 1980s.
And that is the end of the auction. 30 lots in total, with pictures sent to me by Dirk Schleuer to show here. But I am not going to just finish here. Dirk has kindly also sent me the models that were available at the event too. The MB1257 Mercedes-Benz G500 Cabrio. This is a brand new casting that has just arrived as a part of the batch D Collector series, and no sooner has it debuted, we also see a bevy of lovely promotional issues of it. So why not dive in.
We start with the 1 of 300 issue “event model”.
This is orange and features a 25 on the doors/hood as a nod to the 25th Modell-Hobby-Spiel. This is what the model is specifically for, the event, not the convention.
Opening the lid reveals the model. You might have seen this already o n my Instagram page. Dirk allowed me to start posting pictures of it once the event was underway and models were being handed out at the Modell-Hobby-Spiel.
Now these orange models, as stated they are the show models and as such feature a 25 for the 25th running of the Modell-Hobby-Spiel at the Leipziger Messe. The convention itself runs from a newrby hotel just over the road from the show. When I was last there is 2019 I literally just wandered over from the hotel to visit the show. Dirk has a massive table at the Modell-Hobby-Spiel and a few other people in Matchbox land join him with their own tables.
I love this orange look. It is a matte orange with a matte black bonnet or hood depending on where you are reading from. As is usual, the level of detaliing is amazing. The model sports rubber wheels too.
We get tampo printing on pretty much everything, with the spare wheel also receiving a hit. No expense is spared with these promotional offerings.
The casting features an opening bonnet and the engine inside is very well detailed too. As I said, they really went nuts with it.
I tried doing a front shot of the engine, but it came out a bit blurry. Yeah I am still learning how to use a camera. You would think after all of these years that I would have got it. But no.
So let’s try moving to the side a bit. Ah much better. I love all the detailing on this model. Note the front license plate is a part of the base section, which means that the base section (which also forms the rear spare wheel) got 2 tampo prints of its own. That was on top of all the prints done to the body. They went nuts and you can tell.
Well as this is the first time I am showing this casting I do need to do my obligatory base shot. Although the plexicase marked it as a Mercedes-Benz G500 Cabrio, the base says it is a ’14 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Cabrio. Small differences I know, but I am one of those people who will catalogue literally by what it says on the base, so these are quite important to me. I am sure I am not the only one.
But wait, there’s more. This is the show model. What about the convention? Well, there are 3 more boxes to open up. Shall we dive in and see what these 3 look like?
This is the 1 of 125 convention model. It is in a very light yellow and features a 20 on the doors/hood due to this being the 20th European Convention that takes place alongside the show. Very clever with the way they did that. 25 for the show model as that is in its 25th year, and 20 for this because it is in its 20th.
Plexicase off, and you can see the model clearer, but I need to take it fully out here.
There we go, much better. This is the standard convention model and is a very pale pastel matte yellow. The level of tampo is the same. In fact everything is.
The only differences between this and the show model are obviously the colour and the number on the doors/bonnet.
It is great when you get a bunch of models in alternate colours that look the same. I have always been a fan of Matchbox doing that, so these promotional issues are definitely right up my street.
I love this shade of yellow. Very bright and colourful. It really does stand apart to the orange. Had it been much darker it might have been tougher to tell them apart (if you ignore the number on it).
Getting better with my front view shots.
You can see just how different the convention and show model are when placed side by side.
Or stacked on top of each other. These stack well. You can also clearly see the 25 vs 20 moniker reminding you easier which is the show and which is the convention model.
We also have a third model in the way of the “Best Buddy” model (formerly Early Bird) which is limited to 75 and comes in black. This too has 20 due to being a convention related model.
I don’t know what it is about a G-Class, but for some reason I think black suits it the best. Out of all the promotional issues for this event, this is easily my favourite.
I just love the orange tampo printing on the all matte black body/bonnet. I did wonder if perhaps the bonnet should have been orange to match the tampo (as the others are black to match the black tampo), but then I thought better. Yes this was definitely the way to go with this.
Everything just seems to flow better with this one. I can’t explain it.
Tampo prints just seem to stand out better. I think the MB1195 ’15 Mercedes-Benz G-Class needs an all-black release. When Dirk did hos promos, we had yellow, green, silver and pink. The model has been released in dark red, blue and purple with a gold just arriving in the Collector series. It needs a black release. Matte black? Maybe gloss. Whoa! Getting sidetracked.
I don’ think there is an awful lot more I can say to be honest with this. I mean it is the same as the pale yellow, but in an alternate colour scheme.
I keep trying with the front shots don’t I. One day….
Perhaps I should stick to alternate angles. This is the first G-Class release that is so open like this. I do think this casting is cute. The rear does look like it is a rolled down roof segment. You can see in this shot the ruffled effect to it.
So that is 3 models down. 1 more to go.
Finally, the helper model in pink and also sporting the convention’s 20 number and this is the most limited, with only 25 made.
Again it didn’t take long at all for that plexiglass to come off, and the model is ready to be set free.
A very bright matte pink this one is. We keep getting these pink models. Reminds me of the old Lesney Superfast days when a lot of stuff was coming in pink. It was a bit of a go-to colour.
As you can see the pink issue is the same as the pale yellow and black. These are all convention models sporting the 20 logo and as we went on they became more and more exclusive. This is the model that lot C01 is the auction for. Well not this specific one, another of the 25 that Dirk had.
A very nice little model and the shade of pink is very bright. In fact I noticed they all were (apart from the black obviously) wven though all models have a matte finish. Usually matte finishes can be quite dull.
I am just going to let the pictures do the talking now.
Oops! I spoke again. Oh rats! Did it again.
Well there you go, a number of shots of the rarest of the G500s.
Which brings me to the end of my review of “new” stuff. One auction (and good luck if you are bidding) and 4 promotional models for Leipzig 2021.
So as last week with so much “new” stuff I was going through I never did a dive back, this week though, let’s get that dive back back in business shall we? And I apologise in advance as I realized with all this I really piled on the pictures. Almost 200! Oops! (Again). I am taking inspiration this week from previous Leipzig promotional models in addition to the new one. So where to start? Well as I usually do, it is back in the Lesney era.
Inspired by the fact that Dirk once commissioned a Notarzt vehicle as a promotional vehicle (it was the 2016 year when he did the MB966 BMW M5 Police) I showcase the MB41-C (later MB041) Ambulance.
This casting debuted in 1978 as, well MB41, taking over from the Siva Spyder. Although never specified, this looks to be pretty much a third generation General Motors C/K series chassis model (Chevrolet or GMC) mated to what was likely a Horton rear. Horton are a manufacturer of Ambulance rears in USA and often use the Chevy Pickups as their start off point, creating these square back looks. Now as a model, Lesney decided to try something a little unusual and attempted to release 2 different labels for 2 markets. The ROW market saw a very simple + and Ambulance label. the US market had a “Star of life” and Emergency Medical Services as their label. Easy enough you might think. Not when it comes to the Lesney factory. Labels would often appear in alternate markets. But this was their plan.
It ran for three years like this (or these) and variations exist. I show here 2 looks for the ROW issue with the window being lighter or darker blue. But there were interior variations too. Most tend to sport a grey interior, but light yellow, tan and orange also exist. I don’t own any as you have to open the rear to check for it, and a bit like bases, if I have to do something to check for it (in this case open the model) I have not worried too much. If I find one I will pick it up but it is not a major rush. 5-arch wheels and silver painted bases have been reported, but these are perhaps random issues, not usual production models.
Of course there is the random “we ran out of stickers” issue too. in 1980, there was a blip with some stickers, so they borrowed some from the K38-B Dodge Ambulance, as it had a small “Ambulance” sticker that would go over the front window, that was small enough to fit on the side of this smaller scale Ambulance. Of course there is always the possibility of finding one where they just forgot to put a sticker on at all. I haven’t found one yet, and I am not one to cheat, buy a model and peel a label off to pretend to have one.
Also in 1980, it saw its first country exclusive. In France in late 1980 a set of 3 models were released there advertising the upcoming 1981 Paris-Dakar Rallye, and the Ambulance was one of them in silver. This is the standard look. You might find one where they put the wrong rear doors on it. They made new grey doors to match the body, but somebody carried on putting white ones on there. It is quite rare and I have not picked it up yet.
In 1981 a new look for the Ambulance was unveiled. White with a sticker on the side. Whoa! Where do they come up with these looks from? Only this time, this wasn’t for either the US or ROW markets, just at a time when they actually split them up properly. Go figure. The blue labeled Ambulance look does come with either an unpainted (shown here) or a silver painted base and again the lights do vary from lighter to darker. But interiors are always light grey. However, this was not strictly worldwide.
Because as I have already shown. There was a Notarzt. This red Ambulance was exclusive to the German market in 1981 .
At the end of 1981 a promotional range of models was set up tied in with a TV series called Code Red in USA. These USA issues were only to be found in the USA market consisting of 8 models in exclusive designs with looks inspired by the real vehicles in the TV show. The Ambulance was one of them and has a Pacific Ambulance side design. Again, as withe regular 1981 issue in white, this sported either a silver or unpainted base. Now I should point out something funny. In 1982 the US range decided to suddenly switch the Ambulance from MB41 to MB25. I have no idea why. So from 1982 it was now MB25 in the US range. The ROW range continued in 1982 as MB41 but dropped the model after that. As the model was now going to be a US exclusive, they decided to ship the tooling over to Hong Kong for production of the basic range. However, they sent over the wrong schematics for the design, and therefore the Code Red model ended up being produced. Later in the year to got moved to Macau as they were busy setting up the factory there for Matchbox but weren’t quite ready when the casting was first shipped out. Hence it stopping off in Hong Kong temporarily. So the 1983 US exclusive actually ended up being the Code Red issue with the Pacific design and 2 different countries of origin. Strangely I don’t own either yet. Hence me liking these dive backs as they also help me to remember things I am still looking for.
After the slight mistake with the design, it was best to come up with a new one, so in 1984 they came up with this look as the US exclusive MB25. Known as the E11/orange band look. It was so good, it ran for 11 years! One of those (1990) they threw it in the ROW range briefly as MB25 as well. Obviously it wasn’t that good in the ROW range, only lasting that one year.
The first 2 years it was made in Macau, but in 1986 it was an early shipper to China and it stayed there throughout the rest of production.
Obviously with many years of production in China you will find variations in shades etc.
Until 1991 there was no other release for this casting, but 1991 saw 2 different issues. A white one with blue and red striped appeared in an Action Pack in USA.
And a plain white version appeared in Graffic Traffic.
1992 saw a slightly different look for the Sam’s Set. This was a 30-pack sold exclusively at Sam’s Club, a part of Walmart. A number of models in the set saw existing released but now with a new base colour. In the Ambulance’s case, this new base colour was yellow, still sporting the same E11/orange band look.
Small note, in 1993 they released this model in Intercom city in fluorescent orange. Sadly, I haven’t got one yet.
In 1994 we saw another yellow issue. Collectors Choice series 1 was launched, through Matchbox’ deal with White Rose, as a set of 24 models in higher end looks to their basic counterparts, with a view to releasing further sets yearly. Sadly they never did another set, but one of the 1994 issues was this yellow Ambulance.
But back to the basic range. 1995 saw them make a tweak to the look for the Ambulance as it had been going for 11 years. So what did they do? Wiped off the roof details. It ran for just the 1 year in this slightly altered look and again production continued in China. We still saw variations, mostly down to the orange band being either quite dark or very bright.
For 1996 the model finally saw a new look for the US range. Finally! After 12 years basically, 11 years with roof tampo and 1 without we got to see a different look. So how long did this last? 1 year! After that the model was dropped from the US range.
But it was not finished with yet. 1996 also saw its first 5-pack issue in red in the Fire 5-pack. the main thing to look for with this one is the rear doors. They vary from a red which was close to the body colour to a really dark maroon shade.
And in 1997 the City Streets 5-pack had this white and orange model.
Now again, something I am still looking out for. In 1998 the model was one of the first to be provided to ASAP as a blank. Although in this case not quite a blank. It was white and had the orange side stripe from the 1995 issue without any further detailing. Still looking. Yes, I have 4 releases I am still trying to locate for this casting, hence me deciding to run through them to remind myself what I need.
The model finished off back in the US range for 1999 for a black SWAT swansong. After this the casting as retired.
So next up in my little dive back through history is a model inspired by the current model. After all, it is a G-Class. I had to do the MB149 Mercedes-Benz 280GE.
Did you know that this model was a massive ROW exclusive for a long time? It debuted as MB30 in the ROW range in 1985, running until 1996 initially, and not once during that run did the US range see an offering. The initial look was red with a white Rescue Unit tampo design on it.
In 1986 it changed. Wait, it still looks the same. yes, this was a casting change. Somebody forgot something very important.
A certain little tri-star on the front. Yes, they forgot to add the Mercedes badge to the front of the model initially, and needed to alter the casting to add it in. My later one does have a small error with it, as the bullbar didn’t form properly. Cool little curio for me.
1986 also saw the first use of the casting in a multipack as the G-10 Lufthansa set saw this orange issue.
In 1987 it was added to the twin pack series as TP-117 pulling a Pony Trailer in matching Polizei livery.
Talking of which, it was about time they added a Polizei model to the basic range, as in 1988 they changed the look of the general issue. This later was also used in twin packs too.
1988 also saw the model added to both a large multipack with a Convoy, Skybuster and 5 other basics, known as MC-15 all in a similar theme, but also added to the SB-150 Skybuster sets, which featured the same Skybuster, but an exclusive Helicopter in it too. If the look is a bit familiar, don’t worry you are not going mad.
It was the debut look for the model, but now the white tampo was yellow.
In 1989 the basic range Polizei look saw a tiny tweak. In 1988 the green hood print saw the front vents and badge areas left black, but in 1989 they just painted over them too. It ran until 1991 like that, in 1991 moving production from Macau to Thailand too.
1989 saw the release of the Commando series, and the Merc was a part of the Strike Team.
It was also in another large multipack that year too. MC-9 was a racing themed set with a racing car on a Kenworth, and 4 support vehicles, this one being the support Ambulance.
1990 saw the release of the first round of flashy/noisy vehicles. This was at the time known as Lasertronics, and a set of models appeared, all featuring LEDs in their roof that would flash when the model was pressed down, and a siren could be heard too. Due to the internal mechanism inside, all windows were blacked out. These 1990 issue during the Universal era were still riveted down, so once the battery was done, that was the end of the flashing. I doubt any Lasertronics issue from 1990 9and 1991 as it ran 2 years) would still be working by now. This model came in 3 different looks.
Another Skybusters themed model was in a Skybusters multipack. SB-813 was a range of sets called Airport, featuring a passenger plane and 2 accompanying basic range models all in the same airline livery. The Merc was in the Lufthansa set.
For 1992, the basic range model was changed to an orange look with Auto Rescue design which ran for 3 years.
1993 saw this model also added to the Intercom City series, but unlike the ambulance, I do have this one. It is the same fluorescent orange as the ambulance was in.
The idea behind Intercom City was that these models would work alongside various playsets. Various spots in the playsets would feature barcode readers, and each of these models came with an exclusive base that had a barcode embedded inside. As the model rolled over the reader you would hear different announcements linked to that model.
Oddly, I am not sure why they did it, but this new base did not feature the bullbar on the front.
In 1994 a TP-131 set was made featuring this model towing the Inflatable on Trailer. It had a Marine Rescue design to it. And more fluorescent sections. I tell you, the mid 1990s Matchbox were going nuts with these bright neon style looks.
Case in point, the final MB30 issue from 1995/1996 was also in fluorescent orange, and had a fairly similar design to the twin pack issue.
Have I not been showing variations? Of course this does get them. This particular issue saw lighter or darker blue tampo printing.
1996 saw Matchbox re-visit their earlier Lasertronics idea and reboot it. Now called Light & Sound (just telling it like it is, not coming up with a fancy name) the Merc returned to having LEDs on the roof that would flash and make a siren sound when the model was pressed down. The difference now though, they screwed the bases in place, so if a battery were to die, you could theoretically unscrew the model and insert a new battery to carry on flashing and being noisy.
A new batch of models appeared in 1998 too, although some were now exclusive to Avon in USA and I am yet to find them.
After a few years out, the model returned to the basic range. Well, sort of. It was only in the German range. MB25 in a new Polizei look.
It was quite different to the ROW issue from before. Green roof, green base, lighter tampo, smaller writing.
It was then that we saw our first 5-pack issue. It came in the Marine Research 5-pack. Now this is the thing with these. in 1999 Mattel came up with a massive idea to create 2 slightly different looks for many models. A large number in the basic range saw writing on the US release, but the ROW release saw only pictures. 5-packs followed a similar story, but there was a twist. The UK took what was classified as the US release for 5-packs, but the ROW release for basics. So in singles, I was busy picking up models with pictures only, but for those that came in 5-packs, I was busy picking up those with extra writing. To date, I still only have what is officially classified as the US version of this model. It has the words Marine Research written under the fish logo. the ROW 5-packs did not see those words added. but as I said, the US issue was sold in the UK in 5-packs, so the “blanked out writing” issue was sold in Europe but not the UK.
Then, in 2000, something unusual happened. It returned to the ROW basic range as MB25, but also debuted for the first time in the US basic range as MB20. Yes, we are this far into this model, and only now do we see the US basic range debut version. Seeing as it was 2000, the US issues also saw a small addition for the first 10,000 examples that rolled off the production line. Do you see it? On the one on the right, the front window has the Matchbox 2000 logo. Most models saw it in white, but this had it in black so it was not too easy to spot.
Launchers were, well launched in 2000 too, and one of the 2000 issues was called Test Centre. And this had, well Test Centre written on it.
In 2001, as part of the 5-way split for the basic range, this model was a UK exclusive MB63 in dark maroon with a Mountain Rescue theme.
It also saw another 5-pack release in the SOS pack in silver.
It also had another launcher issue that year in what was basically an un-named pack with a plane in it.
Plus it was added as an exclusive model in a Garage playset too.
After such a busy 2001, this is all we had for 2002. Just the 1 5-pack issue in yellow in the Beach Buggies pack.
Which saw a simple re-issue in 2003 with all 5 models in alternate colours.
But 2003 did see a little something extra. The model was in the Peanuts licensed 5-pack in blue with Snoopy and Woodstock on the sides. I used to be a massive Snoopy fan as a kid, so believe it or not, this is actually one of my favourite looks for this model.
2004 saw another basic range outing, but as an ROW exclusive again. It was MB27 in red with a fly swatter theme.
It was also added to the Superfast range too as a last minute substitution. It was due in the final batch of models. They were being released 12 at a time in boxes of 12 (1 per box), for a full set of 75. But with 6 batches of 12 equaling 72, the final batch would have seen the last 3 quadrupled up in the packages. But there had been an issue with a certain Honda Element due to production causing an error, which meant it was pulled from its original slot. That error was eventually sold off in packages that had “ERROR” written all over them after an agreement with Honda, but due to the blip, its corrected production was in line with the final batch meaning we were up to 4, tripled in packages. Now originally the number 73 slot was going to be an Aston Martin DB7 in black, but it got pulled last minute. Luckily they were able to secure this quickly to fill the gap without losing another spot as the set was finishing. However, they realised something else.
When this model was substituted in they were going to paint it green. But with the Honda being added as a late addition also being green, they didn’t want a set of 4 models with 2 of them green, as the other 2 both happened to be blue. They felt 2 green and 2 blue were a little to bland, so luckily Mercedes-Benz allowed them to switch it to white for production.
2005 came and the model was back in the worldwide basic range for a final outing. MB10 in a Mountain Ambulance theme.
I actually have the poster mock-up model that was made too. In those days they would hand paint the models and photograph them for the poster and therefore you would see small changes for production. Notice the front grille was painted black? It never got made in black, it was just what they were hand painting Plus the model was cream and ended up white. The design on the side was done with transfers and so is a lot more detailed than tampo printing would give too.
And we are in the third decade of this model now, as in 2006 the Mummy’s Gold 5-pack saw this brown one with a muddy side design. It was during the era of codes too, with MU13 13 Ys 7OL4 being a code for the 5-pack title, Mummy’s Gold.
2007 saw just the one outing as it was a part of the German exclusive Stars of Cars series in a Polizei theme. Wait? Polizei in green and white?
Yes this was a third Polizei look in green and white.
It took 2008 off but returned in 2009 in what was now called Euro Edition (still a German exclusive) in a Polizei theme. It did sort of become a go-to theme. After all, the model does have lights on the roof.
After this though, a good quarter of a century of action, they model finally retired after the 2009 outing. That was a hell of a run.
My next casting of choice as we move into the 1990s is inspired by the fact that Dirk has the MB843 Seagrave Fire Engine for the 2012 convention is another fire vehicle. The MB233 Airport Fire Truck.
The year was 1992. Universal was on its deathbed, about to go under. Matchbox were still doing what they often did. Come up with a casting and basically ignore the licensing. This is a Gloster-Saro Javelin Mk4. A real fire truck that was used mainly by airports. But they never made mention of it. It debuted as MB8 in the US range or MB24 in the ROW range in fluorescent orange. It ran for 2 years before being dropped.
Of course with 2 years of production you will find shades on the model. And that was it. 2 years was your lot. I’m only kidding. It lived on.
After taking 1994 off (except for a vary rare Intercom City model which came in an Airport set) the model made a return in 1995 in a 5-pack. It was called Fire and had the model in white over red with a gold stripe splitting the 2 colours.
It never seemed to get the busiest of outings. It took 1996 off too, before finding another 5-pack release for 1997. This one was called Fire. Oh, same as 1995.
1998 looked rather familiar. Guess what this 5-pack was called? Yep! Fire. It was the same 1997 pack but now in alternate colours. Which suited me as, I think I mentioned already, I do like alternate colours.
But that wasn’t it though. It was in a second 5-pack that year too. And this one was called Airport. Plus it started seeing as few Premiere issues this year too, although I am not showing them as I am still finding them.
Then, suddenly, in 1999, it was back in the basic range. It was sold as MB8 almost worldwide. The US range differed a lot from the ROW range that year in that US issues saw more writing attached to models. This was quite simple. Runway Rescue 1 was adorned across the upper sides of the model in the US range, but left blank in the ROW. But this was not it.
Germany were seeing many exclusives that year in their range, and this model was MB24 in that range in red with a Feuerwehr livery.
At the end of the year it appeared in another 5-pack. This one was called Emergency Rescue and had the model in a bright yellow design.
2000 came along and there were plans to add the model to 2 different basic ranges. The first went without a hitch. The US range saw this white issue as MB29 (note it was the same as 1999 but in an alternate colour, I notice these things), and of course being a US issue, the first 10,000 had a Matchbox 2000 logo clearly visible in the front window.
They had a plan. There was a US range of 100 models. There was an alternate range of 75. Many were the same across the 2 ranges, but this smaller range of 75 was further split. A group of 10 models in this set of 75 would see an exclusive for the UK market, another for the German market, another for the Australian market and a final set of 10 would appear in any other market that was classified as ROW. The first set of 5 (MB11-15) appeared no problem. But when the other set of 5 were due, the UK, German and Australian markets were on the ball ordering. The other countries did not order. The batch got skipped. So the “other ROW” MB36-40 never officially appeared. However 3 of the models did. One was a TV News Truck, and of all things randomly appeared in an FAO Schwartz 10-pack in USA based on ROW issues outside of the US range. Two of the others were found in a 3-pack along with a BMW 328i Police that was the “other ROW” MB11. This was one, the other an Ambulance in silver. It should have been an “other ROW” single issue too, but never appeared. The Transit Taxi and Ford Courier never appeared at all.
2000 also saw the launch of Launchers as I already mentioned, and this model was in the 5-Alarm Launcher set that year.
In 2001 we saw this Fire Drenchers 5-pack issue, along with the new wheels that Mattel had created for that year.
And the 5-Alarm launcher set returned for a second outing, and this time the model were in an alternate colour, started seeing these new wheels, as well as the new Matchbox logo that Mattel had created (that last 4 years before reverting back to the oval).
In 2002 it was back in the basic range for one more outing as MB42. Being a logo year, the first 10,000 had a 50 logo on the side.
We had another launcher issue too. This one had no name and so just went by the launcher vehicle that was in it. So Fire Truck it is.
Plus we also saw a promotional issue right at the start of the year. Although many call it a 2001 issue because it came out at Christmas time 2001. But for me, the 2002 models were already appearing by then, so I classified it as a 2002. There is no right or wrong answer. It is all personal preference.
After that, the model only saw one more outing. In the 2003 Fire Drenchers 5-pack in red with a Metro Alarm theme. After this the casting was retired.
Which brings me to my last bounce back. Inspired by the fact that the very first official Mattel code 1 Leipzig promotional was on the MB683 Mercedes-Benz CLS500 back in 2006 I give you, well that one. Why not?
It was a brand new casting that year. Again I was in Leipzig and remember getting my model from Dirk. The model was only just appearing in the basic range as it was a part of one of the final batches so I was fascinated by the new model. Even more fascinated by the fact that as I discovered more and more burgundy MB2s I could find some nice shades on them.
But this thing exploded out of the box. It was also in Stars of Cars that year too, as a German exclusive. There is a late run where the wheels changed to double 10-spoke. I never bothered at the time, and this blog has reminded me to get hunting!
But we are still in 2006. Because it was also thrown in the Superfast range as number 71 in a late batch as well.
Yes that made 4 releases all in a matter of a few months when it first arrived. As I said, this thing exploded out of the box.
So for 2007 it was MB20 in the basic range, and yes I noticed some nice variations in the blue here too.
It was also in the German exclusive Stars of Cars range again. This time in blue. Wait? Blue?
It was a noticeable darker blue, had a grey interior (not black), different tampo printing and double 10-spoke wheels instead of 6-spokes. It was different. You just need to put the 2 together to really notice it.
For 2008 it saw 2 outings in the basic range. At first it was black with a dark red interior. They always looks good. Black and dark red interiors.
And later it turned orange. And I love orange for a different reason. It is so good for shades.
It was also a part of the VIP5 5-pack that year too in a dark brown.
For 2009 it was MB34 in the basic range in what would end up being its last basic range outing. It was a very silvery shade of green.
And was also in 2009’s VIP5 5-pack, this time in a very silvery shade of blue. And again I did find some shading on this.
Sadly after 2009 there was a small hiccup with the Mercedes-Benz license, but as we know, it came back stronger than ever. However, I did wonder if this was perhaps a model that slipped under the cracks during the Merc down time. Not quite. It made a return to the Best of series in 2017 in dark green. These were the first premium issues we had seen for a few year, and this was the one time the model saw 2-part rubber wheels.
With what could be its swansong in 2018 when it was a part of the Walmart exclusive Mercedes-Benz series in matte blue. Again I found a bit of shading to it. We have not seen the casting since. I have a feelign we may not, but you never know.
So as I said, the Matchbox and Mercedes-Benz partnership is stronger than ever, as it gave us these awesome promotionals for this year’s Leipzig event. But this also means my report is over for another week.
Next week I will be back to my usual “new stuff/diving back” routine and dropping the report at my regular time. In the meantime, don’t forget to bid on Dirk’s auction. You have until Sunday. Good luck if you are participating and try not to outbid me!!!!
And with the back of another report done, have a safe week everybody and see you all next Monday.