Now I want to make one thing clear before we get underway: this is not a Matchbox vs Majorette post at all, more a look at both models in the same light. A look at some superb diecast from the two brands and a bit of a bask in just how good it is to be a collector these days. Let’s get going…
The new Land Rover Defender was one of the most eagerly anticipated and long awaited follow on acts since BMW bought back the Mini name. Designs, concepts, sketches and computer mock-ups had been flying around for many years in the motoring press, even before the model was confirmed and camouflaged prototypes began road tests. Speculation was rife until Land Rover finally pulled the covers off in 2019. Purists recoiled at the lack of ladder chassis and “mechanical purity”, bemoaning the lack of simplicity that had made the original Defenders so famous. But despite being a bit of a Luddite at times, I wasn’t one of them. There’s no doubt that the Defender is one seriously cool and seriously capable bit of kit.
In terms of diecast versions there are already a number of 1:64/3 inch versions available, with Tarmac Works and a couple of Chinese manufacturers offering premium 1/64 offerings of the Defender 110 and now Matchbox and Majorette offering their off the peg versions of the short wheelbase Defender 90. And I’m a huge fan of both.
The Majorette version is one of the company’s newest toolings and it’s a stunner.
I love the looks, the colour, the wheels. It’s testament to just how hard Majorette are working these days to get noticed. The quality for a mainline is brilliant, with sharp decals and decent paint. The trademark Majorette suspension is present as well as the moving parts, which in this case are the doors which open to reveal a pretty nicely detailed interior.
The headlights are molded as part of the window piece in clear plastic, and the tail lights are picked out with decals. The spare wheel is a neat touch and the contrasting white of the roof and wheels looks great. The only gripes I have are the lack of paint on the sills which is something Majorette really need to get on top of. A touch of paint would go a long way here. The other gripe is scale, which really isn’t an issue for me but I imagine will be for some collectors. The base claims the scale is 1/66 but I’m erring on the side of it being closer to 1/60 or 1/55. Regardless, this is one you all need to get hold of.
The Matchbox version seems to come in closer to 1/64 scale but I haven’t done any measurements to confirm this. And I love it just as much as the Majorette. The proportions are great, and while the Majorette goes for larger wheels with lower profile tyres the Matchbox keeps to a standard look with the 6 spoke wheels and chunky tyres. The colour is also rather close to the Pangea Green that buyers of the full size Defender can specify.
The decals are clear and crisp, something Matchbox are getting very good at these days. The headlights inparticular are nicely done, and the Land Rover badges and “DEFENDER” script are easy to see. It’s a bit of a pain that Matchbox have chose to black out the windows to the point they’re almost opaque, especially when there’s an interior to look at. But that’s my only bugbear; It’s on par with the Bronco for one of the Matchbox releases of the year for me.
Trying to pick between the two for me would be pointless. I like them both. And I’ll like the Tarmac version when I bag that too. I prefer instead to look at these as a prism of just how good the hobby is right now, and these two show some real progress for both brands. Matchbox’s dark years are well and truly gone and forgotten, and Majorette are fighting hard to stand alongside them.