Why am I emphasizing “C”? Because it sounds like “sea”. You will get it, when I get to the model.
This week my report focuses on the more detailed of the Matchbox brand offerings. The Collectors series is the top end buy for the general population, although as we know, Mattel now also do an exclusive Mattel Creations models too, direct through the Mattel Creations website. I decided to do both of these together in this post, but want to clarify. Collectors Batch C is available through Wheel Collectors, where I get a number of my models from, and the Land Rover is the Mattel Creations website exclusive offering, not available at Wheel Collectors. Just so people know what comes from where.
I am going to start with the Collectors models. I will do these in number order. We begin with number 11 of 20. This is a brand new casting. The MB1256 Toyota FJ Cruiser. It’s about time they did this model. I remember back when the classic ’68 Toyota FJ Land Cruiser was launched in the range, we attended a line preview in El Segundo and somebody asked about the new one. They weren’t too sure if the roof was going to have to be a different part, and as such may make it too much for the part count, but as this is a Moving Parts model, the budget for these is just a little bit more, and so although this has a roof as part of the body, it has the capability to be tampoed alongside front and rear prints. So it still works as something that stands out. As I said, about time.
So let’s get the model out the blister for a closer look. I think this is a really nice little model. It looks fantastic in light blue with the white roof. A standard look for this model.
It sports opening doors, which close very solidly.
The body to door colour match is very good here. You will shortly see why I made that mention.
I love the detailing to the front end. I think this may actually be ink jet printed, not tampo printed. It has a rough feel to it, and the fine detailing look more advanced than a tampo could do. Again, something they can afford to do on a higher end model. The core ranges are more limited with what they can add to them, and tampos only consist of 4 colours. This looks like more colours, but may actually be just the 4, but because they are finely printed, give the illusion of more than just the 4. Ink jet printing at Mattel has improved since they first launched them in the mid ’00s.
The rear detailing is much smoother, so I guess tampos were used here. But again, very well done. Sneaking around the edges with the rear lights. The large spare wheel is a part of the base section, which rises up through half of the rear. It still feels solid though.
They really captured the look of the real vehicle very well. I have seen many of these on my travels to USA, and am very happy to see they have finally added one to the range.
I also noticed that the steering wheel projects out of the dashboard, as they used to do in days gone by. Recently we have seen quite a few castings appear with steering wheels that were formed out of a column rising up out of the bottom of the interior piece. It’s the little things I notice.
Oh new casting. You know that means a base shot. For those who are interested in them. I did notice this model was not given a year. Many models get defined by a certain year. I guess with no major changes made to the vehicle during production it was not exactly necessary.
There is a small caveat to this. My friend Rory McDonald (who goes by the name @wyoming_wheels on Instagram) was also kind enough to send me over this batch of models. His were manufactured 2 weeks apart from the batch that Wheel Collectors sent. Oh boy oh boy oh boy. I have no chance to checking this sort of thing myself as the UK does not sell these, so I am ever so grateful to have friends like Rory having my back and sending over more Matchbox stuff for me to have fun with. And yes, have fun I did. I don’t know if you can see it that well, but the two FJ Cruisers here are different shades of blue. One is brighter than the other.
One has a P17 production date, the other a P19 production date. As I said. 2 weeks apart. I did not think I would be able to get much in the way of shades on premium models, as I said, they don’t sell them in the UK. So thank you very much Rory for the assist with these.
Next up we have the MB1222 Divco Milk Truck, which takes the number 12 slot in the range.
This reminds me of a song. The 1971 Christmas UK number 1 single. A one-hit wonder for Benny Hill. It was called “Ernie (the Fastest Milkman in the West)”. I believe it also hit number 1 in Australia too. I mean this is a milk truck, but is decked out all sporty and race-like. Ernie would be proud of this one.
Loving the look of this one too. Something tells me, due to the 58 roundel on the door, that a certain Michael Heralda might have had a hand in designing this one.
I have been thoroughly enjoying the Gulf livery finally being allowed on Matchbox models. For many years they were unable to use them, and in the mid ’00s even decked out a Ford GT in a blue and orange scheme very similar, but just tweaked enough away so as not to be. So now they have the Gulf logo to use, they appear to be having some fun with it. A really fantastic recurring theme, and I have to say it looks fantastic on any model really. But put it on a milk truck? This is awesome!
I really like the end product. I think this is my favourite look on the Divco so far.
Still got those crate of milk in the back. I am sure they will not be going off, the speed he will be getting around to deliver them. It’s a good job they are not carbonated drinks. They might make a bit of a mess when you open them.
Yes I am having fun with this one. I love how they take one type of vehicle, and give it a whole new lease of life as a different type of vehicle. And as this is a more premium look, it really shows it off well with the orange and Gulf logos everywhere. The orange wheel arches just finish it off perfectly.
Just as a reminder for those who also like the Gulf stuff. This is what we have seen so far from Matchbox. The first time we saw a Matchbox model in the iconic Gulf look was when the MB995 Ford GT first sported it in the 2018 Globe Trotters series. Again a premium look, and these even appear to sport the same wheels.
This was followed later in the year by a basic range issue, as the MB788 Ford F-150 Raptor was given the same look as MB96.
In 2019 it moved over to 5-packs, and the MB723 VW Beetle 4×4 in the No Road, No Problem 5-pack saw the same design.
And in 2020 another 5-pack also saw it, as the MB862 ’66 Dodge A100 Pickup in the MBX Construction pack also saw the Gulf look.
Currently up to 5. I am hoping we get another next year, as after the initial 2 in 2018, we have seen a yearly Gulf model ever since. And I do like recurring themes.
The MB1192 ’32 Ford Pickup is next up. Taking the number 13 slot in the series in a lovely dark burgundy.
I love the colour for this, and the matching wheel hubs too. I believe it is based on an original Ford colour choice for the 1932 year, as Ford Medium Maroon was a choice that year.
It sports a simple front and rear tampo look.
There is not a lot of detail you can really add to it. The front lights and radiator grille nicely detailed.
Rear detailing both on the body section and on the base section where it protrudes out of the back. Although I would have loved to have seen the rear bed detailed too, similar to how the Chevy C10 gets detailed for premium looks.
When you look at pictures of real ’32 Pickups, there is a lack of anything on the sides, with perhaps the exception of a door handle. Is it really worth a pass through the tampo machine to add a silver dot for a door handle? I don’t think so really. I guess we could see a set of pin striping at some point, but they are not technically something you would normally see, so I am okay with it.
I like this model, pretty much as it is. Simple and understated. No fancy graphics, no souping up of the vehicle or anything. Just as fresh as if it had just come out of the factory.
Which is something that Matchbox have embraced with this model. Since it launched in golden tan in the 2019 Superfast range, this model has stayed very simple and understated with each release.
Which is only 2 prior to this one. It was also in the 2020 Moving Parts series in black. Each one just featuring front and rear detailing.
Out of all 3 I would have to say my favourite is the burgundy. The latest one just looks so classy, and with the black runner boards on a burgundy body, it really screams “1930s” to me.
Taking the number 14 slot in the 2021 Collectors series is the MB1162 ’04 Honda S2000. I am glad to see this getting more use now as after it debuted in 2019 in yellow we didn’t see it in 2020. I did showcase the white 2020 Moving Parts version recently, so I am not going to do a dive back again . Just take a look at the new release in red.
Again a lovely simple design. I do enjoy the ones that just sport simple detailing on them.
Even less for this one as it comes with the headlights that are a part of the window section, to automatically give us a colour break with no need for tampo printing. I don’t know why they don’t do more models like this. Especially those that are more likely to see side designs (you know, like police cars).
Nothing overstated, and I am happy with it. I do enjoy red cars anyway, so when we get a nice red sporty number, I am always going to be happy anyway.
But I haven’t show the best bit yet.
Open up the hood and ooh! Such detailing. This is terrific stuff right here. All the fine detailing. I am guessing again, this is no tampo. Tampo printing just cannot get the fine details being shown here.
You can make out the Honda VTEC logo on the top of the engine. It is simply superb. The attention to detail on this one section does it for me.
So yes, again, simple, understated. This is a great batch.
And then we come to the last one. The MB1136 ’62 Mercedes-Benz 220SE. Sadly, this does have something that I just haven’t been able to not see.
Now I had 2 of them, one through my friend Rory, and another through Wheels Collectors, and boy has it given me something to talk about. This is the better of the 2. Taking the number 15 slot in the series.
You can’t help but notice how the doors are a different shade of blue to the rest of the body. They have come out darker. I believe this is because the parts are being put through the paint sprayer at different times. I guess the way it all works, the doors are getting a thicker coat of paint to the bodies.
So they are noticeably sticking out like a sore thumb. Which is a big shame, because the model itself is really nice. A lovely light metallic blue with silver pin striping around the lower edge of the body. It is really nice.
The rear is beautifully done, again with more silver pin striping and red highlighted lights.
The front has detailed headlights, and the chrome grille really stands out. Open the doors and this model looks fantastic.
Although it does have the column style steering wheel, which I mentioned on the Toyota FJ Cruiser was really nice not seeing.
But I bring in my other blue one. Really noticeable lighter shade to the body. Such a drastic difference. I think it is more of a thin coat rather than a shade. It is like you can almost see the bare body underneath.
But with that getting the same deep paint spray on the doors, it really stands out. As I said, it is a shame, because the model is a really nice one. But on the flipside, this is me, and I have managed to obtain 2 fantastic shade variations on the Merc. And something to talk about. So I am very grateful for both Wheel Collectors and for my friend Rory who have enabled me to get something like this.
This is another one that hasn’t seen much use too. It also debuted in the 2019 Superfast range in a maroon, reminiscent of a classic Lesney from the 1960s.
And after skipping 2020 saw a release in a beautiful platinum with black roof in the Mattel Creations releases a short while ago.
So this brings us up to 3 releases of this casting too. Hmm! Talking of Mattel Creations….
The third release is now with us too. This is, as it says on the box, the 1965 Land Rover Gen II.
Ooh! A lovely sand release with muddy wheels on a sandy and rocky beach. This does of course get the same packaging treatment as both the other 2 Mattel Creations releases before it.
And when you read up on the model on the back of the outer sleeve to the plexicase, you discover that this model, unlike the MB1056 Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6×6 which can appear with or without an interior depending on the range it is in, this is an all new casting. MB1341.
I love the tranquil surfing background to the velvety outer slip. Although I do get Hawaii 5-0 vibes. Actually, you know what else I get? For anybody who happened to live in the UK in the 1970s or 1980s, we had an Old Spice advert which was basically a man on a surfboard riding the waves. The same ad seemed to run for about 20 years. I don’t know if other countries had that same ad, or something very similar to it.
So this leaves us with the Land Rover in a plexicase on a rocky beach terrain.
Once opened, I have to admit, it is a very good terrain. Very realistic.
Plus it wasn’t just a picture of the terrain. They crafted all the rocks out of the plastic base. It was very well done, and beautifully detailed.
And it gives us a lovely mottled effect to the bottom of the base too.
Mind you, this is me, so you know once the Land Rover has been unscrewed from the base, this is the last time I will see it. Because, well, I am here for the models.
Ooh a lovely MB1341 ’65 Land Rover Gen II Safari with interior. I know some may not like the tan looking wheels, but I think they go really well with both the model’s body and with the look they were going for.
Being a high end luxury casting, this is sporting a full set of details on every panel of the body pretty much. Again, I don’t believe we are looking at tampo printing. the details are very fine. I think they moved it a step up with ink jet printing. The best part is, ink jet printing allows more colours to be applied, and will work nicely with gaps, crevices, changes of surface etc much better than a tampo print does. You can tell, just by looking at the front White, black, yellow, orange, blue and green. Yes more than the 4 that tampos can provide. This is another of the bonuses that premium products can provide, that we get little extra details like this. And the license plate gives us a code. Oh I missed these. Used to be on a lot of vehicles in the latter half of the ’00s and early ’10s. Let’s see, 297 W1V5 = “Big Wave”. Oh yes, very topical.
Laugh, Surf, Love, Surf. I like reading all the different details that have been added on to the model. They were having fun and being creative. I think it deserves a minute to take it all in.
Now the roof element is brand new for this release. A pair of surfboards strapped to a roof rack. They look amazing. Especially as they also received detailing. Each one a different colour too. Even better.
Of course they pop off the top too as has been the case with a number of roof elements lately.
I stand them up against the front the Land Rover to really show off the boards themselves. This attention to detail is just awesome.
Now there are 2 things I have noticed. One is to do with the roof element, but the other. Well, there appears to have been a blunder.
As has been noted on the artwork to the back of the plexicase, we had the 2019 issue of the MB1184 Land Rover Gen II Safari and this new release is MB1341. Except the base says MB1184. Oops! Somebody made a bit of an error there.
Was it just a case of using the same base section? No, the new model is completely different when you get to look closer. Bringing in the actual MB1184 to see how much is different. Let’s see. You instantly notice the front window. The original had a central bar, the new one is a part of the window piece.
But you also see that from the front, the new one is taller. The bumper section is just a simple bumper, where the old one had an upper section too. Plus the area under the grille is now a part of the body and not the bumper section. Wing mirrors are much larger, and the whole area under the window has been re-crafted in a different way.
Checking the rear you can see how the whole roof area is now greater, with the rear windows being much taller than they were before. The rear bumper is also a different design too.
The sides are pretty similar though. There was not a great amount that could be done differently.
Which does mean that every element of the casting is a new element, justifying why this is receiving a new MAN number. It’s just a shame they forgot to make that note on the base.
Then there is the roof element. As you can see, the new casting has been designed in a way that it features the same keyhole/spyhole configuration as other roof element models. But you may also note the roof is different due to the raised areas either end of the window part that the roof element attaches to.
This does mean the new model can sport other elements from other vehicles. Although because of the raised edges either end of the window part that is used to slot in to, they do sit a little proud of the roof.
But do you also see how the new casting has an additional hole at the front of the roof section?
This is because the new roof element has a tab at the front that slots in that hole. Fair enough. Slots in very well. A lovely snug fit.
But because there is the tab there, it doesn’t slot into any of the other models. I suppose somebody could hacksaw one off to make it fit. But do you really want to start doing that on a premium release issue like this?
Don’t get me wrong. I love this model. On its own it looks amazing, and I am so happy adding it to the collection, and am still looking forward to obtaining all future Mattel Creations models. This has not deterred me one bit. The design and final look of this Land Rover is exceptional. Definitely my favourite release so far (of both the MB1341 and MB1184 castings). The only 2 things I would change are to fix the MAN number base (easy to do) and possibly chop off the tab to the roof element so we can have fun mixing and matching. But neither one is significant. They are minor things that do not detract from the model in any way. It’s just me wanting to have a bit more fun and also one for noticing typos. Unless I have written them!!!! Ha ha! We all make mistakes like that. I am sure people have read this report and found many grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. So I don’t see as a bad thing, just an unfortunate thing.
And on that note, I think that is the latest batch of “new” stuff done. Considering these were all premium issues and not required to have moving parts at all, they all did. The Collectors series stuff all had something that opened and the Mattel Creations model had something that came off.
So is it time to dive back? I think so. I am going to start with a vehicle that ends in “S2000”. Because the ’04 Honda S2000 has the exact same ending as this classic model. The MB9-C Ford Escort RS2000.
After all, how else would I bring up my lovely prepro in red. Another reason as the Honda was also red this time out. The perfect time to match them up.
But anyway, the Escort arrived in the Matchbox range in 1978, replacing the AMX Javelin that had been in the slot for the previous 6 years. The model was shown in the catalogue as sporting Castrol labels at one point (I think it was the 1981 catalogue), but between 1978 and 1981 it only came with these labels. Shell on top, Dunlop/Cibie on the sides with a 9 roundel, and the model’s name on the front. All with stripes going through them. But with 4 years of production you just know that things would not stay the same.
Now one of the most overlooked variations is the early production run label variant. When it debuted, the Dunlop/Cibie/9 side label was cut to fit in between the wheel arches. Simple enough you would think. But when they are mass produced on a factory floor, trying to align the label up between the wheel arches was not a quick job. It was a little fiddly. The workers complained, and a running change was made.
They shortened the label. Finding the early runs with long label is not that easy, but as I said, easily overlooked.
Other things more easy to find. Bases. Gloss black, a dull, almost charcoal look, or blueish grey are the most common (in that order). There is a rarity. Silver! I have not been able to get one of those yet.
Another often overlooked variant, the shade of tan interior. Until you put the 2 side by side it is not that easy to work out which you have. it would be a lot easier if it was a totally different colour.
Like red. That one sticks out.
The other easy to spot variation is the rarer amber window. Most tend to sport clear windows, but some were made with amber ones.
In 1980 they updated the TP-5 twin pack to change the Ford Capri to the Ford Escort. For this they turned the model blue and created new Phantom labels for it. This ran for 2 years.
However, this was the England factory, somebody forgot to tell them they were changing the colour for twin pack usage. They made a bunch in the same white as the basic range model. However, finding the alternate (blue body with the basic’s labels) is extremely rare.
After 1981 the model was dropped from the US range, but carried on as an ROW exclusive for one more year. It was now sporting the MAN number MB009. They turned it green and it came with seagull labels. It also came with 2 different interiors as some were tan and some white.
The labels were also known as “sided” which means that they would come either way. Note how the seagull would face towards the front or the back of the model.
Although dropped from the ROW range after 1982 too, the model carried on until 1984 as a twin pack issue in a Glider set. In 1984, what was now TP-102 had changed just a little. The green for the model was no longer metallic. It was a solid, really dark green. After 1984 the TP-102 set was dropped and the model was converted to a Super GT casting for a short time then dropped.
So next up, because it is a Mercedes-Benz, it is blue and has opening doors, I present the MB181 Mercedes-Benz 300E.
The model arrived in mid 1987 in the MB58 slot in the basic range (worldwide) in blue with a small black tampo printed line under the doors.
However, the first batch had a small error. They forgot to include the tristar sticking up out of the top of the radiator grille and so a quick running change was made to add it. The model was switched in 1988 so the early run with no tristar is not rare, just the earlier run. The model ran until 1990 in blue.
But for that final year they moved production from Macau to Thailand. This gives the model a different shade of blue finish.
As well as, you know, a base variation.
There were thoughts to change the model during this time. It was going to turn silver, and I have a pair of pre-production samples. One with side detailing, the other without. But no, they just kept it blue.
After 1990 the US range decided to drop the casting, but the ROW range continued on until 1995. For this they decided to turn the model into a Polizei vehicle. It turned white, had green striping and a multi-pointed star on the door.
But they didn’t like that star, so soon changed it to just put Polizei on there too. General rule of thumb, 1991 MB58 star, 1992-95 Polizei on doors.
But just as the blue changed country of manufacture for its final year, so did the later ROW exclusive Polizei. In 1995 production moved to China.
As seen in the base shot picture again.
There were a few other releases alongside the basic range issues. It didn’t get an awful lot of use really. But in 1993 the EM-70 multipack saw a white Rijkspolitie issue, mainly for the Dutch market, as many countries saw this pack more tailored towards their own police forces.
We also had a strange concoction found in China in the late 1990s. Dark blue with Polizei on the front and back. A bit of an oddity for sure, but the paint colour appears to have come from a 1997 promotional item.
As 1997 saw the AFL series sport a set of 4 models in the Australian market, with the Merc sporting a Go Blues! logo. This was for the Carlton Football Club who have been playing in navy blue since 1871. This was the only time the model saw a grey interior, as the Chinese issue still had the tan of the Polizei vehicle in it. I wish I knew what the plan was for the Polizei. I do note it had white writing, not black which the original did. So there must have been a plan somewhere for something that got cancelled. Anyway, after all this happened, the casting was retired and never used again.
Next up I move on to a Toyota. With a brand new casting in the way of the FJ Cruiser, I had no back catalogue to dive into so felt it needed some sort of tie in with something. I could have gone the logical route and chosen the classic FJ Land Cruiser. But no, I went with the MB271 Toyota Supra Turbo.
This was a fantastic little casting, that just happened to get released at the wrong time. Slap bang, right in the middle of the Tyco era. The mid 1990s. Just when Tyco were in the midst of creating absolutely bonkers designs on very realistic models. Some, like Aston Martin, refused. Others, like Rolls-Royce, were so appalled they have never allowed a model of one of their vehicles to be made again as a toy. Okay, that might have just been a coincidence Rolls-Royce pulling out of allowing toys of their vehicles around this time. But others, well they just went with it. Toyota signed off on this debut look for the Supra Turbo in the 1995 basic range. MB30 (if you lived in the US market) or MB60 (for everybody else). White with, well, whatever that was splattered all over the top and sides. Some sort of energy bolt?
As part of a fun little adventure for those in the collecting world, later on in 1995, 20 of the models in the basic range saw a change to their look. Most of these changes were simply the removal of part of the tampo. But when the Toyota was changed to only see the side mess, the top mess being removed, they also went and flipped the interior from grey to red. Seeing as this was not being produced in the England factory (that had long since closed), the factory workers knew to make both changes at the same time, and thus there are no crossovers known to exist.
In 1996, they changed the model to red, and decided to keep the mess on the side, but simply change its colours. Instead of red and yellow, it was now orange and white.
Luckily there was a premium series that was also running, and in 1996 and 1997, various premium issues were made of the Supra. These saw lovely detailed models with rubber wheels and not a weird mess in sight. The white here was from the World Class series 1 and charcoal the World Class series 4, both from 1996. There are also copper, yellow and black ones I am still to get as I am only now picking up all this 1990s premium stuff.
But there were 2 other issues with premium wheels. The promotional Toy Fair models. The USA Toy Fair featured the Tyco “Get in the Fast Lane!” design in orange with a yellow fade at the front. But the other Toy Fairs in Germany and the UK saw this flipped with a yellow model with orange fade at the front.
As 1996 was finishing and the model was about to see a new design for 1997, a new wheel debuted. The concave 5-spoke was attached to a late run of the 1996 model in an early 1997 assortment before the new design arrived.
So how did the model look when it was changed for 1997? Yeah it got worse again. The same design was still in use, and they even put the initial top mess back on the model too. The model itself was chrome. The tampo was pupkle and pink. Well, it stood out!
The 1997 range had their Gold Challenge that year, which meant that they did see a lovely plain issue in gold.
1997 also saw the model added to its first 5-pack too. It was the Super Cars pack, with the model in red with a different mess down the side.
Finally, a really cool basic. Sadly the US range missed this, as by the time they got around to making a really cool design for the model, the US had decided enough was enough and dumped it from the their range. So this was an ROW exclusive. Being 1998, this was the year that the basic range saw its major overhaul into a new range each year, and the ROW issue was MB44 that year.
In fact I liked this one so much I am posting the other end too. Front and rear lights, a couple of simple red stripes down the side and Matchbox written on the front window. This was a fantastic look.
So what else happened in 1998? Well, I am going to backtrack slightly here. In 1995 Matchbox had a plan for a new series called Super Chromers. The plan was it was going to be the next set after Matchcaps. Matchcaps had debuted in the US market in 1995 with a range of models all in chrome with a top design.
Now Matchcaps did sport pogs in the packages too, but I don’t think Super Chromers were going to sport any additional merchandise. The plan was, just like Matchcaps, they would be packaged like this in the blister. A set of 13 models were developed, all in at least 2 different colours, and each one was a shiny coloured paint scheme with a top design in bright colours. Sadly, Matchcaps was a bust and the idea was dropped. But somebody obviously liked the idea behind these models.
Because in 1998, they created a 5-pack of them. However, models in 5-packs would be packaged like this. You are not really going to see the design.
So when they did eventually release these 5 models in the 1998 Sleek Riders 5-pack, the top design was moved to the side. And obviously by then, they had updated the wheel design to the concave 5-spoke instead of the spirals that were in production a few years earlier.
This was during a period of factory upheaval as most items were being moved from Thailand to China (before moving back in the mid ’00s). However, although you can find differences between Thai and China made models, these are actually both Thailand. A noticeably different shade of blue. Something I was very happy to get. Even with the weird side design.
And just in case you were wondering, this was the other planned Super Chromers look for the Supra before the series was cancelled before it even began.
Sadly, after 1998,the model was dropped from the ROW range too, and throughout 1999 we saw nothing. But it wasn’t quite done. The year 2000 gave us a little send off for the Supra with another ROW exclusive release. Again in black, this time the model simply had Supra down the side. It was MB70 in the range.
But it did see one more usage. As part of the call for code 2 models (which were common at the time), Mattel supplied companies like ASAP and Color Comp with “blank” models for them to create short run promotionals with. Most blanks were white, but some came in alternate colours. The Supra was run in a dark blue. But this proved to be it for the model, and after 2000 we never saw it again.
Time for my last dive back. I am going with a Ford Pickup Truck vibe with this one, seeing as we had the ’32 Ford in the recent batch. So I will take a look at the MB326 ’97 Ford F-150.
Now there are a number of premium issues to this model (First Edition set, 1998 Coke, 2001 Texaco, 2001 TRU Then & Now, 2003 Ford Anniversary), but as I am yet to obtain even a single premium of this casting, I am just going to concentrate on the core issues. Like the fact that the model debuted in the 1998 basic range as MB50. It came in red with a simple 4×4 Off Road side design.
In 1999 (the fun year), with Mattel coming up with their idea of words on US issues due to English being a main language, pictures for ROW because there were so many languages, this was one of the more noticeable alternates depending on market. Can you guess which was the US release, and which was the ROW release? The #760422 being just numbers can work in most languages. Of course the ranges were slightly different. MB69 for the US market, MB64 for the ROW. After 1999 the model was temporarily dropped from the basic range.
2000 therefore only saw the 1 issue. A Storm Trackers 5-pack release in white.
In 2001 it did return to the basic range, but only in the Australian market. It was sold there as MB64, back in red, but this time with a Miller’s Auto Parts side design.
It continued usage in 5-packs too. The Animal Helpers 5-pack saw this yellow release.
And it also appeared in a licensed 5-pack too. 2001 was the first year of licensed packs, and one of the first ones they did was for Kellogg’s.
This model did carry forward into 2002 due to being included in an Avon 2-pack too. In the early ’00s Avon had a variety of exclusive Matchbox related sets they would sell. In 2002 it was a range of 2-packs for Kellogg’s and the Ford F-150 was used a second time in a pack with a Ford Expedition. However, there were differences. Apart from being a lighter blue, the printing across the front of the model was smaller.
And the sides were slightly different too. Notice how the oval Matchbox logo grew for the Avon model. There is a reason. getting technical here.
The models were actually produced in a different factory. Although both say made in China, Mattel were in fact using 2 different factories in China for Matchbox production. one was using the code EA and the other BJ. So as you can see one model was made in the EA factory, and was dated as the 5th day of 2002. That was what 0052 meant, the 005 day of year 2. Or January 5th 2002. The other dated the 38th day of year 1. That would mean February 7th 2001. So different factory production is just as good as different country production. Gives them different looks. Even the bases have a different sort of chrome hue.
As 2002 progressed, the US range saw another basic range release. MB21 exclusive to the US market in olive with a H20 Surfboards design, and of course a tiny little 50 logo on the first 10,000 almost hidden on the front of the model. If you can make it out.
That proved to be its final time as a basic range model. But it wasn’t quite done yet. 2003 saw it appear in the On The Job 5-pack. But due to a slight blunder, this particular 5-pack was accidentally created in the same way as the basic range was. In 2000 Matchbox set up a logo hunt for the US range only. All 100 saw a Matchbox 2000 logo on the first 10,000 models. Due to the success, they decided for the 2002 “50th” celebrations (as they were a year early) they decided to do the entire basic range (both US and ROW) with a 50 logo. Models in both ranges could appear in either or both markets which made things a bit tougher. But with 2003 going full on Hero City, they did it again for the 2003 US and ROW basic range. Plus the On The Job 5-pack. It was the only one. All other 5-packs were just normal. But for some reason they did the first 10,000 of this 5-pack with a Hero City logo then removed it for the rest. So all 5 models in the pack can be found with or without the logo.
In 2004 it was part of a Fire Chiefs 5-pack in red as it enjoyed its busiest year yet. Still no basic range though.
And was also a part of the Around The World series. This was not an easy model to obtain as it was not in the regular series. It was exclusive to a Car Transporter playset that was sold alongside the series and featured Easter Island on the side (plus its official name of Rapa Nui) and featuring the famous Ma’oi that look after the island.
It was also included in the first of the new Superfast series launched that year in the number 75 slot, which meant it actually arrived in 2005. The series started later in the year running summer through spring.
And finally, if you liked Duracell AA batteries, there was an on-pack release in packs of AAs. For some reason, this USA promotion was only to be found in one store. I am trying to remember which one it was. Don’t quote me on it, but I think it might have been The Home Depot. So 2004 was a good year. Well that proved to be fatal.
Because the casting almost fell off the edge of the earth after that. We saw nothing in 2005, 2006 or 2007, but it popped back up in 2008 for one final production run. This was in a Jimmy Neutron licensed 5-pack and came in varying shades of yellow during production. I wondered if that meant the casting was going to start being used again. But no. That was it. We have not seen it since that day.
So that brings me to the end of another report. I hope you enjoyed it. As I caught up a little I am moving back towards single batches of items a little more. There will be a few double ups at times as and when I see myself slipping further behind again, but I I hope to have more time on single assortments of items a little more again. Next week will see another single assortment of items.
So until then I hope you all have a safe and happy week.
10 Replies to “Matchbox Monday can “C” Collectors and “C” a Mattel Creation”
My FJ cruiser is dated on the base P20 and is slightly lighter blue? maybe?. This is the first time i found the collectors line in Germany, so hopefully mbx is making progress. nice report as always.
Dammit! I need a P20. Ha ha!
The Landrover has clear plastic windows and an interior! To me, looking at your photos, the new body seems to show a better proportion than the previous casting. With the clear windows and interior detailing, it looks to be a far better model overall.
Oh yeah. It’s weird. I liked how they did the original Land Rover. But putting the 2 side by side I do see how this is much better overall. They really highlighted a few extra bits and gave it a nice taller stance too.
The FJ Cruiser casting looks terrible.
Like dollar store 5 pack terrible.
It’s weird how we all see things differently. I really like it. I do wonder if the way I took the photos hasn’t highlighted it too well. Plus I am not too keen on the wheels chosen for it. Those ones have been around for quite a few years now, and I just don’t really like them too much. There’s just something a bit off about them. I can’t quite place why though.
I think three items could be improved on it: wheels (as mentioned), application of the white paint/tampo on the roof, and the alignment of the doors. One is a casting issue, the rest are specific to this release. Otherwise I think it looks decent.
IMHO the wheels on the FJ look off because they are crude and lumpy and probably should never appear in a premium range, but of course have done in the past too. As for the lack of quality control on the blue merc, I’m sort of glad I was put off buying it by the poor wheels so haven’t had to put up with poor paint as well. I’ve seen better wheels on a Welly model or even some poundshop Maistos! The central window pillar is very important on this age of Land Rover so I’m not impressed with the ‘special’ seaside one or the yellow Collectors version. Gripes over – the burgundy pickup is great.
I would like to see the Mattel Creations Matchbox releases become a bit more premium to justify the $25 USD price tag. I might have gone in for this one if it had a metal base, a bit more detail in the deco (mirrors, bumpers, interior, etc.) and for Heaven’s sake get rid of that blasted post in the rear! I appreciate them reworking the casting for better proportions and an interior, but comparing this to what Hot Wheels puts out online for $25 I think Matchbox can do better.
Also I just noticed: no taillight details? Come on Matchbox.