Matchbox Monday finishes 2021 basics batch F

Oh yes. Monday soon rolls around, and with it more Matchbox goodies. As was the case when I reviewed the first half of this batch of basic range issues, I am extremely grateful to Wheel Collectors who kindly sent over this batch from USA for me to go through for the report. Now as I did not show any of the new castings that debuted in the batch when I went through the first half of the report here, you will find this particular set of models to be fairly heavy on new items.

Which means I am starting with a new casting. In this case it is the MB1241 1953 Buick Skylark. Now I am very fortunate that Wheel Collectors have sent me both power grab boxes and long cards for this batch. These were manufactured around a month apart, so you know I will be looking to see if I can spot any differences between models. I was hoping on the Buick, as usually this type of blue paint is good for shades. But no, I couldn’t see anything unusual with either. Both matched up very well.

So just the one. And it is a really nice one. It takes the MB15 slot in the 2021 basic range. I have to say, when this was first announced at the 2020 Gathering I was happy hearing we were finally getting more Buicks (seriously underused manufacturer), but was not too sure on a ’50s era one. We already had a ’56 Century Police, and as you may remember we do now have an ’83 Riviera Convertible in Moving Parts. With the only other Buick ever made being a LeSabre from the Universal era (another ’80s) I was looking forward to a different decade. Of course I may be biased, as I do want a 1991 Roadmaster Estate Wagon in there. I don’t know why. I think it stands out. Or a 3rd generation 1971-73 Riviera with the boat tail. That was cool too. ’70s, ’90s? 2 decades that we do not have represented in the Buick family, and 2 different types of vehicles too. But after a ’50s and a convertible, we now have a ’50s convertible.

but then I saw the model. It is gorgeous. I love it. So I will just keep my mouth shut about the types of Buicks I want, and say yes, they nailed this one. A stunning debut in a light silvery blue with simple side pin striping.

The red interior and chrome base set it off beautifully too. So this shot up in my estimation after actually getting it. It has been very well crafted, and once I did a little Googling on the real vehicle, finding out it was not a very well know offering in real life (only 1,690 were made in 1953-54), I like to think they thought this one out well. A pretty unique offering.

The glorious chrome front end sees a little tampo detail on top too. yes, I am sold on this one.

I can’t wait to see more offerings on this in coming years.

Base shot seeing as this is a new casting.

Next up is another new casting. The MB1234 ’32 Ford Coupe. This is MB8 in the basic range.

The Deuce Coupes (as these are often known as) are perhaps one of the most iconic models for Rodders out there. It does mean that Matchbox have moved from the MB327 ’33 into a ’32.

It is pretty normal for the rear to sport no window. The Ford Model B, which was the basis for the Hot Rod was more commonly found with 5 windows. The front, and 2 either side. Of course Matchbox put their own spin on it, keeping it quite tame. I like it. After many years of the ’33, I guess we were due a new casting to mix things up a little.

It comes in red with simple black detailing on the side. A set of flames, some pin striping and a few logos towards the rear. All real too. B&M (the motor oil company, as the UK has a store that goes by the same name), Firestone, as well as Matchbox itself. It is great to see these little extras getting back on models. In the 1970s and 1980s they were plentiful, but as they 1990s rolled through these official logos started fading away. Companies wanted paying for the use of their logos, and so toys like this started seeing more generic logos added. This recent return to official logos is another sign of the efforts that Mattel are now putting into the Matchbox brand. Again, things that often get overlooked.

The black also features on the front grille too.

So yes, I am impressed. After hearing we were getting a ’32 I did wonder due to the ’33 already being out. But this gives us more variety. Base shot. New casting and all.

And now, oh that’s not a new casting. The MB867 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Polizia. Or just Gallardo Police as the packaging puts it. Keep it simple. It takes the MB69 slot for the 2021 range in white.

Because I did mention earlier this year that white seemed to be the go-to colour for this casting. This is the 10th issue, and the 7th in white. There were a pair of black and 1 blue release too. And again I see the front being printed as well as the 2 sides. It’s the little extras. I keep saying that.

This one is in a Mattel Global Security design. Nothing like self promotional eh? Not a bad look. A simple black and red design with the Mattel logo on the door. I am sure they didn’t have to wait long to get licensor approval on that. Of course I am still waiting on the yellow one that was used in Britain (could be a great choice for a Best of UK issue in the future), or perhaps the orange one from South Africa. You know, something not in white again.

New casting again. Seriously, I am now on my 4th model and only 1 has been issued before. This is a decent batch for new stuff. Mind you, the MB3 Lexus GS400 for 2021 is running late, so we do miss one of them. The new Land Rover. With Matchbox having a great history of Land Rovers throughout the years, to not bring out the new one would almost be sacrilege.

It is the MB1237 ’20 Land Rover Defender 90. It takes the MB11 slot in the 2021 range in what Land Rover call Pangea green. As you may or may not know, Mattel do try and come up with a number of authentic colours for the vehicles they make models of, and the Pangea Green look is pretty much the iconic look for this vehicle already. Even though it is cost increase over a standard colour.

Now Matchbox has gone with the same style as the Range Rover Evoque, by creating the window part to include all the upper half of the model. It has appeared on a number of models now. Mini Countryman, Subaru SVX among others. I guess this is a way to keep weight down on models, as I guess with profit margins being tight, if they can eke things out with some models, others have to be reined in to accommodate. I don’t mind it too much, although I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t have preferred it the other way and have the roof being a part of the body section. The model still has 4 parts. These body sides moulded areas are part of the interior section. The windows are just too dark to see that interior.

As I bring in the base shot just a tad earlier in this review, to show that the light grey base is different to the medium grey interior section.

The front end of the model looks good. Very Land Rover.

And the rear with the spare wheel also from the interior section is also very good. Now I have to say this is a small casting. Which to me does make it a cute little casting. But there is that upper half, which to me does detract a little bit.

I have to admit, I was really hoping that this would be constructed rather similarly to the previous Land Rover Ninety. So they would make a great pair. But with the new one being smaller, and having the upper half built the same was as the Evoque, it doesn’t quite live up to the previous one. Which is a shame. It was one of my more anticipated models of the year, but although it is nice, and I like it, I don’t love it. That Buick I just showcased above was not overly anticipated by me but the end result really knocked it out of the park and it went up in my estimation. But the Land Rover has ended up sadly going the other way.

I have to admit, I don’t think the old one will be taken away. It is still iconic, and the classic Land Rover look will not go away soon. The MB180 casting may have debuted back in 1987 as MB35 in the US range or MB61 in the ROW range in blue, but as with real Land Rovers, I think it can still go on a long time.

After all it has seen a few modifications to keep the casting fresh. The first was the relatively simple change to turn the MB180 casting in MB721, which was a small revamp to the interior and turning the base from metal to plastic. Nothing major. It first appeared in the 2007 Pirate playset.

And then in 2016 they completely revised the original MB180 casting by turning it in to a drop assembly model, and removing the additional plastic roof piece and adding that section into the a part of the body. They tightened and cleaned the entire casting up at that point, giving it a whole new lease of life, and after debuting in the Land Rover set that year is the one that we still see now. Both will happily be able to sit side by side as continuing castings for years to come.

Ooh fun time. Or should I say nerd time? The MB1217 MBX Garbage Scout. Debuting last year as a Matchbox Originals design, I like the way they have done this, and the look of the casting is very nice too. I am happy seeing this carry on for a number of years. Especially when I can have fun like this.

As I said, Wheel Collectors have been kind enough to send me both blister and power grab examples of these models as they get both in. Well I have been busy checking this 2021 MB35.

Production of Power Grabs appeared to have been about a month before production of long blister cards, and occasionally this can lead to something looking different.

Which in this case was the dumpster on the back. This orange plastic is known to vary quite easily, and I had this inkling that if there was going to be a variation on this model, this would be it. The Power Grab model has a darker orange dumpster than the long blister. SO I have 2 now.

Which I am happy enough with. I do like the look of this. White and orange (that is a Ranec level of a good colour combination) and sports a Gold Wing logo on the doors.

Plus this model also makes use of the new wheel that has not seen much action yet. It debuted last year on the Ford Ranger and Nissan Hardbody but has seen very little action. Good to see it getting more action.

The MBX Garbage Scout debuted last year as MB10 in blue, which you may remember did see a Working Rig model to complement it. So this is version number 2. But you know this has a removable part, so there is bound to be…

The switch! I actually don’t think the orange dumpster on the back of the blue Garbage Scout looks too out of place. The logo on the door has orange on it, so it does sort of blend in. Of course a blue dumpster on the back of the new one doesn’t really work though. At least to me. Others may like it like that.

Well as I was talking about Power Grabs, why not do a photo of a model on a Power Grabs box? Just mixing it up a little here. This is the MB1077 Mazda CX-5 making a return to the basic range again. Very nice to see it come back, and a lovely black issue too.

Taking the MB63 slot in the 2021 I think this may be the nicest look for it yet. Mind you, there have only been 2 others to date, so it was not a high bar. But then I do think black cars look good.

As with the other 2 releases this has seen to date, it comes sporting simple front and rear detailing, which honestly, you can’t go wrong with. This is how I like the cars to appear. So I am very happy with this one. And as I mentioned there were 2 others, and I have done a lack of diving back on things (due to the many new castings), I think I should be doing more.

For those trying to remember its history, fear no longer. I have it covered. It debuted as MB93 in the 2018 basic range in grey with blue windows. I think they were looking at adding a splash of colour to the rather drab grey model. I quite like it like that, and I think a clear window or smoke window might have actually not made it as nice. So I think it was a good call.

And then in 2019 it moved to the MB18 slot in a dark red, now with the smoke windows of the new issue.

But as we never saw it in 2020, I am happy to see it return. Did anybody notice that they altered the casting after the debut to include a front license plate?

I wonder if the Mazda 3 will see a license plate added? As this model was also only in this batch, after initially being slated for a 2020 release. It turns out we did actually see 2 Mazda castings in this batch (the Mazda 3 was covered in the first half of this batch report), but technically it was a 2020 release, just running late. Pure coincidence it turned up in the same batch the CX-5 did.

Next up another new casting. Wheel Collectors know what I am like and ensured I had both variants of the MB1249 MBX Mini Service Truck.

Another Matchbox originals casting taking the MB23 slot in the basic range. Sadly I have seen a lot of them around. It hasn’t been a stellar seller. Even with….

The choice of 2 interiors. It comes with either 9 cases on the back (8 on the bottom with a 9th sitting askew on the top), or empty. So already a fun little model. I say little in a literal sense here. It is extremely small, and being a 3-part build, probably one of the cheapest builds they have. but I do think they missed a trick here.

I have been on many a plane and looked out of the window seeing cargo trucks like these. But what do I see? They are linked together. I know this build has an area at the front for a driver to sit, but I still feel like they could have had a ball and socket style approach to the casting. A little added play value.

I feel there was plenty of space at the front and rear to accommodate such a scenario. And then we could have had a train of them. It might have even helped to sell a few more. Some kids might have liked that idea and asked for more to build a longer train of them. That could have been a lot of fun.

I do understand why they didn’t as with the steering wheel on the front of each model, it might have seemed a little weird. But to a child they don’t always notice that and would just start clicking them together.

A simple base shot of the pair. Both were the long carded version as I opened the blisters to get them.

I knew I had seen the Melton logo somewhere. It was on the 2019 MB37 issue of the MB728 Mercedes-Benz Unimog U300. It was also on the RW008 MAN TGS Flatbed Cargo Hauler which was in the first Working Rigs batch of 2019 too, but I don’t have one to showcase so the Unimog will have to do.

The Unimog has a tow hook too, so had the Cargo Trucks had hooks at the front, they could have been towed by the Unimog.

I did say they were small. Not quite small enough to completely fit in the back of the Unimog, but they were thin enough to slot in the back. I think they are cute little models in their own way, and definitely something different. It is just a shame that the kids are not seeing it.

Getting close to the end now, and so we have a Mercedes-Benz. The MB1201 Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 63S. Boy that’s a mouthful.

It takes the MB37 slot in the range in a metallic black. One of 4 black models in this batch, with the Mazda CX-5 shown above, as well as the Polaris Slingshot and Subaru Sambar I showcased in a recent report, but this one is in metallic.

Again simple front and rear detailing is all that is required here, and good to see the rear lights curving around the sides. A stunning look and a great addition to last year’s debut.

It might actually feel longer because the 2020 issue was in the first batch that year. With this being in the final batch, it is almost 2 years later. But technically the white model is the 2020 MB44 and black the 2021 MB37.

It also makes a good companion for the MB1231 CLA Shooting Brake which arrived earlier this year too. Same wheels.

But that one was a solid black model. Very nice.

Which brings me to the last model. Another new casting, although if you have been following the blog you will have seen one in white already as it was a promotional tool for the upcoming move towards recycled materials.

The MB1230 Tesla Roadster arrives in the basic range in a funky dark red. It is not a matte finish, but it is close to it. My technical terms for paint finishes is not the best so somebody may know what this type of finish is called. But what I can tell you though, it is also called lots of fun. That is because the 2021 MB4 seems to sport quite a bit of shading to it.

Seriously, it is not down to when it was made. Models from the same batches are sporting shades to them. I am absolutely loving this, and now it is even more important to find out what the paint finish is, as I need to bug Mattel into making more models with that type of finish.

So having already seen the casting, there is not much else I can say about it. It is a great casting, and the detailing on this is as it was for the white one.

Front and rear details, and lovely plain sides showing off the different hues of red paint. I am thoroughly enjoying this.

Definitely one of my favourites out of the whole batch. But now I am finally able to do my little comparison.

Because when I got the white one to preview, which I did here, I was trying to judge how it felt compared to others, but it was tough to gauge. Each model feels different in some way. I knew the only true test would be the same model made out of regular materials. So here we go.

First of all, I like that velvety soft base. Regardless of anything, I knew that the base on the recycled model would be my favourite part. the base on the regular issue has quite a high sound when you tap it. The recycled one has a deeper sound. Honestly, there is a tone difference. If I could figure out how to add an audio file I would have recorded them both.

But the rest of the model? Well let’s just say there is no visual clue whatsoever beyond the tampo printed message on the base. These look just like a white and a dark red Tesla Roadster. Tampos applied correctly, and all neat and tidy. You can see they used a different light design for the front headlights. That often happens.

The back has the same Zero Emissions license plate, but again the rest of the tampo is slightly different. Lights a little different, Tesla spacing a little wider on the white.

And as I said, the recycled base doesn’t show as much wishy washy lines, although there is a faint one at the back there. The regular base plastic does look a lot more shiny.

Now I don’t own a pair of small scales that would enable me to test for sure, but I believe the one made from recycled materials is actually heavier. It feels it in my hands. I swapped models in each hand a few times to try and test and each time, whichever hand was holding the white one, that was the one that felt I had a heavier object in it.

And again I was busy tapping the models. That white one feels and sounds more dense, heavier, solid etc. This brings me back to that older report from the beginning of May. I asked myself then about the quality and felt it was good. So again, I am going to repeat myself here. If that white one is the level that they are looking at for the future with recycled materials, now I have the direct comparison, I am definitely all in! I feel the white one is better than the red. Not when it comes to shades, as this red is going nuts! I am all for this one. But the build, the quality, the feel, weight etc. The white wins hands down each time. Especially with the velvety base!

Red for the colour, white for literally everything else! Yes, if I was happy in May when I did the report about the sustainable future with the Matchbox report, I am even more happy for it now.

And on that bombshell, it brings me to the end of another report. Next week…. Oh wait, dive backs. I didn’t really do one properly last week did I? Well, I suppose I had better do one now.

I am going to start with a Ford Cortina. Why? We had a classic Ford and so I am going to do a classic Ford casting. Plus, I am sure I read somewhere that somebody mentioned doing it. So here we go.

Want to see an old childhood toy? The MB55-D Ford Cortina Mk IV debuted in 1979 in green, and I would have been 6 or 7 (depending on if it was before or after my birthday) when I got this. One owner, from new. Needs slight work. Ha ha! Of course that is not a sales ad. For some reason I have not been able to let this one go.

Even though I have mint examples as a collector that match up to it, and also vary in shade. I mean, this model was around for 2 years like that. The England factory was never going to keep things consistent.

I swear somebody at Lesney owned one of these. The attention to detail on this car was beyond any other I have ever seen. The way the rear light clusters are shaped so exquisitely. Along with the lovely opening doors. They really went to work on it.

In fact the entire rear detailing. The Cortina 1.6L badges, the Ford badge. The numberplate (it was British so that was what it was called there) is likely based on the person who created the model, and just chose the “T” at the end as this would have signified the point at which it debuted. At that time UK numberplates would change every September to move to the next letter, and “T” signified that a vehicle was registered between 1st September 1978 and 31st August 1979. They skipped “U” and moved straight to “V” on 1st September 1979. There were 5 letters skipped due to being too similar to other letters or numbers (I, O, Q, U and Z). Many Lesney models would see the letter for the numberplate added when it was first released.

Of course as the model went on, these letters would start to become quite dated. Aside from the green changing, most other items stayed very similar. It would sport dot-dash wheels, have an unpainted base and a red interior, except right at the end. Crossover time. The story goes that as 1981 began the model was due to change to red and it was goingto have a pale yellow interior, but a request came from USA for another shipment of green. Production had already started on yellow interiors, so they just went with it. The shade of green was also very unique as it was a very sparkly metallic. These only appeared in USA in early 1981.

Before they began production of the red one. Again this stayed pretty consistent, although it was only available the one year.

But I can still find a shade.

In 1982 the model changed again. For a Lesney era model, 3 changes in 4 years was quite significant. Of course we are used to it now, but constantly changing was not a common thing back then. Now with the MAN number system, it was assigned the MB055 slot as it was still going worldwide, but with the real Cortina about to be replaced by a Ford Sierra Matchbox were going to drop this after 1982 too. But the new tan look with black striping did see some variations. Shades of tan. Check. Window tints. Check. Of course there are also variations I am still to find. The first production run still had those yellow interiors from the red. Boy are they tough to find. You might find one with a silver painted base, as they decided for the first time to do that. There are even some that come without the top black stripes. Again I am still hunting.

The model served double duty though as a TP-28 twin pack also appeared featuring the standard Cortina, but now mated to a classic MB57-B Eccles Caravan. Daft fact, this exclusive design Eccles Caravan was the last time the casting was used. Back in 1978 when twin packs were in use, Lesney got confused over models, and any models in twin pack use was given either a 7 or an 8 in front of it. The Eccles was therefore known as MB857. But because it was dropped after this 1982 production run, when Universal took over, only castings in use when they resumed twin pack production in 1984 kept their numbers. So MB857 was wiped from the system in 1984 meaning that when Mattel hit the number with their modified Chevy Suburban casting, there was nothing there to skip so it became the new MB857.

When they did resume twin packs in 1984 (although the first ones appeared late in 1983 so technically could be classed as a 1983 release), they completely changed the number system, and where it was TP-1 and building from there, Universal started at TP-101 and ran from there. The Ford Cortina was thrown into a TP-111 pack in red. However, as was common at the time, many vehicles were cost reduced for twin pack usage, and the Cortina saw the doors sealed. They hadn’t in 1982 because the twin pack issue was running alongside the single run.

TP-111 was the Cortina towing the MB743 Pony Trailer. A classic Lesney casting that was given a “7” at the start in the 1970s, but because it continued was still classified as MB743 and subsequently skipped by Mattel when they were adding new castings much later.

Although the model only ran until the end of 1984 before being dropped, the Cortina still saw plenty of variations. I admit, I am quite a way from getting them all. They are not the easiest to find.

I have the easy one. White vs brown interior.

Bases can also be silver or unpainted.

Then you can find opaque glow in the dark windows on some too.

That one happened to also sport another alternate look. No black side stripe. There are quite a few to find. The reason for dropping the casting was that the tooling was not shipped over to Macau for 1985 production. TP-111 itself was dropped and the Pony Trailer was re-assigned to TP-114.

Instead the casting was shipped over to China where it was used as a test for the new factory alongside a Datsun 260Z. Those were in very short supply, and were red featuring a flame design over the top. That is another on my wish list, and a number of years ago I almost got one. But they rarely come up. One day…. But later on, another production run was added to a Super Value Pack in 1991. Again it was red.

Clearly marked as Made in China on the base.

And for some reason, they created a new window section with the space filled in over the originally open doors.

After that, the casting was shipped over to Bulgaria where production began in 1993 and they decided to do it in red.

But bases with Made In Bulgaria on a brownish grey base would help it to stand out.

Of course it wasn’t just made in red. Production carried on for a few decades as Universal had gone bust and Tyco didn’t care about getting the castings back so they were allowed to keep them. It was part of the last consignment of castings though. After the 1993 assortment were sent over, no new tools were shipped over to Bulgaria.

The funny thing is though, they shipped them both with and without the door part of the window parts. So both can be found. Many models did come in plain looks, which I admit was the main part of my own personal hunt.

But they did add designs to many too. I only own the one. I thought the taxi look on a yellow car was great, so picked that up. But plenty of others have appeared over the years too. They went nuts with it and hundreds of variations exist.

Now next on my list, I honestly can’t remember if I covered this already. The MB154 Lamborghini Countach LP500S. If I have already done it, I apologize. But I can’t remember half of the stuff I have already dived back into. Now this white issue I did for the photo is a 1997 Premiere PC2 edition. I admit there will not be much premium about to be shown as I don’t have many of them, but this I thought was the best match to the Gallardo Polizia in the current batch.

So where did the LP500S begin? Back in 1985. It was sold as MB67 in the US range or MB11 in the ROW range and came in red with a simple raging bull logo on the front.

It may have been made in Macau at the time of the debut, but they appeared to have been taking a leaf out of the Lesney rule of making stuff. Shades of red. Different wheels? Sure why not.

In 1986 they gave the model a whole new look. Black with red, orange and white striping and a 5. Still weren’t quite getting the wheel things down yet. Although I do not know of a chrome 8-dot being made. Hardy Ristau in Germany has one, but I think it might have been a pre-production sample.

But they had a small issue. The way they created the casting, the rear wheels were very close to the wheel arches. They had decided to add the model to the new Superfast range, but those wheels being slightly different were causing even more friction. Not good when you are touting the series as being the most friction free yet. So they tweaked the casting. As you can see, the one on the right is higher at the rear. BTW the high rear model was only found with 5-arch wheels. They seemed to have sorted out which wheels to use by then.

What they did was add a step to the base. A simple fix, but it works. The model rolled a lot more smoothly. Black continued on through 1987.

So out trotted the Superfast. SF-11 in white with blue and pink stripes with LP500S on the sides. Plus the new starburst wheels in use for the series.

After Superfast debuted in 1986, a worldwide release was on the cards for 1987, but they made tweaks, and the new disk wheels were created for what was now Laser Wheels. They followed the same pattern so SF-11 became LW-11, and although the design was the same, the model was now metallic. Feeling white would sparkle enough in metallic they turned it silver.

In 1988 the basic range saw a new design. Now it was yellow with a simple bull logo on the front, a partial light detail and Countach down the side. This ran for 3 years, so you know I was able to find a shade.

I also found this. Believe it or not, this is no interior variation. it is a white interior. It is just whoever had it before me had an issue with storage and it turned brown. If I was to flip the model and look under the wheels, I can see it was still white there.

But I thought it was nice segue into the fact that in 1988 they made a promotional model for the Hong Kong market in the same yellow, but this did have a brown interior.

It wasn’t the only promotional model that year. The Netherlands had a BP promotion going for collecting stamps. This was part of the first batch of 5 models that came in a window box. The second batch of 5 came on blister card.

In 1989 Universal started wiping off various details from castings. These were often the license plate details, sometimes light markings. This started affecting this casting too. I don’t own the yellow basic range issue or the Laser Wheel variant, but I do have the Superfast one. As you can see, the CS6512 cast on the rear plate was removed.

This was because this was the point where premiums debuted. The Countach was a part of the 2nd batch of World Class models and came in a bright yellow and a slight error in the side detailing. LP5000S? Err? 1 too many zeros. But because they were tampo printing the license plates, trying to line them up with the cast details meant they would always be the same, and be awkward to do. This particular release did see the usual details, but it was simply tampo printed on.

1990 was the final year for Laser Wheels and Superfast. Although Laser Wheels went the full term without a new look (only the wiping of the license plate), the Superfast version did get a change to black for a final year.

In 1991 the basic range issue turned red. It still basically had the same design as before, but they made a couple of additional enhancements to it.

And we also saw the model added to the Graffic Traffic series in plain white.

1991 had been the year that production had moved from Macau to China. There was no crossover. Superfast/Laser Wheels were finished, and the yellow was just Macau, red just China. But for whatever reason, they decided that they wouldn’t make it in China, and after only a few months, they shipped it off to Thailand instead. It ran through 1993 like that.

China ones are not the easiest to find, lasting only a matter of months compared to the few years of Thai production.

1993 saw a bright fluorescent green example in the Showstoppers (or Motor Show depending on market) series alongside a yellow Diablo.

1994 was the year Tyco got stuck into the casting. This is where things split. In 1994, the ROW range simply changed the model to now sport the new gold spiral wheels that Tyco had created. They also used the opportunity to switch to a plastic base, as until then it had been metal. But the US range? Well this went a little avant garde! Yellow and blue with a pink interior anyone? Yikes!

It also saw an updated look on the Graffic Traffic release too. The windows turned red alongside the base/wheel switch.

The model was also a part of the first (and last) Collectors Choice series too in 1994. It was number 9 out of the 24 models in the set.

1995 came along and all of the basic range issues switched from gold spirals to chrome. I own the ROW one in red, but haven’t got around to getting the US yellow/blue thing yet.

But what I do have is the Aquafresh on-pack promotion that was available in USA at the very start of the year. They took a range of models and removed some of the tampo, which in the case was the hood/roof print.

In 1995 it saw its 5-pack debut in the Super Cars pack. This model was plain blue with no tampo on it at all.

We also saw a Matchcaps release in a long blister that included a number of pogs. If you remember pogs, which were popular in the mid 1990s. This was only in USA though.

1996 saw the US range see a new look to the Lambo. Metallic red with just the name on the side, or not on the error one I found. It rolled into 1997 and moved to concave 5-spoke wheels, but I am still to get that one too. This is why I like to do these, to remind myself too.

I did get the ROW change in early 1997 though.

Oh I am jumping ahead. I was still on 1996, where another 5-pack release came along. This time the red model in the 5-pack did have a tampo. Just the Lamborghini side one.

Now I did say about both the US and ROW release rolling into 1997 and now sporting concave 5-spokes. Well they were a very short final run as the actual 1997 basic range release was black. And this was worldwide too. No more regional issues. 1997 MB67 US or MB11 ROW.

Of course if it was in the US range in 1997 it meant it saw a gold challenge. I do own a pre-production sample in solid gold before they made the decision these should be metallic.

1997 also saw 2 different 5-pack releases. Not content with the annual Super Cars 5-pack, which this year saw it in white, they also added it to the Sleek Riders pack too. That was a pinky chrome with side squiggles design.

In 1998 with Mattel re-numbering everything on a yearly basis now, the model was now MB60. It came in dark green with the same Lamborghini side design that had adorned a number of releases over the last few years.

Production moved from Thailand to China during the year which is why there were 2 of them.

In 1999 it was now MB16 and this light blue model finally saw a new side design. It now said Lamborghini. Wait? What? Oh yeah, the font was different. And the bull moved to the back of the car.

This model proved to be it for the market. After 2000 it was no more. The US market saw a Matchbox 2000 look on the first 10,000 of MB24 before losing it, and this yellow, using the same design as the 1999 model, was also sold as MB19 in the ROW market too. The model was then retired after a decade and a half.

Now I wasn’t too sure if I had already done the Countach. But I know for sure I have not done this particular model already. Inspired by a Mercedes-Benz in the batch is the MB218 Mercedes-Benz Trac 1600 Turbo. Yes, I am doing a tractor!

And I have to be honest, I think this is the best tractor they have ever done. This model debuted in 1990 as either MB73 for the US market or MB27 for the ROW market in green. Harkening back to old days, it had simple disk wheels with rubber tyres on them. Not something that was normally done for a basic range, not since Superfast had first debuted. After all, this was almost like having a premium wheels on the model.

In 1991 it changed. Can you see the difference? Oh right….

It changed country of manufacture. Moving from Macau to Thailand.

It also saw a debut in twin packs that year too. This yellow and green look was a part of TP-126.

It was pulling an old Lesney Regular Wheel Hay Trailer. Yes the old classic 40-c from 1967 was still floating about, and had never been converted to Superfast. I guess being a trailer unit was it really that important? It was given a MAN number, MB740. The only MAN number assigned to a “still” regular wheel vehicle. I am full of daft facts.

So 1992 rolls around and the Thailand factory gets given a new design. Everything as it was, but now it had the name on the side. Yes that was the only change that was made to the model during the initial run in the basic range. It ran for 2 years like that and was dropped worldwide after 1993.

But 1993 did see another multipack usage. Green, because you know, it hadn’t been in green too much. This appeared in a Farming multipack. Well, actually a few. It could be found in larger sets with one type of trailer unit.

The original MB712 Seeder. I say original as when Mattel first hit the 700s they did over-ride MAN numbers already assigned in the first year. Because this was only ever used in this set for the 1 year and never seen again, it did tend to be forgotten. It was also in a twin-pack with an MB711 Hay Trailer (a different one to the classic Lesney), but I am still to get the Hay Trailer.

After 1993 the model went on hiatus, but returned in 1999 in gr…. Wait that’s blue! Whoa! Not a green one. Yes Mattel knew that other colours existed. It was sold as MB90 in the US range and MB5 in most of the ROW range. This is because Germany had some exclusives that year. And this was one.

Most exclusives were different vehicles, many of which were brand new castings, but MB5 for Germany was just a different look on the Merc. Green!

It saw one more run in the basic range. This time it was worldwide. MB46 for the US or MB26 for the ROW market was a yellow model with the same design as 1999, except without the Chieftan logo at the front.

And as I had just mentioned with the Lamborghini, if you were in the US market, the first 10,000 had a Matchbox 2000 logo. This time it was on the back of the model.

After that they only used the casting one more time. It was a part of the 2002 Across America series, exclusive to USA. This was denoting Iowa, and ooh, it came in green. That was a surprise! There was a lot of green to this model. Not so much on the next one.

Because I am finishing with the Ford F-series Dump Truck, inspired by the white with orange rear look to the MBX Garbage Scout. I don’t know why, but when I saw it, this specific model was the first thing that bounced in my head, so I ran with it.

The Ford F-series Dump Truck was initially assigned MAN number MB450 for its 2000 debut. It was released as MB91 in the US range or MB71 in the ROW range. I am still to find the logo version on this one. One of my last few remaining holdouts for logo models. One day…. But what I do have is both wheel types. It debuted with 8-spoke wheels, but with production rolling over into early 2001, they switched it to sawblades which debuted that year.

In 2001 it moved to the MB13 slot, and oddly enough, after arriving with the new sawblade wheels, a random run did see the old 8-spokes return again. And that was it for the basic range. 2 releases of MB450.

It was not gone yet. Just from the basic range. For now! In 2002 it was used in the Across America series too, this one for Nebraska.

Now I should point out, they kept changing the base to this. What started off as a copyrighted 1999 Dump/Utility Truck base was changed to a copyrighted F-series Truck base, before reverting back to the correct 1999 Dump/Utility, but now with the oval logo instead of the lozenge.

2002 also saw a playset issue. Simply titled Garage, this set saw on orange model included as an exclusive.

In 2003 they added the model to the Licensed series. This was in the Rescue Heroes 5-pack that year. After that it took 2004 off.

Before it returned to the basic range for one final swansong. It was MB12 in red with a grey dump and this was part of the initial push from Mattel to bring realism back after the disaster that was Hero City. MB450 was retired at this point and converted into MB590.

The new MB590 tooling debuted in the 2005 Construction 5-pack in the white and orange combo I showed at the start of this model’s showcase.

The different between MB450 and MB590 was simply that they removed the interior section turning the model from a 5-piece build into a 4-piece build. But as we know, they do these things from time to time to continue on with a model. So let’s continue shall we? Oh wait, we can’t. Because that was it. They turned it into MB590 and immediately stopped using it. We never saw it again. And on that bombshell, I mean I did do one at the end of the initial part of the report on new stuff, I really am done this time.

I hope you enjoyed this rundown of batch F, including just the 2 (or 3 if you like variations) Matchbox originals.

As well as 4 brand new licensed castings.

And 3 other new looks in black and white. So as I was saying earlier, next week I will be having a little “different” fun. It will be short next week. None of the usual waffling and no dives back. I am joining in with the end of the year shenanigans from Lamley Group by doing my own personal best new stuff of 2021. I hope you will enjoy it. Until then, have a safe week.

2 Replies to “Matchbox Monday finishes 2021 basics batch F”

  1. Hello David. Thanks for another great writeup. The new Land Rover 90 and Tesla Roadster continue to elude me among local merchants. Someday! The Tesla is beautiful and I find the Land Rover 90 to be acceptable. I really dislike the dark windows because it obscures the interior. As noted, Matchbox has utilized this feature on other toys (Range Rover Evoque, Fiat 500X) and it is an unfortunate feature. I don’t have a problem with the small size relative to the old 90 but I agree the old casting should live on. It is a timeless classic. I’m with you on the Buick Skylark. When I first saw the raw casting I thought “ho hum” but now that it has arrived it looks sensational. The silvery blue with red interior is a bulls eye. Well done Matchbox! It is always good to see the Mazda CX5. Matchbox does such a good job with SUVs (usually) and the CX5 is perfect. The front tampo alone on all three releases deserves special mention. Just perfect.

    Among the historic castings it was me who suggested you revisit the 4th gen Ford Cortina. A good looking sedan in reality and a very good casting from Matchbox. Perhaps you can show us the 2nd gen Cortina as part of a Superfast transitional writeup. Those toys from 1969-1970 will always be collector favorites. I believe 55 of the 75 Matchbox lineup from 1969 made the transition to Superfast. Finally, that Lamborghini Countach LP500s is always a happy sight. I don’t think it is such a realistic casting — a bit cartoonish to my eyes — but I love it despite (or because of?) that quality. I own many different colors. My favorite is the Premiere series in metallic purple. A kitschy classic! 🙂

  2. I would love to see that 1980s ford cortina remade again. Classic.
    Just an off thought… I would also love to see Matchbox do a Trabant. Also what happened to the Tuk tuk casting?. I would also like to see that in the lineup one day. IMHO.
    Still nothing at my local Tesco’s at the moment. Weeks months…. Shame for all Matchbox missed as a whole for one outlet to sell. Also more stuff Mattel don’t send here in the UK. Good write ups as ever.

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