Matchbox Monday takes a look at a new 9-pack

So this is going to be short and sweet. Only kidding! I am taking a look at the first of the new 9-packs for the 2022 year. As you have seen me do over the last year, I showcased all the 2021 9-packs which featured 2 exclusive models per assortment. However the 2 packs in the mix both sported 3 models seen in both packs that were semi-exclusive, as in they were in that entire batch of 9-packs but not sold anywhere else. As Matchbox told us at the 2021 Gathering in July, for 2022 the 9-pack system is returning back to its traditional one exclusive per pack and the rest pulled from elsewhere system. Most of them are either single or 5-pack issues. But as with a lot of things, not everything is strictly set in stone. This assortment (literally only this assortment) sees a single semi-exclusive. A straggler managed to slip through the net so to speak and join in this batch across both packs. But before I get to that, let us have a look at the 2 exclusive models.

The first one is the older of the 2 models. The MB1079 ’18 Nissan Leaf. Finally! It is about time we saw a new issue of this casting. It comes in a lovely dark blue colour, something I believe Nissan call Deep Blue Pearl. As we know the upper half is all formed from the window section, and as such is a very dark, almost solid black.

The model gets the very standard and totally realistic front and rear end tampo treatment, which is really all it needs to set it off.

With the direction of Matchbox ensuring we get more in the way of modern hybrid and electric vehicles mixed in with classics I knew it would not be long before we saw more of this one. Hopefully we will get the Scarlet Ember colour scheme on a future issue (a nice red). I am also happy to see a new issue as well, this had a very quiet debut.

It was first launched at the tail end of the 2018 basic range. It was sold as MB91 and came in a metallic white with similar front/rear end tampos. But then, tumbleweeds roll through as we wait.

There was nothing in 2019, and I thought perhaps due to it being so late in 2018 it would appear in 2020. But again, nothing. Eventually, as a part of the 2021 MBX Hybrid & Electric carry forward 5-pack, it popped up again. Obviously it was a carry forward pack and it had only seen 1 release. But at least it wasn’t forgotten. With almost 3 years between production runs I did note that the newer production run was coming in a brighter white to the original. But I knew I wanted a new colour though. Bingo! Got it now!

Hopefully this is just the beginning of the Leaf getting more love now. As I said I would love to see the red one, and there is also a Jade Frost Metallic (which is like a light silvery green) which I think would look great in miniature too. Fingers crossed.

The other exclusive is another that I absolutely love and is not getting as much action as I was hoping. The MB1182 ’18 Jeep JL Rubicon 4-door, as the base calls it. Some people call it the Wrangler Unlimited. Another 2018 vehicle, but this one did only arrive in 2019. As soon as I saw it, I loved it. One of my favourite Jeep castings (if not the favourite) from Matchbox. I just want to see loads of them. This is the 4th. A very simple light, almost orangey-red shade of red. There is an official Jeep colour called Firecracker Red, but I think that is more mid-red. But I am not complaining. I love red, and any shade of red would look good on this one. Or any shade of any colour. Hella Yella! Just sayin’.

As has been the case in all releases of this casting to date, the focus for tampo printing has been on the sides of the model. Picking out the door handles and hinges, and capturing the rear lights. Plus the Jeep and Rubicon details.

I hope to one day see the front end detailed too, and I would be more than happy to see a premium release of this one. But for the core ranges I am happy enough with this look. Very simple and realistic. I am so very happy to see it again. I tell you, the 2 exclusives in this pack are 2 of my more desirable models, both not getting a lot of use. So these 9-packs were very good for me.

So just to remind people again of the history of this one, it debuted as MB62 in the 2019 basic range. Albeit quite briefly. It was a part of the batch that saw limited availability. If people remember back to 2019, we used to get Matchbox released on a monthly basis. There would be a new batch with a selection of new additions in the batch, and the previous batch would also be sold alongside it. This ran until the batch that saw this one. After that, they changed the system to create a larger batch that would run for 2 months without (as a general rule) any models repeated from the previous batch. So we were still seeing models for 2 months at a time, but they were now a single batch each. However, that batch was dropped after its first month, so they only saw a single month of production. So those were only produced half as long (roughly) as the rest of the 2019 series. It was bright green (or Mojito as Jeep called it) and came sporting the same tampo as we have on the new one.

At about the same time as the basic range was debuting, an alternate was also popping up in the Jeep Set exclusive at Walmart stores in USA. This was a dark charcoal and saw a Skyjacker side design (as well as the Jeep/Rubicon and rear lights depicted.

For 2020 the model moved to the MB64 slot in the basic range and was now in metallic white. Again, we saw the simple side detailing that the 2019 debut had seen. Brilliant. I loved them all.

And well, now we have this. Yes, after 2020 we had nothing at all in 2021. Such a shame, so I am extremely happy to have a 4th issue of the model. I am hoping that it gets plenty more action in the coming years. It is too good a casting to leave behind.

And now we get to the surprise of the set. When they started appearing, knowing that Matchbox were reverting back to the “just an exclusive” era of 9-packs, I assumed this was just something pulled from elsewhere that was going to show up either as a single or as a 5-pack release. But I have had confirmation that they managed to sneak this in as a semi-exclusive. All of the other 5x 9-pack batches for 2022 will just have the 2 exclusives in them, 1 per pack. So don’t go expecting a semi-exclusive in any other assortments as they appear. It is the MB733 ’55 Ford F-100 Panel Delivery Van in yellow and red with a classic looking Shell livery.

It looks absolutely fantastic, and knowing there is a new Ford Cab arriving in batch B of the 2022 basic range in the same look, all I can say is…. Recurring theme? I hope so. So, elephant in the room time. Yes the casting has been altered.

The base is the clearest indication of the change. It is now sporting a copyright date of 2021, and the writing has been re-jigged a little on the base too.

There has not been a massive amount of changes made. What they have done basically is to turn the interior section into the wings of the model too, rather than the body section. When they did it on the Toyota FJ they took away even more of the body section which did make it look a little weird. But on this, it is just the wings, and this now gives the model an instant colour break for them too which honestly I don’t mind.

The base section has seen a little change too. Because it also formed the front grille area of the model, it was quite thin and you could see the body section form behind it. With the body only being a part of the front end, with the wings now being a part of the interior, I think leaving the base with only the thin parts of the grille in place and seeing the multiple parts behind would have been weird. So they made the right choice to remove those excessive pieces and fill in the gaps to the grille area. They have made a few other tiny changes, which are just tidying up a few worn areas and better highlighting some of the other details. Notice how the front badge on the body section is enhanced better now. I mean the orange one was the initial release of the casting, and the badge was already barely there.

And as I have pulled out my collection of the originals I think I should take another look at them. As I said, orange was the debut. It arrived in the 2008 basic range as MB64, as an offshoot of the earlier MB300 ’56 Ford Pick-up casting. I do enjoy a spin-off. And as you can see, orange is often one of the best colours for shades. It came in lighter or darker shades during production.

Almost immediately it was getting promotional issues. It was chosen to be the show model for the 2008 Matchbox Gathering. We don’t get show models any more from the event, but in the mid-late 2000s we would have dinner models, dealer models (as we do now) and on the Sunday for the Toy Show, a set of 500 show models in blister were available at the door too. 2008 was the year that the first “early bird” dinner model was attempted (and due to a blip the dealer model (the Cadillac Sedan DeVille) saw an alternate for early birds rather than the planned VW T2 Bus, but as the dinner/early bird scenario became the norm, the Sunday toy show model faded away. This was in gold with a cream roof and detailing all round.

In 2009 the model was chosen to be one of the ones that would sport 2 looks for the year. It was MB47 in the range and at first we saw a red look with an Auto Parts Delivery logo on the side. Just as with the debut I was finding shades of red to this one.

A little later it switched to a blue look with a McKenzie’s Ice Cream Co look on the side. Again I was doing well in finding shades.

Rats! Didn’t find a shade. 2009 also saw a Classic Cars 5-pack with a panel van. But sometimes the term “cars” can be used quite loosely. This was a purple Mobile Pin Striper’s vehicle.

2009 also saw what is still my favourite look for this model. I just love the smurf look. I mean Sonny’s Ford Shop. This was the Superfast issue for the year.

In 2010 the basic range issue was only sold in the US market, as this was year 3 of 4 out of the US/LAAM/ROW split. It was MB69 there in matte black with a Holst Speed Shop side design, in reference to Felix Holst, who was in charge of the Matchbox brand at the time.

Worldwide markets did see other releases though that year, as this Bros Farms model was a part of the Farm 5-pack.

And a bright yellow release was a part of the all-exclusive “Real” 10-pack that year.

2011 was the beginnings of the slight diversion for the Matchbox brand and a few of the models were starting to see more bright colour schemes in the basic range. One was the Ford. It was bright green with a P8 energy drink design. It was also back to being a worldwide issue too. The US and LAAM ranges sold it as MB69, while the ROW market had it as MB46. I was having fun though, findind lighter and darker shades of green.

And having more than one means I can easily show the sides off. I do enjoy models that had alternate looking side designs. It was only subtle in this case, but it was there.

But that proved to be it for a while. There was nothing in either 2012 or 2013. However, for 2014 it popped back up as a 10-pack exclusive. This time it was red with an MBX County Fire Chief design.

And then it went quiet again for another few years, until 2017 when it randomly popped back up as a basic range issue. It was MB7 in matte blue with an MBX City Store side design. That had, until now, been the last we saw of the casting. Now it has been looked at, seen a little plastic surgery and touch up, I have a feeling we might see some more issues over the coming years again. It has been given a new lease of life.

So that is it for new stuff. But these are 9-packs. As such, there are other models in them too. Obviously these have all been seen before, but I personally enjoy pulling out my existing examples to see if I can spot anything unusual with any of them. These 6 all get added to my collection.

The MB1083 ’63 Austin Healey 3000Mk2 was originally a part of the 2021 Blue Highways II 5-pack, so let’s grab my original and check.

I’m seeing different greens! I am loving it.

For anybody who keeps note of these things, my original was dated P15 and the new one P41. So that is literally half a year apart in production terms. The 41st week of the year being 26 later than the 15th.

How about the MB795 Cliff Hanger? It was a part of the 2021 MBX City Drivers 5-pack, but was also added to a later 2021 9-pack too, which means that when batch F 2021 packs arrived, and I got one with the Chrysler 300 pack, I had already spotted a shade to the olive.

But I do love this Cliff Hanger casting. Not just because it keeps giving me shades. It is so cute. And yes, I now have 3 distinct shades of olive on it.

The original was the darkest. Mine is dated P04. As I said, it was in the last round of 9-packs too and that was dated P28 where it was coming in a lighter shade. But the new P41 shade is even lighter still. It just keeps getting lighter and lighter. Suits me. I love this stuff.

Next up is the MB1003 Freightliner Business Class M2 106. This one has had a history. It debuted like this in 2016 as MB60, but the MBX County font was much larger. In 2019 it returned to the basic range as a carry forward but the MBX County line was now in a smaller font. In 2021 it returned yet again now in the MBX Fire Rescue carry forward 5-pack. This was now the lightest most bronze variant of the model I had seen.

But then I go and put the new one next to it. Wow! That is much lighter. So yes, I add another of these to my collection.

The new lighter one is obviously P41. The darker was dated P15. Same date as the Austin Healey above.

Now we turn to the MB1090 ’17 Honda Civic. This is the blue release which was originally a part of the MBX City Drivers pack alongside the Cliff Hanger.

The new one is coming up with a notably darker shade of blue to it.

Just like the Cliff Hanger, the original was P04. New one P41. So 37 weeks between production runs on this one. Almost three quarters of a year.

The MB1243 MBX Field Car was a brand new casting for 2021 and it came in metallic orange. Always good for shades, but I was in the UK which skipped the batch, so the only one I was able to secure was from Wheel Collectors who sent them over for me to do that report last year. Luckily this too was a model that was thrown in a later 2021 9-pack. Only this time it was the batch D pack that had the Chevy Chevelle as an exclusive. At the time I saw it was a different shade of orange and thought yes, I have my shades of orange.

But you can’t keep a good orange down. Or something along those lines. The newest one is on the left here. The original one was a lighter orange and the one from a 2021 9-pack had a slight pinkiness to it.

Date codes, obviously P41 on the latest. The original was dated N48 and the earlier 9-pack run was P06. So the original 2 were 10 weeks apart, and then a further 35 weeks for the latest one. 45 weeks total time between first and last.

Finally the MB716 Ridge Raider. It was MB50 in the 2021 basic range, and returns here as one of the additionals.

The original is on the left here. It looks slightly darker, but what you can’t really see is the texture. It is a satin paint finish. The new one, slightly lighter in shade, is also a matte paint finish. It gives it quite the different vibe.

And yes, that was originally from the same batch as MBX Field Car. It just didn’t see anything in between the original N48 production run (that I got) and the newest P41 run 45 weeks later. SO I was very happy that alongside the 3 exclusives from the packs I also managed to add another 6 models to my collection. Hmm! 9 in total. That does leave 9 others. Well 7 to be technical. Obviously the Ford F-100 Panel Delivery was in both packs, but so was the Ridge Raider.

The other 7? Well, try as I might, I was unable to see anything different between these and ones I already had in my collection. Literally the only different to these was the date code imprinted on the base. But I can’t expect every single production run to yield a variation on everything. It’s half the fun trying to find variations. Strangely enough, 3 of them are now sitting in my office at work (Porsche Panamera, Nissan (D21) Hardbody and Mazda CX-5). For anybody who follows my Instagram @davidjtilley will know, I have a habit of doing some photos whenever I clean my collection up (every 4 months or so). It is full of duplicate models I tend to amass.

Which brings me to the end of what is new.

Which for me was 9 models, not 3. So time for a little extra fun with a dive back. As I mentioned last week, my dive backs are now tweaked ever so slightly into 5 castings, one from each decade from the 1970s through to the 2010s. These are all my choices this week. Next week I aim to show the first casting that has been requested for me to dig out. And as I said, if anybody reading would like for me to tackle a particular model I will attempt to do so if I can. The only issue is if it is something from the 1990s/early 2000s which might be more premium than anything else. I only started with premiums in the last decade and have a lot of gaps to fill still.

So this week I am starting with something I used to love as a kid. The MB66-C Ford Transit. This was the first generation (people don’t tend to include the German built Taunus Transit from 1953 as it was a Taunus first), which ran from 1965 through to 1986 in real life. In 1971 Ford created a different grille design which this model sports, and in 1978 they updated the Transit with a new front end. Which was typical as this debuted in 1977, just before Ford unveiled the updated look. But rather than going with the standard van layout, Lesney decided to add some play value by making this a dropside vehicle.

It came with a load on the rear that could be removed with one of the fork lift trucks they had. Either a Lansing Bagnell, or this MB48-C Sambron Jacklift.

As the crates deliberately had gaps underneath to allow the forks access. This was also included on the Mercedes Container Truck and Flat Car with Container, as they had slots in the containers to allow for removal with the forks too. They were pretty clever at getting these vehicles to interact. I see the modern roof element linkages as a current interpretation of this type of play value. Of course having a removable load on the rear of the Transit did mean that a lot of crates went missing. Why does that sound like a bad omen for the future? Ha ha!

So finding Transits with load is the main thing to look for. But the model ran from 1977 through to 1980 unchanged. Yeah right? Unchanged? This was Lesney.

There’s the inevitable. Shades of orange. But what about shades of window? Green can sometimes be very dark (it can also be very light, not shown).

It can even be amber. The cargo on the rear does vary from light tan to brown. But being removable simply means that there are variants. Tied with anything else is pretty irrelevant really.

After 1980 the US range decided to drop the model, but the ROW market kept it going for one more year. So they gave it a new colour. Orange! Seriously. Except now it was a very light orange. This was the ROW exclusive MB66 for 1981.

Again window shades exist although now it is just between green and light green. Amber windows were around for a short time in 1978. Dark green around the same sort of time, and both only appear on dark orange Transits.

Although there is a base variation on 1981s. At first they continued with the unpainted base of the dark orange (darks always had unpainted bases). But when production was working its way through 1981 they decided to paint them black. Although a later run saw another variant with a dark greyish blue looking base. Not too easy to see in single issues, which is why I haven’t got one yet.

Oh I forgot to mention something else. Interiors. The standard is a creamy interior. Both tan and green are known to exist on the dark orange (I have neither yet, still looking). And on light oranges yellow and green are known to exist (I have green as well as the standard cream). There are quite a few variations I still need to find myself on this, so a part of me was doing this just to refresh my memory of where I currently am with them. As I said, cargo loads are basically irrelevant, as they can be switched around and mixed up, so there is no value to saying you have a rare cargo variation. But interiors and windows. They are a different matter. Green windows, cream interior. They are the norm. Anything beyond that is quite tough.

So time for another model. Oh look another Ford. And no, this is not me doing a whole “Ford” thing for my dive back (although I did consider it after I pulled out this one). This is the MB156 Ford Escort XR3i Cabriolet. Debuting in 1985, it was an instant favourite for me. It was the 1980s. Hot hatches (as they were known as in the UK) were a big thing at the time, and this went one step further by being a hot hatch with a top that could come down. Added coolness. But here’s a daft fact. Did you know they were originally planning on going a different way? Back in the late 1970s, Lesney had launched a Ford Escort RS2000. This was a MkII Escort (or 2nd generation as some call them), and Lesney had made a point of giving it rally style stickers for the most part. One of the very last projects they started undertaking as the company was going bust at the end of 1982 was a replacement. The MkIII 3rd generation Escort had been out since late 1980, and in 1981 Ford Motorsport had announced their intention of returning to rallying (they exited after 1979) with the Escort RS1700T. This was a stripped down MkIII Escort, rebuilt with an RWD layout and plans to launch it during the 1983 rally season. With Lesney launching the Audi Quattro and Fiat Abarth in 1982, initial plans started on the Ford Escort RS1700T with the first mock-ups set up right as Lesney went bust. The project was put on hold temporarily while things were sorted out with Universal moving in. But then Ford announced in March 1983 that the project was cancelled, at a cost of millions. So Matchbox decided to stop development of the RS1700T and went back to the drawing board. Only the initial prototype samples are known to exist, and they do state Lesney on them. I did see one once, but it was outside of my collecting parameters so didn’t get it. 2 years later and the XR3i Cabriolet was with us. They also did the RS200, which is where Ford eventually returned to rallying, later on too.

So the XR3i. It was sold as MB17 in the US range or MB37 in the ROW range for 2 years in white. At first the wheels were concave 8-dot, but during the 2 years of production you could find alternates. One of them was the 5-arch wheel variety.

The other was a gold chromed concave 8-dot wheel. At the end of 1986 the US range dropped the model from the basic range.

But what they were getting in the US market was an alternative. Superfast was re-launched in 1986. This was only in the US market, and the number 15 slot (often known as SF-15) was a Ford Escort XR3i Cabrio, still in white, but now with a black and orange striped design, a 3 and the new starburst wheels that had been created for this series, supposedly able to roll much further and smoother than standard wheels.

However, the ROW range was soldiering on with the Escort as MB37 but in 1987 it saw a small tweak. A tow hook was added to the rear as they decided this was a great model to include in twin packs. TP-115 saw the model just as it was. White with XR3i down the sides, but now it was towing a boat on trailer.

The boat was a new look. Also in white and blue, with a 206 and Seaspray design on it. So as the casting had been altered for this twin pack usage, the basic range issue obviously started seeing it too.

Some models were now found to sport white wheel hubs instead of the usual chrome that year too.

And if you really looked hard, you might find other differences, like how dark is the blue tampo?

Obviously this also had an impact on the US SF-15 issue in the Superfast range. The casting was updated to include the tow hook too, and this later variants ran until 1990 when they phased the series out.

But they also added a worldwide release too. Superfast became Laser Wheels worldwide, but Superfast continued alongside it in USA. Most models simple saw a metallic variant to the colour of the Superfast issue, but white on this one was turned into a metallic blue for the Laser Wheels series. This also meant the tampo colours were altered too. But Laser Wheels did not begin production until the tow hook had been added, so does not exist without.

At the start of the year, just before the alteration was made to add a tow hook, Matchbox Universal and BP in the UK were in negotiations to supply a set of 12 models for a BP promotion. They were going to be in 2 batches of 6 models, which people would collect tokens for fuel they were putting in their cars. Collect so many tokens, trade it for a model. Negotiations were still in their final stages when a decision by Matchbox was made to begin the first batch of 6 models. Most models were similar to basic range issues, in alternate colours with a BP logo added. This was using the same look as the white, but now in red with white XR3i and stripes. This was being done because the timeline was pretty tight and they thought that the models would not be ready in time if they waited for the contract to be signed off. They should have waited, as BP cancelled. Right at the last second. Didn’t sign the contract. Suddenly they had thousands of models, all made up with a BP logo included. So they did what Matchbox does. They put them out anyway. Of course a few pre-production samples still exist saying BP.

But what they did, they took the models and carefully overtampoed the BP logo with something else. In this case it was a massive Ford logo. If you were to look really carefully at the picture, where the “r” of Ford is, underneath you can just see the bottom edge of the BP logo creeping out from the Ford badge. In hand you can move the model around and in certain lights you can make out the shape of the BP logo underneath. 1 model (a BMW 323i) was sold in the UK in window boxes instead of the usual production model. The rest tended to be found in USA, mainly in multipacks where a variety of models could be thrown together and were easy to dispose of. I have seen a number for sale inside packs paired with another random model and a launcher.

In 1988, now as an ROW exclusive, MB37 changed to blue. It kept the same side design, but this was now switched to silver. This ran for 2 years until the model was also dropped from the ROW range. However, this was far from the end of this.

Because both white and blue issues started production in Macau in the 1980s and moved to Thailand in the 1990s.

A shot of the bases for confirmation. The white one. Do you remember it was altered because it was added to the TP-115 twin pack back in 1987? Well TP-115 was still going until 1991 unchanged, except that the production moved from Macau to Thailand in 1990. The blue one? It may have gone from the basic range, but was not forgotten. In 1991 a Motorcity MC-11 gift set was issued which included a Kenworth Car Transporter along with a BMW 323i and Escort. Except now this too was also a Thailand made model.

It may have only been around a year or so, but Thailand made MC-11 Escorts were pretty good for shades.

In 1992 the TP-115 twin pack finally was given an updated look. The Escort was now blue here too. Except this was a lighter shade of blue to the old one. It also sported a white and orange design going over the sides. These tended to be mainly found in the US market. After 2 years TP-115 was dropped and the Escort lay dormant for a while.

It did pop up briefly for one final outing. In 1998 a Beach Fun 5-pack saw a white model with an Ocean Explorer side design on it. These models were made in China. However, there is also a rarer multipack from a similar time frame with a Chinese made white with dual blue stripes and XR3i side design, just like the original one. I have never seen one for sale. After 1998 though, the model was done for good.

See I told you I wasn’t doing all Fords. This definitely is no Ford. The MB274 Abrams Main Battle Tank. Reproduced in 1:113 scale by Matchbox, this is a model of the M1 Abrams, which was first created by Chrysler Defence back in 1980. Chrysler Defence sold up to General Dynamics in 1982 and the General Dynamics Land Systems company (GDLS for short) still produced this third generation main battle tank to this day. It was named after General Leighton Abrams Jr, who had been significant for the US Army in previous times (he died in 1974 due to complications from lung cancer surgery). Matchbox released their model in the 1995 basic range as either MB54 in the US range or MB61 in the ROW range. It came in beige with a brown and white camouflage pattern. A daft fact, this picture shows the Abrams facing backwards. Why? Because of the way that the turret is installed, if you were to turn it around to face front, it sticks out quite a way. Rotate it around to the rear, so the gun is pointing over the engine compartment, it shortens the overall length of the model. So they tended to be packaged backwards, and most get left like that. I know mine do, because as I said, it makes the model shorter and I can fit them inside my carry cases like that.

It was a simple design. The hull/side skirts were one piece, the turret clipped on top which would spin around, and then the main gun (a plastic piece) clicked in place which would move up and down. The tracks were a part of the base section. So with the turret moving around the way it does, we would often see tampo to the hull and then more tampo to the turret.

This casting never saw the same look for more than one year. Tyco were not always changing looks on a yearly basis yet (that came about when Mattel took over), but the Abrams was an early trend-setter to the yearly change. 1996 saw the model turn army green with a star and T-7521-6 on the side (plus a star on the front).

It also saw its first 5-pack outing, as it was a part of the Military 5-pack that year too. This was in matte green with a black and brown camouflage.

After 1996 the model was dropped from the basic range, except in Australia. They saw an exclusive black issue with what I always thought was a mouth and eyes look. Plus a red and white pattern on the side.

It also saw 2 different 5-pack releases. Beige with a simple brown camouflage was in the Desert Assault Force pack and white with grey and green camouflage was in the Tundra Defence Force pack.

For anyone who was paying attention (I like repeating patterns so I did) the Tundra Defence Force model was identical to the 1996 Military 5-pack’s tampo design (just obviously in a different colour).

Also in 1997 a 15-pack was issued in USA which featured a few exclusive designs. 3 of them were of 1996 issued US models that were in army green now re-coloured to tan. The tampo was the same, and again was re-coloured to black.

But we were still not done with 1997. An exclusive green with grey and brown camouflage look was issued in a Military playset too. This one had a star and EB6-3 on the front.

After all that action in 1997, 1998 just saw a Jungle Attack 5-pack release. Production moved from Thailand to China during this time too so both can be found.

And guess what? It was the exact same tampo design as on the 1996 Military and 1997 Tundra Defence Force 5-packs, just again in alternate colours. Love it!

In 1999 the model returned exclusively to the US basic range for 1 more outing. It was sold as MB84 and came in army green with what you see written on the side.

Plus it was also given a premium outing as well, as the Premiere Collection did a Military set in 1999 and gave this a very detailed look including the gun being tampo printed. They even painted the rear lights too.

After that though, things did get rather quiet. The thing with military stuff, they seem to fall in and out of favour a bit. Sometimes we get quite a lot of military style vehicles, and other times it gets ignored. During the early 2000s military items in general were not that common in the Matchbox range, but in 2003 we did see a Military Heroes series of 4 models sold in USA. One of them was the Abrams in beige with a muddy side design and a Force logo. After this, it was again back on the shelf before seeing one more outing.

In 2006 they relaunched Battle Kings. These were originally from the late 1970s and featured a mix of Superkings sized vehicles as well as some miniatures, but the new re-imagined series saw 3 miniatures (later 2) alongside some additional accessories. The Abrams was in the first year in the Jungle Recon set.

However during production they stopped tampo printing the top of the hull part of the way through (a few models had partial tampo removal that year). After this though the model was retired. They never used it again in Battle Kings (I mean the Main BATTLE Tank was perfect for Battle Kings) and it has not been seen since.

So time to move into the 2000s. And with it, why not show a prepro? Do you remember which model this was?

Perhaps a look at the base. A-ha! It was an early prototype and at the time still did not feature any writing on the model. It was quite a surprising addition to the series when the 2004 Superfast range was launched.

It was of course the MB645 Lincoln Navigator. Currently, this is the last time that Matchbox have used the Lincoln brand name and only the 5th ever in miniature (following the 31-C/MB31-A Lincoln Continental in 1965, MB28-C Lincoln Continental MkV in 1979, MB197 Lincoln Town Car in 1989 and MB559 ’57 Lincoln Premiere in 2002). I do feel we are due another Lincoln (modern like the Aviator, or classic like a Mark VIII). This particular one though, it was a bit if a surprising addition to the Superfast range that year. In the early 2000s Mattel was marketing Matchbox in 2 separate areas. The kids were getting very childlike looking models (Hero City and into Ultra Heroes), while they were also marketing models towards the collector too. Most of those were utilizing classic vehicles that were not going to be a part of the core ranges with a sprinkling of new modern vehicles too. When a huge change occurred 2004 dropping the Collectibles line, these classics were added to the new Superfast range, which was being marketed sort of between core and premium. It was a new direction blending the iconic looks of the past along with modern vehicles. A full set of 75 was going to be launched, and it was a mix of vehicles seen in core range and premium, including a couple of classics that were due to be launched in 2004 Collectibles before the cancellation. But alongside them was a brand new casting. This Lincoln. I don’t know if it was planned for something from Collectibles for 2004 which was dropped, or if it was tooled up for 2005, but moved forward to this. It was given the number 32 slot in the range and was sold in white.

In 2005 it then arrived in the basic range as MB20 in a dark burgundy with dark windows too. Part of the mid-late 2000s period of giving a lot of models a burgundy look.

In 2006 it moved to the MB67 slot, this time in black with clear windows. This also saw a very impressive wrap-around to the rear lights for a 2-pass through the tampo machine rule.

Also, after taking 2005 off from it, the Superfast range in 2006 brought it back for a second go, again in the number 32 slot. This time in a greyish green colour.

After that the model was not seen in 2007. 2008 saw it return to the basic range (well two thirds of the basic range). The US and LAAM markets sold it as MB41 in dark blue, but the model was not a part of the ROW range. That didn’t stop me though. I may be live an ROW market, but I still managed to get a nice shade variation to it.

But the ROW market did see this lovely red one. That is because it was a part of the “Real” 10-pack in 2008 too.

In 2009 the basic range was even more mean with this, limiting it to the US market only. It was sold as MB40 in dark green but not seen in either LAAM or ROW markets.

It then took 2010 before returning for one more outing in 2011. This time the US market was joined by the ROW market in selling this light blue MB34. Only the LAAM market missed out this time. Again I was able to find a nice shade to it. We have not seen this model (or any Lincoln) since 2011.

Which brings me to my last dive back. The idea behind me doing 5 now is a rather unusual one. I kept looking at models that had a substantial catalogue of variations to go through. But some models don’t get much. So instead of 4, if I do 5, I can do one or two smaller groups and still make it worthwhile. Does it make sense? It does to me. So my last model is the MB844 Batmobile. Now this is something that the guys at Matchbox can actually be very proud of. Because they created it. This is a Matchbox originals design. But as you can see, this has a DC Comics trademark on it. This is because they submitted their design to DC Comics for approval as a Batmobile vehicle and DC Comics granted it. DC Comics themselves were happy with what the Matchbox team had come up with as an interpretation of a Batmobile vehicle. I think that deserves some recognition.

Now it was not around for very long. It debuted as MB25 in the 2012 basic range in blue, with red “eyes”. And of course for me, the shade variation.

After that they sold this grey and black model in the 2013 range as MB10, again with the red eyes. This was its last outing as a basic range issue, but there was one more little offering to come.

In 2014 it was added to the 10-packs as an exclusive in matte black.

This one came with white eyes, and a wheel variation. A small batch were made with chrome rimmed wheels instead of the normal blue rims. Chrome rims were not easy to find. And that was it. Short and sweet. This is Matchbox’ first foray into a comic book style vehicle. Sure they have had some very weird stuff, but nothing that was quite like this. It is quite a unique piece of Matchbox history and I thought as it has been 10 years since it first popped up, why not give it a little love and recognition.

And on that note, I do believe another report is in the bag. I noticed the 9-packs were selling 2 Japanese dark blue models.

I don’t know. Is the MBX Field Car Jeep-like?

I am just having fun with some classics now.

Oh and err, these were the other ones I added to my collection from the 2 packs. I ran out of taglines. I hope you enjoyed the report. I think next week I should finish off batch A of 2022. Until then, I hope you have a safe week and don’t forget to leave any comments if there are older castings you want me to look at. Anything that 1969 Superfast onwards that is perhaps not too heavy on premium issues. Still working on premiums as I attempt to backfill.

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