So as was the case with the first half of this batch I posted the other week, things are still a little, well shall we say all over the place. USA is just starting to see some new stuff arrive in random places, although my usual source for so much stuff, Wheel Collectors, are still awaiting stock. It is imminent so if anybody who is like me is busy checking the Wheel Collectors eBay listings, or now directly on their own website at wheelcollectors.com they should start seeing new stuff appearing at any time. But luckily, Tesco in the UK where I am has already had the batch on ROW short card, so I snagged a set to keep us going with more modern goodies (as well as a dive back). So 7 models were done the other week, time to look through the other 7 now.
I am keeping these to the same order as I had before. Number order as they appear in the 2022 1-100 listing. Which means first up today is the MB1167 ’11 Mini Cooper Countryman, which takes the MB2 slot in the 2022 range.
This comes in a lovely shade of metallic blue here. I believe this could be what Mini refers to as “Island blue” in their colour options. It is a bright colour, but not a light colour. I like it.
As we have been seeing so far, the model comes simply with front and rear detailing. You cannot go wrong with that approach, and I am happy to see this continue to receive such a simple and straightforward look for each release.Now I do want to point out, as I know it has already been brought up. The window section in this release is pretty much a solid black piece, leading people to wonder as to whether there is an interior still. The answer is yes. You almost miss it because it is the same colour, but the interior forms the upper wheel arches on the model. It just happens that they keep making the interior section out of the same colour choice as the base section, and only when you look closely and see a break to the plastic in the arch that you realize that the interior is still there. I actually do wonder, when construction of models is being done in this way, where the window also forms the roof of the model, is it not worthwhile to make the window section in the same way that the Subaru SVX was made? It had open side windows. Maybe keeping these open would have helped for people to see the interior, after all the effort was made to create one.
Now if we were to recap, this starts back in 2019 when it debuted as MB1 in dark metallic green. This green did see a little bit of shade variation during production.
In 2020 it moved to the MB11 slot in the basic range now in red. This release also saw quite a light window section on top. That was one where you could see the interior a bit better.
It was also a part of one of the 2x Top Gun Maverick 5-packs that also debuted in 2020. Whatever happened to that film? I mean it was filmed in mid 2018 through mid 2019. It was going to be released in July 2019, but they decided to delay due to the difficulties with some of the action scenes. So they moved it to June 2020 as they wanted a summer blockbuster release. Bad timing, as with the pandemic hitting in March 2020 it got delayed again. Now they decided a Christmas release would work, so it would be December 2020. But due to it being so late, the Matchbox stuff had already hit stores to tie in with the June 2020 release schedule. But later in the year it got bumped to summer 2021. But July was still no good and it was moved yet again to November 2021. But no, still not time. It has now been moved to May 2022. Almost 3 years after it was first scheduled to be released. And until it actually arrives, this is still not going to be a guarantee. This model (well the packs) are still being included in 5-pack assortments now, but so far I am yet to see a variation on it. This saw a very light window section where you could see inside just like the 2020 basic range issue.
Which is quite surprising to me, as also in 2020 the original 2019 debut look was added as an extra to the returning Convoy series, as an extra on top of the Car Transporter set.
And that was quite a visibly different green to the original debut. In keep checking the Top Gun one, as I am still hopeful I can find a shade somewhere.
2021 saw this bright orange look in the basic range, where it was sold as MB51. And of course orange is always good for a shade. This one did not disappoint, as I have a lighter and darker variant.
Plus it was also added to the first batch of 2021 Best of UK issues too. And yes I found a shade of grey. Only another 48 to go…. What? Terrible pun? I am hopeful I may be able to find a shade to the new blue one too. I always keep checking.
Ooh new casting time. Although this wasn’t technically on the list of new castings for the basic range. This was down as a Hitch & Haul new addition, which is running late, and will also be in the Dodge series which will be at Walmart in USA for 2022 (and possibly a few others stores in different parts of the world). But for anybody who saw the sizzle that the Matchbox team showcased in July last year in Albuquerque, this wasn’t on it. This is why it has an out-of-sync MAN number to the others that will appear in the 2022 basic range. It is MB1266. It was initially a part of the 2021 introductions.
It takes the MB5 slot in the basic range for 2022 in metallic black with a simple front and rear tampo print.
Well you can’t go wrong with the tampo printing. It looks extremely nice. I have literally no idea what 30782 on the license plate could be. If anybody knows what that could mean please let me know. I don’t see it as a code, but perhaps those numbers mean something in USA.
And as you can see, the model is coming with a towbar on the back. As I said, it was due to arrive in the Hitch & Haul series first, but the batch is running out of sync (as a lot of things are at the moment).
Now I am sure people might have noticed. This does come with black windows and no interior. It is something that is slowly working its way through the range. I see wagons and SUVs are the next step in the cost reduction. It is not brilliant (I mean no cost reduction is) but I don’t find it too bad on this model. Perhaps it is because it is this style of vehicle, or perhaps it is due to the colour. But as I have said before, this is the advantage of the Moving Parts series. They are being marketed much better and have more leeway in getting more parts in there.
But for this, I still like it. A cool addition to the range. I do have a soft spot for Dodges.
Base shot. After all, this is still the first time we have seen this. And yes, there is a “Thailand” on the base. The bottom line says made in, and then looks almost like a blank, the way I took the picture. But the word Thailand was added in a different style. It is a thing that happens with new castings. Most of the details get added to the base, but for some reason, they always write in “made in” and leave them blank in pre-production form. Even though the likelihood is they will be made at the factory in Thailand. I mean, pretty much all Matchbox products are made there. So when it all gets approved, finished and is ready for production, they engrave the word Thailand into the base as they now know it will be made there. But in this case they engraved it in a different font. You can actually tell a few things from looking at bases (even though I am not a base person per-se). Look at the first line. 2018 is also in a different font to Dodge Durango. I guess during early prototpye and pre-production forms the exact year was not decided on. So it was left blank until they made the decision it was a 2018 model. Fun stuff.
So now it is Jeep time. This is the MB1210 ’20 Jeep Gladiator. We had a bit of a run in seeing new Jeep castings for a few years, but this is the most current one, as it debuted in 2020. Although there are no Jeeps for the basic range coming this year, there is a classic Forward Control coming for Moving Parts later on.
It is MB7 for the 2022 range and comes in metallic green with simple side detailing. Which has been the case on all releases so far.
Yes it does mean the front doesn’t get detailed, but with the Jeep grille in place I can see instantly what it is. I am sure there are people out there who enhance the front end by detailing up the grille and lights anyway.
Just as a reminder, it debuted as MB60 in the 2020 range in red with the same side detailing.
And in 2021 turned metallic blue with the same detailing again. Although the eagle eyed might have known there is one small addition to the tampo for 2021 that has occurred again for 2022.
The word Matchbox now appears on the far right corner of one side (the side shown here) on the 2021 and now 2022 models. It wasn’t on the 2020 debut. I always think it is cool when the Matchbox team can sneak in a little self promotion to a tampo scheme.
Which brings me to the next model in the list. Another that has a similar story with tampos. The MB1206 ’95 Nissan Hardbody (D21).
Just like the Jeep, this is now in year 3 in the basic range, as it too debuted in 2020. It takes the MB17 slot for the 2022 range in white with a simple side flash and Nissan on it. Plus a tow hook. Have to love a model with a tow hook. Added fun.
And on this one I do love the sunroof being slightly tilted up. I can’t explain why, but I do enjoy when they put these little unusual elements to a model. So I said this has a similar story to the Jeep? Well, I guess that means showing what came already here too.
A certain 2020 debut MB62 in red. This also comes with the same side flash that is seen on the latest issue. But what’s that? No Nissan written on there? It also came that year with a new wheel style that was replicated on the rear bed with the spare. Something that the new one with its disk wheels means doesn’t match.
It next appeared in the 2021 Walmart Truck series sporting the same side design as the 2020 debut, but now has Nissan on the side. Something that the 2022 basic also has. So the Jeep had Matchbox added in 2021 and is still there. This had Nissan added in 2021 and it still there. I like pointing out the silly stuff don’t I.
Of course this one does have another release, which is sporting a completely different tampo design. The 2021 MB38 in teal.
So 4 releases in, the white issue is the only one not to match the wheel with the spare. The teal is the only one not to match the side flash. The blue one is the only one not to match the others by being a basic range release. The red one though? Hmm! Can’t think of anything unique to that one.
Don’t you just love some of the obscure stuff they are finding to add to the Matchbox range. A 1949 Kurtis Sport Car. Say what? This is the brand new MB1294 casting of a totally random and obscure model that probably barely anybody had heard of before Matchbox announced they were going to make it. I know I hadn’t.
It takes the MB28 slot in the basic range and debuts in a lovely metallic burgundy with a chrome rim.
So, anybody who has ever heard of the US car magazine called Motor Trend might be interested to know that it debuted in September 1949. Volume 1, no. 1 was sold for 25c in USA and the front cover looked a lot like this. Except it was in black and white. I believe the Kurtis Sport Car that was pictured for the cover was a green one, not red. This is one of the official colours for the model (as well as dark green obviously). Frank Kurtis only made 16 of them before selling the rights to Earl “Madman” Muntz in 1950 who turned it into the Muntz Jet. It may be obscure, but it does have a fair amount of significance. It was said that Harley Earl used some of the ideas behind this at GM for project EX-122. That went on to begin production under the Chevrolet brand as a Corvette. So yeah, first Motor Trend, Chevrolet Corvette? This little marvel should be much better known than it actually is. So kudos on the Matchbox team for bringing it to our attention.
I have been looking at how this has been built. Body, base, interior, window and this chrome rim. That’s 5 pieces. In this day and age, that is very significant for a Matchbox model. When you saw how the Dodge Durango was only 3, but they have managed to sneak in a 5-piece build. Sometimes I think to create a little casting like this that requires more than the regular 4, something has to give for this to take. Also, by constructing it in this method, it really gives the model a lot of depth where needed. Those massive rear bumper pieces around the license plate. That is so cool.
This really is an oddball, and I love it for it. There is nothing else in the range like this one. Not that I can think of. It has such a simple look to it, with clean flowing lines, and almost a bubble like smoothness to it. When I have checked this to real examples, I can honestly say this is such a fantastic rendition.
It truly is a fantastic little casting, and really shows that when they are allowed to do it, a 5-piece build can really give us something special. I am really hoping for the dark green for next time. And plenty more. Do you think they can find all 16 models colours and recreate each one in miniature?
Base shot again. It’s like a bumper car with the rear wheels inset like that and the chrome surround. Hmm!
Oh I had to. That just made me giggle. I mean how often am I going to be able to pull out the Ultra Hero MB655 J.R. Bumper for a photo shoot? Yeah I know that actually doesn’t have inset wheels or the chrome surround, as it is partly hidden by the blue. But I just felt the Kurtis and J.R. Bumper were abut as close as I could get.
The MB1012 Mazda MX-5/Miata is up next. Clever using both the European and US versions of the name in the title, as it is quite tough when vehicles are known by different monikers in different markets. How to try and satisfy as many as possible.
This model seems to have really had a second wind as this is the 3rd basic range outing in this second run. It takes the MB61 slot for 2022 in white, with front and side detailing. I always like to point out when the team get to go above and beyond. As with the Kurtis which saw 5 parts to the build, most models in the basic range get 2 passes through the tampo machine. That usually means front and rear, or both sides. Or front and top. You get the picture. This has a lovely front detail as well as side tampos. So unless they were extremely clever in the factory in manipulating the casting at weird angles to achieve this in 2 passes, they slipped a 3rd one in.
Plus, on top of the flowing curvy lines down the sides, I love the addition of real logos to the mix too. The KGN (air filter company) and Brembo (brake company) logos also feature down the sides too. Again this is something that I always like spotting. The extra efforts being made to incorporate official logos. Back in the 1970s and 1980s if Matchbox wanted to slap a logo on a car, they did. But as more and more companies got wise to licensing, these logos all started phasing out and Matchbox had to get creative by coming up with their own. Of course some of the logos they come up with are really cool in their own right, but there’s nothing like having an official logo (or 2). Definitely one of the nicest examples of this casting for me.
So I mentioned it getting a second wind. I will explain. It debuted in 2016 in red as MB3.
And was also chosen to be the dinner model at the Albuquerque Convention in a really cool Mazda gracing style green and orange look. I did say white was one of the coolest. I still think this is THE coolest. Being a dinner model there was a rear variation for the early bird entries.
then in 2017 we saw a charcoal basic range issue. This was MB10 and saw front and rear tampos along with a little over the top printing too. Also very cool. But after those 2 years it was dropped from the basic range.
We saw a 9-pack exclusive for 2018 in blue with a 6 roundel and orange/black striping side design before it faded away. We didn’t see it at all in 2019 and I wondered what had happened to it?
Obviously not too much as it returned in the 2020 basic range in orange as MB35. Being orange I was pretty positive I would find a shade. I did. I wondered if it was a 1-off return.
But I was wrong as it appeared in 2021 too. This time in a lovely simple black with front and rear printing as MB58.
So seeing it now receive a third outing in the basic range, it feels like it has a whole new lease of life. Fantastic! I have probably just jinxed it now, so if we never see this casting again I am extremely sorry. I am hoping we do though. I think it is a great one. Always seems to be fairly popular around near me when it appears for sale.
Which brings me to the last model in the batch. The MB778 Ice Cream King (as it is now called). Another model which has had a new lease of life recently. Year 4 in a row in the basic range since the rebirth? And a very diverse rebirth too.
It takes the MB94 slot in the basic range, but that is not an ice cream inspired livery at all. Choco Mocha! This is a coffee truck. Which I can see as working. A lot of old vehicles get re-purposed as something new to give them a new lease of life. I can just imagine somebody buying an old classic ice cream truck and turning it into a mobile coffee truck. As I said before, I like out of the box thinking. Why do we have to have an ice cream livery every single time? I love the coffee brown look to this, and the cappuccino coloured detailing too. The price list for all the different drinks. This looks like something you could easily see outside of an arena selling coffee.
Of course there is actually a point that being an ice cream van might require at least one ice cream livery every now and then. I shall dive back again.
Because this vehicle started life as a 5-part build, with a metal bonnet (or hood), as well as a plastic rear section, interior and window, along with a metal base. It debuted in the 2009 range as MB43. This was in a Cosmic livery, which was an ice cream style livery.
then of course we has the Dream Halloween special later in the year, with “I Scream” treats. A fantastic pun on the vehicle. I loved it!
In 2010 it turned blue as MB63 in a very simple but authentic looking ice cream design.
It was also in a City Action 5-pack in cream with a rather dotty livery for the Polka Dot Ice Cream Co.
2011 saw 2 different basic range MB63s. It started in green then moved to pink later in 2 different ice cream themed designs again.
We also had another paler pink 5-pack issue too. This was in the City Life 5-pack.
Then in 2012 it was no longer in the basic range, but was a part of the all-exclusive “Action” 10-pack in orange with Matty’s Cones & Scones livery.
And this was the first time (not including “I Scream” as it was punny) that the model saw a non-ice cream inspired design. It was a part of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse licensed 5-pack that year. And yes, the body was translucent, so you could almost see through it.
In 2013 it returned to the basic range in its original form for one last go as MB32. This was purple with a De-Luxe Ice Cream inspired livery. So all the basics were ice cream liveried. Cool. Get it? Cool? Oh I don’t know I keep trying.
Then the model went on hiatus before returning, revamped as a 4-piece with the bonnet now a part of the body section (plus an alteration to the drop method rather then slot in at the rear). For its 2019 Mb98 rebirth it was again in an ice cream inspired livery. This one for Jr’s Cones in pale cream. Or should I say vanilla? But then since that time we have not had an ice cream truck.
In 2020 it was re-purposed as a saltwater taffy vehicle in blue as MB43. Of course this was Dave’s Sweets, and me having that name I thought it was cool anyway.
Then in 2021 we saw a Lemon & Lime inspired MB99. Again nice thinking outside of the box.
So don’t get me wrong. I do love a “thinking outside of the box” design, and individually all of these are great little liveries. But since the rebirth we have now had 4 releases of the Ice Cream Truck casting, yet only 1… errm… Ice Cream Truck! I think we are due another ice cream livery. Fingers crossed for one in 2023.
And on that bombshell, that brings me to the end of another trip through new stuff. Now it is time to go through old stuff. And you might notice some of them are short and sweet because I had a request for one, and it is mega long!
So first up in my dive back through history (which ignores early Lesney as I only collect from Superfast onwards) I begin in the 1970s with the MB48-A Dodge Dumper Truck. I should say Kew-Dodge, as it was cast into the side of the model, just above the front wheel. This was a British off-shoot of the original US Dodge company, and for a while, manufacturing was at the plant in Kew, in Surrey (although since 1963 Kew is now a part of Greater London). Hence the Kew-Dodge moniker. The D-400 series was a UK series of trucks, with D-405 being the one with the smallest power, moving through D-406 and D-407 being the largest. I have always felt this would likely have been a D-407 as it would be required to carry quite a bit of weight in the dump in the rear. It first arrived in the basic range as an offshoot of the very first Dodge that was ever created by Matchbox. The Dodge Wreck Truck (which arrived in 1965). This was 1967, and as a ragular wheel model it was all red. When 1970 came around, it made the transition to Superfast wheels, and was immediately switched to the new blue and yellow look. I have seen pre-production samples of blue and yellow on regular wheels, but never red on Superfast. I doubt it exists.
It came with 5-spoke wheels and a yellow dump that tilted back to offload whatever was in it.
In 1971 it was an early transition to the wider wheels that they were bringing across the series, as basically it didn’t need to be altered to accommodate them. That was simple. Of course these new wider wheels were 4-spoke instead of 5-spoke which makes it easy to spot.
This was all down to Lesney creating these new Superfast tracks in 1971 and realizing that models were not very stable on them. But by widening wheels, and making them stick out of the sides, it made the models more stable. From a design perspective it did make them less realistic, especially on models that needed quite a bit of hacking to wheel arches to accommodate these wheels. Some like the Dodge here didn’t look bad with these wider wheels. Of course they are not the most logical to roll down a track. But sometimes kids are not logical.
In it’s new wider wheel guise, the model ran for 2 years unchanged. Through 1971 and 1972 though, you just know that shades of blue are going to exist. Sure enough it range from quite a medium-dark blue to an almost greenish blue shade. On the other side though, I have never found a noticeable shade to the yellow dump. That tended to stay quite similar throughout the entire 3 years (1 with narrow wheels, 2 with wide). After 172 the model was dropped from the range and was never used again.
Which brings me to the biggie. This casting was requested by my friend Rory McDonald, who goes by @wyoming_wheels on Instagram. With my new tweak to dive backs, as I mentioned already, if there is a casting you want me to attempt, please let me know. Of course Rory asked me to dive into one that has a lot of variations to it, hence the other dive backs being shorter. Or otherwise this report could go on for quite a while. The MB173 Porsche 959. Oh yes, I love a Porsche, so beware there will be quite a few pre-production samples sprinkled through this dive back too. Plus, unbelievably, I am still missing a few examples myself. I am still attempting to finish filling in the gaps with it. Anyway, it started in 1986. It was painted silver with a simple Porsche strip and thin red strip on the doors. It was sold as MB7 worldwide to begin with. During that year, production was in Macau and shades of silver can be found.
As well as 2 wheel choices. It either sported 5-arch or concave 8-dot wheels that year.
For 1987 it turned white. The tampo was still identical.
The standard 5-arch wheels were usually chrome painted, but the one on top here has white painted hubs. Not very easy to distinguish in photo, although in hand it is easy to see the difference between chrome and white.
The alternate 8-dot wheels were also still found too, and although I have an example with chrome hubs, they are reportedly known to exist with white hubs too. Never seen one.
During the year, they decided to move production of the model to China. It’s white, you don’t notice an awful lot of difference, although the Porsche strip does tend to be lighter on China made ones.
I only have the one China made one, but again there is a wheel variation reported to exist that I have not found. This time chrome 8-dots. Painting wheel hubs white was a Macau thing.
There were plans that year to include the Porsche in a Team Convoy set. TC-9 was a Duckhams set, and early on in development they were looking at the vehicle on the back of the Kenworth Transporter being the 959.
But it got switched to a Ford Sierra for production. Doh!
In 1988 for its third year as a basic range model, it changed again. But here’s the twist. For this new look they sent the tooling back to Macau to run it again. I have no idea why. You tended to find toolings move around a little during this time. However this time the design stuck. It ran for 4 years until 1991. Shades of charcoal can be found on the model.
Initially though, it wasn’t going to look like that. I said I had a lot of prepros. This was their early mock-up of the new look.
But they ended up with the charcoal instead. Although there is a small possibility that this was a replacement for the 1988 in either 1989 or 1990. I got it from the guy who designed it and he can’t remember the exact date it was looking to be in the basic range.
1988 also saw the debut of Supercolorchangers. Many models were designed in the exact same way as their basic range counterpart, but had an unusual type of paint that changed colour depending on how warm it was. Variations do exist with these, but I have been unable to be sure on getting a variation whenever I see one for sale and as yet still just own the one. This is a purple one.
Guess what? They had plans to add it to Team Convoy in 1988. It didn’t make TC-9 in 1987, but how about TC-10, the Fuji designed team for this year?
Nope! They ended up with a Nissan 300ZX instead. Double doh!
But it did get another outing, and what I believe could have been the reason for moving production back to Macau. They added it to the Superkings K-159 release. In fact there were 2. The Racing Car Transporter had a pair of these inside. I didn’t get the whole pack, just one loose 959.
You know the old saying, third time lucky? Doesn’t apply to the Porsche 959. 1989. They thought they would add it to Team Convoy yet again. Okay it didn’t make TC-9 in 1987, missed the cut for TC-10 in 1988, surely TC-12 in a Tizer theme would finally be the one?
Triple doh! They went with another Sierra. Seriously? 3 times they planned to add this model to the series and 3 times it failed.
What could have been….
1989 wasn’t a complete bust though. The Motorcity MC-9 gift set with a Kenworth Transporter with F1 car on it, as well as 4 support vehicles landed. One of those was the 959 in a white Pace Car design.
1989 was also the year that premium issues were first released. I bought this new, and over the years the Goodyear logo on the wheel is starting to rub off. I mean it is 33 years old near enough now, and I am still its first owner, picked up from a toy store called Toymaster that used to be in my local town shopping centre when I was younger. I actually still remember buying it. Well the whole set actually. I was still in my early days in my first job and I saved my wages to get the entire set of 6. I didn’t like the wheels or the chrome windows. I decided to not pursue further series and this stopped me getting all premiums until 2004. Yes one of my favourite castings, yet still a reason why I am busy playing catch up with premiums now.
Didn’t I say 1989 wasn’t a bust. We had a promotional that year too. Redoxon in China had this promotional issue.
1990 now and this rather snazzy black number was a part of a special MP-804 Porsche triple pack. It came with a 911 Turbo and 944 Turbo both in the same matching look. I loved it. There should be more Matchbox Porsche packs.
Then we had TC-15 release. That’s right. Team Convoy. But oh do I like twists. For 1990 Team Convoy had changed. During the 1980s it was a Kenworth Transporter with a vehicle on the back and a support vehicle. In 1990 they came up with a new plan. It was any Convoy vehicle along with a secondary vehicle in a matching livery. This was in a pack with a matching CY-25 Daf and Box Truck with Pirelli logo. The Porsche never got to be on the back of a Kenworth!
Now I have been busy working my way through to 1990. But there are some smaller variations that you can also look for. For example, any model that was around in 1989 and still in production in 1990 would see a licence plate change. When the World Class model was launched, trying to tampo print over the raised letters was too much of a headache, so they wiped license plates on the casting, which obviously meant all models that had begun production in 1989 started with BM 1378 on the license plates, then ended with a blank plate.
Plus during 1990 the casting was shipped off again, this time to Thailand for another factory to produce it. So finding Macau made blank license plate examples are actually quite tough. They were a late 1989 run before production moved. And don’t get me started on the fact that the rear spoiler was originally a unique piece that was cast into the main body too. That happened literally just after the license plate was wiped. So for anybody who looked extremely closely, they could find Macau with license plate separate spoiler, then Macau no license plate sealed spoiler, then Thailand no license plate sealed spoiler. But those middle 2 Macau ones, boy are they tough.
These variations appeared through multiple ranges, as this was the MC-9 that was still going strong.
Moving from Macau to Thailand with all the stages in between. The Pirelli Team Convoy model has all those too. The World Class model that started it. Well obviously that didn’t get the original license plate issue. That was the reason they blanked it, but it ran the gauntlet with the rest too.
So after all that, let’s move on to 1991. And Graffic Traffic. Yes, completely blank white with no anything on it. That was Graffic Traffic.
1991 also saw the MC-23 giftset. Yes, another Porsche themed set. Much bigger than a 3-pack, this time the models added a 935 Racing, and each one was another colour. Apart from the 944 Turbo which was still black. the 911 Turbo was turned to yellow, and the 935 Racing arrived in red with this going to white.
However, they were going to make this the red one. Early prototypes ( I have 2 with different interiors and using different models to start with (note the license plate on one)) but they switched it late on.
Finally, in 1992, the basic range model changed. It turned silver with a rather familiar over the top look, but the side design was brought more in line with those in the MC-23 pack.
We saw another promo that year. This was through the Lloyds Pharmcy chain the UK. For their Christmas promotion that year they would sell bottles of aftershave with a choice of 3 different Matchbox assortments. One would see a Ford Model A Van and Ford Model T Van in unique looks in the pack, another a larger scale Specials Kremer Porsche CK5, and the final one saw this Porsche mated with a Ferrari Testarossa.
As we move into the Tyco era, I have this prepro. I got it quite a few years ago. I was told it was something that was being prepared for a playset that never amounted to anything. The car was painted orange and the front half was overtampoed in white. I have no idea what it was for. But I do this because it might take people’s minds off the fact I missed a model out. A 1992 Triple Heat issue, with 3 different 959s all in different sizes. The early 1990s had seen a series called World’s Smallest Matchbox which was done to battle against Micro Machines. In 1992 they did a series of Triple Heat models, which included 1 miniature, 1 World’s Smallest, and a unique “mid-size” model between the 2. To date I have not picked up any of those sets, although I did find a Chevy Camaro IROC-Z loose. I just can’t find them anywhere. There were 6 sets in total. This, the Camaro, as well as a Ford LTD Police, ’57 Chevy, Ferrari F40 and Lamborghini Countach.
What Tyco also gave us was a reduction in the areas that sold the Porsche 959 in 1993. The US market dropped the model after 1992, but the ROW market continued into 1993 with a small change to the model. Apart from being a darker grey compared to the 1992 silver, the stripe going over the top turned from a multi-colour into a single colour, and the front end altered.
This was also the year that gave us Showstoppers, or Motor Show, depending on the market you were in. It was a series with sets of 2 models, themed by manufacturer, on a plinth that would interlock and form a hexagon. The Porsche set contained the 959 in blue along with a white Turbo.
Although they did go through a number of different colour ideas before they settled on the blue. Yes, more prepros.
In 1994, Tyco, now embedded in started changing wheels to many models to a new spiral design they created, of which the first year was in gold. The ROW MB7 issue continued on a second year and as such switched to the new wheels.
But they decided to bring it back for the US range too. But Tyco had made a decision to come up with more vibrant looks for models (I think that’s a nice way of putting it), but decided to test it on the US market before the ROW market. So the US market saw the 959 back, but now in the MB51 slot instead of MB7. But as you can see it was not in the same design the ROW market was getting. This was fluorescent orange with a black pen-like squiggled line going over the top with a yellow strip through the middle, and Rage down the sides.
It was also given a second shot as a Graffic Traffic model, this time as part of the chrome look models.
And yes, I have another prepro to show. The original white with 5-arch wheels and red windows pops up to show the transitional stage of the prepro. Still red windows, still 5-arch wheels, but chrome plated to test out whether it would work or not. Then they gave it the new wheels and some blue windows.
Ooh gold wheels. Yes, this was 1994 too. It was part of a Formula 1 gift set which ran more than just the one year, as there is a later run of this where the wheels were switched to chrome. I haven’t found one yet. Another on my list.
Although I do have the 1995 basic. Which I can just put 1995 basic. Yes the ROW market was now catching up with the US market’s weirdness for designs, and as such the ROW MB7 release in 1995 was the same as the US MB51. This obviously meant the gold wheels were switched to chrome and found worldwide.
It was also one of the models that Tyco chose to give us a collector variant by removing some tampo. In this case the word “Rage” on the sides was removed mid-year.
We also saw a Matchcaps version of the model, which is pretty much the 1994 Graffic Traffic with chrome wheels, not gold, and a top tampo design. All Matchcaps models had just a top design to them, and the models were packaged with the top looking out the front, and wheels against the cardboard at the back of the blister to highlight this top print.
They were really getting into chroming things during the Tyco era, and there was a plan for a series called Chromers, which would feature a range of models, all in various chromed colours, with top print on them. The plan was for each model to see 2 colours, although a few models in prepro form saw a third. The series was stillborn though although quite a few prototypes were made.
As things started to quieten down for the model, 1996 saw another basic range look. It was actually just the 1995 model but now fluorescent green instead of fluorescent orange.
At the end of the year, production moved from Thailand to China for the casting, and the last batch of greens were now made in China, as opposed to the more common Thailand made ones. I am not sure if it is just mine (still need to compare more) but the Thailand one I have is a lighter green but has a duller yellow strip down the middle.
This would prove to be the last change of production factory. Born in Macau, sent to China, back to Macau, off to Thailand and retired in China. It got around a bit.
But there were a few China issues before retirement. 1997’s basic. After fluorescent green, this simple white with a Porsche badge on the front was an amazing replacement. Unfortunately, if you lived in the US market, you didn’t see it. That’s right, the US range dropped it again.
They weren’t quite done with promotions either. This was an Australian promotional model for the AFL there.
It was also given the Ultra Class treatment too, in a 2-pack with a Saab 9000 Turbo. These were mail order models, and came in a simple white box.
Literally every part of the model was given a tampo treatment, from body, to windows, interior, even base. It was the highest level of tampo ever given to a Matchbox model. As such they wanted to ensure that you could see all they did, so they didn’t rivet the bases. They screwed them.
So that you could take them apart and marvel at all the intricate detailing on the inside too.
1998 was the first year of Mattel (officially, although unofficially they were owners when 1997 was released, just too late to change it). As such the whole system of numbering miniatures was changed to the one we have now. Each year would see a whole new series of models, assigned whatever number that year. But until 2005 there were still splits between markets. As such this was still just an ROW exclusive, but now it was MB56. It came in a lovely red with small Porsche badge on the front, and Porsche down the sides.
And we also found this. It randomly turned up in Chinese packages, along with a lot of other models that were being cleared out of the factory. All I can think of is that somebody at the factory really was not paying attention. P&L Co was a design on the 1997 Utility Truck and had a large logo like that on the front. Somebody must have grabbed the wrong casting, painted them up and started tampo printing the front when they realized what was going on. Shoved them out the back, and then during clearout dumped them on the market. It is a cool little error.
For 1999 the model was back in the US range, as well as the ROW range. It was sold as MB17 worldwide and for the most part came in bronze.
However, if you lived in Germany, it came in charcoal.
In 2000 it was back as an ROW exclusive again. This time in maroon, with front headlights and Porsche badge as MB33.
Before seeing a double send-off in 2001. 2000 and 2001 saw the range split the most ways ever, with a US and ROW release schedule, but the ROW market also saw 10 models further split between UK, German, Australian and other ROW markets. Bot the German and K markets saw an exclusive 959 in their set of 10. The UK was MB54 and came in silver. The German MB55 and in white. Apart form the different colours, and the fact the German one had blue windows, the tampo was slightly different between the 2 as well. the UK one had a Porsche logo on the front.
And at the rear, where the UK one saw a small Matchbox oval on the rear (they were starting to add these to models for a while until complaints about it stopped them), but the German one had a much larger oval on the spoiler.
The casting was never sold after 2001, which isn’t bad as if you lived in either the UK or German market, you had the model available every year from 1986 until 2001 in the basic range, or 16 years. That is an impressive run. But after retirement, it was close to popping back out for a swansong. This was a prototype for the 2004 Superfast issue.
There were plans to put it in the number 37 slot for the debut year in the Superfast series, but late in the day it was switched out with a 1957 Chevy Bel Air Hardtop. So it never got its swansong and retired quietly into the history books.
So as I said, that was a very long section, which is why the other parts of the dive back are much smaller. Next up is something that often gets forgotten. When Mattel took over, they really didn’t utilize the Skybusters series much to begin with, and also thought the basic range needed more boats and planes in it. Or how about one that is sort of both? the MB408 Seaplane. It debuted in the basic range in 1999 (right at the end of my next decade), selling as MB42 in the US market or MB37 in the ROW market. It came in yellow with a grey lower half.
And wings that would rotate around so you could fit it in the blister. If you think about it, base, body, window, propeller and 2 wings gives you the same amount of part as a standard car including axles. So the build for this was pretty much average.
It was also immediately given alternate uses, as the Sea Explorer 5-pack that year also saw an example, this time in blue and white.
2000 saw the Matchbox 2000 logo hunt for the US market, and the red MB67 there saw the first 10,000 example sport the logo on the front, and the rest of the US MB67s, as well as all ROW MB47s saw a blank front end to this red and white model.
And yes, another 5-pack issue followed too. It was in the Ocean Dock pack in cream and blue.
It was also given a premium outing too. The Collectibles Coca-Cola series had this example in one of the sets.
After 2000 it took a year out, but returned in 2002 in a pair of 5-packs. An orange and grey model was a part of the World Zoo pack, and the red and white was in the Beach Buggies pack.
2003 saw a number of 5-packs being the same as 2002 ones, but in alternate colours, and the Beach Buggies pack was one of them. So the same design was utilized, but colours were changed around. The model was now teal and white.
2004 would prove to be the final year for the casting though. With a change of direction taking place in 2005, most boats and planes were dropped from the range (along with the Ultra Hero stuff). We had this last Air Control 5-pack issue in navy, red and white.
Plus this blue and green issue, which was a part of the Around the World series, denoting the Galapagos Islands, and the giant turtle. After these the casting was never seen again. Don’t get me wrong. I am not exactly a boat or plane fan, but out of all the ones they ever did, this is one of my favourites. I thought it was a very realistic casting, and with a clever use of rotating the wings in and out, comfortably fitting the size requirements too.
Ooh a prepro. Yes, after all the 959 prepros, I was feeling nostalgic for another. This time it is an MB760 ’69 Karmann Ghia Type 14 Convertible. This metallic silver (with lace wheels) was a prototype for the new casting before it debuted in the 2009 basic range. And yes, just sneaking in the next decade’s slot too.
This was a very popular addition to the Matchbox range. It arrived as MB4 in 2009 in a light blue, or pale blue. I forget which is the more common look to this as I found a lovely shade to it.
Dirk Schleuer also commissioned an example to be made as a promotional model for the Leipzig convention that year in a lovely green with whitewall tyres.
For 2010 it moved to the MB22 slot in metallic purple.
But the 5-packs were where it was at with this model. Classic Rides the pack was called. During production you could find shades to the yellow paint (if you were like me).
But if you were not like me, and more, I don’t know, normal, you might have been more interested in finding the batch where they forgot to chrome the base.
It wasn’t a running change. It was just an oopsie! Checking the base shots of these, you can see I have 3 (due to the lighter and darker yellow). The 2 chrome based ones are dated either C14 or C23. The grey base was dated C20, so was produced in between the other 2 runs.
We also saw the model added to the first year of the 2 Lesney Edition years. These were much heavier than other models due to having metal bodies and metal bases, much like classic Lesneys often were. Not always. Check the Dodge I showcased above. It has a chrome grille which also forms the plastic base. And that was from 1967.
When it was first seen, some thought the Lesney Edition was the same colour as the 5-pack issue. But when put side by side, you can see it is a pastel lemon, compared to the bright yellow of the 5-pack model.
In 2011 the model continued to be MB22 in the basic range (as that year they tried to keep as many models in the same slot as they could). This time it was in red. It was also its third and final year in the basic range.
It was also a part of the Volkswagen 5-pack that year too in green. That pack was an extremely popular pack, and I still wonder why we don’t get another one.
After 2011 we didn’t see the casting at all in 2012. It returned in 2013 in another 5-pack. This blue model with a wave style side design was in the Beach Rescue 5-pack.
Plus it was also given a 10-pack exclusive slot, which featured all classic vehicles sporting a single upper tampo print incorporating the 60th Anniversary logo on it. At the time, there was a change in direction going on within the Matchbox brand, and as such many classics were being quietly taken away. However, as the direction proved less than popular and we moved back again we have never seen this casting return. I hope we do at some point. It has not seen nearly enough outings.
Well as I mentioned it, I might as well finish off with it. In the early to mid 2010s, the powers that be wanted to tweak the Matchbox brand a little. As such we started to see brighter colour schemes, and more in the way of side tampos, even on regular road cars which normally got front and rear printing. As we headed to the mid 2010s, this culminated in a number of Matchbox original designs that were created from a child’s perspective. For a small child, many large vehicles are just that. Extremely large. As such, a number of castings were created featuring large oversized wheels with the body on top. One of them was a School Bus vehicle, and (I apologize for anybody who is German reading this) it was the MB902 Field Tripper. It debuted in the 2014 range as MB96, in a regular looking yellow school bus look. Apart from the oversized wheels, it was actually a fairly decent casting. The body and front/rear of the model were actually pretty realistic. Now the very first production run (it might have been an FEP run of only a few hundred/thousand) tampo printed Field Tripper in orange on the side. Do you really notice how it stands out? Not really.
So they just knocked that bit off and just used the yellow of the bus to have the word written. But…. Drama! I did say I was apologizing to anybody who speaks German. In German, the word “Tripper” means diarrhoea. Or diarrhea if you live in the US. In the UK we add an “o” in to the word. So for an adult, yeah it is funny. For a German speaking child, not so much. Plus it was sprawled all over the side of the model (pun intended).
So Matchbox made a quick running change. They needed to wipe off the Field Tripper base name and side design.
The model was quickly changed to the new name, Scholar Hauler. The base was updated. But, hearkening back to the classic Lesney England days of things changing at different times, Field Tripper bodies were not quite finished before Scholar Hauler bases were added. There is a very rare crossover. Very few exist. After the base change came the side tampo change.
It now stated Matchbox School District on the sides. What a fun start to life for this casting.
And what a boring end to life. In 2015 it was MB19 in white with a Scholar hauler side design. No variations to be found. No fun at all. Why even bother with a school bus if it’s not going to be fun? Oh right, yeah. They didn’t after that.
2016 saw the “new” direction quietly dropped and the classic direction that we all know and love resume course. A small deviation for a few years, and one that has quite a few fun little moments we can look back on and laugh. This casting was retired (hopefully for good) and we now get see a lot more of the realistic vehicles that we know and love.
Like this lot. Oh yes, realism. All licensed vehicles here except the Ice Cream Van which is so close you would think it was. So on that note I do believe my latest article is done. Next week will be another filler week as I have not got anything new to showcase. New items are coming. They just didn’t get to me in time. I hope you enjoyed this showcase, and as I keep saying, if you want to see me tackle a casting, please just leave a note. Until next week, have a good week.