Matchbox Monday “creates” a Pick-up Truck post

So after a side step last week with a dive into some recent history, I am slowly inching my way back to the up to date stuff again. Things have been very slow to get going, and new assortments of anything have been a bit sporadic. Thankfully my friends at Wheel Collectors are getting new deliveries again, and for the smaller hobby store like them, these times have been especially trying. Big box stores have loads of other things to keep turnover going and keep profits coming in, but when you are reliant on something and it is stuck somewhere and can’t get to you, it’s definitely a worrying time. For anybody checking out the wheelcollectors.com website, you should be seeing new items on their pages again.

However, with items still on their way over to me from Wheel Collectors, this week I actually have my partner in crime to thank. The other half of Lamley, John Lambert, who snagged these Walmart exclusive Truck series batch B from 2021 when they hit his local stores. He was holding on to them with the premise that he would grab a few more things, create a larger box for me, and ship out a bunch of stuff together. But again with nothing new arriving, we decided that it might just be sensible to send these over on their own. However, as these were arriving, so was the latest Mattel Creations release. It too was a pick-up truck, and so I felt that this was probably the best place to showcase it too. Have a pick-up truck post. Of course my dive back at the end moves away from the pick-ups. The pick-ups simply occupy the “new stuff” section at the start. So let’s get stuck in shall we.

Well the Truck series was easy to follow. The first 6 released in early 2021 were numbers 1 through 6, and the second batch of 6 arriving later in the year were numbers 7 through 12. So I shall just preview them in order. This means that first up is number 7, the MB955 ’53 Jeep Willys 4×4 Pickup in blue.

It is nice to see this model hasn’t been forgotten as we haven’t seen it since 2019. It first arrived as a new casting back in 2015 but this particular issue is a carry forward from the 1 time it was seen in a 5-pack.

It comes in blue with a simple mud side detailing, as this was originally in the 2019 No Road, No Problem 5-pack. But before I get to that one, why not get to all the others that proceeded it.

Which actually begins even earlier. This is an original prototype of the casting from before it entered production. An early trial in plain red with a blue base and interior section. Well it is about time I didn’t just throw some prepros into the dive backs at the end.

I do find it funny when it comes to these prepros, as they put “Made In” and then leave the Thailand bit blank. The word Thailand gets added in later, which is why it is in a different font (and in this case capitalized too) for when they start production on the casting.

Which was, as I said, in 2015 as MB84. This was a much darker red than the prototype, which was a more orangey red. Of course this also received a tampo print across the front and sit in a grey base too.

In 2016 the basic range issue was moved to the MB116 slot and this time came in bright yellow with a detailed front end.

While the model was also added to the 2016 Walmart Jeep set too in teal. Alongside a front print, this was the first time we saw any side detailing to the model (still not received a rear print yet).

Serving double duty that year must have taken its toll, as the model took 2017 off. In 2018 it was back in the basic range as MB123, and now it was in tan. Tan is often very good for shades, and yes I found some nice ones on this model. Plus, being basic range, it was sporting a simple front tampo only.

Then for 2019 it moved to the MB31 slot in a creamy yellow look, which as you can see, still had the simple front end tampo print. I think it is a basic range rule. Wait, checking the rule book, yes I found it. It’s an old one. Rule 2178, subsection 31.B:

A Willys 4×4 for basic ranges be

A simple front tampo is all ye see

Yep, it’s in the rules. So all the alternate tampos go to models not in the basic range. Which brings us to the last model in the list.

As I said, this was a carry forward of the 2019 No Road, No Problem 5-pack release. Hence the idea of splashing mud up the sides. Plus it also did not receive a front tampo print for the first time.

However it looks like somebody cleaned the wheels up over the last few years. The new release has them in chrome instead of the muddy brown of the 2019 release. So instant variation.

Although me being me, you know I was going to check the shade. Turns out the new one is coming in a lighter blue to the original too. Double variation. So I’m happy. I know I am a minority, but I enjoy carry forwards.

So number 8 in the series is another blue Pick-up. This time the MB1041 ’62 Nissan Junior.

Although in this case the design is all new for the truck series. This one is sporting a side design consisting mainly of white and red stripes, along with its name and a mesh link pattern.

I was just being nosy. It is a lot lighter than the Jeep.

This is a simple design, and I do like stripes. So I was bound to like this one. It is completely different to the designs that have come before on this casting. As per usual, this means I check them all out.

The model debuted in blue (although this was a different blue altogether) back in 2017 as MB7. This light blue model sported simple front and rear tampo printing. It could be found in shades of pale blue.

And if you were to check the rear bed, you would also find that this was to be found in quite a range of tan shades too. I actually have 4 different shades of tan myself, although I didn’t show them all as in picture too much tends to blur the lines too much.

In 2018 the model turned olive. It was still sporting the same front and rear tampo treatment for a second year running but had now doubled its model number. Instead of MB7 it was now MB14. Again I noticed the olive would be good for shades.

But this one also saw a production run where the disk wheels temporarily ran out at the factory and they put 6-spokes on in its place. Being a short run, this olive wasn’t exactly prone to shading like the regular disk wheel one was.

The model had one more consecutive year in the basic range. 2019. However, this was the first time we saw a non-front and rear tampo treatment. This was one of the 3 Sriracha themed miniatures that we have seen so far in red. And yes, I yet again found a shade of red to this one. No other variant though (the rear bed and wheels stayed consistent on this MB89).

After 2019 the model was dropped from the basic range, but has continued in 5-packs. For 2020 it was in the MBX Wild II 5-pack in cream with a DLM themed design. For those blissfully unaware, I was a big benefactor to the DLM movements of the early 2000s and into the 2010s. It was used a lot on message board and was for people like me who like to open everything up. The Die-cast Liberation Movement. I do get a big grin whenever I see these pop up.

As well as the Truck release, 2021 also saw another 5-pack issue. The white Ranec model was included in the MBX Road Crew 5-pack last year.

Number 9 is number 1. No wait? It’s a different colour. Yes, the MB1206 ’95 Nissan Hardbody (D21) is the one casting that is found in both batches of this series. It was number 1 in the first batch, and now appears again here.

This time the model is in a metallic black with the simple Nissan and side flash design we have seen a number of times. I do love this consistency.

I have always been a big fan of seeing the same design used multiple times. Either on different colours for the same model or as a recurring theme to a variety of models. More on that later. So this is a big winner for me. Plus it gets a chrome base. That’s new! I still love that little opening sunroof at the top. It makes me smile every time I see it, which is why I think I will always be a fan of this one.

As if we need a reminder (I just went through these the other week), I am still going to go through them again. It all started way back in 2020. It debuted in red, with the same side flash (although without Nissan on there too) as MB62.

2021 saw it move to the MB38 slot with an alternate side design on this teal model.

While the Nissan was added to the Walmart Truck series batch A release in blue. Except for that one it was by the rear wheel.

And as was pointed out when I ran through the 2022 batch A stuff the other week, when I noted the white MB17 now had the Nissan name by the front wheel, it was pointed out that Truck batch B had already done it. Now you know why I didn’t mention it. I hadn’t got the model yet. Doh! Now I have and can see it for myself.

So now we are up to 5 releases. The white one is the only one with disk wheels, black the only one with a chrome base, teal the only one with a different side design, and err…. 2 others. I shouldn’t have started that line. Where’s the delete button?

The 4th model in the batch is the MB1001 ’70 Chevy El Camino in red. This, like the Jeep at the start, is a carry forward. This time from the first example of the MB1001 when it was in a 2016 10-pack.

Which means those that had picked it up back then have already seen this light red look with simple side details and a pair of black hood stripes. It also kept the chrome base that the 2016 had.

It was a nice simple design, and is ageless. So it could be released at any time and still look cool. What? It had stripes.

So out of interest, let’s bring in this 2016 10-pack release for a little comparison shall we? So far so “it looks the same”-ness.

Putting the 2 models side by side to compare the shades, well, there is a tiny difference. Not a big one, and you can only just see it. The tampo over the top looks identical too.

But when you put them like this to check the sides, now we really see the small but subtle change they made. The newer one is the fractionally darker one on the bottom. On this one it is all about the El Camino written on the side. The newer release has it in a different font which is both lower and wider than the original one did. I told you it was subtle. A font variation. To me, that is good enough. In the collection it goes.

And as I had my El Caminos out, I guess a little reminder of what went down in the past is due. Now I am going to skip the premium issues (it had a number of them in the late 1990s and early 2000s), except I am bringing out the 1998 First Edition. This is because when Tyco were originally conceiving the model back when Mattel took over, they had it down as MB328 and copyrighted it in 1997 for use in the 1998 range (due to these things working around 18 months in advance). It is not a 5 minute job deciding on a new casting, seeking permission to use it, developing the tools, approving the tools and then manufacturing things. The First Edition was the first off the line in red with full detailing, and at the time the rear bed was cast as a part of the body.

This one came with dual white stripes on the front, and this was a great look for the model.

It then debuted in the basic range as MB32 in gold with dual black stripes. No additional detailing, although the stripes did have an additional fine strip going around them. During production the shade of gold varied quite a lot, as these are 2 of the various examples I have (again as with the Nissan Junior debut, if I put too many together they start blurring in photo).

Some models were found in China with 5-arch wheels in place of the concave 5-spoke that the regular issue had. This was a part of the Chinese factory clear out after Mattel had taken over.

In 1999 the model was dropped from the ROW range, and MB328 was never sold in the ROW market in the basic range again. Now as a US exclusive the model was MB74 in lemon.

2000 was now MB60 in the US market and came in blue with a Freestyle Skating theme. The first 10,000 produced saw the Matchbox 2000 logo in the window.

And the last 10,000+ (I don’t actually know how many is in a production run but it is more than 10,000) was made as 2001 was hitting and Mattel were switching models over to the new flower wheels they had created that year (or lace in other cases).

But there was also a 5-pack issue which was sold worldwide. So yes the ROW market dropped it as a basic range issue, but were still finding it elsewhere. The model’s design gives the name of the pack away. It was called Canyon Base, and again was still in production as 2001 began so this switched to flower wheels too.

In 2001 Mattel decided to upgrade this casting to a metal base, but aside from a premium, we only saw one regular style of release.

This was actually in an Avon exclusive Coca-Cola themed twin pack. I still miss all those Avon exclusives we used to get. There was some cool stuff you had to order from their catalogue.

2002 saw just the one release (as a core model). This was in a licensed 5-pack for Nickelodeon.

2003 saw the short lived upgrade to metal base go again, and we were back to plastic again. We only saw a licensed 5-pack issue here too. This time it was the Looney Tunes: Back in Action set in green with Daffy Duck on the sides.

2004 saw the premiums stop, and a new Superfast range take its place. I did get all the Superfast ones. They had plastic wheels. That was in my wheel house. Pun intended. It was given the number 29 slot in the series, and it first appeared there in a metallic tan with dual black stripes on the hood and details all round.

Now normally numbers would stay the same in the range for 3 years, but in 2005 it was given 2 looks for both US and ROW releases, but these were now as number 46 in the series. I did mention ROW not getting the MB328 as a basic any more, but it did see it in a more high spec guise. It was blue there, with the US market seeing this awesome matte black job.

And in 2006 it was chosen to be one of the Streakers models, harkening back to the original Lesney tampo machine printed models of the mid 1970s. It was still in the number 46 slot for this issue.

For 2007 the original premise of Superfast had changed, and with Walmart in USA the only place getting them, the range was reduced to a small set, and they were dubbed Superfast America. All the model in the set were of classic US vehicles, and as such all had new numbers. This was number 12 in silver with a matte black roof.

Was it an evolution of that release? I don’t know, but it was almost the same, except the main body was now silver. As if the model was getting work done over the years.

But the model was also given its first outing in what seemed like forever outside of the Superfast range too. It was a part of the Garage Works 5-pack in orange. This was a little bit cheeky. Being a core model this would normally sport 2 tampo hits. But it was sporting Giri on the side, who was the person in charge at the factory in Thailand at the time.

Amazingly the model managed to achieve front and rear detailing too. I wonder how much Giri actually helped with that.

Then in 2008 the model finally returned to the basic range as MB8. But wait? Didn’t I say something about no ROW release? Yes. 2008 was the beginning of a 3-way split for the basic range, with the US market getting 100 models, and then ROW and LAAM markets getting a selection of 75 out of the 100. Well guess what? This was obviously in the US range, and was selected to also be in the LAAM range. It wasn’t selected for the ROW range though.

We also saw a Nick Jr 2 licensed 5-pack release too in bright green. I did find the brightness of the green to vary.

For 2009 it continued in the basic range in red with dual black stripes. Again it was US and LAAM only though, not for the ROW range. This was a much darker red, and was actually not the same as the one in the series this year. Tampos are a little different. Plus the new one is a lighter orangey red. The 2009 though? I found shades.

It was also a part of the Real 10-pack that year in yellow with dual black stripes. This was available in ROW markets. I told you, it was a singles thing.

After that the model took 2010 off before returning in 2011 for 1 final outing in its original MB328 guise in the Service Center 5-pack in green. Again shades could be found.

It took 5 years for it to resurface, and this was when we saw the new altered casting with the rear bed now a part of the interior, and a new MAN number MB1001. The first of these was the one carried forward to the new release.

After that it was given a 9/10-pack outing as an exclusive in dark blue. And yes, that too had dual black stripes, although they are not too easy to see on the dark blue background.

Much easier to see the dual black stripes on this lighter green issue which was next up for the Chevy Trucks Walmart exclusive series in 2018. So the Nissan may have got 2 Walmart exclusives in 1 year, but this has had 2 Walmart exclusives in total.

And lastly, before this latest issue, we saw a green model, with dual black stripes, in the basic range worldwide! The first time the ROW market had seen a Chevy El Camino at all as a basic range after its original debut release all the way back in 1998. but this 2019 MB20 issue was on the newer MAN number. As I said, MB328 never returned to the ROW basic range after the debut year. It never will.

Next up is the MB1027 Skyjacker Ford F-350 Super Duty. Finally, we get a new look for this one.

Taking the number 11 slot in the set of 12, seeing as this was a special vehicle created by Skyjacker back at SEMA 2016, it is pretty obvious that their logos should still appear all over the model. In fact, had they not appeared I would have been quite shocked! Plus, we are also treated to a triple pass through the tampo machine too. Sides and hood printing. Always a bonus when they can sneak a little extra in when possible.

I am glad to see it finally getting more action in a new look. I like this one in white with a rather stripey look. So I think another dive back to remember what came before.

Now as I said, this model was a Matchbox rendition of the original “Peacemaker” that Skyjacker unveiled at SEMA 2016. Matchbox had been in on the ground floor with this and were creating the model alongside the real vehicle, and the logos on the sides were the logos that Skyjacker had on the real vehicle (including Matchbox).

Being a special promotional issue, the model obviously came with a full set of tampo printing.

And it had an early rendition of the rear piece that was actually a 2 part build. The wheel on the top is, well, a wheel. They just stuck a 5th wheel on the top of the model. After the promotion the piece was rebuilt with a cast spare wheel included as a part of the section.

The model did not make its basic range debut until 2018 as MB54. It looked remarkably like the promotional model at first glance. However, the rear was now a 1 part build in black, and the window was now in blue instead of black and had no logos on it. The other logos frm the rear section were now incorporated into the side design, which itself was familiar to the original. There was also no front or rear printing. But still, they had managed to stretch it to 3 there too, meaning the hood was printed too.

We then saw a pair of models created for the 2018 Matchbox Gathering in Albuquerque. The basic colour of the model for the dinner guests was gold, but the early bird issues were left unpainted (or zamac).

We then saw a 2019 issue in a rather familiar look. MB50 that year but the model stayed the same as the 2018 debut. It was also added to the Walmart exclusive Ford Trucks series too. Again the same.

The only real difference between 2018 and 2019 was the gold in the tampo printing being duller in the 2019 release than they were in the debut. After this the model was not seen in 2020 and this is the first new look for a core release since that debut.

Hopefully we will still see some more issues in the future. It’s too cool a casting to just leave sitting around doing nothing.

Which brings us to the last in the set. Number 12 is the MB985 ’57 GMC Stepside Pickup. I did mention with the Nissan how I loved consistency with either the same design used on different colours, or recurring themes. The Nissan was the former, this is the latter. Oh yes, another National Parks. I think this is the most successful and longest running of the current themes they like to revisit.

I am just shocked we have not had one until now. You simply cannot go wrong with this theme. I think if they are able to, it should be a thing for every model to see a National Parks release. Hmm! How would the Skyjacker I just showcased work with that?

I love this one, and I think to a lot of people this was likely the star of the batch. Mind you I do like this model anyway. One more dive back through a casting’s history time.

It was originally MB786 when it arrived back in 2010. MB38 was a lovely light blue with some front and side detailing. Or very light blue if you hunted around enough.

However, if your store for buying Matchbox was a Walmart and you lived in USA, you would have found it looking a little different. Before the ranges we get now, 2010 had seen Walmart ask for something unique from Matchbox and their first idea was to give them 4 alternate looks for the basic range issues. One of them was the GMC, which for that store came in white with a Sam’s side design, in reference to Sam Walton who started the company. Plus their original town.

The model also saw a 3rd release in its debut year, as it was one of the models in the 1st Editions 10-pack at the end of the year. This was a simple bronze with front and side detailing.

For 2011 it was still MB38. That was the year they kept any model in the same number if they could. However this time it was just in black. No tampo or anything. At first people thought they were finding errors when they saw no tampo, but soon realized that this was how they all were.

We did see tampo on a 5-pack issue that year. It was a part of a Farm 5-pack in blue with an Eco Growers side design. Yes, lately we have seen plenty of environmentally friendly type designs, and plenty of electric based vehicles, but Matchbox were doing them a decade ago already.

we saw even more tampo on this one, as it was a part of the 2011 Lesney Edition series. This featured a metal base as well as metal body and the fully detailed yellow model also saw a white roof.

After that things went a little quiet. It saw no action in 2012, what with Matchbox slowly veering sideways away from classics, but did pop up in a 2013 Battle Mission 5-pack in olive. Another colour that is good for shades.

It did return to the basic range in 2014 as MB18 in green with a Canon construction side design.

But in 2015 it saw its change (much like the El Camino) into MB985 which meant the rear bed was now a part of the interior section. This casting debuted in the Classic Ride 5-pack in matte brown with a Stephens & Sons Salvage design. This was very reminiscent of the Sanford & Sons vehicle in its design from the TV show. However that was a ’51 Ford.

The original casting did see one more outing. I guess it should have appeared first, but this Mission Force set just seemed very late in 2015 at arriving in stores. This was another Farm themed model.

Another offshoot arrived in 2017 in the way of Color Changers. A new MB1066 casting was created with a plastic body and metal base and with it a fun little addition of the bed variation. Some were found with items in the rear, some left empty. These 2 are the same colour. One is cold the other warm.

And yes, for those paying attention, the livery was one that had been used before. Back in the 2013 5-pack in olive.

Alongside the new casting, the first spin off, MB985 saw its first basic range issue. It was sold as MB80 with a Boone County Sheriff theme. The shades of brown to this were quite noticeable.

2018 saw a second Color Changer release. This time the Mario’s side design was all-new for this model, and again these are the same, showing warm and cool modes as well as full or empty beds.

In 2019 we had another basic range issue for the standard model. This time as MB92 in red with a Vintage Bicycles side design.

And after taking 2020 off, this model was also a part of the MBX Road Crew 5-pack. I did manage to find interior variations on this one with the orange being lighter or darker.

Yet somehow didn’t manage to find it with the Nissan Junior in the same set. Funnily enough both featured in that 5-pack and this batch of Trucks.

So that brings me to the end of the Walmart Truck set, but I did have one additional model to add here, as the latest Mattel Creation is now out in the wild.

the MB1267 ’64 Chevy C10 Longbed Pickup. Well as this is a pickup just like the other 6, it seemed logical to tie it in with them for this report.

Now usually the back will give a rough guide to the history of a vehicle like this. All releases to date have in some way paid homage to classic castings from the past. But this is a brand new casting with no contemporaries as such to link in to. You could argue there is a ’63 C10 which arrived a few years ago, but was it really worth adding that to the back? I don’t really think so.

Now as we have been seeing with these Mattel Creations releases, they come in a plexicase box which slides into this slip which is a high quality, almost velvety to the touch, cover. This cover also includes the rear picture to the diorama.

So when you take the plexicase out, you can see all around it without the need to take the lid off.

Yeah right, as if I am finishing there. One lid lost later and we have a Chevy C10 on a dirt road. At least I hope it’s a dirt road.

Because once you have unscrewed the Chevy from the base, what is left looks really, well, I am not going to say it. Get my head out of the toilet. Ha ha!

Not that I really care, because I am here for the model. The first release of a brand new casting. Is this turning into a thing now? the last one was a debut release, and the next one will be too. Or will we also see more classics brought back for a high-spec release? It’s exciting to see what they come up with next.

Now this model is beautifully done to me. It comes in a metallic golden tan shade with simple pin striping and detailing on the sides. There are also some very realistic real rider wheels on there too.

The front has the Chevy grille depicted very nicely, and the headlights either end are very smartly done. We also see the lower lip to the hood also see some detailing too.

The rear is simply detailed as a real vehicle would have been at the time. This is a lovely debut for this model. I really like it.

Although for me, there is one thing that I feel should have been done, as we are paying a massive premium for these. I feel that the rear bed inside should have been detailed. We have already seen premium offerings of the ’63 C10 with a detailed rear bed. When it had some wood graining done to it I was absolutely blown away. I do feel they should have attempted something here too. As the top tier premium release, I just felt this was the one area that hadn’t been given as much love as it could have.

The model comes with an opening hood too which shows off the engine inside.

The engine itself has been very well detailed. it highlights various bits and bobs inside. Side note, I don’t know much about engines. There’s stuff in there. It’s detailed them. It looks really good.

and of course being a debut release means we get a base shot too. Now I did mark this down as a longbed, although there is actually no mention of it at all. The base does not signify it as a longbed, and the package had no mention of it either. but when you were to pull out a ’63 you will see what I mean.

Funnily enough, Matchbox have made the MB1143 ’63 Chevy C10 in the same colour as the new one, which makes comparing things a lot easier. So I am using the 2021 Moving Parts number 18 for comparisons here.

As you can see, although one is a ’63 and the other a ’64, there is quite a lot of difference between them. The Chevrolet C/K 1st generation was around from 1960 until 1966 and apart from custom vehicles based off the chassis, the standard 2-door pickup (C series being 2 wheel drive, K being 4 wheel drive) came in 2 configurations and 2 lengths. These are utilizing both. the ’63 is a shortbed Stepside. The ’64 is a longbed Fleetside. The difference between Fleetside and Stepside is whether the side stays flush, or whether the wheel arches are flared out. The different in shortbed and longbed in real life was 12 inches more wheelbase and a larger rear with an extra 30 inches of space length (plus wider too in this case as a difference between Fleetside and Stepside) in the rear bed. It is very clear that these are complete opposites in that respect. You may also note that in 1964 Chevrolet introduced an upgrade to the C/K series and the forward facing A-pillar was changed to a more traditional rear facing. This meant a change to the window area too.

When looking from above you can also see the difference in length to the models, plus how the hood on the new one is a slightly different style. Yes, as part of the ’64 upgrade, they did slightly alter that too.

Plus the grille too. A slight redesign with a Chevrolet strip now running across it. So yeah, this wasn’t just a case of a little tinkering. They created this from the ground up, but kept the scale of it in line with the ’63, which I think it amazing.

Of course the ’64 is a more premium product, but these are just both fantastic examples of the types of Pickup truck of the era.

Both have the same opening hood part too which is an added bonus, as it helps you to visualize them both together so well.

I have to admit I love this new casting. I was a little unsure at first when I heard they were doing a ’64, as they already had a ’63, but now I have it, I want to see them attempt to do more stuff like this.

I am looking forward to the next Mattel Creations model to get to me. I have said it before, but I love how they have these Mattel Creations now, as it shows they are finally putting faith in the Matchbox brand.

So that brings me to the end of talk on newer items, which means it is time to bounce back for a little fun too in to the past.

Which this week means I am starting with a Gruesome Twosome. This is not completely a Matchbox originals design. This is an enhanced version of a vehicle called Phaze II. It was a 1-off vehicle created in 1966 by a gentleman called Dave Puhl in USA. The shape is as you see here, but the real vehicle did not have 2 engines sitting out of the top of the vehicle (it had a standard AMC engine mid-mounted as it was driveable. It was also a convertible, so the window section did not stretch over to the body like this. As I said, Lesney took Dave’s vehicle and enhanced it with these 2 engines and covered up the interior. Dave’s real car still exists, as it was falling apart. Another gentleman by the name of Darryl Starbird took the vehicle, and fully restored it. It now sits in Darryl’s museum in Oklahoma. Bonus fact, it’s basically this colour. One of the few times when Lesney were taking something they saw in the early 1970s and actually released it in the colour the real vehicle it was based on was.

It debuted in the 1971 basic range as MB4-B replacing a Dodge Stake Truck. The thing is though, the very first run of these had an amber window. It is pretty tough to find, and as yet I am still to get one. It quickly turned purple as the amber was not really standing out too well against the gold background. When it turned purple it stayed purple until the model was dropped. However the 2 you see here do look different. It is not a shade to the window though. This is because the majority have a cream interior. But some had yellow interiors which seen through purple glass is not obvious, but when placed side by side you can see it gives off a different look.

If I take these same 2 models and picture them sideways on, you can see the glass is the same. There is a rare white interior too, but in reality the only way you can be sure to know which interior you are getting is by picking them model up, pulling on one of the wheels and peering inside the wheel arch to see what is in there. This, to me, is a lot of hard work to obtain a variation, so I have to admit to not attempting it. I had yellow purely by chance.

To me, this is all about shades to the paintwork. This is the model that really got me going on it. I own 10 different shades of gold on this casting. That does include 1 I had as a kid. I was not a big fan of the majority of the fantasy stuff they were making in the 1970s, but this was an exception. I absolutely loved it. Mine got a little bit playworn, and in the early days of me being a collector as an adult I was at a UK MICA Convention in the mid 1990s and somebody was selling a few Gruesome Twosomes. I thought I could upgrade mine, but then I looked at the models. Are these supposed to be the same? They are nothing like each other. One is almost orange, the other tan. That wasn’t a shade, that was a different colour entirely. At that time I was not into shade variations. But I had to get both of these. I took them home and they were nothing like my original. So that got me looking more, and then I started looking at other models too. Well the rest is history. You might notice I have a thing for shade. 1995. These 2 models. Origin story!

Of course there are a lot more shades to this. It was produced between 1971 and 1973 in supposedly gold. Apart from the early run with amber window and the difference in interiors, you might find a few random ones with silver painted bases.

You might find a different wheel type in use too. Most would sport the rectangular 5-spokes, but a few come with the squared style. However, there is something about the square style that people often overlook. They weren’t originally in production between 1971 and 1973. Wait? What? They were actually found in some random MP-1 5-packs at the end of the decade. There is a possibility that they were planned to be re-introduced to the Japanese range for 1980, but with the swift cancellation of the exclusive Japanese range, production of a number of models had started with unusual variations. There was never a list of the proposed 1980 Japanese range, but the previous 3 years had seen some older early 1970s models coming back again and I would guess that they were continuing with that plan for 1980 until they dropped the entire thing and dumped what was made in these MP-1 packs. Many were known Japanese issues from 1979 with slight variations, and a few random older models like this one were in packs too. It is not too difficult to hypothesize that this was the case.

The model was originally made between 1971 and 1974 though. For its final year in the basic range they turned it orangey red.

Again unpainted or silver bases exist as well as either cream or yellow interiors. But because I had shades to the gold, I was looking at this one too. I found it. There is not such a vast difference, but shades do exist. After 1974 the model was dropped from the range (apart from that brief late 1979 production run dumped in some MP-1 packs. A cost reduced (no interior, no engine) variant was made in the mid 1980s under the name Super GT. These models were a budget range (this was BR03 and BR04 due to 2 different looks) at a lower price point that Universal came up with. They ran for 4 years before the casting was retired for good.

But talking of Universal, I guess I am in Universal territory now. My second dive back is of (I believe) the only Hungarian model that Matchbox ever made. A 1984 Ikarus 386 K2 Coach. Apart of the 300-series of coaches that Ikarus was making. Ikarus had been founded by Imre Uhry in 1895 as Uhry Imre Kovács- és Kocsigyártó Üzeme. Quite a mouthful. He was a blacksmith and was set up repairing carts and other wheeled vehicles. In the early 1910s he was creating his own vehicles from parts and purchased a new plant to greatly increase his capabilities. After bankruptcy in 1932 due to the Great Depression, his children set up a new company, Uhri Testvérek Autókarosszéria és Járműgyár. As they expanded they merged with Repülőgépgyár Rt (a plane manufacturer) & Ikarus Gép- és Fémáru Rt (a spare parts company) at the end of the 1940s and in 1951 Ikarus Karosszéria- és Járműgyár was born. It was soon just shortened to Ikarus. Sadly after the success of the 300-series, sales in the 1990s started to fade and in 1999 it was bought by Irisbus who closed down the company in Hungary and as such the Ikarus name was declared defunct as of 2003.

Matchbox debuted the MB170 Ikarus Coach exclusively in the ROW market in 1986. It was sold as MB67 there and ran until 1998 (the last year moving to MB2) and never during that time did the US market get it. The initial release was orange over white with a Voyager side design. Shades of the lower blue tampo exist from a dark blue to almost black. The windows also sport shades from almost clear to quite smoky.

It didn’t take it long to sport its first promotion. Strangely enough, this was through Ikarus in Hungary where they had this exclusive creamy model.

Early 1987 saw another promotional model. You will never guess which country this was from? That’s right, Spain! Obviously, because it says Gibraltar all over it. It was very similar to the original offering, except now had a red roof, a proper black lower tampo and Gibraltar instead of Voyager. Daft facts. The last Voyager production moved from Macau to China in 1987 and as such, this also moved to China too. There is actually another 1987 issue, but I don’t have it. It was sold in Japan in the J-21 slot in their 1987 1-100 series in white with an orange stripe and Airport Limousine livery.

In 1988 they came up with a new look to the model. Green over white with a Tourist and green striped side design.

Again the window was very good for shades on this model, although this time the difference between the very light and almost jet black was substantial.

The green side printing was also extremely good for the shade variation nutter like me (thanks again Gruesome Twosome). This was partly down to it running 4 years like that until 1991.

Another promotion was made in 1988. Guess where for? That’s right, Spain! They did enjoy putting out Spanish promotions with no reference to Spain, but other places instead.

1989 saw Matchbox create a series called The Swiss Collection, sold, well in Switzerland. One of the models was the Ikarus in brown over beige with a Marti side design. Marti is a Swiss family owned Coach company that was founded in 1903 and still goes to this day.

Giving up on the idea of getting a Spanish promotional model that actually had Spain on it, they only went and replaced the basic range model with an España themed MB67 for 1992. It was very similar to the last Spanish promo. It ran for 5 years using up all the remaining MB67 years.

1996 saw the first time people were able to find this worldwide. It was in a 5-pack known as City Life. The sun I found is good for a shade. Get it? Sun, shade…. Oh I keep trying.

1998 saw another 5-pack issue. It was part of the World Cup 5-pack that year in a Tour Bus livery.

And the basic range moved from MB67 in the ROW market to MB2 for a final year and with it a new sunset themed beach design.

After this we saw it turn up in the Airport 5-pack in 1999 in purple with a simple Shuttle side design before it took a few years off.

It resurfaced from down the shore as a New Jersey Across America model in 2002 in blue.

And was also given a blank look as an ASAP blank in 2002 for (at the time) code 2 offerings.

It took 2003 off but returned in 2004 for a final year in not 1, but 2 looks. Firstly it was in the Blues Clues licensed 5-pack in blue with blue’s Friends down the side.

And later on appeared as a Coca Cola promotional issue in USA. I believe this is the very last time that these dot-dash wheels were ever used on a Matchbox model. It never made a change to a different type of wheel, and apart from the debut year when it started off in Macau, when they moved production over to China in 1987 it never left! 17 years of production in the China factory. I believe that might also have been a record. I come up with daft facts don’t I!

So what next? A model i was so disappointed had so little action. The MB334 Mercedes-Benz E-Class. It debuted in 1998 in the early days of the Mattel tenure, although development had already begun at the end of the Tyco era just as Mattel were taking over. But this is a ’90s model. It arrived as MB54 in the basic range that year in charcoal with a simple red stripe down the side and E-Class, as well as a set of white headlights at the front. A very nice debut.

In 1999 it moved to the MB65 in the US range or MB60 slot in the ROW range (except Germany) and was now in silver with an Intergalactic side design.

It wasn’t in the German range, because they had their own look. A tan taxi variant as MB70 there. Tan Mercedes-Benz taxis were (and still are) very common in Germany, so this really worked well.

And that was it for a while. After a few years out, it popped back up in the ROW basic range in 2002 as MB8. It came in blue and the first 10,000 models had a 50 logo on the side. However, Matchbox would usually face left in a package. This logo was on the right hand side. With ROW issues at the time coming in window boxes, it was almost impossible to figure out whether you had a log or not, and many boxes got a little squished as people were trying to figure out if they could could see the top edge of the circle to the logo at the far end of the window.

No such issue with the 203s though, as it continued to be an ROW exclusive for 1 more year. The MB38 that year in light blue had a Hero City logo across the front window on the first 10,000.

Germany saw another Taxi variant in tan that year. It was chosen to be a part of the 2nd round of Stars of Germany there. Stars of Germany was originally going to be a 1-off series celebrating the 50th Anniversary in Germany with 12 models of German vehicles. However, due to the success, they did a second round in 2003. After this they continued on a yearly basis until 2009 although changed for 2004 to Stars of Cars (as non-German vehicles were introduced) and in 2008 changed it again to Euro Edition as they were putting a lot more non-cars in to the series too.

Putting the 2 tan models together you can see how much darker in shade the newer one was to the original.

It was then forgotten about again. Seriously. 1 year, then a second with a German taxi exclusive and forget. Round 2, 1 year, a second with a German taxi exclusive and forget. It re-appeared in 2006 as a Superfast model, and were they just trying to get everything in one go? Seriously. Stay with me on this. It was a part of the 3rd batch of the 2006 Superfast series. We called it the 2006 series, but as had been the case since Superfast had re-appeared in 2004, the series began in late summer. It was roughly half a year out. So the first batches would appear in the year stated, but the latter batches actually appeared in the first half of the following year. The 3rd batch of the 2006 series appeared at Christmas time in 2006 and spilled over into 2007 (actually marking the end of a worldwide distribution because as of batch 4 the series became a Walmart USA exclusive), so technically it was available in 2 years. Plus it has a taxi livery to it, fulfilling the obligation of having a taxi variant.

It was a really nice way to finish off the model, but that was it. Between 1998 and 2006 (or early 2007 as I stated) we had 7 versions of this lovely model and it was never used again. Such a shame.

So now I am going to do something a little different here. My next dive back is the MB702 DAF XF95 Space Cab. This vehicle debuted in 2006, as a Convoy! Not in the basic range.

This meant it had something on the back of it. When the Convoy range was re-launched in 2005, Mattel had a lack of new toolings for it. Only 2 older cabs had survived a trip from China (where they were being stored) to Thailand. A Ford Aeromax had been used in a 2003 set so had been left in a different place to other Convoy related stuff, and a Mercedes-Benz Actros had been used as a single issue too so was also in a different part of the factory. No rears (even the Box Trailer that the Ford Aeromax from the 2003 set) were out of sync with the rest of the Convoy stuff, and when the container left China it never made Thailand. So they started from scratch. A Tractor Cab (Matchbox originals) was created as a new cab, and the Ford and Mercedes-Benz gave them 3 different front ends. They created 2 brand new rear sections (tanker and box trailers) and launched the new series. In 2006 a 4th cab was added, this one, and a new double container trailer unit was also added for more variety. The series was being numbered, and the DAF debuted as CY-118 in a yellow Jet design.

For 2007 the DAF was mated with the box trailer rear as CY-120 in white in a Wheaties design.

And it was also given the double container rear as CY-122 in a CarGo theme. Yes, the same CarGo theme that still pops up from time to time to this day. I love recurring themes.

2008 was to be the last year of Convoy in that guise (they moved to a slightly larger Super Convoy series afterwards, and the newer 2020 incarnation of Convoy is completely different). This year saw 2 different CY-120 releases. One was another yellow cab, with a black trailer with Pennzoil on the side.

And in case you were wondering, the new yellow cab was a much brighter yellow than the debut.

And we also saw a red and grey Simpson liveried issue too. These were all of it’s Convoy releases.

But that was not the end of the DAF. Oh no, 2008 was also the year that they decided it warranted single releases too. It debuted in the basic range that year in silver with a Courier Transport side design on the cab in the MB54 slot. However, this was also year 1 of the 3-way range split and the LAAM market did not get it.

You know I mentioned Euro Edition as an evolution of Stars of Germany/Stars of Cars? Well 2008 the first year of Euro Edition and the Space Cab was sold in Germany in pale mint green there in the series. I found the green was good for shades.

In 2009 we had more of the same. In the basic range, the model was now being sold as MB72, and again only for the US and ROW markets. Poor old LAAM never saw it. I guess they don’t use trucks in South America. It came in black with a Jco Transport side design.

And again it was a part of the German exclusive Euro Edition series, this time in blue with a Schwiiz Transport motif.

for 2010 it saw something a little different. It was added to the non-exclusive 10-packs. At the time Mattel were releasing 4 batches of 10-packs each year with 3 packs in each batch. 1 in each batch was all exclusive, themed together. The other 2 packs contained 1 exclusive in the top corner, but through the series of 4 batches, these models were the same 2 models each time, except in a different colour for the batch. The DAF was one of the 2010s and in the 1st batch, known as “Real” because the all exclusive set were all cars, the DAF was in a secondary pack in blue.

When the 2nd batch arrived, dubbed “Action” due to the all-exclusive pack containing utility style vehicles, the DAF was now in a secondary pack in red.

The 3rd batch, Adventure, due to the off road vehicles in the all-exclusive set, we now found a brown DAF elsewhere.

And in the final batch, most people’s highlight as the 1st Editions were all brand new castings for the year in alternate colours, the DAF was to be found in white in one of the other packs.