I have to admit, I often tend to ignore the 5-pack situation from Matchbox on the blog. But quite often they come out with some pretty cool stuff in these sets, and me focusing on singles, Collectors, Moving Parts etc, I tend to leave some of these cool castings behind. So I thought with the first 5-pack of 2022 now with us, to take a quick look at the pack and a few of the carry forwards that came with it.
The brand new pack, first of 2022, is called MBX Road Crew II, and follows on from last year’s MBX Road Crew pack. That consisted purely of models sporting a Ranec theme, but this is not quite the same.
What they have done this time is provide us with 2 themes. One of the themes is another classic, the INC theme with blue models with yellow being prominent and INC in white. There are 2 of these in the pack, and the first of them is the MB1189 MBX Mini Swisher. I do like this casting.
It’s a cute little thing, and seeing it in the blue and yellow of the INC theme really works well. I guess this is part of the clean up crew for when they have finished making a mess with their construction. I like this one a lot. But then, as I said, I have a bit of a soft spot for this model.
Ever since it first arrived in the 2019 basic range as MB83. There was just something about it that appealed to me.
Since then we have seen a green MB21 in 2020.
And a white MB61 in 2021. After 3 years as a basic range model, this is the first we have seen it in an alternative release as it moves away from single releases for this year. I am sure it is not the last we have seen of it on its own, and surely not in general. It’s too cute to leave alone.
It is joined by a second INC model in the way of the MB970 ’15 Ford F-150 Contractor Truck.
Obviously this too is sporting the traditional INC yellow on blue look in its role as an on site supervisor. About time we had more pick-ups in the INC series. Ranec has seen a number of pick-ups throughout their history, but INC has seen precious little.
So I am very happy seeing this model in the set.
It actually debuted as a Ranec model. I still remember when it first appeared, people were seeing the model in blisters and thought it was plain. Then they saw the rear.
It was back in 2015 as MB26. And yes, I found a shade to the white. Which I think is more down to the paint coverage being thicker or thinner on the different batches.
In 2016 it moved to the MB38 slot in yellow with Ian M.K. Construction on it. Again I found shades to the yellow.
It then saw one more basic range outing before being dropped for a while back in 2017. The last of the 3 year run was MB47 in green with a Lochner Lumber side design. Although the green stayed fairly consistent, the Lochner Lumber tampo print didn’t, turning either a paler or darker tan shade depending on when they made it.
The model then took 3 years off before returning in 2021 as MB78 in white with a Suny Solar side design. Again, just like the Mini Swisher, this is the first time it has seen action outside of the basic range.
But those were the only 2 INC models in this pack. The other 3 were part of a new construction team known as DIG. Will DIG become a new recurring theme? Or will it just be another 1-off used in 1 year. We will have to wait and see.
But for now, let’s look at the 3 models. We have the MB948 Ground Breaker first, which comes in a bright greenish yellow look with a grey lower half a pale grey blade. It is sporting Unit A5 label on it too, which is somewhat making me think that Michael Heralda had a say in this one’s look. His usual A58 gets shorted to 58 sometimes, so has he shortened it the other way to A5 instead?
It is a nice simple tampo design, and on this rather bright looking model looks really nice. It is definitely one of the nicer looks for this model throughout its long career to date. How long?
Yes I am recapping. We begin in 2007. When originally created, the model was assigned MB707 as it’s manufacturing number and arrived as MB48 in the basic range that year in a dark yellow with a simple Ground Breaker 6 side design.
Before 2008 saw an absolute smorgasbord of variants. It was MB59 for the basic range that year. However, being year 1 of a 4-year US/LAAM/ROW split for the range, only the US and ROW markets saw it, with Latin America being denied the chance to find 2 significantly different shades of orange.
As well as single releases though, this started moving further afield. The Construction 5-pack that year saw this teal version included.
And we also saw a 10-pack release for the all-exclusive Action pack in red.
But it was not done there. It was included in the Hitch ‘n Haul series towing the MB681 Excavator Trailer in the Construction Kings set.
Still not enough? How about a German exclusive Euro Edition model in a pale yellow.
And finally, a 6th 2008 issue in a DVD set as one of 2 models included with the Construction Kings DVD. Yes, I know, Construction Kings was the name of both a Hitch ‘n Haul set and a DVD set. But 6 different releases was a lot for the model.
One of the things that didn’t happen in 2008 though was a 2-version basic range release. They saved that until 2009 when MB64 arrived in dark yellow, and then 3 batches later turned orange with the same GB Construction side design.
The only other offering that year (seemed such a let down after 2008 blanketing the marketing) was another Construction 5-pack release, with the MC construction logo that has seen a couple of outings in a small recurring theme. This was in a light grey.
For 2010 the LAAM market was left out again for the basic range release, as this red model was MB42 in the US and ROW markets only.
And the Construction 5-pack that year had “Trucks” added to it for a little fun, so Construction Trucks featured this light orange model.
But we did see a 10-pack release as well. Again the Action 10-pack was where we saw this, and it was a part of the recurring Forest Service theme, which often gets mixed up with National Parks as they are quite familiar (although they are now trying to give the Forest Service models a bit more of an olive look to help differentiate them more).
In 2011 LAAM was now joined by ROW too, as MB41 in blue only appeared in the US market that year.
And the Construction pack was now simply called Construction again. What happened to “Trucks”? The model was green in the pack and this was noticeably different in some assortments between light and dark green.
2012 saw the basic range sync back up to the one range worldwide, so MB33 was found everywhere in yellow and orange with a Dino theme. That was all we saw in 2012.
And 2013 saw a change to the model. This was where they realized the issue with the MB707 casting and made some modifications to it to turn it into MB948. It actually occurred during production of that year’s MB50, meaning the first batches were the original MB707 casting, and later assortments were the updated MB948.
The issue was the blade. We had a body, and interior piece which also formed the tracks sides, and a base section that clipped in the bottom. The blade would be a separate piece that simply clicked into the hole in the side of the model. It was not the easiest of construction, and they were finding that trying to prepare these quickly would sometimes cause issues with the blade section, damaging the clips. So a solution was made.
The blade was changed to a complete circuit piece which would (as models are constructed upside down) would then be simply dropped on to the interior section of the body which now had a cutaway slot going up the side to where the blade sits, and then the base would simply be dropped on to this section, and as such the base now had an extension strip sitting up from it to fill the gap. This is known as the drop method, and is used for most Matchbox models nowadays, as the drop method is the fastest way of constructing things and means more product can be made. Many models that had items inserted or slotted have now been altered to the drop method. And yes, the tow hook was given a slight alteration for sturdiness too.
So now, as MB948, the Groundbreaker continued on, but to a lesser extreme. In 2014 it was MB30 for the basic range, in white. And no, it was not a Ranec, even though the tampo is predominantly orange and black. This was more in line with the packaging style that was being used at the time. Talking of “at the time”, this was a short lived period where models were pulled from basics for 5-pack use too, and this also turned up in the Construction Zone 5-pack. Oh they added “zone” to the 5-pack name this year.
In 2015 it was MB36 for the basic range in orange. There’ no shade to these 2. It’s a “spot the difference” picture.
Which is you didn’t notice it, I saw one in a store and thought it wasn’t right. One piston at the front had snapped off during production, but the model was still painted up afterwards and shipped out. I felt sorry for it, so wanted to give it a home anyway. I take in the waifs and strays I do. Poor thing.
This was also the last time we saw more than one release in a year for a few years. This red version was in the Fire Commanders Mission Force set that year.
For 2016 we only had a 5-pack release. Construction Zone again was the name, and this had a white and yellow model in the set.
2017 saw it back in the basic range for a random issue as MB35 in red.
And in 2018 it was back to the 5-packs, this time the set was called Ocean Construction, and saw the model in orange.
2019 and this was a year we saw 2 releases again. Firstly it was in a rather familiar scheme.
Yes this got the INC look in 2019 as MB30 in the basic range, which fits in very well with the 2 in this year’s 5-pack.
While we also saw a carry forward 5-pack called MBX Construction, bringing back an older look for the model.
It was the 2009 MB64 version 1 in yellow, but now was on the updated casting which you can see here has the more stumpy looking tow hook.
And was a lighter yellow to that too, which gives us quite a nice spread from orange through dark yellow and lighter yellow for model. But that was the last we had seen of the casting until now, as it took 2020 and 2021 off. I am guessing we will just be seeing random appearances from now on. It has done pretty well really.
Mind you saying that, the MB58-C Faun Dump Truck, no sorry MB209 Dump Truck, wait a sec, MB710 Dump Truck . Get it right. There was me saying the Ground Breaker had been having a good run seeing as it had been around 15 years. This has essentially been with us since 1977! That’s 3 times as long! And honestly, this shows no signs of getting old. A few nips and tucks over the years and this just carries on doing what it needs to do.
And I have to admit, I love this grey and green look for it, with the Dig side design. Well 1 side, and front. I think this tampo is really cool. Dig it, Scoop it, Move it! Dig Equipped Rentals. I do actually hope this is the start of a recurring theme. I will be quite happy to see this on a range of models.
As you can see, the alternate side doesn’t have a lot of surface space to tampo print to, which is why the standard for this casting has been to tampo print the one side and across the front. I think that is the wisest choice for a 2-pass through the tampo machine rule.
I can’t believe I was 5 years old when this first arrived. And yes, spoiler alert, I went on a bit with the main article here, especially with this particular dive back, so I didn’t do a dive back at the end. But this model essentially covers the lot! The 1970s. Lesney owned the company and added the Faun Dump Truck to the basic range as MB58 where it would run until 1982. During those 6 years the model only appeared in all-yellow.
A close up of the original and latest show that only small things have really changed. It was, as a whole, the same. I will explain what has changed as the pictures go on.
So the first 5 of those 6 years saw no tampo at all. It was just plain yellow. Of course, 5 years? That yellow was never staying consistent was it?
Outside of the basic range, the model was given a giftset issue in the G-5 set in 1979. The main body was still yellow, but for the giftset the dump was painted red. Of course many giftsets were found with all yellow Dump Trucks and some red dump models might have been found as singles. Again, this was Lesney. If there was a possibility of something happening, it probably did.
For 1982, and its final year as a basic range model, the all-yellow did see a slight change, with CAT tampo prints. The dump on top saw the word CAT added to the overhang at either side, and the main body had the C logo applied to the one door. Just as they do now, the alternate side was left blank. Now there are possibilities of finding this with CAT and no C or alternately too. I do not have one, not for want of hunting, but they are known to exist.
Now in 1982, the model was given the MAN number MB058, as it was MB58 in the range, but was not seen after that. Fast forward to the end of the decade, and Universal decided to bring it back. Only, for some reason, there was an issue with Faun. So they wiped it off. It was literally the 4 letters cast into the body under the cab window on the front, but was replaced by a blank raised panel.
As such, the base was re-copyrighted from 1976 to 1989, and it was now assigned a new MB209 MAN number.
It ran for 3 years as either MB9 in the US market or MB53 in the ROW market in yellow (again) but now with a silver dump with orange stripes down the side. However, there is a variant. No, not the shade (although that is noticeable).
That’s because production moved from Macau to China in 1990. Now there is also another model that arrived in 1990. A My First Matchbox release in blue with a red dump. I actually don’t have it yet. How I have missed that I do not know. It only came with a China base, but in 1992 decided to no longer put yellow wheel hubs on its red wheels. So I have 2 I need to find.
In 1991 USA saw an all-yellow (again), but still with those orange stripes down the dump sides, on an Action Pack release. It came with a few accessories that were compatible with the playsets available at the time. But these action packs were not successful and so after 1991 were dropped.
In 1992 we were back to yellow with a red dump. No, the Lesney model from 1979’s giftset wasn’t resurfacing, this was just the new look for the 1992 basic range (MB9 or MB53). It ran like that for 4 years, but a late run in 1995 saw no black grille tampo added. I am still looking, although I have in the meantime found my usual shades.
In 1996 it turned bright orange for both the basic range and the Construction 5-pack. I wonder how many times we have seen a 5-pack just called Construction? Anyway, there is a simple way of remember which was which. A black dump for basics (b for b) and a grey dump for the group release (g for g). What do you mean I am just making this up as I go along?
Just because the 1997 basic range MB9/MB53 had a grey dump. Plus, as this was 1997, the US range also saw the Gold Challenge with all models released in plain gold too.
There was a black dump red model too. But this was in the Mining Adventure Pack. But that was in 1998 after the model had been dropped (for a second time) from the basic range.
But it did return to the basic range in 1999. It was sold as MB27 and 1999 was such a cool year for tampos. As with a number of vehicles, they were experimenting with sprays to indicate mud or other items, and this white and green model saw pretty much a unique look for each model as it was being hand sprayed. As such different levels of “mud” can be found across both the body and the dump.
The same was with the Scrapyard 5-pack release, except this time they were going for a more grime and rust look for the sprays.
In 2000 it saw more of the mud spray look varying for the MB95 US or MB75 ROW release. However, both of these are US MB95s due to them having the Matchbox 2000 logo on them. But picked up twice due to differing levels of mud.
As it continued, it rolled over into 2001 and as such saw the new oval wheel that had been created for larger wheeled vehicles, to replace the aging maltese cross wheel. This model switched to them for later productions as it finished in early 2001.
2002 saw a new Dump Truck casting created for the basic range, so did this mean that this was finally on its way out? Nope! It was sold as MB18 that year in green and yellow and being a logo year saw a 50 logo on the top corner of the dump for the first 10,000 produced before the rest were left plain.
It also saw the base section get details wiped and re-marked changing the model from being a Matchbox Int’l Ltd model to a Mattel Inc model mid way through production.
It was also available in a 5-pack. This one was called Construction Heroes, as they were busy moving towards the Hero City era.
2003 saw the Construction Heroes 5-pack continue for a second year with the same castings with the same design, but now all in new colours.
However, this was also the start of limiting tampo prints to 2 passes, and as such seeing a pass for the dump section on either side meant that the third pass to also tampo print the side of the cab was deleted.
After that, the model saw a brief hiatus again before returning in 2006. It was MB47 in the basic range and came in orange with a silver dump.
After that the model was retooled into MB710. Its current incarnation. This was mainly the switch from a metal dump to a plastic one, but also the mechanism for holding the dump to the main body was altered. Until then it was pinned in place from the side, but was changed to a clip in method. It actually debuted in the Superfast series, and due to the late call in switching it, the tampo printing had already been created with a nod to the old MAN number of 209 on it.
in 2007 it was in a Construction 5-pack. However, it wasn’t originally. The first run saw the new 3-axle Dump truck that had debuted in 2002 included, but this was switched out to the classic Dump Truck casting mid-way through. This was a really cool model, with a recurring CarGo theme to it.
But that was not all for 2007. It was also included in the Action 10-pack, and you might notice that the wheel hubs came in a variety of shades, ranging from a dark orange to a muddy brown.
In 2008 it was back in the basic range again. Sold as MB63 it came in silver. However, although this was during the period of selling 2 versions of some models (a version 1 then later a version 2) this technically wasn’t. The first batch was found with a maroon dump on the rear, but this was swiftly changed to an orange dump which remained throughout the rest of the production run. And yes, do you notice my orange dump model has the tampo print on one side mis-aligned?
It saw another 5-pack release as well in blue and grey. Would you believe this pack was called Construction?
Then in 2009 we saw a white and orange model. No, it wasn’t a Ranec, as that recurring theme did not begin until the following year. This was simply the colours chosen for this 5-pack release. Now what was that pack called? Checking records. Oh yes, Construction!
2010 and it was back in the basic range. MB49 this time with an ROK design on the orange and grey model.
Plus we had a 5-pack release. This one was red and grey. It was called, wait for it, do you want to know, really? It was Construction Trucks. Seriously, do you not remember the Ground Breaker talk above? Same pack.
Which means if you were paying attention at that point, you will know that 2011 saw the 5-pack simply known as Construction again. And yes, as with 2010 and this year, the 2011 Construction 5-pack saw the Dump Truck alongside the Ground Breaker. Do they make a good pair or do they make a good pair?
After that though, the model went on hiatus again. It did not return until 2017! Back in the basic range again, this time as MB45. And technically a carry forward model.
Although it did have a different wheel to the 2010 5-pack issue, plus it was a slightly darker and slightly more metallic red.
Now it gets a Ranec outing. This time, the 2019 5-pack was called MBX Construction as they are starting to add MBX before a lot of things.
and lastly, before the current issue, we got another carry forward. This time in 2020 as part of the Mission Force Construction Crew pack.
Again, wheel variation compared to the original 2010 basic range issue, although barely a shade to this one. Funny how it has so far seen 2 carry forwards, and both have switched wheels from the 2010 issues to alternates. But after 45 years and many MANY versions (including that My First Matchbox I appear to have ignored), I still think there’s life in this one. I think it needs to run until at least 2027 and see a 50th anniversary logo of its own adorning the model.
Finally, this pack sees the MB705(b) ’07 Honda Ridgeline. I put a (b) there as a Seafire was originally assigned that MAN number but was forgotten about when Mattel hit that point and overridden. This model, to me, is the absolute pick of the bunch. I love it. Black with gold pin striping and a Road Wrangler Construction door design, plus the gold grille on the front. It’s lovely.
Yes, this is definitely Michael Heralda. We see A58 on this. Plus the Dig logo, which I guessed before was Michael’s handiwork. He has outdone himself on this one. I would say this could be the pick of the Ridgeline series in general. I am not going to dive back now. For one, I have just done 2 massive dive backs on the Ground Breaker (large dive back) and Dump Truck (massive dive back) and this too has quite a history. And secondly, spoiler alert, it is in batch B of the basic range for 2022, and will be seen again very soon. So I thought I would move that dive back to then.
Which means I am going to have a quick nose at a couple of other 5-packs that appeared alongside this. I have mentioned it before, but will go through it again. Matchbox are assigned so many liveries (or SKUs as they often refer to them as) that they can create per year. There is a budget, and limits on so many things. But, once a model is signed off and ready to produce, that SKU is finished and done with. But not forgotten. So say they get assigned 100 SKUs per year. It’s a lot more, but I am just making the numbers easy to follow. 50 are assigned to models sold as singles. 10 for Moving Parts models. 5 for 9-pack exclusives. 5 for Collector models. 5 for Working Rigs. That is 75. They then create 5x 5-packs all with exclusive looks. There we are, maximum 100 SKUs reached. Now obviously we know that models in 9-packs, apart from the exclusive are pulled from singles and 5-packs. There is no SKU required for any of those, as it has already been done and dealt with. So those 5x 9-packs all see an additional 40 models on top of the 5 exclusives. But they are just duplicates seen already. We are still at 100 models in total. But, with some models their SKU once signed off can be continued at a later date. So Mattel can say come up with 4 more 5-packs, but simply explore these older, already signed off SKUs, and group certain ones together in a simple theme, and create a new 5-pack. Suddenly the 5x 5-packs they have on shelves in stores are joined by another 4x 5-packs. But there was no additional SKU required. They are still at their 100 maximum. But suddenly we now have 120 models out there, using the 100 SKUs they had for the year. Sure they have been used before, but for the average person going into a store, they are seeing a wider variety of items on the pegs, and it gives the impression that there is more out there than there actually is. It’s a clever little idea. For many parents who are simply buying a pack for their child to play with (after all, this is a toy company and that is their bread and butter), they are not going to care whether a model was made previously. I mean, just look at my Dump Truck dive back. The original Lesney release was sold for 5 year unchanged. The later Universal one saw 1x 3-year run and then a 4-year run replacement. These carry forwards are now of models that originally appeared for a matter of months, and are now popping back again for a matter of months. In fact, out of all Matchbox models, 5-packs as a rule will have the longest run. Most others will run for either 2 or 3 months before production moves to a new batch. Some 5-packs might eke out maybe 6 months of production (often not continuous). So to me, these carry forward packs are pretty clever because they help bolster the Matchbox brand without overstretching their allowance, but also gives models a second (or possibly a third) go around for a matter of a few months. Still way, WAY shorter than it used to be in years gone by. Plus, it gives me lots of fun checking to see if there are variations from the break in production. So sure, why not check out a couple of new carry forward packs. First off, the MBX Construction III.
Which includes the MB032 Excavator which was originally in the 2018 Ocean Works 5-pack. Usually plastic components are pretty good for shades. This one is fairly close, but the new one is slightly lighter.
But the orange tampo printing to the side is significantly lighter on the new production run.
The MB601 Bulldozer was originally a part of a 2018 5-pack too, this time the Wildfire Rescue pack. The blade is a slightly different green and the orange again is lighter, but not by much this time.
However, if you like your base variations, this model has been updated since that time. The older oval logo has finally been moved and replaced with the lozenge.
As I said, we might see a model carried forward more than once. The MB1008 Tilt ‘n Tip is one such example. Which is a shame, as I would have used the 2017 basic range issue, rather than carry forward the original 2016 MB35, which had already been carried forward to 2019 as MB34, but was found at that time to be just a little darker in shade of green.
However, this has just eked out a little bit of a darker (and duller) shade again, but on top of that the City Services strip in blue is not a more purple shade.
The MB840 Water Hauler is tough to explain. It looks pretty similar to the 2017 MB75 in red and white.
However, the logo on the side appears to have more of a silvery background to it, and appears to be less defined. Plus.
They appear to have changed its name. It is now known as Water Worker, not Water Hauler. It appears the new name has been trademarked too, which I guess the older one wasn’t.
Finally, the MB1177 ’16 Ram Flatbed is a carry forward of the 2019 debut basic range issue. And this I found to be the best of all. The original 2019 MB24 is a notably lighter shade of silver to the latest one.
Plus check out the font used for the word Cole on the doors. It is way more bold than it was originally. This to me was just as cool as having a new livery on the model. but I am a nerd.
Which brings me to the other “carry forward” 5-pack that appeared in this batch. MBX Mountain II. 5 more models that are as they were when originally released. Or were they?
The MB984 was originally in the 2018 Wildfire Rescue 5-pack (alongside the Bulldozer I checked out from the last carry forward pack), and makes another appearance here. This was very close to the original release. The green paint and the plastic sections all seem to be pretty much a perfect match. The only difference I can see is a small shade to the orange tampo printing, as the new run appears to be just a little bit darker than it was before. Note, the 2018 5-pack release was the debut look for the “altered” casting of the Rescue Helicopter.
The MB1048 Hail Cat was originally sold as the debut basic range issue back in 2017 as MB59. Again all I can find with this is a small shade. This time on the green paint which is now a slightly darker shade.
The MB957 ’14 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk makes another appearance. It has only been used 4 times since it debuted as MB82 in the 2015 basic range, of which again the debut is the carry forward. Such a shame. I really like this casting, and wish it was getting more love. A carry forward is enough for me for now as the newer run appears to be coming in a noticeably lighter, almost pinky shade of red compared to the original.
I also notice that the front tampo printing (again sorry for the slight blurriness, stupid camera) shows the front grille slats appear to be shorter on the new run.
The MB860 Ford Explorer yet again is a repeat of its very first appearance. Just like the original, the colours for this all over are pretty much spot on The white body, the teal interior, black base. Yes, it all works. The green and black tampo printing is also a match in shade. But do you notice the tampo strip? The green line with Forest Ranger?
I checked, and both sides are the same. The new one is sporting a noticeably thinner stripe which means the font for Forest Ranger is also smaller.
And finally, we have the MB723 VW Beetle 4×4. This, just like the other 4 models in the pack, is a carry forward of the debut version of the model. All 5 in the pack were their very first release coming back for another run. This goes back a little further though, as it debuted as MB61 in the 2007 basic range in light blue. I remember back at the time I found a nice shade to it, as I found a very pale shade alongside the light too. So I was a bit curious as to whether this would be noticeably different as the only tampo printing was black and white, and neither are exactly colours that are good for shades.
Well, this was a surprise. I love it! What the new one has is an alternate coloured headlight print. Where in 2007 it was a pair of black headlights, the new 2022 release has a pair of white headlights. Very clever. So instant variation.
Of course others, who are not me, will know that the base was re-done between then and now, and so the model has been modified. It was actually in part to include the rear engine as a part of the interior rather than a separate piece. While they were doing that they altered the base detailing too. So if you were to look inside you will find that the original had a white interior, and the new one a grey interior matching the engine.
But what of the shade of blue? Well, it turns out that the new one is quite a bit different. It sits in the middle here, with the light blue left and pale blue right. This one is a much brighter light blue shade too. So it is quite a bit different all round. The star of the pack for me. These are the ones I love seeing as carry forwards. Those that have not been done in a long time. 15 years? Yes, give me more late 2000s as carry forwards.
And that brings me to the end of my report this week. As I said, no dive back, as the Ground Breaker and Dump Truck were such big dive backs themselves, I felt there wasn’t much call to do much more. I hope you enjoyed me going on about 5-packs, because (spoiler alert) I am carrying on next week. Until then, I hope you have a safe and happy week and see you next Monday for another Matchbox Monday.