Matchbox Monday checks out some Best of Germany 2022

It’s that time of the week again when I hit you with another batch of Matchbox goodies. This week i have my friend Dirk Schleuer to thank, as he has sent me over the latest batch of the Best of Germany vehicles. The first half of 2022. You can find these for sale on his Moyshop website. Simply click on the “neuste produkte” tab under the logo to see what has recently arrived. He has received a bunch of new items recently. My friends over at Wheel Collectors in USA are starting to get new Matchbox items as well, and I will be receiving a box of goodies from them very soon too. I can’t wait. Finally the floodgates are starting to open. BTW clicking either name in bold takes you to their website in a new tab. So as with the UK series I previewed a while ago, only 2 of the castings are in all new looks for the series, but you know me. Glass half full type person. I do like seeing whether any of the carry forwards are showing a variance to their original issue. So let’s begin. I will do these in number order.

Which means I am beginning with number 1 of 12 for the set. The MB1169 ’80 Mercedes-Benz W123 Wagon, or as the card art now says; S123. I am surprised they have not altered the base of the casting to S123 since the launch of W123. Card art has been noting the correct vehicle designation for a few years now.

As many people will likely have realized by now, this is a repeat of the 2019 debut version of the model. It first appeared in the 2019 basic range as MB3 in a light olive.

Which, okay we know, these series always have carry forwards. But this was a really big missed opportunity. Cast your mind back to 2019. We saw this and then as the year progressed a certain MB99 Bentley Continental GT was dropped, and a replacement was planned. They were going to release a second version of this casting in metallic dark brown in the MB99 slot. They even showed it in the Matchboxworld sneak peeks on Instagram. It never arrived. They could have used that as a carry forward and possibly managed to get a third “exclusive” look for free. But I am not going to dwell on it. As I said, glass half full.

This was the debut MB3 in olive. During production I did notice the olive varied a little in shade. I often tend to notice these things.

Well I put this newest issue next to the darkest olive I had before, and as you can see, it is even darker.

But that is not the only thing. The license plate on the rear is blue. On the 2019 issues it is quite a light shade, and the new one is noticeably darker. It does stand out.

Of course, as carry forwards go, they obviously weren’t going to do this. The 2019 Dinner model for the Albuquerque Convention in July. Blue was the standard look for the dinner model, but if you were one of the first 75 booked in, you would get a green early bird variant.

After missing out on getting the metallic brown later in the year, we next saw the 2020 MB13 issue in blue.

We did get a second 2020 issue if you were at a Target store, as the retro series saw one in orange in the number 3 slot out of 24.

With 2021 only seeing the 1 look. A pale lemon MB53. It’s funny how this is the first time that this casting has not been given a number that ended in a “3”. I discount the Gathering models, as they were for the 17th Gathering, so had 17 on them for that. The 123 started as MB3, then MB13 and Target Retro 3, then MB53. This is Germany 1. So now we need a release that ends in a 2 so they can add up to a 3. Yes, I am crazy. Have you not figured that out yet?

So next up in the assortment is the number 3 slot. And well, errm, this is the same number 3 as 2021. The MB966 BMW M5 Police.

In fact, I checked. I had a thorough inspection of both. It is an exact duplicate of the 2021 number 3 model. I saw absolutely nothing different between the new one and the one from last year. Same shade of metallic silver, same blue tampo shade, window tint matching etc. Everything about it was the same, which again I felt was such a missed opportunity.

Because look what the first issue of the casting was? A German Polizei look. If they were doing a carry forward, they should have carried forward this one. It makes more sense to me.

Sure, when it debuted in the 2015 basic range as MB53, I did see 2 shades to the silver paint, and I heard people found some tint variation to the window as well. But, being 7 years ago, I think this could have seen a re-run for this series and it would have been a better choice.

As I don’t think any of the other models being sold in the German market would have made for such cool carry forwards. The MB68 from 2016 being white with a Police side design really did not scream German.

Obviously a certain promotional issue from later in the year, which was made for Dirk Schleuer’s Leipzig convention in October was very German in its execution. But this was a high end, premium promo release so wouldn’t be re-run as a core range model.

We then saw a 2017 Best of release in black with a rather British looking design instead. Obviously not so good for the German market.

In 2018 it was back in the basic range for what is currently its last time, in red with a Fire livery. Again not exactly something I would immediately say looks very German.

And of course after taking 2019 and 2020 off, it really went nuts in 2021 by being a part of 3 different country exclusive ranges. As well as the German (at the back) we had the Russian look (middle) and UK look (front) too. So yeah, for me, they should have repeated the debut look as the carry forward rather than simply carry on with last year’s model.

But after that, there is not a single thing I can say bad about this one. The MB1242 Audi TT RS in orange, taking the number 4 slot in the range.

Released exclusively in the German series, this model looks absolutely fantastic in metallic orange.

And just as the previous 2 issues have seen, this sports a simple front and rear tampo print highlighting the details of the model. Still no license plate. I honestly feel that is the one little area of the model that could have benefited from a tiny additional piece of printing. It might be that Audi don’t want that extra piece of printing and request not to show it. We don’t know. Obviously all we know is that Matchbox (well Mattel) put in the request for each design through to the licensor, and they say yes or no, and occasionally a few tweaks might be needed for them to change a no to a yes. We have no idea if Matchbox submit a design with a license plate, and Audi come back with “lose the license plate and it is a go”. As I often say, we don’t see all the work going on in the background to get from idea to production and how easy or difficult it can be at times to get from one to the other.

Obviously we have only see the 2 releases before this. In 2021 it debuted as MB16 in the basic range in blue with basically the same tampo printing as the new one has.

And as we have already seen for 2022, a second basic range issue in red as MB49 has also appeared.

Giving us 3 releases to date of the Audi. I am very happy seeing more Audis again. It is a sorely underused manufacturer. I know there is a new electric Audi coming this year, and I do hope to see perhaps a classic brought in for the future too. I do keep mentioning the 1969 Audi 100 Coupe S.

And now we get the other brand new look for a model in the set. The MB1220 ’62 Mercedes-Benz 220SE takes the number 6 slot in the series.

It has a 62 (as well as “Super-Fast” – clever pun) on the top in a sort of German flag themed colour stripe. That is very well thought out I think.

Across the rear of the model is the Mercedes-Benz, tri-star and Matchbox logos as well as a proper German flag and another 62. I think this is a really cool design, and really works well for the series it is in.

I was curious how they were going to do this model moving forward after its introduction as MB100 in the 2020 range with a nod to Ewy Rosqvist on it.

Last year we saw the MB43 in blue with white side detailing and roof.

Which if you looked carefully you would find the white in various amounts of thickness. On the left is a thick coverage roof, the right a thin coverage.

I also notice that so far, across three unique looks for this model, each time they have gone to the effort of giving the roof a tampo hit too. Plus, if you notice the wheels get differing amounts of hot foil printing. Beginning with a full hit, the 2nd one had none, and now the 3rd has just the outer ring done. It gives each wheel a different look too.

Next up is the MB684 VW Golf V GTi in purple. It takes the number 8 slot in the set, and I knew this would be a fun little carry forward.

The purple look was first used back in 2009 as MB30, so I knew with 13 years between them there would be high chances of shade variations.

But obviously that was not the only thing that would be different.

The base gives it away. A copyright date of 2005 and 2020? Yes, the casting got updated 2 years ago, and so this would be the updated casting style regardless of whether they were able to get things spot on.

Can I do another dive back? Why not. Let’s have some fun. I know I went through these not too long ago, but it’s always fun to bring the Golfs out again. MB1, 2006. This was the debut of the model in red with a simple front and rear tampo scheme.

I remember a short while later it arrived in the Superfast range that year too in a premium package, and people saying once you take the model out, it was basically the same tampo on a white model. It was just the license plate that was different (as well as the wheels obviously).

In 2007 we had a dual basic range issue. MB5 could be found in black.

Or it could be found in lime gold, mustard gold, some sort of off-gold look.

But 2007 did see additional uses elsewhere too. During the era of 10-packs of all exclusive models, the “Real” pack that year saw this look.

And a bright silver appeared in a Stars of Cars series in Germany too. The last Stars of Cars before they changed to Euro Edition for 2008.

Talking of 2008, the basic range MB28 that year was an official special edition of the real car, known as Fahrenheit. However, this orange replica could be found with or without the special Fahrenheit logo on the rear.

The Real 10-pack was again sporting a VW Golf in it, this time in blue. Shades of blue could be found too.

And they decided to revisit the lime gold vs mustard gold debate with a Licensed 5-pack Nickelodeon set issue.

Hello purple. As I said, 2009. This was actually quite a fun year for the model anyway.

The basic range MB30 varied in shades of purple quite a lot.

And the window could be found in tinted smoke or clear. For reference, the new one is a light smoke tint, sort of between the two 2009s.

I had 4, but do you see something that I had to get on my travels at the time?

One of them had no headlights. The grille area was tampo printed, but the headlights were blank. I got it brand new at the time, in a store (Toys R Us) that was just putting out a fresh box of models, so I cannot see this being some sort of wipe and return. It had to come from the factory like that. Suited me. I like weird error items like this.

But, for reference, putting the new model next to a classic 2009 issue, you don’t notice too much from the front of the changes made. The front end was simply tidied up a bit, which in 2009 wasn’t showing too much in the way of distress yet. So it was not too obvious.

Although if you look carefully you can make out the upper grille has been slightly re-defined with a more prominent lattice effect in the casting.

The most significant change they made to the model was the way that it was being constructed. Originally the model was created in a way that the front of the body was riveted but the rear was a thin tube. The window section would be inserted over that thin tube to try and cover it up a little with the plastic of the window section. It was an unusual construction method, and it has been changed now to a simple drop method where the metal body section being riveted through the base is now much easier to spot. It makes construction faster.

So after that came yet another 10-pack release for the Real set, this time in a dark grey.

For 2010 the basic range turned green for MB28. I found some nice shading to it.

And then a little later is doubled up MB28 with a second release in yellow, so again I was busy doubling up my collecting of it by finding yet more shades.

And then the model vanished. 2011? Nope. 2012? Nuh-huh! 2013? 2014? 2015? 2016? All big fat zeros. But suddenly. Randomly. Out of the blue. 2017 saw this MB118 in grey. Oh it’s making a return? No? Because the rest of the 2010s saw nothing.

It wasn’t until 2021 when we started seeing movement again. It popped up as MB79 in the basic range pretty early in the year in a dark charcoal design.

And almost immediately after that stopped production they started up the Best of France number 8 for the year, but this was the point where the new updated look for the casting debuted. Not with the basic range issue.

So after Best of France got a carry forward, we now have a Best of Germany carry forward too. Both carry forwards utilizing the updated casting compared to their original releases. There is another one coming too. I will at some point obtain the Pizza Hut playset issue too which has another carry forward in it. I am looking forward to that.

Which brings me to the last model in the batch, and the third Mercedes-Benz. I tell you, 3 Mercs, 1 BMW, 1 VW and 1 Audi. Where is the Porsche? Not that I am biased or anything. I would have dug out an old Opel Speedster and re-issued that too. Just for something different. Because the 2 Mercedes-Benz castings they have carried forward are recent models. This is the MB1195 ’15 Mercedes-Benz G500. the G-Class has only been around a few years, and it could have been really cool if they dug the old one out, the MB149 280GE variant of the G-Class. That was last used in 2009 (in a Polizei theme), and I am sure the casting still works okay, although with a plastic roof, is it now too many parts? Or perhaps they could have gone with the Unimog. MB728 has a nice variety of older issues that could have been dug back into.

But the number 9 of 12 was the recent casting, and as such is carrying forward a look that was only around 2 years ago.

Not that it is a bad look. This blue with simple front and rear lights is a very good look for the model. But I do feel when they do carry forwards, they really should be using looks that have been quite a few years out of production. So in 2022, use anything up to 2017 as a benchmark, so we have a good 5 year gap between productions. I do feel that with the target audience being you know, kids, toy cars are something that may not last too long. They like them for a while, but tend to grow out in general. Some don’t. Obviously. And I think a 5 year rotation is a rough guide for a new set of kids to be into them and seeing things for the first time. That is just my opinion.

Which does put this model out of the remit for carry forwards in my view. After all, we first saw this as a promotional issue for the 2018 Leipzig convention in October that year. 4 different debut looks. Yellow was the show model, green the convention, although early birds got a silver one instead, and the few helpers received a lovely pink exclusive model.

After that we then saw the first actual core range issue. It was in a Walmart exclusive Mercedes-Benz set. However, they were supposed to be in singles, but it was running late and didn’t get issued as a single. But it was a part of a later run 5-pack of models. Not easy to find. Maybe they should have chosen this one to carry forward? Give more people an opportunity to get it.

We then saw the model debut in the basic range as MB49 in matte purple.

And then we had a second release for 2020, with this being a repeat of that basic range issue. The 2020 MB36 in blue.

The new one is a little darker. Good for me as a nutty shade variation collector but had I chosen, I think this would have been way down the order of releases I would have liked to repeat. Although what do I care? I still got a shade! There is a 2021 release for this model too. A golden issue as part of the Collector series, but I haven’t previewed those yet. Honestly, I will get around to that batch. One day.

So that takes me to the end of the “new” part of the blog. You know what is coming next. Dive back time.

Which this week begins with a Site Dumper. This is the only Site Dumper casting that I have from Matchbox, as this was the last one that they ever made, and the only one after the transition to Superfast wheels. In 1953, the very first year of the brand, they created 3 models. A Road Roller (number 1), a Site Dumper (number 2) and a Cement Mixer (number 3). The Site Dumper ran until 1956, and in 1957 was replaced by a larger, almost identical looking Site Dumper, which ran until 1961. For 1962 they replaced that with a brand new Site Dumper casting which ran until 1967. So for the first 15 years of the brand, there was a Site Dumper in the basic range. And then we had nothing until 1977 when they created this new Site Dumper casting, which I show from the front going back along the model. Many people keep thinking this model has the single person cab at the front, because Dumper Trucks have the dumps at the back. But this is a smaller Site Dumper, and these have their dumps at the front, with a seating area at the back for the driver to work with.

When the model arrived as MB26-C in 1977 it was painted in yellow all over, both body and dump. At first the larger front wheels were 5-spoke and although the rear wheels are usually 5-crown, there is supposedly a first run with dot-dash rear wheels. I have never seen one.

Over the course of 2 years, they had a few issues getting the front dumper section and the main body section to match, so in 1978 they decided to switch things up and just paint the dump red. Matching crisis averted.

By the end of the year they were phasing out the large 5-spoke wheels, and as such they switched the model to 5-arch wheels at the front instead. This ran until 1980 at which point the US market dropped the model. There is a base variation to be found, as most bases have a black middle plastic section, surrounded by a metal piece, which usually is black, but some were painted brown. I never got one as I wasn’t worried about a base variation on this.

So as was pretty common in 1981, when the basic range split between the US market and ROW market, the US range dropped a number of models, and replaced them with a range of older castings, some of them modified. A few ongoing models were updated with new looks too. But for those left in the ROW range, many of these were also given a refresh with a new look just for the ROW market. This one was one of those models. For 1981 they turned it red with a silver dump. However, as you can see, the shade of red varied quite a lot from a deep red to an almost orange red.

They were also experimenting with yellow wheels on many construction vehicles at the time as well, so you can find either chrome or yellow. Although finding a yellow wheel on a dark red is proving to be very difficult. The base was modified for this release too, and the plastic insert was removed, simply becoming part of the metal base section. I know of no crossovers for bases with a particular body colour. All yellow bodies have 2-part metal/plastic bases, and all reds have 1-part metal bases. However these bases started to become a lot more random. Black is the most common, but silver, charcoal a blueish grey also exist too. I actually don’t have any, but I may get them as you can see the base between the wheels. After 1981 though, the ROW range also dropped the model as it was introducing a Volvo Cable Truck in its place for 1982. This means that since 1982 there has not been a single Site Dumper in the Matchbox range at all. Now standing at 40 years, considering they are a pretty common site on construction sites. I have always been surprised we have never seen a new one.

Another short and sweet model. The year was 1983. Lesney had gone bust in 1982 and for a short while, no R&D work had been going on. Universal Toys had taken over and seeing a shortfall of new castings in the toolbank, asked the R&D team to do what they could to bolster the situation. So they grabbed a number of castings, and did some quick modifications to them to create something new. One was the MB119 Sand Digger. It was actually an old MB31-B VolksDragon from 1972, which after being run until 1976 was dropped, but brought back as a Limited Edition in 1978 for USA. It had been a Roman Numeral model known as Lady Bug. When the brand split in 1981 it was brought back to the US range again in the MB15 slot, now known as Hi-Ho Silver where it ran for 2 years. In 1982 it was assigned MB081 as its MAN number, but was immediately dropped after that. Why? Because they completed re-tooled the model into this. Turn it into a T-top, lose the window piece, jack up the front, chop the wheel arches and strengthen up the bumpers. You will find other little tweaks too, but this was basically the old VolksDragon renewed and revamped for the Universal era. One of a number of castings to have that happen to. It didn’t last too long. A number of these were stop-gap additions, just giving us the impression of new stuff without really having new stuff. It arrived as MB49 worldwide in green, and with it being called Sand Digger, they put that as a design on the model.

It only ran 1 year like that, and during production in Macau they did come up with a number of shades to the green paint.

For 1984 they gave it a new look. It was now red with a Dune Man design on it. However, they never changed the base name, so it was still known as Sand Digger. At first they still had white interiors left to insert.

But soon changed that to a brown interior.

In 1985 they decided to move production to China, but it kept the same look.

The Macau made and China made models are actually pretty close in shade to each other (discounting the early white interior Macaus obviously). But after 1985 they decided to drop the model from the range, replacing it with a Peugeot Quasar Concept Vehicle. But its story wasn’t quite over.

In 1993 the casting was sent over to Bulgaria as part of a final wave of castings they were to receive. As per the later agreement they had with Universal, they were no longer leased on a 1-year basis, and were kept by the Bulgarian factory permanently. Early production runs sort of looked like the last of the standard issue, albeit with a more simple tampo print. It simple had Dune Man on the side and the skull on the front.

But as Bulgaria had no large maltese cross wheels, they just made an enlarged dot-dash or 5-arch to use on the casting (as well as some of their own from other items). the model was also given a plastic base instead of metal (as many vehicles were cost-reduced by then, and it was extremely basic. I guess they didn’t understand why it was being called Sand Digger or the significance of anything, so it simply had Matchbox and Made in Bulgaria written on the base. By then they were selling them in blisters that did not have detailed of individual models on them, so it really did not matter too much.

I admit I only ever bothered getting a small assortment of 3 of the early issues mimicking the Dune Man look from 1984/85. I also deliberately chose wheels that were more in line with the styles that Matchbox usually had too. None of the off-brand wheel designs. Of course later on, as the years passed and they kept making more of this casting, the designs for it started changing, and through the 1990s and 2000s we saw a variety of different looks and designs. But I am happy enough with these 3. Although never say never!

Now I apologize for some blurry pictures. For some reason, quite a few of this next casting came out a little weird. This is the MB263 Ferrari 456GT. It debuted in 1994 as MB17 for the US range of MB41 for the ROW range in blue with 456GT on the sides and a Ferrari badge on the front.

That only lasted the 1 year though, as in 1995, during the height of the Tyco era, we were getting quite a lot of unusual designs for models. Dark purple with a white pattern going over the top and sides, and a fluorescent yellow interior. Wasn’t that so Ferrari-like. Still, me being me, I still go for shade variations, and I found a really good one there.

In 1996 the US range kept the model going, but decided to wipe off the top design.

Still good for shades though.

Whereas the ROW range decided to mix things up a bit by giving us a very plain metallic dark red issue instead. although ROW mixes did see the purple with no top print before they switched to this look though. A late production run in early 1997 did see this switch to the newer 5-spoke wheels that were debuting that year, but I have not managed to find one yet.

For 1997 itself both US and ROW issues saw their looks change a little. Both still used the same basic colour. the US was purple, the ROW was dark metallic red. But now the US had a 21 Rush Racing design and the ROW had a large prancing horse logo on the front.

And of course if you lived in USA there was a Gold Challenge issue too in metallic gold. I have a lovely prepro in a lighter non-metallic as well.

After that the model was dropped from both basic ranges. It did continue as a premium, something I don’t have either of. A 1997 JC Penney set saw a red one, and in 1998 we had a black one. But for core ranges, it was a little quiet, but Germany saw fit to add it to their range in 1999. This was a very nice MB29 there in red with front (not usually blurry) detailing.

Which sparked a little interest to bring it back to the proper basic range. In 2000 it was back as MB82 in the US range or MB62 in the ROW range in champagne. both markets saw the same release again, first time since 1995, although if you lived in USA, you might have found the first 10,000 sporting a Matchbox 2000 logo on the window.

In 2001 it became an ROW exclusive in yellow as MB18. And again my camera seemed to focus on the wrong end of the model. One day I will figure out how to get it focused on the right end at all times.

See what I mean? Blurry front, in focus back. Are there any on-line camera courses? Anyway, sidetracking. After 2001 the model lay dormant for a few years. For some reason moving in to the Hero City era was not a good thing for this model, so it was quiet until 2005 when a black issue arrived as MB25 in the basic range.

And they also decided to add it to the Superfast range as well. It was number 17 in the series, coming in yellow for the ROW range or red for the US range. Sadly, it proved to be it, as we know, Ferrari decided to stop with the licensing agreements after then for all companies, and decided to be selective with only random exclusive agreements. This meant that we no longer saw any Ferraris in the Matchbox range.

So I am busy digging out some rather random castings that have likely been forgotten. Who remembers the MB547 Cycle with Sidecar? It debuted in the 2002 basic range as MB59, and for those hunting down logos, these could have been found anywhere in the world in 2002 on the first 10,000 examples on the front of the model. during the 1960s, Lesney had quite the thing for releasing motorbikes with sidecars. They created a Triumph with one in 1960, added a Lambretta with one in 1961 and then a Harley Davidson with one in 1962. But after 1966, all 3 had been dropped and this is the only other time that Matchbox has ever created a motorbike with a sidecar since for the basic range. Obviously this was not a named manufacturer, so a Matchbox originals design, but I felt it wasn’t a bad representation.

Later in the year, they used this new casting to help advertise the upcoming Hero City era as it was the 2003 Toy Fair model.

For 2003 it was MB28 in the basic range. But they decided to create a different look for the 2 markets. If you were in the US market, they made this yellow and blue release with a simple Police and stripe side design. Of course the first 10,000 released sported a Hero City logo on the front.

But for the ROW market, still being sold as MB28, they decided this one would be green, white and blue. It too had a police design on the side. However, as production started the made a small blooper.

Some of the ROW first run of 10,000 were mistakenly put together using the front section from the US issue. I actually remember finding mine. Obviously it was 2003. I had heard a rumour that Asda stores in the UK had just started putting out the new assortment and so I immediately jumped in my car to check out the local stores. Nope! Perhaps the next ones over. No. Okay there is another a few miles further on. Still plenty of the old stuff. Perhaps a bit further on, and on, and on. I would check, they would either be still fairly well stocked with the previous batch, or if I checked with staff there no delivery had arrived yet. Eventually after 2-3 hours of driving and checking, I stumbled on another store, probably about 50-60 miles away from home. Nothing in the store, so I ask somebody if anything was out the back. He wandered out to the store room, a few minutes later returning with a brand new unopened box. He then proceeded to open it up, and yes, the new batch. As I went through pulling out all the new stuff, I happened to catch this error. Both my ROW Hero City logo models were purchased together at that Asda. I pulled out one, then the other, and noticed the mistake. I wasn’t too sure until I checked after and discovered that was supposed to be from the US release. Oops! Cool error. Then I heard a few other people found it too. So yes, it was an error as such, but because a small number of them were made like that, it is classified as a variation. It’s the age old argument, how many made turns a model from being an error into a variation?

At the end of the year, Mattel decided to create a special unique 20-pack exclusively for sale at the Mattel store. 20-packs had been sold for a number of year, coming in white boxes with the Matchbox logos etc on them. They were simply models pulled from elsewhere with nothing of note in them as a rule. But, this was a special release. It came in a silver box instead of white, and all 20 models saw something different from how they were in the basic range. 3 models were in exclusive designs, just for the pack, and a number saw changes to some of paintwork. All (except this) saw wheels in gold instead of chromed. Obviously this one didn’t have chrome wheels, as they were a special wheel for this casting. So all we had was a change in colour. Instead of being a dark yellow as found in the US basic range earlier in the year, it was now coming in a bright light yellow instead.

We also had another release in 2003. Part of the licensed 5-packs series, a Rescue Heroes pack saw this blue, yellow and white release featuring Jake Justice on the side. It was quite fitting he became a police officer having Justice as a surname. I wonder if he is related to the actor Victoria Justice?

For 2004, things were a lot quieter for the model. It just had the 1 release. MB40 in the basic range. It was maroon and white, and had, well, one of those non-sensical side designs that were splashed all over models that year. This proved to be its final basic range outing. But not quite the finale.

As 2005 saw them drop Hero City like a lead balloon, and I guess the model was already being drawn up for use in the Police 5-pack that year, so they tweaked the design to give it a much more realistic side design. During production the model (along with the rest of the 5-pack) moved production from China to Thailand, but that did prove to be all there was left for it. After 2005 we never saw it again.

Which brings me to the last model this week. The MB923 Travel Tracker. Yeah I know, another Matchbox originals design. But there is something about this one that I quite like. I can’t place it. But I have quite enjoyed this casting.

It comes with a removable canopy section for the rear, and a motorbike attached to the front of it. Quite a fun little casting. It debuted as MB117 in the 2014 basic range in green with a tan canopy and a simple Travel Tracker side design.

But later on it was given a second release too, now in zamac with an orange canopy and MBX T-Trakr side design.

For 2015 it moved to the MB111 slot in a bright green with tan canopy, and a cute little Travel Tracker Safari Tours design, with some lovely elephants trailing the sign.

2015 also happened to be the year that the first Jurassic World film arrived. Mattel only received the license to do tie-ins very late in the day so had precious little time to come up with anything significant. All they could do was create some designs using existing castings to release alongside the film. Obviously none of the castings were of vehicles from the film. This yellow and green Grounds Crew model was one of the single issues tied in to the film.

And later on they also released a Mission Force set which saw another Travel Tracker, now in light grey and blue with a simple Jurassic World themed side design.

For 2016 they didn’t issue the model in the basic range. It saw just the one release, as a part of the Jungle 5-pack. For those who like variations, the yellow interior/window piece varied in shade from quite a bright yellow through to quite an orangey yellow look.

Before it returned to the basic range for one more outing in 2017. MB96 that year was tan with a grey canopy and an MBX Off Roading Specialist Equipment logo on the side.

But that wasn’t it for 2017, as again it was given a 5-pack release. This time it was in the Desert 5-pack in beige and grey with a Travel Tracker Off Road design on the side. After this the model went on hiatus for a while.

We have only seen one more issue since. In 2020 the MBX Wild II 5-pack saw this white an orange Anaconda Guides liveried model in a slow burn recurring theme. For those who don’t know, the first Anaconda Guides model (Unit 2) was a Toyota FJ Land Cruiser in 2010 in black. Then in 2011 we saw a Jeep Willys as Anaconda Guides Unit 3 in olive in 2011. 9 years later we nudged up to Unit 4. I wonder how long until Unit 5 arrives? Also, where was Unit 1?

And on that bombshell, I do believe another report is done. i hope you enjoyed it, even though in effect we only had 2 brand new issues to go through.

But I still have fun with carry forwards, and diving into my collection for a little extra padding. I hope everybody has a nice enjoyable and safe week, and catch you all next Monday for another round in the Matchbox corner of the Lamley Group.

11 Replies to “Matchbox Monday checks out some Best of Germany 2022”

  1. Reissuing cars that are exactly the same ( BMW M5 ) as the previous set says to me that Mattel are taking us for mugs, I do buy the sets but I expect to get either different cars or different colours, not the same bloody car ! Dave, please stop waxing lyrical and going all moist over a shade variation, instead get in touch with Mattel via your contacts and call them out on it, this is just very lazy marketing at best, exploitation of collectors at worst.

    1. I agree. No disrespect to Dave, but I really hate the treatment Mattel gives to Matchbox in recent years. All these great models, but poor distribution outside of the US, budget cuts that affect Matchbox but doesn’t seem to affect Hot Wheels, and rerelasing models that got released a year or two ago. I’m all for rereleases but they have to be at least a decade old. It’s just such a waste and only disinterests collectors.

    2. I can’t help enjoying the stuff I enjoy. I have spoken with Mattel over these carry forwards, and this is something that has been done as a way of giving a larger presence in store over what they are selling. They seem to work as these carry forwards as a rule don’t seem to linger, which is the main thing. I know many collectors roll their eyes at them, but the target audience (the kids) are still getting them. But I know some carry forwards are barely carry forwards. Like the BMW M5 was. But when I was younger, they would just sell the same old model for years on end. Some models lasted over a decade unchanged (officially, until you start getting picky over small things). I know times change and all that, but they try their best. Some like it, some don’t. They know carry forwards are not the most desirable things, and I do wish that they would look at more older stuff from at least 5 years ago, as I mentioned as a rule for carrying forward.

  2. David – please go on enjoying your shades of colour – but, when cash is tight (is it ever not?) I’d happily buy a different colour model or even the two types of load like on the safari land rover but I just wouldn’t buy a repeat with no appreciable difference, Mattel might like to bear this in mind when they churn out almost identical items.

    1. I know they do try to make small but subtle differences when repeating models if they can. But they get their orders from the higher ups just like many people do.

  3. Tbh .. it’s all the BEST of getting anything Matchbox.
    My local area Tesco and surrounding areas are out…. Nothing of price plans, tags and put in various other toys/brands in place.
    Is Tesco’s not selling Matchbox anymore?.
    I know distribution…. And many more of world Truman show problems. I hope our one and only Tesco’s hasn’t pulled the plug on this brand.
    Anyhow thanks for the good read and keep up the good work.👍

    1. At least one of my local Tescos re-stocked with case B during the week, so keep looking (my local ones seem to reset the toys on Tuesday and Friday nights so if yours are the same it might be an idea to try again tomorrow..) It’s a new batch with date code R02, (ones I found earlier had P50 so may be some shade or other variations for Dave), but hopefully the distribution will be better; the earlier case had rather patchy availability to say the least. Still not found the Porsche 918 or black Corvette though…

      1. Cheers Mike,
        It’s just anywhere Norfolk then….
        Strange thing is, the singles trays have been removed and also the price tags too.
        Usually little dates are put in place for singles 5 and 9 packs on tags for guessing stock arrival. Nothing… All tags gone.
        The areas of shelving have been replaced with other various toy products.
        About 3 week’s ago I found some of B batch (p60). But that seems to be a one batch wonder.
        As ever I hope it’s just a distribution glitch and many other reasons UK gets when it comes to anything of this brand.
        I just can’t see why Matchbox products can’t be sold in all outlets….?!… It would do well here.
        Anyhow we’ll see and hope.
        Once again thanks Mike G.👍

      2. I’m starting to hear lots of rumours regarding Tesco dropping Matchbox completely. Lots of stores having not restocked anything in over a month with many collectors saying Matchbox price labels are being removed or changed to “discontinued”.

      1. Well you never know. A 4 week difference might yield a shade or 2. I will continue to hunt them down at my local stores. Nothing new for the last few weeks. Just empty shelves/pegs with random other toys messily thrown across.

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