Another week, another batch of Matchbox 2022 basic range batch B. Last week I included the final 2021 model, but this is pure 2022 releases. As was the case last week, these models are available both in large blister and in power grab box at Wheel Collectors in USA, but I did manage to find these at my local Tesco store in the UK on short card, which is why you will see those pictures for the “in package” shot. So shall I dive right in?
I am keeping this simple. I have chosen 6 models from the batch to preview here, and am just going in the order by which they appear in the range. Which means first up is the MB1221 ’20 Chevy Corvette C8.
It’s hard to believe, but this is its third year in the range already. Wow! Where does the time go? I remember when it was first previewed back in 2019, a mock-up was created with a heavily disguised model from Matchbox mocked up similar to how the real prototypes in camouflage were being tested. It was pretty cool. This latest release is in metallic black with the same front and rear detailing that we come to expect from the basic range releases.
It looks amazing in this style and the gunmetal grey wheel hubs really suit it too, as opposed to regular chrome ones. This is a really lovely vehicle and yet again we have another gorgeous basic range release for it. As a reminder, of course I am doing a dive back.
The 2020 debut. MB47 was our first release in metallic blue, and yes I found a nice shade to it. I am always on the lookout for shades.
It’s the only one I have found on the Corvette so far though. MB21 was in red and I did not see anything different in any of the MB40s that I saw that year.
And of course the Corvette was the first in a new ongoing run of Super Chase models that Matchbox are now doing. When I previewed this at the time, I had no problems with Matchbox trying to create some buzz with these. Other manufacturers do it. So why not? Create more buzz, create more interest, create more sales. It seems logical to me, and does make me feel more happy that Matchbox is being given more love from Mattel and allowing it to grow even more. We are seeing it as there are more and more side lines appearing again. So something is obviously working. I know distribution is still all over the place at the moment, and hopefully will be sorted soon, but that is across the company, across the industry to a certain extent, and throughout many other industries. These last few years have really been weird.
Of course me being me, I always like to check rear plates. Top (& bottom in the case of the chase) strips are in brackets. (Matchbox) Corvette, (Matchbox) Stingray, (USA) Rd Wt Bl (Corvette) and (California) C8 Vette plates seen so far. I don’t know why these fascinate me, but they do. I always like to see what they come up with for a plate design. Although I do still miss those late ’00s and early ’10s with the coded plate designs. And the 1990s premiums where they had some quite amusing ones.
If Prince had sung “Little Red Honda” would it have had the same pizazz as a Corvette? I mean Corvettes are just cool, but this little MB1209 ’76 Honda CVCC is still really cute. I love this one. In fact, as a model, I actually prefer this over the Vette. Give me a choice in real life, and the Corvette will win without even thinking. But shrink them down to a scale that fits nicely in the palm of your hand, and somehow this little Honda just wins me over.
Just like the Corvette, this was originally from 2020. This means it too is on its third year in the basic range. For 2022, it takes the MB21 slot in light red. Again, this is a simple affair with front and rear detailing. But for red vehicles, quite often rear lights get blanked out. But they took the time to detail the silver edging around the lights on this one to make sure they still stood out.
And the front end gets the usual grille and lights treatment, with the CVCC logo clearly showing. For those who are trying to remember, CVCC stood for Compound Vortex Controlled Combustion, which was the name of the new engine that Honda had developed in the mid 1970s which resulted in lower emissions without the need for a catalytic converter. Of course after an upgrade in the 1980s, it was eventually phased out as catalytic converters really took off. But the CVCC engine was quite a milestone. It was first added to the Civic model in the mid 1970s replacing the original engine, and was designed to meet new US emission rules at the time.
Just like the Corvette, the debut version of this I also found a shade to. MB45 was the debut for the model, and I believe this is known as Carnaby Yellow.
2021 saw a white model arrive in the MB49 slot. Or should I say “Pack White”? That’s what Honda used to call the colour in the mid 1970s.
This release did see a shade variation to the base this time. Something I often don’t worry about, but the bumpers are a part of the base and it meant it stuck out at the ends a bit and was noticeable for me without the need to flip over. So I decided to go with it.
And now we have Sophia Red. I’m doing it again. License plates. (Matchbox) Dreams on Sophia Red, (California) Honda on Pack White and (California) My 76 Toy on Carnaby Yellow using the same system as on the Vette.
So where to next? The MB1217 MBX Garbage Scout. One of only a few Matchbox originals castings in the batch. They have often stated how they cannot afford to do away with them completely, but the ratio is about the most skewed in favour of the licensed vehicle that I have known in a long time, so I am not complaining. Especially when you do get some fun little models like this.
It does look very believable as a casting, as the front end, although a generic front end, does look quite familiar. You can see perhaps certain elements of many truck cabs in the design. So I do not mind this at all. It takes the MB24 slot in the range in yellow with a Twinkle Rubbish side design.
I don’t believe this livery has been used before, and is new for this model.
And I do enjoy that it has the removable dumpster on the back too. Added play value. Guess what? This is on year 3! I know, third model in, and third model on its third year as a basic range issue.
Debuting in 2020 as MB10, it first arrived in blue with a Matchbox Services side design and matching blue dumpster.
With 2021 seeing a white truck with orange dumpster on the back. And yes I found a small shade to the dumpster, which is why I have 2 of them.
With no license plates to check out, I couldn’t help noticing the front ends this time. Both the first 2 releases saw the side indicators detailed, just nudging around the front end. But for the 2022 release, they only went and managed a complete front end pass through the tampo machine. I do notice these things. As I often say, it’s the little things that the team work hard to try and sneak in sometimes, but often don’t get noticed. Well I notice. Good job.
Ooh Porsche! Oh yes, the ever popular (well it is in my house) MB423 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet. This is definitely not on a year 3 outing. It has been around since 1999, and (hopefully, fingers crossed) shows no signs of slowing down.
And it comes in green. Hmm! I don’t believe we have ever seen this casting in green before. It looks spectacular as well. I love this metallic look, with the gold wheels that suit it so well. Is this Forest Green Metallic? It was a colour option around the time of this 911, and it pretty close in shade. Either way I love it.
So this 2022 MB27 is the latest in a long line of Carreras. I know it has not been long since I did the last one, but I am still going to bounce back and go through them all again.
Which means heading back to the 20th century. I still remember when the casting was first created. It debuted in the 1999 basic range as MB72. Exclusively in the German market! The older 911 Turbo casting had not long stopped being used, and I was itching for a new 911. I know we had the 911GT1, but that wasn’t a regular 911, and hearing a Carrera Cabriolet was out in another part of the world, I was going nuts. This was long before the internet had really taken off, and my trading partners at the time were non-existent. Luckily I did have a few sources in the UK who did have a few trading partners. One of them was Paul Carr, an ex-Lesney employee who at the time was running a store in a small town called Chipping Ongar, in Essex. He had a variety of models and diecast in the store, but pretty much half of it was pure Matchbox! It was heaven to me. I used to drive down there (it was close to 2 hours away) a few times a year and just spend some time going through all the Matchbox stuff. I picked up a lot of items over the years until he closed the store. Luckily one of my trips was shortly after he had received a box of goodies from Germany, including this yellow debut. It was the first model I grabbed. I ended up with pretty much all the German issues he had sent over to him that day. But I remember this over every other one.
In 2000 it was now MB36…. exclusively in the German range. Guess where I was when I got mine? Yep, back in Chipping Ongar. This red model was a great companion to my yellow one and I was so hopeful that the next release would be found where I was, without a 2 hour drive (still worth it though).
Luckily it was. Late in the year they added the model in black to the Euro Sports 5-pack. I picked it up at my local Woolworth store. It came with 5-spoke wheels and I loved getting a black one. The pack, being a late 2000 issue, was still in production when 2001 began, and Matchbox were busy swapping out the 5-spoke wheels for new flower wheels they had developed. Late runs saw the Porsche swap to them in 2001, and I do remember picking up the pack a few times (both at Woolworth and Toys R Us, which were the best 2 places for 5-packs in the UK at the time), pondering, but putting it back. At the time I did not do wheel variations, and even though it was a 911, I was still not tempted to get it. Of course later on I made a decision to add wheel variations, so ended up having to hunt down a second hand one. I did, obviously, it was in the picture.
For 2001 they finally allowed the Carrera to be sold in more markets. Not worldwide, but now it had moved from being a German exclusive to being an ROW exclusive. MB50 was in blue with lights depicted, and the Matchbox oval added to the window. I recently found a shade variation to the blue, coming in a much darker shade.
But what else happened in 2001 was that the US market had some Easter issues. These seasonal Egg Mobiles consisted of a number of vehicles from 2000, with some not usually found in USA either. However, in keeping with the “updating of wheels” these Egg Mobile models were also now sporting flower wheels instead of the 5-spokes that had been sold in Germany the year before.
An Auto Carrier launcher set was also sold in 2001, featuring 5 uniquely designed models. One of those was the Porsche in silver, with the rear tonneau cover painted black. Being the first set of the year, it just eked out production before wheels were switched to alternates.
After a fun little 2001, 2002 was so much quieter. No basic range at all. But the Launcher set was back for another go, and the Porsche was included again. This time in red.
It was a different issue to the 2000 German/2001 US Easter model. The tampo was slightly different, and the window was smoke with no edge detailing instead of clear with red edging. The wheels were also lace, not flower (or 5-spoke). And yes, it is a lighter shade of red too, although anybody following me has probably noticed that often shades occur anyway, so you can’t really take that too seriously.
In 2003 still no basic range. But, Auto Carrier Launcher sets were becoming quite the norm, and for a 3rd year, the Carrera was included. It was back in silver, but this had a completely different tampo print and a dark smoke window.
But it did see a second release. Stars of Germany had been launched in 2002 exclusively for the German market, and for 2003 another set of models was created. The Porsche was released in this second set in a dark metallic blue with no tampo printing at all.
For 2004 it was finally back in the basic range. But again, the US market was missing out, as this was an ROW exclusive MB16. While we had this gorgeous metallic dark red with butterscotch interior Porsche, the US market were getting additional Ultra Hero models instead.
But they did see this. Later in 2004 Superfast was re-launched, with a full set of 75 licensed vehicles, which in year 1 were exclusive to the USA market. The Porsche was in dark burgundy as number 36 in the series.
In 2005 the Carrera finally saw a US basic range release. In fact MB14 that year was sold worldwide. The different market split was being phased out at the time, so pretty much all models saw a worldwide release. At the front in this picture though is a hand painted sample that was mocked up for the 2005 poster.
The Superfast range also saw this model again. Superfast was trying to emulate the old Lesney era at the time, so any model in the range in 2004 stayed put for their number in 2005 (and 2006) with new additions replacing some others. The Porsche was in either blue (for the ROW market) or charcoal (for the US market).
2006 was quieter again. The Superfast range had switched out the Porsche in the number 36 slot for a new casting, and the basic range did not see a release either. But good old Germany didn’t let us down. Stars of Cars (as their unique series was now known) saw another 911 in the set. This had a cool coded rear license plate. How well those in Germany could see what was being done I do not know, but in English if you were to change numbers for letters, and pad out the “letter words”, it became “See You Later”. See I told you, I loved these mid ’00s to early ’10s codes.
In 2007 it was back in the basic range. It was sold as MB10 and came in lime gold, which does see a little bit of shading during production.
It was also a part of a Real 10-pack in metallic red too.
For 2008 it was only sold as MB19 in the basic range, and saw another blue issue. Again I was able to spot some shading going on between production runs so have 2.
But that was not as good as the next release. After taking 2009 off, it re-appeared as a last minute substitute for a 2010 Modern Rides 5-pack. The pack was due to have a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren in the pack (again in blue) but sadly there was an issue with Mercedes-Benz that temporarily halted their inclusion. Thankfully that was rectified, and we have a lot of Mercedes-Benz models going again. So they quickly threw in the Porsche as a last minute replacement. I wasn’t complaining. This one saw quite a big shade variation during production. But that was not all.
A small run happened to be made with tri-spoke wheels. These are really difficult to find, but I guess I was destined to be in the right place at the right time. A Walmart in USA on my annual trip over there. I believe they were only found there and in short supply. Talk about timing.
Sadly after that things did go a little quiet. We never saw anything until 2013. It popped back up as MB25 in the basic range in lemon with a simple ring detailing to the wheel hubs.
And it also came in dark yellow with yellow hubs in the Exotic Rides 5-pack too. But that looked like being the end. It lay dormant for 6 years after that.
Until suddenly we found a new 2020 MB37 release in white. After being dormant for over half a decade, they did need to do a spot of spring cleaning to the casting. They also took this time to add in the wing mirrors that had never been added in the first place.
This appears to have started a comeback for the model. 2021 saw 2 different looks. MB54 was in metallic black (first time we have seen a metallic shade of black).
And then we saw yet another blue release in the Best of France series, which as I pointed out was a unique release just for that set. Not a carry forward of an older blue issue.
Wait a sec. There was me talking about how the Porsche was not in its third year, after showcasing 3 models all in their 3rd year. But if you just look at the revamp and re-release, this too is on its third year. Right time for something not in its third year!
This is definitely not! The MB1284 ’60 Chevy El Camino. This is a brand new casting. This was GM’s answer to the Ford Falcon Ranchero that has launched in 1957, and when it first arrived in 1959 it was quite a success. But then Ford came up with a new Ranchero, and the El Camino, with the new front grille design for 1960 was not enough and they dropped it after the model year finished. This is that later grille design variant. Of course they didn’t give up and in 1964 launched a new El Camino, which spawned 3 more generations until 1987. Matchbox had previously done a replica of a 1970, which was a part of the 3rd generation. Now they have an original.
It debuts as MB33 in the 2022 basic range in a pale lavender shade.
It sports a chromed base section, and silver pin striping down the side.It also sports the rather unique A-pillar frame design that Chevy was using for the Brockwood (of which the El Camino was based).
It also sports a rear tampo print detail too. This is a very sleek and low model.
I am sure somebody somewhere is busy customizing one of these into a real low rider. Comparing this to real pictures of 1960 El Caminos, I think the team have done an absolutely amazing job in getting the shape and the detailing right. Those A-pillars look absolutely spot on. It’s funny. Many MANY years ago, I use to do weekly polls for the Mattel Matchbox team on a forum and we used to get the 1970 El Camino pop up when it was in the range (circa 2008/2009). People at the time had stated that they would love to see them tackle the original vehicle. I actually remember putting this fact in a report back to them. Of course the current team is different to those I dealt with at that time, but I find it funny that they have only gone and done a specific model that was requested in the mid-late 2000s.
I do believe that this is the norm now for pickup trucks. To help facilitate better assembly, the interior sections only stretch so far over the rear bad, with the rest taken up by the body which can be securely riveted to the base. I am sure there are some who don’t like that approach, but these are still pocket money toys and it is something that has to be compromised to ensure they stay as pocket money toys. I don’t think it really take too much away from the overall look, as you literally had to look over the model to see it.
I did a base shot as it is a new casting, although being really shiny, you might not be able to read everything on there. So I have a thought. This model was retired after 1960 in real life, but Chevy were still doing some unusual vehicles. It was basically replaced in the short term by a Chevy Corvair Greenbrier and there was a variation of that vehicle I think could make an awesome Moving Parts model. It was called the Rampside. Rather than just sporting the regular opening rear tailgate, this also had an actual ramp that would open from the side. I would love to see if the team could actually do a working Greenbrier Rampside ramp.
Which brings me to the last model in the group I work through today. The MB1237 ’20 Land Rover Defender 90. but before I do, do you see a little logo on the top right corner? Matchbox Adventures World Tour. This is a new for 2022 animated series that is appearing on You Tube. The Land Rover is heavily featured in one of the episodes called “The Most Daring Drive Down Under”. These Mason James animated shorts have been appearing on You Tube for a while now, and they are pretty cool. Plus, if you were to watch them, you might see a few slight sneak peeks of upcoming models, as they feature animated versions of Matchbox models in the show. This is the Land Rover one if anybody wanted to see it. It finishes with a sneak peek of the VW ID4 (in animated form). I told you, these may be for kids, but I see odd things in them that I think ooh!
So anyway, back to the model. This is only in year 2. It debuted last year, and for its second outing as a basic range model, it comes in a light blue. As has been the case before, this is simply accentuated with front and rear tampo prints.
Keeping the model nice and simple. I don’t know if this is a real Land Rover choice for the Defender, as I couldn’t see it mentioned, but I like it. It does stand out better than the green one.
Talking of which, quick dive back as there is not much here. This was the debut look as MB11. Pangea Green I believe Land Rover call this, and it is sort of the signature look for the model, especially in promotional adverts. So it was quite obvious why MB11 last year debuted looking like that.
It was a pretty late arrival in 2021 and 2022 started off with the Fuji White (as Land Rover call this) Best of UK edition. So although it sounds like 2 years worth of items, all of these have been released in about half a year.
That’s quite a quick start for a model in reality. I do notice that all 3 are sporting the exact same tampo printing. Nothing like keeping it simple, and I do like a recurring theme. Even if that theme is just doing the same print on every release.
Which I believe brings me to the end of the new releases part of the report. Time for a spot of back diving.
Where to begin today? How about with a small manufacturer from Italy. De Tomaso. Argentinian born Alejandro de Tomaso had started the company in 1959 creating various prototypes and even a Formula 1 car for Frank Williams, before he set up the Williams F1 team. During the 1970 and 1980s they had 3 vehicles in their portfolio. A Deauville and a Longchamp, which were both grand tourers, and the Pantera, which was the longest running and the only sports car in the line-up. Lesney created a model of the Pantera, and added it to the basic range as MB8-C in 1975. It ran for 6 years in the basic range in basically the same look for the entire time. But this was Lesney, and this was a 6-year production run. You just know that things were not going to be consistent. For starters, this is how the model was created. It had a white body and a blue base. They included an orange interior and gave it smaller maltese cross wheels on the front and larger 5-spoke wheels on the rear. It was finished off with a set of labels, matching the interior, body, base and wheels, which adorned the hood (or bonnet) and across the sides. The labels carried the model number in the range on them.
But of course things never go right. Labels were supposed to slant towards the rear of the model, which meant each side sported a different label. I know right? How could they cope having 2 different labels for the sides. So some might be found slapped on the wrong side. So what to do?
Oh just stop doing side labels completely. Crisis averted. The hood label stayed until 1980.
Paints were often changed during the Lesney era. They would source their paint supply from whoever gave them the best deal. So it was often inconsistent throughout production. Blue base? Sure. They are both blue. It was simply whatever paint happened to be there at the time.
Where’s the blue paint? Ran out? Oh well. Just use unpainted bases and ship them out. It was quite a known fact that bases in particular used paints that they felt were not too good when they got them. This was one of the issues by constantly changing suppliers. They got in a batch of paint, opened it, and thought “Hmm, not that good. Base paint”.
And of course they would regularly run out of blue paint.
And of course there were times when they would simply run out of labels. The Pantera label is finished. Just grab another label sheet and slap something else on it. Perhaps a sun label from the Beach Hopper.
Perhaps the Renault 17TL’s label. Is it a 6? Is it a 9? Depends which way you put it on.
Then there was the orange interior. Mix up the plastic, and oh this one is a bit light. This one is a bit dark. Err, this one is red. Yeah they never got much in the way of consistency. Even the wheels (which I haven’t shown as I don’t own any “errors”) could be found with the front wheels on the back, back wheels on the front. Often simply switched, but sometimes paired up instead. There were only 2 aspects of the model that pretty much did stay consistent. It had a white body and the windows were always clear. Everything else, it’s a lucky dip.
So after 1980, they decided to drop the model from the ROW range. But the US range kept it going, and as such they gave it a new look. They turned it blue with black and white striping and an italic 17 in a roundel.
This was also close to the end of Lesney and as such they were looking at various cost cuts. After a 1978 debacle trying to set up a Japanese R&D & production system for some Japanese exclusive models, in 1981 they had set up a production system in Hong Kong with a local company that had spent 1980 tweaking the originally Japanese made models into slightly better ones. These tweaked models had been shipped out to Australia and USA and Lesney had noted that shipping costs from there were cheaper than from the UK. So when they decided to split the range in 1981 and create some models for the ROW market and others for the US market, a number of the castings that were going to be exclusively shipped to the US market were sent to the factory in Hong Kong for production. Keeping costs down. So this new for 1981 look was only ever made in Hong Kong.
In 1982 the model was a slight tweak, with Pantera now being added to the front print, and the 17 in the roundel was straighter and more bold. It was also assigned the manufacturing number MB079, as this was the first in the list of MAN numbers after the ROW range were given the first 75, and 3 planned new castings for 1982 that were supposed to replace Japanese models were added. They then went through all the castings for the US range, and gave them the next numbers. As I said, this was first in the list.
In 1983, they gave the casting a small tweak. Added an oversized engine to the rear of it and re-coloured the model to red with a Greased Lightnin’ and 31 (with lightning flash) look. The model ran for 2 more years like this before being retired from the US basic range too after 1984. Production did start in Hong Kong, but as Universal had taken over the company, they discovered that they didn’t own the Hong Kong factory, but had one of their own in Macau, so closed down Matchbox production in Hong Kong and sent over everything to Macau to continue. After this the model was sort of retired (they sent it back to England for cost reduction and launch in Super GT form in the mid 1980s).
Next up is the MB174 Taxi FX4R. The FX4 taxi is a UK hackney carriage which has become quite synonymous with London. Hackney carriages had been big in the UK throughout the 20th century, and in 1948 Mann & Overton had commissioned a new standard for taxis in the UK. Austin won the contract, but were only supplying the chassis, with Carbodies (a company that had been going since 1919) supplying the body. The FX3 was popular and as such, pretty much became the norm for the UK hackney carriage. In 1958, a new, updated vehicle was created, which was called the FX4, and this ran until 1997. Best part of 40 years, hence being the most indicative look for a taxi in the UK. However, after 1982, and internal shuffling, Austin (now a part of British Leyland) were no longer interested in keeping this side arm of their business going and so Carbodies took complete ownership of the vehicle. Austin had also stopped making the engine for it, so they needed a replacement. They sourced a new unit from Land Rover (another part of British Leyland) and as such they just put the “R” for Rover (not Land Rover for some reason) at the end of the name. Thus it became the FX4R. This is what Matchbox made a model of, but in all honesty, the only difference between an FX4 and FX4R was the engine. Something you can’t see on the model. Later editions was called FX4Q (due to engines being sourced from India after the Land Rover engine was proved not good enough and “Q” being the registration plate for imported vehicles at the time), followed by FX4S after Mann & Overton were themselves bought and renamed as London Taxis International and models being given a tweak. An FX4W was a later wheelchair accessible version due to UK law changing in 1989. This then turned in to the Freeway, which was also sold to outside UK markets too. This ran until 1997 when a new taxi, completely designed in house at London Taxis International (LTI) was launched. The LT1 was followed by LT2 and LT4 until they went bust. They were then bought out gy Geely and resurfaced as LEVC.
So the Matchbox model debuted exclusively in the ROW range as MB4, where it ran until 1996. It was never a part of the US range. It sported a metal body, metal base, and 2 suicide doors that opened, as the real Taxis do. And until 1991 it was just plain black.
Of course an unpainted base can often lead to a variation.
Plus the grey interior can sport a shade itself. Subtle, but I think you can see it in the picture. In 1990 production moved to China after they closed the Macau factory down.
But during this time, there was a special promotional issue. The Great Taxi Ride occured in late in 1987 into 1988, with a taxi going all the way from London in the UK to Sydney in Australia. I bet that racked up quite the fare. To celebrate the ending, Australia released a special promotional issue in 1988.
The model was also added to the My First Matchbox series in 1989 and ran the entire time, meaning it saw production move from Macau to China as well, and later on the wheel hubs no longer saw printing to them. I don’t actually have the all red wheels yet.
As I mentioned, late on for the basic range issue, production moved to China. At first they had unpainted bases, but shortly after decided to paint them silver.
Neither one is particularly rare as the unpainted was in production a while before they started painting it.
In 1992 there came a small tweak to the model. A Union Flag was added.
The model simply ran out its time in the basic range like that. Later runs saw the interior turn much more pale. I think this is more noticeable than the Macau shade of interior.
But this was not the end. Rather surprisingly, it returned in 1999 for another ROW issue. This time as MB9. Still black. Still a grey interior. But now it had a simple plane and Taxi logo on the side. Plus some headlights detailed at the front.
And in 2000 it saw its most radical change in the basic range. A red interior. This time it was only sold in the UK market, as MB11, and was part of a set of 5 UK exclusives (11-15) that all sported a simple Union Flag down the side.
That proved to be the final official basic range outing. However, in 2002, as part of the 50th Anniversary celebrations, the USA saw a series of Across America models. Not wanting to entirely leave the ROW market out, they decided to throw in 4 unique 50th Anniversary models mixed in with the 2002 basic range assortments. However, because the US range was not just for USA itself, other places (like Canada) that usually receive US models on long blister saw this set of 4 ROW models on long blister in their basic range assortments too.
Then to finish off, this last white model with a Coca-Cola theme was actually issued in the US market. After the ROW had started and finished with the model, the US saw their one and only London Taxi. It was sold as a Coke single issue in late 2002. After this the casting was retired.
Next up I move to MB272. A model after my own heart so to speak. This is the Ford Mondeo Ghia. Why was this after my own heart? I owned a few Mondeo Ghias over the years. The model arrived in 1995 as either MB40 for the US range or MB33 for the ROW range. It didn’t have a long shelf life at all, which I was always sad about. This was the debut look in 1995. Daft fact, the casting had 2 different base pieces. One had the scale added, the other didn’t. They never noticed until 1996 so both the first 2 years saw bases with or without scales. I have never worried about it personally.
Talking of year 2, it wasn’t a huge change. The 15 logo on the front and doors was slightly redesigned, and the Mondeo logo across the doors was now printed red instead of outlined yellow.
But apart from that, the model was still the same.
After 1996 the model was dropped from the US range, but did see one more outing in the ROW range. It was still blue. But now instead of a rally theme, it simply sported some headlights on the front and a Ford badge. After this it was dropped from the ROW range as well.
But it did see one more outing. And it wasn’t blue. In 1998 the model was added to an Airport playset as an exclusive model. However, in 1999 that Airport playset model was also added into an Adventure pack (basically the late 1990s name for Hitch ‘n Haul) along with a Scissors Truck. This too was just called Airport. But that was it. 4 different outings. After that the model was retired.
I move on to MB660 Fire Ladder Truck now. This was a Matchbox originals design, that was originally under construction during the late Hero City era, but as Hero City was being dropped, saw a few little tweaks to it before debuting in the 2005 basic range as MB1. This was an early sign of the new, more realistic, direction that Matchbox were taking after the failure of Hero City.
It came with a 1-piece ladder that pivoted around on a turntable and lifted up/down.
It was quick to get further action too, as we saw a 5-pack release later in the year too. This was just called Fire.
But that was not it. We are still in year 1. With a number of fire engines looking a little unrealistic, they really gave this a lot of outing in its debut year. This came in a Fire Station playset in fluorescent yellow.
So yes, that was year 1. A big start. I thought it was a nice casting, and expected it to get a lot of action. But things soon tailed off.
This was the entirity of 2006. A Coal Cars release as a Christmas seasonal item. It may look a little familiar.
That is because the Coal Car release was simply the 2005 Fire 5-pack issue in an alternate colour. But we had no other 2006 issues.
2007 came and it was back in the basic range. Just a blip I thought. It was MB52 and just like the debut year came in red.
And in 2008 another red basic range issue came. This time it was MB73. But that was it. Three releases in its debut year and three more outings afterwards for a total of 6 releases. As I said, after such a great start this casting really fizzled out fast.
We almost saw it again. Circa 2012 and Matchbox had dispensed with exclusive vehicles in playsets a number of year before, but they came up with a plan to use a few originals as exclusive models, but not made in the regular Thailand factory. Some playsets started appearing with Chinese made exclusive issues, and more were planned, but not all of the models made it. This was a proposed look for an exclusive release that didn’t make the cut.
With a China base. The 1971LPF print signifies this was put together on the 197th day of 2011. But as it never officially arrived, we never saw the casting in a playset, and never saw it again.
Which brings me to the last of the crop this week. Turn Tamer! This MB894 model was launched in the 2013 basic range under the MB38 slot, with an intention of being used in playsets. It even got its own little logo on the front.
And its name across the back.
In 2014 it moved to the MB68 slot in the basic range with the “Double T” logo now on the doors.
And if you were anything like me, and paying attention, you might have noticed that they accidentally used the small 5-spoke wheels at one point.
Unlike the Fire Ladder Truck I just showcased, this model did make the cut as a Chinese made playset exclusive. A Marine Rescue Shark Ship contained this, and 2 other castings, exclusively with the set.
2015 saw it as MB10 in the basic range. I own 2 of them, as I noticed the yellow was pretty good for a shade or 2. Well I had to didn’t I.
We were also in the early days of the Power Grab too, where models were being put in blind bags rather than boxes. There was also a few exclusives to be found in them. One was the Turn Tamer in blue.
MB25 in 2016 proved to be the swansong for this, as the range had been nudged a little in the mid 2010s, but was starting to revert back to its original course again afterwards. The 2016 issue may look a little familiar.
That’s because they used the same tampo printing as on the debut look of the model. Sort of bringing it full circle so to speak. So it finished, looking quite a lot how it started.
Which is sort of ironic, as I am doing the same now. Finishing where I start, by showing some group shots of this selection of 2022 Batch B models. I hope you enjoyed my latest report.
Time for these to head off, and next week the last of the batch should be here. And, wait a sec, why has the Camino got the Dumpster? Bizarre. Anyway, I hope everyone has a nice week, and catch you all next Monday for more of the same…. batch!