Matchbox Monday concludes batch B

That was a short and sweet title. Compared to my usual longer ones that is. Well there is a good reason for it. I now have just 5 models left to go through to finish off the batch. And well, none of these are exactly casting that have been around a while. Actually, scratch that, they have not had a lot of uses. These models are available at Wheel Collectors in USA, but I have been trying my best to get these ones in the UK. I actually came up fractionally short. Why? Well let me explain.

This is the MB1249 MBX Mini Cargo Truck. It is in its second year in the basic range, and for 2022 it comes in the fantastic recurring blue INC theme as MB23.

Of course I have noticed it myself and many others have also lamented on the fact that this is not a popular model. It is a huge pegwarmer. It is a shame as it has the cool recurring theme to this one, which I love. Plus there is the rear bed variation.

Oh wait! Yes I only have one. Wheel Collectors are busy shipping over the alternate to me, but I could not find the other variant of this with the load on the rear bed at all. They were multiple to a box at Tesco stores, and yet each store I attempted to hunt them down at only had empty bed ones there. Plenty of them (sadly), but not a single full bed example to be found. I have no idea why. Did they do a very small selection of full bed ones in the production run for small cards? They appear to be more common on long cards (not sure on Power Grab boxes), but for the short card (at least in the UK) the full bed variant is a real rarity.

I don’t know if anybody noticed, but this model is still MB23. That is all it has been sold as in the basic range. Last year it debuted in that slot in red with a Melton design on it. Again a recurring theme, albeit in a much smaller degree. It was on a Working Rigs MAN TGS Flatbed model and a Unimog U300 in the past.

But that one had no issues in finding a full bed variant alongside the empty bed variant. Some Tesco stores in the UK still have it. I drive to some place along the M6 and there is a large Tesco store at Junction 2 north of Coventry. I was there the other week, and still had a bunch of Meltons for sale. Both variants. The new INC with empty bed being sold alongside it. No other Matchbox. Just those 2 (in multiples). If anybody heard some weird sounds the other week, that was me standing there looking at them thinking Melton both variants, INC just one. Why? Son of a….

I move on. Oh yes! Happy dance. A new Porsche!!!! I have to say I was totally shocked when it was announced at the 2021 Gathering in Albuquerque that the MB1300 Porsche 918 Spyder was going to be added to the Matchbox basic range in 2022. I remember back when Porsche first announced this limited production vehicle. At the time Matchbox was not able to to hypercars, and we were in the midst of a slight tweak to the brand that was aimed more at “slow and cool” and moving into the “from a kid’s perspective” originals designs. After the giddy highs of the later 2000s and just into the 2010s, things were starting to veer off for the brand. Yes, at the time, a model like this was not in the wheel house of the brand, but with the efforts of the current team at Mattel, they have managed to push the boundaries of what we perceive as Matchbox models. And it definitely shows. Yes, I know the real vehicle was only built between 2013 and 2015. Porsche made 918 of them. But I always say “never say never”. It might be almost a decade later, but I finally get to see a model I really wanted Matchbox to do. What I didn’t know until the Gathering was that their other brand within Mattel had made a model of it. Abe made mention of it being a brand new casting, and not the other brand’s borrowed and adjusted. I have to be honest. I don’t do any other brands so barely even know what any other brands have in their portfolio. So that was complete news to me. All I was hearing was Porsche 918!!!!

Now the Porsche 918 was made as a Spyder, which meant a removable roof. Obviously this model has been made with the roof on. I had to Google it for this report. Their other brand made it with the top off. So instant difference. Now this new MB31 for 2022 looks amazing to me. They have kept it completely stock. No fancy additional extras. Nothing unusual. Just as it would have come off the production line from Porsche.

I love the attention to detail towards the rear. The way the engine compartment is viewed through the window piece. The extra detailing further down from it. A lot of work has gone into getting this right.

Sideways on, and the spoiler down and low stance of the model on regular wheels, the same size front and rear is just lovely to me. I am not a big fan of jacking the rears up, adding loads of spoilers, skirts etc. This is where I think Matchbox is at its best. When it takes a model, directly as it would have come from a factory, and replicate it in miniature form. That was what i grew up loving, and this is what I still see Matchbox doing and loving. So yes, this is a huge hit for me. A Porsche! Totally stock. Simple execution with simple detailing. This is Matchbox done right.

So yes, I do not mind too much that the model finished production in 2015. Lucky number 7, as it arrives 7 years later in model form for me. When they come up with a gorgeous rendition like they have here, I am more than happy.

I hope we see a nice amount of new looks for it over the coming years. It deserves a decent run. Just remember, the 911 Carrera Cabriolet I showed last week first arrived in 1999 and is still going. So, calculating, carry the 1. If we don’t continue seeing new looks in 2043 I will be having words with somebody! Ha ha!

This one has a simple base. I have no idea if that is true to form, or they just did that for the model. It might be that Porsche made the real one like that for aerodynamic performance or something. It is also an undated model. As I said, the real 918 was made between 2013 and 2015, so this could be anywhere from that period. So I guess it is not needed to date it. They just need to keep running it.

So what’s next? Not a Porsche! Rats! Well, I guess they should give us a bit of variety. A range of 100 Porsches might suit me, but I think there may be a few people out there that might like a little more variety. And variety really takes all forms here. The team have really gone to town in giving us a massive range of years, decades for models. The Porsche was a vehicles from the 2010s. This is a vehicle from the 1930s. And we get basically every decade in between too nowadays. That was another thing that was being lost in the early 2010s. So many classic models were phased out as the range tweaked from the last golden era, as they focused on things that kids might see now, on the streets. So there were a lot of modern vehicles, and many original designs of vehicles that small children might just see and think that’s big. Hence the oversized wheels on them. But as we tweaked back to what we knew, and were actively pursuing, the current team have made extensive efforts to expand the classics to bring in even more older vehicles. The 1930s is definitely a decade that until recently was not seeing a single model. And now we have a variety of them. This is the MB1232 ’34 Chevy Master Coupe.

It takes the MB71 slot for the 2022 range in a nice dark blue. I believe this to be period correct, as it looks a lot like either Admiral Blue or Boatswain Blue, 2 official colours for Chevrolet vehicles in 1934. Again a lovely choice for the model with simple front end detailing enhancing the look.

It doesn’t really need a lot else, as the real vehicles, in standard form, tend to be very plain looking. So all is good here.

Of course the 2021 debut look for this in red was simply using the same front end tampo print. I know that one did get a chrome base which meant the bumpers were chromed too, which does make a small difference.

But I don’t think it detracts too much from the overall look. I think both the red and blue look great. Both look extremely period correct too. It is nice to see them looking at such a wide range of vehicle ages.

And now we move on to the MB1235 ’18 Bentley Bentayga. This year this one appears in red.

I believe Bentley call this Candy Red. It is a pretty normal colour choice for a Bentayga. Again, we are treated to a simple front and rear tampo print on this one.

And I know some were not keen on the lack of interior to it, but Bentley signed off on it, so I guess they were happy enough. I do not mind it. On some vehicles, a lack of interior is really noticeable. On others, they can get away with it. Of course I am not happy to lose the interior piece, but this is where the Moving Parts series really comes in to its own, with models keeping the 4 basic parts, and then adding something opening to them. I wonder if we will get a Moving Parts Bentley with an opening rear? Match the Range Rover Vogue. That would be good.

Of course this is also a year 2 release. 4 models in and 3 models on their second year. The other was a new one. This debuted last year in blue as MB9, which I was able to find a nice shade to.

Funny coincidence. I only noticed as I doing the photos for this report. I did a Chevy Master, debuted in red, now blue, and followed it with a Bentley Bentayga, debuted in blue now red.

Finally, not a model that debuted either this year as a brand new casting, or last year. The MB1051 ’16 Toyota Tacoma with tent. Yes, that model debuted in 2017!

This one takes the final slot in the range. MB100 of 100. It comes in a fantastic white design, with a yellow, orange and red side design as well as a small grey strip along the bottom and a BFGoodrich logo.

It looks absolutely fantastic with a tent that matches the front end of the model.

and of course the tent is removable too. Added play value. I do enjoy a bit of added play value. So with a 2017 debut, let’s look at the history of this one.

This was how it debuted back in 2017. Tan with a simple 2-tone brown side design, black wheel arches and a green tent as MB86. Ah nuts! Sadly this arrived just as we had a small blip with the Toyota license. It did mean that the model was not seen for a few years, as no Toyota castings were. This happens from time to time behind the scenes which we are not always privy to. We had a gap with no Toyota release, which luckily was all sorted a few years later, and the castings started returning. However, when they did, this one seemed to have been forgotten. Thankfully not for good.

So it turns out this was also just on its second outing. for a little fun I swapped the tents over. The grey tent does appear to suit the 2017 issue pretty well. The green, perhaps not as much. Well, I was expecting more of a dive back for this one, so let’s just tag on a little extra shall we.

Because I do enjoy a bit of a recurring theme. This one appears to be a little Toyota-centric. This was the 2015 MB117 ’85 Toyota 4Runner. Notice the similarity. But wait, it gets better.

This was the 1986 MB9 US or MB74 ROW Toyota MR2. Of course there is a reason. The Toyota tri-colour is from classic Toyota racing vehicles. In the early 1980s in particular, Baja racers and IMSA racers from Toyota were often seen in white with these 3 colours, and the design has sort of stuck. Particularly nowadays, people wanting give their Toyota a bit of a retro look will often go for this tri-colour look as a way to jazz up their car/truck. I am thinking now of other Toyota casting that could benefit from this look. ’68 Land Cruiser? ’18 Hilux? The new FJ Cruiser? Heck, could a Prius work with it?

So yeah, that’s it. As I said. Short and sweet. The last 5 of the batch didn’t have much to dive back into, so I guess my dive back into my own collection needs to compensate. Prepare for a few more thorough checks.

So how about I tackle something really tough to follow. The MB15-B Lansing Bagnall Fork Lift Truck. W G Bagnall was from USA, and was a representative for Lansing trying to sell electric platform trucks in the UK. When they decided they didn’t want to carry on in 1930, he set up shop in London and carried on under both names, Lansing Bagnall. He retired in the 1940s, and the business was taken over by Messrs Kaye & Sharp, who continued to trade, and move to the factory in Basingstoke, which was where the Rapide was created in the 1960s, which proved to be their biggest success. Lesney decided to make a model of the Rapide and launch it in the basic range in 1973 as MB15. Yes, with all the electric vehicles making the range nowadays, Lesney had one all the way back in 1973. People just didn’t notice it was an Electric Vehicle. The model ran worldwide until 1980 and the ROW range continued on until 1984. For the first 9 years (all worldwide and the first ROW exclusive year) the model was red. And it simply had a Lansing Bagnall label on the side. Hmm! Maybe this isn’t too long. Wait, there are a couple of small things to note for those 9 years of production.

Yes the shade of red can be lighter or darker during production. Oh wait, there were a couple of other minor changes you might find with it.

Take the front end. Originally the model would have a lemon hoist with a set of grey forks attached. The top of the hoist would go through a few configurations over the first few years to help strengthen it. The forks would vary in shade, although I find that the hoist stayed pretty consistent.

The standard base would be black. But when Lesney received paints they didn’t like, they would slap them on bases that were unseen to use them up. This funky sea green colour choice was one of those paints they didn’t like, but refused to waste. You might find some left unpainted as well.

There was also a small issue with the labels. Labels are what we call “sided”. This means that there was a label applied to one side that would be alternated on the other side. Lansing Bagnall had a Pegasus as a logo, and this should have been to the front of the vehicle. This meant that the labels would be in 2 alternate styles, with the pegasus left for the side showing us in this picture, but on the right on the alternate side, so that both would be towards the front of the vehicle when viewed either side. It was fairly common for Lesney factory workers to apply them the wrong way around.

In 1976 they started phasing out the spiro wheels and 5-spoke wheels, and as such, both were replaced with the new dot-dash wheels that were being launched. There is a crossover, as the small wheel began production before the large wheel, so the last of the spiro wheels were mated with small dot-dash. I am yet to find one.

They also decided to adjust the hoist and forks. They phased out the lemon hoist replacing it with an unpainted one. The grey forks though, they were slower at being replaced by yellow ones. Again, a crossover exists, but I am yet to get it.

You may also notice that they took this time to redo the label. I don’t know if they just realized, or if Lansing Bagnall had pointed it out, but the logo usually had the Pegasus facing away from the name, not towards it. Not the easiest thing to notice, as often brochures and artwork depicted it underneath. But they had a thin label to work with, so they switched the Pegasus to face away from the name at the end of 1976. So that was quite an eventful year.

Oh look an unpainted base. Yes, they were quite random throughout production.

In 1977 they made another quite significant change. Trying to insert that steering wheel in the top of the post was fiddly. You needed to thread it through, then rivet it underneath before building the rest of the model. It is not just the modern age where we see alterations and cost reductions for simpler and faster assembly. This was 45 years ago. They cast a steering wheel into the top of the body, filled in the gap and left it.

Of course grey forks would occasionally pop back too. I don’t know if they decided to give some another run, or they just found a tub that had been produced and decided not to waste them. But the grey fork returned in late 1977, after being phased out in 1976. It didn’t last long. They were soon back to yellow.

In 1979, they added a K-34 Pallet Hauler to the Superkings range replacing an earlier K-20. K-20 had been launched at the same time as this was, back in 1973, and the parts on the back were easy for this to remove. But the new Hauler had huge crates. The small forks of the Fork Lift Truck were too short to properly lift it off. So they made them longer for the K-34 set. Due to it being quite tall as well, they also had to extend up a little to make it reach too and stay steady.

You can see there is quite a difference in length when put side by side.

Later in 1979 they decided to alter the casting again. Having removed a certain steering wheel a few years earlier, they still had the post it was attached to on the casting. It seemed silly keeping it there, so they removed it.

It stayed like that until 1981, but for 1982 they finally decided to give us something new. By now this was just an ROW release, as the US market had already dropped it after 1980. Mind you K-34 was still going, until 1981. Plus, another Superkings, the K-40 Ford Delivery Truck and Fork Lift was also in the mix, as it debuted in 1980, running until 1983. This didn’t arrive until very late in 1982, and now the model was a darker red, with black forks, and the label had been replaced with a Hi-Lift label. Oh and they added a roll cage to the casting too.

This soon turned to yellow and for 1983 and 1984, always made in the UK, the final 2 years saw the model in orange with the Hi-Lift labels.

Having K-34 dropped, as of 1982, only the K-40 was still going as a Superkings issue, and these survived into 1983 when they too switched from the regular Lansing Bagnall model directly to the orange one. However, for some reason they did not add the roof to the Superkings issue. I don’t know why. But these switched from long red forks into long black forks for the run too. With K-40 being dropped after 1983, this variant faded away a little quicker than the basic. However, one thing I haven’t mentioned with these, as I only have black ones, the bases went nuts in 1983 and 1984. Black (as I just mentioned), unpainted, silver or charcoal were made for the orange ones. Red production was pretty much always black, with unpainted sprinkled in at times (even on the 1982 with roof one), and as I mentioned the funny sea green one early on to waste some paint. But (I am still looking) the K-40 issue could also be found with the same dot-dash wheels as the basic range. They were mainly done with these wider 5-crown wheels. They were good at mixing, although I do not know of the basic range with roof sporting the 5-crown wheels. But after the K-40 was dropped, then the ROW basic range dropped the model too, this casting was retired after 1984. And only ever saw production in England.

Next up I am going with the MB051 Pontiac Firebird SE. It debuted in the 1982 basic range as either MB12 for the US market or MB51 for the ROW market (hence getting the MB051 moniker as they listed the ROW range as the first 75, then started adding all the extras used in the US range only when they set up the MAN list). This is a pre-production sample of the 1982 England based release.

As you can see from the side by side, it is a much darker red than the look we actually got.

Plus, you know, the black base. Of course the 1982 catalogue showed the model coming in blue with a gold base. As far as I know, that colour combination only exists as a resin block painted up. It was from very early in the planning stages when they added the model to the catalogue, and also created the artwork for the box. But I always wondered why they never went with that look in the end. I thought it looked cool.

Of course this was made in England. So this means there are variations. Yellow or tan interiors.

And windows can either be amber or clear. All 4 variations do exist, but I am still on the hunt for the final. Yellow interior/clear window.

In 1983 production moved to Macau, and they decided to alter the model by adding a tampo print. They liked the tampo that had been designed for the older 2nd generation Firebird that had been added to the white release in 1982, so they pretty much duplicated the same screaming eagle hood and Firebird with stripe design on to the 3rd generation as well. Although this only ran for 1 year too, the shade of red is known to vary. There are known examples without tampo on them too. Again, still looking.

In 1984 they turned the model black, but kept the same tampo design on it. This look ran for the rest of the model’s life in the basic range, and beyond. That was not too long if you were in the ROW market, as the casting was dropped after 1986. However, the US range kept it going until 1989.

The base on these is known to sport shades as well. Darker or lighter silver anyone?

In 1985 a minor tweak saw them change the tan interior to a red one.

In 1986 the model was added to some Streak Sets, which were basically track sets that glowed in the dark. Therefore they added some opaque glow in the dark windows to the model. Now both of these I have shown with chrome wheels. Another thing I am looking for is that both of these do exist with gold wheels. Not easy to find though.

Another thing that happened in 1986 was that the wheels were given braces to the inside of them. These were to better accommodate the new Starburst wheels that had been created for the new Superfast range, and needing a more sturdy slot to go into.

We also saw a promotional issue too in 1986. Red with a Maaco label (jeez is my photo bad).

These too have the enhanced axle braces.

Well I guess I should show the Superfast. SF-2. It came in blue with a white metal base and a red/orange/yellow/white stripe effect.

And in the first year, a special promotion was made where a series of 3 Halleys Comet models were included in a rather unusual set of 3 models. Literally, these Halleys Comet models were packaged in a regular Superfast blister, and then 2 other regular Superfast models in blister were all inserted together into a sleeve and sold as a 3-pack.

Of course there was a bit of a mix up along the way too, and a set of black bases ended up on the regular Superfast issue by mistake. Oops!

Superfast was a US exclusive, but in 1987 the whole world saw an offshoot series. Laswer Wheels. Instead of Starburst wheels, models had new disk style wheels, and the paint job was jazzed up a bit. It literally just turned metallic on this one.

1988 saw Matchbox rush-release a set of 6 Dinky models, which were basically just regular Matchbox castings, all in new looks. This was because in 1986 they had secured the license to use Dinky, but had to release something within a certain time frame to keep the license. A series of models between the regular and Models of Yesteryear series was in the pipeline, but when they realized they weren’t going to get them out in time, they had a panic. They simply grabbed 6 casting, painted them in new looks, produced a small run, packaged them in red Dinky blistercards, albeit with the Matchbox and Universal legal information on the back, and zipped down to a local store and sold them to the store owner. This was enough to satisfy the legal issues, and the license was kept. The Firebird was in blue with a yellow/green and 18 design, although I do have a nice prepro of this in silver with a 3-colour top design.

This year also saw the launch of SuperColorChangers (all one word, and kept the same worldwide). Models were issued in the set and would change colour depending on whether they were warmer or cooler. The Firebird was purple, and as they did with all these models, they used the same tampo printing as on the basic range model.

Which technically means we have 3 colours for this design.

1989 was the final year for the model in the US basic range too, although it did just eke out in to 1990 before being replaced. The final runs in Macau were during the cost-cutting stages. Many models were having their metal bases switched out for plastic.

And the final Firebirds saw theirs in plastic too. This was the basic range one.

And Superfast also saw their base switch to plastic for the final runs too.

But only Superfast. Production of Laser Wheels actually stopped just before the base change occurred. So there was never a plastic based Laser Wheels issue. Only Superfast.

After that the factory in Macau was closed and the model was sent to China. In 1991 a Super Value Pack was created using a number of models that had stopped production and were not in use mixed in with general “in use” models. I guess they were testing a few things out, and simply offloaded the models in whatever way they could. These were sold in 6-packs, and the Firebird was one of them, looking a lot like the basic range issue. Of course the Starburst wheels is a bit of a giveaway. Mind you, there is a supposed dot-dash wheel variant in Chinese SVP packs, except I have never seen one.

After this release, the casting was pretty much retired.

Except for one small outing. I swear, I am hearing the light glide back and forth as I am writing this.

It was of course becuase this was in a Star Cars release in 1999. And of course it was advertising Knight Rider. As a kid back in the 1980s, I used to pretend mine were K.I.T.T.s and all my Firebird SEs could jump, drive real fast, and talk back to me. I never dreamed they would actually do the real look. So it was a must buy for me when it arrived. But after this, the MB051 casting retired for good.

Shall I do a Mustang? Why not. And yes, this is a Mustang. The MB257 Ford Mustang Mach III. Designed as a concept vehicle giving us a hint of what Ford were planning with the new generation of Mustang, which launched in 1994, the Mach III was a styling exercise, and was about as far removed from the Fox Body that had been plugging away for many years. Ford created 2 concepts, using part of the budget for the new Mustang, and these were mocked up in such a way that there were no side windows, no roof, and no plan to ever give these a proper drive. They had engines, and they did work, but a lot of the parts involved were simply glued in place, just enough to hold while they were slowly driven into photo ops or trade shows. One was in red, the other green. Matchbox created a model of the concept and launched it in the 1994 basic range as either MB15 for the US market or MB28 for the ROW market.

This had a very unusual design for a Matchbox model. Due to the real vehicle having a central column that ran down the middle and was a part of the body, Matchbox wanted to replicate that in the model. But in doing so it meant that they had a strange way of building it. There was no window piece. This was tampo printed as a part of a hood piece that was riveted on top of the main body section in place. That way the main body kept this middle section running through. Quite novel in a way although I was never a fan of the tampo printed window.

The 1994 basic range issue usually sported a dark blue tampo print over the top, along with the black window print, but a late run saw the blue go much lighter.

This then continued throughout 1995, which meant that the “new” gold 7-spoke spiral wheels that had debuted for 1994 were now all switched to chrome. A gold wheel was a simple sign of a 1994 release. After this, the ROW range dropped the model, but it continued in the US range.

Now I should point out there was a late 1994 promotional issue in plain yellow with Nationwise written across the front. It didn’t even get a window print, which made it look really weird. It was in USA, but to date I am still to get one. But what I did manage to get was a 1995 playset exclusive model. These are also not that easy to obtain. It was a part of the Rapid Shot: Double Deep Freeze set. The Rapid Shot sets were something launched by Tyco, which was an extension to the track sets that were already known. The Rapid Shot mechanism was a plunger that you would hit and it would fire off the model down the track. Double Deep Freeze contained 2 models (this and a Corvette Sting-Ray II Concept in fluorescent yellow) and a dual set of track. You would set it up in a criss-cross style, hit the plungers on both, the cars would shoot down the tracks, loop the loop and then both jump the crossover section to land on the other sides and carry on down to the finish line. Or if you timed it right (or wrong depending on how mischievous you are) the 2 cars would collide in mid air.

So 1996 rolls around, the the model was dropped from the ROW range. But the US market was still selling it. They kept the design the same, but changed the colours. Now it was black with a red interior, instead of red with a black interior. The blue turned much darker, and the black window thankfully didn’t also turn red. It turned silver.

We also saw a pair of 5-pack issues. Purple with yellow stripes was a part of the Convertibles 5-pack that year.

While a metallic red with a simple Mach III side design was in the Concept Cars pack.

In 1997 the basic range issue finally saw a new design. This white with a vague US style red (but wavy) stripes and blue with stars design was the MB15 issue for the year.

And being 1997 we also got a Gold Challenge model too. Luckily this was not too plain. They added a black window print to the top.

We also had a Cars of the Future 5-pack too. This saw the Mustang sold in blue with an orangey brown front end that went all the way through to the back. Quite reminiscent of the Gulf livery in a way. And it was cool that because of the unique design of the model, the orangey brown stripe went down through the interior section too.

For 1998 the model had one final outing in the US range. But with Mattel taking over, 1998 saw the change to the numbering system that we have now. So it moved from its traditional MB15 slot to MB4 for the year. It was still white, but the blue and red prints had switched. You might also notice a red interior (not black) and a silver window print (also not black).

During production, they moved it from Thailand to China to finish off. Slight nuances between shades, but nothing major.

but if you were to flip, you would see the China tab placed over what was originally a Thailand base. The casting was retired from basic range usage after this, but there was a premium issue in 1999. A candy red Mustang Gift set release. One of 5 premium issues I didn’t show as I am still to get all the 1990s premium stuff. The others (for reference) were a World Class release in red in 1994, a Premiere in green and another in blue in 1997, as well as a Gold Collection in yellow too in 1997. But until 1998 all items were made in Thailand. Production moved to China late in 1998 and the basic finished up there, and a premium in 1999 finished off the casting into retirement.

Well as I was in a concept mood, how about another? As we move solidly into the Mattel era, 2002 gave us the MB549 VW W12 Concept. The real vehicle was created in the 1990s by VW purely as an exercise into proving they could build a fancy sports car, it could work with their new W12 engine, and prove that their Syncro all-wheel drive system worked. The result was the W12 Syncro Concept of 1997. It was then followed up by a Roadster version in 1998 and then the Nardò in 2001. You would think being 2002, they would have created the Nardò, but no. They went with the initial Syncro. It debuted exclusively in the ROW basic range in 2002 as MB70. It came in yellow and the first 10,000 produced had a silver “50” logo added to the driver’s door. Wait, both of these have the logo.

That’s right, the very first ones coming off the production line had the window tint too light. You could see the metal frame underneath, so this was quickly adjusted. Obviously, as this was during the initial production of 10,000.

After that the rest of “however many they made, quantity unknown” lost the 50 logo.

It was still an ROW exclusive in 2003 too. This time it was MB68 in red, and again had a logo on the first 10,000. A bit easier to see this time, with a large white logo on a black background. They had a dark tint all the way through this time.

It was also included in the 2003 Stars of Germany series as well. People remarked at how similar it was. A darker red, and a lack of side detailing compared to the basic range model.

But those in USA finally had their first chance to own one, as it was a part of the Collectibles Justice League series that appeared late in the year. Funnily enough the model is part yellow and part red. The 2 colours that had been used so far on basic range issues. This was its one and only premium outing.

In 2004 it was MB24. And yes, still an ROW exclusive. One of 15 models that the ROW market received in lieu of getting a load more Ultra Heroes. This time it was in white.

It saw some licensed action too that year. A Looney Tunes 5-pack appeared, which featured Daffy duck on the side of an orange W12.

And it was also chosen to be one of 3 from the pack that was also released as a single issue in an alternate colour. Now in metallic blue.

In 2005, as the basic range was starting to amalgamate again after the 1981 split, we saw a worldwide issue for the first time. It was MB57 and yes, the window was clear, which meant we could really see the body casting underneath it. Production moved from China to Thailand during this model’s run, although I am still to get a Thai one.

Outside of the basic range, a Launcher set called Auto Cargo featured this silver model with headlights in grey. Almost not noticed.

And the model was added to the Superfast series as well in either red (US) or black (ROW) depending on which market you were in that year.

After that things started to get a little quiet. One of things people often forget about the mid 2000s was that with a move back towards realism from the depths of the Ultra Hero fiasco, the newer team, now based in El Segundo in CA as opposed to Mt Laurel in NJ, were looking at making more of the vehicles that would be seen on the road. Concept vehicles are not very often seen on the road. So as such, the inclusion of concept vehicles in the range diminished. They were not totally wiped out, but reduced significantly. As such the W12 started to see less action. 2006 had nothing at all, but in 2007 we did see a purple model in the Exotic Cars 5-pack.

And we also saw a dark red model in the Go Diego Go licensed 5-pack too featuring Baby Jaguar on the side.

But that was it for the ’00s. 2008 and 2009 were no-shows for this casting. 2010 saw a new dark red release in a Modern Rides 5-pack. How dark? Well as you can see from the 2 I found, it could get very dark… or not!

This issue (unless we do see a random release in the future) is the last that we have seen from the casting. After 2010 we waited until 2014 for a black model to appear in the MBX Exotics 5-pack. Again, just like with the debut, they had a few issues getting the window tint how they wanted. Some came out pretty much clear, but the majority had a nice smokey effect to them.

Which brings me to the last dive back of the week. The 2010s. The mid 2010s was an era that veered a little from the return to realism that people had been enjoying, and as such we have seen the team come up with some quite creative original designs. One of which was the MB910 Sahara Sweeper. One of their own creations, this type of LRV (Light Reconnaissance Vehicle) was based vaguely on something that could be in use in sandy areas, sometimes known as a DPV (Desert Patrol Vehicle). Chenowth created one, based loosely on a sandrail vehicle in the 1990s, that was proving to be very popular in desert-style areas. You can definitely see how this saw some inspiration from Chenowth products, although this was a Matchbox Originals design. It debuted in the 2014 as MB104 in the basic range in green with a grey base. But boy did it have a fun debut.

The grey base for starters. Light or dark grey?

What about the wheels? Usually cog, there was a run where they ran out of the cog wheel, so slapped on some large 6-spoke wheels instead.

Even the tampo printing had a little variation. Notice the “Delta 81” writing bottom right? On some it was printed in white, but on others it had the same grey as was being used elsewhere. And yes, the green body here has a shade too. It went nuts.

In 2015 it moved to the MB72 slot, now in tan with a blue base. And yes I do find it unusual that the tampo printing has MB47 all over it, yet it was MB72. Perhaps a last minute switch, too late to change the tampo? Did this sport a variation?

Oh yes, the base again. Different shades of blue.

It was also one of the rush-released models for the newly acquired Jurassic World license that Mattel had secured too late to do much with. They did their best, throwing out a bunch of models with Jurassic World on them. This was in the Desert 5-pack. And then it was pointed out there was no desert in Jurassic World, but packaging had already been produced. The first batch went out with Desert as the pack name, but the next run of packaging saw it changed to “Island”.

And yes, this too was not stopping with the bases. Lighter or darker grey again.

In 2016 it had been dropped from the basic range, but still appeared in a Military 5-pack. Tan with a grey base. Wait grey you say? Was there a variation to it?

No. This time they went the other way, and the upper roll cage was the piece that varied during production. Some coming out in a noticeably lighter tan than others.

In 2017 it was not a part of a Desert 5-pack in brown with a tan roll cage and grey base. Okay what went all shady this time? Top or bottom?

Well actually, the body got involved in this one. Lighter or darker brown. And yes the roll cage did also vary too.

Which leads us to what is currently this model’s final outing. In 2018 it returned to the basic range in what may be looking like a familiar design.

Well yes, it was a carry forward of the 2014 debut look. But they did tweak it a little. Notice how the original hood design had a sword through the winged shield and CHCO Tac. Orps under. Well the sword has now been replaced by POP and CHCO replaced by MBK. That was quite the little change for a carry forward.

What’s this? Shades of grey bases? Well technically, but the newer one is only the one in the middle. Although the rest of the colours matched up to the original 2014 release, the shade of grey used on the base was totally different to both the light and dark shades that were found 4 years prior. This casting has not been seen since 2018.

So there you go. As I said, it was a short run down of the models finishing off batch B, so I went a little more nuts with the back diving to pad it out a bit. Well that’s another week over. What shall I do next week? Hmm! Decisions, decisions. I have a few possibilities to go through. I think I might surprise you. Until then have a safe and happy week and see you next Monday for more Matchbox fun.

11 Replies to “Matchbox Monday concludes batch B”

  1. Happy to say Matchbox is once again appearing at Tesco, Case B singles, the brand new 9 pack and the same 5 packs as before. You’ll be pleased to hear with the load variations too.

    1. Yes I have popped to all 3 of the Tesco stores near where I live and work and yes, all 3 are now stocking things again. Excellent. It was just a blip then. A very long blip….

  2. I don’t think anyone could’ve been as shocked and happy to see the 918 Spyder being done by Matchbox as I was. Mostly because I was one of, if not the only one, to suggest back in 2015-16 or something that they specifically do a hardtop 918 (because Hot Wheels already made the open top version) and I really badly wanted Matchbox to also make a 918 model of their own. Little did I know that my prayers would be answered a good long 7 years later! It’s not perfect but considering what they had to work with, I think they did a good job on the casting. It looks good and has the necessary details and I think the 10 spokes are perfect for it. Gold is perhaps not the best colour to debut this in (silver would’ve been ideal) but that’s something a future release can easily fix. I hope this casting enjoys a long and fruitful life just like the beloved 997 GT3.

    1. Glad to hear I am not the only one. I only found out about the other one as Abe mentioned it when this was announced. I did not know about it at all. I only checked to see what it looked like as I was writing the blog.

  3. Agree about the Nationwise Mustang Concept promo looking weird without the windshield print. Not one of Tyco’s best efforts. The hardest to find of those promo models were the Mazda and Nissan that just had labels applied rather than the tampo print the others enjoyed.

  4. Not sure if this is the best place for this but odd things still keep turning up! I just found some 2020 models in Power Grab boxes at One Below in Nottingham (assume also at other branches). Not sure what the case number is but they included the MGBGT in orange/red, Jaguar F Type in blue, Renault Kangoo in Agave Acres livery, Dodge Charger in blue and Jeep Wrangler in white, among others. Boxes have stickers in an oriental language (about which I have no idea) so they’ve presumably come via an intermediary in the far east. Well priced at £1.25 each. they also have some 2022 case A models on short cards at £2.00 which I suspect will be of less interest…

    1. They can be useful for people who have missed certain models. Sadly, the One Below where I lived opened and 3 months later closed down again. I have no idea why. The nearest I have now is over 30 miles away.

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