Moving Parts. It appears that for 2022, things are really starting to jump forward with this segment of the Matchbox brand. After a few years with a small group over the course of the year, 2022 sees the range jump up to a set of 50 models, and we are going to be getting these over 8 different batches throughout the year. They maybe around twice the cost of a regular basic range model, but these are more like the types of vehicles that we as collectors want to see from Matchbox. Opening features, nice detailing, more metal and more licenses. These are more akin to how Matchbox used to be. Could these eventually overtake the basic range as the dominant part of the Matchbox portfolio? Would anybody mind if it did? The whole $1 price point has been played out for many years, and cost reduction on top of cost reduction has shown how the quality of parts and materials has had to be compromised to keep to this figure. That’s not to say the team have not done wonders with the tools given to them. Some models are still being produced similar to how things were back in the Universal era. 1990 was the big year where metal bases were pretty much wiped out, and plastic bases with metal bodies became the standard. The regular road going cars are, for the most part, still the same as they were. A few wagons and SUVs (being larger) have seen an interior wiped out and blacked out windows, but many basic cars are still being made as they were over 30 years ago for the same price point. But Moving Parts? Well, these up the value, up the quality, and up the part count. I am thoroughly enjoying these models, and so wish that they were sold properly in the UK (we have one store (The Entertainer) that sells them, but they have 2 year old models on 1 peg buried in the back). Luckily I had Dirk Schleuer looking after me with these, and he sent this batch over from his MOYShop store in Germany for me to do the latest report with. So let us get stuck in to this little batch of 5 models. As the year progresses you will start to see batches increase a little.
So as I tend to do, I am going to go through these 5 models in number order. Which means I am starting with number 1 of 50. This is the brand new casting of the MB1304 ’16 Range Rover Evoque Convertible. Or as the little card in the front of the blister has it, the Land Rover Range Rover Evoque.
In fact, as I am pointing these out, I am going to do my customary base shot of a new casting straight away here, as the base states it is a 2016 model (not mentioned on the package), but also has Land Rover Evoque. No mention of Range Rover. Don’t you just love legal stuff. Officially, Land Rover is the company that makes this. So they now need to put it. They didn’t when the original was made a few years back, but in recent years, the company has now requested that the proper company name is included going forward, so Mattel oblige. As you saw with the little card across the front of the package, putting Land Rover Range Rover Evoque was quite a mouthful. Try putting ’16 Land Rover Range Rover Evoque Convertible on a base (or on the card) and see how much space you get left with for all the other legal details they need to add. So yeah. The packaging couldn’t fit ’16 or Convertible. The base couldn’t fit Range Rover or Convertible. It’s just the way it is, but of course we are all going to be calling it the Range Rover Evoque Convertible (the last bit just to differentiate from the basic range issue).
Now this is a 2016 Evoque, so this does mean that the front end is ever so slightly different from the casting we already have. But aside from that, it is a very familiar shape. Of course the Evoque is now on a second generation which launched in 2019, but this has so far not yielded a convertible option. That was only on the first generation vehicle, and I think it was worth giving it a go. I remember when the original debuted, people said they should turn it into a convertible. Well, they have. Better late than never, and this white debut looks great to me.
Of course being a Moving Parts model, in this case means we have these huge opening doors on the side. Is this the first SUV with opening doors in the range? I am trying to think. Does the ’62 Jeep Willys Station Wagon classify as an SUV? Well, whether it is or isn’t, I do believe these are the chunkiest opening doors I have seen on a Matchbox. Look how deep they are! Massive. Okay 1 day I will get out one of my Porsche 928s as these have really big doors and see which is the biggest. Why? Because I am a nerd, that’s why!
It comes with a nicely detailed interior, although I am still not used to this new way of doing steering wheels. I know, this is all about ease of construction, and making things faster at the factory, but it is always the one little area that I am not a fan of. It’s not awful, but I do lament how they used to look in years gone by. Not really noticeable in most vehicles, but most prominent in a convertible.
But if that is my only gripe on this lovely little model, then I am still extremely happy. I too was in the chorus of “give us a convertible” when the Evoque was launched, and I am definitely very happy with the look of this one. I look forward to seeing more of these over the years.
Especially when they come with a lovely little spoiler on the back. So, I will have to drag out the older Evoques here to compare.
So obviously I should go with the first one. The original MB896 casting. First released in the 2013 range as MB61…. Wait, no it wasn’t. Had a technical hitch and got delayed. Debuting as MB70 in the 2014 basic range…. Err, hold on a sec, bear with us. Still a few issues. No release. Right, first arriving in the 2015 range as…. wait it wasn’t ready. We don’t even know which number it was due to debut that year as. MB23? MB92? MB100? MB120? It was going to be one of those, but due to a small problem, it hit year 3 of the delays and finally, yes I am double checking, confirmed, it eventually hit the basic range as MB27 in 2016. But due to the various delays, this was not the 2016 facelifted version. This was the original vehicle as Land Rover launched it. Of course they were only minor tweaks to the facelift, so in all honesty there is not much to note.
Of course as part of the facelift, Land Rover slightly changed the look of the radiator grille, and the headlights saw a new look to them. Something which Matchbox are demonstrating extremely well with the tampo print detailing. You will also note the lower spotlight area was altered, and this too has been expertly replicated by Matchbox. These details are all very noticeable, and great job to the Matchbox guys in getting these so good.
The rear too sees the tampo printing take the brunt of the real life changes, although the area around where a rear license plate would be was flattened out. And of course the convertible has the little tiny spoiler on the back.
The way they have been put together, the scale used and the overall size of the 2 vehicles is identical. Great work from the team in ensuring that they used the bare bones of the original to start with the new tooling to keep it consistent. The base itself pretty much looks like it was the same base section, wiped and re-worded with the new details. These 2 models look absolutely fantastic together. They look as if they come from the same vehicle, which when shrinking down to miniature, can sometimes come out quite different. So again, I am very happy with what they have done with this one.
And as I had the originals out, I might as well run them down again. Orange, dark or light? I do love how orange is often so good for shading.
We also had a Walmart exclusive Land Rover set that year too, which was sold in the UK too as Asda stores (Asda being a part of Walmart). For the Land Rover set, it was now in brown.
In 2017 it was now MB100 in the basic range and came in a metallic black style, with simple front and rear print again. Actually, all Evoques have simple front and rear printing. To date, not one has seen a side print.
In 2018 it was no longer in the basic range, but we saw a blue one arrive in the Ice Voyagers 5-pack. Again I was busy spotting those shades.
And then it vanished for 2019. 2020 did see a final new look for the model. It was back in the basic range as MB31 in red.
Although it was not quite it for the casting, as 2021 saw the 5-pack release from 2018 carry forward to a Best of France release. For those who saw my report on that, this blue was basically in the middle of the 2 shades of blue I had before, so I kept it. We have not seen it since, but with the Convertible now in the mix, will we actually see it again? I think so. A random pop up occasionally.
And straight in with the other new casting too. Yes, with around 20 new castings in the series for this year, we will be seeing quite a few of them pop up as the year progresses. They really are putting a lot of effort into this series at the moment. This is the MB1310 Ram Ambulance taking the number 5 slot in the series of 50. According to the package, it is a 2016 Ram Ambulance.
According to the base of the model, it is a 2019 Ram Ambulance. And yes, I did the base shot first again, as for the second time, there was something significant about it. Now me, I have a habit of marking up models by what it says on the base. So as the base is saying this is a 2019, I am calling it a 2019 (partly because the package shot was the last I saw of it, and now I only have a model that says it is a 2019). However, Ram is not a strong point for me, if somebody who is more in tune with the Ram timeline and can pinpoint its year of origin please do let me know.
Now this casting has had quite a lot of positive reaction to it. I can see why. First of all, it looks fantastic. A very good realistic view of the type of vehicle. Nice and modern too.
But this is something we have not had in quite a while. That is a full length metal piece, from the front hood all the way to the rear of the box. Budgetary constraints to the basic range have forced Mattel into cutting models like this in half, with the front section being metal, rear box plastic, and then a step further into a whole plastic body. This is a metal body, and it is quite hefty. As Matchbox models go, this is definitely one towards the upper end of the weight scale.
Also added to that is that the rear opening doors are also made of metal. I wasn’t too sure if they would be, as, even as far back as the Lesney made 1977 Ambulance, opening doors were plastic. Heck, Stretcha Fetcha (a futuristic Ambulance from 1972) also had a plastic rear. Okay, granted, those had metal bases, and this is a plastic base, but I am still amazed by what they have done with this.
And you may not have noticed (or even cared) but as I peer in to show off the interior, which is chrome plated due to it also forming the front grille area, do you notice the base slotted in at the back? Yes, this model is not even being made in the current “drop” method, which basic range models have had to start adhering to. There is scope to still create this using the slot method. Slot in at the back and simply rivet the front down. This is proper old school construction for the model. A veritable throwback among what we are used to nowadays. It is no wonder this model has attracted so much attention. I can see this getting a lot of attention and action over the years.
And, as we often see this with Moving Parts, the front end also sports a nice tampo print too. With the sides being done, on a basic range, this usually means job done. No more prints allowed in the budget. Has been for years. That was starting to come in as the 21st century was dawning. But with Moving Parts, we can see how they have a little leeway to add in a proper 3rd pass at times, to highlight even more of a model than we are used to. I can see them getting another real licensed livery for this, setting up a premium release in the Collector series, and that proving to be hugely popular too.
Not that I am complaining with this. Peel Regional Paramedic Services is based in Brampton, in the regional municipality of Peel, in Ontario. So this is a real Canadian livery.
A quick shot of one of their real Ambulances. I don’t know if they have a Ram on their books at the moment. But I love that we are seeing real licenses for the liveries on models too.
So, yes, I think this pretty much ticks all the boxes. Yeah I know, separate light bars. Used to be a thing. Not any longer. I am not fussed. I am seriously impressed with this model. Another great new casting. If the other 18 new castings coming for Moving Parts are anything like this, I think we are going to be in for a lot of treats this year. Again, great work by the Matchbox team.
Ooh. A model we have seen before. The MB1135 ’65 VW Type 3 Fastback. And yes, they managed to fit that all on the strip at the front. It takes the number 27 slot in the series of 50 and comes in a rather familiar looking purple.
Which I guess saw a tweak to the tampo print after the artwork was done. It is small, but subtle. The artwork shows the license plate saying MB1135 (its MAN number) with the model sporting FST BK VW as the license plate. I can’t help it. I enjoy checking the license plates. It’s the whole nerd thing (see talk of Evoque vs 928 doors above).Now I have to admit, I was waiting for this to appear ever since the model debuted. I am surprised it took so long.
Purple is almost synonymous with this casting as a Matchbox model. Of course I am referring to the classic Lesney casting, and how it looked after turning into a Superfast issue. I can’t fault it. I don’t know if purple was a common colour in real life. Maybe VW needed convincing as to why purple was a great choice for the model, hence the delay. Or perhaps Mattel just wanted to not throw all the retro looks out too fast.
So yes, I am very happy with this one. I love the little details at the rear. So let’s remind ourselves of how this looked so far.
It debuted in the 2019 Moving Parts range in red. This was reminiscent of the original Lesney look from before (and as a transitional) Superfast. I was expecting purple to follow it but instead….
Later in the 2019 year we saw a light blue one instead. Very nice, and again a nice simple front and rear. But newbie is the first Moving Parts issue to see a chrome base.
The model also appeared as number 10 in the 2019 Superfast series as well, in an off-white look, which I was able to obtain a nice shade variation to. This was the only other chrome based issue. Because, well, until this one now, we had not seen the model at all after 2019. It had a stellar debut year with 3 variants and then nothing for 2 years. Glad to see it was not forgotten.
And me being me, I was checking the bases of them all. MB1135 for the debut, and the blue seeing VW 1600. The Superfast release had MB SUPERFST 50 as its plate, which means that all 4 have got different license plates. I do like to see what they come up with for them.
But of course. Purple. I currently have 8 different shades of purple on my classic Lesney MB67-A VW 1600TL casting. This was from when it first arrived in 1969 as one of the original 10 Superfast models and continued through 1970 before turning pink in 1971. However, although you have that instant Lesney vibe when you see the new release, it turns out, it is nothing like anything released during the Lesney era. It is a massively different type of purple altogether.
Not that it is a problem. It is giving you the vibe without being a duplicate. I love it.
Which does mean we now have the first 2 colours for the classic Lesney model replicated by the modern Mattel casting. The only question is, will we get to see a pink one down the line? We had a pink Beetle recently
They do exist, but I don’t believe as original factory releases. But I think it would work as a model. Keeping my fingers crossed for the future.
Next up is the MB1165 ’65 Land Rover Gen II Pickup making its core range debut. Moving Parts is officially classified as a core range series, with the Collector series being the only premium series that they have. It is in the number 38 slot of the 50 due.
And comes in a very nice burgundy with a simple front end tampo detail. Honestly, you can’t go wrong with this look on a classic Land Rover, although I am surprised we haven’t seen a solid green one yet. That is because the first 2 Land Rovers that Matchbox ever made (12-a (1955-58) and 12-b (1959-65)) were only ever sold in solid green, which is sort of a signature classic Land Rover colour. So I am half expecting one at some point. But this is a very nice colour for this release.
And again at the rear we get a simple tampo design. However, I can see what they were trying to do here. Real Land Rovers of the time had a thin metal strip down the edge of the rears, and they have tried to replicate it here. In real life, it was just an edge, I assume to help with bumps and knocks, but when shrunk down to miniature size, well it looks like somebody dribbled a bit of silver down the edge on my example. It didn’t really take very well, and I think might have been better left off. However, that could have just been a mis-alignment to mine. But that was the only downside to this lovely model, which is still getting a chrome base.
It comes with a lovely opening door (like the Evoque shown earlier) but this one has a much better steering wheel. It might be down to the fact the interior also forms the spare wheel on the front and as such, the plastic section is crafted differently allowing a better and more realistic steering wheels. Sure many years ago a steering wheel was a very thin piece, actually made to look exactly like a real one with all the gaps in, and this is still essentially a bit of a blob, but I still prefer this to the Evoque’s way of doing it, as a pillar with a shape of a wheel on top of it. That’s just me. I think the old way from years gone by was too fragile to keep doing in this modern mass-production age.
And of course there was the one issue before this. Last year it was number 1 in the Collector series, so was debuted as a premium issue with 2-part rubber wheels (or real riders as some call them) and well, just a little extra tampoing. The front end simply saw an additional logo above the bumper on the right.
And the model saw a simple “Cool Vintage” and pin stripe down the side (as well as fuel cap and door handles detailed). Which to me was a lovely little debut too. I like how this is still in very simple looks, which back then were pretty much how most would appear.
Finally, the Camaro. Ooh I love Camaros, and the latest MB1139 ’16 Chevy Camaro is an instant favourite of mine. I love this generation look and the hardtop looks cooler to me than the convertible (although if somebody offered me a convertible I would not turn them down). Seriously…. Anybody…. For 2022, this model is in black as number 41 of 50.
And it looks fantastic, with the golden wheels finishing it off. Oh could this be its best colour yet?
Again as we have seen in recent times, they have the engine fully detailed when you open the hood up too. Along with the front end and rear end detailing, I don’t think they really needed anything else. Had this been a premium I think a set of rubber wheels would have been the only difference. Unless they want to add stripes. I am still waiting on a release of this casting with stripes! It would look fantastic with stripes. Just imagine a set of dual white stripes shooting down the top of the model. But again I think that could be something that would like be more for the premium issues, as they could really get it going from front to back, and with the hood being printed separately I think stripes would be too much for a core release.
Something to think about as a future issue. In the meantime, I am still loving this black model. I don’t know why, but to me, black cars just look so cool. Especially the more sporty ones. As I said, this is my new favourite of the bunch. Talking of which.
Let us remind ourselves of what the bunch were. For this we go back to 2019 and the first year of Moving Parts where we got 2 releases. At first we saw it in brown. Well I say we, this batch was very short run and many people did not see it. Mine came to me from Australia.
After that we had a second issue later on in blue, which was more widely available.
And in 2019, we also saw the one and only premium issue released to date. It was green with a matte black hood, and yes I did manage to obtain 2 shades of green to it.
After a trio of releases for 2019, 2020 saw this. A carry forward of the second Moving Parts 2019 release in blue, which was a slightly darker shade (hence me having 2).
2021 was a little better though. We had a new look. Moving Parts, now being numbered, saw it in the number 4 slot in red.
But that was not all. Just like in the debut year, we had a second one later. This time the number 15 release was in white, which is a good pair to the new black one.
So we have managed to get, over the space of 4 years, 6 different looks for the Camaro. And yes, I am here again checking license plates. Left to right – CAMARO, MATCHBOX, SPR FST, CHEVY, CAMARO (2nd time that was used) and now LT1 DRVR. LT1 being the base version of the Camaro portfolio. So it is a correct plate for the model. I love the attention to details. I hope when Chevy stop production of the Camaro in 2024 that they still will come up with a 7th generation in the future. It’s such a cool car.
Still I am building an army of models of them, so I am happy enough. I look forward to seeing more of these in the future.
And with that, I believe my journey through the first batch of 2022 Moving Parts is done. I hope you enjoyed the “new” part of the report, and still continue on as I delve back into my collection for some older goodies.
Which this week begins with the MB50-A Ford Kennel Truck. This casting arrived initially in early 1969 along with the number MB6-A Ford Pick-up, as 2 different takes on a 5th generation Ford F-series. I don’t know if a real vehicle was ever constructed like this with a canopy in the back and 4 dogs inside, but as a kid, these were really cool to eat. I mean play with. Hmm! I wonder why laws changed on small parts in kids toys? Those early 1969 issues had a new system in place that Lesney had developed called Autosteer. You pushed down on one side of the mode and the wheels would turn in that direction. Let go and the wheels straightened up. It was genius. However, as they transitioned to Superfast, they were unable to replicate that with the new construction methods, and so Autosteer faded away. However, what we also tend to miss with this model is that when they changed to Superfast, they changed the colour. This is the Superfast colour. Dark green. But the original from 1969 was an extremely dull, dark green. There is a transitional. It is rare and I don’t have it. But it is darker than this is.
Now the thing is, when you originally got the model, the 4 dogs would be on a sprue, and you would have to unclick them from the sprue to add them to the back of the truck. I did have one where the dogs were still on the sprue many years ago. I then immediately popped those dogs off and threw away the sprue. So I can’t show you it now.
But the attention to detail on these was amazing. All 4 dogs were completely unique. I am sure there was a definite dog lover who created this casting. For the first 2 Superfast years, the model was metallic green (shades do exist, and again I am still looking), but after 1970 was found with black bases, in 1971, Lesney started using up paints they had received that they didn’t like to paint bases, as these were largely unseen. As such charcoal, grey, light or dark yellow bases can all be found in 1971 releases on a metallic green body. Why do we know they are 1971s? The wheels were widened up that year (mine has narrow wheels) and the funky base colours were only found with wide wheels. It was a quick change to wide wheels, as this was actually a casting that needed no modification to accommodate them. The wheel arches stayed the same.
The model ran until 1972, but for the final year, it changed even more drastically with the green in use. It can be known as lime green or apple green, depending on where you live, and this non-metallic look was the style for the final year. You can also see the difference in wheel thickness with these 2. At first the little clip on plastic chrome grille was still being chromed.
But as the year went on, they gave up and left it plain white. They obviously used up all the yellow paint as none of these were found with them, but greys and charcoals were still being found alongside the usual black. And if you are really lucky, you might find an unpainted base. After 1972, they retooled the casting into the Wildlife Truck and it was never seen again. Although early modification possibilities did include a mock-up of a hot rod milk van. Yes, they were contemplating turning it into a hot rod.
So next on my list, from the 1980s, comes a late Lesney issue from 1982. Bandag Bandit. Lesney created this casting as MB066 and launched it worldwide as MB66 in the basic range in white as a Tyrone Malone Super Boss. But in the US range only, they added another of the Kenworth drag trucks too as MB65-C. This was the listed as MB084 Bandag Bandit, although it is actually the exact same casting but simply in an alternate colour. This was the beginning of the MAN number era, and as such they were literally listing anything and everything even remotely different as a new number. So a different colour at the same time? Sure, new MAN number.
Production was in England for the first year and you know what this means? Variations. Yeah, they couldn’t keep anything consistent.
Let’s see, wheels. The usual configuration for these was crown wheels on the front and dot-dash wheels on the back. But sometimes the front wheels ended up being dot-dash too. Fairly common. There is a rare crown wheel rear issue (I am yet to find).
How about the airfoil on the back? It had Tyrone Malone written on the top strip. But the lower strip? Well, 4 stripes? 2 stripes? You might find it without as well (I haven’t, again still looking).
However, in 1983 production moved to Macau. This time, there was a no-stripe variation easy to find. However, this is actually because they were not printing it at all. If you look carefully, you might actually notice that Tyrone Malone was actually a transfer label. Not tampo printed. It took them a while to start tampo printing that. You might also notice that the yellow stripes on Macau made models are, well, yellow. English ones were almost lime.
Although of course if you flip over, you can see the Macau detailing on the base.
Another angle showing the transfer label for the rear spoiler. You might be able to see the edging for the label.
But later on they did learn how to tampo print the spoiler, and as such, they were consistent with a 4-striped front section to it. In fact, they were pretty consistent non-stop. It ran for 2 years from Macau, and these are the only 2 variants known to exist for this. After 1984 they decided to drop this model from the US range, leaving just the Tyrone Malone Super Boss going. Although that had already been dropped from the US range too, and was now an ROW exclusive until 1986. I will have to dig those out for a photo shoot soon too. They have a few more variations. But there was an addendum.
1991. A new factory in China was taking over from Macau and had set up some test runs of models no longer in production using designs already seen in the past. They sold these in 6-vehicle multipacks in USA known as Super Value Packs. This casting had been shipped over from Macau as the factory had closed there and was given a new run. The most obvious thing to look for is the maltese cross front wheels.
Unless you flip the base again to see Made in China on it.
Of course China also had no clue as to how to do airfoil printing, but they just left it blank. After this little run for the multipack the casting was never seen again.
So now I am jumping right to the end of the 20th century. I don’t often show premiums, but I felt this was the first run of this casting, and thought I would include it. the MB358 ’55 Chevy Bel Air. This was in the early days of Mattel, and they created a dual casting, with a hardtop here, and also a convertible as MB359. To make this a hardtop, they simply extended the window section over to the rear and added a clip in plastic roof section to the model. It was initially launched as a First Edition with 5,000 unpainted examples and 5,000 in dark green and cream paired together, all in a premium guise with 2-part rubber wheels.
After this the model then debuted in the basic range. As MB73, exclusively in the US market. After that it was retired from basic range use. Seriously, it had one outing, and just in the US range. There was another 1999 issue. A coke premium model, which I am yet to add to my collection.
However, the model was given quite an outing as a code 2 model. A plain red with white roof model produced by Matchbox and given to ASAP/ColorComp to prepare a wide range of code 2 issues with.
2000 did see one regular outing of sorts. An Avon Coke twin pack issue was made, which obviously you could only order through Avon outlets. This was yellow with a roof design on it and the Coke doors.
Aside from 1 more premium (a Barrett Jackson issue in 2002 in blue) this model barely saw any action at all. 2004 did see a Superfast released as number 49 in the series in red and cream.
And that was pretty much it. 4 years later, we had 1 more outing. Again in the Superfast series, this orange and white model proved to be a swansong for a really underused casting. I don’t know why Chevy Bel Airs fell out of favour with Mattel, but we had 5 castings (2 each of the ’55 and ’57, as well as a police offshoot of this), and none really saw a lot of use. Which I think is a huge shame. Especially the ’55s. They were such lovely castings of iconic USA vehicles.
And yes, I am barely moving on here. I go from a 1999 debut to a 2000 debut. Because this was another model that was not exactly used much. The MB470 GMC Bucket Truck. And just like the Chevy I showed just now, this was a US exclusive debut. In the year 2000, it arrived as MB99 in the US range, and of course that meant that the first 10,000 of them sported a Matchbox 2000 logo on the front window. It was such a cool model with the extending and rotating boom. So, MB470 debuted in 2000. It retired, in 2000. Yeah, this was it. This is the entire production history of MB470. Officially….
The model wasn’t completely forgotten. We saw nothing at all in 2001 or 2002, but in 2003 they had plans to include it in the final batch of the Coca-Cola singles. Sadly, the final batch of 6 models was running late, and the specific license they had meant that they could not actually release anything within a certain window of the license lapsing. It was all highly specific legal mumbo jumbo that meant that at the last minute, they had to drop the batch, and along with it, a second outing for this model. But at least it reminded them that it existed. But plans were afoot.
In 2004 it was announced that the ROW range was going to get MB470 as an exclusive. It was MB26 in the basic range, and well, we got a GMC Bucket Truck for the ROW market. This is where things get a little bit confusing.
You see, they decided to make some changes to the casting. Cost reductions have been going since the Lesney era. It happens. It happens a lot. A model is created, then after a while, they see how they could make it more efficiently. So they re-tooled this with a new single axle at the rear.
Plus for some reason, they also switched the bucket’s position on the back of the boom, so that now in resting mode it points down, not backwards (it is also a little shallower). I don’t know why. They re-assigned the model as MB604. One small blip. They forgot to re-detail the base with the new number. It still stated MB470 on its. Oops! Then this is where things get even more mixed up. In 2004 they closed Mt Laurel in New Jersey and moved the Matchbox brand in-house to El Segundo California. With it came almost an entirely new team. A team that did not know about this particular blip. This team also decided to switch production from China to Thailand, and so during 2005 all the tooling started getting shipped over to Thailand. The factory did not know about this blip. Why would they? They are in an entirely different country. They receive a Bucket Truck that says MB470 on the base, they shove it in a slot for MB470. The new team get information that MB470 is good to go and create a new look for it.
It arrives in the final 5-pack of the 2005 year. It was called Construction, and even used the 470 MAN number in the design for the model. Yes, this had ended up back as MB470. These things happen. So from hereon in, we are seeing this listed as MB470 again. Even though technically, it should have been MB604. For those keeping track, the 2004 ROW exclusive release was officially released as MB604 with the wrong MAN number on the base. But with all the changes, that was the only MB604 release. It is one of the more convoluted MAN number scenarios in the list. Oh look, this was a Michael Heralda design. One of his earlier Matchbox ones (as he still does them now).
So MB…. whatever had a little more usage in 2006. Again it was in a Construction 5-pack, this time in white.
but they also gave it a premium outing in the 2006 Superfast series too, which meant it sported tampos all around.
And in 2007, it was given a basic range outing. Worldwide! Yes, for the first time in this model’s history, it was sold as a single issue in all markets. MB75 was in teal. That was too much. It was never seen in the basic range again.
In fact, it was only ever seen once more, when it popped up in the 2009 licensed 5-pack, which was sold excusively at Disneyworld/Disneyland theme parks. This was the one year that they had 3 items from Matchbox at their theme parks. We used to get a bus and a plane, but in 2009 they had an exclusive 5-pack as well. But sadly the Disney parks stuff has all faded away now. the bus held on until 2021, but that finally went this year too.
Which brings us to the final model in my dive back. As we know, in the early part of the ’10s, the powers that be, seeing how Matchbox was being really successful with the return to realism, decided to throw it all out the window and come up with a new plan. As such, they wanted to really differentiate what the Matchbox guys were doing from the alternate team. A 3-way split with 100 models for the US range, and both ROW and LAAM markets getting an assortment of 75 of those 100 was over, and the new plan was to release a series of 100 models worldwide, with no street cars. It would all be construction themed, utility themed, and so on. The Matchbox team at the time pushed as hard as they could, and a small allowance was made, to increase the series to 120 models, and add in some cars too. But they wanted things brighter too, so many models started seeing a few more vivid designs.
But aside from that, they wanted to give as wide a selection of different styles of vehicles to the Matchbox range as they could, and one way of doing that was by inserting a range of tracked vehicles. They were different. They were all Matchbox originals designs too, as the percentage of licensed vehicles in the range was reduced. Of course, by inserting an additional 20 “cars” which would all be licensed, the budget for licenses for the rest of the range would be reduced in accordance too. This is why we had an influx of their own creations at the time. Obviously sales got affected, and as we know they have course corrected again to what Matchbox is well known for, realistic interpretations of vehicles you see on the roads. And of course modern “tracked” vehicles are nothing like we had in years gone by.
These were plastic pieces, with small wheels slotted in underneath to allow the vehicles to roll. Many years ago they actually added rubber tracks to the models. One such vehicle was the MB852 Trail Tipper which launched as MB113 in the basic range in orange with a tilting grey dump on the rear.
For 2013, it was now MB43 in blue, with a grey dump on the rear.
For 2014, it moved to the MB28 slot in golden yellow, and now with a white dump. I did see a shade to this, and yes I still happily picked it up. Granted, it is not the best of vehicles, but I always felt this had somewhat of a charm to it. Especially the front end. It’s what you get if a Stormtrooper and a Cyberman had a baby, with a few Borg implants. Have we ever had a Star Wars, Doctor Who and Star trek crossover before? Do you see the face? Or is it just me?
In 2015 we had another blue model, but now with a black dump on the back. It was MB34 in the basic range.
The model finished a 5-year stint in the basic range in 2016, which happened to also be it’s final year of action. Its final release was MB49 in silver with a blue dump, and for the first time, white tracks.
Which also got additional use in a Monster Week 5-pack too in orange, with a grey dump and white base again. It had a Yeti design on the model. But this proved to be just like the Yeti after this. Not seen again.
5 basic range issues, and 1 Monster Week release. 2 oranges, 2 blues, and a gold and silver look. I doubt we will see this again, but you never can say no.
I believe that is me done for another week. I hope you enjoyed my review of the first 5 Moving Parts models of 2022. 2 brand new castings included.
As well as 3 returnees in the batch. Next week I will have a look at some more new for 2022 releases.
Until then, have a safe and happy week and catch you next Monday for more Matchbox goodies.