Another week, and another run through of various Matchbox products. And this batch have finally arrived at my friends at Wheel Collectors for people to obtain. Now as we know, when the final batch of the 2021 series was released, a certain model was missing, and the MB1165 Land Rover Gen II Pickup in yellow was thrown back in to make numbers up. Well, luckily, the final 2021 release was not too far behind. It just rolled over to 1 batch later.
I think this was one of the most highly anticipated of the 2021 series too. The MB1258 Nissan NISMO GT-R (R35). Yes, this means that the model is officially based on the latest incarnation of the GT-R. And specifying it is the NISMO variant too, means they were looking at the track focused model too, which is quite funny as GT-R stands for Gran Turismo-Racing anyway. Doesn’t that sort of imply a track focused car? This was first unveiled at the New York International Auto Show in April 2019 and went on sale later in the year as a 2020 model.
As with all the Collectors models, this comes with a box inside the outer blister. Luckily they kept the package style for 2022 the same as for 2021 so it is very easy to slip it in the 2021 series and it match up with the rest for a complete set.
The model comes with opening doors, and a separate plastic rear spoiler (something the box art missed).
And yes, I do think it was worth the wait. I have been wanting Matchbox to make a GT-R for many years. After all it debuted in December 2007 in Japan as a 2008 model. It then arrived in 2008 as a 2009 model year model in North America, and in 2009 in Europe. This was down to Nissan having to create dedicated performance buildings to service the vehicle, so had to get them in place before releasing the car. So it was a slow roll-out around the world. The doors to this open to unveil it is a left hand drive model, so I guess mainland Europe or North American style. Not Japan or UK (or Australia/New Zealand). I have to admit, these doors do feel really solid and close with a nice clunk too. Some doors can be a little awkward to open and close (both with modern releases and diving back into classics), but the GT-R is a great example of getting that just right.
The rear end show the large spoiler coming up out of the rear of the model. Simple tampo detailing to the body part, and the lower end being made of plastic doesn’t get any printing. But that plastic section really shows off the current look of the GT-R with the aggressive details down there.
The side details all of the air intakes behind both wheels and over the front (as this is the NISMO one).
And the front details the grille and does also include the little NISMO logo in the top right corner of the grille. I think this is pretty clever the way this has been constructed. The front grille is a part of the interior section of the model. Due to this receiving the tampo print, for them to also print the headlights, it would have required another time through the tampo machine. But no. The headlights are actually a part of the window piece, and I do think it is cool when we see them doing that at times. So the front end of the model, and all the colour breaks, are composed due to all the major parts of the model being utilized in the construction of the front end. I think this has been extremely well though out. Terrific work from the Matchbox team again. I am so impressed with this. I think the wait was definitely worth it.
And being a new casting I guess I will also show a photo of the base. This is why I called it a Nissan NISMO GT-R (R35) when the packaging noted it as a Nissan GT-R NISMO, along with no mention of R35 anywhere. I prefer to go by what the bases say as opposed to what is marked on packages. Quite often packages have noted different things for different markets too, which is why I go with a base name. Now base names have changed in the past (the year for the Audi TTRS, the BMW 1M switching around etc) but I stick to the rule of what came first. That’s my way. Others may go with other ideas, but for me this will always be a Nissan NISMO GT-R (R35) when I talk about it.
So now I officially move into the 2022 series. Same package, different model year. Skipping number 1 in the set (The new Ram Rebel casting is in the next batch) means we are starting with the number 2 model of the 20 due for the year. And yes, this is another from the same company. Although to the uninitiated it doesn’t say Nissan, it says Datsun. But to those who know, it was the same company.
The MB1146 ’82 Datsun 280ZX is quite special as it was the last year that the US market sold it as a Datsun. This was internally known as the Nissan S130. Created to replace the S30, it was launched as the Nissan Fairlady Z in Japan (same as the previous generation was as in Japan the name Datsun just wasn’t cutting it so they didn’t like using it) but most markets sold it as the Datsun 280ZX. But in 1981 Nissan decided to retire the Datsun name and started a process of eliminating it across these markets. The US market switched to Nissan in 1983 (the UK followed in 1984 and eventually the whole world and by 1986 it was now Nissan only). But seeing a Datsun and a Nissan in the same batch does feel different. This one though, it has been around a few years now.
It too sports opening doors. This model though is in blue. Its second outing as a premium issue
Now the look of the model to me sort of feels like they were going for a bit of a race-style look. The Datsun was involved a lot with IMSA and Sports Car racing in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and many looks using the basic red, white and blue were used on various vehicles at the time. This is definitely giving off that sort of vibe to me. Plus, I love the little nods to Ryu Asada, with his name emblazoned on the door and hood over the 78, which as people may or may not know, was the year (1978) that he was born. I think that is another lovely little tribute to a Mattel designer who really helped usher in the modern age with his designs.
Again, the team has put a lot of effort into this model. Real logos from companies they are allowed to use in the design, as well as Japanese Matchbox writing on the rear quarter too. Sure, one day I would like to see a nice simple stock look for this model, but they are letting their creative juices flow with this casting, and I can’t say I have actually disliked any.
The first one we saw was the 2019 Moving Parts debut in dark charcoal with gold and silver detailing over the top. This reminded me a lot of the older Lesney created but Universal produced version of a 280ZX 2+2.
We had another Moving Parts in light blue for 2020, which to date is about the least tampoed of all. But it still sported stripes down the front hood. Do I dislike stripes? No I do not.
And then we had a Superfast release (its first premium) that same year too in red. Same wheels. Just a different colour. And again it is full of stripes. That time it was number 1 in the set. They have doubled the number for the new one.
And for 2021 it was back in the Moving Parts again (numbered 17 in the range that year) in brown with yet more stripes and pin striping going on all over the top.
So this is what we have seen so far from the model. The Matchbox team has given us a sneak peek of an upcoming Moving Parts issue in black with a white hood. Something to look forward to as there is much to come this year still.
Number 3 in the 2022 series is the MB1253 ’19 Pagani Huayra Roadster. This model makes its premium range debut after arriving in 2021 in the Moving Parts series.
It comes in white with a black strip going over the middle of the model.
And of course the opening rear canopy showcasing the engine inside. A very nice model, and I felt that the dark blue of the debut version was perhaps a little too dark. This one though, this really makes the model pop. I love it!
You might also notice a tiny blue stripe that runs up the middle of the black area too. Plus that highly detailed engine. They really know how to step it up when they need to.
I am very impressed with this look. Definitely a step up from the debut.
It was nice. A very cool casting. But when the 2021 Moving Parts number 1 was issued, I just felt that the colour choice was a little bland. But I love the new one much more.
Hopefully we will get some nice looks for this over the next few years. It definitely works better in premium guise.
The MB975 Jaguar F-type. It takes the number 4 slot in the series.
And also marks the first time this casting has been sold in a premium look. Now I really like this. I am hearing stories over how this is proving to be the slowest seller out of the bunch, which I am sad about.
Maybe it is down to being an older casting? Maybe something to do with this model not sporting any opening feature (it pre-dates the debut of Moving Parts). I am not sure what it is, but I have seen pictures on social media where people have visited a store and it just has pegs of this one.
I can’t explain it though. But me? I love it! A nice orangey red with some pin striping around the back and sides and down the front in orange and black. Full detailing for the first time, really showing off the nice casting.
Including a very detailed front end for the first time. This is a fantastic model. I am very happy to see it. Maybe when I get to USA next month and visit any stores that have an abundance of these left, you know I will be busy checking them all. If I find a variation in any I will be getting them. Help to clear out stock.
So let’s remind ourselves of what came before again. It debuted as MB4 in the 2015 basic range. Moving Parts didn’t arrive until 2019 so it was 4 years too early to have anything open. During production you might find variances to the window tint. From almost clear to smoke.
Then it moved to the MB15 slot for 2016 in a lovely metallic orange. After that it disappeared.
We never saw another one until 2019 when it finally popped back up in a 9-pack as an exclusive. This was a lovely British Racing Green one.
After this it popped back into the basic range again in 2020 as MB52. This time it was a dark metallic blue.
Then for 2021 it was sold in a bright solid blue as part of the Best of UK series.
Which means this is only its 6th release since it first debuted back in 2015. That does equate to less than 1 a year. It is not exactly a commonly used casting, which is a shame as it is one of my favourites. And yes, this orangey red one is one of the best of those too. Mind you, I like them all. Just like with the Pagani, my least favourite is the debut. And just like the Pagani, this isn’t about slating a debut. They set the bar high, and continue to beat it with each release.
Which brings me to the last model in the batch. And you know what? I don’t like this one. Only kidding! It’s so cute. But truth be told, out of the batch, this would be my least favourite. It shows how much I like the batch. Because as I said, it’s so cute.
The MB1252 ’63 Honda T360 in a pale pastel lemon colour taking the number 5 slot in the set. After debuting last year in the Moving Parts series at the end of the year, this did not take long to receive a premium outing.
And of course it comes with the opening front revealing a spare wheel inside too. And of course that front opens up around the headlights meaning they are still there with 2 circular holes in the opening section. It’s such a cool little model.
It has a lovely little side design with a Honda Service Vehicle and red stripe with grey pin striping and wheel arch edging. Plus, just like the Datsun, it features the Japanese Matchbox logo too.
The rear has Honda and the outline of the tailgate, plus a T360 license plate. And yes, my camera decided that was the perfect time to focus on the Japanese Matchbox logo again. Stupid camera. What’s the saying? A bad workman blames his tools? Oops! But my awful photo taking aside, I do really like this model.
Now as much as I like the blue debut from last year’s Moving Parts series, again I have to say they have taken the bar and raised it again.
I have to say I am impressed with this model.
As I am with the whole batch. GT-R – fantastic. Finally have one. Datsun – so many nods to remember a dear friend. Pagani – taken the debut and improved it. Jag – finally premium showing what it can do. Honda – so cute! Yes I am happy with them. But then I am a bit of a Matchbox nut, and do like the majority of what comes out. Not everything. There was a fire thingy once. Anybody who has known me for many years knows what model I am talking about. But for now, I think I am due another dive back aren’t I. So let’s get on with it.
This week I start at the beginning. Sounds logical. Well, it is the beginning for me. You see I was born in 1972. And yes, I turn 50 years old in a matter of weeks. Where did the time go? I grew up wanting toy cars. In 1980 I made the decision at 8 years old that I only wanted Matchbox, therefore that was all I was getting from that point on. Fast forward to being an adult collector, and I began my journey of visiting toy fairs and conventions and filling in gaps in my collection. Toy fairs? Yes, I hit them regularly at weekends still. Conventions? Next one in a little over a month and I can’t wait for my trip to USA. Anyway, sidetracking. As I started with those gaps I saw there was a lot of history for the brand from before I was born. But I grabbed the odd 1960s era model and well, they weren’t doing much for me. The retro-named “Regular era” was all before my time. Superfast was born in 1969, a mere 3 years before I was. Those vehicles that were launching in 1969 were still around when I was very young. They were doing something for me. So I made a decision very early on in my adult collecting years (we are talking early to mid 1990s here) that I would only begin with the first Superfast. the few regulars I had (apart from a random AEC Horsebox) I got rid of. A few castings I did have as they were ones that had transitioned through, but apart from that AEC I only have the Superfast ones now. I don’t know why I kept the AEC. But now I can’t get rid of it. It’s there. It is a part of things. Anyway, sidetracking again. It’s a sign of getting older. Did I mention I am about to turn 50?
So 1969 and Lesney launched the Superfast series with 10 castings. 5 were immediate transfers from existing castings to the newer Superfast wheels and the other 5 were brand new castings debuting as Superfast models. One of them was the MB56-A BMC 1800 Pininfarina. A concept car. One of 2 concept cars (the other being a Lamborghini Marzal) that were launched in this group of 10. As with most things during the time, the model was not the official name of the car. BMC had created a car, with the internal name BMC AD017 and it was launched in 1964. It went by one of 3 names, Austin 1800, Morris 1800 or Wolseley 18/85, depending on where it was sold. It had a 1.8 litre 4-cylinder engine. It was sold until 1975 across 3 generations. and when the 3rd generation was launched in 1972, a choice of engines was also offered for the first time, with a 2.2 litre 6-cylinder option too (known as Austin 2200, Morriss 2200 or Wolseley Six). But in 1967, at the Turin Motor Show, Pininfarina Styling House showcased the Berlina Aerodinamica, which was the BMC 1800 with a new skin. Designed by Paolo Martin, who later went on to design the Fiat 130 Coupe, Rolls-Royce Camargue and Lancia Beta Montecarlo, it was met with critical acclaim, but BMC were reluctant to attempt to market it for real, and just stuck with the “frumpy” looking 1800. But Lesney wanting to take the brand into a new direction with the launch of Superfast, decided to go with the concept as part of the launch. It debuted in gold with opening doors which continued on through 1970.
At which time they were also launching a G-3 Racing gift set, which featured 6 models with a small set of labels, plus extra label sheets to add your own labels to the model too. I only have the original gold from the G-3 set, but it did continue through the rest too. Just an FYI.
For 1971, the model changed to a salmon-pink type colour. The shade varies quite a lot over the course of the year. So you can can find quite a choice of unique colours.
Then for 1972 they settled on orange. This would be the choice of colour for the last 2 years that the model would be in the range. It was dropped after 1973.
But with Lesney, you know every time they did a production run, the likelihood is that the paint used would be different, and as such orange does vary from light to dark shades. But that was not all.
This was one of the later models to make an additional transition from narrow wheels to wide ones. This is because it did involve quite a bit of work to really carve into the wheel wells to widen them up to accommodate the wider wheels that had been introduced.
Original Superfast wheels had a 2mm width but they had been overridden by 4mm wide wheels, which they discovered would work better on the tracks that they were selling. Of course if you were to look carefully you might find one that had the wheel arches widened to take the new wheels, but still had the narrower ones put on. Being one of the last to make the change, they didn’t want to waste any leftover thin wheels.
After which we started to see the wider wheels in use.
And again, as these ran through the end of 1972 and all through 1973 into 1974 before a Hi-Tailer replaced it in the spot, shades of orange to the wide wheeled model exist too. After Hi-Tailer was introduced in 1974 this casting was never seen again, except randomly in an MP-1 pack in 1979/1980, as I have a feeling they were looking at re-adding it to the Japanese range for 1980, but with the deal falling through, many older early 1970s models were dumped in those packs.
So let’s fast forward to 1986 and the MB162 Vauxhall Astra GTE. This model debuted as MB48 exclusively in the ROW basic range that year, or as MB3 in Japan where it stayed until amalgamating with ROW for 1988. It was a simple design in red with a side stripe, the GTE logo that Vauxhall were using at the time, and the B-pillar and rear quarter panel detailed in black.
This red look only lasted for the 1 year, but you could find variations. The easiest to spot is the wheel variant. 8-dot wheels or 5-arch wheels.
But the model did vary in shade too from quite a dull red to a fairly bright one.
At the end of the year, BP in the UK were planning a promotion using 12 Matchbox models all in unique looks with a BP logo on them somewhere. With a timeframe being tight, a set of 12 prototypes were made in tiny numbers, but Matchbox began production on the first 6 models before the deal was signed off. And then BP pulled out last minute. The Astra was going to be similar to the 1986 basic range, but now in yellow instead of red. And obviously a BP logo adorned the doors too. This only reached the prototype stages, as this would have been part of the second batch of 6 models.
So 1987 came about, and with it, Matchbox deciding that they were going to give the Astra a racing makeover. It was something they were doing with the majority of cars in the range. Even if a vehicle was not a racing specific model, it would still sport some sort of race style livery. This was a proposed look for the Astra. It never made it beyond the prototype stages either.
It got released in an AC Delco design instead of a Mobil design. I do not know if perhaps there was an issue with using Mobil? These things are lost to the annals of history.
What you would also discover is that during the year, the window component would sometimes be a little more amber than clear. Although that may be an age related thing too. But there was something else they did.
Vauxhall Astras tend to only be sold in the UK. IN Europe, the same vehicles are made by the sister brand Opel. In Europe that meant we had an Opel Kadett GSi on sale instead. Now they had marked GTE on to the body itself (it was on the grille), which remained in place. But the base did see an update to add in the alternative moniker. Learning their lesson from this, when they later did a Vauxhall Cavalier, they remembered it was also an Opel Vectra, so kept the front grille area vague (it could be interpreted as either) and immediately just marked the base down with both names (although weirdly not bothering with either Vauxhall or Opel).
A yellow Astra did appear eventually. It was a part of a CY-206 Multipack containing a Convoy model and 2 miniatures. These were all themed in a British Telecom design and basically just sold in the UK.
And just in case you were wondering, they didn’t use leftover yellow BP models. It was a different yellow, and those BPs were a 1-off tiny run.
In 1988 they shipped the model off to China to continue production.
China issues only came with chrome wheel hubs, but Macau could be found with white or chrome.
There is not a lot of difference in the Macau and China runs, although on mine you do see shades to the blue tampo. But I believe that you can even within the same country of manufacture.
We saw BP Netherlands approach Matchbox for a promotional run in 1988. That one did go ahead, and the Astra was one of 5 in the second production run again. The first 5 came in window boxes, the second 5 in blisters. I don’t know why.
For 1989 it came with a new racing design. STP 7. Still a white model, but this would be the design that would see the model through to the end of its time in the basic range. 1993. Of course would it look like this all the time? Of course not.
For some bizarre reason, in 1992 the number 7 on the door disappeared. Again, I have no idea why. It just did. It wasn’t a mistake, as it ran through the end of the year and all of 1993 with no number 7. After that it was retired.
Of course there was another issue as well. In 1991 Germany had a special Christmas game called the “Christmas Rallye World”. It ran for 2 Christmases in 1991 and 1992 and featured 4 plain Matchbox models. One in yellow, one in green, one in red and one in blue. There were a few choices of model for each plain colour, and the Astra was chosen to be one of the yellows.
And these were a very bright yellow too. Much brighter than any yellow seen on the model before. But that was the last non basic range issue, and after 1993 the civilian casting was laid to rest.
So where to next? The MB325 Chevy Tahoe with “triang” roof light. The Chevy Tahoe was first issued in both civilian and police forms immediately from the word do. Both appeared in 1998, but apart from also sporting a roof light, the police version of the Tahoe was also given an alternate base section that had additional push bars on the front. That is significant and will come into play later. It debuted as MB30 worldwide in the basic range in white with a fairly simple Police Dial 911 livery.
A special version was created for the Matchbox Collectors Club in USA too, which was quite largely run. Additional stocks were used for code 2 variations for other clubs too, with additional printing mainly on the hood for whatever it was being used to tie in with.
Another promotional issue was also made for the York Fair in USA as well. This green with yellow doors/hood variant was actually created through their agreement with White Rose at the time. At the end of the year it did see its first Premiere issue, as World Class 22 saw a white Salt Lake City issue. I don’t show the premiums, but in addition, through 1999 3 more premiums arrived. A red one in a Fire set, blue one in Police set and military green in, well a Military set.
But I concentrate here on the core issues. 1999 saw the model dropped from the ROW basic range, and this Fire Chief design on white was a US exclusive MB78.
For 2000, the US exclusive was now in the MB28 slot in red with another Fire Chief design. As per US 2000 rules, the first 10,000 produced had a Matchbox 2000 logo somewhere on the model. In this case it was clearly visible on the front window.
They also had a deal with Pleasant Books for a range of children’s books all featuring a Matchbox related story and included with these books was the vehicle from the story. Exclusive to the books. A “Rescue” book featured this Chevy Tahoe in the story and the model was included attached to the side of the book. There was also an ASAP blank made in 2000 in white, which I am still trying to find.
For 2001 the model had one more outing in the basic range. But now, it was back to being worldwide again. It stayed as MB28, but the ROW market was also getting this white, with errm, I am guessing a fire chief type of look to it. Yes, this was Mattel’s foray towards Hero City taking effect, and the side designs were getting a little more, shall we say avant-garde.
What we also found that it was used, not once but twice, in Launcher sets that year. A Police set featured the smurf look, and the 5 Alarm was a red model.
As 2002 began, the model was included in the Across America series for Pennsylvania. The second state, using Benjamin Franklin and his devotion to electricity and kite flying.
We also saw another Launcher set release for the casting. This time in a Fire Truck set in silver with a very fiery theme.
And a Radio Rescue playset was sold too, which featured this yellow model with the MB Radio side design. The set was large, and these are not easy to find.
But later in 2002 a radical change happened. As part of an upgrade, many models were getting their bases changed from plastic to metal. But for some reason, they only decided to upgrade the one Tahoe base. The one for the civilian model. This arrived in the Patrol & Protect 5-pack at the end of the year. No push bars. Even though this was clearly still the police variant. Oh well.
No sooner was the base turned to metal, they turned it back to plastic. This was for the Patrol & Protect 5-pack in 2003. Now admittedly the first production run did have the metal base, but I never saw that one. When they arrived in the ROW market it was already back to plastic. It’s still on my list to find.
But when they reverted back to plastic, it appears that the police variant push bar base was no more. This had reverted to the other MB324’s plain front base. Somewhere along the way of switching to metal and back to plastic, this alternate front vanished. See I told you it was coming in to play later.
From this point on the model only had a plain front, but was still classified as MB325 due to the roof light. But unlike some castings that would use a variety of roof light styles (LoPro, Vee and square being the others), the MB325 Tahoe only ever used the Triang light. Its next outing was in the Highway Patrol 2004 5-pack. And then the model itself vanished. Yes, while the civilian version kept tootling along minding its own business the police variant lay dormant.
It wasn’t gone forever. In 2007 Matchbox decided to re-release some older playsets, and one of the ones chosen was the 2002 Radio Rescue set. However, the design for the 2002 exclusive didn’t quite fit with the direction that Matchbox had taken in 2005, so as part of an upgrade to the set (updating logos etc), the Tahoe included also saw a makeover. Still yellow, still with a blue window, but the side design fitted in better with other items being sold around it. And then it went dormant again.
Coming back one more time for a 2010 Blaze Busters 5-pack in maroon. Although you might notice a small error on it. Due to the civilian MB324 being used constantly and this being sidelined, a small blooper had 324 added in the tampo printing for this. Even though it had lights on the roof. Oh dear. That was too much. The model got retired after that so they would never make that mistake again. Just stick with the civilian one.
So, moving on, I am next going to look at a rather unfortunately timed arrival. The year was 2009. As was the norm at the time, playsets would feature exclusive vehicles in them. Many were existing vehicles in unique liveries, and with the push for realism that was succeeding at the time (and is now), there was a distinct lack of useful Matchbox Original designs that could be utilized in them. So the team decided to create a few originals specifically for use in playsets. At the time there were no plans to use them outside of that area. One of them was the MB757 Swamp Raider. It debuted as an exclusive vehicle in a Croc Escape playset in brown with a green rear canopy.
The canopy was designed in a way that used a heaxagonal slot design that was in use across a number of playsets at the time. Therefore you could take off the canopy and slot it in various places on the playsets.
Or you could slot it in the other way around on the model. Being offset, the canopy on backwards does tend to lean over the back a bit.
And what we also discovered was that 2 window colours were used during production. Some were in white and others were in black. Instant variation. But after 2009 the money makers at Mattel handed down a remit to the Matchbox team. No more exclusives to playsets. Doh! For the next few years the casting lay dormant. Then something happened.
In 2012 the direction for the Matchbox brand was being tinkered with. A move away from the realism that was selling so well, and another attempt to do something different with the brand. Vehicles were starting to get brighter. Classics were starting to be phased out. And over the next few years, more and more alternates to “cars” were being created, with many more original designs and a push towards trying to view things from a child’s height. Hence a number of castings with oversized wheels. With this tinkering to the direction, these playset exclusives, well they could start being added elsewhere. The Swamp Raider was therefore added to the 2012 Jungle Adventure 5-pack. It was in red with a blue canopy.
And it saw another outing in the 2014 Dino Adventure 5-pack. This time in green with an orangey yellow canopy.
And of course these canopies are removable, so you could quite easily mix them up if you wanted to. the green and orangey yellow canopies don’t actually look too bad switched.
But as with a lot of things, the casting then saw a makeover. MB757 became MB997. This is an original prototype of the altered casting. Plain red with a chrome base.
No words on the base apart from ABQ 12 which had been burnt in. This was because it was one of the offerings at the 12th Albuquerque International Gathering of Friends in July 2014.
But what they did was remove the canopy. As such it no longer required that large hexagon to be in the rear bed. Instead they added an interior for the first time. But as you can see, the window component was also adjusted to be the majority of the roof of the casting too.
It debuted as a part of the Battle Mission 5-pack in 2015 in tan with a camouflage and star side design. During production you could find that the shade of tan did differ between runs. Some coming out more matte, some more satin tan.
And then, shock horror, it finally debuted in the basic range. That’s right, a casting that first arrived in 2009 hit the basic range for the first time in 2016. It was sold as MB112 in black with a Swamp Raider side design.
Since then we have only seen it one more time. The following year’s basic range where it was in green with a dino themed side design as MB115. That’s right, the model started in playsets and moved to 5-packs, ending up in the basic range. Basically the opposite of the norm that we are used to. But wait a sec, isn’t this design familiar?
Why yes it is. It was the same one from the 2014 5-pack. But obviously the casting had seen the makeover in between. So now it was with interior and without canopy.
And if lined up side by side with the 2014 release, also quite a lot darker.
And although the hexagon to slot the canopy into is not there, you can balance the canopy nicely on the back of the updated casting if you wanted to, giving the impression of interior and canopy all in one go. Since 2017 we have not seen this casting.
Well I am not moving far forward from the last casting to the new one. But my rule for these dive backs at the moment is 1 per decade. That was a 2009, and this is a 2010. To me that’s a different decade. The MB798 Ford Transit Connect. This is the smaller Transit van that they came up with, which proved to be pretty successful around the world. Matchbox created a model of one with 1 additional side window, yet on the debut gave it a false second one. It arrived as MB59 in the 2010 basic range worldwide in yellow with a taxi theme to it.
But of course I had a lot of fun with it. For starters, they were trying to figure out the best tint level to the one window to match it up to the other fake one. Early issues had an almost black window it was so dark, but they felt that was perhaps a little too much, so it was quickly scaled back to a medium tint.
And of course as this medium tint continued production variations in the yellow paint used could be found as well.
The model was chosen to be one of 25 given a version 2 that year too. For this they simply switched out yellow for green. Again shades were abundant on this one, and the window tint? What window tint? It was now just clear.
For 2011, with the range currently in a 3-way split (US, LAAM and ROW), they decided it would only be sold in the US market. It was MB65 there in another taxi design, this time on an orangey yellow model. And this time they didn’t give it a false extra side window.
But outside of the basic range, the model started seeing alternate looks to taxi designs. This blue Parking Enforcement model was a part of the City Life 5-pack, and again I noticed the shade of blue would vary during production.
For 2012, the basic range combined into 1 worldwide range again, and as such all markets again saw the Transit in the basic range. It was sold as MB3 in burgundy, which as you can see again varied in shade. It wasn’t a taxi this time. It was an airport connector vehicle. What do you mean that is just a fancy way of saying taxi? Right fine. Let’s forget about the model then.
And forget they did, for the next few years. The model has not been seen in the basic range since 2012, but was not even seen at all until 2015 when they remembered they had it and threw it in the City Adventure 5-pack. I think it was some sort of wheel delivery vehicle. At least that’s my understanding of the livery.
Yes they forgot it again. 2016 and 2017 were no-shows before we finally saw another 5-pack release for 2018. This time it was in a Metro Transit 5-pack and this white VCS model was a recurring theme from another Transit casting 9 year previously. I do love a recurring theme.
And rather amazingly it got another 5-pack outing the following year. The 2019 Service Crew 5-pack saw this black Long Beach Vintage Bike Shop liveried model appear. These are not so much shades as they are paint finishes. The one on the left is a shiny glossy type of finish, and the one on the right a dull matte type of finish. It makes them come out quite differently. But it appears this may have been forgotten again, as we have not seen the model since that time. I would not say no to another random issue. It never really got a lot of outings. You could say this is a real model of the ’10s, as it debuted in 2010 and retired (possibly, who knows) after 2019 and 8 outings.
And on that note, I think I just finished another dive back. And with it, another report. Which was, to begin with, about the first Collectors models of the 2022 model year (and last 2021). I hope you enjoyed it.
Next week I am doing a batch of models I could not “avoid”. Not the most cryptic of clues.
Until then I hope people have a decent and safe week and catch you all again next Monday.