Matchbox Monday checks out some Working Rigs & 9-packs

So this week I am doing what I call a hybrid new selection. What do I mean by that? Well, there are 2 different assortments of vehicles here. We have the batch B selection of Working Rigs for 2022, and these came courtesy of my friends at Wheel Collectors in USA. But as there were only 3 models in the batch, I thought it could do with a little padding out on new stuff. So I added in Batch D 9-packs too. However, those ones don’t come from Wheel Collectors. They don’t do 9-packs, so these are just something extra I picked up to fluff up the “new” part to the blog. I hope that makes sense. Hence me calling it a hybrid selection, as some items are Wheel Collector ones, and some are not. So time to get into the models themselves.

Which this time has me starting with the RW024 GMC T8500 Airport Service Truck. It is number 3 of 16 in the series for 2022.

This casting first appeared back in 2011 in the series and came in 2 different looks. This is actually a carry forward of the second release of the 2011 year, being repeated 11 years later. From what I am hearing there is precious little difference between the 2, apart from a slight shade, and some base details have been updated. But as I never had any of the models in the older days from when it was known as Real Working Rigs this is obviously the first time I am seeing this, as it was never used after those 2x 2011 issues.

So it is fun to see what this can do. This is a real good example of what a Working Rig can do. It is a scissor truck, as the rear lifts up from the body.

And then you can pull out the front of the cargo area too. Plenty of play action with this one. I am surprised it has taken them this long to bring it back again.

It has a nice simple design to it, and definitely feels like the sort of vehicle you would see at an airport filling up a plane. In this case, the food and drink for the passengers.

At the moment it is looking like a new livery will be unleashed on us for 2023, so that is something to look forward to. Very happy to see they have dusted this casting off to use it again.

Next up is the RW050 International DuraStar Box Trucks which is in the number 6 slot out of 16 for the year. This is coming in a cool recurring CarGo theme.

I do enjoy these recurring themes, and the CarGo theme has seen something of a comeback recently, after getting some action over a decade ago, and then going a little quiet in the mid ’10s. This is all new for 2022, as the casting was only launched last year.

I do like this model, with the cool opening rear and ramp that actually moves up and down to load/offload the precious cargo. And do I spot a little A58 logo on the bottom corner there? That means Michael Heralda designed this one. Nice one Michael. Keep these CarGo models coming.

The yellow cab along with white rear with blue logo really does look striking.

So as this only debuted last year, that means I can do something.

A recap of the casting to date. Yeah that was the other one. Nice and easy. That too is a bit of a recurring theme as the Speedy X-Press design has been seen on a few other models now. Is this model going to be one that is cool for themes? We will have to see what they bring out for 2023 to find out.

And well, I couldn’t move on without showing a certain 2009 basic range issue of the MB763 MBX Moving Truck could I. And look, Unit 58? Michael designed that too. Was this in his mind when he designed the International?

And of course I had to bring in something else too. As I say, I do love recurring themes, and I love how they bring in a variety of different series and include them to them all. The CY122 DAF and Flatbed with dual containers from 2008 also had a CarGo theme.

And does anybody know that the containers opened at the rear too? And if you were curious, the 13 2 24 on the side was code, which in the ’00s became quite common. Switching to letters, it stood for MBX.

Finally, and now you see why I added a few more models to the “new” part, we have the RW026 New Holland TV6070 Bi-Directional Tractor. Although if we went by the packaging, it is now a Biodirectional Tractor. They put an “o” instead of a hyphen in the writing on there. Oops!

As with the GMC above, this is another carry forward, which means only the International was all new for the batch. Just like the GMC, this originally debuted back in 2011, and for that year was released in 2 different looks. However, unlike the GMC, this is a carry forward of the first of them. Again though, I wasn’t getting them at the time so have nothing to compare. But I have been told it is very similar again, with base detailing updated since and the only thing that is noticeable to the untrained eye is that the front lights are more red now than the orange they were back in 2011.

The casting has a rear bucket that lifts up.

And has that kink in the middle which is where it gets its bi-directional name from. Not biodirectional. I think it is a really cool tractor to include in the range due to this function. It makes it a bit different and perfect for showcasing it here.

And I cannot fault the look. Blue with the New Holland details and lights in place. You can’t go wrong with that. With no release planned for 2023, it may be 2024 before we see another.

But this one I can show the alternate look. Although I was not collecting in 2011, I was getting stuff in 2020 when this carried forward to the Mission Force set that appeared that year. It was in the Construction Crew pack and featured the same look as the 2011 version 2 in yellow.

The tampo design appears to be the same as the blue one too, so I guess this is from New Holland where they are enjoying the real looks for the models. Blue appeared to be the default for the vehicle while New Holland were making it between 2008 and 2014. I wonder if we will see another one at all? As I mentioned, the real vehicle stopped production in 2014. So by 2024 will be 10 years out of date. So well, that is it for the Working Rigs. Very short. Too short.

So I am adding a bit extra. With batch D 9-packs out I decided to have a little look at the 2 exclusive models in them. I do like the miniatures after all.

One of the packs features the MB911 Toyota Tacoma as its exclusive. This model comes in blue with a simple Lifeguard side design, and is featuring this logo that is now appearing on a lot of Matchbox utility style vehicles.

The roof element matches the middle of the logo and there are a few orange touches to the front and rear edges of the tampo too, giving us a little impression of side lights. This look does feel quite familiar for this model. I am going to have to go through and double check things aren’t I. Dive back!

We first saw the model in the 2014 basic range as MB105 in red with a Beach Patrol side design.

And we also saw our first blue too that year, when the Albuquerque Gathering had this model as the dinner model. The first 75 registered saw one with a white front end to it though.

You know what? I think this could be why the model felt a little familiar to me. In 2015, the MB59 basic range issue was in red and featured the very real San Diego Fire Rescue Lifeguard design on it. I think seeing that white stripe along and over the rear wheels with Lifeguard written in it was quite memorable, and so seeing it return brought a sense a déjà vu to me.

2016 saw the last outing in the basic range, as MB75 in yellow. Yes it’s stripey, but different stripes.

We also had a Shark Week issue also in yellow that year.

And then after a 5 year hiatus we finally got a new release, which again was in a 9-pack. This time it was white in the final batch of the 2021 model year. This exclusive model also saw a similar looking stripe going up and over the rear wheels but the Lifeguard wording is at the top end. But look, that one has the same logo on the door. As I said, this Matchbox logo is appearing on a lot of models. For those curious, the logo itself appears to be a tree with a ring around and a secondary larger ring with wording around that.

The other exclusive is the MB1180 ’59 Dodge Coronet.

I do not know if this is an actual livery this vehicle used, but I know that the Dodge Official Pace Car look on a white car has been done in real lift. The Indy 500 used to see pace cars like this in the 1950s, and Pismo Beach in California exists. So did they do a Coronet for an event at Pismo Beach one year? I am curious if somebody knows for sure. But either way, this is such a cool model. I am often amazed how sometimes some of the best liveries appear in multipacks and not as single issues.

This is definitely one of the nicest examples of the Coronet done so far (right up there with Everett’s golf models from the other year).

But I only just did a recap of older Coronets with the Dodge set getting one which I previewed recently, so I decided to go a different way.

Pace cars! The clue was in the name. I may not have pulled them all out so if I left any out, please let me know so I can do a facepalm. But I tried remembering what I could, and the first instance I can remember was the 1983/84 US exclusive MB21 issue of the Chevy Corvette. This may look like MB062, but technically it is MB115. In the early days of MAN numbers, Universal were still working out what they were doing, and with the MB062 being in use already, a second issue was added to the US range for 2 years, and so they just gave it a new number. It took them a few years to realize that they could use the same number for more than 1 thing at a time.

MB163. The Toyota MR2 debuted as MB9 in the US range or MB74 in the ROW range taking over the slot left by the outgoing Fiat Abarth in both ranges. It ran for 3 years, and only came in white with the Toyota yellow, orange and red pattern and Pace Car along the lower edges of the door.

A Hong Kong promotional issue in 1988 in green also saw the same Pace Car lower side design.

The next one I can think of was the MB173 Porsche 959, which saw this Pace Car look for 4 years from 1989 through to 1992. It was part of an MC-9 multipack with 4 other models and a Convoy.

As that was finishing, a 1992 Indy series in USA saw the MB189 Cadillac Allanté in metallic red as the official Pace Car for the 76th running. Something the Coronet sort of pays homage to.

There was another during that time too. In 1990 and into 1991 (where it added Rescue 911 on the roof as a USA only issue) the MB135 Mercedes-Benz 500SEC was given a Pace Car design for the Lasertronics series.

The last one I can think of though, that was a 1997 Convertibles 5-pack release of the MB277 Ford Mustang Cobra. From what I can remember, this is first Pace Car since then. Only a quarter of a decade (unless as I said, if anybody can remember another).

So on that shock, I am actually done with the new stuff. Even with the additional 2 models, it was still short and sweet. I guess I had better go nuts with the dive back again.

Well, as I just did a Mustang, I am going to start with the first one. Or should I say first time that Matchbox made one. The MB8-A Ford Mustang. It actually debuted back in 1967, and came with an autosteer function. However, as Lesney were transitioning to the new Superfast wheels at the turn of the 1970s, the idea of having models that you could steer was in a way the opposite of the new idea of rolling them, letting go and watching as they go a long way before eventually coming to a stop. So autosteer was phased out as the model was switched. This did actually cause a few issues. There was a big hole in the side where a level stuck out enabling you to steer the model. During the 1960s it was white. When they switched to Superfast wheels in 1970 they turned it orangey-red. Well, the factory made a lot of mix-ups. Paint bodies with holes in the side in orangey-red? Paint ones without in white? Sure, why not. They just did whatever. So both transitionals appeared. They weren’t going to waste those orangey-red ones with holes in, so built some autosteer issues. The white with no holes? Slap some Superfast wheels on. Good to go.

They then moved to the orangey-red for the Superfast. However, they still had a bunch of red interiors left. Waste not, want not. Use them up. These are not easy to find.

Mind you none of the MB8-As are really. It soon switched to an ivory interior.

And even though it was only sold in 1970 like this, shades appear too. Orangey-red or deep red.

Because after 1970, as part of their 1970s madness, they started taking many models and creating more outlandish versions of them. This, compared to some of things they came out with, was actually quite simple. It turned into the MB8-B Wildcat Dragster by simply cutting a hole in the hood and sticking an engine in there, smoothing out the door detailing to allow for a label to be applied and a newer base with a wider rear wheel arch for a larger wheel to be put on for a slight rodded stance. It arrived early on in 1971 and ran for 4 years. It only came in 1 colour. Except they really didn’t know what that colour was.

At first it was a sort of pinkish peach colour, which varied a lot in shades.

And sure, they might have accidentaly forgot what model they were labeling up as wrong labels to appear. This was from a Cougar Rat Rod.

As they transitioned into 1972, you tended to find the more pinky and peachy shades started to become a lot more orange.

Which again is good for shades. After all, they would just get paint from whatever place they felt like at the time, so would often come up with a new mix. They didn’t care. They were only going for a vague colour. In those days it was not exactly important.

And of course, if they bought some paint but didn’t like it, they would simply use it up on bases. I guess they didn’t particularly like this shade of yellow.

As 1972 was progressing through though, they switched to a much nicer looking Wild Cat label. Where the original was simply a black silhouette, this was a much brighter multi-coloured affair, which ran through until the model was deleted from the range.

A good few years and a good few shades again. Lighter or darker orange with the multi-coloured label.

Or we could see even more wrong labels applied. The sailboat label should be on a VW Camper, but when needs must, they just grabbed whatever. They ran out of labels? Just grab what is available to keep production going until somebody comes over with a new roll.

After 1974, the model was deleted from the basic range. But was it forgotten? Not by any means. In 1981 when they split the brand into the US vs ROW range, the US range saw it return for 1 year only. Only know it had a new white look with blue stripes and GT-350 down the sides.

Well, it didn’t really make sense to keep the Wildcat Dragster name going any longer, so they renamed it GT 350 on the base too. It was registered as MB23-C for the basic range, and being a US exclusive, the tooling was sent to Hong Kong for production. However, after 1981 it was dropped from the range again, so when they created the MAN number list for 1982, it was not assigned one. However, for those who are curious, it still wasn’t forgotten. In 1999 Mattel saw this casting, and retooled it back to how it was and released it in the US range. MB342 is still going now, and is derived from that original Matchbox Mustang. However, that is a story for another dive back.

So let’s get into the 1980s properly shall we. 1982. This was the year that Lesney created the very first Audi for the Matchbox range. And what a starter. The MB025 Quattro. Quite an iconic vehicle. Audi launched the Quattro in 1980 and they made around 11,500 examples until 1991. It was visually similar to the 100 Coupe, but with the 4-wheel drive system, which is now known as quattro on any Audi that has it, the original is now sometimes retro-actively known as Ur-Quattro, with “Ur” being a German prefix for original. But with Matchbox starting their 1980s obsession with rally vehicles, the model debuted in a rally style livery.

Of course I do have a pre-production sample of the 1982 issue made in England, which is a plain black. It ran as Mb23 in the US range or MB25 in the ROW range with the US range being the shorter of the 2.

The original look carried through to the beginning of the Universal era. Visually it does look very similar, but there was an obvious change.

Being a worldwide issue, production was sent to Macau for 1983.

After initially using the same clear window component as the England issue, they decided that they would change it later to amber.

For 1984 the model saw a new look for its worldwide sales. Red and brown tampo with Audi, Recaro, Pirelli and Duckhams logos. Again the windows were fun to look for. Amber is the norm, but some are so pale they are pretty much clear again.

After 1984 the US range dropped the model, but the ROW range continued on unchanged for 1985. Wait a sec. What happened to Pirelli? Yeah, for some reason the Pirelli logo was removed in 1985.

And windows continued on with their variations that year too.

So there are 4 variants to look for. Although if you are lucky, you may find an example missing some tampo. The original 1982 has been known to appear without side print, and this one without top print.

In 1986, the ROW market decided it was about time to drop the rally stuff for this model, and create a more standard road going version (which was basically the opposite of most other models at the time). It came in plum with a simple quattro and 4 rings side design. At first they continued on with the 5-arch wheels that had been in use since the model had debuted, but later in the year they switched it to concave 8-spoke.

But something else appeared at that time too. This is an unusual base. Manaus? Yes, the casting was sent to Brazil at the end of 1986 for local production, and they made a rather crude example.

Now the one I have is a little worn, but you can see it didn’t use normal Matchbox wheels. They used some different wheels that were being used for something non-Matchbox related.

The tampo was based on the original’s, except each surface was only getting a single pass through their tampo machine. It ran for 4 years there debuting in 1987 and finishing in 1990, and after a while they switched to a 5-arch that is similar to the standard 5-arch, except you know, 1 arch less. Then they switched to 8-dot wheels from Matchbox. There is an inverse variant too (red with white tampo) but I am still to find one.

For 1987 a BP promotion was being planned in the UK. A series of 12 models based on those in the basic range, with many simply being in an alternate colour, and each featuring a BP logo on the model too. The Audi was to be switched to blue, and the BP l;ogo was put at the front. But as many know, this promotional set was literally cancelled at the very last second. So much so that 6 of the models had already begun production for the first wave of giveaways. The Audi was part of the original 6.

But they weren’t going to waste the models. They simply over-tampo printed the BP logo with a large Audi logo and threw the model in some multi-packs in USA.

During 1987 we noticed that the 5-arch wheels were back on the basic range model again. Plus clear windows too.

Ah! They moved production to China.

Chinese production of plum lasted 2 years and during 1988 the shade of plum became significantly darker.

For 1989 they gave the model a new look. Dark grey. This was for a final year, as the ROW range would drop the model after 1989 too. But with just the 1 years of production you can still find the gray could still sport a shade, and you might also notice the Audi logo itself was prone to sliding up and down the top.

And if you were that way inclined, the base would either be matte or gloss black. But the model was not quite finished. Almost a model of the 1980s, but we did see a couple of little 1990s addendums.

First of all, Brazil finished up production of the Quattro with a really nice 4-pack release. This green with multi-coloured side design was sold in 1990. They had really improved their facilities there.

And in 1992 a Chinese promotional issue appeared in blue. I am not sure exactly what it is for. If anybody knows more details about it I am happy to learn. After this though, we never saw the casting again.

So time to get into the 1990s. I had been contemplating when to attempt this one. It was a quiet week for new stuff, so let’s get stuck into this shall we? Although as you may guess, I am ignoring any premium items on this one. It is the Ford Crown Victoria Police. It first debuted under the MB304 MAN number and sported a LoPro roof light. Its debut was in the 1997 basic range, and rather unusually came with 8-spoke wheels, at a time when most models that had been using them and been switched to spirals and then concave 5-spokes. It was blue with a simple Police design and D-22 on the roof, and was sold as either MB54 in the US range or MB38 in the ROW range.

But as it was 1997, the USA market also saw a Gold Challenge release too. This though, this came with the concave 5-spokes I would have expected the regular issue to sport. However, this was because it was at the end of the year moving into 1998.

In 1998 the model moved to MB28 worldwide and was simply switched to black from blue. However, as you may notice, they added the concave 5-spokes now. That had just been added to the Gold Challenge model.

And with Mattel now in charge the decision was made to amalgamate production in 1 country, so the Thailand factory was switched to other items within the Mattel portfolio, and the last of the castings still being made there were sent to China in 1998. This was during production of this one.

Which does give us a brighter side print on the China one.

It saw its first 5-pack release that year too. It was in a set called Crime Patrol, and came in blue with a Police K9 design. Production of the casting had already moved to China by the time this began its run so there was no Thailand variant. There were 3 premium issues sold that year too, as World Class series 18 was all police themed, and 6 models (3 each of 2 castings) were sold using real police liveries. The Crown Vic had a South Dakota Highway Patrol, Montana Highway Patrol and Minnesota State Police trio.

For 1999 the basic range model was moved to MB33 but was only sold in the US market. This time it was blue with a Police Dial 911 look.

However, in Australia we saw this promotional issue released, in a very traditional Australian police livery for I believe Queensland. Again we saw some premiums. Or not. The final Premiere series (numbered 22) was due to have 2 of them, featuring Atlanta and Dallas police designs. However, the series was discontinued just as production was about to start, and there are very few of them in existence, mainly down to them having a first run sample set being sent to each of the aforementioned police departments. However, a Collectibles Police set was made later in the year, and this saw another 3 Crown Vics, featuring the North Dakota, Missouri and Rhode Island State Police designs.

For 2000 the model moved to the MB89 slot in the US range, and was still not a part of the ROW range. Being a logo year, the first 10,000 models sported a Matchbox 2000 logo on the truck in USA. However, you may notice something a little unusual. That is not a LoPro light on the roof. That’s a Vee light. Yes, for 2000 they added a second light variant to the casting and as such gave it a new MAN number, MB459.

That’s because they launched the D.A.R.E. series in the Collectibles range. 2 models appeared in series 1, and although a Lafayette issue for Indiana was suited to the LoPro light, a second series 1 model for Wanaque New Jersey really needed a Vee light. So the Vee light started entering the mix a little.

However, LoPro lights were still the go-to light of choice, and a Serve & Protect 5-pack issue in blue appeared sporting it.

Of course the model was given a blank makeover for use by companies like ASAP and Color Comp. However, both roof light variants exist. Plus in both cases, these roof lights can be either red or blue. So far I am up to one. Three more to find.

Series 2 of the D.A.R.E. series had a Crown Vic in it to. This came with the, what the? A Triang roof light? Landover Hills in Maryland had a Crown Vic like this, so they needed to use this roof light to make it as authentic as possible. So a new MAN numbner again. MB466. Well, that was the only time they ever put a Triang roof light on this casting. Give it a whole nea MAN number and ignore it after one go. Well there were now 2 in the mix. Did they really need a third if they didn’t have to?

D.A.R.E. series 3 also featured a Vee light Crown Vic. This was for Kerman in California. Sadly the D.A.R.E. series finished after batches and we never got a 4th (which was due but cancelled).

In 2001 this was released as MB49 in the US market. Another exclusive, 3rd year in a row. It was in an MBI Special Agents livery, a play on the X-Files which was a bit popular at the time. LoPro light? It was an MB304. But wait, the ROW market had not seen a Crown Vic in the basic range a while.

They had one as MB32. But it was different. White, not black. A totally different livery. Plus….

This was an MB459. The first MB459 for the ROW market.

There was also a 5-pack issue for the whole world to get, using the MB304 casting. You can see the direction things were going in can’t you. School Spirit anyone? Yes a police vehicle with a mathematical side design. Now awful, but not really what this vehicle really works as. I do like thinking outside of the box, but in this case, they recycled the box and it came back as toilet roll.

Oh but that MB304 was much better though. One thing in the early 2000s that I really liked was that many playsets were coming with really fantastic exclusive vehicles. This was exclusive to a Police Station set that year.

In 2002 the US exclusive MB13 came in black again, and was the MB304 casting again. Being a logo year the first 10,000 saw a logo on the rear trunk again.

I got this really cool error too. I don’t usually show them, but they forgot to tampo print, but sent it out anyway. Undercover anyone?

Again the ROW market also saw a unique variant. Again it was white, but this time the standard MB304 casting. Well that’s because they got bored of having 2 different ones (ignoring the fact they actually had 3). They decided from this point on, they would just stick to the original.

The ROW MB25 also had the logo on the rear like its US counterpart on the first 10,000.

We weren’t done with 2002 yet. That’s because the model was a part of the Across America series as well, as the model representing Ohio.

McDonalds in USA and Canada ran promotion at this time. For the US market, they took 6 models from the Across America series, came up with alternate colours for them and made some “safer” models due to food requirements. These are actually different castings created specifically for the promotion.

The models actually came blank, and the design was to be applied with labels which were supplied. As the Across America promotion wasn’t being run in Canada, McDonalds stores had a different set of labels for the same 6 models. I did not manage to obtain a Canadian set though.

Of course these look a lot like the blanks.

But as I said, they were a new casting, with all new parts that were built in a different way to serve as a food extra.

This model was also added to the Launcher series that year. It was a Fire Truck set.

We also saw another playset issue too. Black again, this appeared in a set simply known as Police.

2002 was also a year that saw the USA market receive a number of “Heroes” models. A small group of singles and 3-packs appeared. The Crown Vic was in both. Sold as a single in white, or in a 3-pack with an Ambulance and Fire Engine in blue.

In 2003 the model was dropped from the basic range. 6 years US, the first and last 2 also ROW. But for year 7 it was a little quieter for the casting. This was in a Fire 5-pack in red.

And we also saw a licensed single issue for the Rescue Heroes series. In the early days of these licensed packs, they were just 5-packs. They then added singles in addition, but swiftly switched that idea to the singles being just 3 from the pack in alternate colours. They dropped singles a few years later. 5-packs continued on a decade, then switched to 3-packs and faded out too.

After that things went a little quiet for the casting. Unless you are a Code 2/Code 3 collector, as the blanks were being used for many promotional issues, way beyond what I collect. The next official code 1 was in 2006, when the model made a return to the 5-packs. This was in a Police 5-pack in white.

And this second issue that year was in a Superman Returns licensed 5-pack, which was marketed differently to the regular licensed 5-packs. This was a movie tie-in, more akin to the Jurassic World and Top Gun: Maverick stuff we see nowadays.

It popped up again in a 2008 5-pack. This was in a Police pack, and the blue model would normally sport tri-spoke wheels. I got that easily enough, but there was a small run where it switched to chromed disk wheels, which I am still trying to hunt down.

It saw a final outing in a 2009 5-pack. This time it was another Fire pack and again the norm would be the tri-spokes.

This too sported a short run issue as well, with a small batch coming with 6-spokes. Luckily I was able to track that one down. After 2009, and especially with a more modern Crown Vic in the mix, they finally retired the casting.

I am moving into the 2000s now with the MB665 Scion xB. This casting was one of the first created by Ryu Asada when he started with the Matchbox brand. Ryu had been one of the originals when the Matchbox team was set up in El Segundo after their move from Mount Laurel, and I remember him telling me how he got the “hurry up” from his team as he spending so much time on creating the perfect casting. You could tell. The details to this casting was amazing. Especially the attention to the wiper blades. He was really crafting out a masterpiece with this one. It debuted as MB24 in the 2005 basic range, with the rush-change of direction that the Matchbox brand was facing after the debacle of Hero City.

During production people noticed how the rear lights were found in either red or orange.

It was also thrown in the Superfast series as well. Taking the number 64 slot in the series, the US market saw a burgundy one, and the ROW market a blue one.

2006 saw the model in the MB7 slot for the basic range in a metallic off-white.

It was also added to the Cars 5-pack in purple. This was during the transition to the new double 10-spoke wheels that were just debuting that year, and so early issues sported lace ones, and then it later got the upgrade.

2006 saw the model continue as a Superfast too. It mainly came in white, but was chosen to be one of the “chase” models in the set, and some were found in metallic dark green instead.

And yes, white was different to the metallic off-white the basic was released in.

For 2007 the basic range was the model chosen to see 2 releases. It was MB7 for a second year running and the initial release was a metallic tangerine. It even sported a rear license plate signifying the colour choice. However, when version 2 arrived in metallic green later, that same license plate didn’t really work as well.

It saw its first licensed 5-pack release that year too. This was a part of a Nick Jr pack and featured The Backyardigans on the side of a dark purple car.

2008’s basic range release was in a dark grey with a side design this time. It was sold as MB13 in the US market and in the LAAM market (as the range was on year 1 of a 3-way split). The ROW range did not get it though.

It got another licensed 5-pack release too. This time a Kung Fu Panda pack in white featuring Po on the side.

2009 would be the model’s final year as a basic range issue. This time out it came in a dark red with a service commuter and stripe side design. However, being rather clever, with such a limited colour choice to the sides, this allowed them to pad out the front and rear too with minimal tampos all while sticking to their “2 passes through the tampo machine” rule. A pretty ingenius design. And again the ROW missed out. MB32 was a US and LAAM exclusive.

And again it was in a licensed 5-pack. Mickey Mouse Clubhouse was the recipient this time for the yellow model with Mickey himself on the side.

For 2010 it was literally just in a licensed 5-pack. It was a SpongeBob SquarePants pack, and the model was in gold with both Bob and Patrick on it. Duyring production the shade of gold varied dramatically.

We though that was it for the casting as we never saw it in either 2011 or 2012. But just as the licensed packs were fading out, 2013 saw them down to a 3-pack, and this Batman release was one of the final ones. The most common run saw a blue wheel hub, but there was an issue with blue hot foil printing in 2013 (as well as other no chrome colours) and this was one of a number of models that ended up with a chrome wheel hub run too. But that definitely proved to be it, as the casting has not been seen since.

Which brings us to the last model. The MB797 Baja Bullet. This was a definite model of the ’10s. It debuted in 2010 and finished after 2019. A perfect decade. The debut was as MB84 in the US basic range. It was also MB44 in the LAAM basic range. Oh and it was also MB53 in the ROW basic range. The tan model featured a number of the Matchbox team of the time in logos on the side. Ryu Asada, Jeremy Cox, Gerardo Lopez, Dave Weise and of course our favourite, Michael Heralda.

It did come in shades too. Some more of a pinky shade, others more of a yellowy shade.

It was also a part of the 1st Editions 10-pack at the end of the year too in purple. There is a shade here too, but I don’t think I got a good angle of it. Let me try again. Oh wait, I have already published. Oops!

I got that shade well. In 2011 it continued on in the same US number in the range. This was done specifically for any models from 2010’s US range that was in 2011’s US range. So it was still MB84 there. With the LAAM and ROW range consisting of simply a reduction to 75 out of the 100 models, and any over 75 being re-numbered to something below, the ROW range still managed to keep it in the MB53 slot, but LAAM had to move it to MB35. It was sold in a plain bronze. No tampo printing or anything. But bronze was very good for shading. I actually have 3, but I simply did the lightest and darkest here, as if I did all 3 they would blur into each other more again.

A second version appeared later in the year in yellow, although this time the model saw graphics again.

It was also added to the Off Road Adventure 5-pack in green. Boy was this one fun. And expensive! The shade of green would vary quite dramatically through production.

But that was not all, as the more common cog wheels ran out at one point and they switched to some crown wheels to keep production going.

For 2012 and an amalgamation and increase to the basic range, we saw a fantastic recurring National Parks theme look to MB112.

It was also a part of a licensed 5-pack that year too. You might guess it was a SpongeBob SquarePants pack again, with Bob himself on the side of this yellow one.

For 2013 it was MB60 in the basic range and came in a lovely dark red, with a white splattered side design.

This is the third yellow release for the model. Yellow seemed to be its go-to colour of choice. MB50 for the 2014 basic range.

Oh and is that yellow again? Well more of a gold, but it was close. This was how it looked in the 2015 basic range as MB115.

With a rush release of items when Mattel were granted a license for Jurassic World, they quickly put together this example in dark grey with a simple dino head logo side design and blue stripe. It was sold as a single.

We never saw it in 2016, but it had one more basic range outing to go in 2017. This olive green MB119 finished its time in the basic range similar to how it started. By adding a few names of Matchbox personnel into the side design.

But that was the last we saw MB797. But not of Baja Bullet. Color Changers was launched in 2017, and alongside a number of single issues a Hydro Car Wash set was made. It was actually a large truck with a scoop on the front to lift a model up and into the rear, where if you wound the handle, would run through a wash system, and get dumped out the bottom. Depending on the temperature of the water you could switch the model between its 2 colours. Included with the set was an exclusive MB1059 Baja Bullet. It was in orange.

However, when warmer, it would turn yellow! Yes, I told you, yellow. It was THE colour for the model.

Apart from having a plastic body and metal base (instead of the other way round for the basic issue) the rear was redesigned quite a bit, with the spare wheel moving in and a back end added.

For those unwilling to fork out a load of money to get the 2017 Hydro Car Wash set, if you waited a few years, the MB1059 was released as a single in 2019. The last we saw of Baja Bullet. But for those of us who did fork out the money for the set when it first appeared, there is a variation.

It is not massive, but the original 2017 release in the playset sports dark blue wheel hubs. The 2019 single pack carry forward sports chromed blue wheel hubs. So if you got both, you did get a variation. But with the 2010s finished, so it appears is this model.

And that brings me to the end of another report. A report, which if you remember, was me showing off the latest Working Rigs courtesy of Wheel Collectors.

Plus, due to the batch being small, I added in a couple of 9-pack exclusives to pad it out a little, which did not come from Wheel Collectors.

I hope you enjoyed the report. Next week, I haven’t even thought about it or taken any photos yet. I had best get busy. Until then, I hope everybody has a good week, and catch you next Monday with whatever I can put together over the next 7 days.

One Reply to “Matchbox Monday checks out some Working Rigs & 9-packs”

  1. On a side note, what’s with Matchbox distribution (availability) ? I’m asking seriously. It’s less than satysfying. I know these days people buy mostly online, my preference like in the old days 1990’s go out and hunt in person though. In order to buy what i want, hunt gets a new meaning, i’ve visited 4 cities, countless stores and thus far i’ve bought all the stuff i wanted from 1-100 mix 1,2&3 and some moving parts, and that’s it, but where’s mix 4 and and new Moving parts ? They all should be by now 🙁

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