Matchbox Monday looks at an Electrifying 12-pack

This week I am going to be taking a look at something until recently we had no idea was even going to be around. A Matchbox 12-pack. And this is not the only one. However, I went through all 12 models in this pack and took so many photos that I realized I was going way too long, and as such there is no dive back this week. The next time I do a 12-pack, I will try not to go overboard. Either that, or just do an ultra long post including a dive back too. If you are up for an ultra long post, please let me know.

So the first pack I am looking at is an MBX The name of the pack Electric Drivers pack. Now officially, there is nothing exclusive in these packs as yet, but as Matchbox look to do more of these in the future, they are looking at the possibility of including something unique to them. So be prepared. Next year, you may be wanting to grab these packs for the exclusive models.

The name of the pack appears along the upper edge of the box. Or should I say sleeve, as there are no sides to it. It came in an outer box shipped 1 at a time. So this is just a cover.

The back of the pack shows the 12 models inside. Most of them are looking very familiar.

You slide out the inside section to discover 12 wrapped models, each sitting in a slot in the inner sleeve. This particular pack is all about electric vehicles, and therefore the inner is made of a compostable material.

So yeah, I am just going to work through these in order. Top row left to right, 2nd row etc. So I photographed everything as I was first opening it. I can tell what is behind package number 1.

The MB1212 Self Driving Bus. Yes, I am starting off with a Matchbox originals casting. This particular one was a repeat of the 2020 debut version of the model.

So they are giving it another run in this pack. Now it was 2 years ago, and if there was going to be one of these castings, I am glad they chose the first one. More chance of a variation. Plus, seeing so many of these warming pegs, I think it works better being in multipacks. Shame really, as it is quite a fun little vehicle. Just a bit too out there for the average child i guess.

So let’s bring in the 2020 debut to compare.

So on the surface, there is not exactly much to write home about. But when we dive in a bit closer, we might notice a few things.

So these 2 are almost 2 years apart. N11 to R08. With no “O” or “Q” year, N moved to P then to R, and the 11th week of the year to the 8th week of the year gives us 3 weeks under 2 years difference.

There are 2 things I notice. First of all, do you see how the original had 101 – City Center in a rather large font across the top? The newer one is in a much narrower font. It is noticeable. But do you also see how the MBX logo is on the right on the old one at the front but on the left on the new one?

That is because the new one cannot be reversed! Regardless of which way round you show the bus, the MBX logo will always be on the left. Both sides are identical. The old one would have items facing one side when viewed one way, the other side when viewed on the alternate side.

When looking through the old one, you can see there is no MBX logo in the right far side window.

So I can only show the old one with the MBX logo on the right. That is, if I chose the right way to show it.

So yeah, I am happy enough with that as a cool little variation. Now I have to double-check my other Self Driving Busses to see which way round they were all made.

The MB28 from 2021 is a design that has a different look depending on which way round you looked at it. But that is literally just whether there is a 58 square on the doors or not. The 2 logos always appear with Campus Transport to the left.

As is the 2022 MB37.

Eco can be to the left or right depending on which way round you viewed it.

A part of me wonders if they will do the same with those later? We will see.

I think I can tell what is coming here. The Speedy Xpress logo is a giveaway.

Yes, the MB1091 eStar Electric Van. Or as it is officially known now, an ’09 International eStar.

Now this one is just a carry forward from last year. This was in the 2021 City Adventure II 5-pack originally. I do love the logo though, and as we have seen a few of them now, it is officially a recurring theme which makes it even better.

Well I guess I should bring in the one from last year to compare.

It looks very similar at first glance again.

Last year it might have been, but P28 to R08 is much less than a year. 32 weeks to be exact. Well this does give us a slight shade to the base. You may notice the newer one is darker than the older one was.

The tampo is slightly out too. Not much, but the shade of orange is a little deeper and the grey does stick out the sides too, which is noticeable.

It is small, but more noticeable in person, so I am going to keep this. Now, if you noticed, this was one of 2 castings that were actually doubled up in this pack. So for now, I will leave doing a dive back through the casting until I find the other one.

So what was in the upper right corner? This one isn’t as easy to tell. I never mentioned, the tissue paper is 2 sheets per model. I don’t know if that was deliberate or not.

Oh, it’s the other one. That’s easy then. The thing is, this is actually a repeat of a current 5-pack issue. The MBX Electric Drivers is a 5-pack and a 12-pack, and this model appears in both. So I think this may be a little less likely for a variation.

I have to admit, I am surprised they chose to repeat a current 5-pack issue in the 12-pack of the same name. I thought there would be no duplicates across the 2 packs for anybody who attempts both. Just imagine having 17 MBX Electric Driver models. So I should bring in the other anyway.

So here it is. Current MBX Electric Drivers issue meet current MBX Electric Drivers issue. Yes, I am having fun.

I was busy checking the tampos and yes, everything was the same. But then I noticed something.

There is a 1-week gap between these 2 production dates, but during that time they only went and darkened the green base quite a bit. It is noticeable.

And because the base sticks out quite a bit, for somebody like me who doesn’t bother with a variation if I can’t see it without the need for flipping, it appears I am keeping this too.

Because I am seeing the green shade very easily side by side. Excellent. So was it right duplicating this current 5-pack into the 12-pack? Well, if are like me hunting down shades, I will say yes. But could there have been better choices?

Let’s do a dive back to remember what there have been. It debuted as MB6 in 2018 at which time it was a different casting, with an interior that came in 2 variants. Could this have been a better choice? Well, it was already done. So perhaps not.

However, the Fenski 2019 Service Crew 5-pack issue was ripe for a carry forward. This too was an original casting release, and so if this appeared again it would be on the new updated casting. Instant variation. Plus, it was blue. I don’t know why, but this is the only non-white release of the casting. Therefore, it would have been much better for more variety in the pack.

The original casting style was last used at the start of the 2021 model year, when it was a part of the โ€œThank You Heroes” gift set. That was a unique 1-off look for that promotional item, therefore should never be carried forward.

Well, the other option is the 2021 MB59 basic range issue. Maybe that could have been a better choice. Mind you, with the Self Driving Bus also being a lot of white and blue like this, maybe they decided it was too similar.

And then there was the 2021 MBX EV & Hybrid 5-pack carry forward, which as I said was the first issue repeated. So it had already been done. So in reality, this current 2022 issue was not exactly a bad choice. My only preference would have been Fenski again.

Okay, time to start row 2. What was in the left slot?

It was the MB1039 ’15 BMW i3. Ooh a car. After a bus and 2 delivery trucks, it is cool getting a car now. It is a shame the i3 never really got a lot of love. Only 4 issues throughout its life so far, and this is the second time one of those has been repeated.

Out of all of them, I do like the red one, so am happy to see it again.

This is a carry forward to one of its final outings, when it was in a 9-pack.

The model is on the left here. With a roughly 2 year gap between production runs, it appears that the shade of red is darker now.

N14? Yes, 6 weeks short of a 2 year gap.

The rear light tampo print is also very different in shade of red too. There has been quite a lot of that in many models being carried forward, so it is something I do check for.

A quick reminder of this model’s history too. It debuted as MB5 in 2017 in black.

Before turning creamy white in 2018 as MB13. After this, we never saw the model again in the basic range.

But as I said, this was one of the final duo. It was a 9-pack exclusive for 2020. However, in that year 9-packs saw the same model as an exclusive across both packs in each assortment, but in a different colour. This was either charcoal or red.

But this too was in the 2021 MBX EV & Hybrid 5-pack too as a carry forward.

The same one that had the eStar in a Matchbox themed carry forward. So with white already done, red was the brightest of the carry forwards to do.

So let’s see what is up next.

It’s the other BMW. This time the MB1093 ’16 BMW i8. This model is a repeat of the debut look for this casting in black. So with the i3 in red, had that been black too, it might have been too much black BMW. So that one was definitely a better choice. That is because this model has had even less of a life than the i3.

Black is the only basic range release for the casting. I don’t know if it was because they also created an alternate casting with opening doors that caused this original to be left on the sidelines, but it is a shame it hasn’t been getting a lot of love.

So it only right I bring in the original 2018 MB4 in for a comparison.

It definitely looks like it has much more metal flake in the paint.

When viewed from above, this is definitely the case. The newer one on the left also has a slightly darker tint to the window piece too. It also has a piece of black inside the rear of the model too, which obviously I am unable to get to. Must have been caught during manufacturing. I think that was just a random thing with mine.

Flipping over to see bases, you can see between L24 (4 years almost) and now, the shade of grey in the base is now darker too. But wait? Checks list. Yes, this also was carried forward.

And being the only basic release before that date, the 2021 MBX EV & Hybrid pack saw the debut black model repeated.

Amazingly, I find the new one to be in the middle in both variations. Not as black with the metal flake content, and not as dark with the window tint. I am keeping it.

Last year’s release was the same darker grey base that the current one has. As if I cared. But I know some might. Do you realize, so far, I am up to 5 out of 5 I am keeping. Going well so far. Hmm! Dive back?

Looking at the choices for bringing something forward here, there wasn’t much to go with. Obviously, the original now has seen 2 carry forwards. But the 2019 Target exclusive Superfast release would never have worked as a carry forward. It is not the 50th Anniversary of Superfast any longer. And by removing that logo they would have had to set it up as a new release, not as a carry forward. That is a whole different ball game in their world. To us it seems easy, but for the guys who create these things, this is a big change.

The only other release was in 2021, when the model was a part of the Best of Germany series. White again. Well we have seen quite a lot of white so far in this pack, so black is a better choice. But it was used already as a carry forward, so white was better logically. That’s a tough one.

So I will move on to the last model in the 2nd row. I wonder what this is?

I’m still wondering? What the…! The MB1280 Tesla Model Y. It’s not out yet. Well, it is now. It is due in a later basic range assortment which I am still to showcase. So it actually gets an early run in this pack before it sees its basic range debut later. So this is cool. Obviously there is another one coming later, but for now, I am going to have some fun with a nice new casting.

Matchbox and Tesla seem to be forming quite a formidable partnership. The Model Y is the latest in a long line of Tesla castings joining the ranks. I had to cross-reference to make sure I got this right. The Model Y is a Crossover Utility Vehicle (CUV), unlike the Model X which is a Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV). With a very corporate look to the front end, the side view really gives the best indication of the type of vehicle. A CUV sort of falls between a regular car and SUV. And yes, this does appear to look like that. Almost SUV, but not quite.

As I said, the front end has a very Tesla look to it, and the model captures that very well. You can tell instantly what this is from this angle.

The rear end looks nice and simple, and the tampo prints help to show off what Tesla are all about.

It has a full panoramic roof piece, which is something that Matchbox has utilized on a number of vehicles. I can’t complain about that. It looks nice, and solid.

The only thing I do wonder when it comes to this casting is the wheels. For some reason, these wheels just look a little too small for the casting. I just feel they should be slightly larger. But I know that is something that is not an easy fix. Matchbox only have so many wheel toolings in their database. It is tough to make a variety of sizes that are only fractionally out from each others, and sometimes compromises have to be made.

Oh, it’s a new casting, isn’t it. Base shot! I know some like it.

This is not the first time that a Tesla has debuted in red. Way WAY back in 2015, the MB903 Tesla Model S arrived as MB7 in red. It was a much lighter red, though.

Then of course the MB1142 ’17 Model X arrived in the 2019 Moving Parts series with opening rear doors. It was also in red. Except that it was a solid red. It is currently the only release of that one, but I believe another is coming. There is another red debut, but I believe that is to come in this article.

Is it this one? I cannot tell through the 2 layers of tissue paper.

Oh no, this was the MB1227 ’20 Honda E. I love this little casting.

Some models just appeal to me, and this is definitely one of them. I was so happy to see it arrive in 2021 as MB1. It gets a second run in this series too. Exactly identical?

In this case, yes. As much as I tried to find anything, I could not find a single thing that was different between the 2021 basic range run and this new run.

D’oh! This is my first duplicate, and 7 models in and finding one I cannot keep is not bad going.

And as I do have the 2022 Toy Fair edition, which is absolutely freaking awesome, I can’t really complain.

Model number 8. Spin the wheel. What is left?

The MB1249 MBX Mini Cargo Truck. Everybody’s favourite. You can tell because they are everywhere. Oh wait….

This model is a carry forward of the 2021 basic range debut release. As we know, this casting has 2 variants to it. The rear either comes empty or full of boxes. This one is empty.

So am I going to need to go nuts in trying to obtain a second MBX Electric Drivers 12-pack to get an alternate? Best bring in the 2020 MB23s to compare.

As I said, this model comes with or without a full rear.

Well, luckily for me, this joins the Honda. There is a fractional red shade. I debated. Was it enough for me to go nuts trying to get a second? I decided no.

I can still find them in stores from 2021, as well as plenty of the 2022 MB23s. I am not sure why this is always released as MB23. Okay there was only 2, but models don’t often stay put in the basic range, so when they do, I make a point of err, pointing it out.

Up to model number 9. This one is, I think I might know.

Yes, the MB1079 ’18 Nissan Leaf. I thought it was, as I could just make out a front end. And just like the BMW i8 this is a secondary carry forward of a debut release.

Because just like the BMW i8, this model was released in the 2018 basic range and has not been back in the range since. Which is a shame. It is a nice little casting, and I was quite looking forward to getting a bunch of them.

So let’s bring in the MB91 from 2018 to compare.

You might see the difference in this picture. It was quite obvious.

The new one is a much brighter white than the creamy looking original.

And I have to check. Rear lights? They seem a good match.

But as you can see here, the grey bases are also quite a bit different. Exactly three and a half years between production runs. Yes, L34 to R08 is 3 years and 26 weeks.

But this too is yet another that was in the 2021 MBX EV & Hybrid 5-pack. I have been showing a lot of those in this report, haven’t I.

Ding ding ding! Another strike. The 2018 debut is on the left. A creamy white. The 2021 carry forward in the middle. Not so creamy. The 2022 second carry forward, almost white.

Yeah, this was just all sorts of different. The base was a third shade of grey. Seriously, this model is all sorts of fun for a geek like me. Now I know that this model is the second that saw 2 releases in the pack, so I will stop it here.

Is this the other one?

Aaagh! No. Sorry, It was the MB1208 LEVC TX Taxi. It is such a shame. I really wanted this to be popular. When it was first announced in 2019 as arriving in the 2020 basic range, I was actually quite excited. As a British guy who has seen a range of very British taxis be successful in the range, I saw this as a future star. But sadly, the result was not good. Yes, we got the blacked out windows, which meant no interior. I could live with that. But they didn’t bring it out in a traditional British look. I don’t know if it was because of the black windows, but a British taxi should be solid black. That is a British taxi. It’s like selling a New York Taxi and painting it fluorescent yellow, because it was cooler than regular yellow. Or do a Mexican Beetle taxi and paint it green over white instead of traditional white over green because it was fun to do. Or a classic German Mercedes taxi and paint it metallic beige because the solid beige was boring. These taxis are iconic vehicles from the country they represent, and so having a British taxi but not paint it in traditional British colours is not good.

The tampo detailing was spot on, but this model just sat. And sat. Especially where I am in the UK. At one point I was finding 3 different releases of it being sold in Tesco stores alongside each other. Why?

I will explain that. It debuted in 2020.

It was sold as MB6 in the basic range, and was later added to the first batch of the 2021 Best of UK in exactly the same look. The basic was still being sold in Tesco stores at a much lower price point, as it was warming the place well, so the Best of UK on a different card for more money was never going to work. It stank. I walked in one Tesco store to find that they were no longer getting Best of UK in due to the taxi taking up an entire 2 pegs. Until enough sold through, no new order was going to be made. A month later I walked in and found 1 had gone. I was counting. This caused massive repercussions with batch B of the 2021 series barely being seen, as Tesco did not want to order much.

The only thing with both 2020 basic and 2021 Best of UK was that the rear lights were light red. After those 2, they switched rear lights to a darker red.

That was when we saw the 2021 basic range release. Mb46 was in a batch that was skipped in the UK. So we never saw the 2021 basic. That was fine. We still had 2020 basics to get through. Plus 2021 Best of UKs.

Both the 2021 basic and then a 2022 Best of UK release in batch A saw the red lights on the back go dark. Newbie is also dark.

I am actually going to keep this though, as the yellow numberplate (as we call them in the UK) is darker. But I really REALLY hope if we ever see this model again it will be in anything else than this metallic charcoal look. Although I should put a * next to again, as my local Tesco store is still trying to get through many Best of UK ones.

I am getting close to the end now. Which one is this? Number 11?

A-ha! The other Nissan Leaf. I knew it would be here eventually. The red one. Well, with only white ones being seen until 2022 (this year) and only now seeing alternate colours, I guess if we are getting a second of this one, then it has to be a 2022. Although, why bother with a second of this? We could have had another casting instead.

This is a repeat of the 2022 MBX Electric Drivers 5-pack issue. Just like the eStar at the start of this report (if you can remember that far back, I am going on a bit).

So? Feeling confident. That gave me a shade (to the base).

Mind you, I don;t see bases on this before flipping, so a base change will not be of interest to me.

I will take that though. The shade of red is different. The new one appears to be a lighter shade to my original.

There is a slight nuance to the base too. I don’t care. I got a good shade of red.

Now I do know why they chose the red 2022 issue as the one to include here.

Legalities. The blue one was a part of a 9-pack. But it is marked up as exclusive in that pack. Legally, because they marked it up like that, they cannot use it elsewhere in the same year. It could theoretically appear as a carry forward on a 2023 pack. But not in 2022. Just in case anybody was wondering. Don’t you just love legal stuff! Bleh!

So this model has been in 3 colours and now double the releases. That’s not bad going.

Which bring me to the last model. Having seen the list on the back of the pack, and process of elimination, I know exactly what is hidden in this tissue.

The other red Tesla. The MB1230 ’20 Tesla Roadster. This was the 2021 debut basic range release carried forward.

Now I admit, this is one I was not expecting too much with. Why? Well, when it arrived in 2021 as MB4, the funky matte red paint was excellent at shading. Really? I was picking up models from the same production run and seeing shades to the paint.

So much so, that I ended up with 3 examples from the 2021 production run.

A light, a dark, and a very dark shade. This was later carried forward to the Best of France 2022 series batch A, and when I was busy comparing, I was not seeing anything of note with the new one there, so I had visions of this being more of the same.

Well, I was proved wrong. The new one is on the right. This is significantly lighter than anything I have seen to date. It is sitting next to the lightest example that I could find before.

Not quite as light as this one, though. Ha ha! Of course, that one is the 2021 promotional issue, which later saw a small run available through Mattel Creations. It was in white and made of recycled materials. And all packaged in a special package.

Which was called PaperFoam. That is the name of the material the white Tesla was packaged , and what all 12 of these have been packaged in.

Which is designed to be home compostable. This is Mattel thinking about the future, as many companies do nowadays. I expect all packaging for the models to end up like this over the coming years.

So that was the 12-pack. I am not too happy about 2 doubled up castings. I am sure they could have done something else for 2 slots.

I mean, 2 from the same manufacturer. Sure. Happy seeing more than 1 BMW or Tesla.

The others were nice too, although a few did end up as complete duplicates. (The 2 on the right).

But I have to admit, the colour spread was not a lot. Out of 12 models, 5 of them were in some sort of red. That’s almost half.

With a further third being white.

Plus 2 almost black.

And a bus.

There is a distinct lack of colour to the set. Of course, it comes pre-packed, and you don’t see the models until after opening, which sort of does help to cover that. But I do hope to see perhaps a little more colour to the next set. As I do expect to see more of these next year. And as I mentioned, this is not the only one for this year. There are 2 more 12-model sets for me to go through. But I realize how much I photographed for this one took up a lot of time. Hence the lack of additional dive back. I will try to cut down on the photos for the next packs. Because I am done for this week. Next week I will be looking at something with a little more demesne! Cryptic clue. You might guess it. It is a very VERY old word! Ha ha! Until then, I hope you enjoyed my little rundown of a 12-pack. Have a safe week and catch you next week for more Matchbox goodies.

11 Replies to “Matchbox Monday looks at an Electrifying 12-pack”

  1. If Mattel are all about being sustainable then is there a need for the tissue paper? Models were just packaged in boxes back in the old Lesney days for 30 years.

  2. I personally see this as a peg warmer. I donโ€™t see collectors or kids jumping for this selection considering a good number of models in the set have not been good sellers.

  3. Mattel really are taking the piss ! Almost all of these models have been out before and no-one has been buying them because they’re s**t ! I know, let’s package up all the stuff that isn’t selling and put it in a 12 pack and see if our loyal idiots will buy them ? But I really want the airport cargo truck…………said no-one ever ! It’s bad enough when the 9 packs arrive with 8 cars we’ve already bought, but this 12 pack takes the biscuit !

    1. Or the self-driving bus (Mattel knows this–the April Fool’s joke this year was a mock-up of a self-driving bus 5-pack). My local Walmart’s single assortment is about 50% of those little cargo trucks (I call them factory trucks). Every time they come out with a new E-Star, they sit around forever. I still don’t understand why they keep cranking that thing out, especially given it was commercially disappointing for the 1/1, which was discontinued many years ago–heck, a few even before the model came out!

  4. I can already note about 2-3 that are in these packs, and everywhere. It’s irritating that I live in a rural area that doesn’t have other options that people in bigger towns get (Target), or I don’t have because they don’t do business here (i.e Meijer). It’s basically Walmart, Dollar General, and occasionally Family Dollar/Dollar Tree and Rural King (latter of which is a half-hour drive). I don’t understand why that one of the most unpopular models ever produced, the International E-Star, has not only one, but two versions in this pack–and no one’s buying the Electric Drivers 5-pack here. Most of these cars aren’t well known to people here, and thus they don’t sell. I’ve been a critic of this move to include more and more electric vehicles–simply because most are so obscure.

    However, the idea of themed 9/12 packs isn’t a bad idea–just make sure what’s included is actually popular–some classic cars would be a winner in my book.

  5. I’m still not convinced on how EV are produced and what they are about?…
    Also what is happening around to make way for a new future…..
    Lovely land now pulled up to make way for miles of soler panels (Which is like aiming a sun mirror in someone’s face) the heat going up?.
    Wind turbines of a Life expectancy 20/30years not recyclable…then buried.. Bird life and nature are confused.
    Lovely once farm land to grow turned/forced…… sorry! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘….
    Sorry ๐Ÿ˜… I’m not a cheerleader for this Matchbox set.
    Again UK doesn’t get 80\90% of any Matchbox products so …..
    Great write up tho.๐Ÿ‘

  6. Oh the irony; excellent idea for us and Mattel to go all ecological by emphasising green-ness, electric cars etc, then they produce this turkey of a set which is one big un-needed duplication/surplusfest. Go guys!

  7. OOps…is this a new trend? The Land Rover ‘gen ll’ in the MB 2022 mainline has blanked-out windows – not dark transparent, but totally opaque, and looking at pics of the ’59 chevy wagon in the city adventure lll 5-pack (not out here in the UK yet) this also has solid grey opaque ‘windows’. This is not a welcome development! Cheap…OK, hide the lack of interior with dark windows, but at least leave the shine of a window, otherwise the vehicle looks like someone has filled it in with concrete, and like a really rubbish toy. Remembering the call for chrome rather than grey bases which eventually had some welcome effect, can we please drop this ugly ‘economy’?

    1. These 2 have a more solid window piece due to the fact they have roof attachments, and the assembly of them means that they stick down quite far inside. So being solid you cannot see it. Although a number of others do actually have solid windows anyway. The Toyota Tacoma does for starters.

      1. OK I guess this isn’t so new then. It just seems a shame (happorth of tar, anyone?!) to make a great casting look like the poorer end of the Maisto 3″ range with solid windows, when Mattel could use, oh I don’t know, very dark transparent green like for the glazing in the #16 Badger or the #71 Ford wrecker…just saying!

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