Matchbox Monday heads back to the Jurassic era

This seems like good timing. As many will have seen, the latest Mattel Creations that dropped last week was a Jurassic themed one. Yes, I was in the queue. I got one. It will be with me, err, at some point. Until then, I should start working my way through what is happening with the license for 2022. As we know, Mattel obtained a license for Jurassic World (and with it the older Jurassic Park stuff) just before the first “World” film arrived in 2015, and they rushed out a bunch of stuff under the Matchbox brand that wasn’t exactly the most relevant. But what that did was give them lots of time to come up with a whole host of fantastic castings for the second film arrived in 2018. Since then they brought us a few additional items in 2019 but with the last film in the new trilogy planned for 2021 they simply had a holding pattern in place for 2020 throwing out a few random Jurassic items of carry forwards to keep the license active. But with all the turmoil of 2020 the film got pushed back to 2022, but Universal were happy to just ignore 2021. So Mattel didn’t have to do anything in 2021 to keep the license going. But when all is said and done, with so much content already done for 2018/19 trawling into the Jurassic film history, there is only 1 thing that can be done for 2022. Add in new items for 2022 from the new film. Well if you have seen the new film, there is not exactly a lot of them. Not unless you start looking at random blink and miss them cars used in 1-off shots of dinosaurs rampaging around the world. So Matchbox had a little thinking to do. A total of 6 new castings I believe are due, and there are also a few models sporting new liveries, but this is not a large amount. Had they just done that this would be a much smaller range, but this is a toy company, and with all the hype and promotion, you want to see a lot of items available. So they have mixed in a number of older items too as carry forwards to bulk out what is available. And there will be quite a bit. I believe possibly 4 batches of singles, and perhaps 4 lots of 5-packs, which will also include a few Legacy ones. So we will see quite a lot of content over coming months. So let us start with the first lot that appear. Batch A.

I am going to go through these in alphabetical order this time. There is no numbering system to them. So first up is the MB1104 Armored Action Transporter.

This model is a carry forward. It is a Matchbox originals casting based on the sort that was seen in the film, but not a licensed casting. It first appeared in the second batch of the 2018 series, in both single and 5-pack form in the All Terrain Fleet named set. It was then carried forward to batch C of the 2019 singles series too. At that time I could not see any differences between the 2018 and 2019 run models.

So we have seen this twice already. A dark greyish blue cab with a grey cage on the rear and a simple tampo detailed design on the side. But how does it compare now to how it was originally?

Only 1 way to find out. Time to dig out the 2018 original and compare.

The thing that immediately caught my eye was the cage on the back.

I notice how the new production run is coming out with a much duller grey cage than how they did them before. So much easier to show the comparison as they pop off the model easily.

I don’t think it is so much, but the interior section to the model is also a shade darker too. The new one is at the back of the pair in this picture.

The rest was a good match. The dark greyish blue paint is almost identical. The wheel hot foil printing was spot on. The tampo printing is…. Wait a sec. They didn’t used to tampo print the door hinges. Ooh! Another small variation. They may be small, they may be subtle, but I am seeing a number of little differences between the 2, which is fun for me. Others may be busy rolling eyes. I don’t mind. We all collect differently. So if you do enjoy finding variations, then this model does work.

You might notice that when they did a Battle Damage variant of the original in 2018 with a few scratches on the side, this did indeed sport the door hinge tampo. But again, the model has the brighter grey cage/interior parts. And of course there are mud and scratch marks going over the side. So model number 1 for me is a win. I am happy adding this again.

After the Armored Action Transporter, literally alphabetically in the Matchbox database is the MB1114 Armored Action Truck.

Daft fact, this is the first time that the Armored Action Transporter and Armored Action Truck have both been in the same batch. This model first appeared in batch A of the 2018 series, in both single and 5-pack form. It was also carried forward to batch B of the 2019 singles series, and batch A of the 5-packs. And they used the casting again in the 1-off random 5-pack released in 2020 which at the time was a requirement to keep the license active. It was part of Mattel’s deal that they had signed with Universal. So this casting has seen a lot of action over the years.

So does that mean they should have given it a rest this time? Well, shall I have a look at it’s history to make a decision?

Now for those who cannot remember the scenario of how 2018 played out, there were 18 models in the singles series. They appeared in batches of 5 at first, with the last batch solely containing the 3 at the end. Alongside those first 3 batches were 5-packs that contained the same 5 models but one of them was in an alternate colour. However, the 3rd batch switched out that 5th model for another just for a little fun. The Armored Action Truck was the one chosen in batch A to sport an alternate look for the 5-pack. As seen here, we had a gunmetal blue or light grey look with a red patch on the side and 05 on the model. However, those were both singles. Yes, it had a running change shortly after debuting.

No the 5-pack variant was charcoal with a blue patch and 12 on the side. This is the one that is carried forward to the 2022 series. You might be noticing the wheels. originally they were dark blue. That was a bit dull so after 2018 they changed them.

What you may also notice here is that the new 2022 charcoal is extremely dark. That is a massive shade difference.

To make things more complicated, later in the 2018 year Mattel released 2 batches of Battle Damage models. Most models in these 2 batches mirrored those from the first 2 regular batches (except one from B was switched with one from C), and as such the Battle Damage models looked much like their original counterparts. Except this. Being a red patch 05 model, this was obviously replicating the single issue from batch A, but which did they go with? Gunmetal blue? Nope! Light grey? Definitely not. No, for some reason, the Battle Damage issue turned olive green. I have no idea why. All the other 9 models are single issues with added scratches on the side. This was the exception to the rule.

So for 2019, many models were carried forward for the new series. A set of 24 with half new, half seen before. One of them, sold both in single and 5-pack form was this one, and they chose the 5-pack variant as the one to repeat. Yet, this time it sported chromed blue wheels.

Again, the model is not as dark as the new for 2022 issue is. But, just in case you were wondering.

As the model was getting darker, those wheels were getting brighter. The 2022 one sports a really bright chrome blue wheel compared to the chrome blue from 2019.

If you were wondering why I mentioned the “as the model was getting darker line” it is because the 2019 issue was actually a darker charcoal than the 2018 was. Still nowhere near as dark as the new production run, but it was a noticeable change.

When we last saw the casting, it was a part of the 2020 random 5-pack that was being sold specifically to keep the license active. For that, they actually chose the Battle Damage issue in olive green to carry forward.

But just like the new one does, this did go darker than the original 2018 release too. The 2018 is at the front, with 2020 behind it. So every time they release this, it seems to change in some way. So yes, I am happy enough seeing it again. Of course an idea for the future could be to release the green without the battle damage, or the grey/gunmetal blue ones with battle damage. Mix things up a bit.

Of course the series can never be complete without some of the most iconic Jurassic vehicles. So of course we were not going to go without the MB1128 ’93 Ford Explorer. This particular one being the 05 vehicle.

You can’t get much more iconic than this. These vehicles played a major part in the very first film, and as such this was a part of the Legacy Collection set of 6 that was released in 2018 as a separate line to the regular issues. In USA they were only found in Target, but other countries sold them in various places too.

The model was carried forward to 2019 and appeared both in the singles series and in the second batch of Dino Rivals 5-packs. But at the time I was unable to see any differences between how it first appeared in 2018 to the later run. But how is another 3 years changing that?

I guess I should bring in the original to compare.

It may be an iconic green look, but the 2022 production run is coming out a little darker to how they used to look.

Most of the rest appears to be a good match to how it was.

But I am seeing the faded yellow look to the lower sides is now a darker shade too. It seems to jump out more at you then it did before. So again, small but subtle changes. Enough for me to happily add another to my collection.

The MB1112 Gyrosphere. This was a very clever little casting.

I have always been very impressed over how they managed to replicate the real vehicle’s ability to stay upright at all times. You roll it along, and it doesn’t fall over sideways, the interior seating will always stay level. It was a very impressive feat of engineering. It is no wonder they wanted to keep showing it off.

Which is why when it appeared in the first batch of the 2018 series, it was the same in both singles and 5-packs. And then in 2019 they did exactly the same again. First batch, single and 5-packs. At the time I was not seeing much to talk about between production runs, but here we are 3 years later, and what do we have? First batch, singles and 5-packs, and they throw the Gyrosphere in there. I think that is classed as tradition now.

But has it changed in any way over the last 3 years? Time to bring in an original for a comparison.

The side piece is a different shade of blue now. The glass is slightly out, but that is not as big. However, this is not the easiest to show, as I mentioned, this model stays in this position at all times. They remind me of Weebles. A toy I had growing up in the 1970s. No matter what you did, they would always end up in the same position. So I might need to get creative here.

Welcome back Action Armored Truck. It is enabling me to balance these on their sides for this shot. The new one is on the left. The blue panel is a little darker, but do you also notice how the surrounding edge to it is also different? The original was completely filled in with a blue edging to the window section, but the new one is a rather rough and brighter print. It’s amazing how they are able to come up with a change like this.

Of course it is still nothing like the 2018 Battle Damage issue, as they repeated batch A with additional printing. This one had splashes of mud and a large crack from where one of the dinos had been trying to get in. So cool. Still the best one to date. Shame they have not repeated it.

Another iconic model. The MB1127 ’93 Jeep Wrangler #18. Or as I call it, the Jeep Wrangler with roll bar.

Somebody once asked me which Jurassic model has seen the most uses. This one? In 2018 it was a part of the Jurassic World Legacy collection, as obviously Jeep 18 was one of the Jeeps from the original Jurassic Park film in 1993. It appeared as both a single and 5-pack issue.

In 2019 the model came back. It was in batch B of the singles, and then it was also in batch B of the 5-packs too. So it had 4 releases? No. 5 releases. In 2020, as part of the holding pattern, a random single was thrown in the basic range. Guess what it was? This one. MB72 2020. Actually it was currently tied with a Deep Dive Submarine, which had done the 2018 basic/5-pack, 2019 basic/5-pack and then 2020 5-pack release. But with release number 6 this now moves into the lead on its own. So is it worth getting again? Of course, just buy everything regardless. I know some will keep models trapped in those blisters. I don’t know why. Where’s the fun in that? But those who take them out like me, let’s do a dive back and see how it is evolving.

This is how it first appeared back in 2018.

You might notice newbie on the left is a slightly more greyish shade than the 2018. The tampo printing going over the top is also a little darker. A more maroon shade than before. You might also be looking at the front winch area.

Yes, the new for 2022 release has a noticeably darker grey base to the model, which also forms bumpers, the winch and spare wheel.

Of course we also had the error in 2018 with a bunch of 12s accidentally being fitted with roll bars instead of a canopy. Those obviously follow the same pattern of difference to the regular 18.

We got a 29 later on in 2018 too, which again follows the same difference, as well as sporting a 29 on the models and loads of mud.

In 2019 when they released the model again, the wheels were the only real difference to the 2018 release. They were coming out a lot darker to how they were. For 2022 this is now back at the original shade.

Mind you that dark red wheel stayed for the 2020 basic range release. The model was also a more yellowy shade of colour, which makes it stand out against the new greyer look even more.

But that top printing was actually even darker than the new one is. They went to a very dark maroon at that point. Are you keeping up? Or is your head exploding?

But the one thing, more than anything else you need to remember is that at no point until now did the base come out in this darker grey shade. They were always pretty consistent through the first 3 years.

Jeep 29 was also good for body shades and wheel shades throughout its time, although I was concentrating more on Jeep 18 here.

So quite unbelievably (or maybe not if you know me) all 5 to date of the 6 in the batch are being added to my collection as variations, and as we hit the last model in the batch this is a definite winner. This is a new design. The first we have seen it. So this goes in the win pile too. The MB1109 ’14 Mercedes-Benz G550 in tan.

For 2022 the model now comes in a olive tinged tan look with a rather similar looking side design to those we had seen before.

I think it looks very nice like this. I am not sure on the blue window. A regular tint may have been more natural looking, but perhaps this gives it a splash more colour. So I am unsure if I like that bit or not. But overall I am enjoying the new look to the casting. I am hoping they give us a new look to the Textron Tiger. Big fan of that casting. But anyway, I am digressing a bit. Time for a little look back at the history of this casting.

It originally debuted in silver in the Island Transport Team batch, as the very first batch was known as. It was identical between the singles and 5-packs, and look, it has blue windows too. They work better there.

At first glance you think it is the exact same livery. But there is a small change. They got rid of a number on the rear. Which I think was a good idea. I will get to that in a minute. I will also note that this silver was carried forward to 2019 in both singles and 5-packs, although I saw no changes between the 2019 and 2018 runs.

Being a part of batch A meant that it also received the Battle Damage release later in the year. The same livery (except the eagle-eyed might notice the 05 is now black instead of white) with added mud and claw marks.

However, this model was given a second look later on. Remember me mentioning batch C had a different model between singles and 5-packs for 2018, with the other 4 being the same. Well this was the 5-pack only issue, with a Mercedes-Benz GLE being sold in singles. But when they did this, they kept the side design the same, so it still contained the 05 number that the silver had. So now that the number has been removed, it is easier to roll out more alternate colours I think.

There is a small change to the casting I wanted to point out before I finish though. Originally the spare wheel on the model had a slight concave look to it with a long thin strip heading to the middle with a small tristar on it. They have made an adjustment to it and now the strip is much thicker and the tristar in the middle has also grown. The concave look is also gone, with a more rounded look to it.

This brings the rear wheel in line with the MB1195 ’15 Mercedes-Benz which gets used outside of the Jurassic license which also saw a change this year to its rear wheel in the same way.

Now that brings me to an end of that batch. But you know what? A 5-pack appeared too. It is called Total Terrain Adventurers, and was released about the same time as the singles batch, so I am going to continue running things down.

2 of the models released as singles are also included in the 5-pack. As I already mentioned, it is a rule now that the Gyrosphere should appear in the both singles and 5-packs of any year where new Jurassic stuff arrive. The 5-pack version is identical to the single one. But the Jeep?

I’m a geek. I was busy looking at the 2 and I though, hmm, that tampo printing is lighter on the 5-pack release than it is on the single release.

And shade is actually even more a grey hue than the single was. And if you remember that was a more grey hue than the previous runs of the model were.

Again this sports the dark grey base which when compared to an early issue is quite noticeable. I cannot believe that I currently own 8 Jeep 18s (not including the additional Jeep 12 on Jeep 18 body). And I have to point out. I said this had broken a tie with the Deep Dive Sub for most used model. After moving to a 6th issue, this officially takes it to 7 issues. Deep breath. 2018 single and 5-pack. 2019 single and 5-pack. 2020 single. 2022 single and 5-pack.

Now we did get a few models included in the pack as well which weren’t in singles. One of them was another Jeep. The MB1105 ’93 Jeep Wrangler with vet bags or Jeep 10, depending on which way you list them down.

This casting was not a part of the debut year. We never saw it in 2018, and it turned up as a 2019 single issue instead. This is the first time it has been repeated. But is this different?

Time to bring in the 2019 release to check. Yes, it is.

But not the way you were expecting. This one appears to have bucked a certain trend of things going darker. Both the interior section (which forms the spare wheel on the rear) and the vet bags are not noticeably lighter than they were in 2019. Shade of paint, wheel tint, tampo print, all appear to be a good match. Strange how things go.

A “clean” version was also sold in a Walmart exclusive Jeep set in 2019, officially outside of the Jurassic license release schedule. But obvious it ties in perfectly.

And yeah, this is the exact same. Darker interior and darker vet bags on the 2019 Walmart Jeep set model. So I am very happy to add this to the collection.

Next up is the MB1115 Off Road Rescue Rig. This is a nice little model. Another Matchbox originals casting, it first debuted back in 2018 but has had quite a varied life over the years.

There hasn’t been an awful lot of carrying forward for this casting, with this being only the second time we have seen something from before repeated.

So as I dive back, the casting originally arrived in batch B of the 2018 series, in both the singles and 5-packs. It was grey with a pale grey rear and golden brown clip on cover.

Being in the first 2 batches meant this too was given a Battle Damage release later in the year with the same look, but now with added mud and scratch marks.

But when they launched the 2019 series, this model saw a new look. This look. Blue with a brown rear and grey cover.

However, when I put the 2 side by side, it is pretty easy to see what has changed. The satin effect to the paint has made way to a matte finish. That is very noticeable. The rear cover is a fractionally lighter grey too, but the blue paint is the major change here.

The 5-pack release that year was also new. A blue front like this, but using the same side design as the 2018 debut. It now had a black rear and blue cover.

The first time we saw a carry forward was when the random 2020 5-pack arrived, and they put the 2018 debut look in it.

Which is quite funny, because as you can see they have literally done the exact same here. Took a satin finish and changed it to matte. I love how they repeat certain things. Which brings me to the last part of the 5-pack.

Blue. For 2022 they have decided that 5-packs are now going to be a little different in the Jurassic World series. Each 5-pack is going to sport 4 models in it, and the 5th slot is to be taken up by a dinosaur. For this pack that dino is one of the best known from the Jurassic World franchise. Blue, the velociraptor, appeared in all 3 Jurassic World films. A velociraptor was the very first dino seen in the very first film too, as one was being transported into the paddock in the very first scene. And raptors were seen in all 3 of the original trilogy too. Of course Blue is still the best known. As I said, she was in all 3 modern films. So she is a good choice for inclusion.

Now the 1 thing I cannot verify for sure is whether she is in a unique pose for this Matchbox 5-pack. I know she has been modeled in other Mattel Jurassic World ranges outside of the Matchbox brand, but I heard a rumour that the Matchbox one was a unique pose. If anybody who has been collecting other Mattel-related Jurassic items can shed any more light on that I am interested to know. This is something that we will be seeing across all the 5-packs for Jurassic World this year. And no, it is not going to be Charlie, Delta and Echo, the other 3 raptors she was seen with originally, that Owen Grady was training in the Jurassic World film. The others are going to be different types of dinosaurs. It was something different they are doing for this year.

And that, I believe is a rundown of the first singles and 5-pack batch of Jurassic World for 2022. More will be showcased later this year. But as I didn’t do one at all last week, I think I will do a little dive back this year. I have gone on a bit again, so I will choose models that haven’t got a massive history.

So for starters this week, how about a Matchbox originals casting. Of course this was Lesney, and the term Matchbox originals wasn’t coined until recently. But it is a retroactive term, which means older models that were castings made up by Matchbox can now go by the same name. This is the MB23-B Atlas. It joined another originals casting (the Articulated Truck) as a dump truck in the range and ran until 1980 in the worldwide range. For 1981 the US range dropped it, but the ROW market continued for another 2 years, giving it a new look too. But those initial 6 years? It was blue with an orange dump.

Nowadays people like to complain if a model runs for 2 months and then years later returns for another run for a few months. But back in the day, 6 years of continual production looking the same. Well, actually, this is Lesney. In Lesney terms there is no such thing as the same for 6 years. In fact I think I could change years to months and still be correct. Could I change it to weeks? Possibly. So with 6 years of production in blue with an orange dump, how did things evolve as it went along?

Well for starters, they applied these yellow and red arrow stickers down the side of the model. That didn’t last. Literally, by the end of that first year they had given up applying stickers. Finding a stickered model means it is an early 1975 issue.

As I mentioned, I could get away with a 6 weeks seeing differences, because basically every time that they did a production run they just used whatever paints were in there. So shades of blue paint? Shades of orange dump? Sure. It would alter on each run. Some can be quite subtle, but sometimes you can find quite noticeable changes.

As time progressed, they phased out the use of the spiro wheels and in 1977 developed a larger variant of the dot-dash wheel that had arrived in 1976 and switched those in.

Shortly after they stopped bothering to chrome the interior. That happened so much during the Lesney era. Launch something with a chrome interior then give up chroming it. This happened shortly after the switch to dot-dash wheels, so finding that with the chrome interior is one of the tougher variants.

Later in the year they also decided to start painting the base silver too. Until then they had all been left unpainted.

They also stopped with the amber tint to the window. Both of these happened around the same time, so amber window with unpainted or silver base and clear window with unpainted or silver base all exist.

Through 1978, 1979 and 1980 the model was basically the same. Except of course shading. Some of the differences in the blue paint can be quite extreme.

Most tended to sport the silver base, but sometimes they couldn’t be bothered. It’s all the fun of the Lesney collecting era.

At some point (it was reported in early 1980) we did see another fairly tough variant, as a production run came with an orange interior instead of the usual grey. As far as I am aware, no orange interiors come with an unpainted base. Only silver painted.

By the time of the brand split in 1981, and the US range dropping the casting, grey interiors were back. As I said, for 1981 and the final 2 years of production, the now ROW exclusive Atlas was recoloured to a light red with a silver dump. But again, this was Lesney. They couldn’t count.

They ran out of the orange dumps before they ran out of blue bodies, and so the inevitable crossover occurred. Again, this is not an easy variant to find.

And did I say it was light red? Light red, dark red, orangey red. Some sort of reddish look. Paint was paint. Anything vaguely close enough was good each time they made them.

At some point during the 2 years of production they got bored of using grey for interiors again. This time though, they went with black as an alternate instead of orange. Because why not? After 1982 the model was dropped from the ROW range too, and that was the end of that. Or was it?

The year was 1991, Universal had recently closed their factory in Macau and had moved production to a new factory in China. they had been making things in another Chinese factory in the late 1980s and thought it was a bit more cost effective. So the new China factory was sent some random models to do some test runs. One of them happened to be the Atlas. A random casting out of the archive.

A lot of these castings were thrown in 6-packs and mainly sold in USA as “Super Value Pack”. Many were very similar to older looks, but this was quite a lot different. Apart from the change from a metal to plastic base (most castings had been cost reduced the same way in 1989/90 before the Macau factory closed anyway so it was not a big deal), this also came with different wheels.

You can sort of see a slight resemblance. It was blue. The original was blue. It had a dark yellow dump. Not too far off from orange. Of course they didn’t have any large wheels in their database at first, so they just went with about the biggest they did have, which were some old Maltese cross wheels. Many of the vehicles found in this initial test run and sold through the Super Value Pack system were castings that after that were never used again. The Atlas was one. A random ending to a model that had 8 years of regular use.

I move into the 1980s now, and the Universal era. The year was 1983. Universal had not long taken over the Matchbox brand, and with things falling apart at the end of 1982 there was a shortfall of new castings. Many old Lesney castings were adapted and altered into something new quickly, as a way to give the impression of more new stuff than they actually had. One of those models was an old Ford Mustang that they turned into an IMSA one. While doing that they noticed that IMSA in USA also had Mazda RX-7s too. They were just finishing up a new tool of an RX-7, so a quick bit of tinkering and hey presto. A second RX-7 too. This was the MB116 IMSA Mazda RX-7. It debuted in 1983 as either MB6 in the US range or MB7 in the ROW range. Many of these quick change models were what is known as stop-gap models, and this was no exception. It ran 3 years and that was it. It only came in blue, and production was always in Macau, but still things would evolve.

By 1984 they had made a decision to no longer use the 5-arch wheels, and switched the model to dot-dash instead.

And in 1985 they stopped making the windows amber. The 1985 ones were clear. It was around this time that they smoothed out the textured look to the front recesses in the skirt. I am not sure why they smoothed them. But they did. After 1985, the model was dropped although the casting was sent to Brazil for local production in 1987. They made it basically the same, although the tampo does not sport orange edging. I am still to get one of those. Brazilian models are not the easiest to obtain. But that was it. Even with a Brazilian production run, it only ever came in blue.

Short and sweet. I said I was doing a few smaller ones.

The Mazda was not the only racing style model that saw quite a small run. It was the mid 1990s. Tyco were now in charge of the brand, and somebody was really into German Touring Car racing. DTM as it is not called. But between 1984 and 1995 it was known as DTM. Oh wait. I guess it works better in full. What is now known as Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters started off as Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft in 1984. In 1996 it changed to the ITC, or International Touring Car series. They people running the series decided that just having rounds in Germany was not good enough. They wanted a global presence, so expended to rounds around Europe and South America. All the car manufacturers revolted except for Mercedes-Benz and all quit after 1996. Their plan had backfired spectacularly, and the whole series was just cancelled. The new DTM restarted the “German” championship in 2000 and it is still going. The Alfa Romeo 155 V6 Ti DTM is the most successful car in the original series, and won 38 races. So Matchbox made this (along with a few others from the series) into a model and launched MB296 in 1997 as MB3. Yes, by the time they got around to releasing it, the whole championship was already gone. It started off in red with white tampoing, which was a replica of the 1993 championship winning car of Nicola Larini. There was a First Editions release with the number 7 look of Alessandro Nannini too, which was a premium look along with an unpainted alternate. As I am still collecting the premiums, I currently don’t have that one.

And with this being 1997, USA was in the midst of a Gold Challenge, so a plain gold one was sold there too.

Now being in the Gold Challenge, the Alfa, like most vehicles, saw no tampo printing. This was important as part of this meant the rear wing add-on part was left blank.

But due to a mix up, some of these unpainted rear wings were added to the regular red issue too. Not the easiest to find.

I also managed to come across this one too. Very unusual. Unlisted. It has a deep amber window, whereas all Alfas were known to sport a clear one. I don’t know where or how this appeared. It was one of two I found at the same time.

In 1998, and the transition to the new Mattel way of renumbering everything, we saw a number of models come out in very similar looks to their 1997 counterpart. This was one. They literally just swapped the white and red parts over for a new look and moved it to the MB62 slot. But with DTM no more, they quietly started removing the DTM inspired vehicles from the basic range. So this was it for this there.

But it was not quite the end of the casting. They added it to a Coca-Cola themed 5-pack in 1999, and gave it another run in 2001 as a single issue too.

But that was it. A very short life. It was reported that the casting broke for it, and they never bothered to fix it. So it no longer exists anyway. Mind you, if they were to think about bringing the 155 back, I would like to see the road going version instead. But not just any road going version. The GTA Stradale. That would be cool.

Next up, as we move into the 2000s with a new casting of a concept from 1999. Land Rover unveiled Project SVX in 1999 at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It was based on a standard Land Rover Ninety, and came in black, featuring grey roll bars over the basic body and large oversized wheels that were said to actually make it difficult to maneuver around corners. As part of the move to Hero City, the Matchbox team decided this was a cool enough concept to fit in with their direction as it landed in 2004 in the concept look as MB52.

Later in the year, with the realization that Hero City wasn’t working, especially with the 2004 launch of Ultra Heroes too. This was one of the new castings from 2004 that was actually pretty cool. The facility in New Jersey was closed down and the El Segundo offices set up a new space for a new Matchbox team to turn around the brand. They were thrown into the deep end, and this was one of the first things they did. They wanted to bring back the “real” to the brand after the loss of sales, but also wanted to provide a sense of adventure too, so the logo designed for it simply said “Real Adventure”. It was simple, but they literally had weeks to do something and get them produced for the upcoming 2005 Toy Fair. It was a rush job. But they still managed to do something cool. They created the Toy Fair model as a split look. Half of the model sported real rider 2-part rubber wheels and a golden chrome base section (which goes up the front too). The other half simply sported the oval wheels, which at the time were the standard 4×4 wheel in use, and the base section was simply brown.

Of course this model still fitted in well with the new direction for the brand, so it was one of the few 2004 new castings that saw more outings. In 2005 it was sold as MB12 and came in tan with a simple front and rear detailed look.

And in 2006, it moved to the MB63 slot and was chosen to sport 2 looks during the year. At first it was in olive, and later it turned blue. Again, it was just sporting simple front and rear detailing.

This was also the year that we started seeing the model elsewhere too. It appeared in a Coast Guard 5-pack in white with a really cool side design.

And a Yu-Gi-Oh licensed 5-pack saw this golden brown model with one of the Elemental HERO characters known as Avian (or Featherman in Japanese). And yes when you write any Yu-Gi-Oh Elemental HERO characters, “HERO” should always be capitalized. I come up with the daftest of random facts don’t I.

2007 would prove to be the final year in the basic range for the model. It was also the first time a basic range issue was seen without front and rear detailing. This issue was in blue with a very muddy effect to it, including the wheels and base sections matching the mud splatter all over the stripey side design. I also noticed that MB69 that year was good for a little shading.

And we saw another 5-pack release too in a Search & Rescue side design. Sadly, after 2007, things went extremely quiet for the casting. I am not sure if it was something do with Land Rover actually releasing a limited edition run of Land Rover Defender 90 and 110s as SVX. They had some styling cues from the original concept and were sold in black with roll bar style roofs, but did have windows and a few other tweaks. I wonder if while those were being sold by Land Rover, they didn’t want to make models of the concept. I could be totally wrong with that, but we did not see it again for a good few years.

Because this was the next one we saw. In 2012! It was a 10-pack exclusive that year in white with an 8 roundel and side stripes.

Since then we have seen just one more issue. In 2016, this dark metallic green issue was sold as part of the Land Rover series, which was sold in Walmart stores in USA, and in a few other places in other countries too. I remember the UK had them at Asda (which at the time was part of Walmart). It has not been used since, but I do believe it could still get a random outing and still work.

Which brings me to the last of the dive backs. Something I am happy to leave in the tooling shed gathering dust. Others may not be so bothered, but in the mid ’10s, Mattel wanted to pull Matchbox in a different direction. Yeah I know, people keep trying to fix what isn’t broken. They try, it doesn’t work, we go back to “real” stuff. Real vehicles are what Matchbox does best. But as part of this diversion, they came up with some fantasy vehicles again. This one really reminded me of stuff from the 1970s. In particular, Fandango. It was called Whiplash and was given the MB898 manufacturing number and debuted in 2013 as MB23 in light green.

For 2014 it moved to the MB67 slot in purple and had a base that was the same as the window component in translucent blue.

There was also a second 2014 release, this time in a playset. Mission: Undersea Squid Sub was the name of the set. A large purple squid (that can be filled with water and squirted) and a submarine unit that this car would slot into that could catch it. It was orange and had S.U.B. on the side.

For 2015 it moved to MB14 in red, and I did see a shade of red during production.

It finished up in 2016 as MB18 in metallic orange. Again I found a shade to it, and I actually quite liked this look. It was the first time that they tampo printed the top of the model. It was also the last, as after 2016 they dropped the casting with the move back to real again. It wasn’t an awful casting, but it just does not fit with realism that Matchbox is known for.

And that brings me to the end of another report. I hope you enjoyed it. Jeepers, it had a lot of Jeeps.

As well as some other cool licensed vehicles.

As well as others too. Next week I…

Uh-oh. I need to mention Blue again before she goes for me. Yes Blue was the star attraction. I think she’s happy enough now. So next week I will be looking at another range of models that has returned in 2022 and pairing up with a random extra too. Because why not. Until then, I hope people have a happy and safe week, and will see you next Monday for more Matchbox stuff.

5 Replies to “Matchbox Monday heads back to the Jurassic era”

  1. Thank you for the wonderfully detailed write-up and excellent photography, as you’ve always delivered. I thoroughly enjoy every Monday report and greatly appreciate the effort you put into them, particularly the dive backs.

    Just would like to add that the Land Rover SVX in tan could be found with white or (oddly) tan headlights. Wondering if anyone else found the tan headlights, or perhaps it was an error I scored.

  2. The Off-Road Rescue Rig isn’t (quite) an original Matchbox design. It’s based off of the BAE Systems Land & Armaments FMTV in Fallen Kingdom. The only real difference is Matchbox’s is a crew cab and the one in the movie was a single cab. Similarly, although a lot of liberties were taken with the details, the Armored Action Truck is based off of the BAE Systems etc. Caiman armored cars used in the same movie.

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