It has been a little while since I began the journey through the Walmart exclusives for 2023. As is the case for 2023, this year sees them shift into a single batch of each series, with 6 planned to run over the course of 2023. Last year they attempted 3 series of 12 models, split half in half as the year progressed. I showcased the first 2023 set, Porsche, quite a while ago now. It is about time I played catch-up with others. The second series that came out was the 70th Anniversary set. Unlike the usual releases of 6, this was only a series of 5 models. I don't know why.
But let's get stuck in, shall we? I have to say, I like this 70th Anniversary theme of platinum models, with orange, black and white detailing. And I also like that the models chosen for this set of 5 are not the most commonly used castings. The first of them is the oldest one in the database. The MB671 '05 Ford GT. This model, and all these rest in this set, come on a black card, with a simple image of the model on it. They have put a lot of effort into the artwork for these.
It's a shame it is lost on me. With these being a core offering, they are simple models with a simple tampo design. In this model's case, this is an over-the-top tampo design. I do like stripes.
I like the extra little touches. The angled 70 on the rear. The 70th logo. Considering this received a single tampo hit, it still covers most of the casting. Reminiscent of the original Lesney “Streakers” models. Each one was simply a low, rather flat looking model, and each was passed through their new tampo machine for a 2-colour print. Not an awful lot has changed. They are now a 4-colour print. But the process is still very much how it was when they started in the 1970s.
Quite a few of the Ford GT releases have followed this logic, including the debut release. All the way back in 2005. It was quite the popular addition to the range when it debuted as MB49 in the 2005 basic range. It was quite early in the year. This meant that as the new team in El Segundo were settling in, they made the decision to move production of Matchbox from their China factory, back to one they had used in Thailand. Production still takes place in Bangkok to this day.
But this was the one release that started in China. It was swiftly moved to Thailand to continue, and all subsequent releases have been made at the Thai factory.
And, well, I guess that means I am going through them all. Late in 2005, the model appeared in the Superfast series. 2005 was the year that it was sold outside the USA, and this gave us 2 looks. The USA number 67 was in black with silver stripes. The ROW number 67 was silver with black stripes. A simple mirror image of each other. You might just make out the difference between platinum and silver. A 70th anniversary is known as a platinum anniversary, but it is fairly close to silver. Some may make that mistake and call these 70th Anniversary models silver. But they are technically calling them a platinum paint job. Silver is a little lighter. But only noticeable when put side by side.
2006 saw quite the influx of new GT releases. The basic range saw a fantastic looking blue and orange model as MB9. Not a Gulf model. Just a happy coincidence. Yeah, right. We also saw a yellow model in the Showroom Cars 5-pack and a white model in the German exclusive Stars of Cars series. Superfast also saw another number 67, but this dark green with yellow stripes was now a USA only thing again. The 2005 dual range was not continued. Notice how every one has stripes over the top.
2007, by comparison, was a lot quieter. MB13 in the basic range. Yep. That's it. Luckily, this was a 2-version MB13, as at the time a number of models were given 2 looks under the same number. What started off in brown (something I found a nice shade to) later turned orange (I did not find a shade to that, try as I might). Again, stripey!
For 2008, it was not a part of the basic range. A Modern Rides 5-pack saw the only new look. Green! Again, stripey. And shadey.
2009 saw it back in the basic range as MB18. This model was actually released in zamac, with blue stripes going over the top. They did a few zamac models in the ’00s, but seem to phase them out in the ’10s. We also saw our first release with no stripes going over the top. Again, this was a Modern Rides 5-pack. But this creamy white model saw red stripes down the sides instead. However, some were found without those either. This was one of those release that saw quite the debate at the time. Error? Or variation? How many produced denotes a change from an error model to a variation. 1? Definite error. 6? Still an error? A few dozen? Surely not? A couple of hundreds? Surely must be a legitimate variation. Where does that crossover point occur? Nobody knows exactly how many were made without side stripes. But a few people reported finding them.
There was another 2009 release. A 10-pack exclusive in the “Real” pack in black with gold stripes all over.
In 2010, it was sold as MB13 in the basic range in purple. However, this time, I did find what would be classified as an error. The front wheels on one of them are the same size as the rear. This model should come with smaller front wheels. I never heard of more being found.
After that, the model took a break in 2011, coming back in 2012 as MB44 in tan. This was at a time when they were trying to tweak the Matchbox range a little. More side designs, and brighter colours. And more shades for me.
For 2013, we then saw a 5-pack release again in the Exotic Rides set in green. This was the last we saw of the model for a few years.
As we never saw it again until the 2016 Exotic 5-pack. This one was in blue, and really gave us some good shades. But then, it went away again. Seriously.
With one more pair of outings in 2021. Two different 5-packs. The Autobahn Express pack was in red and featured a white stripey look. The MBX Exotic pack was a carry forward pack of previously released models. This repeated its old 2009 zamac look. But those blue stripes were noticeably darker this time out. With nothing in 2022, this is the next release for the casting.
The MB1220 '62 Mercedes-Benz 220SE is next up. Number 2 of 5 in the set.
I like the look they have given this one. It still feels quite racy in the design, even though it is still simply just a 70th Anniversary look.
And I also notice that this is sporting a side design and top design. Is this down to a clever angle as the model passes through the tampo machine, or did this get a third pass? They do work well with their clever manipulations at times. Now, the window does look black. It is not, it is simply quite a dark smoke.
Which you might notice a little better as I begin a dive back. Heck, I am doing a dive back on all these models. As we know, this debuted in the 2020 basic range as MB100 in the Ewy Rosqvist race vehicle. There was a big advert about it at the time.
Since then, the model hasn't had a lot of action. MB43 for the 2021 basic range was the only other basic issue seen so far. This blue was noticeable for having the white roof shade.
For 2022, we only saw one outing, as the Best of Germany series sported one in a pale lemon. How pale? Well, I found 2 shades to that as well.
But what I have noticed for this model is that every single release has sported a roof print. That roof has never been left blank. Intentional? Who knows. Maybe Mattel/Mercedes-Benz know. But I think it is a cool little thing, anyway.
I am a big fan of this casting, and am a little upset it gets such little use. The MB1182 '18 Jeep Wrangler JL Rubicon. So I am very happy to see it pop up here. It takes the number 3 slot in the set.
Well, you know the score. Platinum, with black, orange and yellow side design. I like this look on the Jeep. They have chosen well.
Then I saw the front. Look at that. A little headlight print with matching colour scheme. How cool is that. I thought it was. Plus a little 70 there, too. I think this is a fantastic look for this model, and definitely one of the favourites. Well, to be honest, they all are. Because, did I mention I love this casting!
For those who cannot remember, this debuted in 2019 as MB62 in green. It sported a simple side design. We also had another Walmart exclusive in the way of a Jeep series release in a dark grey with a Skyjacker theme. An awesome replica of a real Skyjacker model.
In 2020, it moved to the MB64 slot and was in white this time. It sported the same tampo as the debut green. Something I always like seeing. And then that was it for basics. Seriously?
After seeing nothing at all in 2021, it did pop back up as a 9-pack exclusive in 2022. This time it was in red, and again featured the same side design as the green and white basics.
This is honestly one of my favourite Jeep castings from Matchbox, and definitely a huge favourite of all the current toolings in their portfolio. I wish they would use it more than they do. Because, for me, this is nowhere near enough. Ha ha! It was an easy 10 out of 10 in my eyes.
As is this. The MB1211 Bugatti Divo. Another severely underused casting. It debuted right at the end of 2020, and was immediately used in the 2021 range. Apart from a random re-run for the Best of France series, we have not been seeing anything from this. A Bugatti! Finally, a new look.
Was it worth the wait? Yes! I love this one. Again, the same 70th Anniversary look as the others. But, after the 2 we have had before, this just feels so right. Another 10 out of 10. In fact, all the 4 models I have seen so far have been 10 out of 10 in my book. I love this 70th theme, and the models they are coming out with just seem to work with it.
And they even managed to get in all round tampo printing. Excellent stuff. This is almost premium level work on this model. Talking of which, do you think we will ever get an actual premium release? I would quite happily see this in the Collectors series. But until then, let's quickly remind ourselves of what little action it has seen to date.
We have the 2020 debut. MB46 in a dark charcoal, with blue accents.
Which was immediately followed by the 2021 MB39 in black, with blue accents. As I said, the 2020 arrived at the end of the year, and 2021 at the start. So we were hit with a double dose of this straight away. And then the tumbleweed. After finally getting us a freaking Bugatti in the Matchbox range, it simply faded away almost immediately. I am so very happy to see it return again. I did mention there was a 2022 Best of France carry forward for the 2021 release. But I was really hoping we would see lots of this. I know there is a Target issue this year as well, which I will be getting very soon. I will be doing a showcase with that later.
So I am very happy seeing this again. I wonder if there is a requirement that they have to add some tampo to the upper edge of the front bumper? 3 looks in, and 3 upper bumper prints. It is nice seeing that in another colour beyond blue.
The final model in the set is the MB1003 Freightliner Business Class M2 106. Or, in other terms, a fire engine.
You know what? I thought this model had been severely underused too, but when I pulled out my older ones for a photoshoot, I realized, this hasn't been going along too badly. The new one is definitely one of the nicest. Could it be because this has a large chromed area? Or the nice 70th Anniversary look? A combination of the 2.
This one also sneaks in a surprise in the form of a little nod to one of the previous Matchbox Ambassadors. John Nijhuis. I do feel that Mattel have allowed the Matchbox team just a small amount of leeway over what they can do with what is essentially still a core model. And I love this design. I see a little A58 hidden in the message. Hello Michael Heralda. I love his work. So creative. Again, 10 out of 10. What is this? A full 50 out of 50 for the 5 models in the set? Is this a first? I just love these. I am loving this whole 70th Anniversary vibe. They have pushed the boat out, and coming out with some great stuff. I can't want to finish them all off (except the Skybusters one, as I don't collect them).
As I mentioned, this model has seen more action than I thought. Debuting in 2016, MB60 started off with this red model.
And Everett Marshall created 2 unique looks for his annual Golf Tournament that year. One in orange for his Burns Foundation, and the other in pink for Breast Cancer research. These also saw lashings of chrome on them.
In 2017, this model turned yellow as MB85 in the basic range.
With 2018 giving us a really cool National Parks theme for MB61. This was good for a shade or 2. I do like that this mint often shades.
Then, the reason I thought this was not in a lot of looks. The debut has been repeated many, MANY times. In 2019, it was given another basic range outing. For those nerds among us, this meant that you could now find it with a smaller font MBX County on the side, with the white lines extended a little longer to compensate. A tiny twist for the MB48 release.
Before this final white model appeared as MB34 in the 2020 basic range. So, it turns out the model had a 5-year run in the basic range. 1 was a repeat. But, still. Of course, that debut popped up yet again. 2021 saw an MBX Fire & Rescue carry-forward 5-pack of models. They chose this look again, and during all 3 stints, it was also thrown in 9-packs as additional models. So, we just kept seeing this red over and over again. I ended up with so many duplicates.
Although when you do get many, you will find some great shades. It does vary quite a bit over the years.
So, it is not a lot, but actually more than I thought. I think seeing that red so much, it had my mind thinking we only had a red one. I am happy to see another one of this casting.
So that is all for now. I am done with another week. I hope you enjoyed it. Next week will be a little unusual, and it may not arrive on Monday. This is because I am in the USA for the latest Matchbox Gathering, and will be in Albuquerque. My plan is to attempt some sort of written report about the convention and line preview for 2024. However, I am on holiday/vacation. So I am not wanting to be spending all of my time sitting around writing. I may chip away at it over a few days, and the article may appear later in the week. I hope you understand.
Until then, I hope everyone has a safe and happy week.