This week I begin my journey through batch E of the basic range. I have noticed I am starting to drift behind again, and at some point soon I really need to start upping the amount of models included in a report to try and catch up again. For starters, I am splitting these last 2 batches of basics for 2022 into halves, instead of thirds. Especially as for 2023, there will be a monthly roll-out of new items. In fact, the first 2023 batch is just starting to hit. You see how I am getting behind here. With many thanks to the Wheel Collectors team, who sent these over for me, I can showcase the first 9 of the batch here, with the second half coming in 3 weeks. I have 2 other articles covering the next 2 weeks before finishing these off.
I will be doing these in number order, and so I begin this time with a brand-new casting. The MB1297 '57 Ford Custom 300. It takes the MB10 slot in the basic range for 2022.
It's funny how things change. When the Custom was launched in 1949, it was the top model in the Ford range. For its next generation, it was moved to the middle of the range, and renamed Customline. Then, for 1957, they launched another new model, back to being just Custom again, but now it was the bottom of the range. The standard Custom was mainly used in fleet purchases, but a more expensive Custom 300 appealed to those who wanted a no frills cheap car, but did feature a little more chrome than the standard Custom. Hence, the dilemma. And yes, I am about to go full-on nerd here.
The base is clearly marking this vehicle as a Custom 300. Very clear to see.
But the Custom 300 features full length chrome. The silver pin stripe on the side of the model here represents that chrome. Notice that it begins at the rear end, but then ticks up to the rear end of the door. That is the standard Custom design. The Custom 300 should tick at that same point, but then stretch under the door handle/lock and all the way to the front of the model. That is how you tell the difference between a Custom and a Custom 300 in 1957. For 1958, the base Custom was dropped, and all models were Custom 300s. It can be a little confusing, as some Custom 300s have, over the years, been repainted and/or customized, and as part of it changed the chrome side stripe to the standard one.
Here is an original 1957 Ford brochure showcasing the new Ford Custom series. It clearly explained the differences with the chrome side detailing on the Custom and Custom 300. Hopefully in the future, we will see them rectify the tampo mistake. Sadly, 2023 is already done in red, and again will feature the basic Custom side design, not the Custom 300 side design. So fingers crossed for 2024.
Although, when you look at the casting, it does actually feature a casting line for the tampo to follow. It may be easier to rename this as a 1957 Ford Custom. A small blunder, and probably something that only a complete nerd is going to pick up on. When they submitted this to Ford, whoever works there that approves licences likely will not know the difference either. But in all reality, that is not really anything to worry about. Because at the end of the day, this is a fantastic casting; of a 1957 Ford Custom.
They have captured the shape of the vehicle amazingly well, and it is beautifully crafted. Whoever creates the castings really does do a good job with them. It is very well done, and the front end works well, being made up from the base section, so it gets the lashings of chrome the base gets.
I admit, when I first heard that they were going to be doing a regular '57 Ford, I was not overly enthusiastic about it. But now I have seen the model, oh boy, am I happy now. At the end of the day, I am not going to knock points off for being a Custom, not a Custom 300. We all make mistakes, and this has gone through licencing and nobody has picked up on it. As I said, things like that are really just for the most nerdy among us. The model is an absolutely perfect little replica of a vehicle that was sold by Ford in 1957. Job very well done in my eyes.
What's this? Another newbie? Well, yes and no. The MB1280 Tesla Model Y is a brand-new casting for 2022.
It makes its debut in the basic range in red as MB18.
The red paint does appear to be a little mottled. I had both a power grab and a long card sent over by Wheel Collectors, and both appeared to have the same mottled effect to the paintwork. And you may remember, we did actually see the casting debut already.
Because earlier this year, they released 3 different 12-packs. One of those packs was called MBX Electric Drivers, and the Tesla was added to the pack as well.
And that was dated R08. The newer runs are dated either R20 or R23 here. So a minimum of 12 weeks later.
It is a little bit darker and shade, and noticeably not in a mottled finish.
So for me, it was definitely worthwhile getting that MBX Electric Drivers 12-pack. Again; NERD!
Now, as I mentioned, Wheel Collectors sell basics both in long blister and in power grab boxes. They sent me both over for my article, and I do enjoy checking one against the other for variations. Not all models give me a shade. This MB1169 '80 Mercedes-Benz W123 Wagon did not. It was black.
It is in the MB22 position in the basic range, and this black look, complete with a brown interior, is absolutely stunning. I can just imagine those seats being made of leather, and a family cruising down the road in it. I think this is one of the nicest colours for the model to date. Furthermore, I don't know what it is about black models. They really do look good.
And with the standard front and rear detailing we have to see from this casting, you really cannot go wrong with it. Definitely one of my favourites from the batch.
It's about time for a dive back, though. After 2 new castings, this one does have a history. It all started back in 2019 when the W123 (isn't this really an S123, being all nerdy again) debuted as MB3 in the basic range. It came in a nice olive green with tan interior, and a very similar tampo design that we still get now. The olive was good for a shade or 2.
And of course, this model was chosen as the dinner model for the 2019 Gathering that July, too. This was in black as well. The first 75 "Early Bird" models saw green tampo printing applied, and the rest saw blue tampo printing instead.
2020 saw a regular blue issue for the basic range. MB13 that year.
Although the first year of the retro series at Target stores gave us an orange one too. It was number 3 in that series of 24 models, and during production the orange did vary in shades quite a bit.
2021 saw a lovely cream release for the basic range as MB53. This too had a lovely brown interior.
And earlier this year, we saw a Best of Germany release that included the debut look returning for another run.
The main difference between the 2022 run and the 2019 run being the rear licence plate. I wonder if we will get a 2023 basic range release? I know already a 5-pack issue is coming.
So now I move on to the 4th model in the batch. The MB1216 '18 Renault Kangoo Express. It is MB30 for 2022 and comes in a lovely Shell liveried white.
Because this model is a 3-piece build with no interior, windows are always black on it. But one of the advantages for that, when it comes to a model like this, is that they can tampo print additional side windows, and they don't look out of place. Plus, I am loving this realistic look. Shell, a very well known fuel company, and one that Matchbox has used many times over the years. I am very happy to see they have linked up with them again for more new items.
This one being the first modern release for the Shell brand. I wonder if this will make an appearance in an upcoming Convoy set as an additional model? I am waiting to see a Shell Tanker Convoy release again.
As a reminder, earlier this year we saw 2 classic Shell looks on the MB1285 '65 Ford C-900 cab in the basic range, and the MB733 '55 Ford F100 Panel Van in the first 9-packs of the year. This is the first "modern" look. I am loving these, and already looking forward to seeing more of the Shell livery in the future.
I think I can do another dive back. A little shorter on this one, as it debuted in 2020. The initial MB5 offering was designed by Michael Heralda, and I remember posting at the time his lovely little story about how the design was inspired by a plant he had in his garden.
In 2021, it was sold as MB30 and came in brown with a locksmith design on it. If you were to check the alternate side, though, you would discover that the same design was all in German. Luckily, I can show both, as I do own 2 of them (shades).
We also saw the model appear in the Best of France series in yellow, depicting a postal vehicle look. This model was good for a few shades.
And the best part (for me, I know some are not keen on carry forwards) is that when they repeated it in the 2022 Best of France series, the shades started to become even more extreme. I do enjoy seeing what they come up with for van designs. I wonder what will be next?
I go from MB30 to MB73 now. Ooh, that was a jump. This is the latest MB1213 '71 MGB GT Coupe. It comes in yellow this year. Quite a dark, almost mustard yellow.
It looks a lot like the harvest gold that MG used at the time. Maybe the bronzed yellow. It is difficult to say without having one of those nearby to compare. So, a pretty realistic look again. Yellow was a common colour for the MGB at the time.
And the model sports a lovely front and rear tampo print again. You cannot go wrong with that on a basic range model. And what's even better?
As I previously mentioned, Wheel Collectors have sent over both power grab boxes and long carded batch E models. Well, if you are a nerd like me, you will be pleased to know that the production runs for the 2 give us a lovely shade on the yellow.
The power grab is dated R19 and the long card dated R23. So 4 weeks apart. Although, I have to point out, the power grab boxes themselves are dated R20, so I guess this was right at the end of the week, and packaged up at the start of the following week. But I am very happy seeing this shade variation. Thanks Wheel Collectors.
I am definitely doing a dive back, as I want to show off my recent purchase. It was at the charity auction in Albuquerque this last July. I was the lucky victor of the MGB that Saturday night. It was actually my only win. But I was very happy. It is one of my favourtite castings. I always wanted Matchbox to make an MGB, and when it was announced back in, wait a sec, 2017, I was extremely happy. Although when announced as something coming for 2018, they were going to be making it a little more "off-roady", with additional front lights, and items on the roof. But the idea never got off the ground. It never even got to a stage where a MAN number was applied to it. I was sad. but in 2019, only 2 years later, they announced that this was now coming as a pure stock vehicle. It was going to hit in 2020! Yes, even better. I was thrilled. So when the opportunity to grab a prepro came up, I was not letting it go. It is all plain, save for the handwritten code on the roof.
The base shows that it has no country of origin. These are only added when the model is ready to be made. That is why the "Thailand" print looks different to the rest of the wording. Daft fact, it ended up in my meal that Sunday night in Albuquerque. There are pictures around somewhere. And there is still a little bit of sauce left in the front rivet. A memento of that crazy night!
So yeah, it debuted in 2020 in red. It was sold as MB61 that year. It returned as a carry forward in the 2021 Best of UK series, but sadly I could not find anything different with it.
For 2021 it turned British Racing Green as MB42, and even saw chrome plating to the base section. A stellar release for sure.
So we are now 3 releases in, and look at that. A traffic light of looks. I love it. I wonder what we will see next? Blue is an obvious choice, but they have pale, medium and dark blue choices. It could go any way. Or white. Maybe even black. Who knows. I can't wait to see what we get next.
I really like this little MB1227 '20 Honda E. It was one of those vehicles that, when I first saw the real one, I was hoping that Matchbox would make a model of. So I was very happy when they announced that they were. We are now 2 years in, and I am still very happy.
Taking the MB79 slot in this year's range, we now see it in a dark blue look. I believe this is known as Crystal Blue Metallic. Just like last year, they have added the front black section to the model as part of the detailing.
And the rear also adds the roof to the tampo printing section too, as this had a rather novel manufacturing process with the last part of the roof a part of the body, but the front section being a part of the window.
And bonus for me again. The power grab box and long card production runs gave me different shades of blue too. Thanks again to Wheel Collectors for sending both across, so I can compare them to each other.
One is definitely darker than the other. I love these things.
And yes, just like with the MGB, these are dated R19 and R23. Again, power grab boxes are dated R20.
With the tampo printing being a replica of the real look on production cars, they are simply using the same printing as they did for the 2021 MB1 debut in white. I mean, if it ain't broke (as they say).
They also chose the Honda to be the 2022 Toy Fair model, and these were made later in 2021 (as they come out to advertise the upcoming year, not during the year they advertise. This meant a full premium outing with tampo printing on all surfaces. As well as that, they also gave it a more see-through "blue tinted" window, and tampo printed the roof and pillars for authenticity.
I am very much looking forward to seeing what is to come. They do a lovely red one, and a bright yellow too. Hopefully we have both of these pencilled in for future releases.
I am showing both packaging styles on this one again, as I wanted to show the artwork. As you can see, the MB1219 '19 Mazda 3 was shown to be a very dark charcoal on the artwork.
But the 2022 MB80 release is clearly just an average grey. I believe Mazda calls this Machine Grey Metallic. I am not sure if I prefer the grey to be this shade, or the very dark as depicted on the artwork. Perhaps they were looking at making the model that dark, but because Mazda don't do the car in that shade, they had to lighten it up a bit. But it was too late to change the artwork.
But with that being said, it still does look nice like this. As a model, with the front and rear detailing, this really does look like something I would see on the road, and that is what I want to see from the brand. Realistic everyday vehicles that you are more than likely to pass by on the street and think "I have a model of that". So I am happy enough. I didn't do a base shot again. If you have read this far, you will know what the codes are.
Well, actually, extremely happy. Yet again, the power grab box and long card are giving us a shade to the model. I am really enjoying this batch.
So, a quick recap. This model debuted in 2020. Actually, it debuted right at the end of 2021, as a running late 2020 MB41. It was red for it's debut.
Which we saw gain in the 2022 Japan Origins batch A assortment as a carry forward. Not a long gap between production runs, but this still managed a superb shade. The newer run was a noticeably lighter red.
Another newbie. This is the MB1295 '22 Ford F-150 Lightning. Ford's first electric pickup. First announced back in 2019, at the Detroit Motor Show, it took until 2021 for them to get around to unveiling it. Production finally began in April of this year, and the first model was delivered in May.
The Matchbox model arrives in the MB84 slot, in what Ford call "Iconic Silver Metallic". And I just have one word to describe it. Outstanding! This model is freaking awesome. They are really giving us some home runs lately, and this is another of them.
It feels so solid in hand, and is on the larger size scale too. Definitely one of the bigger models in their portfolio. The attention to detail on this is just amazing. You can see how well all the details are picked out in the casting.
And the deep imprint to the casting of F-150 in the rear is something else. As well as all the tampo detailing too. Yes, my camera decided in this shot to not focus on that rear. Typical!
I did wonder about the roofline on the model. But it turns out this is something that Ford has done with the real vehicle, and so this is just a perfect "pièce de résistance" to the casting. I am simply blown away with this one. I can see why it has gained a lot of fans. One of the best pickups from the brand in recent times. And definitely one of the best new castings in my eyes too.
I even love how they made the window wiper area out of the window piece for the model, as it is a different piece in the real vehicle and stands out. So they made theirs stand out too. Great work all around. Amazing casting, real colour, and lovely tampo detailing. A 10 out of 10 debut.
With more and more electric vehicles being added to the range, the bases are starting to be a little more plain. But that is a proper scenario. Bases of electric vehicles are quite basic. There is not a lot under there. No exhaust, obviously. I am very much looking forward to getting many more of these in the future.
Wow! Am I already at the last model in the batch? This flew by. The one Matchbox originals casting, and one that many feels is one of the best they have made in recent times. It is of course the MB996 Hazard Squad. It was created back in 2009 by a certain Ryu Asada, while he worked for the Matchbox brand, and is considered one of his best original designs for the brand. Not only that, but it was originally a 5-piece build with a metal body and separate plastic upper front, but did require a re-tool in 2015 to reduce to a 4-piece tool. The original does still exist though, reserved for any premium outings.
Taking the MB91 slot in the range for 2022, we see the model in white with a rather recognizable side design.
This is a Sky Buster Air Force Launch Support model. And that logo is very recognisable.
It has been seen a few times in the past on various models. Like in the 2012 Mission Force Space Crew set. It also returned in the 2020 Lunar Team Mission Force set too, of which this RW030 Freightliner M2 106 Satellite Communication Truck came from the 2020 one. I don't possess the original.
The Express Delivery also appeared in both sets. This was the 2020 version, and as you can see, the orange model has the same logo design too.
But for that I did have the original release too. When the 2012 Mission Force set hit, I only kept the basic and got rid of the others. Do I regret that? Yes. But I am not going to attempt to get them again. So there is also a Skybusters model, as well as a 2020 Convoy set with the logo on them. I love recurring themes, and hopefully this means we will see more of them in the future too.
And with that, I do believe this report on new stuff is done. However, I am going to do a couple of older dive back models. Just for a little added fun.
This time I am going to begin in 1985. My first of 2 models I am looking at is the MB155 Pontiac Firebird Racer. It arrived in yellow with a red interior and blue base in the 1985 basic range as either MB60 for the US market or MNB12 for the ROW market. However, for some reason completely unknown to me, they decided to give the model a different tampo print between markets. I will start with the ROW release, as this was numbered first. As I said, MB12.
The ROW release featured the number 56, and a Pirelli logo on the model, as well as a few smaller logos. Wheels were usually concave 8-dot, and usually chromed, but some came out gold.
There was also a run with 5-arch wheels instead.
And another with dot-dash. Yes, they really ran the gamut of wheel types that year. This model is also known to have missing side tampo too, but I have yet to see one.
But, considering I live in the ROW market, I have actually managed to obtain the US MB55 with no side tampo. Because that is how I am. Weird! This one had a 55 and Son of a Gun tampo printing. So, concave 8-dot wheels. Check.
Some appearing in gold? Check.
But on this one, only dot-dash wheels are known to exist as an alternate. I have not heard of a report of a 5-arch variant being found.
For 1986, Matchbox launched the Superfast series in the USA, and any of the models added to the series were given a base makeover to accommodate the new starburst wheels that were created for it. This involved the strengthening of the wheel arch area to ensure they did not move. This allowed for them to roll even further. I bring this up before talking about the basic range, as at the time, models were produced constantly until they were replaced in the range. So the MB12 and MB60 models were officially only 1985 issues in yellow, but as both were still being produced as 1986 began, they also had their bases altered to the newer wheel arch strengthened types. I admit to not worrying about finding those, as I am not worried about bases if it involves flipping them over to see.
It was a lot later into 1986 when we finally had the new, updated look. In fact, it was one of the last to appear, with the white MB12 ROW and MB60 US (they unified the look for this year) finally appearing around the October time.
During production, this did keep the concave 8-dot wheels for the most part. It ran until 1987 in the ROW market, at which time the model was dropped, but did continue until 1989 in the US market, again until the model was dropped. But during that time, actually fairly early on, there was a run with 5-arch wheels.
For 1987, the Superfast model was given a Laser Wheels equivalent. It was number 18 in both ranges (often referred to as SF18 and LW18), and the usually pastel blue paint was given a sparkly makeover, into a darker metallic shade.
I do have a pre-production sample of the Laser Wheels model, which used the body of the Superfast, but the white interior was actually from the MB051 Firebird SE, as interiors were the same for the 2 castings.
1988 saw them release a SuperColorChangers series, and took a number of models from the basic range, and gave them a paint job that would change depending on the heat level. The Firebird was a brown or pea green, which would lighten up to a more yellowish shade when warmed up.
We also saw a promotional issue that year too. It was in Hong Kong, where a set of 12 models for the Chinese calendar were created for a Dragon Racing Team. The Pontiac was in the basic range's white look, but the tampo print was now a 6 and horse.
At the end of the 1980s, Universal started a range of cost reductions to models. Many models that were usually sporting a metal base were switched to a plastic one. This ran the gamut of all Firebird Racers that were in production.
The Superfast issue in pale blue switched from a metal to a plastic base.
As did the basic range. This was in its final year for 1989 officially, but as noted, production was continual in those days. It was only when Mattel took over that they changed to the batch method we see now, back in 1998.
So we did not actually see the basic range plastic base until the beginning of 1990, during its final production runs before being replaced for the 1990 range.
Now the Laser Wheel model does also feature the switch right at the end, but I am yet to find a plastic based Laser. I know I mentioned not worrying about bases, but they do stick out on this casting, so in that respect, I can see the change without flipping so do want it. But the Laser series was quick to fold up in 1990, but Superfast gave us a last second change to a yellow model to finish up production before that too finished at the end of the year.
In 1991, Universal were experimenting at a factory in China with various models (it was a different factory to the China factory that had been in use since 1986), and some castings that had stopped being used were sent there for production. These models were then sent out, mainly to the USA, for release in 6-model Super Value Packs, as well as a few other markets in 3-packs. One of them was the Firebird Racer, which was now sporting starburst wheels. Those wheels had also now stopped production, so they were sent there too.
When you put a China and a Macau made model side by side, you will also notice that the orange and red tampo printing had been flipped too.
And of course, they tabbed over the Made in Macau part of the base with a new piece that had Made in China on it.
After that though, the model took 1992 off. But in 1993, they decided to throw it back in the US basic range. Tyco had just taken over, and new tool creations had slowed a little with Universal going bust. Not as notable as when Lesney went bust, but it was enough for Tyco to simply throw a few back in the range to make things a bit more interesting again. This year it was only the US market that saw the revived Racer, and it was black with a pink and blue design on it. That was definitely a Tyco look, a sign of things to come, for sure. It was also made in Thailand, as the China thing was just a test for now.
But for 1994, the ROW market got in on the act too (again as MB48). It was redesigned to pink with a fluorescent yellow, err whatever that is, on it. Yes, this was full-blown Tyco madness now. It even saw the new Tyco created spiral wheels, which for 1994 was gold.
They were also going to add it to a 1994 Graffic Traffic set too, and white mock-ups were created ready, but they got cancelled.
An alternate to the pink was this purple with the same yellow splash design (yeah, let's just call is a splash design). It was from a playset that year.
As 1995 hit, all wheels from Tyco changed from gold to chrome, and this meant an instant variation for anything that continued officially unchanged. Pink was continuing on for another year, so this simply meant a change of wheel.
During the year, this was moved from Thailand to China, as Tyco were busy amalgamating all production in the one country. It also lost the hood print later on too, but I forgot to take a photo of that.
For 1996, the model saw a change to turquoise in the basic range. The design was still the same, though, and the hood print returned. I can't believe I forgot to take a photo of the 1995 basic without top print.
After 1996, the model was again dropped from the basic range. This time for good. But it was not quite over and done with. It saw a single premium outing in 1997, as part of the World Class series 9 that year. It came in silver with rubber wheels, and a somewhat familiar design.
Of course, it was the 1993 US basic range's design, albeit in different colours, and a few more detailing points on top. After all, this was a premium release, so lights etc were required.
It was then given a final outing as an Australian promotional issue later in 1997. It was a part of the set for the Australian Football League, and represented the Collingwood Football Club. Go Pies! After this, the model was retired.
For my other dive back, a reminder of how quickly things change. During the mid to late 2000s, Matchbox was under a golden era. As the 201s hit, Mattel wanted to change the direction of the brand to see if it would work. They tried, it didn't. People like the realism. Luckily, as we are seeing now, realism is back in spades with the brand. I did a rundown of 9 models from batch E. 8 were fully licensed, all with realistic graphics on them. Only 1 was a generic casting, and even that Matchbox Originals (as they call them) was realistic. Partly because it is a holdover from that golden era. But as part of the change that Mattel bean counters wanted, one of the premises was to create models of vehicles as seen from a kid's point of view. So we saw a selection of castings with oversized wheels. When you are small, everything seems big. One of them was the MB866 Flame Smasher. It debuted in the 2013 basic range as MB51,and came in yellow with a grey tank on the back. The tampo is actually very realistic. the Wildfire Fire Retardant Chemicals look is a very believable design. But the casting itself was not the most popular. Both with collectors, and also with kids too. It was a bit of a pegwarmer.
But they had a direction they had to follow, so it returned in 2014 in red with a fire design. Again, this was a realistic look to the tampo. It was sold as MB92 in the basic range, but was also thrown in a Fire Command 5-pack, as they were experimenting with fewer exclusives for 5-packs at the time. During production, we did see a change to the wheels. The ringed 8-spokes were switched out for some older cogs at one point.
2015 saw one more basic range outing. As stated, it was not a stellar seller, so it was being dropped from the range. MB71 was its final outing there, in blue and yellow, with another realistic MBX Field Crew design. I admit, the designs for this model were all excellent. But the model itself? Well, I will let you make up your own minds.
It was not quite the end of the casting, though. Later in 2015, a 10-pack exclusive emerged in blue and white with a Cyan Mountain Maintenance design. Again a lovely design. Me being me, I was still eager to add variations. Do you see the windows? One is a much paler blue than the other.
It saw one more outing in a 2016 Fire 5-pack in red and white. Again, a lovely design. This proved to be the swansong for the casting, as it was retired after this. With the direction reverting to what everybody loves, I can't see this model ever returning.
And that is me done for another week. 9 models from batch E all reviewed, and 3 of them brand new castings.
As well as 4 additional cars in lovely realistic designs.
And 2 more vehicles with cool recurring themes on them. As I said, the other half of batch E is a few weeks away. I mix in other items during the period as well, and I do not want to dodge the next lot. So until then, I hope people enjoyed the read and have a good week. Catch you next time.