Matchbox Monday catches up with the top end premiums

This week I have a simple selection of models to run through.  But, quite an expensive group as well.  Yes, Mattel Creations had a run of releasing a model a month.  This hobby is getting expensive.  One of these you can actually buy through Wheel Collectors if you wanted.  They have some for sale on their website.  So, with 3 models arriving at my house in a matter of weeks from each other, I am going to run through them.

The first is the MB1238 '62 Plymouth Savoy.  It went up on their site on November 25.  As is the case with these, they arrive from Mattel in an orange box.

Although, rather unusually, the plexicase inside the box was wrapped.  I wonder if some plexicases are getting scratched?  I don't worry about things like that, but for the money, I guess some will.  

Inside the wrapper, but popped back into the sleeve for a quick photo, we see our first look at the latest Savoy.  

As we always see on these things the rear of the sleever has a little piece about the model inside.  The 1962 Plymouth Savoy was a freshly designed mid-size sedan. Families large and small piled into these long-bodied cars and hit the road for day trips and road trips alike.  What set this model apart from its predecessors was the large Max Wedge engine. This engine was designed on the race-spec engines that Plymouth incorporated in their drag strip dominating cars of that time.  This car offered a lot more than meets the eye.

I wrote out the blurb, as this helps you to see where they were going with this release.  Having a vehicle with an engine based on ones used on the drag strip, you see that the background to the sleeve has a racetrack crowd look to it.

And the model itself sits on a base that evokes the look of a racetrack.

Which you can see a little better once the lid has been removed.  Now, time to remove the model and forget the package.  Ha ha!

It helps you to understand the direction taken with this model.  You can see how they evoked the look of various drag cars of the era.  Of course, this is an exclusive look created by the Matchbox team, but it definitely evokes the look of the era.  

I believe this was one of Michael Heralda's designs, as it has his signature style to it.  The toothed mouth around the front wheel is very familiar, and just look at the stripes going over the top.  He was definitely having fun with it. I also think the "Savoy Flyer" is a pun based on the saying "savoir faire"

If you have an affinity for the drag style vehicles of the 1960s, then this model is going to be right up your alley. It really does evoke a lot of nostalgia with it, and I can see why they tailored it towards the collector side of the market.  

To me, I am not American, and as such, the drag life of the 1960s is not something I really know an awful lot about it.  To me, the model is a lovely shade of green, with loads of detailing on it.  I love the wheels, the attention to detail around window frames, front and rear.  I also love the stripes.  But, I wouldn't say I am over the moon with it.  It's pretty cool, but is this something I think is worth the price point?  That's a tough one to answer.  As we know, these Mattel Creations are limited editions.  So that will automatically increase the cost due to availability.  But, to be honest, I would have preferred this to have just been a Collector release. I would rate it a 7 out of 10.  I like it, but I don't love it!

I have to be honest.  My favourite models tend to be the stock look ones.  Something this had when it debuted as MB12 in the 2021 basic range.  A lovely solid black, with a little pin striping.  Beautiful.  Tied with the lashings of chrome, this was a great debut (even if they accidentally put Plymouth backwards on one of the doors).  

That error was corrected with the 2022 MB54 release in white, which simply used the same tampo pin striping and chrome.  To date, these are the only basic range issues of the model, and these are my favourite 2.  Black is my number 1, with white number 2. I hope we see more basic issues, as these are stunning.  A nice red, or blue, perhaps the pale sage look (a minty shade).  There are still plenty of options to go through.

2022 also saw a Collectors series issue in blue.  This Pedal Beast model was another that was inspired by the drag strip era of the 1960s.

I tell you what, these 2 definitely work well together as a pair.  I guess it might be something to do with a certain Michael Heralda.  I see Adlar58 on both of them.  Both are nice designs.  Michael does do great work.  I just feel that this model in green fits much better, being the same as the model in blue.  Had it been a Collectors release, I would have scored it higher.  I just feel that this did not really feel like a super high-end release.  Which is one of those things about Mattel Creations in general. Of course, I am buying these things.  So they obviously know what they are doing. I sometimes have to think more about them being a small run limited edition, rather than if they have anything enhanced over and above a general premium.  I think this is a cool premium, but it feels like another of the Collectors releases to me. Just a smaller run.

One thing I am hoping for is more releases of this casting.  2 basics and 2 premiums in 4 years.  It is definitely a slow burn.  It needs more outings.  I hope the next one is a basic.  

Remember I mentioned that one of the Mattel Creations can be found on the Wheel Collectors website?  This is the one.  The MB1410 '20 Jeep Gladiator.  Yes, MB1410.  This is a brand-new casting.

The inner sleeve to this is blue, and the model is sitting on a very rocky terrain.  Of course, it is not going to stay there for long.

Although, before I do that, I do notice the back of the package states the 2023 Moving Parts Jeep Gladiator.  I should bring that in for a comparison after I have a look at the new one.

There was a nice mountain range backdrop inside the sleeve.  I do take the time to check these out before I throw them away. Ha ha!

You can see from this angle that the base of the case is very rocky.  Again, just observing before I open it up, unscrew the Jeep and toss it.

They do put a lot of effort into these bases.  This is very well detailed.  You really feel like it is a rocky terrain and not just a plastic section.  But, where is my screwdriver?

You might notice that there is a plastic cover over the model.  I believe it is there to ensure that the clip-in canopy doesn't dislodge and start rattling around during transit.  

But it is easy to pop off.  More for the recycling.  

So, this is the new Jeep Gladiator casting.  This is the 6th Gladiator casting that Matchbox has created.  The first was the old SJ-series Gladiator, which was run between 1964 and 1968 in the basic range.  After that, we never saw anything until rumours of Jeep re-introducing the truck surfaced, and Matchbox decided to get in on the ground floor by launching the Gladiator Concept in the 2017 range.  Once the JT-series was in production, they then added a bare-bones version in the 2020 basic range, followed by a Jurassic World-specific version in 2022. Then, 2023 saw a Moving Parts regular issue arrive, which this appears to be based on.  However, the most logical part we see is this canopy.  That was not on the Moving Parts model.  

This is where it gets interesting.  We have seen a number of Matchbox models in recent years that were based on real vehicles created in conjunction with other companies and shown at SEMA.  Skyjacker Suspensions and Superlift are 2 companies that have collaborated with the Matchbox brand, as they create a unique vehicle for SEMA and Matchbox makes a model of it for sale.  But, this is slightly different.  This was a Matchbox design, and they came up with the model.  A company called "Real Truck" then collaborated with another called "Doetsch Off-Road" to turn that into reality. The model came first.  Doetsch Off-Road were given the CAD drawings from Matchbox to help make sure that everything matched. How cool is that?  After SEMA, Real Truck showed this again at the Los Angeles Auto Show, and then they auctioned it off through Barrett Jackson in January 2024 with all proceeds going to Homes for Heroes, a non-profit organization in the USA that help with building or modifying homes for veterans or first responders injured in action.   Lot 3002 sold for $250,000, won by NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick.  However, an additional $50,000 was donated by Michelle Mauzy, a philanthropist and member of the Barrett Jackson family.

I wonder if Rick or Michelle have a model?  Ha ha!  So, back to said model.  Obviously, this is not quite the same as the original Gladiator in Moving Parts.  I will get to that shortly.  But, for now, I am looking at this build.  Now, this is something I do get behind with the Mattel Creations stuff.  I like that they chose to debut a brand-new casting in this way.  I love the overall look.  The black and orange work so well together.  I also like that we have a canopy on the back of the model.

The canopy is a 1-piece build that clips into the rear of the model.  It is also extremely highly decorated and includes the 70th Anniversary logo on the back of the model.  

And, yes, the Barrett Jackson website did show us a rearview shot of the real vehicle.  It duplicated the logo.  This is a terrific model.

Much like the last Gladiator casting, this sports an opening hood, exposing the engine inside.  As is the case with everything else, this is also highly detailed.  There is detailing all over.  The canopy received 4 sides of detailing on its own.  As I said, this feels like it warrants a very high price point.  It is so well detailed, and looks good.  

Talking of the canopy, it does pop off. It simply clicks into the rear of the model.  

Because it clicked in, this does mean the rear of the model has notches inside to allow it to click into place.  This is not just the last casting with a canopy popped in the back.

Hence, the reason why this does also sport a new base.  I think this is an all-new build, with perhaps the opening hood being the only part they didn't rebuild.  Maybe the window section as well.  I am loving this one. My only gripe over the Plymouth was really down to it not feeling like a super top-end price point. But this?  I feel the higher price point on this better befits it.  So, in this case, I am giving this a 10 out of 10.

Now, before I move on to my last model, I will bring in the recent Gladiator casting from Moving Parts.  MB1377 debuted in the Moving Parts series in 2023 in red, and at first glance does appear to be built to the same specification.  You immediately see, along with the canopy, the base section does include a winch at the front, which was not included on the stock version.  

As I noted, the opening hood does appear to be the same.  The new casting has been built to the same scale as the other one, so I can see it might have been duplicated.  

As you can see, the base section forms a slightly different rear to the new casting.  It adds the 2 hooks to the rear, as this is a proper off-roading vehicle.  

If you thought that the body was the same, you would be mistaken.  It has been built to the same scale, so it looks amazing when both are placed side by side, but you can see there is a little extra piece on the front of the roof.  

Which, when the canopy is removed, you will also see a few other minor changes.  The rear bed doesn't stretch all the way to the back on the new casting.  There is a small intrusion of the body section at the far end.  Plus, the sides of the body have notches in them to allow the canopy to click into place.  I have a feeling that this rear bed alteration is specific.  Those side notches affect both the body and interior sections, but it is extremely minor.  Adding this difference at the back helps to easily distinguish the 2 parts for production.  I assume this makes things just a little more efficient at the factory, where speediness is important.  You pick up both interiors and drop them, you have to look carefully for a little notch.  Or you go with the short one and long one.  It makes sense to me.  There may be another reason, but that feels most logical in my eyes.  Please comment if you have other theories.  

What this means with regard to the canopy is that it may appear to fit on the other casting.  After all, it is the same size.  

But, without those little side notches, the canopy is not going to click in.  It is not a perfect fit.  

It is designed for exclusive use by MB1410, not for MB1377 as well.  I don't mind.  I think this Jeep is fantastic.  

And now, we move on to the last of the trio. The MB1317 '21 Ford Bronco.  This is the 2-door version of the casting (which I prefer to the 4-door version).

I have been noticing this on some premium Ford products being released lately.  I remember back when Mercedes-Benz wanted these added to everything, and Matchbox couldn't afford to make anything, as these holograms are not cheap, and on regular models, profit margins are so thin that they would make them at a loss.  Thankfully, Mercedes-Benz dropped that idea.  I hope this is just something Ford wants on a premium offering, where the cost can be absorbed. If they start requesting them on basics, can you imagine if we had a range with no Fords in it?  Yeah, sure, we have enough to cover, but it would be weird.  Especially, as I have been lobbying for a Ford Fiesta Mk2 for years, and we are finally getting one this year.   I literally cannot wait for that one.  Matchbox are giving a few sneaks of the early drafts of that casting, and I am already overexcited.  But, back to the Bronco.  Another model I absolutely love.  Especially in the 2-door guise.  I don't want to lose it.  So, I hope this hologram is not a bad omen.  

This one comes in a silver sleeve once opened. The rough terrain is here for the model to sit on, although this is completely different to the one used on the Jeep.  Well, every base section for these Mattel Creations models is unique.  They do like spending a lot of money on the internal package.  

Minus 1 point.  A flub with the write-up.  2023 first appearance?  Nope!  It debuted in 2022.  What do we have to do to get them to reprint all the sleeves with the correct information?  Ha ha!  As if I care, this thing is coming off.  

The backdrop for this sleeve has a desert theme to it.  Which is appropriate, as the model is desert themed itself.

Although a rough terrain, this is not rocky like the Jeep was.  

But, it still looks the part.  I am not here for baseplates though.  I am here for the models.  So, screwdriver out, and time for a close-up.

The Desert Endurance Racing (D.E.R.) theme has been around since the 2000s.  However, as they slowly rotate themes in and out of the range, the late 2000s saw a number of racing vehicles like Desert Thunder V16, Quick Sander, Ridge Raider, Rock Shocker, Baja Bullet, VW Beetle 4x4 etc.  Many of these saw the D.E.R. theme to them, but as the 2010s rolled along, the range evolved slightly and these faded away from the range.  We see odd releases.  The VW Beetle 4x4 is, well, it's a Beetle.  The Ridge Raider seems to keep plugging away (I wish it was the Quick Sander instead, as I preferred that one).  But we rarely see any of the others any more.  I wonder if this is the start of a return of some of the off-roading vehicles again.  

I really like this look.  The matte silver with matte black upper section looks fantastic.  I love a recurring theme, and it is great to see an old one make a comeback.  I also like that they incorporated the Bronco logo into the side of the model again.  I see the Ford Performance logo is added under the side rear windows, and we have a few more logos dotted about.  I also note a little A58.  It's got Michael Heralda's handiwork all over this.  Again, this is great work from Michael.  For somebody who is pretty much retired from designing models, he still gets many chances to stretch his imagination with these.  And they work.  I think this is amazing.  

Again, being high-end premium, we have detailing all over the model.  The rear end sees the traditional details you would see on a Bronco, along with further markings from the design.

I think this has come out amazingly.  I even see a little detailing to the front bumper section, which is a base part.  As I said, this has a lot of detail to it.  The theme is fantastic, and works well with the Bronco.  I love the D.E.R. look returning.  This is an awesome release.  

Trying to grade this is tough.  As I did with the Plymouth, I kept thinking about the model as a Mattel Creations first, and then wondered how it was being advanced to that level.  I know this whole Mattel Creations system is contentious anyway.  Some wonder why we pay so much for a model that could have been as much as 5 times cheaper in a regular package.  Obviously, these are more exclusive.  They are limited edition runs.  That increases the price point on its own.  Have they created a lovely cash cow with these?  Perhaps.  I have heard a few people have given up with them, due to the expense.  I am still plugging away with them.  I might have to re-mortgage the home to accommodate continuing.  Ha ha!  But, anyway.  Score.  I love this look.  If I completely forget what range this was in, and just look at this model as it is, I would say a perfect 10.  If I was to think about the Mattel Creations range, and how this has been put in there, then I will drop off a couple of points again.  1 for the flub with the write-up.  I know that doesn't technically affect me, as the package has gone.  But, I do feel if they are making people fork out a lot of cash to get them, they do need to have their facts correct.  It may be only a year, but if you are a complete nerd, it is still wrong!  Another point because I didn't really feel Mattel Creations from it.  So, an 8 for this one.  Which is a shame.  Had this been in a batch of Collectors, it would have been completely different.  As would the Plymouth.  The Jeep was the only one that really felt Mattel Creations worthy out of these.  Mind you, I don't know what else does feel Mattel Creations worthy.  I really feel I should adjust my expectations from the series.  

Before I do a little dive back with the Bronco, I did want to point out one thing.  As we know, Mattel put production dates on their products. The Matchbox brand (I don't know with their other products if it is the same, or different) has a simple week stamp.  The first letter denotes a year, with the 2-digit number after it being the year in that month.  Anything made in the factory during 2023 will start with an "S".  Checking all 3 bases here shows that the Ford Bronco has an S26 date.  This means it was made on the 26th week of 2023.  Circa end of June.  The Plymouth has S31.  Roughly the start of August.  The Jeep is S39, which means the end of September.  This means that the Bronco was made before the others.  So why did it come out so late in comparison to those other ones?  Is this another Ford thing?  Seriously.  I am hoping there is no upcoming Ford issues looming.  

But, before I finish up, I am going to do another dive back.  Because, you know, 2022!  The year that, according to the blurb on the package, didn't exist for this casting. The year that we didn't see it debut in orange in the Moving Parts series.   

And, 2022 was also the year that we didn't see a Collectors outing for the model in black as well.  Okay, I know, I am making fun of the typo.  Obviously, we did get these 2.  

2023 did exist, according to the blurb.  This year saw a lovely blue model in the Moving Parts series.  It was also a great model for shades.  I do enjoy a shade.  

These have been 4 stellar releases, and each one sports the bucking bronco logo on the rear.  

And, just like the Plymouth Savoy, this model is now up to 4 releases.  2 core range models and 2 premiums.  I think all 4 of these are amazing.  I love this casting.  I would have preferred to not pay as much for the Mattel Creations.  Honestly, I would take the model wrapped in a baggy if it was a cheaper option.  I am sure those big plexicases add quite a bit to the cost.  And I don't want them!  

And on that bombshell, well not really as I doubt anybody would think I am a fan of the packaging, I am done with this little trio.  Of course, I was partly expecting it to be a quartet.  After all, since the last time I showcased Mattel Creations releases, I have order 4.  Where is the MB765 '64 Austin Mini Cooper 1275S?  I know, I know, the Matchbox X Mr Brainwash model did state it could be up to a year to ship.  I am wondering if he is doing them by hand?  That is something worthy of a Mattel Creations release.  I am looking forward to it.

As these head off, I start looking forward to another batch of stuff next week.  More 2024 items next time out.  As always, in the meantime, I hope you enjoyed the read, and have a safe and happy week.  Until next time.

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