This week sees me looking at the third batch of the Collectors series for 2023. Sadly, there were only 3 models, although the box contained 4. The other was a carry forward of the MB1023 '70 Datsun 510 Rally that appeared in batch A. I saw no differences between the later run and earlier run, so I will simply move directly on to what is new.
The first of which is a brand new casting. The MB1402 '53 Custom Ford COE. COE stands for “CabOver Engine” if anyone was a little curious. The COE was first created in 1948, and for 5 years were simply “helmeted” versions of the F-series. In 1953, this was changed to the C-series name, but were still basically an F-series with a helmet. In 1957, they created a proper C-series.
Taking the number 13 slot in the series, this gets a “Custom” moniker because it originally came as a base unit, with which you would create what you needed. So these are custom created vehicles. Matchbox have gone with a simple pickup style, which was one of the options.
You can see the F-series influence in the lower front end.
And you can sort of see why it got the “helmet” name as well. A much higher stance than a regular pickup truck. The Matchbox casting is very well done. It is quite a light model.
The flared wheel arches and rear bed are part of the interior section of the model, and being plastic rather than metal, they have done a very good job in colour matching. Which I am very impressed with. Trying to match a metal section to a plastic one is not easy. Plus, we get the design. Matchbox Speed Shop. I love that they have pulled this classic look out of the archives and are now running with it.
Before I delve into that a little more, I just finish the solo shots with a base view. This is a chromed plastic base, and with no opening features, this model will also be destined to appear in the basic range as well. In the last batch, we saw both a Jaguar D-Type and a Porsche 910. Neither had an opening part, but both featured metal bases on top of the metal bodies. It made them heavy, and also meant that they will simply be used in premium ranges. This one is not destined to follow suit.
Now, where were we? Oh, yes, Matchbox Speed Shop. A design that started in the Universal era. This was where it all started. Back in 1986, it appeared on the side of the Ford Model A Van, and ran in the basic range for 3 years. That was it. A 1-off look at the time. Recurring themes were already a thing, but this was not originally chosen to be one.
But the current team at Mattel thought it would be good to bring back as a retro look. The MB327 '33 Ford Coupe was given this look in the 2020 Retro series, exclusive to Target (in the USA, other stores around the world took it too).
It proved to be such a big hit, that they thought to themselves, why not make further use of it. The 2022 Retro series saw yet another. The MB1174 '35 Ford Pickup had it.
And now we have this 4th incarnation of the Matchbox Speed Shop livery. A proper recurring theme. Has anybody noticed that all 4 of these are Fords? I hope we see more of these in the future. Thinking Ford, the most obvious to me is another Custom one. The MB1164 Custom ‘34 Ford Sedan. Although the MB1192 ’32 Ford Pickup? MB1232 ‘32 Ford Model B Coupe? MB1285 ’65 Ford C-900? I'm thinking a Ford GT maybe? There are plenty of other options as well. Yes, this can run for a while yet. I am hoping it will.
Up next is the MB987 '78 Dodge Monaco Police. This takes the number 15 slot in the series.
What you may not have noticed, though, is that this is also a recurring theme of sorts. It is another Boone County Sheriff model.
That is because we have seen a number of Boone County models in the past, but never a green one.
You cannot fault the side design. Simple, elegant. A very 1970s look to the model. I think it is a great look.
Apart from that, we only get a little rear end detailing. Lights on the chromed base section, and a little silver Dodge and lock. I don't know, I feel that this may have been a better option as a basic range model? I think it is more of a basic range feel to it. As I said, I think this is great. I just feel like they put it in the wrong series. Does that make sense?
You will see more, as I move on to the last of the 3 new models in the batch. The MB1328 '20 Chevy Corvette. It takes the last slot of the 22 model set.
It comes in white, with a lot of black and red detailing. I particularly like the red ring on the wheels.
But are you seeing how this is getting an all-over detail. Every surface has detail. The Dodge never even saw front or rear window edging. You can see the difference in levels of detailing. That was what I felt let down the Dodge a little. A great choice for a livery, but I really felt for a premium product, it just needed a bit more to it. Whereas this? Wow! I love it!
Front detailing, and a black and red stripe going over the top.
Which continues all the way down to the bottom of the back end. A nod to the 70th Anniversary of Corvette adorns the model on the roof, and across the bottom. This is a fantastic look.
Plus, this is the only opening model in the batch. Yes, everything else (including carry forwards) was a closed model. Of course, I do actually prefer the closed version of the ‘20 Corvette. That is not to say I dislike the opening version. It’s just, if I had a choice, I would choose the closed one to the open one. But, you have to admire the attention to detail in that engine. Plus the black spoiler lip. This is definitely my favourite of the batch. I would give this a 10 out of 10. The Ford a 9 out of 10. The Dodge an 8.
And, err, well that was it for the batch. As I said, just 3 models. So, as I am building up more Mattel Creations, I should look at some of these as well. Is it me, or have we had quite a run of these lately?
And yes, I am going to look at 2. The MB1222 DIVCO Milk Truck and the MB1323 '75 Mitsubishi Lancer Celeste.
I have to admit, I have been used to Mattel Creations coming in large orange boxes that open up to show a diorama. But that DIVCO box is very small. Still orange, but that is not a regular size.
Inside the boxes, the Mitsubishi is following the usual protocol. But this DIVCO is in a simple brown box that has Tootsie Roll on it. I don't know why. I would have preferred a regular plexicase, and have the diorama being a car park, with a store front, and Tootsie Rolls being an advert in the window of a store, with perhaps a cheeky Mattel-based nod to the name of the store or something.
Because as soon as you take the cover off, it is just in a simple plexicase. The usual ones used for promotional purposes. Sure, the base section is brown, matching the look of the model (and Tootsie Rolls), but this does not feel like one of the other models we have had from Creations.
The Mitsubishi is on a road. There is a scene at the back. Although that just looks like a field.
Of course, once the Mitsubishi is out of the package completely, it is still just in a plain case, with a pattern printed on the base. It is still a bigger case though.
I do feel the DIVCO is a little meh! It just doesn't feel like something I would pay as much as I do for. I'm sorry, but this was a let-down for a Mattel Creations.
The model is nice. Don't get me wrong. I like the Tootsie Roll look, and the wheels have a red ring. Just like the Corvette I showed before.
Mind you, now loose, I really like this Mitsubishi, but again, is it Mattel Creations worthy?
DIVCO first. The front end sees a simple white hood and lights/badge depiction.
The rear end gets lights and a badge. Apart from the simple Tootsie Roll side design, there is not a lot else to this one. It's fine, but definitely not one of the nicer DIVCOs.
As we know, this model debuted in Moving Parts in 2020, and simply came in the original DIVCO promotional look.
With 2021 seeing a Matchbox Speed Shop (different to the FORD COE look) in Moving Parts again.
And this awesome Gulf look for the Collectors series. That is more detailed than this new model, and is definitely a much better option.
Plus, we also saw this amazing pair of promotional issues made for the 2021 Gathering in Albuquerque. The early bird special had additional printing on the roof. Again, these were so much better detailed.
2022 saw a Skippers Ice look in the Moving Parts range. This was its only outing last year.
And I loved this Shell look in the 2023 Moving Parts series.
I have to be honest. I think they did 2023 the wrong way around. Tootsie Roll should have been the Moving Parts release. Knock off the rear detailing, and switch real riders for plastic wheels, and boom! One Moving Parts release. The Shell one looks more exciting to me. A little more detailing, with additional roof Shell logo, and rear lights. A big plexicase with a classic Shell garage in the background, and yellow real riders with red edging, and yes, that would have been a much better Creations release. That is just my opinion. In my collection of DIVCO models, this is an also ran. I give it a 5 out of 10. I am not impressed.
And please, pretty please, can we see this model with a milk themed livery. They put the milk crates in the back. So the foundation is there. I just want to see it with a milk look.
The other Creations is the Mitsubishi. This looks really nice in blue with dual striping. Engine detailed, front, side and rear detailed.
I do love this look. I do know, once you have opened a Mattel Creations model, most are going to look like an average premium. I get that. Tootsie Roll just didn't feel premium to me. A bit like the Dodge Monaco, but being a Mattel Creations rather than a Collectors release, it felt like a much bigger blow. Because we had to spend a lot more to get it. Whereas this one does still feel very premium to me.
The blue paint is very shiny. Almost like a spectraflame look. But not quite. This is why I keep getting reflections on the side shots. It is a quality paint job. the opening hood was a great match as well. I am seriously impressed with it. The side striping, the Matchbox logo and written in Japanese as well. Those wheels look great. I think this is a spectacular model.
I did chicken out. This model comes with either LHD or RHD interiors. You are buying them blind. I know some people took a chance and ordered 2. They did get lucky and had one of each. I got a LHD. Knowing my luck, I would order 2 and get 2x LHD. I would order 3 and get 3x LHD. And so on.
A quick reminder of the 2 we have seen to date. The yellow was the 2022 Moving Parts debut.
And brown is the 2023 Moving Parts release.
And I have to say, I much prefer this to both the last 2 (a good sign as I was paying so much for it). So I know I have to get that RHD variation. I have a lead on one. Hopefully it will be with me before too long. Because this, to me, is another 10 out of 10. Only 2x 10s this week.
One of the Collectors releases that were so kindly sent to me by Wheel Collectors.
And only 1 of the Mattel Creations models, that came from, well, Mattel Creations.
I do have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the premium stuff. Some of the looks are really cool. Some of them feel like they could have just been put on a regular model. On a Collectors release, that is not brilliant. But now we have these Mattel Creations issues as well, I really do expect them to up the ante, so to speak. Of course, none of these are awful. Don't get me wrong. I have lived through the Tyco years. Shudder! Hero City. Yikes! The mid 2010s, when they started to go a little off-track again. I even have a fondness for the early Lesney Superfast fantasy stuff, which is pretty weird. Some of it, quite ugly! Tyre Fryer? What we have at this time is much better than a lot of periods in the topsy-turvy world of the Matchbox brand. So I try to be critical with regard to other contemporary models ofthis period.
Which does bring me to the end of another report. That is enough premium for now. Next week, I get back to basics. Literally! I have half the series to still work through. I need to play catch up with them. Until then, I hope people have a happy and safe week.