Matchbox Monday cruises off to USA

Spoiler alert: I have not done a dive back this week.  I discovered, after I had finished photographing everything, I went a little overboard on the "new" part of this blog.  This week, after a few trips to Japan and France, I am in the USA, for what is a Walmart exclusive in that country.  Although, I have to admit, mine came from Australia.  Because, they may be exclusive to the 1 store in the US market, but they are available to other markets, if they want to take them on.  Australia did.  Many thanks to Matchboxluke (his Instagram name) for sending these over.  

As is the case for 2022, the 3 different sets of models will feature 12 models in total, split into 2 assortments of 6.  This one was nice and neat, with numbers 1 through 6 arriving in batch A.  So, I will simply go in order.  This means I begin with the MB832 Jeep Wrangler Superlift.  It takes the coveted number 1 slot in the series.  

The best part?  This is all-new for the series.  As a rough rule, half are new, half are carry forwards, although we have seen this vary a little in some sets.  It comes in blue for this set, and has simple silver and white side detailing to it.  

I have to say, I think it is a very nice look for the model.  We have had a number of looks through the years, a lot of which come with the Superlift name or logo.  This is definitely up there with my favourites.  Good job Matchbox.  Oh, I guess this means a dive back time.

We start at the end of 2011, when the Superlift was used to portray the Matchbox brand at the 2012 Toy Fair in the USA.  This was the first we saw of the model.  And of course, this was a premium, giving them the opportunity to utilize all the panels for tampo.  

It then quickly appeared in the 2012 range itself as a new casting.  This was actually the model's look for SEMA, which is when Superlift created their Jeep Wrangler special. We had a feeling it was coming, due to the Matchbox branding on the real vehicle. It debuted as MB51 in green and orange.  

For 2013, it moved to the MB114 slot in white.  This year's release was in white, and although it first appeared with the newer ringed 8-spoke wheels, there was a run later on where those ran out, and the older ringed cog wheels were brought in to keep production running.  

It was also chosen to be a part of a special 60th Anniversary set that year.  Matchbox had dropped premium products from the range, but this was classified as a mid-point between core and premium.  A small increase to the tampo prints for the set, and a box in the blister (throwback to a classic time).  The Wrangler was in yellow in the number 5 slot, out of the set of 24.  I did notice that yellow was particularly good for shading.  

It was MB52 in 2014.  It came in metallic tan with corrugated style black door panels.

For 2015, it moved to the MB97 slot in orange.  This was the first time (aside from the Toy Fair model), that the model did not have the Superlift logo or name on the model.  It had a simple "X-treme Adventure" design.

2016 would prove to be the final basic range outing for the model.  It was sold as MB119 in a dark blue, which I also found to be able to come out with shade on it.  

And that year would be the first time we saw it as a Walmart exclusive in the USA market.  They had a Jeep set there, and it was a part of it in red.  

It also proved to be the last we saw of the casting for a number of years.  2017-2020 were all very quiet.  No releases to be found at all.  But it was not forgotten entirely. It popped back up in 2021 as a 9-pack exclusive in orange.  

And this year is not the only issue we have seen.  A black with Bushwacker side design was found in an MBX Off Road 5-pack.  Another really cool model, as Bushwacker is a USA company that specialize in fender flares. Starting in 1967 in Oregon, they are now based in Georgia.  They now also make other add-on extras for trucks, mainly to assist with safety and damage while off-roading.  It is really great that Matchbox is seeking out these real licences for models.  I am looking forward to seeing more Bushwacker vehicles.  2022 has proved to be a stellar year for this casting.

Number 2 in the set is the MB610 '71 Chevy Chevelle SS Convertible.  Although the "SS Convertible" is something added to the package, not the base of the model.

This model is a carry forward.  But from where?  The 2011 Lesney Edition series.  Yes, we have seen this a couple of times in the past.  They have managed to sneak a premium model into a core model's carry forward series.  This does mean a few adjustments were made to accommodate this move.

Which is really cool, as I love when we get a premium reduced to a core.  I don't know why.  I think it might be from my old days of not collecting premiums.  So when they did a non-premium issue of them, I was very excited.  Even now, I still get a big smile on my face when they do it.  

So let's bring in the 2011 premium for a side by side comparison.  At that time, they were still using plastic wheels on premiums, but Lesney Edition was the series that gave us metal bases in place of plastic ones.

The thing with the 2011 though, they tampo printed the wheels too.  But they gave us a chase.  Half had Goodyear Radial T/A on them, the other half were simply white walls.  But when it comes to the tampo, the only thing that changed was they omitted the SS on the sides.  

Obviously now we have the chrome plastic base instead of the unpainted metal one.  

The shade is fairly close, with the white tampo stripes being actually more of a difference than the orange.  

And the casting has been lightly modified during the interim too.  The interior being the most noticeable part, although the window visors are noticeably different too.  

The main reason for that is down to the drop method for production.  This was one of many casting that had an interior piece that folded over.  That folding part is no good for the drop method, so the model was adjusted to make it easier.  You might notice the interior, as a lot do, has an opening at the bottom.  This is something that they are also doing a lot now, where pedals are being added to the inside of a base section, and with a hole in the interior, you can see these pedals pop up through the gap.  I think that is a fun little thing they are doing.  

So, anyway, another dive back ensues.  This model started in 2004.  It was created back in 2003, at a time when Matchbox was based in Mount Laurel.  Being in New Jersey, at the old Tyco offices, they had this idea for the brand in the early 2000s.  The split between premium content and core content was massive. Core content was being aimed at the very young.  Matchbox was seen as an initial stepping stone from the Fisher Price brand to the Hot Wheel brand.  So the core range was being marketed very young.  Whacky cars and lots of heroic vehicles (fire engines etc), and of course the dreaded Ultra Heroes. On the flipside, premium content was being marketed to the collector and was totally different.  Realistic vehicles, high levels of detailing (along with rubber wheels), and many castings of classic cars that were not going to be used in the basic range.  The Chevelle was going to be one of those.  It was created exclusively for premiums, and was slated to be in a 2004 My Classic Car set.  It was going to debut in tan, with dual black stripes.  But before the set arrived, the news came that premiums, as is, were going to be dropped.  My Classic Car never arrived, and this model never got made, only surviving as an FEP.

The Mount Laurel team were quick to react, though. A new idea was to release a set of 75 models in a new Superfast series, celebrating the 35th Anniversary of the Superfast launch. This was rushed through, but with this last minute change, the set did not arrive until mid-year. This did put the Superfast series out of sync with all the other items.  For 3 years, they were sold from mid-model year to mid-model year.  So although it was the 2004 series, it ran from summer 2004 until spring 2005.  It was pretty much the last thing they did. The Mount Laurel offices were being closed.  Almost all staff members left, with only a random few deciding to make a move from New Jersey to El Segundo's Head Office.  The Matchbox brand was brought in-house to turn around its fortunes, as the direction taken was just not working.  Luckily, this meant that the Superfast series, showing a lot of popularity, ensured they knew the direction to take. Realism!The Chevelle debuted in the 2004 Superfast series in the number 9 slot in green.  

The 2005 Superfast series saw 2 different looks for the USA market, and others.  2004 had been a USA only release.  The number 9 release was in red, if you lived in the USA.  It was blue if you lived elsewhere.  

Sadly, the "other" range was dropped after the 1 year, and it was back to just a USA thing.  For 2006, they added Streakers to the range, as a nod to the classic Lesney era, where Streakers were the very first tampo printed models that Lesney made.  The number 9 model, in orange, was one of the Streakers ones.

Sadly, mid-way through the 2006 series, many stockists dropped their orders.  But Walmart were still keen.  It became a Walmart only release to finish off.  At this time, they decided they wanted to get this back in sync with the rest of the range.  So after 2006 finished (in early 2007), the 2007 series was now a much smaller series.  It was dubbed Superfast America, and simply consisted of 20 models of classic US vehicles.  The number 13 slot was a classic Chevelle in black with dual white stripes.  

After that, though, something not originally envisioned for the model happened.  It arrived in the basic range.  It was sold as MB5 in teal for 2008.  I have 2.  Not for the shade, but because I noticed that the white stripes were longer on one than the other.  Yes, I am that mad.  

This then opened up the model to more core releases.  2009 saw it added to the Classic Cars 5-pack in green with dual black stripes.  

And in 2010, it was a part of the all-exclusive "Real" 10-pack in yellow.  It did sport a shade of the yellow, although that didn't come out too well in my picture.

Obviously, I have already talked about 2011 in detail, so skipping that turns us to the 2012 basic range.  This was a burgundy model with dual gold stripes, and MB67 did sport a shade to the butterscotch interior this year.  

This model, just like the Wrangler Superlift, then had a 4-year hiatus.  2013-2016 was a quiet period with nothing arriving.  When it returned in 2017, as part of an Open Road Cruisers 5-pack in pale grey with a red side stripe, this was when we had noticed the slight tinkering to the casting.  I also noticed the red interior was also good for a shade too.  

After that came another 3-year hiatus.  Seriously. It had a very lean period from 2013 through 2020, with just the 1 random issue.  2021, though, well that proved to be the start of something good with the model again.  Just like the Wrangler, this was a 9-pack exclusive.  It came in a bright red.  

It was also in the Target Retro series too.  This was a carry forward, as the 2008 basic range debut in teal made a re-appearance.  

However, this was after the cosmetic surgery to the model.  So it was an instant variation with a before and after vibe to it.  I wonder where it will pop up next?

There are carry forwards, and there are freaking awesome carry forwards.  This one is freaking awesome!  The MB720 '72 Ford Bronco 4x4 in brown.  It takes the number 3 slot in the series.

The model has quite a history, as it dates back to 2007.  And that was where they went.  But not to the basic range.  No, they went with a Pirates 5-pack as inspiration for this one.

But this is not the same.  As I said, freaking awesome!  

When the model first appeared in the pack, I did see a shade to the chocolate brown paint. But, now I have this, that pales in comparison.  

I mean, there is a big shade.  Very noticeable.  But that is just one small part of how this looks so different.  You can already see the first bigger difference.  The base was originally a dull chrome, but now is just black.  

But the tampo printing has changed from cream to yellow.  That is a very noticeable difference. But wait?  The mid-late 2000s had a lot of models sporting coded messages on them.  It was the in-thing at the time, and I loved deciphering the codes.  I still miss that.  But I can't help but notice this was a coded release, and they have changed the code.Wicked!

The original has "18 9 7 8 20" on the side.  Deciphering that gives us "Right".  But the new issue has "18 5 22 5 14 7 5" on it.  If we decipher that, it gives us "Revenge".  I absolutely love it!  For those who don't enjoy carry forwards, sometimes you can miss out on one of the best carry forwards ever.  Can you tell I like this?

Yeah, I am doing another dive back on this casting.  Do you see why I had no time for a classic dive back at the end?  I went a little overboard with these.  So, the Bronco arrived in 2007.  I had already mentioned that.  The Pirates 5-pack was not the only release.  Of course, there was the basic range offering. MB58.  It debuted in a simple plain blue with side striping.  And shades.  Yes, I found shades.  

It was also one of three vehicles that were given a special emerald green look for a version 2 as well.  This was to celebrate the 55th anniversary of the Matchbox brand, which was actually done a year early.  That has now been rectified, hence the 70th Anniversary coming correctly in 2023. And yes, shades!  I was doing well that year.

In 2008, Matchbox split the basic range between the US, LAAM and ROW markets. But the Bronco was still a part of all of them.  However, what was MB89 for the US market, was obviously too high for either other range, capped at 75.  So for LAAM and ROW, it was MB69.  It came in yellow.  Again, it had side striping to it.  

2008's 5-pack saw the model in orange with a 3/logo side design.  This was an Off Road pack, and during production the cog wheels ran out temporarily, with some older ovals being used for a short run.  

We also saw a Superfast release.  This was in purple, and featured a complete set of tampo prints all over.  

For 2009, the model was not included in the ROW range.  It was sold as MB95 in the US range, or MB66 in the LAAM range in blue.  

And its annual 5-pack release this year was in grey for a Croc Zoo pack.  I did find shades to the grey, if you can tell in the picture.  

They really didn't like putting this in the ROW market.  Again, it was US and LAAM only.  MB90 or MB54 respectively.  This year was in tan with a 6 side design, and again, even if I am not in the right country, I still managed to find a shade on it.  

5-pack?  Of course.  This year it was a Camping Adventure pack, and the model came in a nice bright yellow with a simple side design on it.

This year saw a second 5-pack release.  A licensed Nickelodeon pack in gunmetal grey with SpongeBob SquarePants on the side.  

But this was a really busy year for the casting.  It was also a part of the Battle Kings series as well.  A Canyon Raid set saw this in grey with a camouflage side design.  

Plus, it was in the Adventure 10-pack.  It was in dark red with a design that was different on each side.  Luckily, with me finding a shade to the red, I can show off the 2 sides in one go.  Still one of the best designs on this casting.  I love it!

Ah, 2011.  We finally nudge to another year.  Let's see, the basic range issue.  ROW?  Nope!  US MB90 and LAAM MB51.  It was green this year with a cool striped side design.  

Hmm! 5-pack?  Yes, but now it had transitioned to the Licensed 5-packs. It was in a Penguins of Madagascar set in white.  I couldn't help noticing the tampo printing was good for a shade on this one.  

The 2012 basic range issue had no choice but to be sold in the ROW market.  The 3-way split had been closed back up for a worldwide range.  So everybody got the MB53 in red.

5-pack time.  Normal 5-pack time.  Jungle Adventure saw a metallic green model with a shiny green hot foil print to the wheels.  But during production they did alter that hot foil printing. Models can be found with or without the central cog section printed.  

They did another Penguins of Madagascar set this year too, and the Bronco was chosen yet again.  I did not spot any variances to the yellow one though.

All of a sudden, this model went quiet.  Seriously, are we getting a pattern here?  Third model in the report, and third time a model went quiet for a short while.  This wasn't quite as long, though.  Only 2013 and 2014, before it popped back up in 2015, due to a tie in with Skyjacker, who created a real Bronco for SEMA.  Now, some were created for SEMA itself in 2014, and packaged in plexicases, given away at the event.  But it was then added to the first batch of 2015 in the same look.  Sold as MB103.

Rather randomly, it became that year's dealer model for the Albuquerque Gathering in July.  

For 2016, it was given another basic range run, as MB118.  This green model, which I found a few shades to, was created giving a few nods to Dirk Schleuer, who was the last Matchbox Ambassador for the brand.  There were 11 Ambassadors in total, during a period before social media moved in to take over the majority of things.  

It didn't get used again in 2017, but for 2018, it was MB112 in the basic range, in another Skyjacker themed design, as Skyjacker were enjoying using Broncos for their SEMA shows.  

It was also notable for shading to the canopy area, which was evident through the 2018 production run, and then again in 2019, when it was carried forward to a Walmart Ford Trucks set.  

Oops!  I am moving ahead aren't I.  Because in 2018, they remembered that it was supposed to be in 5-packs.  Enter a Wildfire Rescue themed 5-pack release in brown.

And for 2019, the MBX Wild 5-pack introduced us to Camp Arrow Flint with this lovely white a gold model.  The gold canopy was also good for a shade or 2.  

for 2020, the model was carried forward for a second time from 2018's basic range.  This time it was an additional model included in the return of Convoy, with a Lonestar Semi/Box Trailer in the same Skyjacker look. However, there was a little difference this time.

Because the wheels were now gold rimmed, whereas for the 2018 basic and 2019 Ford Trucks runs, they were brown rimmed.  

Oh, yep.  5-pack.  A Top Gun Maverick licensed 5-pack release for this year.  And 2021.  And 2022.  Yes, these Top Gun packs keep popping up, as with the pandemic delaying the film, it was a little bit awkward as they had just released it, when the film was pushed back.  And pushed back again. So every time they made them, the film got nudged, and they didn't want to just leave them, so sent them out anyway. At least the film is now out, so I think they will settle down with production.

We started seeing carry forwards more often now.  Obviously, the latest is a carry forward.  For 2020, another Walmart exclusive set saw a carry forward. That was after 2019's Ford Trucks had one.  For 2020, Off Road Rally saw the 2009 US/LAAM basic popping back up again.

But putting the 2 together, the change in shade of blue was huge.  Plus, it did get some newer wheels too.  

For 2021, it was Target that saw the carry forward.  The Retro series was given a new run for the 2008 Superfast issue. But, just as I showed with the Chevelle above, carrying forward a premium to a basic gives us a bunch of changes.  

Apart from being a totally different shade again, this model lost the chromed base and some of the tampo printing.  Reduced to a pass through the machine run, as is normal with core models.  

Later in 2021, Skyjacker popped back up at SEMA again, with another Bronco based vehicle to show off.  And Matchbox were involved again with a giveaway.  

For 2022, the Convoy series saw the Lonestar Semi Cab set carried forward from 2020.  However, they switched out the earlier Skyjacker themed Bronco with the new one.  But, with the SEMA one being a premium style, this did see a cost reduction for the release.  And that is where we currently are with this model.  I am impressed how we are seeing such cool little nuances with all the carry forwards.  This is why I do enjoy carry forwards.  There can be quite some variety to them.  The Bronco is a strong candidate for that.  

So what is next?  Another carry forward.  Number 4 in the set is the MB1170 '18 Ford Mustang Convertible in a very familiar look.  

This is another run for the 2020 basic range issue.  It was originally sold as MB54 a few years ago, and pops back up again here.  

So we have seen this before.  Nice and simple, with front and rear tampo detailing.  Which is how all the releases have been.  So I cannot complain about that.  I know some do complain about this rather flat looking rear end though.  

This has not been around very long.  It debuted in 2019 as MB4 in orange.  That was very good for shading back in the day.  So I am happy they went for the second one.  

The 2020 MB54.  Looks the same?  At first glance, yes.  

The shade of blue is quite close, and the light smoke windows are the same.  A white interior and black base were never likely to show anything different.  

All the action for this was at the rear. Yes, the rear that nobody likes.  Well, I am making you look at it now.  The rear lights are now a much brighter red than they were.  The licence plate printing is also a little deeper yellow too.  So, for me, that was enough to keep it again.  

It wasn't the only 2020 issue, as Walmart seems to be the place to be for this casting.  It was a part of a Walmart exclusive Mustang set that year in brown.  Yes, technically speaking, this picture is of 2 different Walmart exclusives.

After that, there has only been 1 more issue.  In 2021, the MB87 was sold in plain black with gold wheels.  With a new Moving Parts Convertible now available, I wonder if this will quietly drift off into retirement?

All new for number 5.  The MB864 '74 International Scout 4x4 pops up again in a brand-new look.

This model is really cool.  I love how Matchbox are working so hard to get us real licences for the tampo prints.  We don't often take the time to notice all the detailing.  Well I do.  We all know Skyjacker Suspensions.  They have managed to use their logo on a number of models, mainly Broncos (as seen above) for the best part of a decade now.  But there are 2 more logos on this model.  Milestar Tires.  Milestar is a subsidiary of Tireco, which was founded in 1972 in California.  They make.... Well tyres. The clue was in the name.  The other logo is for IH Parts America. IH stands for International Harvester.  So you see where this is going.  They carry spares for International Scouts, Travellals and Pickups, and after market accessories.  They will also fix, upgrade or repair your International too.  So, this is a fantastic little logo to add to this model.

Combined with the red and white printing, blue on the tampo and interior, this definitely has a USA feel to it.  Lots of red, white and blue.  I think this is a terrific look.  Definitely well-thought-out, and such a shame it is in a limited availability range.  I am very impressed with this.  

This is another with a long history.  Now you see why I gave up on trying to do a secondary dive back after the main article.  I am going back into this model's history, which is making this pretty long now.  MB71 in 2013 was the debut for this model. It came in yellow with a simple striped side design.  

And look.  Did anybody else notice the IH logo for IH Parts America was actually first used during that first year?  It was a part of the special 60th Anniversary set that year in white, with the 60 logo and an IH logo on it.  

IH logo alert.  It was a lot bigger on the 2014 basic range issue. Or shall I say one of the 2014 basic range issues.  Because MB35 that year was released in 2 colours. First up was a purple one, which saw 2 different wheels used during production.  

And then it switched to a red look with a Wilderness Adventures side design on it.  

2015 saw the model dropped from the basic range already.  It was only used once, as a 10-pack exclusive in the extremely popular National Parks theme.  

For 2016 we saw a licensed model in red for Shark Week.  It was one of the models sold as a single for the licence.

2017 saw the model return to the basic range as MB116.  It was a light blue with a cycling motif on the side.  

It took a year off, before returning in 2019 as a carry forward, with a twist. Sold as MB52 in the basic range, this was a repeat of the 60th Anniversary special.  But they were able to do a couple of tiny tweaks.  

With this being the 50th Anniversary of Superfast, they managed to switch the 60 logo to a 50 roundel and popped on a Superfast logo to the side design too.  The 60th Anniversary was not a full-blown premium, but it did see an additional tampo print on the rear, which was removed for this core issue.  

2020 saw a lovely red issue with WARN logo on it.  WARN are a company from the USA that specialize in winches, hoists, mounts etc for pickups and the like.  Another lovely little licence.  This was in a Rocky Peaks 5-pack.

Which, by my reckoning, makes red the go-to colour of choice for this model. I have more 2022 stuff on it, but that is for next week.  

Which brings us to the final model.  Another carry forward.  The MB1221 '20 Chevy Corvette.

This is a repeat of the debut year for the model.  Which, as the name implies with it being a 2020 car, was in 2020.

Which is quite funny, as this and the Mustang are the only 2 recent vehicles in the set of 6.  Both have been carried forward from the 2020 basic range, and both are in blue.  So how does this stack up against the original run?

Well, I have to admit, I wasn't too sure initially whether I would see anything major on it. You see, the 2 at the front are both from 2020.  But then I had a thought?  I had done the Mustang first, and saw the lights were the difference.  Perhaps that was the case with this one.  

Nope.  They looked the same.  But, for me, the new one is even darker than the 2x 2020s.  A slight purplish hue to it.  It is not that good in the photo, but I can see it.  I am happy.  I will keep it.  

As a reminder, 2021 saw a red MB40 in the basic range.

As well as the model being chosen to be the first Matchbox Super Chase that year too, in white.  

In 2022, as well as this carry forward, we saw a black basic range issue as MB20.

And this casting, like the Bronco I showcased earlier, was chosen to be a promotional for the Matchbox Gathering in Albuquerque.  However, this time, it was the dinner model. For the early birds it was in green, with blue being the regular dinner model. Again, this casting has now had a Moving Parts release too.  It is amazing how much it has in common with the Mustang.  Blue, 2020 carry forward, both appearing around the time a Moving Parts issue arrives.  Coincidence? Yeah, more than likely.  But fun none-the-less.

And with that, I am done.  Completely this time, as I am not doing a random dive back this week.  

One thing I did notice though, there was an awful lot of blue to the set.  Perhaps they should have actually used the debut orange Mustang as the carry forward for a little more colour variety.  

Because then, they could have perhaps used the green 5-pack issue of the Chevelle there, for more colour variety.  That had a decent history to dive into.  Or even one of the Superfast issues, as there were some great ones to choose from.  

Well, I hope you still enjoyed the report.  I was having fun with it. Spent so much time photographing new stuff, I overran.  Next week I switch from 1 store to another.  Until then, enjoy the week, and catch you next week for more Matchbox goodies.  

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