It's time I did another basic range batch of the Matchbox range. We are working our way through the year, with regular 4-weekly releases of basic range models. So far, I have showcased up to and including batch D. So, this means batch E is next on the docket. There are 6 models included in batch E, but every fourth batch of 2023 received a Super Chase. 4 batches after A? That will be E. Hmm! Then we get F, G, H and…. J! They don't use “I” in batches, so when we get to 4 batches from E, we will be on batch J. Just so you are aware. But, for now, we are on E. And that means….
Luckily, Wheel Collectors did get some MB1231 ‘20 Mercedes-Benz CLA Shooting Brakes in with their delivery, and zipped me over an example. Thanks guys. Unlike Moving Parts, basic range Super Chase models are not numbered. I don’t know why they have gone with 2 different routes for the 2 ranges. A set of 50 Moving Parts, and 4 chases numbered 51 through 54. A set of 100 basics, and unnumbered chases on top. It is what it is. I don't really care myself.
As…. Badda-bing, badda-boom! The model is loose. I know some people prefer some sort of numerical order. I just like getting Matchbox. It's my brand. My team. They crank out stuff, I lap them up (as much as I can). Being a chase vehicle, this is receiving additional tampo printing over and above the sort that would normally adorn a core vehicle. Front and rear get joined by side printing. The model also sports real riders in lieu of the standard plastic wheels.
A close up of the rear shows the join in the side and rear prints. Of course, this is blown up. So it is much more noticeable than on the actual model. It is not a bad link. Nothing the detracts from the overall look. I like this Super Chase design.
I notice that the Superfast logo has been phased out on Super Chase models, leaving just an SC logo in place. The model is also sporting the Mercedes-Benz name. And simple striping. I think it is a very tasteful design and hope this becomes a bit of a recurring theme.
I do find it funny that this casting has only seen black releases. I think it is likely a coincidence. I don't think when the 2021 MB5 debuted, they had already mapped out the final colour choices for 2023 Super Chase models. As the model didn't see a 2022 release at all, it is nice to see it return. I am hoping to see some other colour choices for the future.
And I have to be honest, although this shows the difference between a core run and premium run for a casting very well, the one thing I am really happy to see is that the window on the latest run is clear. A plain black with a dark smoke window was perhaps a little too much. I much prefer the clear window, and hope this stays for future issues.
As I said, this does appear to be a bit of a recurring theme now. Black, with yellow and red striping. But I see that, when I bring in the MB947 Porsche 911GT3 which was the Super Chase in the final batch of 2022, that we have lost a few additional extras.
The little “m” logo for Matchbox has also been disposed of, alongside the aforementioned Superfast logo. I see that there was orange on the Porsche. It is not on the Mercedes-Benz. Minor things. Completely unimportant. But I notice them anyway. I get curious. I check things closely. I like the way this is going. I am enjoying the chase. It's “super”. Stop it! I heard people groaning…. 10 out of 10 for the Merc!
With the super chase being only found in some boxes, not all, what we do get (alongside batch D carried forward) are 6 guaranteed new arrivals. I did say the batch was “e”-lectrifying. We have electric vehicles in the mix. Not just one, but a selection. The first being the MB1091 '09 International eStar (it was originally known as eStar Electric Van, but did see a name change over the years).
This is a really cool livery. MB37 for the 2023 range is another in the long-running CarGo Couriers recurring theme. I love recurring themes. I am shocked this hasn't had this before now. It seems to be the perfect choice for it.
I am impressed that we also managed to sneak in a little front printing on this, alongside the side tampo design. They have limits in place with what they can do, but always work tirelessly to stretch those limits as far as they can. These are things that often get overlooked. But, again, I notice. I like to point out, because I do think kudos is due when it is due. We all know what big companies are like. Mattel are a massive company. You know that there are so many things they would want to do, but the bean counters will curtail things. But Abe, and the guys working with him, they work tirelessly to give us just those little tiny extra bits whenever they can. And of course, a shout-out to Michael Heralda. You know that CarGo Couriers was one of his creations. Many recurring themes are. His designs are becoming legendary (within Matchbox circles).
As I keep talking CarGo Couriers, I think I have to go for it. A recap of the theme. As best I can. I do not own any Matchbox items beyond the basic size. So no Super Convoy or Skybusters show-offs. So if I ignore those, and stick with the standard sized stuff, I can still creat a good run. the theme started back in a 2006 City Service 5-pack. Yes, it is getting close to 20 years now. I think this is the oldest recurring theme. National Parks debuted in 2007. Ranec in 2010. INC in 2012. Those are the other long-running themes, and none have been around as long as this. The MB586 Billboard Truck was the recipient of the first look.
When the 2007 Garage Works 5-pack arrived, it was only a year since the first, so very easy for people to note the CarGo theme popping back up. The MB695 '06 Utility Truck was the second to sport the look.
Only a couple of packs later, the Construction 5-pack appeared, and a certain MB536 3-axle Dump Truck was sporting the CarGo theme. And in the same green/white look as the Billboard Truck. Yes, definitely a recurring theme. As production ran, the model was switched out with the MB710 Dump Truck for a running change. I don't know why? Possibly an issue with the casting that needed fixing, and luckily a standby was easy to slot in.
But this was not all. When we looked over at the Convoy series, a certain MB664 Tractor Cab towing a double container trailer was carrying a certain theme.
And at the end of the year, another Convoy appeared. This time, the MB702 DAF XF95 Space Cab with a double container rear carried the same name.
2008 saw the first time that CarGo Couriers was seen in a basic range model. It was also the first time we saw it in the most common blue look. Although at first, the logo was more yellow than orange, as it appears to have darkened over the years. The MB728 Mercedes-Benz Unimog U300 was the lucky blue model. And MB61 did sport a little shade variation for us nerds.
In 2009, another basic came our way, as the MB763 MBX Moving Van sported a yellow and blue look as MB41.
A Super Convoy appeared in 2009 with the same theme, but for a while, all we had were a few Skybusters models. As I said, I don't have any of those. It took until 2019 for us to finally see another miniature sport the CarGo theme. And some may have missed it. The MB789 Skidster in yellow had the logo at the top of the MB32 that year. It was back!
The MB993 Delivery Service Truck came in the 2020 MBX Countryside 5-pack in a very familiar blue look for the theme.
Then the MB1177 '16 Ram Flatbed appeared as MB100 in the 2021 basic range in the blue look.
In 2022, the RW050 International DuraStar Box Truck appeared in the Working Rigs series in yellow, white and blue, sporting the familiar theme.
Before we got the MB813 Express Delivery sporting it in the basic range as MB89. And this new release is almost identical to the Express Delivery one. This is awesome stuff. I wonder when the Divco will get the look? Hint hint! So, yes, this eStar gets a 10 out of 10 for me. It is my favourite look so far for the casting.
Next up is the MB1210 '20 Jeep Gladiator. Now in its fourth year in the basic range (and nowhere else), this new look takes the MB41 slot for 2023.
For 2023, the model sees a simple black design. This is the first time that the basic range release is a mirror image of a real colour option on the Jeep. It sees a simple side design, showing off the Rubicon level of Gladiator, and logos, hooks and lights.
The model doesn't sport any front or rear printing. But it is fine. Jeeps are so well known, that with the casting detailing, you can tell what it is instantly. Not everything will get a front/rear print. As i mentioned, this is the first mirror image of a real look.
Because when the model debuted in the 2020 range as MB61, it was quite a lot darker than Jeep's Firecracker red look. Although it was a little closer to the launch model's look.
In 2021, it turned green. Great for shades. But MB7 wasn't quite the gecko green that Jeep were selling at the time.
2022 was pretty close to the hydro blue colour that Jeep uses. MB36 saw the same tampo design as the new one.
In fact, they all do. Which is actually something that I really like. I do enjoy when they release different colours to a model, but keep the tampo printing identical. The only change being that Rubicon is now in silver, where it was in black before. But, this is a black model. Again, it is just an alternate colour. So after 3 almost colour matches, we now have an exact colour match. Mind you, it is black. They couldn't really take that too far away. Unless they went with a metallic look. Like they did with the LEVC Taxi the other year. I'm still bitter over that. I am giving the newest Jeep a 9.5 out of 10. I love Jeeps, and you cannot go wrong with these simple designs.
Next up is the MB1294 '94 Mitsubishi 3000GT. It is in the MB68 slot for the 2023 range, and comes in a gorgeous red look.
I am not sure if the Mitsubishi logo is supposed to be orange. But usually they are red. Having a look at pictures of real ones, it appears the logo is a little darker in shade to the red of the body, and has a thin chrome edging to it, to help it stand out. Easy enough to see in real life, but shrunk down to miniature scale, impossible to replicate properly. With them coming up with orange for the indicator lights, I see it was about as good as they would likely have gone. Sure, they could have done silver? Maybe black? There were options. But whatever they chose, it would still have technically been incorrect. So, yeah, it's fine. My personal preference might have been a silver logo. But it is not important.
Doh! Blurry. The rear also utilized a little orange to help the rear light cluster stand out, but did add some silver to the detailing too. Which is another reason why I thought perhaps a touch of silver to the front might have been better. Yes, I know, it is trivial. But, if we pass on constructive criticism, perhaps they take it on board, and tweak future releases just enough to improve them. With this minor blemish, I am giving this a 9.5 out of 10. I still love it. But with that tiny little point, I felt I couldn't give it a perfect 10.
I'm bringing in the last issue in black. 2022 MB64 vs 2023 MB68. It didn't move far in the basic range. But look how red that Mitubishi logo is….
Hey, it lost the licence plate print. Right, I'm docking it another point. Ha ha! Only kidding. It's not important. I like seeing what they put on licence plates, but they are not important.
Yes. Just, yes. I love this. The MB1298 '75 Opel Kadett C Coupe. Taking the MB73 slot for the 2023 range, this model is coming in a simple orange look.
Google it. The Opel Kadett C in orange is a very well known look. It was a very popular colour choice. Sure, I don't think the real one was metallic, which the model is, but I honestly don't mind. Yes, I am weird. I get hung up over an orange logo, but metallic instead of solid orange all over? I am all in! Even I don't know how my brain works sometimes. All I know is, sometimes they can make a tweak, and it will really resonate with me. I think if they had sold it in solid orange, I think it would not have looked as nice.
For this release, the model sports a simple front and rear tampo print. Perfect. This is an easy 10 out of 10 for me. I think this is an awesome release, and even though I have absolutely loved all the ones that came before. There is something about this that just works for me.
I did say all, as even though this only debuted last year, we have seen a bunch of models. Obviously the first was the MB56 debut in the basic range. The white over yellow look was a replication of a real look, and looked fantastic. But I like this more.
This model was also given a range of Leipzig promotional release on top. 4 in total. one of these was in orange. It was the standard convention model. It was quite a lot lighter. It was also given a premium look, and saw all-round detailing. Again, awesome. But, I cannot explain it. This new one just works.
There were 3 others for the event. Yellow was the show model, and pink was the helper model. My favourite of the bunch is the green best buddy model. I love that shade of green. But, sometimes, less is more. This simple look was all I needed. Red is my favourite colour, but even a red release wouldn't outdo this one. Not that I don't want a red release. I will happily have a red one.
Because I will happily take all that they release on this one. I think it is such a fantastic casting. Each model is fantastic, and each one I would give a 10 out of 10 for. So far. This is a big favourite of mine already.
A-ha! I am getting back to the title of this week's blog. Electrifying is a word I was using to explain about the batch. As I noted, there were 6 vehicles (not including the Super Chase). And it turns out that 3 of them are electric. I showed the eStar early on, but there are 2 left to showcase. One of which is a brand new casting. The MB1356 '20 Polaris Ranger. As it states on the package. But….
If you were to check the base, you will discover it is a Polaris Ranger EV. Yes, this is an electric vehicle. It takes the MB75 slot for the 2023 range.
This is the third Polaris casting to appear as a Matchbox. Each one being quite different. The RZR and Slingshot are not the same side by side models as this, or UTVs, as these are sometimes known as. Although the RZR is a SxS, it is an off-road specialist. This is a workhorse. The Slingshot? Well, that is what it is.
This is a nice little debut. Black with simple Polaris logos on a blue/white background, and the Polaris name printed across the front.
It's a shame they didn't give this a tow hook. I would like to have seen this towing the MB829 Farm Trailer. Perhaps a modification down the line? I would not complain. It is a workhorse. Put it to work.
There have been a number of UTVs lately. The Yamaha Rhino, Kawasaki Teryx4L, and the Matchbox originals Four X Force, soming to mind. All seem to e created the same way, with the upper area simply being the bars. No windows. The Kawasaki getting a roof. But, apart from that, all follow a similar plan. So, to me, this feels very familiar.
It is nice. It is very well done. When comparing to pictures of the real one, they have captured the shape very well. Personally, I am not the biggest UTV fan. I am not overjoyed to see it. But I see it has a place. This is why I am giving it a 6 out of 10. It doesn't excite me. Opel Kedett. Yes! Polaris Ranger EV. Meh! If you are a UTV fan, this is the model for you. I do like that they come up with a wide variety of looks. I am a car lover, but I see why they create a wider net of vehicle types. They do need to appeal to more people. So I am not against it. It just didn't personally give me the same thrill as the Opel did.
And, well, it's a Tesla. We know this is an electric car. Which means, out of 6 new “proper” additions to the range in this batch, 3 of them are electric. A 50/50 split. The MB1230 Tesla Roadster takes the MB91 slot for its third outing in the basic range.
I am noticing that this is a very light silver colour. Teslas are currently known for being white, black, dark silver, blue and red. 5 choices. A light silver is not one of them. Which I like. It is a little different. I am happy to see them come up with something new.
Again, this is sporting a simple front and rear tampo print. You cannot go wrong with that, and this is another 10 out of 10 from me. As I just showcased all the Tesla Roadsters, with a Moving Parts debut in black the other month, I am not going to pull them all out for another round. We know there was the burgundy 2021 debut and dark grey 2022 release. This is the nicest of the 3 basics. Not as nice as the white promotional made of recycled materials, but still right up there. I think I am done with this batch.
Three working/off-road vehicles, including a new casting. Who would have guessed I would give the eStar a top score.
As well as 4 really cool cars (if you include the Super Chase), and each one just awesome. In fact, my only minor drop of perfect points was on the Mitsubishi's orange logo. Minor! Minor drop of perfection all round. I loved these 4 cars.
So, let's put this batch to bed, and start working on next week's report. Hmm! What shall I go with? It is my last report I write before I head to the USA. I will be attending the Gathering in New Mexico, so my convention report is coming. It may be a little late. But next week will hopefully be on time. Until then, I hope everyone has a safe and happy week.