Matchbox Monday finally finishes off 2023 with the last Convoys

Yes, these are 2023 items.  There are 2 big giveaways to that.  For starters, one of the sets has the 70th Anniversary theme to the models included.  Secondly, the packages all have the 70th Anniversary logo on them, which is something that was only done for 2023 items.  Some people are classifying them as 2024 releases due to their arrival time.  But, they are not.  They were just late.  So, I think this was worth waiting for, as we see a few brand new tools included.  So, let's get on with it. 

And first up, we get something new.  Marked down as number 2 of 10, this is the MB977 '13 Ford Cargo, mated with a brand new MBX Dump Trailer.  As we get with these sets, a miniature is also included.  For this set, we had something new.  The MB737 Quarry King.  Sweet!

As you can see, the models are sporting the new for 2023 recurring theme of MBX Construction.  This was a new design created by Michael Heralda, and this theme has rocketed out of the box with a whole range of vehicles across the basic range, twin packs, 5-packs, Working Rigs, and now Convoy.  I might need to do a rundown of all the one received so far, when the first of the 2024 issues arrive.  Something for a future blog.  For now, I am concentrating on the other vehicles.  Well, the Convoy in this case.  

Even though it is cool to see a new variation of the Quarry King.  The first new look since 2017.  I am trying to be a little more streamlined with my reports, as I am struggling for spare time to write things up.  So, Quarry King, nice, and to be honest, a 10 out of 10 for another recurring themed look, but this is about the Convoy for me.

We have the 2013 Ford Cargo making another appearance in the series.  It was in the debut 2020 year, but this is only the second time it has seen a Convoy look.  Again, a 10 out of 10.  I love recurring themes, and this batch is just loaded up with them. I tell you, this could be the coolest batch of Convoys since they first returned in 2020.  Why were they so slow in arriving?  

And of course, we get a brand new tool.  The MBX Dump Trailer.  This is a brand new creation devised by the Matchbox team, and boy have they put some thought into it.

Taking a side view shot, do you see all those little silver circles?  Well, those are points of articulation.  

At the front, we have a small black section with a hook part at the front that rotates.  This means, when it is sitting in one position, it is good to slot in the back of the truck pulling it. 

But, if you were to rotate it around, it is also angled to act as a base to the tilted dump section when you pull the section down.  

And, at the rear, the back section lifts up to offload anything that you may want to pop inside. Sand? Mud? Marbles? M&Ms? The list goes on.  I think it is a great little rear section.  A lot of thought has gone into it, and I am also going to give this a 10 out of 10.  All the parts to this set work so well together.  The matching theme.  It is an all-round great set.  This Convoy series really feels like it has come alive again.  

Of course, I had to bring in a classic to compare it to.  This is the CY-20 Kenworth and Tipper Trailer.  The MB045 Kenworth Cabover Aerodyne was attached to a number of rear ends during the original Convoy run, With the CY-20 combo arriving in 1987.  This was also a yellow release for Taylor Woodrow.  This was a real company, set up by Frank Taylor in 1921, to build 2 houses in Blackpool in England.  He didn't have the funds, so his uncle, Jack Woodrow comes on board to help fund the project.  Due to the success, they set up a partnership and in 1937, set up Taylor Woodrow Construction.  After merging with Wimpey Homes to form Taylor Wimpey, the company was then sold to the Vinci Group in 2009.  However, in a funny twist, Vinci decided to rebrand themselves as Taylor Woodrow in 2011, bringing the original name back.  

From the rear, you can see how both trailer units had the same opening style.  However, the original was imply clipped in at the edges, and it is very easy to dislodge the rear section and knock it off.  The new one is securely fastened in place.  It is much better.  

As I have noticed, the new convoy units tend to be just a little longer than classics.  This can be seen here, as the new trailer unit is a little longer than the older one.  

But, one thing the old one did have over the new one?  Just look how high it goes!  Yes, the articulation point for the tilting section was at the back.  It ran across the entire bottom section, which meant that when you wanted to tip your confetti, sprinkles, peanuts, gravel or whatever was in there out, it would not take as long.  It would be out in a fraction of the time.  I still thing the new tooling is a better one.  

Now, what about this MB977 '13 Ford Cargo?  Designed by Miguel Lopez, when he worked at Mattel, this casting first arrived in the 2015 basic range as MB3 in red.  This was shortly after Matchbox had cancelled the larger Super Convoy series, and led people to believe that the original Convoy series was returning.  It did.  It just took another 5 years to get there. 

It turned blue for the 2016 range as MB34, and returned in 2018 as a carry forward as MB37 (albeit the wheels had turned more dull grey than chrome (I forgot to picture that bit).  

It then saw a final basic range outing as MB28 in white for the 2019 range before being dropped.  

However, it was then that the casting saw a slight modification to the rear to enlarge the opening for trailer, and alter the spare wheel on the back to one that matches the new Convoy wheel that was being used for the 2020 launch of the new Convoy series.  It was number 4 of 8 with a logger bed trailer.  It did carry forward to both 2021 and 2022 ranges unchanged before getting only its second look for Convoy in 2023.  

So, as you can see, the casting has not exactly had a lot of action.  I hope to see more Convoy outings for this little guy.  And more of that new MBX Dump Trailer.  

I feel bad for the Quarry King.  Here we go, a few close-ups of the latest release. 

It has the moving dump at the front that lifts up.  It is not exactly easy to tip into the trailer section, but I am sure kids imagine these can hover....

Next up, I think this one has proven to be quite popular.  The number 4 of 8 MB1150 MBX Cabover and MBX Box Trailer in the 2023 1-off look for the 70th Anniversary, along with the MB765 '64 Austin Mini Cooper 1275S in matching livery.  Again, this is all exclusive to the set.  No duplication for the added miniature.  Superb!

This is the 4th outing for this cab, and the second in this specific combo with the MBX Box Trailer.  

And, of course, we get our latest incarnation of the little Mini.  This one can keep plugging away for many more years and still not get boring. 

A close up of the MBX Cabover.  As is the norm for this casting, the front end gets a nice detail and the sides sport what appears to be a Union Jack until you look closer, as the orange style Matchbox logo that had adorned the Double Decker promotional issue earlier in the year.  I have enjoyed the 70th Anniversary stuff.  They have been very classy.  

Again, the "almost" Union Jack adorns the side, leading to a lovely stripe effect.  Of course the Union Jack would be red and blue colours on the white background, but this is the 70th Anniversary orange and black.  A clever nod to the roots of the brand, but still keeping it within their 70th Anniversary parameters.  I think this is a great way to blend the 2 parts together, and the MBX Movers just feels right.  Nostalgia and modern blended together.  This is a fantastic way to cap the year off.  I applaud the team for this, and of course have to award this a perfect 10 out of 10 as well.

And is this MB765 '64 Austin Mini 1275S just the icing on the cake?  Again, the orange and black in place of the red and blue works very well on the roof print.  

A perfect blend of nostalgia and still keeping it fresh and exciting.  I absolutely love this model.  It is one of the best Minis they have done.  Again, a perfect 10 from me.  But, this does mean that the 70th Anniversary theme is officially over.  It is not going to recur into future issues.  There will never again be a 70th Anniversary.  Of course the next biggie will be 75.  With Matchbox traditionally having a 1-75 series, and the current team liking nods to the past, I can see many ideas in my head floating about for 75th Anniversary items.  And looks.  Of course, with the anniversary being diamond again, (the 60th was a diamond one too), I can see thoughts for colours, and ideas for how they incorporate some design elements into the models.  But, that is still 4 years away (we are now on year 71).  I am already thinking of the 80th Anniversary (oak) and how all the models will sport a wood panel side design. Ha ha! Only kidding.  But, as this theme is now done, I am going to recap them all for a final reminder of what they did.  

For starters, we had 7 issues in the basic range.  The most common country was the USA, as 3 of the 7 models originated from there.  The MB1291 '66 Dodge Charger, MB1295 '22 Ford F-150 Lightning and MB821 Ford Taurus Police Interceptor.

We also had another Brit.  This was also a debut, as the MB1351 Morris Minor Saloon arrived in 70th garb.  It also was one that required doubling up, as both LHD and RHD versions exist.  

We also had 3 further issues.  From Germany the MB1185 '85 Porsche 911 Rally, from Japan the MB1229 '94 Lexus LS400 and from the minds of the Matchbox team (could you therefore call it another American?) the MB1243 MBX Field Car.  

Of course, if you were to head to Walmart in the USA (and other select stores in various other countries), you might have found a series of 5 exclusive.  The MB671 '05 Ford GT, MB1211 Bugatti Divo, MB1220 '62 Mercedes-Benz 220SE Rally, MB1182 '18 Jeep JL 4-door and MB1003 Freightliner Business Class M2 106.  

As we look at Moving Parts, there was another 5 to be found.  The MB1306 '19 Ford Mustang Convertible, MB1267 '64 Chevy C10 Longbed, MB1315 Seagrave Fire Truck, MB1322 '61 Jeep FC-170 and the MB1333 '56 Morris Minor 1000 Touring.  Again, the Morris Minor is a dual issue, with both LHD and RHD configurations to be found.  

Then there was the special set for Moving Parts.  I don't know why they didn't do the Walmart 5 like this.  The Moving Parts specials were orange instead of platinum.  We had the MB1328 '20 Chevy Corvette, MB1152 '80 Porsche 911 Turbo, MB1310 '19 Ram Ambulance, MB1307 GMC Hummer EV and MB1309 '21 Mazda MX-30 in this set.  Again, one was a doubled up model.  The Mazda has either luggage or a dog in the back.  

Then there was batch B of the Collectors series.  These models had a matte finish instead of the standard gloss finish.  They chose a model from each decade for the set, and the first 2 were brand new and the first of what is being dubbed the "premium only" castings.  This is because both the MB1406 '54 Jaguar D-type ('50s) and MB1407 Porsche 910 ('60s) were created with a metal body and metal base.  Usually a casting will have one of those sections in plastic.  But these are specifically being created to only be used in premium ranges and releases.  This means neither of these will be seen in the basic range.  

Then we saw a further 5 for the next 5 decades.  The MB1213 '71 MGB GT coupe ('70s), MB805 '85 Toyota 4Runner ('80s), MB969 '93 Ford Mustang LX SSP ('90s), MB696 Audi RS6 Avant ('00s) and MB1056 Mercedes-Benz AMG G63 6x6 ('10s) completed the set. 

Later in the year, these models were bundled in a special box along with an exclusive MB1258 Nissan NISMO GT-R (R35) ('20s) completing the series of decades.  

And, as I noted, the MB694 Double Decker was also made available, either through a promotional mail-away scheme in some countries, or if you lived in Germany, you could walk into a store and buy one.  Sadly, I lived in the UK, and this didn't really feel British enough for them.  So we never got it.  

Then, outside of the miniatures, along with the Convoy, we saw the RW003 Pierce Quantum Aerial Ladder Truck in the Working Rigs series get the platinum look.  I should also note that there is a Skybusters as well.  The SB-155 MBX 6-2 Airliner was given the platinum look on top of these (get it, on top, it is a plane?)  Ah, forget it.  As did I.  I don't collect Skybusters, so I never got it.  

This is quite the group.  Of course, some people may be wondering about a certain MBX City Drivers II 5-pack.  This was a special set, and was a retro themed set reminiscent of one of the ones from the 1993 debut of the 5-pack series.  Although the models were given a platinum look (the originals were white), they were given a retro side design that closely matched the original 1993 set.  I know, the original marketing materials showed these models included in the promo material, I just felt they were 70th adjacent.  Close, but not quite.  So I left them out.  I feel happy about that.  And this will likely be the last time I put all of these together for one group shot. 

The last new pack is numbered 8 of 10, and features another recurring theme.  INC appears on the MB1285 '65 Ford C900 and MBX Gravel Trailer combo, with a matching MB1176 MBX Backhoe being thrown in for good measure.  

Finally, the Ford C900 gets to tow something.  Something new as well.  

And I will come back to that Backhoe, as this is not exclusive.  

But first, let us have a look at the new stuff.  The Ford looks fantastic in the INC livery.  Again, as we are used to on Convoy cabs, the front and sides get the tampo detailing.  I cannot fault a recurring theme.  You know what I am going to say.  10 out of 10.  

But, we also get this new rear section.  Technically, it is not exactly new.  For those who know their history, Matchbox had a series called Super Convoy in the late 2000s which ran until the early 2010s.  Many of the items we see in the current range have actually been shrunk from the original Super Convoy castings to fit better in miniature.  In fact, the Ford C900 itself was one of these shrunk items.  Funnily enough, when it launched in 2011, it was mated to a Hopper Trailer.  

This is what has been used to begin with, then shrunk down to a smaller scale to fit the new series.  I am fine with that.  It is still new to me (I never got Super Convoy).  The 2 hopper trays are also cool for loading what you want into.

Because if you look at the bottom of them, yes you might see a split. 

And you can open them down to let the items inside out.  Whether it be glitter, rice, iron filings, sawdust, or whatever you put in there.  I think it is great, and I feel it was a great idea to shrink that original one down.  10 out of 10.  Yes, it appears I am doing a lot of 10 out of 10s.  Well, that stops now.  

As I sort of feel a little let down by this.  The MB1176 MBX Backhoe.  Obviously, the theme fits.  It is an INC design.  A good companion.  But, not great.  

Why?  Well, it is not exclusive.  After having 2 sets with all unique vehicles in them, I was really getting into it.  But this has been seen before.  

Bam!  One 2020 basic range issue. Yep, this is a carry forward.  I know, I know, most sets until now had sported carry forwards in the sets.  But, I was starting to admire that we were getting a number of exclusive models in these sets.  This does feel a little bit of a let down.  Not a major one.  I mean, it matches.  But, they have a variety of INC models to choose from.  If they had to carry one forward for budget reasons, they could have dived further back. This series has been around for over a decade, and there are a lot of older vehicles that could have been utilised rather than one from only a few years prior. I have often stated I like a carry forward to be at least 5 years old, as kids tend to cycle through collecting toy cars roughly every 5 years or so.  

Well, I am going to keep it.  Comparing the 2, I do see a small shade.  I was expecting the yellow plastic to have been the most likely to vary, but it turns out the blue is a little different on the new one.  Enough to keep, but still only a 5 out of 10 for inclusion.  I still would have wanted them to dive further back.  

But, talking of dive backs, let's do one more.  This casting debuted in the 2019 basic range in white.  Not RANEC white, just white with black and orange tampo.  

After the 2020 release in INC livery, we saw a yellow look in the 2021 range.  

Then for 2022, it was given a National Parks livery.  I do like the recurring themes. Talking of which....

The 2023 basic range release was another of the MBX Construction models.

Which brings us full circle around to the first pack again.  Oh, I love this sort of stuff.  Have I mentioned that at all?  Ha ha!

But, before I finish, there is one more set.  One that is perhaps forgotten a little.  This is the MB1026 LoneStar Semi and MBX Rocket Transporter set along with MB813 Express Delivery.  Although marketed as a 70th Anniversary set, it has no number.  A little odd.  There were 10 sets supposedly planned for 2023, and numbers 1, 5 and 6 never appeared.  Is this one of those?  We had 2 carry forwards in the first batch, numbered 9 and 10.  So, it is not down to being a carry forward.  Very strange.

This is the second time that the 2020 set has carried forward.  It was also included in the 2022 series.  Sadly, I have never seen any sort of variation in these.  I am still awaiting a NASA release.  Surely they must be able to get one.  They do deal with NASA for some items, and I would love a NASA rocket again.  Failing that, would they be able to utilise the SpaceX series for something?  As it is unnumbered, I am also giving it no number.  A 0 out of 10.  Boring.  I want something new from this rocket.  

And with that, I think I am done for another report.  A few cool new basics to add to the collection.

And if you take the trailers away, aren't the cabs just more basics as well?  Ha ha!

So, with that, I can officially say 2023 is over.  Time to move.... Hmm!  Next week, I am trying something just a little different.  For those who have been reading my blogs for a while, it may seem familiar.  I am trying it, and if it appears that people like it, I will do it again.  Until then, I hope everybody has a safe and happy week.

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