Matchbox Monday flips out over the F batch Moving Parts

With this batch, I am three quarters of the way through the Moving Parts series for 2023.  The majority of these were sent over to me by Wheel Collectors.  Sadly, they did not luck out with regard to the chase model.  So I headed out and secured an example from elsewhere (cough, eBay).  Well, I am a bit of a completist.  I do like trying to get everything.  If I can. As with many people, there may be financial constraints stopping me getting some things.  

So, without further ado, let's get on with the models, which begins with some new castings.  This is because I am doing these in number order, and Mattel have a habit of simply putting all the new castings down in the first slots, before filling up the rest with older castings.  They don't do that with the basic range.  Just Moving Parts.  I wonder if it will continue into 2024? The first new casting is the MB1374 '57 Ford Country Sedan.  It takes the number 7 slot in the series of 54.

It sounds weird calling this a sedan, as it is clearly a wagon.  But, this is correct.  Ford marketed the real vehicle as a Country Sedan between 1952 and 1974.  23 years!  It was a mid-range wagon in their range.  The top of the range Country Squire was notable for having a wood panel side.  It is nice to see they didn't go with the top of the range, and went with the mid range.  The reason?  Abe Lugo, over at Matchbox, he owns this one.  In this colour!  It was inevitable that we would end up seeing a miniature version of it.  You can also tell it is a 1957 due to the single headlight.  The real vehicle ran for 3 years, but after the 1957 launch, in 1958 they doubled the headlights.

Now, obviously, with the real vehicle being so easily accessible for them to replicate, you know they would get this done perfectly.  It shows.  This is fantastically recreated in miniature.  It looks absolutely stunning.  The shape of the real vehicle has been captured so well.

And I would assume that this is a spot-on recreation of the real engine.  I love how they decided to go with the opening hood, and not the more logical opening rear.  Especially as the hood opens forward.  

I do notice that the opening hood can be a little fiddly to open, although if you flip the car upside down, it falls open easily enough.  Not enough to quibble about.   

Because when it is closed, it aligns very well with the rest of the model.  

And you know what I absolutely love about Moving Parts.  They do have a small amount of margin with the production method to still create models the “slightly” older way, where a model can be slotted into place.  Pretty much all basics have now moved over to the “drop” method of production.  This means you start with the body (upside down), and literally drop all the parts on to the model, rivet it together and move on to the next one.  It is the fastest and most efficient method of production, but it does mean that rivet posts are often noticeable inside a model. Wagons are very noticeable with this method.  But, Moving Parts can still avoid the drop method, as they have just that fractional budget excess to allow models to still see a slot in process, and avoid the rivet post.  This model has been slotted in at the back.  The rear still rivets to the base, but the window and interior parts were slotted in first.  It is a small, but important difference.  This is why I see the Moving Parts range as the superior range within the Matchbox portfolio.  Plus, have you seen a Matchbox original casting in Moving Parts yet? Nope! Every single model is licensed.  I do look forward in general to moving parts more than basics.  You will get some basic corkers, but as a whole, this is a better range.  And this, well, it is proof of that. 

I have to say, I have no choice but to give this a perfect 10.  The final look is fantastic.  Well, it should be, it is Abe's car.  Down to the colour. I cannot fault it in any way.   

Being a new casting, I will finish off with a base shot.

The second of three new castings is the MB1377 Jeep Gladiator. This is in the number 10 slot for 2023.

This is the second time that they have released a current generation Jeep Gladiator casting, and this is definitely superior.  Not just because of the opening part, but because it does look more normal.  The other was in the basic range, and has what Jeep will sell it as, no proper roof or doors.  It does look a little weird like it.  In real life, I can see it being fun.  But on a model, the lack of all the parts did feel a little strange to me.  I wanted one with everything in place. And I got it!

Unfortunately, there are a few flaws with it.  You can see in this picture that the hood doesn't want to sit flat.  It sticks up fractionally.  Plus, the colour match was not great between hood and body.  The hood is a lighter shade.  This is one of the inherent issues we do get with moving parts, as they paint the different parts at different times.  Then, when they put them together, you notice they are slightly out.  It is a shame, and it can be quite noticeable.  

Which is a shame, as the casting itself is very well crafted.  I do not see any flaws with the body, and the engine looks bone fide under that hood.  

The model sports all round tampo printing.  The front grille and lights were detailed.  The engine bay was detailed.  The hood had Rubicon added.  The rear lights are tampo printed.  

You can see here that the door handles are depicted.  It is a small, but noticeable detail. Again, this is that little extra that they can afford to squeeze in on a Moving Parts model.  I do notice these small things, don't I. I think they are important.  They could leave certain parts blank, as we are used to them being black on basics.  But, they are able to squeeze in a little extra, so they do.  I think it is worth applauding.  

Another new casting, so another base shot.  Score?  I am going to give this a 9.5.  The drop-off is down to the hood opening.  But it is a minor thing. Apart from that, it was fantastic!  

And the best part?  Shades!  Yes, I found that the red on the body is also good for a shade.  The lighter one is closer to the hood, but still fractionally darker.  

Before I move on to the last of the new castings, I should bring out the basic version of this casting.  The MB1210 Jeep Gladiator debuted in the basic range in 2020, and a very similar red was the debut look then.  So, I think it is good for a comparison.  

I am very happy to see that they have kept the size of the vehicle consistent.  They are the same length and width, and for the most part, the parts have been assembled in the same way.  You can see that, with the original never seeing front printing (to date), the tampo does make a difference.  But, looking closer at the casting, I do prefer the chunky wing mirrors.  They are so small on the original.  

It's tougher to gauge the sides. Obviously, the original is missing doors and roof.  As I said, this is a genuine Jeep option (in the USA, some countries do not allow this setup).  Having doors and roof really improves the model in my opinion.  

And, you might miss this, the drop method does play a part here as well. For the basic, the rear body section gets extended inward into the rear bed, to allow the drop method to work.  But, with the Moving Parts version, they are still able to slide the interior in and over the rear rivet, giving us a perfectly filled rear bed in one piece.  Again, it is a fractionally slower method, and when you are making hundreds of thousands in one go, fractions of second very quickly add up into minutes and hours.  But, the budget is not as limited in this range, and they can still afford that small chance to do things the preferred way.  

Time for the final new casting.  The MB1378 '88 Mazda RX-7 Convertible.  It takes the number 11 slot in the series.  

I am very happy seeing this.  Growing up, I still remember the first time I saw a Mazda RX-7 from Matchbox.  I was on holiday with my parents for Easter 1983.  We had a tradition that for Easter, our family, and my dad's older brother and his wife, would drive to a seaside town in the UK called Mablethorpe.  We both had caravans, would stay for a long weekend at a caravan park right by the sea.  It was easy to take a walk over the road and be on the beach.  But, we would also take a walk up, what felt like a mile long street, to the shops.  There would be a load of random stores selling silly things, seaside things etc.  But, I still remember when we went into one of the stores, it was the first time I saw Matchbox in blue window boxes.  Until then, they had either been on long card or in picture boxes.  I was only 10, so didn't know all the behind the scenes issues with Lesney going bust and Universal taking over.  At first, I was confused over what I saw.  But, I noticed various models I recognized.  Among them were 2 models I talked my parents into getting to me.  Again, 10, I was too young to buy my own.  This is because both were new castings, and I thought they were so cool. One was the Datsun 280ZX and the other was the Mazda RX-7.  The Datsun I sort of guessed was a new incarnation of the older 260Z I had.  The Mazda?  I had not heard of it at the time.  I later did a little research about out (at libraries etc, this was pre-internet), and was fascinated by this car.  I later got the IMSA version that they released that year.  As I got older, I discovered there was an earlier Japanese made Savanna RX-7, which I tracked down.  And when Matchbox released a 3rd generation RX-7 in 1994, I was sort of happy.  I mean, the look was not the best (it was in the Tyco era and the end design was awful), and I was sad they had skipped the 2nd generation.  

But this? It's a second generation RX-7!  Yes, finally!  The 2nd gen was launched in 1985, but a convertible was not added until late 1987 as a 1988 model.  When they launched it in the USA, James Garner was used to promote it in a brown RX-7 Convertible (hint to Matchbox if they are reading, I would love that brown one to appear).  They only made 22,000 convertibles.  It was not as popular as the hardtop.  But I don't care.  I am happy either way, and why not go with the convertible to be different?  Turbos have a scoop on the hood.  This doesn't, so is a naturally aspirated model. Again, that is fine.  They don't need to do turbos all the time.  Just like with the Ford Country Squire, I like that they don't just look at top of the range vehicles.  In this picture, the front does look a little crude.  I think it is more of a quirk with the picture I took.  Because I don't see it on the model in hand.  

Because, yet again, we have an opening hood.  All 3 new castings in this batch have the same opening feature.  It is just the way things turned out.  As they prepare the year, occasionally models get nudged into alternate batches as they finalize things.  It is just a coincidence that as this batch was ready for production, we ended up with 3 newbies that have the same feature.  But, again, a small thing.  This is as far as the hood opens.  Not very far.  I was expecting it to go much higher.  Partly from seeing the picture on the blister, and partly from owning a Honda S2000, which opens much further.  Is it really a bad thing? Unexpected in a way.  But is it worth knocking points off for it? 

Because, to me, everything else was fantastic.  Again, this model is sporting a wraparound print.  Front is detailed, as is the engine. I love the rear end with the Rotary 88 licence plate. After all, this has a Wankel rotary engine in there.  

And we are seeing a lovely pin stripe down the sides, complete with lights at either end.  It is really well executed in its final design.  But that hood is bugging me.  I just feel it should have been able to open higher.  So, again, a minor quirk.

But this may just be me being me.  I am going to be cruel.  A quarter point deduction.  9.75 out of 10.  All 3 new castings were absolutely fantastic new castings.  However, each one does get a really scrutinized look over, and if one gives me a minor flaw in the way they were built, I have to knock something off.  Beyond that, every model looked fantastic.  

Base shot.  I do love this.  I just wish that hood would open up more.

So, with all the new castings done and dusted, let's move on to those we have seen before, and are getting new looks.  First up is the MB1254 '50 Chevy Suburban.  It takes the number 24 slot for 2023.  

This release comes in a simple dark metallic green look, with black runners.  It looks fairly close to Forester Green, an official Chevy 1950 Truck colour.  It does look nice here, as I do enjoy the simple detailed looks.  As you can see, the front of the hood has a tampo print, and the lights are depicted on the runners.  This would be as a different tampo hit.  2 different parts involved.

The rear gets a very simple detail.  Just a little silver depicted.  No lights.  Mind you, where are the lights? I have not noticed before.  Shouldn't there be some sort of depiction of lights somewhere?  It almost looks naked without them!  Ha ha!  From what I can tell, that ring above the 1950 plate is the rear light.  A very novel rear end.  

And what’s this?  An opening hood?  I would never have guessed, after nothing but opening hoods so far.  It is detailed inside.  I like this. And what I like more?

Yet more shades!  I have 3, although when you put all 3 side by side, the camera does sort of wash out the changes a bit.

But, if I put the lightest and darkest side by side, you do notice that.  I enjoy this part of things.  I am a little crazy like that. 

As we know, this model has been with is since 2021.  It debuted in the Moving Parts series as number 11 that year in the awesome National Parks theme.  Fantastic!

In 2022, it was number 46 in the Camp Arrow Flint recurring theme.  Again, awesome!

We also saw a second release later in the year.  Now in the number 28 slot, this was the first of the simple front and rear detailing models.  That one was red, with this green following the exact tampo scheme.  Again, something I love seeing.  

So, after 2 recurring themes and 2 simple front/rear detailed models, I wonder if we will see something a little unique for its next outing?  Only time will tell. For this one, I am giving it a 10.  I love the look.  

This is one of my current favourite castings.  I am seriously going to lap up every release of the MB1317 '21 Ford Bronco 2-door they put out.  This one takes the number 33 slot for 2023 in blue.

I am going to put this out there straight away.  10?  Not quite!  9.75. Why? It is down to the age-old issue with getting parts to match. Those doors are a different shade to the rest?  I love this blue.  The simple front and rear detailing is absolutely fantastic.  

Mind you, the door on the other side does match? Screw it!  10 out of 10.  I didn't want to drop marks for it, and if it is just the one door being slightly out, I am not going to kick up a fuss.  This model is just so adorable, and was definitely one of the ones I was most anticipating.  

I think the gold wheels suit it so well.  And, can I just point out…. Doors opening!  The first one of the batch that didn't show off the engine.  I am loving this.  I would say it is actually my favourite out of the batch.  Just outdoing the Country Sedan and RX-7.  

And, I am very happy to report that I found a shade again.  I was determined.  I tried with last year's orange, as I was sure I would get a shade on that.  But, I never found one.  

So it is still just the one of those 2022 number 11s in my collection.  Just like with this one, I do notice the door issue.  It is something I do wish they could work on more, but I know this is all down to them being so quickly produced, it is not easy to stop and sit down, trying to match up body parts.  Sometimes they will match, others you will see differences.  

If you remember, we also saw a Collectors release in the debut year.  That one was black, no worries with colour matching body parts.  It sported some additional details over and above what we have seen on the orange and blue (that match each other perfectly in that respect).

Up to 3 so far, I hope we get many, MANY more of these over coming years.  Because it is a lovely model, and if they continue cranking them out like this, I will continue to grab as many as I can. 

Next up is the MB1306 '19 Ford Mustang GT Convertible.  It takes the number 40 slot in the series, and is another in the Platinum club.  We have seen many of these 70th Anniversary models this year, and I am thoroughly enjoying them.  Did you notice they all have platinum topped cards?

Not that I really care.  After all, the package for this was sent to the local recycling centre and has likely been turned into something completely different now.  I just have the model.  Daft fact.  This is the only model that has appeared in the Matchbox ranges alongside a Super Chase.  Through both Moving Parts and basics, all Super Chases, apart from the ‘19 Mustang Convertible, have not been included in a general release as well.  Of course, they could have gone with another model instead (cough, MB1193 ’74 Dodge Challenger gone AWOL), but I do like this model, so am happy to see it again.  Especially in the 70th look.  

It saw the black and orange detailing as a centre stripe going over the top.  I love it.  We saw additional front and rear detailing alongside.  I have been enjoying these 70th Anniversary platinum releases, and this seriously impresses me.  I think it is my favourite one released to date.  So, it is hardly surprising that I am giving this a 10 out of 10.

Doors!  We are seeing more in the way of door openings now.  The first half were opening hoods, the second half are opening doors.  That is funny.  Again, a pure coincidence.  It's just the way it went this batch. 

This model has not been with us long.  In fact, it only debuted later in 2022 in a dark red.  

And, as I mentioned, was also a Super Chase earlier this year in the Moving Parts series, getting an upgraded look with real riders, making it look a lot like the 2022 Collectors Ford Bronco (just seen above).  

3 releases in, and 3 fantastic looks.  I have been loving this as well.  It is a deserving 10 from me. 

The MB1326 '80 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL is up next.  Taking the number 42 slot in 2023, we see this model going its own way in green.  

If you remember, last year this model debuted in blue, paying homage to a classic Lesney 450SEL from 1979.  That was only ever sold in blue, before being modified into a taxi, then a police car.  So, unless they went with a modification again, this was always going to forge its own path after the debut.  

It looks very nice in this green hue.  I had a look at Mercedes-Benz colour options of the era, and I don't think it quite matches any.  It is fairly close to Cypress Green.  But not the same.  Again, we have a simple front and rear tampo print to the model.  I don't think you can go wrong with it.  The doors are a very good match this time.  I have not noticed any that stick out in an odd hue.  We have another winner!

So, this is another model that gets a 10 out of 10 for the end result.  I cannot fault it.  Terrific work by the Matchbox guys on this one.  

Hee hee!  2 different shades of green.  I had to.  I saw it, I went for it.  

This is a great contemporary to last year's blue debut.  Especially down to the matching tampos.

Except in one small area.  After a simple Mercedes-Benz licence plate on the back of the debut, they are having a bit more fun with this year's model.  I think it is great, and will be looking to see what they put on future releases.  

Now, this brings me to the 8th, and officially, final model in the batch.  This is what was sent to me by Wheel Collectors.  A box of 8 models, 1 of each of these 8 castings.  Because Moving Parts get shipped out in boxes of 8.  

It is the welcome return of the MB1149 ‘83 Buick Riviera Convertible.  We haven’t seen it in a few years.  It is in the number 45 slot in the series, and comes in a lovely metallic tan.  I believe Buick calls this Gold Firemist.  It is a lovely shade of metallic paint, and I see the doors do match pretty well this time.  Sometimes it works well, other times we do get mismatched parts.  

I have to admit.  Tampo-wise, this does feel a little lean.  The front end is part of the base, and is simply a chromed front.  We get a little side silver pin striping.  And that's it.  There are a couple of lights depicted in the lower stripe at either end, but they are barely noticeable.  I know that the doors and rest of the body get printed separately, but I still feel this deserves more.  The rear end is blank.  A little detailing could go a long way.  What about the tonneau cover? It does look a little plain with no detailing.  It just feels a little too plain.  Especially as the silver pin striping doesn't exactly pop against this particular background.  

This has been an issue since the model first debuted.  But with the silver pin striping standing out more on previous releases, it wasn't quite as noticeable.  

This is the debut release from the inaugural Moving Parts series in 2019.  It came in a lovely dark red, and the silver popped on the side.  No other printing again (not even a chrome base), but it didn't exactly feel plain.  

And, as I said, we haven't seen the model in a while, because this is the only other release.  It came in an off-white in the 2020 Moving Parts series.  Again, it sported the same tampo.  Something I usually like.  But, with the gorgeous red interior and the silver popping against the white background,  I didn't find it too bland.  

So, although I am so happy to see this return after a 2-year hiatus, I am sad to say this is the least appealing look to date.  Even the chrome doesn't help it.  A bit of a disappointment in my eyes. Therefore, I am going to be cruel and score this a 6 out of 10.  I want to see more of this casting.  I do like it.  But I want a chance for either more tampo printing, or at least a colour that the silver we have pops against. Mind you, have you seen what colours the Riviera Convertible was available in for 1983?  Red or white? We are already in non-canon colours, as Gold Firemist wasn't used on the Convertible.  This may be why it was not used for a few years.  Talking Buick into using non-stock colours.  Which does mean anything we see from now on will be unique to the Matchbox model.  I hope we see more.  I want to see it again. 

But, do you know what I want to see even more importantly?  Bigger assortments!  Why? Well, Moving Parts come in assortments of 8.  Why so small?  Basics are in 24s.  These should be in assortments of 12, at least.  Because, with this batch, we had 1 of each of the models in the set of 8.  But….

This batch had a chase. The MB1138 ‘64 Pontiac Grand Prix in orange.  But that is a 9th model.  In an assortment of 8.  This means that they had to remove one of the models in the assortment to accommodate this one in the boxes it was slotted into.  This means that 1 of the others (I don’t actually know, in this case, which it was).  Which means that 1 of the 8 was, in essence, a sort of mini chase.  Because you might not have had it.  In fact, this batch is not even the worst of the year.  Wait until the last batch!  To me, this is proof that the 8-model batch assortment for these is too low.  12!  Minimum! You have 6 in a batch?  That's easy.  Each one is doubled up.  More models in a batch, and some get 1 per box.  But, we will still get all the models.  Getting a box and knowing you will not have all models is pretty bad.  Wondering if you get a chase is one thing? Hype?  Success or no.  But, when you are coming into it knowing you will be missing at least one model, I think that is poor planning.  Of course, this is likely down to models being delayed due to licensors not signing off in time,  which is something we are not privy to behind the scenes.  It can be a headache for the Matchbox team.  But this range is now up to 54.  Released over 8 batches, that is an almost 7-per-box average.  That is not giving much wiggle room.  Hence, the need to increase the amount of models in an assortment from 8 to 12.   Or at least 10.  Mind you, I want this range to continue growing.  I see this as being a perfect range to try to get to the classic Matchbox 1-75 assortment.  How cool would that be?  It needs to expand.  And those assortment sizes are the first thing to enlarge!

So, what of the model itself.  Getting back on track.  Being a chase, it is sporting one of the last 4 numbers in the range.  This one being number 53.  It comes in orange, and this appears to be the first time that we have seen it sport additional tampo printing over and above the bare minimum. But even that is not a lot.  A little silver stripe, a GP and 70th Anniversary logo.  Tasteful.  

It has Grand Prix tampo printed across the rear.  Nothing on the chrome.  

It's a similar story to the front.  The Pontiac badge is depicted, but that is all.  With the lights also being a part of the base section, and the chrome seeing no detailing, it does leave quite a plain front end.  But, with the colour break, it is not as noticeable as on the Buick Riviera's rear.  

The doors have been left without a tampo print.  I am not sure if it is fine or not.  The way they did the silver stripe, breaking up as it goes forward, it does sort of work.  So, for that, I am not going to score it down.  

But what I am scoring down for is the fact that nobody is fixing these doors.  They are such a poor fitting.  It is getting quite embarrassing now, as this is a hyped up chase model, and yet we are running around trying to grab a model with doors that could fall off at any moment.  This really needs addressing.  I would say that out of all the Moving Parts castings that Matchbox have built up in their database now, this is the worst execution of them all.  Somebody should spend some time tidying up this tooling, as I don't want the model to go. I just want it in decent condition.    

It has been noticeable almost since day one.  It debuted in the Moving Parts series in both purple and blue in 2019.  Part of the inaugural series.  

2020 saw the blue 2019 Moving Parts issue return for another outing.  But we also saw the first premium, as it was included in the 2020 Superfast series in dark red.  I noticed then that doors were starting to get wobbly. 

For 2021, it was included in the Collectors series in white, and although we did see some tampo printing on the chrome, and still a simple side design, those doors were getting worse. 

And for 2022, another Moving Parts release in brown, and by now, those wonky doors were awful.  They seriously need addressing. It is the main thing that is letting the model down.  It is a great model for inclusion in the range, but the casting is in need of an overhaul to make it seem fresh again.  

We may be up to 6 releases, twice as many as the Riviera Convertible that debuted at the same time.  But, I feel that, if those doors get fixed, this can last for a while yet.  I am not tired of seeing the model.  Just tired of those doors!  And for that, I am scoring this a 5 out of 10.  The look is fine, although as a chase, I thought maybe a little more front and rear detailing.  But that casting is one of the biggest let-downs in the entire Matchbox portfolio at the moment. Until it is fixed, I cannot justify a higher score.  

And on that note, I am done for yet another report.  Three new castings this time out. 2 of which were of US vehicles, alongside a Japanese model.

We also saw a classic and a modern US SUV/truck style vehicle.

As well as a modern and classic US style convertible.  

And 2 other sedans.  1 a US model, the other German. Out of 9 (in the box of 8, I am stopping with that moan now), we got 7 US vehicles, 1 Japanese and 1 German.  That is a very high US percentage.  I would like to see more country variety.  

That's not a slight on US vehicles.  I love them.  Mustangs and Camaros in particular.  As well as Jeeps and Broncos.  But, I do worry things are a little US-heavy in general. I have heard they are looking at swaying the balance away a bit.  2024 does see more non-US vehicles being added, as they are looking at addressing the imbalance.  It is not a major thing, but when they are trying to market the range worldwide, things work better when there is a more worldwide feel to things.  But, that aside, I hope you enjoyed my latest ramblings.  Next week I look at more basics again, as I am ¾ of the way through these, but only ⅔ of the way through basics.  So, I need to get on with those.  Until then, I hope you all have a safe and happy week.

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