It's quite funny. As we know, nowadays with the Matchbox basic range, when a new batch arrives, we continue to receive models from the previous batch alongside. But when you pull out the new stuff, they do appear to be quite bland in their colour choices. This is a lot of blue, yellow and black. Along with a platinum. But, that is because I have isolated these out. If we were to mix in batch F alongside them, we do get a much broader range of colours. As is often the case, I was sent these by Wheel Collectors to preview. Again, I am still a little bit behind. But I think I am sort of doing okay, and will continue to run a few months behind. Looking at what is left for 2023, there is a lot of basics and Moving Parts. Apart from those, I have done most of the alternate items, and I think for a short while, it will be basics, Moving, something else, and back to basics again. So they will catch up naturally. This batch itself is quite small. Only 6 new additions. Which, as I keep tabs on things, out of 100 (well 99, as one didn't make it in time), this will bring us up to 51 released so far. We will be seeing a few larger batches as the year ends. Especially the last one! Yikes. Spoiler alert. It is double the size, and gets an additional Target model. But for now, let us dig into this smaller group.
I will be doing these in number order again, and that means I begin with the MB1179 '16 Ford Interceptor Utility. Spoiler alert number 2, this is one of 3 models in the series that will appear twice. The other of this will be in the final batch. This one takes the MB24 slot in the series in black.
This is a lovely looking model. Especially down to the fact that this is a real one.
This is because they have recreated the vehicle that the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department in Idaho use. As such, they have devoted their tampo resources to getting the side detailing correct. It is a basic issue, so with 2 passes through the tampo machine being the norm, this is as much as they can do. Which is fine for me. I think it looks amazing.
When viewing this from the side, I cannot fault it. So, for me, this is a 10 out of 10. I love getting real licences obtained for police (well, all emergency vehicle) liveries. I think they went the right way with the wheel chroming as well. They could have just left the middle dot, but decided to hot foil print the inner ring of the disk wheel. I think they suit the models well. Especially in this case. And you know what is even better?
A recurring theme. It took them a few years. This is because the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department signed off on this MB689 ‘06 Ford Crown Victoria back in the 2015 Supreme Heroes series. 8 years ago! I hope we don’t have to wait another 8 years for another. Mind you, there are not many police vehicles in the range. A new Interceptor is coming for 2024, which is logical. This vehicle appears to be the go-to choice for USA police and Sheriff departments. But there are others. Obviously, we have the Dodge Charger and Ram 1500. But there are others. The new 2024 Chevy Blazer is getting a police pursuit vehicle. The Blazer EV SS PPV. I think that should be looked at for future casting.
Although, I don't know if Kootenai County will be using it. I do feel the police/fire chief type vehicle presence in the Matchbox range has dwindled a little bit. I would like to see a few more added. Classics as well.
Not that I want to get rid of the cars. They are my most enjoyable part of the collection. Especially the cool ones. Like a Camaro! I do love the Chevy Camaro, and the MB1036 '16 Chevy Camaro Convertible makes a welcome return to the basic range. After 2 years upon launch, it vanished, saw a few 5-pack outings and side issues, but this is the first basic outing for 5 years! It takes the MB33 slot in yellow.
As much as police vehicle and utility vehicles work best with the sides being detailed on the core range models, when it comes to cars, you cannot go wrong with the classic front/rear tampo. Unless you want to add stripes. I never say no to stripes! But, this doesn't get them. Just a simple yellow look with details at the front and rear.
I'm sure if they had added stripes, people would have just been calling it Bumblebee! The Transformers hero is quite iconic now, and the yellow with black stripes look is quite the look. This is a standard look for real Camaros. Chevy call it “Bright Yellow”. Yes, how much time and effort they must have put into that clever name. Not that it matters. It looks great. I think this is a great little model, and am so happy seeing it return. Another 10 out of 10.
And, yes, I did find shades. The one on the right is definitely bright. The other, not quite as bright. Another aspect of the hobby that I thoroughly enjoy. I know I am a minority with hunting shades, but I think they are great.
I do think it is time for a dive back. The model debuted in the 2017 basic range in red as MB2.
Before going to the MB11 slot for 2018 in blue. And as this was the last basic range outing, this does mean we have used all 3 primary colours in the basic range. Coincidence? Yeah, more than likely.
In between basic range outings, the model didn't stay silent. For 2019, it was given a Target USA exclusive outing as one of their 50th Anniversary Superfast gold models. Ooh, stripey!
It was also a part of the Blue Highways 5-pack in orange. And this was another I found was good for a shade or 2.
In 2020, it was added to the MBX Highways 5-pack in silver (and was also thrown in a large playset in 2021).
And in 2021, it was in the Blue Highways II 5-pack in black. This was its last new look before this one.
But it was carried forward from the debut to the 2022 MBX Highways II 5-pack. The red was slightly out, as was the interior, which was now a little darker. You can see the 2022 model on the left has a darker grey interior to the original run on the right.
I think we still have possibilities for more of this. Officially, the 6th generation Camaro is finishing in 2024, but GM have announced there will be a 7th generation. But when? That is another matter. So, until they make any further announcements, I think we can eke this out a little longer. It still looks cool.
Did you know that there is a vague alphabetical order to the Matchbox 1-100 series for 2023? These are sort of done loosely by licensor in a way. You will find a bunch of Porsches all together numerically. Fords will all be lumped together in a group. The start is Audi. MBX originals fall into a grouping from MB52 through MB65, between Mazda and Mercedes-Benz. Of course, it is not 100% alphabetical. There are 2 more MBX originals (MB27 and MB28), and after the VWs and Volvo at the end, we do get another Renault. I think it started alphabetical, but as things evolve, certain models get swapped out for others. And the strict alphabetical order does fade away. Chevy and Buick are all lumped under GM. The Morris Minor would be under BMH (British Motor Heritage), so squeezing it in just before BMW. as I said, it is not a complete alphabetical list. But you can see where it vaguely had one to begin with. It also shows that the range evolves quite a lot nowadays before it settles down into that final order. Anyway, this MBX originals casting is the MB1251 Road Stripe King, taking the MB55 slot in the 2023 series.
This is a cool one. One of Michael Heralda's I see. I note the Unit 58 behind the door. Well, he did create the INC theme. As we have seen over the years, INC models have been pretty consistently appearing in the range since 2012. A dozen years in, and I am nowhere near getting tired of seeing the INC brand plastered over another model. So, yes, 3 models in here, and I am still giving out perfect 10s.
Sure, this is not a licensed vehicle. It is a Matchbox original casting. I grew up in the 1970s, where they brought in quite a few originals. There was the short-lived fantasy stuff. Yikes! I was not a fan. Some I do like (Gruesome Twosome), but others (Tyre Fryer) I still despise to this day. Yet, as a resident Matchbox nut job, I will still endeavour to collect variations on the Tyre Fryer. Spoiler alert number 3, keep an eye on my Instagram feed (@davidjtilley) as I just got a new one. For an original casting, I think this is a nice one. The model looks realistic. I can see elements of MAN and Renault in the front end, and the rear half is a good representation of the sort of vehicle you see out on the road. Plus, there is that awesome "throw a pencil in the open slot in the middle and have it draw lines" part. It is a fun little casting, and this is my favourite look to date on it.
Talking of which, time for a quick recap of what came before. It debuted in 2021, and this orangey yellow model was MB25 in that first year.
Followed by this white MB60 in 2022.
This is the third issue of this casting. I believe it is ripe for a RANEC release, and I think the new Matchbox Construction livery that has launched in a big way this year could warrant from a little road striping. Yes, I am not done with this one yet.
MB52-65 are Matchbox originals. This is the last one. MB65. It is, of course, the MB818 Dune Dog. This model debuted originally back in 2011, so has been with us for quite a while. It was created by a designer called Jun Imai, who used to work for Mattel between 2004 and 2018, but he was a part of another department. Apparently, they have some other die-cast brand. In the early 2010s, they had a little designer swapping going on. A designer would make a model for the alternate die-cast brand, and this was Jun's fun little casting for the Matchbox brand.
This comes with a Lyons Bros Racing livery. I know for a fact, this is another of Michael Heralda's creations.
And is a perfect companion piece to the MB765 '64 Austin Mini Cooper 1275S. This particular issue was the 2010 Lesney Edition issue. We have seen a few Lyons Bros liveries over the years since, but not one in the exact same black with yellow checks and 8 livery as the Austin.
Which I think makes this one extra cool. Aw nuts! Am I giving out another 10 out of 10 here? I am really not aiming to, but the more I look at these models, the more I like what I see. If you were to pile a bunch of models together, I bet the Dune Dog would fade into the background. But doing a solo post about it, I really cannot fault it. For what it is, and knowing the budgetary constraints that we have with making basic range models, I honestly don't think they could have done much better. Great work by Michael again.
A real “hat's off”. Oh come on, I had to. Did you know the roof element clips on? This means that you could theoretically switch it with older Dune Dogs to make crazy variations. Hmm!
I guess this does mean a little dive back again. As I mentioned, 2011 saw this model debut. Not once, but twice in the basic range. It was sold as either MB92 in the US range that year, or as MB70 in the ROW range (not a part of LAAM for the debut), and started off in green, before switching to white later.
2012 saw 3 outings for the model. The basic range (now worldwide, so LAAM did get it), saw a yellow MB14. It was then added to 2 different 5-packs. A standard Jungle Adventure pack in black and the licensed Mickey Mouse Clubhouse pack in white.
2013 was a lot quieter, as we just saw this white MB80 in the basic range.
In 2014, the MB62 orange was good for shades. We also saw a mustard one as a part of the Jungle Mission Force set.
With 2015's MB92 in red being the last yearly outing for the model.
After taking 2016 off, the 2017 basic range saw this white MB112 offering with a logo that was very much like a certain logo used by the Jeep Rescue.
And 2019 saw this brick red outing in the basic range as MB119. This was the final basic outing until this year.
But, in between outings in the basic range, a 2021 9-pack saw this included as a semi-exclusive across the 2 packs released in batch A. I miss the semi-exclusives. Did I miss the casting? Maybe not much. I can take or leave it. But this look? I would love to see the Lyon Bros Racing black with yellow checks 8 look used again on some more models. I am thinking rally themed castings. Hint hint!
After 4 out of 6 models, I am on a perfect score of 40 out of 40 for the batch. And I am finishing with 2 Porsches! Yep, I am calling it now. A perfect batch! The MB1305 Porsche Cayenne Turbo makes it basic range debut this year as MB78.
I love this casting. First off, it's a Porsche! I heard that they were looking at returning the old Cayenne casting to the mix, but Porsche asked for an updated one. They delivered. It is a fantastic model, and this metallic blue looks lovely.
You can't go wrong with simple front and rear detailing, so I cannot complain. Or can I? Perhaps a licence plate could have been nice? Is that enough to drop any points? Not really. I am still giving it full marks. It isn't important.
Can I add marks for finding another shade? No? Fine, 10 out of 10 it is. I love it!
As I mentioned, this is the model's debut in the basic range. It started out last year as a German exclusive in the Best of Germany series in black.
And then, earlier this year, it was a Walmart (if you live in the USA, some other countries sold it in other stores) exclusive in red in the Porsche set.
The basic is the model’s third outing, and I love the consistent detailing. The only change they made for this model was to switch from the 5-spokes to double 10s. Plus, they stayed black, rather than getting some chrome detailing. I honestly think both wheels suit the model, and in this case, I think leaving them black worked too. They do put a lot of effort into even the smallest of areas.
And they also put a lot of effort into celebrating the 70th anniversary of the brand too. I have been thoroughly enjoying all the platinum models released this year. This is the second Porsche being used to celebrate the anniversary, but the first to be in platinum. It is the MB1185 '85 Porsche 911 Rally. It takes the MB80 slot for the year.
What can I add to my previous thoughts on the 70th Anniversary platinum models that I don't just replicate here? Nothing. Platinum. Sure! Orange, white and black striping. Perfect! The gold ring to the wheels. Fantastic! The 70th Anniversary logo. Well, obviously. But look at the little extras. Falken. A real tyre company. Momo. A real vehicle accessory company. Bilstein. A real shock absorber company. They can't just throw these names on there. They have to seek out licensing the brand names before they include them. I give them kudos for doing all of this work, just to pop a few little logos on a number of cars. Obviously, they weren't just doing it for this one. They are appearing on a number of vehicles. But they give this a real sense of realism.
Plus, being one of the 70th Anniversary models, they were able to slip in a 3rd pass, by detailing the front lights and adding more logos to the bonnet/hood area. This is fantastic work. So, yeah, a perfect score across the board. It may be a small batch, but I cannot fault any of the models. This is why I love this brand so much. They can do some amazing stuff.
All of which gets advertised at the annual toy fair. The 2018 event advertising the 2019 line was where we saw the model debut.
With the model's official debut being in the very first batch of the 2019 basic range as MB65. Which meant that technically, before the actual year 2019 started, there were already 2 variations of this out there. The first batch tends to arrive in late November/early December. It was carried forward to the 2020 Off Road Rally series.
For 2020, we saw this green release in the basic range as MB66. Again, it carried forward, as the 2021 Advent Calendar had one inside.
We also saw this Retro release in the 2020 series, which was reminiscent of the VW Beetle 4x4's design. Really cool! But what wasn't cool?
Having to wait until this year to see the next release. Or should I say releases. As this model is not the only 2023 issue. This was also in the Porsche set earlier in the year, coming in a lovely black, with over the top detailing. Rather than down the side detailing.
Because, let's be honest, this model has not exactly seen a lot of outings. And it's a freaking Porsche! Okay, I know, I am a little (maybe a lot) biased. But I do hope to see plenty more outings for this casting.
Which I believe brings me to the end of another article. A lovely little batch. One third Porsche!
We also saw 2 great little American models in the batch, both looking extremely realistic.
And, yes, 2 Matchbox originals castings. But, both come in these awesome recurring themes. Which is something I really like.
So, when taking the group as a whole, it doesn't seem overly fantastic. But breaking them down model by model, and I am really loving what I see. It is weird. But that is the way I am seeing it. And on that bombshell, I am off to prepare my “moving” next report. In the meantime, I hope you all have a happy and safe week.