Matchbox Monday goes ga-ga with the Moving Parts G Batch

Well, this batch is loaded.  A box with 8 models inside, and each one is something new.  Yes, 8 new additions arrive in the penultimate batch of the year.  You would think this is the maximum they go with, but no.  The next batch goes beyond a box full.  More reasons to enlarge the shipping boxes of these.  8 is not enough.  I think it should be 12.  

As there are 8, I am just going to get stuck in.  We start off with a new casting, as the MB1372 Tesla Model 3 debuts.  Cleverly, it is a Model 3, so they put it in the number 3 slot.  That made me smile. It's the little things.  For the debut, we see a lovely red release. 

This is the brightest red shade we have seen to date on a Matchbox model.  Real Teslas only have a small variety of colours to choose from, although they are slowly creating more.  I'm still waiting on a green option.  Funnily enough, they don't offer a bright red like this.  The “Red Multi Coat” option is a darker shade.  Not that I mind.  I like seeing a brighter shade like this.  Maybe Tesla will see how good it looks, and start making a brighter red shade.  

The casting from Matchbox is pretty decent.  The shape of the real vehicle has been captured very well, especially in the front end view.  From the side, yes it does look well crafted, but those doors do look as if they are perhaps slightly small? I feel there is perhaps too much space between the door section and the body section.  

They open smoothly.  This is a solid build.  I just look at the aesthetic and wonder if it was just a little too conservative with trying to get a good fit.  

As with a lot of vehicles, the Model 3 sports a panoramic roof section, and as such Matchbox have utilized the window piece to form the roof.  At first, I thought it was weird, but the more I see real vehicles a bit like this, the more I am getting used to the models being like it.  So that doesn't bother me.  

I love the colour for this (as already stated), and with a simple front and rear tampo print, the final look for the model is spot on.  Coupled with a clear window and black wheels, the presentation is briliant.  Those doors are the only minor quibble I have with this.  So, I am going to score it a 9.5.  They are not badly crafted, but I just feel they are fractionally too small.  They needed a slightly better fit for this to have top scores.  

Being a new casting, I finish with a shot of the base.  Being an electric car, there is not much to it.  As expected.  It took me a while to get used to that.  

Can you believe that this is the second Tesla to arrive in Moving Parts this year? The MB1370 Roadster arrived in the first batch of the year in black.  

With the addition of the Model 3, we now have examples of every “car” that Tesla have in their portfolio.  I say car, as obviously Matchbox don't do the Cybertruck.  Yeah, they can take or leave it.  I think we have enough Teslas to keep us going.  I think it is time to give other manufacturers more of a voice.  I understand they wanted to give us a decent percentage of electric vehicles, to make it sound environmentally sound, but with the way things are going, we have a large variety of manufacturers making them, so we should not overload on one.  

Now to move on to the second new casting in the batch.  This batch is loaded with new castings, and this is one I have been anticipating since it was announced last July. The MB1373 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.  It takes the number 6 slot in the series.

It's about time we saw a Sprinter.  I can't believe production started in 1995.  The Sprinter has been going for nearly 30 years, and this is the first time that Matchbox has ever made a model of one.  I don't know if it was because in the first 2 generations, in the US they were sold as either a Dodge or a Freightliner.  Dodge was dropped as an alternative for the third generation, and they faded the Freightliner name out in 2021 as well, so now the US also gets them under the Mercedes-Benz brand.  I don't see how that makes a difference.  We get lots of vehicles in the range that are known by alternative names in different markets.  However, now that Matchbox have made one, they didn't just go with a standard van.  Oh, no, they decided to go with a camper conversion.  The Sprinter is a popular vehicle to be converted to a camper van, or RV. Its large and spacious design makes it a perfect vehicles to transform.  

These are usually performed by third party companies, but I see no logo appearing on the model.  In fact, only the Matchbox logo appears, which leads me to believe that they have created this conversion from their own mind.  Of course, it will have elements of many of the companies that transform the real vehicle. I have a feeling that Mercedes-Benz were generous in allowing them a little slack to come up with their own look.  

And a metal opening sliding door.  I mention that, as back in the 1980s a Dodge Caravan was created with a sliding door.  But that was plastic.  Since then, I have always wondered if we would ever see another sliding door model.  Thankfully, yes we have.  

I tried taking as photo of the interior.  A little brightening in the edit room to see inside shows that it only has some items on the far side.  The side with the door had nothing.  I don't think it is important to try and cram as much inside.  So this is fine. 

Unfortunately, there are a few small issues with this opening door.  As you can see, the bottom edge of it runs along the bottom of the van.  This means that you can catch the bottom end of it to open.  

When you try and pull it open, it just lifts from the bottom end.  The top stays in place.  Fair enough. 

However, the roof contains this really cool plastic extra piece.  It is solidly in place, and I love all the pieces on there.  Why we see so many chainsaws though.  Is it me, or are they a bit of a go-to accessory piece? I honestly don't mind those, and I like that it has this extra piece on top.  But, it doesn't come off (like the Land Rover Gen II Safari).

Well, the top of the door piece slots in underneath, so it is quite fiddly getting it to open.  It took me a few seconds.  Had there been no roof section in place, this would have been a much easier process.  You could grab the top and bottom and open in one fluid motion.  But, with this, you sort of have to try and dig your nails in to try and unhook the top edge to get the door open.  It is fiddly, but not impossible.  The one advantage that the old Dodge Caravan had was that it had a hole in the door piece.  You could simply hook your finger in and swipe the door open very easily.  This is a more cumbersome way of doing it. I love that they made this out of metal.  But, I think it should have had a hole in it to make it easier to open.  Just like a side opening door will have the windows open so that you can just put your finger in an open.  

Apart from that, this is very well done.  It even has a separate ladder piece on the other side. That is a lovely addition.  The final look for the model is lovely as well.  I love this creamy grey look with the simple green and grey side design.  It is very tasteful.

And they were even able to sneak in a little extra tampo printing to the front of the model.  That really sets if off well.  But, that door is a little troublesome.  A great idea, but the final execution was not as good.  So, I have to score it down.  I am going to rate this a 9 out of 10.  Which is a shame.  

One last thing before I move on to the next new casting, as I show the base shot to finish.  This model is huge!  It is about the biggest miniature I have ever seen.  It is very long and very tall.  It is also pretty solid and heavy.  I guess the Moving Parts series has that extra freedom to allow them to make some models that little bit bigger than in the basic range.  I don't see this as being a model that could be in the basic range.  Not without being shrunk and cost reduced to perhaps a 3-part build.  It is a great model, and a great addition.  Had that opening door been easier to open, this would have been perfect.  

New casting number 3.  And this was quite the surprise.  This is because it was not mentioned at the 2022 Gathering in Albuquerque.  However, when Abe did the slide show, he did say that what they previewed was some of the models coming.  Some were still being negotiated, and they could not talk about them until they were finished with the legal stuff. And with this being the first 2023 vehicle that Matchbox has released, you know it was one that they were still negotiating with the licensor.    It is the MB1379 '23 Citroën ë-C4 X.  That is the correct way to write the name down.  Because Citroën  officially has the umlaut, they added one to the ë as well. It debuts in grey and takes the number 12 slot in the series.

So, what is a Citroën ë-C4 X? Citroën had debuted the C4 back in 2004. It was the 5th in a line of small family cars that had started with the GS back in the 1970s.  At that time it was classified as a coupe.  In 2010, they came out with the second generation, and switched it to a saloon or hatchback style. However, for the 3rd generation, they moved it up, and back, as it was a coupe SUV.  However, with demand for a saloon still strong, they came up with a more traditional saloon style, and called it the C4 X, launching it in 2022.  It is slightly longer, and is lower (obviously, not an SUV).  However, the electric version is the only version sold in many countries that sell the C4 X.  The UK is one of the few markets that sell both traditional ICE C4 X and the ë-C4 X.  

I have to say, I am very happy to see Matchbox work so hard to try and add more French vehicles to the ranges.  They were pretty rare in Matchbox circles.  And, after seeing an Ami, and a Renault Twizy, both being rather funky and eclectic, I am extremely happy to see another regular, standard car in the series.  I love the normal vehicles you are likely to see on the roads.  I am also happy that they chose to go with the C4 X, and create a more traditional saloon (or sedan if you are reading this in the USA), and not simple add another SUV.  

Being a Moving Parts model, it gets an opening bonnet (or hood), to show off the electrics underneath.  After all, that is not a traditional ICe engine underneath.  I love this one.  It is very well crafted.  I do notice that the side pillars are a part of the window section.  In years gone by, they would have been a part of the body.  I have to admit, I am used to this style, and although a part of me prefers the body method, the fact is that a lot of modern vehicles have these pillars almost blended in to the sides, and it sort of works having them as a window section.  So, I am not knocking anything off for that.

In fact, I really don't see anything to knock any score off.  The casting is extremely well done.  Even the roof.  Just like that Tesla I previewed above, this is more how the real vehicle looks, with this new panoramic roof style that is popular. And this is how Citroën has created it in real life.  So, it is spot on.  

The final look is “Platinum Grey Metallic” as Citroën call it.  A real option for the vehicle, and with the front and rear beautifully tampo printed, I really cannot fault it.  Using the real colour options, there are only 6 choices.  Modern cars don't get a lot of colour options.  We have 2 different whites, 2 different greys, a black or a red option.  I am half expecting the Matchbox team to simply work their way through all of these over coming years.  You can't buy a real one in green, or yellow, or even blue!  Perhaps that will change in the future.  I mean, it is a new car.  

But, yes, I am very happy with this.  Wonderfully crafted, looking just like the real one.  Spot on.  A perfect colour choice, with brilliant detailing.  Again, spot on.  I cannot fault it.  So, my first 10 out of 10 for this batch. 

Finishing with a shot of the base, showing off the correct way that this model is listed down.  The team did their homework on this.  I am impressed.

Model 4 of 8, and the final new casting in the batch.  Wow!  Half of the models were brand new.  I am loving just how many castings are being created for Moving Parts.  I will be even more impressed when they enlarge the range (I am looking at capping it at 75), and upping the quantity in each assortment to 12.  Can you imagine a monthly roll out.  12 batches, 6 models per batch.  Each model is 2 per box.  However, every 4th batch would feature a chase.  Numbers 73-75.  One model would randomly get reduced to 1 per case, and a chase added in.  This stuff writes itself.  Anyway, I am sidetracking.  Here we have the MB1383 '22 Lexus LX.  It takes the number 16 slot in the range in white. 

This is another of those vehicles that has been around for a long time, but has only just been made into a Matchbox.  The Lexus LX arrived in 1995, based on the Toyota Land Cruiser, but obviously more luxurious.  Since then, we have seen 3 more variations, with the latest debuting in late 2021 as a 2022 vehicle.  This is the one that Matchbox has made.  And, well, they could have gone with the J300 series Toyota Land Cruiser, but as they just added a classic one in the Moving Parts series this year, why not go a slightly different route.  Especially as this LX has such an “in your face” front end.  I mean, look at that front end.  You will likely either love it or hate it.  Something that Matchbox has recreated brililantly.  Obviously, they went with the tampo route to get that, and I think it was the best option.  They have captured it brilliantly!  It's an ugly front end (in my opinion), but the model is somehow lovely.  I can't explain it.  

And, again, the team has made a fantastic job with the casting.  The side details are all brilliantly captured.  The shape is pretty much spot on.  Again, I cannot fault this.  The rear is the moving part here.

It doesn't open up too high, but it is a smooth action, and with the window being included in the rear section, you lift it up from the bottom, and there are no issues with getting your finger/thumb there to pop it up. 

I wanted to point out that there are 2 tampo prints at the rear.  The opening feature is printed, but the sides of it are a part of the body section, and are also getting a print.  With the front end getting a print as well, this gets 3 passes through in total.  Which I think is about average for a Moving Parts model.  

Lexus call this colour Eminent White.  I don't know why.  It is one of only 5 official choices at this time.  Obviously, there is time for more colours to arrive.  Black, green and 2 different greys are likely to be seen soon.  They do  like to try and keep to official colour options when they can.  I also love the colour chosen for the interior.  That brown does look a little darker than the palomino option for the real vehicle.  But it looks really nice, and I am impressed with this end look.

As polarizing as that front end is, the Matchbox team have absolutely nailed it!  I can't find a fault, and therefore this is another 10 from me.  Well done.

As I show one more base, I guess it is time to see some models that we have seen before, sporting new looks.  

Isn't this the third electric vehicle in this batch?  They really threw in the electric stuff into the Matchbox range over the last few years.  It is the last of the batch.  They have not taken over…. yet!  This is the MB1314 Nissan Leaf.  It takes the number 25 slot in the range, and this year sees it in blue.

This may just be my example.  I found one of the doors to have a rather unusual paint finish to it.  These things happen.  I am not going to score low in general for something that may just be a one-off.  I look beyond it to review the entire model.  When this debuted last year, I admit I was not overly happy.  It is a nice car, but it is already in the basic range.  Did we need a second casting of the exact same vehicle?  With only so many slots to fill, I would prefer more variety.  Just like seeing Teslas in both ranges, seeing this in both is a let-down.  Granted, the Moving Parts casting is a huge improvement over the basic range.  Because they have a slightly better margin in the budget, allowing this to receive 3 passes through the tampo machine means that the black roof is tampo printed.  The basic had the roof cast as a part of the (always dark) window element.  I am still not a fan of that style of construction.  So, this is a massive improvement, and I have to say, this model looks really nice.

A nice metallic blue.  Nissan have a really fancy name for it.  Blue Pearl.  I don't know how long it took them to come up with that name.  But, with a lovely front and rear end print, coupled with a great black roof, stretching down to the pillars as well, I cannot fault it again. 

So, for the final execution, I have to give it a 10.  My personal desire for it to be in the range?  Perhaps a 7 or 8.  It's not bad. It might have been higher had they not already made a basic version.  Becuase, I do like average vehicles.  This is a very average vehicle, and so I cannot complain.  Only about having 2 castings of the same car.

This is the second issue for the casting in Moving Parts.  Last year, it debuted in a bright orange.  That was definitely in your face.  

And this year does get the same tampo treatment.  So, I cannot complain about that.  But….

These are the 3 basics we have seen to date.  White was the debut in 2018.  It then didn't get another look until the pair of 2022s.  One was in a dark red in the MBX Electric Drivers 5-pack, but we also had a rather similar blue in the 9-packs.  So, this does mean that for 2 years in a row, we have a dark blue Nissan Leaf to get.  I would have preferred another colour.  This is just me.  It is not affecting the 10 out of 10 score.  Because they did nail it.  I cannot fault the end result as it is.  

Next up, we have another Nissan.  The MB1269 Nissan Z Proto. Or, as it has now been marked down, a '23 Nissan Z.  So, we get another 2023 vehicle in this batch.  A sneaky way of getting another 2023 in there, but we do have it.  It takes the number 29 slot in the range, and marks the first time it is being seen in a mass-market item.

Well, this was expected.  Yellow was the colour for the original “proto”, and it was only a matter of time before they released it in this solid yellow look.  Black roof again.  Is this a Nissan thing? Front details.

Rear details.  This model is very well done.  Especially with the little “Z” logo on the side.  

And those doors have not started to show any signs of wear and tear.  They are opening perfectly.  They fit perfectly.  This is an easy 10, isn't it!  Had they not done a yellow at some point, I would have been very surprised?  So, best to get it out of the way early, and see what future looks we will get.  

I did say this was its first mass-market release.  This is because 2022 saw it debut in 2 harder to obtain ranges.  It was launched as a Mattel Creations release.  So, this was quite a rare find.

Then, later on in the year, it was added to the Japanese exclusive Moving Parts series, in a small box.  This was in blue.

This really does hammer home just how good a Moving Parts model can be.  We have 2 different issues now, in blue and yellow, and both of them are sporting the exact same tampo as the high-end premium issue.  Literally, we paid about 10 times as much to get real rider wheels.  You can get them for twice as much in the Collectors series.  This is not a knock on Mattel Creations.  After all, they are exclusive limited editions, and you do get some fancy packaging with them (if you like that sort of thing).  This is more of a way of saying how Mattel really knows how to take all my money!

Whoa!  This is the fourth Japanese vehicle in a row.  That's half the batch.  We already saw a Lexus LX, that was based on a Toyota Land Cruiser.  Now we get an FJ Cruiser, which is also based on one.  Mind you, this is based on the Land Cruiser Prado.  They have 2 sizes of Land Cruiser, for some reason.  The smaller one is often known by Prado, or simply by the reference number for its generation.  So, this is the MB1256 Toyota FJ Cruiser, which is just a Prado with a retro body.  It takes the number 30 slot in the range and comes in red this year.  

The first thing you notice is the lack of a white roof.  What the… wait, that's correct.  From what I can tell, this was a 2012 special edition Trail Teams issue of the real vehicle.  They did not come with a white roof.  In fact, if you were to Google “Toyota FJ Cruiser red”, you would not see one with a white roof.  It appears that Matchbox really did their homework on this one.  That's very impressive.  Those doors still don't look right, though.  It is the same issue that befell the Tesla Model 3 earlier.  They just look fractionally too small, and there is too much of a gap around them.  

Those doors do open and close smoothly.  Nothing has changed with them since the model debuted.  They are also a perfect match in the red paint.  No shades between body and doors here. Apart from losing the white roof, this model keeps all the rest of the tampo printing that has been used on all the previous outings.  The front end is well detailed.

The rear sees the usual lights and badges depicted.  So, there is nothing to fault with the detailing.  And not putting the white roof on this one was the right call.  So, kudos for a fantastic model.  But, I am going to keep the consistency going. That Tesla at the start, I knocked off half a point for the slightly awkward door fitting.  This still has it.  Another red model, another ill-fitting door, and another half point deduction.  So, 9.5 it is.Which is a shame, as I love this model.  I think the FJ Cruiser is a fun vehicle, and am so happy finally seeing Matchbox sell one.  Every issue to date has looked amazing.  Had those doors been slightly better, every one would have been a perfect 10.  

A quick reminder of the others that preceded this.  It debuted in the 2021 Collectors series in blue. The same tampo as this, plus a white roof.  Then it also saw real riders, not plastic wheels.  

Before we saw 2 outings in the 2022 Moving Parts series.  However, only the silver was in the regular range.  The orange was another that was exclusive to the Japanese market.  

Should I be worried?  2021's debut had real riders.  2022 saw them go away, replaced by plastic wheels.  2023 sees the white roof knocked off.  Little by little, things are going.  2024 should hopefully buck the trend.  Because I see 2 options.  Buck the trend and stop reducing things.  Or the model gets dropped.  I don't want to lose it yet.  Even with the wonky doors.  

Which brings us to the last model in the batch.  This is the only model in the set to see a 70th Anniversary platinum treatment.  It is also the only classic vehicle in the batch.  The oldest was the last one.  The FJ Cruiser was sold until 2014, so it is nearly a decade old.  This is over 6 decades.  The MB1322 '61 Jeep FC-170.  It takes the number 35 slot in the series for 2023.

This is a 70th Anniversary special. There is not much more I can say about these that hasn't already been spoken about.  This one, again, is very tastefully done.  A simple striping effect to the cab, and the front end is highly detailed.  It all works very well together. 

But, then you look a little further.  The back of the cab gets a black print.  The rear end also gets a print.  This has a lot of tampo detailing.  

And they added a tempo print to the spare wheel that is cast into the tipping rear section.  This is a lot of tampo.  I am severely impressed with just how much that they have managed to squeeze into this one.  Out of all the core range 70th Anniversary models, this is almost premium level.  It is definitely the most detailed I have seen all year.  So, well, I have to give this a 10.  What a perfect end to the batch.

Because I am getting to the end of another report.  This is the last model, and it only debuted in last year's range in metallic green.  You can see that the front end detailing is, for the most part, better on the new one.  However, I did like the fact that they tampo printed the window wipers last time out.  

Last year saw minimal additional detailing, but that spare wheel was marked up.  I guess this will be a standard print on this one.  But, this year has definitely seen them up their ante.  And that is so cool.  

And on that cool note, I am done for another report.  I can't believe half of the batch of 8 models were new castings.  This latter part of the year has really seen them throwing out new casting after new casting.  It makes this last part of the model year extra exciting in a way.  

Not that there was anything wrong with the other 4.  This batch was really good.  But, saying that, Moving Parts tends to be good anyway.  It is the range I look forward to the most.  Other ranges have highlights, but this range is the one that just keeps the bar high.  This is what I want from Matchbox.  

Next week sees me back to basics.  After all, I still have 3 batches of 2023 basics to work through.  Aside from that. I believe there is 1 more Moving Parts, and some premium stuff to finish off.  I am getting there.  2023 is almost done.  That's true.  We are in December now.  I hope you enjoyed my latest ramblings.  Until next time, I hope everybody has a safe and happy week.

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