Matchbox Monday hitches up & hauls some rigs

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This week, I finally get around to showcasing batch C of the 2022 Working Rigs series, which Wheel Collectors kindly sent my way.  Yes, batch C. I haven't even got to batch D yet.  Yeah, I am a little behind.  With only 4 models, and a lack of models to dive back into, I have added a secondary little group too.  Once these are done, I have also done a few more vehicles that were obtained with help from a few friends in the USA too.  Well, I needed to pad it out a little.  Plus, it helps to try and catch up a little.  I still have a lot to go through from 2022.  

Batch C Working Rigs begins with the RW015 Pierce Velocity 100ft Aerial Platform Truck.  It takes the number 9 slot in the series of 16 models in the 2022 series.  It is also the second issue of this Pierce casting in the series.  I was quite surprised when I noticed that.

The model is in the standard red with white cab look, and features the Roanoke Fire EMS design on the side.  A real livery of a real fire truck.  

For those who haven't seen it, this is the real Ladder 5 from the Roanoke Fire EMS station in Virginia.  

So Matchbox has made a very good job in replicating the look of the real vehicle.  I am sure some will complain over the lack of chrome in certain areas.  Plus, it is a little shame that they didn't add Roanoke to the side of the ladder on that flat section.  But, to me, they are minor quibbles.  It is a superb representation, and it is worth seeing.... again.  

Because this model was originally released back in 2015.  However, it was not a regular issue found in stores.  This was during a period where there were no Working Rigs sold as singles in stores.  But this was one of 4 exclusive models created.  Three of them were mail-in models, with one being an Amazon exclusive.  This was a mail-in, through K-Mart, Kroger and other smaller stockists.  Toys R Us and Target had their own exclusive mail-in models.  So it was not east to obtain at the time.  I didn't so have no model to compare it to.  This is because I was late in the day with my Working Rig collection, and have precious little from before 2020.  

Which means I can only show 2 models alongside this.  I told you, precious little to dive back, hence adding further content to boost the blog.  I can list the others.  It debuted in 2010 in red and white, with a City Of Willard livery, and was given a second issue later in the year in red and black with a B Comthax livery.  In 2011, it was red and white again, this time with Willard.  In 2013, we saw a Mission Force release in a Fire Rescue set, in a simple red and white, before the 2015 mail-in was released as the 5th.  When the series was re-launched in 2019, it returned in white and black with Jensen NY on it.  I have the 7th.  2020, and a San Diego liveried all-red model.

In 2021, the 8th release of the casting was in gold and black and featured the Snake Bend Fire Dept on the side.  This is not the next release.  Batch A of 2022 saw a repeat of the debut year's red and black B Comthax model.  But I did not get that batch.  

I have a trio now, though.  All thanks to Wheel Collectors.  Thanks guys.

The second model in the batch is the RW020 Road Grader.  It takes the number 11 slot in the series.

Again, this is a repeat release for this model.  It was originally sold back in 2019, shortly after when the Working Rigs series returned from hiatus (it saw a single 2018 batch, then a 2019 series).  I never got it at the time, so this is all-new for me.  

So, seeing it for the first time personally, I am liking this look.  You can't really go wrong with a yellow look for a construction vehicle.  And the detailing to the top and sides is nice and simple.  

It is a very good representation of the type of vehicle you would see on the roads, so I am happy enough with this one.  I do like the fact that the blade swivels around underneath. It is not a major moving part, but it is a moving part none-the-less.  

I only own a red one already.  That was the 2021 release, which Wheel Collectors sent over to me to cover at the time.  That was also a repeat, of a 2012 release originally.  The casting has been with us since 2011, and debuted in another yellow look to the one that I have now.  

Which does mean that this model is used a lot less frequently than the Pierce I showed above.  This is now up to 3 releases, along with 2 carry forwards, of which I own both the carry forwards.  If they carry forward the 2011 debut look, I might manage to obtain all 3 official looks for it.  

Next up is the RW005 International WorkStar 7500 Dump Truck in orange/white, taking the number 12 slot in the series.  

This is one of the original castings from the 2009 launch of the series.  They launched the range with 9 castings spread out over the year.  However, this is a repeat of the last "new" look for the model, when it was in the 2020 series.  However, I don't mind too much, as the livery on the side features a friend of mine on it, Shabbir Malik.  I bet if you were to ask Shabbir, he would grin and say it is a perfectly acceptable carry forward.  I can almost see him saying it.  

It is a really cool model, with the tilting dump section with opening rear too.  The way it all works, it is a very solid mechanism, and the dump section is still holding itself up solidly, even after all these years and production runs.  The vehicle is really holding up (pun intended) well.  

There have been 4 official looks for this model, and as I said, this is a carry forward of the final one.  There was a blue 2009 debut, along with a purple second release later in 2009 (the second one had Dave Weise, a former Mattel employee, on it).  Then we had a 2010 burgundy release (which was carried forward twice, in 2019 and 2021).  It was another 10 years before they finally gave it a new look.  But 2020?  That was a year I did get Working Rigs from Wheel Collectors.  

Hello 2020 number 2 of 16.  How are you?  Looking a little light there....

Oh yes, we can clearly see that the new production run is a noticeably darker shade of orange to the original.  I do love my shades.  I did have a good look, and it appears that everything else was a pretty good match between the 2 production runs.  It is purely a paint shade difference 2 years later.

I do own the 2021, second carry forward, of this model too.  This was the one in burgundy with a Road King Hauling 85 livery on it. Although I should point out, both the 2019 and 2021 carry forwards of this model were a lighter burgundy, more maroon shade, compared to the original 2010 dark burgundy release.

So personally, I am now up to 3 of these in my collection.  I do wish I had kept some of my older stuff from Mission Force sets.  I got rid of them at the time (along with the Skybusters that were included), and am severely regretting that decision.  Now I am getting into these, I am thinking how am I going to get those again?

Finally, as there were only 4 models in this batch, we get the RW040 Cement King HD.  It is number 14 in the series of 16, and comes in yellow with a King Concrete design.  

The King Concrete logo also appears on the side of the cement barrel, which rotates around.  

It also features a rotating cement chute at the rear, so you can spin it around to either side as the "imaginary" cement come sliding out of the barrel.  

Now, unbelievably, this is also a carry forward.  Yes, 4 models in the batch, and not one of them is a new look.  Some may be annoyed with that, but I personally have no quarrel with it.  Because, up to now, I only had the Dump Truck already.  All of these others are new ones for me.  And at the end of the day, the main target audience for these are young children.  Young children who, more often than not, have quite a small window for wanting toy cars.  So rotating these liveries around is not awful.  Just remember, before Mattel took over and completely changed the way the brand was sold, many models would literally run for years (and on occasion over a decade) in one look.  These pop up for a few months.  And then they are on to something else.  So when they pop back up for another run years later, particularly in the case of Working Rigs, which get a run each quarter, this is now being produced for 6 months in total.  That is still nowhere near the years and years we used to have before.  

There is only the one other release for this casting.  In 2021, it was sold as number 8 in that series in white.  

There was me saying I did not own any older Working Rigs castings, it is not 100% true.  I have 2.  One was from a Mission force set, and I just loved the alien theme to the side (so kept it) and the RW001 Mercedes-Benz Actros Cement Truck was the other.  It was a double release debut in the very first batch, and I have the red "Tom's" one.  The other was a light orange with King Concrete on the side.  Yes, the same King Concrete design that this Cement Truck sports.  But it appears that they decided to change the cab to the model for the relaunch of Working Rigs in late 2018.  The RW001 changed to RW040, and it was all down to the cab itself.  Everything beyond it is the same, but instead of a licensed Mercedes-Benz cab, they changed it to match the style of cab used on a number of basic range models (MBX Flatbed King, Road Stripe King, Poop King, Pit King, Glass King) and giving this the Cement King HD name, it is sort of keeping a "King" tradition going, with HD perhaps being a moniker for being a larger issue of the style.  I am still wondering if a Convoy King HD model is on the cards....  It can work.  

And with that, I am done with this batch.  I told you it was a little short.  But, I don't want to finish there.  I had a few models to show and was thinking where I can add this little group?  Ooh, perfect spot. As you might have guessed from the tittle, I am moving on to batch B of the Hitch & Haul series for 2022.  

Now, officially, there were 5 sets released in this batch.  But 3 of them were the entirety of batch A repeated and carried forward.  Batch A has already been showcased, so I will just work on the 2 that were added in batch B. First up is the number 3 of 8, MBX Ocean Rescue pack

Hmm! Did I show this picture already?  Nope!  Do you see the fun?

Okay, what if I show the 2 packs without all the packaging going around the outside?  The models and accessories are encased in a plastic section that holds them all separately, so if I show them just in that, you can see how there are some noticeable differences between the 2 halves of production.  Boy, I love these.  

So, I will start with the vehicles.  I mean, these are the most significant part of the set.  The accessories are fun little extras.  We get the MB909 Rapids Rescue towing the MB1261 MBX Hitch & Haul.

The MBX Hitch & Haul is a new tool debuting here.  As you can see, this came in 2 alternate looks.  The jet ski comes with 2 looks.  It is either white over orange, or it is orange over white.  Although, rather unusually, the orange over white sports grey handlebars, where the white over orange had a matching orange handlebar from the hull.  The trailer that it sits on is also in 2 looks.  The upper half of it matches the top section of whichever jet ski it is carrying.  I have not heard of any crossovers.  All are in this combination.  

But of course, the 2 jet skis are detachable, so can easily be switched over afterwards.  

The only thing is, though, these are attached by a simple pin.  This means they are quite loose, and move around a lot.  The Rapids Rescue has a removable raft, but this is held in place by a hexagonal slot, which means when it is attached, it stays put.  We might not have needed a hexagon, but at least something that was not simply round to slot in.  I think even a simple oval would have worked.  Just a little something to keep the jet skis locked in a forward position when sitting on the trailer.  

I do like that the accessories were also alternates.  Because each set contained 2 divers, 1 in orange and 1 in blue.  But they were the other way around between the 2 packs.  

Even the sharks were different.  One was a lighter grey compared to the other one.  In fact, the only thing that stayed consistent between the 2 packs was the Rapids Rescue.

Which I think is a real shame.  Honestly, I think that the set with a white over orange jet ski should have also had a white raft on the back of Rapids Rescue, to make them match.  That could have increased the fun even further.  Especially as Rapids Rescue keeps getting orange rafts.

Like when it debuted in the 2014 basic range as MB103.  This was the first issue in green with an RSQ side design.  

Oh, you are probably wondering.  No, the Rapids Rescue never used to have a tow hook. It has been added for this release.  Until 2022, they all had plain rears.  

From what I can tell, this was the only alteration made to the casting.  It was enough to re-copyright it in 2020.  

Every other component of the casting has stayed the same.  

After 2014, we never saw it again until 2016.  It was now MB90 and came in white, with a blue raft.

Funnily enough, if I was to switch the 2 rafts over here, both models still work extremely well in their alternate "custom" looks.  

In 2017, the model was moved to 5-packs, and featured in the Jungle Mission pack in brown.  I saw a nice shade to the brown during production.  Those rafts were a reddy orange.  

In 2018, it was a part of the Ranger Rescue 5-pack, with all models in the pack sporting the National Parks theme.  Again, I saw a shade, but this time it was with the raft.  A darker or lighter shade of orange?  

The raft is slowly getting lighter again.  

After 2018, it returned to the basic range as a 2016 carry forward.  MB72 in 2019 was almost identical to the 2016 run.  The only difference I could see was in the tampo.

The 2019 run had a darker silver look to the "steel plates" on the side.  That was, until this release, the last we had seen of the casting.  The change occurred in 2020, but it took 2 years before it arrived.  Usually it is only 1 year.  

So, I now move on to the new trailer.  The casting is all-new, and the name does feel a little on the nose.  It is in the Hitch & Haul series, so they just called it Hitch & Haul?  With a Trailer Trawler in their database, I would have called it Trailer Hauler.  Keep the theme going.  The base, as you can see, was the same on both variants.  The upper half is the only difference (not including what slots into it).  

For those who have collected a long time, they will know that this trailer is not all-new.  For, they started off with the MB682 Smowmobile Trailer as a basis for creating it.  

However, what they have done is change the configuration of parts.  If you notice, the orioginal trailer unit was made up of 3 parts.  The base, a wheel arch and internal front grid "middle" section, with a final top section finishing it off.  This meant that the snowmobile that was included on top was a 2-part construction, for a total of 5 parts.  The new build has amalgamated the middle and upper sections of the trailer into one.  It now loses some colour breaks, and also the front has been filled in.  

By doing this, they have also reduced the amount of riveting required for the build. These things are important in this modern age.  The faster the production, the more that can be shipped out, saving crucial money.  

What this does also mean is that the jet ski will fit on the old trailer, is it is a little shorter than the snowmobile.  But the snowmobile originally slotted in underneath the front, which it can no longer do.  Therefore, it will not slot in properly. I can see why they tooled up a new piece to add on top.  But also, with the generic name, they can also be creative with additional pieces to add on to the top of the trailer.  Which is something I am quite looking forward to seeing.

The Snowmobile Trailer was only used twice.  The debut was in the 2005 Snow Attack Hitch 'n Haul set.  It then returned as a part of the 2008 Snow Track pack, which did run until 2013.  There is a wheel variation, circa 2012, when they switched briefly to disk wheels.  I never managed to find that one, though. It is nice to see them looking at the unit and bringing it back to usage again, even modified.  

The other pack is the number 5 of 8 MBX Road Trip.  

I only show this one once, though, as the only variations were on the accessories.  You can see in this picture, it comes with a sign and deer in light brown (the alternate is dark brown) and a hiker in silver (the alternate is reddy brown).  I think the wolf might also be a darker silver (much like the shark in the other set), but cannot verify 100%.  I didn't get the other set. That is because these 2 sets were not that easy to find.  This batch B assortment was quite a short run, and they only seemed to appear in a few supermarket style outlets in the USA.  

The 2 models are freaking awesome!  The MB1266 '18 Dodge Durango is towing the MB447 Pop-up Camper.  Both are in a matching dark red design.  They even sport the same wheel design.  And how often have we ever seen the 5-star middle chromed, but not the outer ring?  That gives the wheels quite the unique look.  

I do enjoy getting these accessories too.  I did actually contemplate getting a second set, but am I really going to go nuts to get alternate accessories?  

Yes, even I have limits, and at the end of the day, I am here for the models.  The Pop-up Camper has not been seen for a long time, but it still pops up just as it always did.  

But I do want to take a moment to talk about the Dodge.  Because it sports bumper stickers!  Oh yes, I love bumper stickers.  They are just so much fun on models.  As you can see, the front has an "I [heart] Camping" sticker.  

And just look at the rear. I love the licence plate.  A throwback to the old days when we used to get coded plates.  Boy do I love those.  TR1V5L9N' - Travelin'.  Excellent.  A bumper sticker saying "National Parks Volunteer".  Another saying "I stop for bears, and waterfalls".  This is brilliant.  Plus the animal on the rear (is it an elk?)  This is easily the best design for this model to date.  

Mind you, it has only debuted in 2022.  What a debut year.  Three different ranges and 3 different looks.  We saw it in black as MB5 in the basic range.  

And there was also a white one in the Dodge Series later on.  

They all have the same front tampo design, except the new one also sports that bumper sticker on top.  

The rear has a different licence plate for each release, with the debut sporting the case code for basic Matchbox, and the white a standard Dodge plate.  The red has the best one to date.  Plus, all those bumper stickers!

So now I move on to the Pop Up Camper.  As you can see, this has more stickers sprawled over the sides.  I think I am confirming the animal as an elk.  Because it appears here with an additional Yellowstone Family Adventures banner.  I checked.  Elk are the most commonly found large mammal at Yellowstone.  The I [heart] Camping logo appears here too (helping to further tie the 2 in together).  We also see a New Mexico logo featuring a hot air balloon (something very significant to Albuquerque), as well as We Ski Aspen and Grand Canyon monikers. Plus those stripes.  This is lovely. I am so enjoying these Hitch & Haul sets.  

This casting has not been around for a while, so I think I need to do a dive back again.  Plus, I am sure this has been updated.  It debuted in 2000 for its one-off outing in the basic range.  It was sold as MB62 in the US market or as MB42 in the ROW market.  2000 was a logo year (but only in the USA) and the first 10,000 MB62s there sported a Matchbox 2000 logo across the front.  

So what has changed with this one?  Quite a bit.  The front hitch area has been modified to make it a lot more open, and easy to slot tow hooks into.  Modern vehicles with hooks have thick hooks, as it is a safety aspect.  Too thin and they can be snapped off. So they are thicker now than they used to be.  This means that modern trailer units also sport a larger opening to accommodate this.  

You can see that the detailing to the rear of the casting has been sharpened up a little.  Crisper and more defined than it was before.  

However, the biggest change is on the inside.  Part of the interior section has been switched to be a part of the body section.  And yes, this does include the sleeping dog.  Why?

It's all down to the rivets again.  With this new way of building the model, they only need to rivet twice.  As you can see, originally it required 4 rivets.  Weirdly, both base styles show where the other rivets would be.  Is that just a freaky coincidence or what?  

You know what?  This time I am going to use the vehicles too.  There are a number of releases for this, and so let's dig out the front halves for each.  2000 saw the 1-off basic, but it was also in the Canyon Base 5-pack, where it was being towed by the MB406 Land Rover Freelander.  

It wasn't used in 2001, but returned in 2002 as a part of the Weekend Heroes 5-pack, this time with the MB363 '62 VW Beetle ready to tow it.  

In 2003, it was a part of a Camp Fun multipack.  The pack contained 3 vehicles, all sporting plastic sections that could glow in the dark, along with a Matchbox branded torch to light them up.  The MB486 Jeep Wrangler with luggage was also in the pack to tow it.  

After taking 2004 off, it was back in 2005 when Hitch 'n Haul was relaunched (for the last time).  It was in the Grizzly Lake pack, being towed by the MB574 Jeep Cherokee with light.

It was then a part of the Dark Forest Hitch 'n Haul, where it was now towed by the MB417 Truck Camper.

We didn't see it until the end of the Hitch 'n Haul series as was. A Vacation Day pack was launched at the end in 2012, where it was now towed by the MB168 Jeep Cherokee.

This did run a few years and with it a really cool shade.  Well, it wasn't a proper shade.  Production moved from China to Thailand during its run.  

And as you can see, when they finished in 2013, it was still the quad-rivet style.

Which brings me to the end of these too.  You can see why I wanted to add them into another set.  These were small as well.  

So, as I can, I am going to do a little dive back again.  This time, I have chosen 2 models that are somewhat linked in with things I have just shown.  The first is the MB012 Citroën CX.  

The model was going to be called CX Safari.  The first prototypes had Safari on the base, and no copyright year.  However, Lesney discovered that the Safari name was only used in the UK market.  So they re-worded the base to drop the Safari moniker, as it was known as Break in France, Familale, Estate, Wagon and various other names, depending on the market it was sold in.  It was just easier to leave it as CX, or they would run out of space.  I have this lovely pre-production in red.  

But it was later in the day for prepros, and the year was finished by then, and it was updated CX only name.  

It debuted as MB12-D in 1979 in blue, and this ran for 3 years worldwide.  Hmm!  England?  3 years of production? Yeah, this was never staying consistent.

Shades of blue paint would vary wildly during those 3 years.  

Plastic parts would also change.  The tailgate was always blue, but this did vary a bit.  But the interior?  Usually a pale yellow, sometimes a dark yellow, sometimes tan.  There is a rare red interior too, which I am still to get.  These command a hefty sum on the secondary market now.  

Windows would usually be clear, but you might find them tinted blue.  

Bases would usually be silver, but some were painted black instead. You might also find some unpainted, although I have not yet.  

Black bases are not as common as silver, so you can find shades of blue (literally every production run would be a new shade it seems), but I find other parts would be consistent for the black base variant.  

After 1981, the US market would drop the model from the basic range, replacing it with the Pontiac Firebird SE (which took a different slot in the ROW market).  But the ROW market continued with the CX for one more year, before they went and altered the casting into an ambulance for 1983.  This final year was now in yellow.  

This model could be found with either clear, blue (or at the end) smoke windows.  Bases were pretty much always black, but there is a rare silver base variant out there.  

This is where it gets a little confusing/complicated/crazy.  Lesney decided to add the Citroën to the twin pack series as TP-31.  This would sport the Motorbike Trailer on the rear in red with yellow bikes.  the car would be the same as the basic, but would feature additional Team Matchbox printing across the front.  Because, you know, bikes on the back.  

Over the course of the year, the black "Team" would turn blue.  

Apart from the tampo on the front, this was identical to the basic range.  And that is where confusion reigned.  

As the factory would just churn them out any old how.  So you might find a TP-31 with no tampo print.  But more often than not, a Team Matchbox as a single issue.  

So, as I mentioned, Team changed from black to blue part of the way through the year.  

But it was not the only variation.  Those windows would get involved in the fun again.  Clear or smoke?  

And yes, both black or blue "Team" models would sport the window variation.  

So you can find both with clear or smoke windows.  And as I said, this could be in single packs or in twin packs.  Because the factory were not fussy.  After 1982, as I mentioned, the casting was modified, and the regular road car was not seen again.  

So, I said both dive backs were somewhat linked.  The Citroën had some twin pack outings (I showed twin packs) and now I moved into the 2000s (something both twin pack rears had debuts in older guises) and is a fire vehicle (something that was in the Working Rigs section).  See, it all fits.  In my head, it does, anyway.  This is the MB613 Boom Fire Truck from 2004.  At the turn of the century, Matchbox was moving in a certain "heroic" direction, and as such, Mattel (then based in Mount Laurel, NJ) made a whole host of fire vehicles.  Every year we were getting new ones.  They were coming thick and fast.  The Boom Fire Truck was one of the later issues, first arriving in the 2004 basic range as MB33.  It came in black with a H20 side design, in the style of the Hero City era.  

The hose section on the roof was a separate plastic piece, and this could rotate around. As this was debuting, the New Jersey offices closed down, and Mattel moved Matchbox in-house to El Segundo.   It was too late to change it, but, the new team wanted to make a change to the brand immediately.  All Ultra Hero castings were to be scrapped after 2004 (the year played out, although the last batch didn't appear in the USA, as they skipped straight into 2005).  But the new team wanted to make an immediate impression.  

Being a Matchbox Originals design, we saw a quick change to something more realistic before the year ended, and MB33 went from black to red.  The new design was a vast improvement over what we had already, and we knew that things were on the up.  

But what this also meant was that many of the fire vehicles were also immediately dropped.  Some of the casting designs were felt to not fit in well with the new direction.  It did not disappear immediately, though.  They didn't exactly have a lot of realistic castings to utilize.  A couple of Dennis Sabres, sure, but they still gave this a few outings.  The first was in a 2005 Fire 5-pack.  It came in a fluorescent yellow design.  

For 2006, licensed 5-packs seemed a better option, and a Nick Jr pack saw this purple issue.  

And a Shonen Jump pack gave us a blue one as well. After that, the model was not seen in 2007.

However, for 2008, it was given a swansong to play it out, in what could only be described as its nicest outing of them all.  This white version, with a lovely realistic side design, was a part of a Fire Rescue Transporter cargo plane playset, along with 4 other vehicles.  After this, the casting was retired for good. It was a short life, and one that I bet many people will have fogotten about.  

I try not to forget things.  And that is me done for another week.  What was I planning for next week?  Oh yeah, I have some basics I need to finish up. I had forgotten!  Dammit!  Until then, I hope people have a lovely week.  

1 comment

  • Brian

    The Pierce Velocity Tower Ladder was sold in retail in the retail in the Roanoke livery. The four mail in models were in different. The Pierce Quantum Ladder truck was the RWR from the mail in series that was release in retail.

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