Matchbox Monday heads on over to Japan

The Matchbox team surprised us earlier this year with the news that they were going to be preparing an exclusive series for the Japanese market.  But even more than that, these were going to be an offshoot of the Moving Parts series, not the basic range that we are used to.  We have also recently learned that this is not just a one-off set.  Another batch will be coming soon too.  

These are the 6 models that arrived in the first batch.  There is a lot to take in here.  The Japanese writing on the boxes, including the Matchbox logo itself.  The fact that they are numbering them in an iconic throwback to the old Lesney Japanese issues.  These are numbered from J-1 to J6.  

Now, one thing I will point out is that the boxes are the same construction as the ones we currently see in the Power Grabs range. This means there are no flaps on the ends, and when you open them, they will be staying open.  Somebody like me is not fussy about things like that, but I know there will be some who are lamenting the lack of re-sealable boxes for these.  

So let's get stuck into the 6 models.  One thing I have noticed, Matchbox are doing a similar thing here, with half the models being new and exclusive to the series, the others being pulled from the standard Moving Parts series.  Taking the J-1 slot in the set is the MB1162 '04 Honda S2000.  

As they do with Power Grabs now, when you open a box, the models are now wrapped in tissue paper, and not sealed in a little plastic wrapper.  Better for recycling.  It's the new norm.

So, straight away, we are getting a carry forward model from the standard Moving Parts series.  This model is a repeat of the 2021 Moving Parts number 9 of 20.  

Now, this may be just mine, but I did notice the paint job on this was quite thin.  It is something I have often noticed when it comes to white models.  I am not sure why, but quite often they appear to come out with a thin layer of paint on them.  As you can see, this is most evident at the rear of this model.  

The front end does not appear so thin, and the engine detailing is still excellent.  They do a wonderful job detailing engines on models like this.  So yes, carry forward.  I know many do not like them.  I am not as bothered, but that is because I am crazy for shades, and often with a gap in production, these can appear to sport them.  I do prefer bigger gaps between production runs, but obviously, Moving Parts has not been around very long.  So we are not going to get a deep history to delve into.  In 2019 the series debuted with a Nissan Xterra and Datsun 280ZX which are Japanese.  But the Nissan Xterra was only sold in North America, so I don't think that really counts either.  2020 saw no new Japanese castings to the range, so with a few more debuting in 2021, we really have little opportunity for pulling out looks from the archives.  

So let's bring out last year's S2000 to compare.

As expected, this thinner paint covering is giving the car a noticeably different look.  The thinner paint does give it a much whiter look.  The thicker painted model from last year looks positively cream next to it.  

Everything else about the model pretty much looks identical.  The tampo printing is the same, the window tint and interior colour matches between the 2.  So, this is a good one for me.  I can't imagine it is for everybody.  

Now the Honda has also seen 2 outings in the premium series too.  It did actually debut back in 2019 too, as a part of the Superfast 65th Anniversary range.  It came in yellow, and earlier runs had a 65 logo on the side, but later runs removed it.  

The model was completely absent in 2020, but as well as the Moving Parts issue, 2021 did see another premium too.  The red one was a part of what is now known as the Collectors series.  

With 3 outings so far, the choice for carry forwards was always going to be limited.  But 2 of the earlier ones were premium issues, so that does discount them as a Moving Parts carry forward.  There was only the 1 left to choose from.  In a few years, as the Moving Parts/Collectors series continue to grown and expand, and we see more models with items that either move or open, the more we see of carry forwards, the greater the scope for choice.

Oh, I just mentioned the Datsun.  The oldest Moving Parts casting from Japan as the MB1146 '82 Datsun 280ZX did debut back in 2019 in the Moving Parts range.  

Well, this is not that one. Or any other.  This is new and exclusive.  J-2 comes in a simple black with white over the front.  It is known as a 2-tone for the model.  Many 280ZX models had a 2-tone look, with an alternate over the hood like this has.  I have not personally found white over black, but have seen silver over black.  So in that respect, it is quite a realistic look for the model.  If you were to Google search for Datsun 280Zx 2-tone, you will find many colour combinations.

The model also sports a nicely detailed rear end.  

I think this is definitely one of the nicest looks seen so far on this casting.  And, considering I had already mentioned only a few years to dive back, there are quite a few others to compare to.

Because, as I had already established, this did indeed debut in the 2019 Moving Parts range.  It came in charcoal, with a retro inspired design, loosely based on the sort of design as used by Universal on the original casting back in the 1980s.  It is not a duplicate, just a homage.

For 2020, the Moving Parts series saw a blue issue.

And the Superfast series saw a fully detailed model also appear in red, as number 1 in the set.  

For 2021, the Moving Parts series started being numbered, and the Datsun appeared in brown as number 17 in the range.  

And with Superfast being renamed as Collectors for 2021, the number 2 model in the series was another 280ZX.  This time it was in blue, and you might notice also sports a white front section.  

By contrast, after all the different releases, 2022 has appeared to be a very quiet year for this model.  This looks to be its only release of the year.  Which brings us up to 6 different releases so far.  I am sure there are still plenty to come.  

Number J-3 in the range is a model that only just debuted this year.  The MB1309 '21 Mazda MX-30.  

And sadly, this is a carry forward from a model that was only made originally about a month or 2 previously.  We have already seen this in batch C of the Moving Parts range in 2022 in this blue colour scheme.  

Had it been me, I would have done the opposite with this and the Datsun.  The 280ZX has a history that could have been delved into.  I would have re-done the 2019 model, and planned that white over black release for a later series, or 2023 Moving Parts outing.  Then I would have given the Mazda an alternate look for the Japan series. That way there are still 3 exclusives, as well as 3 carry forwards, but the carry forwards would have felt more nostalgic.  

But there was still a small gap between the 2 production runs.  Does this alter?  Hmm!  If it does, the model sports 2 interiors, which would make it quite difficult to obtain both (due to them hiding in boxes, not visible in blisters).  

Hmm!  It's fractional.  There is a tiny shade.  But is it worth trying to attempt it?  Maybe not.  It is just a nuance here, and nothing significant. So I am happy to keep just the 2 I had already.

Just checking bases.  The original run I have is dated R11, and this run dated R20.  So it is 9 weeks later.  

And for those who don't remember what the variation is, if you open the rear you will either find items of luggage or a dog sleeping in the back.  

Another carry forward, and another blue model.  Hey, that's even more reason they should have looked at making the Mazda an exclusive and re-used an older Datsun.  J-4 is the MB1252 '63 Honda T-360

Just like with the other Honda in this set, this is a carry forward of the 2021 release of the casting.  But it had to be really, as that was the debut, and so far only Moving Parts release for it.  

So as we have seen, this means it comes in blue with front and rear detailing.  This is pretty much exactly how it appeared back in 1963.  Light blue with this detail was the default look for the real vehicle, so was the logical choice for a debut.  

And with the front opening to reveal the spare wheel, this is the time you notice the headlights were actually not a part of the opening hood section.  It is a lovely little model.  

Now, this was originally sold in 2021.  But it was late in 2021.  I think it was in the final batch of the year, so again is not a massive different in production times between the 2 runs.  

It is not massive, but I do see the newer one being a darker shade of blue to the original one.  But, although the Mazda CX-30 was really close, with just a small nuance, this is a little more, and as such I am going to keep the new in my collection as a shade.  

P28 compared to R20 means a 44-week gap in production runs.  That is definitely a bigger gap.  I know many really do not care, but some are like me (yes I know, there are more of us out there) and this stuff is significant.  

You know what? In this angle, the shade appears more noticeable.  One thing I think they missed out on though, last year is debuted in the number 6 slot in the Moving Parts.  They should have popped in the J-6 slot.  Keep it consistent.  Ha ha!  

And yes, blue is not the only release so far.  The first batch of Collectors for 2022 had this as number 5 in the set.  Wait?  6, 5, 4?  Is this counting down to something? I am just hoping that does not mean there are 3 more outings to go before the model disappears.  It is a lovely little casting.  

So, having seen all the carry forwards to this set, the last 2 models are therefore all new and exclusive for the series.  First up is the J-5 release of the MB1256 Toyota Cruiser.  

Oh, I like this one.  The orange is very striking.  Definitely the nicest I think it has looked so far.  

It is a shame that the front of the doors appear to have such a big gap.  The more I see of this model, the more I see how big that gap is.  Which is a huge shame as it opens and closes so beautifully.  Such a smooth action and decent clunk as it clicks shut.  Such a sold feel to it, yet it does detract a little when you look at it.  

Now this is much better, too.  If you remember my last talk on this model, when it was in a recent Moving Parts series, I lamented how the rear tampo detailing was almost washed out at the rear.  Silver on silver was not a great idea, but on this, the tampo really stands out well.  So much better.  

It is very good as well for these lower range models, or core range as Matchbox refer to them as.  You get core range stuff and premium range stuff.  Mind you, the only premiums you get beyond the Collectors series and Mattel Creations is the odd promotional model.  But when it comes to the FJ Cruiser, it debuted last year in the Collectors series in light blue (an iconic colour for the vehicle) as number 11 in the set.  

And as I mentioned, a few months ago it was in the Moving Parts series as number 50 in the set of 50, in silver with tampo printing that was barely visible in places.  

But when you look at these 3 models, the tampo printing on all 3 is identical.  There is no difference at all between them (although you have to look carefully at the silver one to confirm that).  So this means that as a premium, the only difference the blue model received was a set of real rider wheels in place of the plastic ones.  Me, personally, I actually prefer the plastic ones.  I have never been a huge ran of real riders.  I think I was put off when World Class first debuted in 1989 and since then I have never really come around to them.  The hubs on some models look nice, but I still prefer a plastic wheel.  

Talk about leaving the best until last.  J-6 in the set is a brand-new look, exclusive to Japan, for the MB1258 Nissan Nismo GT-R (R35) (base name) or 2022 Nissan GT-R Nismo (package name)

This looks fantastic.  I absolutely love this red look on the car.  It is incredible.  Easily my pick of the bunch.  

And this model is receiving a lot of detailing too.  Did you notice how the front was detailed, there is black on the sides, and the rear gets printing?  But more importantly, the base section is also getting red trim, which will have been done at a different time.  For a core range model, this is sporting a lot of tampo.  This is a model that they have really pushed the boat out on.

And when you look at the front a little more carefully, you will actually notice that this is the interior section making the main grille up, sporting tampo, and again the base getting red trim along the edge.  Wow!  I am blown away with this core range release getting so much detail.

So, errm, let's bring in the premium.  This model debuted in the 2021 Collectors series in the number 18 slot.  However, due to a delay, it did not arrive until the first batch of 2022.  Slightly out of sync.  But I am already looking at it and thinking this is nowhere near as nice as the core issue.  

The most significant thing for me is how the core range is so much better detailed than the premium.  Don't get me wrong, I really like the premium one.  But the core range is just blowing it away in my eyes.  Especially with the lack of the red trim.  I did check.  The white vehicles still get red edging in real life.  

What a way to finish off the "new" segment of the report.  When it comes to the new and exclusive issues of the series, each one looks to be my new favourite of that casting.  Lucky Japan!  

So with that over, I guess it is time for me to jump into my collection for more random stuff.  Well, they may not all be random.  You will see.

So, as usual, I am beginning the trip in the 1970s.  During the Lesney era, we often saw them creating multiple vehicles from the 1 casting.  In this case, an Atlas casting from 1975 was turned into a second casting for 1976.  The MB37-C Skip Truck.  Where Atlas had a fancy name, this one was just saying it as it was.  It first appeared in red with a yellow plastic skip on the rear.

The arm on the rear of the truck would pivot, allowing the skip to be offloaded.  

The skip could be left behind, with the arm resting on the back of the model while empty.  Or when the skip is lost, as was often the case with kids at the time.  

Red was the default colour for 5 years.  It ran until 1980 officially unchanged.  But we know things never stay the same long in the Lesney era.  For starters, the idea of chroming the interior did not last long.  After 1976, they got bored with that and by 1977 the interior was just whatever plastic they were using.  

You might have noticed a certain amber windows on the chromed interior model.  There is a rare crossover.  This was also switched for 1977, but the last few amber windows were used up when the interior turned grey.  I am still to find one.  However, over the next 4 years, the usually clear windows did sometimes sport very light tints.  The one I show here has a slight blue tint, but some can be a light smoke, and sometimes it can simply be just a little cloudy.  

Black was also the default for bases.  It can vary between a matte, satin or gloss finish, which I have never bothered worrying about.  But if you were to hunt around, you might find an unpainted base.  Not that common, but they do randomly appear.  I have never heard of one from 1976.  These only started popping up when the model switched to a grey interior and clear window.  

And of course, my personal favourite.  The shade.  Red was never going to be consistent over the course of 5 years, and lighter or darker shades exist.  The skip is known to sport small shades of yellow too.  

In 1977, Germany had a special 3-pack made.  Known as 1000PS, this pack contained 3 models, all in unique colours.  The Skip Truck was one of them, and this set saw it in orange with a red skip.  However, they only made a small quantity of red skips, and a final run just used the standard yellow skip.  I haven't bothered obtaining it due to the fact that you can just switch skips over.  I could just make my own up if I wanted. I just decided to have the correct one in my collection.  

Back in the basic range, moving on to 1978, we stumbled across a random run with a blue skip.  Why?  Because it was Lesney, and they just did stuff like that.  I can just imagine the talk.  We came up with a new skip colour.  Blue!  Nah, don't like it.  Fine, back to yellow then.  Well, you made them, might as well use them.  I can just imagine the fun being there.  

The next most noticeable difference was in 1980, during the last year of the red model.  As I said, a pale smoke window is known to exist, but that wasn't what I was getting at here.  Notice the grille?

Yes, they switched from a black base to a brown one for a while.  They obviously had some spare brown paint they weren't going to use, so they just used it up on bases.

After 1980, the model was dropped from the US range as a part of the brand split in 1981.  But the ROW market kept it for one more year.  But as part of this additional year, they decided to switch the model to a blue one.  It still had the yellow skip, but the plan was to switch the interior.  But there were a lot of grey ones left.  So they still used them on the early runs.  

It was the same with the base.  Black?  No, make it silver.  But they had lots of black (matte, satin, gloss, or charcoal) paint left, so we saw many black ones, before they switched to a silver base, and again after too.  

They finally switched it over to the black interior later in 1981.  As I said, this could be on any base.  Silver, black, charcoal, whatever paint they were using at the time.  It was a base.  It wasn't important.  To them!  To us? Very!But after 1981, the model was also dropped from the ROW range too, and never seen again.  

Well, I had to, didn't I.  We were talking about Japanese models in the main section at the front, so I know I had to pop a Japanese model into my dive back too. This is the MB078 Toyota Supra.  The story goes that Lesney set up a deal with a company in Japan to create 4 exclusive castings from scratch.  That was R&D as well as production.  They made them in Japan, launching them exclusively in the Japanese range in 1979.  Samples were sent over to Lesney in England. They hated them.  The deal was terminated, the Japanese exclusive range was dropped, and back at the England factory, production had already begun on models for the 1980 Japanese range.   These were thrown in MP-1 5-packs and distributed out to clear them out, some of them now commanding quite high premiums due to rarer variations.  As part of the deal, Lesney still owned them, even though they were fully created in Japan.  So they took the 4 castings and set up a new deal with a company in Hong Kong, to see if they could do anything with them. They tried.  Lesney were still not happy though, but what they did notice though, was that shipping them to Australia and USA was proving to save them a lot of money.  So as part of the brand split, they sent over a bunch of castings that were going to be only found in the US range, as it would be cheaper to produce in Hong Kong.  But in the meantime, work began on coming up with their own models in 1981.  There were 4 models in total. One was renamed as a Dodge Challenger from Galant Eterna, because it was a captive import in USA under that name.  Lesney had their own casting already, so just altered it into something new.  Job done.  The other 3?  Well, after the mess with trying to figure out US or ROW models in 1981, 1982 would prove to be even more of a challenge.  New castings were now going to be sold under different numbers between markets, so needed some sort of reference.  Enter the Manufacturing Number list, which is still the way to keep track.  What they did was to take the ROW 1982 range, and give them the first 75 numbers.  But the 3 Japanese casting replacements were due to arrive in 1982, so they gave them the next 3 slots.  Then, they added all that was in the 1982 US range only as the next numbers up.  And it carried on from there.  

So in pre-production form, the Toyota (as well as a Mazda RX-7 and Datsun 280ZX) all sported Lesney England bases.  However, each model, due to the rush in trying to get them done, all came up with issues which delayed them.  The Toyota kept having issues with the roof (plus somebody goofed with the scale, putting it the wrong way round).  The Mazda, the rear licence plate wasn't forming.  The Datsun, the doors were not staying in place well. This delayed all of them through 1982, and by the time they got fixed, it was 1983.  Universal had taken over, after Lesney's demise, and immediately came up with the idea of moving production of any worldwide release to Macau.  

So the Toyota only exists as pre-production models with England bases.  

When it finally arrived worldwide, as either MB39 for the US market, or MB60 for the ROW market, it was painted white with a racing theme to it. A rare first run has clear windows, but the majority sport an amber window.

As you can, they added a tab to cover up the England details.  They also noticed the scale error, and a second tab was added to cover that with the correct scale instead.  

For 1984, Universal set up their own deal with Japan.  The regular issue was moved to the J-70 slot for the Japanese range, but they also gave them a second, exclusive addition to the range.  J-62 was in red with a Twin Cam side design.  Funnily enough, the exclusive one only ran for 2 years (1984-85), but the regular one kept going until 1986.  The standard for this is sporting an amber window and 5-arch wheels.  There is a clear window variation, and 8-dot wheels have been known to be found too.  

After 1984, the US range dropped the casting.  But the ROW range persevered for one more year.  And just like what happened with the Skip Truck, they gave it a new look.  It was still white, but now the model was sporting a blue design and Supra down the sides.  The first run used up the leftover amber windows from the earlier model (this is why the red one for Japan started getting clear too).

They also switched the wheels to 8-dot too, but there is a crossover I am still trying to find.  The clear glass/5-arch version still eludes me.

After 1985 (or 1986 in Japan), the ROW only model was also dropped from the range.  It did pop back up briefly though, in late 1987 in the UK where a small run was prepared and sold as a Dinky model.  This was down to them obtaining the Dinky licence, but running out of time to use it before losing it again.  So they rush-released a set of 6 exclusive basics in a tiny run, threw them in red Dinky blisters, and zipped down to a local store to offload them.  This was legally all that they were required to do, and as such, they kept the Dinky licence that they had paid for. The Toyota was one, and again was white. This time with a primary colour design on it.  

But it wasn't the end for the casting.  It had quite a short life really as a regular Matchbox issue, but in 1991, they sent it to Bulgaria as part of an ongoing deal with a company there.  With no need to ship the casting back after a year (which had been the case for the first few deals), the Bulgarian factory started cranking out many, MANY issues.  These blue and silver ones were simply early issues with no tampo.

The base was also re-engraved with Universal's corporate details rather than the Matchbox ones, for reasons I don't know.  

Over the years, the model started getting more and more tampo printing.  These 2 sport the name down the side.  

We started getting a stripe over the front too.  

By the beginning of the 21st century, their designs were getting a lot more creative.  With Coca-Cola being a known quantity at the time, Bulgaria got in on the act by doing a bunch of Coke liveries.  In 2004, they joined in with the 35th anniversary celebrations for the Superfast range.  

Then the designs started getting even more creative.  

And they also started coming up with a window banner too on various models.  Most of them were simply different tyre manufacturers.

There are so many different Bulgarian issues of the casting, and I don't believe anybody has attempted to compile a proper list of them.  I just grab odd ones when I see them that I think look nice.  

Ah, screw it.  I am doing another Japanese one.  The MB226 Nissan Prairie.  This was from the 1990s. Literally!  Debuting in 1991, last used in 1999.  From an era where the MPV was a popular vehicle, Matchbox made a model of a second generation Prairie (which was often known as the Nissan Axxess in USA), when it debuted, the 1991 model was released as either MB31 in the US market or MB21 in the ROW market.  It came in blue over silver for the first year.  

And that model was very good for shading.  The blue shown here is noticeably different, but the silver lower is also known to vary.  

For 1992, they changed it to all silver, with the Nissan logo on the side.  This ran for 2 years in the ROW market, but only the 1 in the US market.  The casting was dropped after 1992 there, but 1993 was unchanged as it continued as a now ROW exclusive. And, obviously, was also good for shades.  Although this is not as easy to show in picture.  

However, there is an alternate red one to find.  This was exclusive to Sam's in the USA.  Sam's Club being the warehouse club run by Walmart in the USA.  For 1992, an exclusive 30-pack appeared there, which featured a lot of fascinating content for people in the US.  A number of vehicles were officially ROW only models, which was very cool.  But a great many sported an alternate colour to their regular release.  This was one.  

In 1992, they also gave the model a plain white release for Graffic Traffic.  

1994 saw the model change to a new look for the ROW market.  It was now white and had a paramedic design on the side.  It ran for 2 more years, at which time the ROW range dropped it too.  But you know what I am like.  I still find shades.  The green is the best for shading.  

For 2 years, we saw nothing at all from the casting.  But in 1998, that all changed. This was the first year of the new, Mattel run, basic range.  Every model would be whatever it was in the range and run (usually) for 1 year. The ROW range decided this would pop back up for the year, and MB45 there was in green with a Nissan logo on the side.  

Yes, it was basically the same design as on the 1992-93 issue in silver (albeit without the pillar print).  I don't know if there was a plan for a different design or not, and it was changed last minute, hence the use of a previously created side design.  

Because this was found in China.  The model was only ever made in China throughout its 9 years of life.  But nobody really knows the origins of this.  Was it a planned basic, but refused last minute, with a small batch made?  Was it being prepared for a set or something, and that was dropped last minute, with a small batch made?  Who knows.  But what we do know is these are not the easiest to find.  It might have been something from during the early 1990s.  Sat in the warehouse for a while, and as part of the Mattel clean out, finally disposed of through local channels.  I would love to know the origins of it.

It also appeared in the Around Town 5-pack in yellow, sporting a taxi livery.  

As I said, this model finished use in 1999.  It saw a final outing in a Sea Explorers 5-pack that year, in white with a scuba diver on the side.  However, if you want to be nerdy, the pack was still in production as 2000 rolled in, so technically, it just about made the 2000s. But the books will show it finished in 1999.

Talking of the 2000s, I am now going to pull out a model that debuted then.  But only just.  The MB776 MBX Street Cleaner is a Matchbox originals casting that first arrived in 2009.  

It arrived as MB44 in the basic range in yellow with a Sheffer Street Cleaning side design.  It was also created with a clever little addition.  There is a grey button on the top that is actually linked to the brushes on the sides.  When you press the button, the brushes wiggle about.  

It was also good for shades.  

It was also chosen to be a part of the 1st Editions 10-pack at the end of the year.  This was also a yellow model (albeit a lighter yellow), and had a simple City Sweeper side design.

For 2010 it moved to the MB64 slot in the range.  But only if you were in the US or ROW markets.  The LAAM market did not have it.  It was in lime gold with an Enviro Logistics side design.  

It was also a part of the City Action 5-pack in blue with a City Cleaner design.  

It also saw another 10-pack issue too.  This time it was in the all-exclusive "Action" 10-pack.  This was in teal with a Sweep Away side design.  

For 2011, the model was now dropped from the ROW range as well.  It was now a US exclusive, and was still being sold as MB64.  It came in red with a fictitious Kleenschweep side design.  

In 2012, this model was back in the worldwide range (as the 4-year experiment of the 3-way split ended), and was sold as MB5 in blue.  But are you looking at the livery?  National Parks!  We know of the mint green, but we forget that in the early days (and in 2018 with a certain 5-pack), not all models came in mint.  A bit of an anomaly, but one to remember.  

It was also in the City Works 5-pack that year in bright yellow.  But if you looked carefully, you might have noticed that the wheels were actually slightly different.  Matchbox created 2 different 6-spoke wheels, one with a smaller inner section and thick "tyres" and another with a larger inner section and narrow "tyres". Both were to be found during production.  

In 2013, it was still MB5 in the range, and this time it was in white with an SWP-RT design.  SWP-RT, if you think about it, is a shorthand for "sweep right".  

In 2014, it moved to the MB3 slot in the range in brown with a Matchbox Tri-County Department Sanitation livery.  We couldn't help but notice the black window.  

There was a reason.  The casting had been altered.  The interior and window sections were now combined into a single section, which necessitated the closing of the windows.  As such, it was given a new MAN number. It was now MB943.  

In 2015, the model was dropped from the basic range after 5 years.  But it did see a single outing in the City Works 5-pack.  During production, the shade of orange did vary quite a bit.

However, it was back in the basic range in 2016.  This time the model was in green with a City Services design as MB28.  I did notice that the green was good for a shade or 2.  

As it stands, 2017 saw the last time this model was used.  As it finished off as MB16 in the basic range, we couldn't help but notice the familiar look.  The 2015 5-pack model was now in the basic range as a single.  

But if you were a complete nerd like me, you would have noticed that, even though it was good for shades in 2015, the 2017 issue was significantly lighter in shade.  I wonder where the casting is? I feel it still has a use or 2 left in it.  

But there are models I am happy enough to see the back of.  2013 was the last time that Matchbox veered off its proven path.  Mattel were attempting something new for the brand, and as such, a number of the realistic models we knew and loved were phased out, and in their place came an array of generics, or Matchbox originals as they are lovingly referred to.  As part of this, they were really looking at a wide range of scenarios.  The most popular models are always the ones that appear on the roads. But they were looking to the skies, the snowy mountains, the tracks and the water.  They were coming up with a huge array of non-road vehicles.  Sadly, as mentioned, they are just never as popular. They tried.  After a few years, we started moving back to the more successful stuff.  The MB890 Amphi Flyer was one such venture.  A hovercraft style vehicle.  It debuted as MB31 in the 2013 range in orange, with a white skirt.  The windows, which were also white, formed the upper edge of the skirt.

Another piece, in this case grey, was added to the rear to form the fans. It wasn't an awful model.  But it was not exactly popular.  As things were disappearing off pegs, this model did tend to linger.  

For 2014, the model moved to the MB74 slot in green, with a black window, yellow skirt and fan section.  

And for 2015, it turned orange, with a black window, grey skirt and yellow fan.  The only time all 4 parts were different colours. Yeah, daft facts.  I never grow tired of passing them on.  Oh yeah, it was MB91.  I almost forgot that part.  

But that proved to be enough.  After 2015, the model was dropped and has never been seen again.  It really doesn't fit with the current direction of the brand, so I highly doubt we will ever see it again.  So, it is capped at 3 releases.

Something we had better not have with these.  Well, the Datsun is way past 3, but the GT-r and FJ are too cool to give up on them.  I am hoping for many more of both of those.

Plus many more of these too.  I am really enjoying the Moving Parts stuff.  I hope one day for this to be the default basic range.  And that all the country exclusive stuff is based on Moving Parts, much like Japan has done.  Lucky Japan.  Wait, have I said that already?  

I hope you have enjoyed this week's report.  Next week, I feel like I should hop to a different country.  Until then, I hope you all have a good week.  See you next time for more Matchbox goodies.  

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