Matchbox Monday is "F" 'n back to basics

Has it really been 2 months since I last did a simple rundown of a batch of Matchbox basic range issues?  Turns out, yes it has.  I am seriously falling behind with things.  This is batch F of 2023, and is the mid-way point of the year.  Yet, we are in September, close to the end.  Definitely, way behind.  As we get closer to Christmas, I may be doubling up on content again.  We will see how things play out.  But, I really should get going with these.  

It begins, as I am going to run these in number order as they appear in the range, with MB21.  It is the MB1297 '57 Ford Custom 300.  

This casting only debuted last year, and for year 2 has stayed completely stock.  No fancy graphics.  This is the way I like to see most models.  It is what Matchbox does best.  The realism.  And what a beauty.  Red, with simple front lights nad nameplate, as well as some side pin stripes (and door handle) depicted.  It keeps the chrome base as well.  Something that the team have to fight to keep in, as chroming plastic is not cheap.  And with margins being paper thin on these, every little thing they do is costed.  So kudos on the team for keeping things as good as they are.  

There's no rear detailing.  With front and sides done, and a chrome base, I would not have expected anything at the back.  Not at the price point they still struggle to move up from (thanks big box stores). I know people say, don't sell them there.  But, I bet they account from a massive percentage of sales.  Without them, there is no justification to continue.  Because without this, smaller runs mean that all the background items going into them become a bigger overall percentage.  Licence fees, costs to create the castings in the first place, and the costs associated with preparing each look, (e.g. paying the designers), need to be swallowed up in the overall cost. Simple mathematics.  Cost of creating a model - $1,000.  Cost of production in factory - $1 per model.  If you make 1,000 models, you would need to sell for over $2 each to make a profit.  If you make 99,000 models, you need to sell for more than $1.01 to make a profit.  So the more that can be produced, the less they can be sold for to make a profit.  By cutting out the big box stores, they would have to raise the prices a lot to just keep them going.  So, for me, no, I would not want to lose the big box outlet.  Which simply leads us back to the old adage, big box stores need to raise prices.  As if people want raised prices.  A vicious circle.  

Of course, you get people like me who end up with more than 1.  I mean, a lighter or a darker shade of red?  Sign me up!  

I only ever found the one shade to the debut MB10 from 2022.  What?  Black, you say?  Doesn't shade, you say?  There might have been another difference for me to find.  I do enjoy comparing things.  

And comparing the new one to the last one, I do love the consistency of the design.  They match each other perfectly, with only a change from black to red between years.  Perfect!  

Another model in its second year is the MB1284 '60 Chevy El Camino.  It takes the MB29 slot for 2023 in green.

I believe Chevy called this Cascade Green back in the day.  It looks to be a genuine colour option for the El Camino, and they have done it proud.  Again, a chrome base.

But this time it is the rear and sides that get the details.  Again, they have done a fantastic job with their limited budget, and I love this colour option.  

Plus, on the model, I did notice that some come out a little more greyish than others.  It is not as noticeable as the red on the Custom 300, but I can see it.  I am keeping 2.  

Again, this is a lovely match to last year's debut MB33.  I believe that is officially known as Suntan Copper, although I just called it pale lavender.  They are doing this in lighter colours to date.  I wonder if there is a darker colour coming?

Not that I mind.  I am thoroughly enjoying this model.  2 beautiful colours to date, and I am looking forward to what they come up with next.

Whoa!  This one is on year 3.  I am amazed at how many models don't make it this far in the basic range.  Shifted into multipacks quite quickly, but the MB1241 '53 Buick Skylark Convertible gets a third run.

Taking the MB32 slot for 2023, this now comes in a lovely pale lemon shade. It is officially known as Osage Cream.  I don't know why.  Ask Buick.  And, as with the other 2 US classics reviewed so far, again we are getting a side print and lashings of chrome.  

This one goes with added front detailing.  They must be squeezing every penny out of their budget with all of these. As I said, I do think about those behind the scenes on these.  The work they have to put in to get as much as they can within their meagre budget.  I think this is a fantastic model.  I remember when the original came out, I was not particularly looking forward to it, but when it arrived I was blown away by how cool it was.  It quickly grew into a favourite of mine. 

A quick recap of the limited releases to date.  The 2021 debut MB15 in blue and 2022 MB83 in black are both cut from the same design.  Same tampo, same chrome base.  I just love the consistency.  

All 3 of these are stunners.  I can't decide which is my favourite of them. They are all that good.  

The extremely popular MB1249 MBX mini Cargo Truck is up next.  The Matchbox Originals design is now on its third year as well.

So popular, I am showing it off twice.  It is in the MB54 slot for 2023.  

Of course, I was being ironic about this being popular.  After all, year 3, and I can find all 3 still on the pegs.  I showed it off twice, as there are 2 variations.  It comes with or without luggage in the back. 

With a big 58 in the tampo, you know this is a Michael Heralda design.  He did a lovely job.  The design itself is really cool.  I mean, it's stripey!  It is just that, sadly, the subject matter is, and has been since it debuted, a huge pegwarmer.  As I said, I can still walk into a store and pick up either of the last 2 releases.  I have heard a rumour that this is its final basic range outing.  It does need to be.  No matter how nice the design, this just will not be a popular choice.  I am already seeing pegs being filled with this one.  

As somebody who tries to get everything, I did collect both variants of every release.  The 2021 MB23 in red and 2022 MB23 in blue.  Yes, both years it was MB23.  I think that is about the most interesting thing about it.  Lovely design, awful casting to put it on.  People have told stories of the Radar Truck being a massive 2000s peg warmer.  Well, this is the 2020s equivalent.  It needs to be dropped, to give the brand a chance to sell more stuff. 

Of course, if this ends up in a 5-pack or something in the future, muggins here will end up buying 2 of them to get both variants.  I have started, so I will finish collecting both.  I just hope it does not see a lot of action, even in multipacks.  It is the biggest stinker of the 2020s to date.  Even the 2010s massive pegwarmer (Heavy Freighter, remember that one) was noted as being an awful pegwarmer, dropped after 2 years, and never seen again.  

Let's move on to something better.  Ah, yes, this hits the spot.  I love the MB1236 '19 Subaru Forester.  This one is also on year 3, and as far I am concerned, it could be year 23.  I am loving it!  

It pops up in the MB88 slot for 2023 in a lovely metallic black design.  A modern vehicle, there is no need for lashings of chrome.  This gets a simple front and rear treatment.  On vehicles like this, that is all I would expect.  

Grey interior, grey base, clear windows.  There is nothing more I can add.  This is lovely. Definitely one of my favourites of the whole batch.  I just find this casting to be adorable. The real Forester is about average, in a sea of SUVs.  But the model just blows me away, and I am totally enjoying adding more.  

How many more?  Well, 2 in this case.  Yes, it's black.  But I can still find a variation.  The metallic paint is coming out with barely any metal flake in it, or loaded with flakes.  You can see how it makes quite the difference to the final look.  That is big.  I tell you, this batch is proving to be quite a lot of fun.  For me!  

I bring in the other 2 to show off now.  The 2021 MB10 debut in green and 2022 MB55 in red.  Again, consistency is key as all 3 have the exact same finish to the them.  Clear windows, grey base/interior, double 10-spoke wheels.  The tampo is identical.  

Which makes this whole group just about perfect.  Yes, more like this please.  

Oh rats!  I was supposed to be going in number order.  How did MB88 come before MB82?  It's okay, I can fix this in final editing.  Son of a… I forgot to do that. Oh well, a new casting.  The MB1361 Renault Twizy.  

With a push towards adding more French vehicles, they went totally out there with something very unique.  An electric quadricycle.  Well, they added a lot of EV stuff recently, something I believe they have achieved a decent percentage of now, so they can balance a little more with ICE vehicles.  However, quadricycles are not the most commonly seen vehicles.  Especially outside of Europe, when it comes to this one.  I am not sure how well it will sell.  It is still early days. For the casting, it took a while to arrive, as the real vehicle debuted in 2012, and, well, this is September 2023 as I post this.  Yes, this is pretty much to the day that production of the real vehicle finishes.  Renault announced in June, that production is ceasing in September, as it is being replaced by a Mobilize Duo.  Mobilize being a new offshoot of the Renault brand that was launched in 2021.  

Being a quadricycle, this is going to be a very quirky looking vehicle.  Something I always worry about. I know we do get random vehicles on the road.  But, historically, when one does get introduced as a model, kids look at them, get confused, and leave them.  I hope that is not the case with this one.  It is a fun little casting, and appears to be very well done in small scale.  The front end detailing appears to be spot on.  The Renault badge is highly visible, and I like that this is a real vehicle.  

The model sports simple front and rear tampo.  The way it has been constructed appears to be the most obvious way.  In real life, the lower half does appear to be plastic.  So this is true to form.  

Real vehicles do sport this moon roof style, so again, the casting is pretty much spot on.  It is small, but so is the real one.  It is thin.  It's a quadricycle.  It only holds 2 people.  It is a niche vehicle.  

So these proportions do appear accurate.  In short, this is a very good casting, well made, well sculpted. well designed.  The blue sets it off well, and this very much looks like a true small scale variation of the real vehicle.  I just don't like it.  I am not into quadricycles.  It's niche.  It will appeal to some people, of which I do think they will be a minority.  Sadly.  The execution is fantastic.  Don't get me wrong.  They did fantastic work on it.  It's just too out-there for me.  

Base shot.  It is an electric vehicle, so obviously there will be no detailing to the underside.  Although, being small, that is useful, as it allows them to squeeze all of their details on it.  

I tell you though, I am addicted.  I perked up a little when I started seeing shade variations to it.  Even with a model I am not really liking, when I find shades, I do enjoy picking them up. 

I am classifying these as blue and sea-blue.  It definitely has a bit of a greenish tint to the one on the left here.  It's not major, but it's enough for me.  As I said, fun batch!

A-ha!  Back in number order now.  This is MB92 in the basic range for 2023.  The MB1302 '18 Toyota 4Runner.  

I believe this is based on Voodoo Blue. A real colour option for the 4Runner. It's bright.  It stands out really well.  I like it!  As Cole Porter (and many others who covered, like Frank Sinatra) sand, “you do that voodoo that you do so well”.  I do enjoy a brightly coloured model from time to time. They really stand out.  

As with many others, this sports a simple front and rear tampo print.  That's all it needs.  On a basic SUV/car, I think a front and rear print does suffice.  This is another home run.  

Guess what?  Yes, shades!  I couldn't resist.  I had a feeling this would be good for a shade or 2.  It was so bright.  I was right.  I much prefer this to the 2022 debut.

Although people may be forgiven for forgetting that this was technically a 2022 debut.  After all, the model was due in the last batch of 2022, but missed the cut, and ended up in the first batch of 2023 instead.  It then ran for 3 batches, so we have only had 2 batches (AKA 2 months) between releases.  

Just look at the consistency.  I keep saying it.  That is what I look for with these releases.  They just need a different colour.  Make them realistic, and keep the tampo consistent, and these will stay popular.  

We are now on to the last official model of the batch.  The MB1229 '94 Lexus LS400.  This model saw quite the confusing debut.  But it does appear to have settled down now.  It takes the MB93 slot in the 2023 range, and is another sporting the 70th Anniversary special look.

Which means we know what to expect of it.  A platinum paint finish, with orange rimmed wheels, and a 70th Anniversary design on it.  This is a very simple design.  Just an orange pin stripe to go with the logo.  Sometimes, less is more.

Because the model is still sporting both a front tampo print….

…and rear.  Terrific work in getting this one done.  I wonder if they were cleverly manipulating the model during production, or if they actually did pass it through the tampo machine 4 times.  The 2 colour sides lead me to believe this was a clever manipulation during production.  I have been noticing with these 70th Anniversary models that most appear to be sporting a 3-pass tampo print.  A little extra awarded to the specials.  

This is only the second release after things got a little mixed up.  For those who are trying to remember, let me do a quick recap.  2021.  The model was due to arrive as MB3 in the basic range.  It was running late. It finally arrived in batch B of 2022.  And remember, the batches in 2022 were larger, 2-month long batches.  Each batch was a 1 and done for the most part.  In 2022, it was supposed to be in black as MB12.  It had been scheduled for batch C. The factory made a small mistake and ended up running the debut again.  Doh!  In an effort to remedy the situation, the Matchbox team made an effort to get the black model squeezed in before the year ended.  The last batch (F) was altered to add the Lexus in.  So what did the factory do?  They ran the 2021 again.  Aw!  Well, these things happen.  We may see the black one appear in the future, re-marked up under a new number.  I would not rule it out. I hope it does.  But, we did see a lot of the champagne debut.  Especially as it was also included in the Japan Origins Walmart series. 

Now, I have been advocating consistency all through this report.  So, here I am breaking my rule.  They have made a small change to the rear on the new one.  It is minor, but a small white rectangle has broken up the rear red section.  I think that is an improvement.  The addition of a licence plate is neither here nor there.  But that white colour break is better, and I am going to say yes to the change.  Do they re-run the champagne with white on the rear?  No!  I think we have enough of them now.  Ha ha!  I do feel that future issues should include this white part.  I believe the real one might have minor changes to that section, depending on the market it is sold in.  So, it does sort of work, and does keep this real.  Either way, I am happy.  

That brings me to the end of the regular batch.  The stuff what was sent over by Wheel Collectors.  But, every second batch in the USA gets a special addition if you were to visit Target.  The Target Red Edition.  For batch F, the 3rd of them is the MB1226 '19 Ford Mustang GT. 

As with the Camaro and Divo seen already, this model comes in red with white detailing and red rimmed wheels.  It looks amazing.  The 427 Supercharged design looks fantastic.  

I love these Target models, although I am not loving how difficult it is becoming to find them. The Camaro was easy enough to find, but since then, they have become harder and harder to locate.  I am determined not to miss one.  Because, as I said, I love this look.  It appears to be quite a standard design.  Red, white detailing, red on the wheels.  A whole set that work so well together.   If you can get them.  

On that note, I think I am done.  9 models in total.  Out of them, had it not been for the Target issue, the only US vehicles would have been classics.  All following the same chrome base, side pin striping and one end print.  the Mustang mixes things up.  

We also saw 3 Japanese vehicles.  2 of them were modern, with another a recent classic. 

As well as the other 2.  One French, the other an original. Both niche models. The only 2 that I was not keen to give a 10 out of 10 for. The Renault gets a 7 from me.  Very well done, but a little too out there for my liking.  The Cargo Truck? Can we go into minus figures?   

I hope you enjoyed the report.  I need to get “moving” on some other models next week.  Until then, keep an eye on the Lamley Blog site this weekend saw the beginning of something (or things, there will be another) that will be running for a few weeks, as The Leipzig Convention is upon us. But for now, I hope everybody has a safe and happy week.  

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