Matchbox Monday is keen and kind with the K batch

Another batch of basic range models gets the Matchbox Monday treatment from me.  As you will know by now, there is a model in every other assortment that is exclusive to Target stores in the USA, so all but one of these were sent over to me by Wheel Collectors.  As we get to the end of the year, the assortments do get rather packed (hence me not being able to line them all up in the above picture), so I think I should just dig in.  

As I always do, I am going in number order with these, which means the first one on the docket is the MB1283 '12 BMW 3-series Touring Wagon.  It takes the MB6 slot in the 2023 range and comes in white. 

This is a standard colour option for the BMW at that time, and looks very nice in miniature.  I prefer this look to the debut last year, as the front end really pops in this white look.  I love that they continue to keep these models looking very simple and realistic.  

The rear end sports a licence plate that simple has a shortened version of Touring Wagon on it.  Of course, in most markets, the wagon variant of the 3-series (code F31 in the 6th generation) was simply Touring, and the package did denote that.  As does the base.  I do like that they figured out how to get the rear lights to nudge around corners again.  There was a point where they stopped doing that, and many models looked a little awkward for it. So, kudos for keeping things as real as possible.  Sure, there is a great big rivet post going down the rear.  But, I try not to worry about that.  I know the current drop system for construction of these models dictates they have no other choice, if they want to continue with a 4-piece construction.  I am not keen on the 3-part models.  I always felt that is the difference between a decent model and a cheap alternative.  But, I also know these have wafer thin margins for making money out of them, so I accept things like this.  I think this model looks great.  I am giving it a 10 out of 10. 

Now, I really liked the black debut last year.  The MB58 that year looked fantastic.  But, the front end detailing was not as eye-popping.  Hence, me liking this a bit more.  Notice, they have not hot foil printed the wheels yet on this casting.  

And so far, the rear licence plate has stayed the same.  I look forward to seeing when they mix that one up.  I like fun licence plates. I am keen to see more of this casting.  Roll on 2024. 

New casting time.  This is the MB1349 '41 Plymouth Coupe.  It debuts as MB8 in the 2023 in a bright mint green look. 

We don't have a lot of classic US vehicles from the 1940s.  They have made a number of 1930s models.  Although, I am holding out hope that they also come up with some classic European/Australian/UK vehicles from the 1930s and 1940s.  There is a large US contingent here.  Mind you, the Plymouth range was sold in Europe and the UK at the time.  They were proving to be quite a successful brand at the time.  Fighting with Ford to be the 2nd most popular car on the market.  So, this was almost a worldwide vehicle.  For 1941, Plymouth marketed this as the P11 or P11D, with a super deluxe P12D with 2-tone paint also offered for the first time.  The P11/P12 combo had replaced the 1940 P10.  

A part of me is thinking this is the P11D, as the rear licence plate has “Deluxe” on it.  The colour is a bright green.  It looks a little similar to the “Metallique Green” option that Plymouth had that year.  But, i think that was a metallic shade.  Still, I think this looks really nice as it is.The rear detailing is simple and understated.

And I think the front end looks magnificent. Grille and headlights.  That is all it needed.

The shape of the car has been captured so well.  I especially like how they made the side runner boards out of the interior piece.  When checking pictures of real ones, they were different to the main body, so it makes sense.  They have done a stellar job with this one. 

Coupled with a very simple disc wheel (it is a shame they are unable to whitewall them), I think this is a fantastic debut.  Vintage cars may be a little bit of a niche market.  But, out of all the ones that they have released so far, I think this may be my favourite.  I love it!  I have to mark this as a 10, both for casting and for design.  I have literally no issues with it.  Great work.

It is a new casting, so I will provide a base shot.  You can see this was also a nice touch, as by chroming it, they got the front and rear bumpers in chrome as well.  But, that side runner board was better not being chromed.  

And green can be fun.  I have noticed this model is ripe for the shade nutters.  What?  We are a minority?  There are only 18 of us worldwide? Well, for those other 17.  You can find paler shades than others during production.  

We now move a few decades forward with the MB1285 '65 Ford C900.  So far, this model has not had a Convoy outing, but is on its second outing in the basic range.  It comes in a dull brownish green shade as MB18.

They have managed to include 3 passes through the tampo machine again with this model.  I am surprised they did it again.  Even more surprised with the side design.  The current team do enjoy treating us to some retro looks, and this has to be one of the oldest I have ever seen them go.  Because this has been inspired by the 13c Ford Thames Wreck Truck.  It was a part of the basic range between 1961 and 1964, and came in a similar colour with a similar design on the side.  Matchbox Garages on a yellow background, as well as the A.A. & R.A.C. design.  For those who do not know, the AA and RAC are 2 British breakdown organizations.  The Automobile Association had been formed in 1905, the Royal Automobile Club had been formed in 1897, but became the RAC in 1907.  Both are still going strong, providing assistance to millions of UK drivers when they break down on the roads.  

It is a great look, but you do need to be a big fan of the brand to know where they got this design influence.  Amazing work again.  I am going to give this a 10 as well.  This batch is going really well.  

Last year, when the model debuted, it was also given 3 sides of tampo.  But the sides were a single colour, so I hypothesize that it was flipped during production.  1 print on one side, flip, get another print before the 4th tampo hit is finished.  

Sure, this year saw 2 colours on each side.  But, this is tougher to do in 2 goes.  You don't often think about how they work so hard to squeeze out those little extra bits during production.  I am sure they give the bean counters at Mattel a headache from time to time.  

Hello, didn't we already see a Mach-E before? Yes, the MB1303 '21 Ford Mustang Mach-E  is on its second outing in the 2023 basic range.  This is MB22 and comes in a lovely NYC Taxi design.  

Which is a real vehicle.  NYC does have these (as well as some Teslas) driving around the streets. I wonder if Matchbox are working at getting a Tesla in the NYC Taxi look for the future?  I hope so.

They have pretty much replicated the real vehicle, except for a little Matchbox exclusive piece at the far end.  It states the MB number over the rear wheels.  Apart from that, this is spot on.  I do not mind the little Matchbox nod at the end.  I actually like it like that.  So, yeah, I am giving this a 10 as well.  Wow!  This batch is killing it!

Now, the rear did not get a tampo hit.  The front did.  Again, this was a 3-sided print, but with a simple colour spread, I guess they managed to eke it out again.  I would not have expected a rear print with this.  It is what it is, when it comes to the basic range.  

And, again, I am spotting some nice shade variations across the production run.  I love this sort of stuff.  

I mean, I did find it on the 2022 debut MB65 as well.  That red was ripe for shades.  

I also found one on the 2023 MBX Electric Drivers 5-pack as well.  It was not as extreme as this one, but that orange did shade up. 

But, I was unable to see one on the 9-pack exclusive in blue.  

Or with the MB44 in grey that was available a few batches ago.  I also think this is a clever way of including this twice.  One as a civilian model, the other as a taxi.  Sure, it didn't have a taxi sign on the roof, but I am okay with that.  

Can you believe that this casting only debuted in the final batch of 2022?  Technically, this is what we have seen in less than 1 year. 5 releases!  Am I thinking it is way too much?  Not yet.  I love this casting.  It was in my Top 10 list of 2022 new castings, so it will be a while before I get bored of it!  

OMG!  The MB1358 '04 Mazda RX-8!  This is a new casting for this year, and to me, this is about 2 decades late!  I still remember when I got the 1983 debut release of the MB076 Mazda RX-7.  I absolutely loved it, and was so happy when they followed it up with the 1994 release of the MB251 Mazda RX-7.  Sadly, that model fell out of the basic range at the end of the decade, and I was so hoping to see more of it.  But then, when Mazda announced it was being replaced by the RX-8 in 2003, I was thinking that we had to have that instead.  I waited, and waited.  I thought it was never coming.

But here we are, 2 decades later, and we finally get it.  They went with the 2004 model, as this was when it debuted in the USA.  They also went with black, which is how the 1983 model came at first.  So, it is also giving me classic vibes.  Even without all the tampo printing that model had.  

Can I say, this is another fantastic casting.  They have done an amazing job, and I love that they have kept this large opening that the real model has.  It is getting a simple tampo print across the front.  

With the same at the rear.  They didn't put a tampo print on the licence plate, but as it was cast into the body, it doesn't look awful (still shuddering over the Audi TTRS).  

This is definitely one of my favourite new castings of the year.  Expect this in my Top 10 list, which I will be putting up over on the Lamley blog later this month.  Can I score this an 11?  No?  Oh, well, 10 it is. 

I love that they actually included the sunroof.  The older 1983 release had the sunroof section cast, but it was still a part of the body.  This batch is getting better and better.  

Well, before I move on, I will finish by showing the base again.  It is what I do with new castings.  

Well, this is the only Matchbox originals casting in this batch.  And it is not a bad one.  The MB1243 MBX Field Car is a nice little casting, and I do not mind seeing it pop up.  It appears as MB62 this year in a platinum look.

This is the sole 70th Anniversary special in this batch.  As we have seen multiple times now, they paint them in a sort of platinum shade of grey, add orange rims to the wheels, and use a black/white/orange tampo scheme to the body. Again, as I have said with others, I like the simple look for these designs.  Stripes, with the 70th Anniversary logo, an “M” logo for Matchbox and a little 4x4 in the black stripe.  

This one is only sporting a side tampo.  I don't think it was a requirement for the 70th stuff to add a third side of printing.  I have noticed it on quite a few over the year, but the fact that it is not here, especially when the general rule is 2 passes through the tampo machine, I am not going to score it down.  I am not that cruel.  So, err, 10.  This batch is really doing well.

Why not add a little reminder to those that we have seen to date here.  The model debuted as a Toy Fair issue in 2020, denoting the 2021 Toy Fair.  These tend to arrive in September nowadays, for the following year.  

It then debuted as MB17 in the basic range in orange, which during the course of production, was ripe for shades.

In 2022, it turned blue as MB15, in a Ridge Mountain Adventure design.  

Then, earlier in 2023, the model was alloted a 9-pack slot in an exclusive white design for Matchbox Adventures.  However, many have noted that the far side in the package (the one unseen while sealed) has a small error, in that the “es” at the end of Adventures was blanked out.  The side visible in those packs was fine.  

This casting has therefore seen a good number of releases already.  Spoiler alert, this is not it for 2023!  I will return to it.

I do love the MB423 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet. So much so, that I now know its MAN number off the top of my head.  It has seen a lot of action since it debuted in 1999, and I have done rundowns on it multiple times.  So, I think I will just look at this latest blue release as MB79 in the basic range and move on.  

It comes in a lovely shade of metallic blue, and again is sporting simple front and rear tampo printing. 

You would think after a 2001 ROW basic, 2003 Stars of Germany, 2005 basic,  2005 ROW Superfast, 2008 basic, 2010 5-pack and 2021 Best of France release all turning up in various shades of blue that I might not want more blues.  You would be wrong.  This is the 8th blue release for the casting, but each one is different, and each one is a lovely addition to my collection.  So, I will happily take another blue.  10 out of 10.  

Well, actually, make that 4.  This release is coming up with a slew of shades.  However, lining all 4 up in one go does tend to blur things out in picture.  I can see the differences with all 4 with my naked eye, so have added them all.

However, sometimes it is easier to just show the lightest and darkest.  That is where you really see the difference.  It is quite a range on this one.  And I am loving it!

Now we move on to the MB1237 '20 Land Rover Defender.  It takes the MB81 slot in the range and appears in brown this time.

This is pretty close to an actual Defender colour.  Gondwana Stone.  Yeah, that is a weird name.  Supposedly, they went with a name that sounds very old fashioned and denotes a way of crossing the world.  Gondwana was one of the old “supercontinents” in earth's history.  The lower one, which eventually formed South America, Africa Australasia and Antarctica among others.  Somehow, JLR came up with that as meaning brown.  I have no idea why.  So, this is based on a real colour.

And, as we have seen with all Land Rover Defenders to date in the range, every one sports the same front and rear tampo printing.  However, this one sports one big difference.  That window/roof section is clear. I have to admit, I am not exactly a big fan of this casting.  It was made too small, and this whole upper half being a single parts makes it look quite bad.  However, every single release to date has seen this in black.  I thought that wasn't great, and I wanted to see inside.  But, this went too extreme the other way.  Clear means that we clearly see in (obviously), but also see the rivet, and it really hammers home there is a lack of a proper roof. So, after a whole set of perfect 10s, I am giving my first lower score.  A 7.  It's not awful.  As I said, I like the brown.  I love the consistency with the tampoing.  I feel this should have been a smoke window, and I really wish this casting was bigger.  I have seen Land Rover Defenders on the road, and they look quite imposing.  This looks like a Mini.  It doesn't really work for me.  

Not everything can be perfect.  That is not to say I will not have lots of fun hunting down shades.  And on this one, the shade is quite unusual.  I have noticed that the metalflake in the brown paint can come in quite an extreme pattern, or virtually non-existent!  yeah, the one on the far end is almost a solid brown. Now, that is cool.  Shall I upgrade?  Nah!

It is pretty normal for me to find shades to this.  The 2021 debut in green as MB11 was good for a shade.

The 2022 Best of UK in white was also ripe for shades.  More creamy?  Yup!

And the MB69 from 2022?  Yes, shades of blue.  This means I am keeping up with a 100% record of finding a shade to every release of this casting.  I may not be the biggest fan of the casting itself, but boy do I love a shade!  I cannot resist.  

I also love the consistency with the tampo printing.  However, I would like to see, if they have to have the model cast like this, a better tint for the upper section.  Somewhere in between solid black and clear.  A Medium to dark tint, perhaps?

As we close in on the end of another regular batch, we find the latest incarnation of the MB1216 '18 Renault Kangoo Express.  Taking the MB83 slot in the range this year, the model sports a fantastic Goodyear logo design.

We have seen some really nice designs on this one, but this?  Well, it is probably the most simple of designs, but I think it might be my favourite to date.  That's a tough crowd to beat.  This dark blue and Goodyear Tire Service (US spelling) design just resonates with me.  

The last 2 designs on this model have been real companies, and I just love when they can get a real company tie-in.  Sure, we never get a front and rear print on this.  It is a core model.  2 sides of printing is the norm, and I would not expect anything more.  If they were to squeeze something in, it is a bonus.  But if not, I am fine.  Another 10.  Only that Land Rover has failed to hit top marks this batch.  

And what is better than this?  The fact that this is the second release of this look after the International DuraStar Box Truck saw the same look in the Working Rigs series earlier in the year.  I love it when they are able to pair things up.

Oh, that's cool. The Renault Kangoo fits inside. Ha ha!  Not really.  Almost though. I might have been able to force it fully in, but I might never have got it back out again.  I didn't want to chance it, and I obviously will want to continue showing it off in the future. Not at the moment, because I do want to get on with the last regular release of the batch.  

The final new casting.  Another blue model.  This is the MB1344 '86 Volvo 240.  It takes the MB99 slot in the range, and finally debuts in this batch.  Many thought it was coming much earlier in the year when it was shown on the side of the batch D power grab box.  That got people talking.  But, it took another half a year for it to finally debut.  Was it worth the wait?

Yes!  This is stunning.  They have totally nailed the look of the real vehicle.  Although, I am not sure exactly how they have noted this as a 1986.  Perhaps they had a real 1986 model in their parking lot to take notes from.  I cannot see specific markers that point to 1986 in particular.  I know there were small changes made over the many years it was made.  And I also know that early models were known as 244/245 depending on which body style it was.  Something later dropped and all made as 240.  Mind you, I think that now they have this, they could look at doing the 262C Coupe as a Moving Parts model in the future.  Idea? As to the model, just look at the front end.  Those headlights with wiper detailing.  The front grille.  I think it is brilliant.  

The rear end is spot on.  I love the 1986 licence plate.  And those rear light clusters evoke the 1980s so well.  

The side profile is amazing.  The cast door lines, fuel cap and those amazing pillars made out of the body section.  This just feels like classic casting 101.  Sure, the wheels may not be perfect for it.  But, I have for a while now thought that perhaps the wheels in their inventory are not best suited to 1980s stuff. We get those lovely classic tri-spoke and disk wheels.  But, from there, everything else sort of feels modern.  But, I am not sure exactly what I would be looking for in a 1980s era wheel.  I love those mud guards!

Unlike the Mazda RX-8 that I previewed earlier, the sunroof on this is simply outlined on the roof.  But, that is period correct.  In the 1980s, many sunroof elements were created as a slide back or tilt up variety, and many used the roof as a guide, and you would slide the top part away to uncover the sunroof underneath.  It was a thing! So, I think this is perfect as is.

For the casting, this is an easy 10.  For the final look.  As I said, I cannot think of how I would want a 1980s era wheel to look.  For the rest?  I believe Volvo called this a “Medium Blue Poly”.  It is a real colour option from that time, and with those stunning front and rear tampos, this is a very easy 10.  It is definitely one of the models of the year. This has been an amazing batch.  10 models, and only 1 didn't get a top score from me.  

I do notice, as I show the base of the model (it is new) that the 1986 looks to me to be a different font to the rest of the Volvo 240 line.  Is it because they were unsure of the exact year they were depicting?  Is there something I don't know about the 1986 year?  So many questions.  Although one question I know the answer to is…

Can you find a shade on this?  Yes, you can.  It is not as big as the Porsche Carrera I showcased earlier, but I am noticing some come a little paler than others.  I have been having fun with these, haven't I?

Because out of the 10 models in the regular batch, I did spot shades to 5 of them.  Not a bad selection.  I am very happy with that.  But, this is not quite the end.  There is an addendum.  Because, this is an even numbered batch of the year. So that means…

We get a Target Red!  Target stores in the USA sport an exclusive in every other batch of the basic range.  And this is a doozy.  Number 5 of 6 is the MB544 Porsche 911 Turbo! Hubba hubba!  

Did I leave the best 'til last?  Most definitely.  I love this casting, and I admit, when I discovered it had returned, I was jumping for joy.  After debuting in 2002, the casting was used until 2017, but then it stopped.  I was guessing it had run its course.  How wrong I was.  And this is a stunner.  I just love the red with white Turbo stripe on the sides.  Plus, we get the front end detailing.

And they got in rear detailing.  Wow!  This is awesome!  I did wonder for a second if that licence plate was some sort of code, but I then thought, don't be stupid.  This is the 996-era Porsche 911. They have just given it a German plate look and incorporated the generation of 911 into it. Now, I could go and do a deep dive on all 911 Turbos, but this report has gone on a little longer than my usual length of late.  But, I had to show something.

Base shot.  No, this is not a new casting, but it is an updated one.  Do you notice the copyright now states 2001, '22? They have re-copyrighted the casting.  

Just as the Carrera had seen many blues, the 911 Turbo has seen red a number of times.  This is the 4th bright red, after a 2003 basic, 2012 5-pack and what was its last issue, the Open Road Cruisers 5-pack issue in 2017. So, why not use that last red to check for differences.

Let's start with the base.  First things first, they finally updated the base detailing.  This was one of the last castings that still showed the oval logo on it.  The oval was phased out for 2006, and yet this still had it in 2017!  It's gone!  The wording has simply been redefined, and I notice the front bumper edge is slightly deeper now.

From the front, I do notice that those lower grille pieces are much more flush with the body now.  They were fairly well indented before. I am thinking this might have been due to the desire to tampo print them. I think they were a little too deep as they were.  Is this a good thing? Good for tampoing, but if not, perhaps not so much. You can also see the front edge at the bottom is now different here.  Plus, you might notice the window wipers are higher up.  That means the window piece has been re-crafted as well. What happened to the rearview mirror?  Ha ha!

You also notice that at the rear, they have done the same thing.  The licence plate is more flush now.  The side grooves are flush as well.  You might also notice that the new window insert fits much better than before. I think it was getting too worn out, and I guess when they pulled this out, they noticed it was too far gone.  Hence, the new window piece.  

I did notice that the interior piece is new as well.  It is not easy to see, especially with the new one being black.  But, they have worked on all 4 parts of the casting.  Is it better?  With a full tampo print, it would be.  When they don't tampo all the points, a few parts of the body section may have been better as they were. But, this still doesn't detract from this being one of my favourite Matchbox castings of all time, or from the perfect 10 I am giving it.  

And on that note.  I am done.  11 models in total, 3 of them being new castings.  3 fantastic new castings at that.  

We also saw 4 other cars in the mix.  2 Porsches, a Mustang and a wagon.  Love Porsches, love Mustangs (even the Mach-E) and love wagons.  Fantastic stuff. 

And 4 other vehicles making up the 11.  Out of a possible 110 points, I scored the batch 107!  This is definitely one of the best batches of the year (so far, as I am yet to review the last 2).  If that Land Rover was just a better casting, this would have been a perfect score.  So close.  

Well, I hope you enjoyed my latest ramblings.  As these head off to join my collection, attention turns to next week, where I move back over to the premium side of the brand.  Until then, I hope you all have a safe and happy week.

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