With Matchbox now reverting to the old monthly roll out of batches, this does make it easier for me to showcase them all in one go. Batch B of the 2023 basic range arrived, featuring 8 new castings. All of these have been sent over to me by Wheel Collectors. However, 1 of them you will need to make note of, as it had a variation that Wheel Collectors only received one of. As noted, there is a little something at the end, that was beyond the assortments that Wheel Collectors received, but thankfully I have managed to obtain them.
There are 8 castings in the regular assortment for this batch, along with a variety of models rolled over from batch A, as well as a few from batch F of 2022. I won't dig into those again, as they were basically the same, but just concentrate on what is new in the batch. First up is the MB1235 '18 Bentley Bentayga. It takes the MB4 slot in the 2023 range and appears in a lovely metallic white scheme.
Bentley calls this "Crisp Frost". It is a genuine Bentayga colour option. As it is the case with all Bentely models that Matchbox have ever done, this sports a simple front and rear tampo design.
Something that I always say you can never go wrong with on a car. The attention to detail on the tampo designs now is amazing. So many tiny details giving depth to lights and badges. I know the Bentayga never had an interior, but it doesn't bother me too much on an SUV. I don't really notice it.
But what I do notice is a shade. I have spotted that some come out a little more creamy than others do. I do enjoy a nice shade variation.
These were produced about a month apart, and one was in batch B's production run with the other in batch C's production run. This is often the fun with models rolling in to further production runs. More chances for shades.
For those who might be following, this does mean that to date, the Bentayga has seen all 3 colours of the British flag. It debuted in 2021 in blue as MB9, then in 2022 it turned red as MB82. Now we get the white, to complete the trifecta. I am really looking forward to seeing what colour they go with next. Bentley has some great colour options. A British Racing Green is always a good option. They have a bright blue. They even have a purple one you can order. There are some great options for future releases.
The MB1228 '57 Dodge Sweptside is up next. This takes the MB14 slot in the 2023 range.
This also continues its theme of sporting a simple side design on all releases. This is year 3 in the range, and after a cream with red side and a white with blue sides (as well as a blue with black sides in a Dodge series) we now have a white with black sides.
If you were to look at a real model, they do tend to come in white more often than not. The side panels are the parts that sport the different colours. With blue and black, there are still many options for a white truck. Red is the most obvious, but I also saw the yellow, which looks nice. And a purple again. Why I am interested in all this purple at the moment, I cannot tell you. But it is not the most obvious choice, and I think it makes for something unique. But one thing I am really hoping for is a cream and chocolate one. They look fantastic. Again, this is a model that is given the best option in design available. So far, 2 models in, and both are looking fantastic. What's next?
Ooh, a newbie. Time to get a little more in-depth. This is the MB1354 '70 Ford Ranchero. It debuts as MB17 in a lovely green look.
It is a real 1970 Ford colour option. It was known at the time as "three putt green". I have no idea why. Maybe because the shade of green was similar to putting greens in golf? It is possible somebody at Ford was playing golf and thought it would be a good colour choice for vehicles.
This is the second Ranchero that Matchbox has created recently, following a 2nd generation '61 Falcon Ranchero a few years back. This is the 5th generation vehicle, which only ran for 2 years. 1970 and 1971, before a 6th generation replaced it. The Ranchero lasted 7 generations, from 1957 through 1979, and with 2 now in the Matchbox range, I wonder if we will see any more?
This casting has been very well done. The coke-bottle styling is very well executed, and this debut version sees a simple silver pin stripe down the sides, and a detailed rear.
The way the front has been recreated, I don't see this getting much in the way of tampo at any time. But that is fine. The chrome here really shines. I am very impressed with how they have done this one. I like it more than their 2nd generation Falcon Ranchero.
I have to ponder. There is a variant of the Ranchero called the Squire. It features wood panel siding. I really hope that the Matchbox team have some plans to release a Squire look in the future. This is something the older Ranchero didn't have, so I am very keen to see it done in the future. Yes, I see this as an exciting casting to add to the range. One of the nicest seen lately. Great work by the Matchbox team.
As it is a new casting, I am going to show the base shot.
I did mention a variation. This is the first time in a few years that we have seen a wheel variation. This has proven to be quite exciting among collectors. I know I am a bit of a minority among collectors having an obsession with shades. But many do like a wheel variation. So seeing this in either tri-spokes or with disk wheels has been quite the talking point. I honestly don't know why Matchbox don't do this sort of thing more often. It would sell a load more models. This is the point I noted at the start. Wheel Collectors do only have the disk variant. Luckily, the tri-spoke one did appear in local stores by me, so I was able to grab one. They are definitely the shorter run.
They appear to be an early run before they settled on disk wheels for the remainder of its time in the range.
But, you know me. I cannot resist. I still managed to find a shade variation to the disk wheel. A paler and deeper shade of green. I just can't stop, can I? This is a great little casting, and has been a fantastic debut. 3 examples of the debut release. I don't think I will find a shade to the shorter run tri-spokes. I am happy with these. 10 out of 10.
Next up, we see the first of a scattering of 70th Anniversary themed releases in the basic range. The MB1295 '21 Ford F-150 Lightning takes the MB20 slot in what is officially known as platinum, but to most people, the colour looks silver. As this is a 70th Anniversary model, the packaging gets an extra special look to it, showcasing the platinum anniversary of the brand. It is not rare. It is not unique. It is a standard basic range release. It just gets a design to make it stand out a little.
You will find a number of these 70th Anniversary models sprinkled through the basic range. They will all look the same. Platinum (which is basically silver), with a side design in orange, white and black with the 70th Anniversary logo to them. I love this design. I mean, it's stripes. I always say, you can't go wrong with stripes. It is a simple look in reality. The 70th Anniversary logo is added to the tampo design as a nod to the year. This is going to make for a great little sub-set over the year. I think I might need to keep taking group shots as they build up. I also like the little orange ring hot foil print to the wheels. It gives the model a great finished stance.
But what we also get, here, is a third pass through the tampo machine. Ooh! I wonder if this is a special deal because it is a special model. I will be keeping an eye on the rest of the 70th Anniversary platinum models to see if they also get a third pass.
The 2022 release only arrived a few months back, as it was later in the model year. But, with that being silver, it does give us the opportunity to show the difference between what is a regular silver look and the platinum look that they are trying to give for these 70th Anniversary releases. The new model does come in a darker hue to a regular silver. It is only when you put them side by side, that you notice the difference.
You might have noticed the new model gets a black base, with the previous one a grey base. I wonder if black will be the norm on 70th too? I will be keeping an eye on things.
The MB1293 Cadillac CT5-V Blackwing is next up. It takes the MB30 slot in the 2023 range in a solid black with gold wheels design. Sweet!
I love model cars in black. I can't explain it, but I think they look so nice in black. I would never own one, as black vehicles get so hot in the summer. Black leather interiors too. I swear I still have marks on the backs of my legs to confirm that one. But, I am sidetracking, as a model, I really like a black car. I still remember it was only a little over a decade ago when Matchbox mentioned they were phasing out black as a colour choice on models. Daft, right. But the bean counters at Mattel felt black wasn't a bright enough colour to pop, so they started "brightening up" the range. It didn't last. As with the "models from a child's perspective" initiative. You know, regular utility vehicles with the massive 4x4 wheels. It was all part of the slight detour in the early '10s, before things were course-corrected later in the decade. And it shows. This model looks fantastic in black.
With the name "Blackwing" as part of the name, this just makes so much sense. Releasing it in black. The gold wheels just set off the model perfectly. They should do more black cars with old wheels.
I thought last year's MB72 debut in red was a solid start (even with the slightly incorrect body casting, as I do feel this is not actually the Blackwing), but somehow, that little factoid becomes less relevant for the 2023 release. It just looks so good. I have to say, this batch is just all awesome in my eyes. This is why I enjoy the Matchbox brand so much. These have all been stellar models, and all are coming in lovely looks.
I need to "Warn" you that this model is a "WARN" model. The MB832 Jeep Wrangler Superlift is MB42 for 2023 in a lovely red look with a WARN side design.
There are 3 things I do enjoy with models. I like stripes, I like recurring themes, and I like real logos. It has a white stripe on it. It is in a recurring WARN theme, and it is a real company. This just hit the trifecta! Honestly, this is about the best look I have seen on this, since the debut. I am not doing a dive back. I have done a number of them recently on this casting, and as part of my cutting down on things, I will only do a massive dive back if I feel it is a good time for one. Not because another release has appeared.
Look! It even had little headlights depicted. That's so cute. I love this one. They do come up with some fantastic looks on models. This is a perfect for the WARN tag line of "Dig in, winch out" which appeared on the rear, as the model has the appropriate front end. It is just all around awesome!
And with WARN celbrrating their 75th Anniversary this year, there has been a special 5-pack created (WARN Industries 7th Anniversary), which used 4 previous designs and included a brand new MB1247 '21 Ford Bronco 4-dr in the same red look, but this does sport a 75th Anniversary look. These 2 look fantastic together.
Batch B had 2 brand-new castings. This is the other one. The MB1345 Karma GS-6. It takes the MB43 slot in the series and debuts in a lovely dark blue look.
This vehicle is a spiritual successor to the Fisker Karma, which Matchbox made between 2010 and 2013. Fisker Automotive had started up in 2007, and the Karma was their first vehicle, launching in 2011 (supposed to be 2009, but there were delays), and plans were afoot to create a whole range of vehicles, with the Atlantic being showcased in 2012. But sadly, creditors moved in, in late 2012 and closed up shop. The Wanxiang Group from China came in and purchased all the assets for the brand and set up a new shop in California to continue production. As the Karma was the only vehicle in production, they decided to name the company Karma. The new model was called Revero, but was still pretty much the same vehicle as before. The GS-6 was their first attempt at diversifying. A slightly cheaper vehicle to their previous model, it debuted in 2021 as a 2022 model, and Matchbox have added it to the 2023 range.
The first thing you notice is the large clear roof segment. I remember when the original debuted, the solar panel style roof had to be included. It was important. This does not have one. It is part of the new GS-6 DNA. I believe Karma call this Benito Blue. It is a lovely deep shade of blue.
I can't help but smile when I am looking at the front end. Because the Karma looks like it is smiling back at me. That is so nice. You just have to catch it at the right angle to get it. The real one is the same. In some angles, it is just a piece along the front. But get the angle correct, and the car smiles. This is something that Matchbox has recreated so perfectly. I am very impressed with their attention to detail here. They have also created the front lights from the window section. I don't know why they don't do this more often. A simple break with no need to tampo print. This would work very well with models that usually sport side printing. But I don't see the Karma getting side printing. It still works, though. Please Matchbox, create more models with front headlights incorporated from the window section.
The rear detailing is amazing. They appear to have captured the essence of the real vehicle perfectly. I am so impressed with this. The guys who create the castings are doing a stellar job at the moment with their creations.
I just cannot fault this. I checked out a side view of a real one (in picture, not seen it in real life), and the model appears to be such a perfect match. Again, a 10 out of 10.
Being a new casting, I always include a base shot. This is a plug-in hybrid vehicle, so does have a few parts under it, but I don't know if they are on view. Many cover them up nowadays to improve aerodynamics. Oh, and you know what? That other new casting in the batch, I ended up with 3.
Guess who has 3 shades of blue? Ha! I am crazy. I know I am. But I am like a little kid in stores when I am busy checking things side by side and seeing variations.
It is quite a big difference between the lightest and darkest shades of blue. I had to. I could not ignore these.
Ooh! Am I at the final model in the batch? Yes, it comes up a bit quicker now I don't waffle on quite as much. This is the MB1281 '22 Renault Mégane. It is MB100 in the 1-100 series, so is the final slot in the set. It also appears to be in a rather unusual blister. They all seem to be like this, with a squished in area to the top right formed in the blister, and as such, this means that the model is wedged in such a way that the front end sticks up. I have no idea why they did this. It appears to be a standard blister. All Méganes seem to sport this blister.
So this is one that is definitely deserving of being let loose. Although they are not noting it as such, this does appear to be the E-Tech variant of the Mégane. And after a debut in silver for 2022, we now see the model in red for 2023. It looks amazing again. I love the front end look. Plus, they have this silver strip going around the roof section. This is a clever little depiction, as real ones do have a roof that sort of blends in to the windows. So making the roof a part of the window section did make sense. They did add in the silver strip that appears on the real one, which does help to break up the upper section, both in model and in real life.
It also appears to be a lighter window component as well. So you can see the interior inside. Yes, there was an interior to this. I see a possible premium issue with clear windows and a painted roof section to help show off that interior better. I would not say no to a premium release. But in the meantime, this is a beautiful release. I love the red, and this is another that appears to have improved over the debut look. Again, this is fantastic work by the team.
In fact, as I finish this last model of the 8 in the batch, I think to myself, just how great this entire batch has been. Not a single generic casting (or Matchbox Originals as they call them) in the batch. That is an incredible feat. And each model in the batch of 8 has been released in a lovely design. In fact, can I say 10 out of 10 for the entire batch? Yeah, I am going to. 10 out of 10 across the board. But, before I finish up, there is space for 2 more.
With thanks to @wyoming_wheels on Instagram (thanks Rory), I can also show an additional model. If you live in the USA, and you are close to a Target store, every second batch of 2023 will be sporting an exclusive "Target Red" model. These have replaced Target's old Retro series. Rather than having a separate range to be sold alongside the basic range, Target have reverted to their exclusive items mixed in. They have done this in the past, with a 65th Anniversary set mixed in (2018) and a 50th Anniversary Superfast set mixed in (2019) before launching Retro as a separate range in 2020. After 3 years, they have decided to go back to what they do best. The MB629 '69 Chevy Camaro is the inaugural "Red" and is number 1 of 6 coming for 2023.
I am guessing being part of the "Red" series means that each of the 6 models appearing will be in red. They will also be in an exclusive package as well.
This is an amazing starter. White stripes going over the top and a lovely side detail. This is how I love Camaros being created. If this is the level of the "Target Red" series, I am sold. However, being outside the USA does mean I am counting on people like Rory for help, as there are another 5 to obtain.
I am so happy that they have brought this Camaro back. Sure, they did tweak the casting to do that, but I don't care. It still looks incredible. After the 2021 debut in a 9-pack, 2022 saw a Walmart release in a Local Cruisers set. 2023 now sees a Target release. One day we might get a basic range release for the whole world to find.
There is one more item before I finish. I didn't manage to obtain this before I posted my batch A report. Sadly, this batch was missed by Wheel Collectors, and it was also skipped in the UK where I live. So I had no chance to get one. It took a while, but I finally managed to get one. These have not been easy. The MB1234 '32 Ford Coupe Model B.
It is the first of what I believe are going to be 3 Super Chase models for 2023. After the single SC in 2021, we saw 2 in 2022. It appears they are slowly building them up. Will we get to a stage where each batch ends up with a Super Chase? Would we want one in each batch? I am unsure. I always want more Matchbox, but do I want them as chase vehicles? I don't know what other people think.Thoughts?
In the meantime, this is a lovely release. Coming in metallic orange, this sports tampo printing on all sides. Seriously, top, sides, front and rear. Every surface had a tampo. It also gets the added real riders instead of standard plastic wheels. They have gold edging, which works well with the orange look. And of course, as is the case with all the SC models, it has the Superfast logo on the tampo. I believe this is being utilized as a way of keeping the licence secure. If they stop using the Superfast name, they might end up losing the licence to it. I think it is nice. You might also notice the licence plate. SC4. Noting this as the 4th Super Chase.
Giving us a premium release in the core range.
All Super Chase models have the Superfast logo. But the SC licence plate thing only appears to have started with the Porsche 911GT3. It has SC3 on the rear. The Bronco and Corvette did not note their number in the series. I look forward to the next Super Chase.
This is bringing me to the end of the report. 8 standard basic range issues, and 2 additional ones at the end. Both being a little tougher to find. 10 models in total, and for me, all 10 have been incredible. This has been a phenomenal batch (and a bit).
3 modern vehicles which are moving more towards the future with electrification (1 hybrid, 2 full-blown electric).
Plus 3 more traditional ICE vehicles. They are not going away yet.
And 4 classics. All looking amazing in their final designs. I hope you have enjoyed the article. Shorter than I used to do, but a little more manageable for me. Next week, I am playing catch up with some 2022 items. Until then, I hope you all have a good week.