Matchbox Monday moves on to Batch D Moving Parts

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For 2022, the Matchbox team really pulled out the stops on the Moving Parts series, and gave us a lot of new castings too.  The range increased from 20 to 50, and next year will also see 50 models as they continue to increase the toolbank for the range.  I am sure many will want to see them increase it to 75 in the near future.  Maybe 2024?  Who knows.  But for now, we are on the 4th batch of 8 for 2022, and again I am thankful to Wheel Collectors in the USA for sending me these over, as they are not available in the UK.  This batch consists of 7 models, and 3 of them are new castings.  So let us get stuck in.  As the new castings are making up the early numbers in the series, it looks like I will be starting with those.

Which means I am starting off with the MB1322 '61 Jeep FC-170.  Definitely not a Jeep that would instantly spring to mind if you were to be asked to name one.  Jeep launched the Forward Control in 1956, and it ran for 9 years.  It wasn't the biggest of sellers, as they only sold 30,000 during that time. It had been designed by Brooks Stevens, who had earlier designed the Willys Jeepster for them.  Another that didn't last too long.  Although he did also design the Wagoneer, and that lasted a long, LONG time.  At first, they launched with the FC-150, but the longer FC-170 arrived the following year, which is the model that Matchbox has recreated in miniature.

They chose the 1961 model year variant as number 13 in the series of 50 models.  I have no idea what signifies this as a 1961.  If anybody is a complete Jeep nut and knows the answer, please let me know in the comments at the end.  I am interested to know how the model evolved over its 9 year (well 8 as this is the FC-170) existence.  

The model sports a spare wheel on one side of the casting.  Although this is actually a part of the rear bed section, I love the wheel style used on it.  I think they need to tool up a new wheel type for utility vehicles that looks like this.  

As I said, this is on the tilting rear of the model.  The model comes with rather minimal detailing, which I like.  They don't need to go overboard.  Simple door detailing, the spare wheel and front end tampo printing.  

And being green, I am sure this could be excellent for shades.  Yes, 5 minutes into a new casting, and I am already finding shades of green paint.  

Which also helps to double up the model to show off the 2 sides.  One with a spare wheel, one without.  And if you left it imprisoned inside a blister, you would not see this alternate side.  

The rear bed is also metal, in addition to the main body.  Something we have not seen for quite a while.  And the old-fashioned way of attaching it via a pin, which is how models used to be made in the old days, before the more modern approach of clipping them in place.  This rear part won't be going anywhere soon.  I am very impressed with the work that went into this.  As a Moving Parts model, they do seem to be able to utilize certain techniques that they just can't use in basics any more.  More reasons why this range should be the main range.  This showcases just what the brand is all about.  Realistic representations of vehicles, solidly built, too.  Something that with the cost reductions in basics we are starting to lose a little.

Yes, this model might not be the best known Jeep, but this is definitely one of my favourite ones.  The team have done a great job with this heavy little model.  So solid.  It definitely has that Jeep-vibe to it.  

And as it is a new casting, I provide a base shot for those who like it.  I can't seem to find MB1322 marked down on it.  Good job I found out the MAN number already.  

Hmm!  This is the MB1328 '20 Chevy Corvette.  It takes the number 16 slot in the series of 50.

I have to admit, I did have a few reservations over this when it was announced at the 2021 Gathering.  I wondered if perhaps they were going to give us a convertible, as a hardtop had been done in the basic range already. But no, we got another hardtop.  

And, I don't know if it is just mine, but the model was packaged with the opening part in the open position, and when I opened it and tried to shut it, I found it would not click shut properly.  It sits slightly up. So this is actually making me even more saddened over this.  

Don't get me wrong.  I love the new C8 Corvette.  I think it is a fantastic model.  Definitely one of the nicest 'Vettes they have made, and Matchbox really did a great job with the 2020 basic range debut.  This one has a rear window that has had to be riveted in place at 3 points, which is a lot of work.  

And yes, this does mean that we get to see a lovely recreated engine.  

But I would have still preferred to have had a different variant.  The retractable hardtop convertible looks really cool, and I was really hoping that it was the one chosen.  They didn't need to open the rear.  It could have come with the doors opening.  Especially as the last Moving Parts Corvette showed off the engine.  Now, when it comes to this new casting, I was finding the rear not closing well to be a bit of an issue.  

As well as this, the front end doesn't seem to be well detailed either.  It looks a little bland.

Before I bring in the basic, the obvious base shot for a new casting.

I bring in the latest basic range release of MB1221 to compare.  This was the 2022 MB20 in black.

Yes, the front end is definitely better defined on the original.  Unless of course, again, this could be mine, the paint is too thick.  But the new casting does appear very bland in comparison.

And that rear that isn't closing correctly is bugging me.  But again, you can see just how much better defined the rear is on the basic range model.  They did such a great job first time out, and it appears that this, to me, is just not as good.  It's not bad.  But it just isn't as good.  I don't think this was really warranted.

The proportions of the 2 castings are just about identical.  That is good.  I don't like getting 2 stabs at a model and having them in different sizes.  And you might notice how they had to lose the tiny side window to enable the rear to open.

The base to the new one does appear to have a very familiar vibe.  The model had been constructed in a very similar vein.  But is it me, or does the new one appear to have an enhanced waist?  

So this is tough.  I do like the new casting, as I love Corvettes, and the shape is really nice.  But I just feel it is not as good as the original, and the need to show off the engine again as they did with the last generation was not a justified reason to just redo the same model. Just to have the opening engine compartment.  As I said, had they done the convertible, I would have absolutely loved it!  But on this alone, I am going to say it was a bit of a swing and a miss.  Had there been no basic, I would have looked past the rear that doesn't close properly and be very happy with the new C8.  It's a bit like the BMW i8.  The basic really worked well, but the Moving Parts one was, in my opinion, not as good. Which really annoys me.  Because I am a huge fan of the whole Moving Parts idea, and the enhanced quality of the castings in the range.  I have mentioned numerous times how I think this could replace basics as THE range from Matchbox.  But occasionally we get a basic and Moving Parts with the basic in my opinion being superior.  

On to the next model, and OMG!  The MB1330 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S.  The packaging is denoting it as a 2020 model, although the base doesn't reference that.  Okay, sad times over.  I am now in heaven.  

I have been very much looking forward to Matchbox creating a casting of the current 8th generation 992 (as Porsche refer to it as).  And this does not disappoint!  This model is absolutely gorgeous!  Okay, I admit, I am a little biased due to being a huge Porsche fan, but it is still a fantastic representation of the current model.  I also like that they have chosen a configuration that has not been used before.  Sure, we could have gone the usual Turbo or GT3 route, but the 4S is a lovely change.  My personal preference is that at some point they will attempt the Targa version, with roof off.  

They have captured the shape of the rear vehicle perfectly in my eyes.  It definitely has that Porsche 911 vibe to it.  And this is definitely one of the top models in my collection already.  Yeah, end of year Top 10s? Are we looking at number 1 for me?  

It is fitting that, with the first Porsche 911 that Matchbox made sporting opening doors, this one does too.  It is almost like this is tradition now.  Make a 911 with something opening?  Open the doors!  I am loving this.  Can you tell?

A lovely red.  It is quite a dark shade.  I believe this is the "Carmine red" that Porsche has in their paint portfolio.  A darker hue than the standard "Guards red".  Oh yes, they did their homework.  Or shall I say Michael Heralda did?  I see the A58 on the licence plate.  And I love the little codes too.  They were so common in the late '00s and early '10s.  We saw them on so many models.  I am happy to see them sneaking back in again.  61STR - switching numbers for corresponding letter, gives us "Fastr".  In this day and age, that is the way a lot of people text.  So this is current too.  Just like the model.  

I am so happy with this one, and am already looking forward to seeing a bunch more of these in coming years.  Plus, I need a Collectors edition too.

This model has definitely made the batch for me.  I'm done.  What?  You want me to go through the other 4 too? Does it matter?  They are not this!  Oh I suppose I should continue.  

Oh, and this is a new casting, I should really do the base shot too.  As I mentioned, no mention on the base of this being a 2020 Porsche.  I tend to catalogue by what the base says, as often packaging changes between releases.  So I am making no note of this being a 2020 model.  Just a Carrera 4S.

Ooh!  Didn't I just mention this one a short while ago?  The MB1144 '16 BMW i8.  One of the older castings that is back for another outing in the Moving Parts range.  It takes the number 36 slot in the set.

For this release, it comes in grey.  And this is where we always have the problem with this model.  The door is plastic, the rest of the body metal.  As such, they have not been able to match up the shades of grey between the 2.  But trying to colour match between metal and plastic is extremely tough.  Two totally different materials is bound to give them headaches. Which is one of the reasons why this one (just like I mentioned with the Corvette above) to me is not as good as the simple basic range.    

And because they are trying to cover up the fact that the whole door is a single piece with a blacked out section depicting the window, and to assist with covering up the mechanism to have said opening doors, the rest of the model also sees a rather blacked out window.  I mean, it is actually a dark smoke, but is very dark.  

Obviously, when you open the doors, you can see the interior.  When you take a shot like this, you do think this is superb. It was a very clever way of creating the doors. They did wonders with the creation.  The idea is so cool.  The execution is genius.  The final result?  It just falls that little bit short.  Which is such a shame.  I love the i8, and the shape is spot on.  The tampo detailing front and rear is perfect.  But honestly, I want this on the basic range casting instead.  

Now, did you know that this was the model's first time in the core range?  When it debuted back in 2019, it was a part of the Superfast range.  It appeared as number 2 in the series in a light blue.  

It wasn't seen in 2020 at all, but came back for 2021 in the Collectors series in the number 4 slot.  This time it was in orange.  This is the first shift over to the more basic series.  Which shows the detailing itself is exceptional.  

A blue one, orange one and grey one.  All with BMW i8 on the rear licence plate.  This does have a high level of detail for a core release.

I still prefer the MB1093 basic, though.  Look how you can see straight in.  For the most part, Moving Parts is significantly better than the basic range.  But there are a few stragglers, where actually a lack of anything opening can be beneficial.  

Now this one is impressive.  The MB1166 '54 Henry J Gasser.  I admit I was a little unsure on just what they would be able to achieve with a core look for this model.  But the 2022 number 37 is showing me that they are able to sneak in some really cool stuff for core ranges.  

When it debuted in the 2021 Collectors series I was very impressed with it.  I did wonder if they might have to leave it as a Collector exclusive casting.  It is heavy.  Lots of metal and moving parts.  Plus, you have to think about their budgets.  A basic range issue usually gets limited to 2 passes through a tampo machine.  A Moving Parts model is still classified as a core model, but due to having those extra parts, they are allowed to pass multiple parts through the machine.  The whole opening hood section is a separate piece to the main body.  Therefore, this part would be going through the tampo machine at a different time to the main body.  So with that in mind, we have side prints on the body.  The hood section has front and sides.  Now, admittedly, the sides there are just white.  There is a possibility that this is being cleverly flipped during production.  Pass one side under the tampo machine, and instead of getting more colours, the time allotted is being taken over by turning it to the other side and getting 1 more pass.  Which in essence, this could be actually getting 4 passes through the machine.  That's still good.

But then you turn the model around, and there is more on the back.  This is definitely 5 passes, minimum. For a core range model!  I like to point this sort of thing out, as I bet most people will not even give this a second thought.  People in general will not sit back and think about all the work going on in the background to get from idea to finished article. From all the work going on at R&D in El Segundo, to then passing this along to the factory workers to see if it is feasible.  And then the work they do to make that happen.  

And I haven't even mentioned Edelbrock!  Formed in 1938, when Vic Edelbrock wanted to increase the power of his 1932 Ford Roadster. He designed a new manifold, and it was such a success that friends and family were asking him to make them for them as well.  So he set up shop and the Edelbrock company is still active, creating many specialist components for the auto industry.  It is great to see another real company on the side of the model.  And I hope that this leads to seeing a range of Matchbox Edelbrock cars.  Especially as they have just created a 1932 Ford.  Perfect for an Edelbrock inspired look. By the way, I also like the use of that rear wheel.  A little larger than the front one, and giving the model just that slight rodded stance.  It may have been designed more for a utility style vehicle, but it is working absolutely perfectly here.  

So I guess I should bring in last year's debut too.  The Collectors issue, as number 6 in the set in orange.  

I have noticed that the Edelbrock model looks like it sports even more tampo printing than the premium one did.  It is that good!  

But if you look carefully, the opening front feature was actually painted up for the premium issue. It's the little things.  

But for a core range issue, this model has really pushed the bar in what they can do.  I am seriously impressed with it.  

I love recurring themes.  The MB1254 '50 Chevy Suburban appears for its second outing in 2022 in its second recurring theme.  It takes the number 46 slot in the series.

It comes in metallic light olive green with a Camp Arrow Flint side design.  And as we know, that is just "Campy AF".

Again, there is a slight mismatch to the plastic wheel arches compared to the metal body.  But on this one, they did a pretty good job with the colour matching between metal and plastic.  It is only fractionally lighter.  So I can't really fault them on that one.  Considering last year had such a good match too, it is something worth pointing out.  Some models, like the BMW i8, have quite a noticeable difference.  But on others, like this, it works out really well.  

Now, this does only sport a 2 pass through the tampo machine.  Last year they also detailed the engine, but this year, it has been left blank. But as you have to literally open it to see the tampo print, I am not worried about it.  After all, when you get so much on a model like Henry J Gasser, sometimes this will mean that an extra pass for that will require deducting a pass elsewhere to compensate.  You have to keep the average.  Not limit every single one.  So if a reduction where possible on some means on others where it really needs it, it gets it.  I am all for it.  They do have a budget.  They have to stay within budget.  Or otherwise they sell them at a loss, and end up dropping them for being too expensive to make.  And on small items like this, the margin for profit is razor-thin.  So I do understand they have to keep things at certain levels.  But the work they put in to make the best out of everything is still worth repeating.  

As I said, this is year 2 for this casting.  Last year it debuted in a National Parks theme.  It was number 11 of 50 last year, moving to number 46.  

I am really enjoying all the recurring themes.  Of course, National Parks is a massive one.  The biggest one they have.  Camp Arrow Flint is so much more manageable.  So let us do a little dive back to see what we have.

The first we saw of Camp Arrow Flint was in the 2019 MBX Wild 5-pack.  The MB862 '66 Dodge A100 Pickup appeared in that pack in the same light olive green look.  It even has the same "archery, hiking, swimming, horseback riding and more" tag line on the side.  

But it wasn't the only Camp Arrow Flint liveried model in the set.  The MB720 '72 Ford Bronco 4x4 in white was towing a matching MB1076 Trailer Trawler.

Then, in 2020, we saw a pair of 9-packs released in one batch with the same MB1035 '59 Chevy Brockwood Wagon inside as the exclusive.  One pack was in olive with a Unit 8 side design, and the other in silver with Unit 3 on the side.  

And then we also saw the 2020 Superfast release of the MB1141 '62 Jeep Willys Station Wagon in blue too.  But this was oh so cheeky!  Do you notice the little triangle pattern going around the model?  

It goes around the back and on there, you will notice a little "I Love Camp Arrow Flint" bumper sticker.  That, to me, is just a freaking awesome little side addition to the series.  Not officially a part of it, but bringing in more of the Matchbox range to it.  The wider Campy AF world.  

So yes, this is currently a small theme.  But, along with the Red Valley Camp theme, I can see these 2 camps becoming quite a pair of recurring liveries. I am currently waiting on a Red Valley Camp bumper sticker on a model.  

And yes, this is model number 7.  There were 7 in the batch, as these batches appear to be getting bigger as the year goes on.  This is the MB1256 Toyota FJ Cruiser.  It takes the final slot in the set of 50.  

It comes in silver with a white roof and lovely front and rear detailing.  Although, for some reason, the gap in the doors does seem to be getting bigger.  

I remember when this debuted last year in the Collectors series, I loved it.  I was wondering if they were able to replicate the tampo in Moving Parts.  It was really a simple 3 pass model.  And yes, the exact same level of tampo adorns this one.  I love the simple looks, and there really is not much else this needs.  I think it is such a lovely model.  

Now I love the opening doors.  They have such a solid feel to them.  But as I said, these do seem to come at a cost.  That gap is already starting to grow.  Not good.  

So, time to bring in the 2021 Collectors number 11 for a comparison.  

Okay, this was supposed to show the front is basically the same on the 2.  However, my stupid photography skills let me down again.  It appears the camera decided to focus on the interiors of the model. No!  The front!  Stupid camera!  What?  A bad workman blames his tools?  Fudge!

At least the rear focused on a bit better.  Which is good, because I did want to say something.  This model has basically re-used the tampo printing from 2021 to make the 2022 issue.  That is great. I love the consistency.  The blue model has a silver tampo print of the Toyota badge and name.  Perfect.  So does the silver model.  Honestly, if you were to look intently at the model, you can just make out the silver on silver printing.  You might need to click on the image to enlarge it to see the tampo.  Did you know you could do that? So in this case, there might have been a reason to slightly tweak the tampo.  I think it might have been better to make it black.  Make it stand out.  It might not be technically correct, but at least it would be visible.   But seriously, this is about the only minor gripe I can say about it.  

Apart from the noticeable gap in the doors. Well, the leading edge of them. Which is a shame, because those doors open and close so well.  Such a definitive click when you close them.  So smooth.  Something I cannot show in picture. And yes, there is another of these.  Spoiler alert, that blog report is coming in a few weeks.  

But for now, I think I am done with the new portion of this report.  5 models that I love.  Well 4, and 1 that is perfection in miniature.  No, I am not biased!  And 2 others that I like.  But as I said, would actually prefer them as basics. But I guess now we are due the second part of the report.  

So this week, I am going to start with a Matchbox Originals casting.  The MB56-B Hi-Tailer.  A unique casting, devised by the Lesney team, but many feel took most of its inspiration from the 1972 Porsche 917/10, which was victorious in the 1972 Can-Am series.  Can-Am, at the time, were racing Group 7 Sports Prototypes. One of the earlier itinerations of what we now know as the World Endurance Championships and IMSA.  for 2023, new "Hypercars" will be racing in both championships for the first time in a long time.  

Hi-Tailer debuted in the 1974 basic range in white, and ran for 5 years.  It finished up its run after 1978.  It only appeared in the one design, but with 5 years of production, things did change.  5-spoke front wheels and maltese cross rear wheels are the norm.  But they often mixed them up.  You could find both axles with one wheel type, and sometimes affixed the wrong way.

There is an early run where the Superfast MB on the rear label is wider, and fills the gap, but it was soon thinned out, leaving a white gap either side.  I am still to find one, but the later changes I have got.  Most of which appeared for the final year.  They decided to change the driver from blue to dark yellow and turn the base red.  The man was switched first.  

And then they changed the base.  After 1978 they dropped the model from the range.  But that was not quite the end.

Because in 1979, they added the model to the Superkings K-7 Racing Car Transporter set.  First debuting in 1973, the Racing Car Transporter initially carried an MB34-A Formula 1 in the rear.  In 1976 they switched it to the MB24-B Team Matchbox, but the truck was still the same.  1979 saw it come with an all new design in white with Martini Racing all over it.  Because in those days, having alcoholic drinks splashed all over toy cars for kids was not an issue.  The Team Matchbox model was switched out for Hi-Tailer.  Daft fact, they used an older casting to create the prototype for it, which sported a blue driver.  It was seen in the 1979 catalogue.  However, with the driver having changed to dark yellow in 1978, it simply sported that racer. There are 2 variations which I am yet to find.  The driver does come in shades, and can be found in a bright light lemon yellow. And the final production run to finish the set off was at the end of 1981/early 1982, as the set was dropped after the 1981 year.  But, daft fact number 2, the driver was the same piece as used in the MB36-C Formula 5000.  That had finished in 1979, leaving this as the only tooling using it.  But for 1982, they brought back Formula 5000, now as MB28-D (or MB028) As part of the new look, the driver was white.  It began as this was finishing, and as such, the white driver crossed over into the last of these.  Again, very tough, and I am yet to get one.  Once retired, the casting did see a brief reappearance in the Super GT range in 1988 as BR33/34 in either yellow or white.  

Next up.  This is the MB101 Pontiac Firebird T-roof.  Debuting a second stab at a 2nd generation Firebird in 1980, come 1982 a third gen was out in the real world.  So Lesney, as it still was at the time, created a casting of the 3rd generation and added it worldwide.  The second generation was continued on for 1 more year in the ROW market, eking out a second additional year in the US market.  But they also came up with a third Firebird exclusively for the US range, adding it as MB35-C.  It was simply the second gen with the roof cut off.  It came in black with the screaming eagle front design, and "turbo" down the sides.  

And this was Lesney, so the tampo does vary in shade.  

And bases came in either unpainted or silver looks.  

In 1983, production moved to Macau, as this model was now going to be sold worldwide.  Universal had taken over and decided that the hardtop Firebird that had been selling in the ROW market was no longer required, and swapped it out for this one.  It therefore took over the MB16 slot there.  

But these Macau ones had a small change.  Instead of turbo, the sides now stated "TRANS AM".  I have no idea why they left a gap in the word.  

The screaming eagle was also a little different too.  Bases were now always silver, but there is supposedly a variant where the screaming eagle is in just yellow, rather than yellow and white. I have not seen one myself, but am always on the lookout for things.  You never know.  

In 1984, they gave the model a new design.  It was now silver, with a different looking eagle on the front, and also adorning the sides.  It was sold as MB35 in the US range, MB16 in the ROW range, and also if you happened to be in Japan, as MB35 there too.  Japan had upped to 100 models, but this happened to be in the same slot as the US issue.  It ran for 3 years until 1986, at which time the casting was dropped.  

With 3 years of production in Macau, you might be able to find something unusual.  I have not found a significant shade to the silver, but I have found the interior being in a deep red or rather pinky red.  

There were a few other Matchbox releases, though.  For example, in 1985, in the UK, a Kellogg's saw this black with orange design.  As far as I remember, it was an on-pack offer, where you sent off for it.  

After production of the basic range model finished, the casting was not quite done yet.  In 1988, Hong Kong released a set of 12 promotional issues.  A Dragon Racing release in red with 3 Rooster on it.  

And shortly after, 1999 (wait, that's 11 years) saw this Smokey & The Bandit model released as a part of the Star Cars series.  I actually remember back in the 1980s seeing Smokey & The Bandit for the first time and thinking it would have been so cool if Matchbox made a model of his exact one.  They did, over a decade later.  After this, the model was officially retired.  I say officially, as there is a sub-section to it.

And weirdly, the base actually no longer mentioned Matchbox.  The Matchbox line had been wiped and replaced with Universal Associated Co.  I have no idea why it was changed like this, as it was a part of their deal with Bulgaria for local production of some Matchbox models. In the first of the "you can keep the castings" batches (1988), they sent over the hardtop variant, which Bulgaria still has.  In 1991, a further set of castings were sent over, and the T-roof version was added to the toolbank. Officially, they are also likely still at the factory.  

The factory in Bulgaria were now getting used to the models, and early issues often came with the screaming eagle on the front.  A whole variety of colours of body, eagle, base, and interior can be found, although more often than not, interiors are also red.  I think they tended to stick with red mainly, as it also formed the rear light strip.  

But as the year went on, they started adding various logos to the window, and flames down the sides.  

And at times, other logos would appear.  These were made in 2004 for the 35th Anniversary of Superfast.  As I said, these tools could still be sitting in Bulgaria.  We have not seen them produce anything for a while now though.  

I now move to 1998 for my next dive back.  The MB332 Jaguar XK8 Convertible.  I am trying to add in a few more premium looks for my dive backs, and well, I recently got these, and they are the only premiums.  It debuted in 1998, and as such, this was during the short period of releasing a First Editions set.  The first 5,000 models made were left unpainted with the next 5,000 painted in a lovely burgundy with full detailing.  

These were the only premium releases that this model saw with rubber wheels.  

After that, it was MB71 in 1998's basic range.  It was blue and featured the Jaguar logo and name down the sides.  

In 1999, it was not quite as simple to follow.  The US market sold this green model as MB48.  It had a Jaguar logo on the side again.  Most of the ROW markets also sold this model, although for them, it was MB43.  

But in Germany, it was MB53.  Still the same British Racing Green colour, but now had a tan interior (instead of grey) and front and rear detailing in place of the side design.  

For 2000, all ROW markets now sold this as MB2.  Except now the tan interior for the front/rear detailed model was back to the grey.  The US market had dropped it.  

But all markets did see a 5-pack release.  A Euro Sports pack saw the model in blue.  It did see a few changes throughout production, though.

You see, it was fairly late in the year to arrive, and as production began on anything 2001 related (the pack was still in production), they started changing wheels to the new flower design they had come up with.  

And as production finished, the final batch did not get the additional blue edging to the window.  

2001 saw one final ROW release.  Now MB47, it came in a dark red with front headlight detailing.  After that, the ROW range also dropped it.

But the model still had a bit more life in it.  2002 saw it added to the Auto Cargo launcher set in silver.  

For 2003, the Auto Cargo set saw a number of the same vehicles included, but now in new colours.  The Jag was one, simply changed to blue with the same tampo.  

Plus, this model was given a release in a licensed 5-pack.  The set was a Looney Tunes set, and it had Road Runner adorning the sides.  

In 2004, the model was added to the first year of the new Superfast series as number 69.  This metallic green release was in a late batch, and actually turned up in early 2005.  

Finally, in 2006, it popped back up in the basic range for a swansong.  But not just any old swansong, it was given a 2-version ending.  MB24 first arrived in red, but later on turned British Racing Green again for a version 2.  This proved to be it for the model, though.  It has never been seen since.  

It's about time for a Matchbox Originals casting.  This is actually the second of 4 different Matchbox castings that has simply gone by the name "Road Roller", with the latest arriving just this year.  This was the second one, MB492 (the first was in the Caterpillar series as MB347).  It arrived as MB36 in the 2001 basic range.  And as they were doing at that time, they started adding the "new" oval Matchbox logo and the numbers they were in the range to some of the models.  These expanded out over the next few years, until being dropped.

This model had quite a build too.  Quite a few parts, which included being able to pivot in the middle.  

For 2002, it moved to the MB20 slot.  However, I don't know if they were just being lazy, they just kept the same tampo design on the new red issue.  Even down to the "36" which was its 2001 number.  

And it was a logo year, so the first 10,000 produced saw a 50 logo on the side.  

It was also added to a Build 'n Bash 5-pack too.  This one was green with a large bull head on the side, and 42.  

For 2003, the "adding the number in the range to the tampo" was across the entire range (apart from a Ferrari 360 as Ferrari did not allow it, who knew Ferrari could be awkward).  Therefore, it was easy to guess which model this was.  It was MB23. Again, a logo year, but this was a little awkward.  The Hero City logo was put on the backside.  

And did you notice the logo model had darker yellow parts? Early runs were dark, with later runs turning lighter.  

For 2004, the model was MB71 in the range with no number in the tampo.  It was being dropped, with the Matchbox logo being dropped shortly after.  This model had Harry Potter's sorting hat on the side.  Oh, wait (puts glasses on), It says Hero City and has a cone.  

It was also added to the Pleasant Book series in yellow.  I used to enjoy those books.  Each book was made of thick card, aimed at young children, with a story that had the included model as the star character.  The book was called Roll It!

For 2005, it was moved to the MB70 slot in the range.  Production of the full length tampo printing was causing issues at the factory, so a running change was made to avoid a certain area of the side that was proving to be a little too lumpy.  

And later on, if you were paying attention, the black rollers turned grey.  So yes, 3 variants of this model.  I always felt this was an early look that inspired the later Ranec theme.  

What wizardry is this?  It also appeared in a 5-pack too.  Simply called Construction, the early runs saw the same side design as the 2004 basic range issue had.  They soon realized their blunder.  

It actually was getting a new design for the pack, which arrived as a running change later on.  

After 2005 the model was dropped from the basic range.  It wasn't seen at all in 2006, but for 2007 it appeared as a part of the City Services 5-pack in yellow.

2008 would prove to be its final outing.  Another 5-pack, this time just called Construction.  It came in orange. With no Road Roller at all in 2009, when we saw the name again, it was on a totally new casting.

Time for a final Matchbox Originals design.  The MB958 Roar-by-Four.  This model was rather brief.  It debuted in the 2015 range in orange as MB81.  

Which, if you were to look carefully, would vary in shade of orange during production.  After this, it was not seen in 2016.

In 2017, it returned for one more basic range outing.  This time it was MB111 in green.  Again, I did see shades to the green.  

It has not been used in the basic range since.  I think the change of direction put the kibosh on that.  But it did pop up in the 2018 Dirty Mudders 5-pack in black.  

Which officially caps this model at 3 releases.  I have to admit, it wasn't the most popular, so I think it will be best left on the sidelines.  But it deserves an appearance here.  It's still a Matchbox, after all.

And I believe that brings me to the end of another report.  Which originally started with batch D of the Moving Parts series.  

Which was almost half filled with new castings.  3 of 7.  What's that?  43%(ish).  Including new casting of the year!  What?  Yeah, I am calling it.  

And we also saw 4 castings in new colours, 3 of them for the first time in Moving Parts.  

I hope you enjoyed the report.  Next week sees me going to the past again.  If you can guess what that means.  Until then, I hope you all have a good week, and catch you next Monday.  


1 comment


  • Rich

    A really interesting read, thank you – I have to say the part that struck a chord with me the most was in the very first paragraph; not available in the UK. It’s frustrating that Matchbox cars are so hard to find in the country they originated from!


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