So officially, this is batch C of the 2022 Retro series. However, as the year comes to a close, and Target stores in the USA take down their pegs for Retro, with a view to replacing them with the Red Series, mixed in with the basic range, the question is, will batch D appear? It is not looking likely. It appears that it got a little delayed, as we have seen a lot of items delayed a little over 2022. But with other things, a delay just means it is running late. But when it is the final batch before the range going, it is tough to keep it going like the others. So in this case, it does look like we will not actually see batch D. Which is a shame. I was enjoying the Retro series. It had some really cool models in it. But that is the way things go sometimes. So let us take a run through of what is now looking to be the final batch of the year.
Which begins with a new look on the MB1209 '76 Honda Civic CVCC. For the Retro series, it is now in a lovely silver.
It takes the number 13 slot in the set of 24, or 18 as it may turn out to be. This is a lovely, simple look for the model. In fact, all the releases to date have been nice, simple looks. I do enjoy these models. This is what Matchbox does best. Realistic representations of vehicles you see on the street. Not that I am against adding designs to models. But it is all about getting a mix. Some a little more radical, some very traditional. And this little Honda has just been very traditional from the word go.
So when it comes to realism, this is just right. Front and rear detailing. Nice wheels. Clear windows. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this model. I am very happy. So why not bring in the previous issues for a little show and tell.
The model debuted in 2020 as MB45 in the basic range. It first appeared in a traditional yellow, which was how the real vehicle was often advertised upon launch. And me being me, I couldn't help but add some shades to the mix.
The 2021 issue, MB49, also sported a shade. But this time, it was with the base, where some were a little more brown tinted than others.
Which appeared to get even more exaggerated with the 2022 MB21 in red.
Of course, this is not the only sideline for the model this year. This was at Target stores in the USA, but at Walmart, there was a batch of Japan Origins that brought back the debut release for a new run. They were a little different in minor ways from the 2020 basic range issue, as I noted back when I did that report.
I do tend to notice things. It looks like this sports the same rear licence plate as the 2021 basic range issue. I do like checking out the plates, just to see what they put on them. And yes, so far, 4 different releases of this, and all are very clean and tidy. It is such a cute little model, and I am thoroughly enjoying every single one.
Ooh, another new look. Number 14 in the set is another outing for the retooled MB543 Nissan Xterra. Now classified as a 2000 Nissan Xterra.
Again, this model is being given a very simple front and rear detailing treatment. I love this blue look for it. With the model first appearing when Hero City was in the works, we rarely saw any stock looks. It was only when Superfast arrived, that we finally saw a few clean and tidy models. So, since it saw its retooling, I am happy to see that it finally get a chance to shine.
As I said, this has simple front and rear detailing. But I do winder in this case, whether it was a little short at the rear. Perhaps the rear lights could have been depicted too. It is just a minor gripe on this lovely model. I still like it. I just winder if a touch of red could have made it even better.
So let us remind ourselves of the MB543's history. It started off as an offshoot of an earlier casting that sported kayaks on the roof. The first we saw of the empty roof variant was in 2001. It was a part of the School Spirit 5-pack in white. And yes, it was depicting music on the side. Hence, the song notes going down the side. As I said, this was during the period where Matchbox were taking the basic range down a certain road which led us to Hero City, and eventually Ultra Heroes. Luckily, it was a dead end, so we did go back. And yes, when it first arrived, it had an opening rear.
It then moved over to the basic range in 2002. Sold as MB47 worldwide, it again was white. And weirdly, the model sported a lifeguard theme. Why they chose the kayak-free model to be released, I do not know. This would have been a better livery to be placed on the kayak model. Being a logo year, the first 10,000 models sported a 50 logo on them.
It was also a part of the Across America series that year too. It was in brown and represented Tennessee.
2003 saw a blue model. It was a part of the Looney Tunes licenced 5-pack that year, and had Taz on the side of the model. Again, with this having a very watery theme, I do wonder why they chose this model and not the one with the kayaks again.
2004, and another basic range offering. MB39 was in yellow, and errm. Is that a lifebelt? Do I see 2 oars? Is that blue supposedly depicting water? Some of the designs were getting so out there at this time, that I have difficulty in making sense of them. But I think it is somehow water-related, and again should have been the kayak model.
2005 saw another licenced 5-pack release. This was a Sonic X pack, and this white model had Chris from the series on the side.
It also saw its first outing in the Buried Treasure playset. 2005 was the turn to the more traditional series, but there were still a few other things going on. One of the biggest, was a pirate theme that had been going on. There was a treasure chest on all the basics, and other tie-ins too. A large Buried Treasure playset was one of the star attractions.
And as I had mentioned, 2005 saw the model given a Superfast outing. The first time it was sold in a stock look. The ROW market saw it sold in yellow, and the USA market saw it sold in dark green as number 63 in the range.
Sadly, the Xterra was only in the 2005 series, but it did see one additional outing there. This lovely red one was a part of the Off Road 5-pack. I believe the pack may have arrived in early 2006, but was still during what was the 2005 model year, as Superfast from 2004 - 2006 was running 6 months behind other ranges.
In 2007, the Buried Treasure playset was re-released. The model was still included, but given a small tweak. The front tampo was deleted. The Matchbox logo was removed from the side (as it was now the older logo) and all the other parts were changed. Wheels updated, base switched from black to grey, and interior from blue to black.
After that, the model went on hiatus. It was close to returning in 2013. As part of the 60th Anniversary, Matchbox were pulling out various playsets and re-issuing them again. A new design was created for the model to be included, but it never was. They simply inserted a Dune Buggy in the set instead.
It took another 5 years for the model to return again. However, by now, it had been altered. The opening rear was gone, and in its place, a new upper section that was separate from the main body was added. It was also back in the basic range, for what was only its third time. It was sold as MB111 and came in a lovely stock dark red.
It was 2 years after that, when we saw its next outing. A tan issue appeared in the MBX Marine Rescue 5-pack.
Which means this model appears to be receiving a new outing every 2 years. So, I wonder what is in store for 2024! Ha ha!
Of course, I had to bring in a couple from the alternates. The original MB490 from 2000, which sported kayaks on the roof. The one here is the first blue look, a 2001 MB65 Australian exclusive. The casting was altered again in 2019 back to sporting an opening rear. There was a little adjustment to the roof for that one too. Again, a blue was available there too. Much lighter in shade, it was a part of the first year of Moving Parts in 2019. This Xterra has quite the life.
Number 15, and another new look. The MB1088 '70 Plymouth Cuda. This release sees it arrive in a nice green.
It is a very simple look, with stripes going down the sides, much like real Cudas used to have at the time. Again, you cannot go wrong with a real look for a model. I admit, this is another gorgeous offering, and I am very happy to see this.
It even managed to get a chrome base this time out. It has not had one (bar the Superfast special) in many years. This definitely gives the model the edge over other recent issues, and I am very happy with this latest. One of the nicest I have seen. Hmm! Time for another dive back.
This model has its roots back in the days of the old Matchbox team based in Mount Laurel. The model was being created as a new casting to be added to the Collectibles range exclusively, and not be a part of the core range. This was how the brand was in the early 2000s. Core items were being targeted towards the very young, with Matchbox being viewed as the first real stepping stone from Fisher Price items into diecast. But they still had a Collectibles arm, which was aimed at adults. As such, classic vehicles were felt to be a collector thing, and not worth aiming towards children. As we know, this whole idea failed, and the brand was at a low ebb. The Cuda, originally MB626,was going to be aimed just at the collector. The Collectibles brand ceased in 2004, and as the offices were closing, they had just come up with a new idea. Superfast. Not quite as premium as before, but they were still being aimed at the collector. So, the range saw a lot of classic vehicles that were not planned for core ranges. As such, the new castings being developed found a home there. The Cuda being one of them. It debuted in the Superfast range in 2004 in silver, as number 4 in the set of 75.
The differences between MB616 and MB1088 appear quite minimal. On the surface, they do look the same. But all parts were retooled in some way, just to make the casting better. The most obvious is the all-new interior piece.
It was 2005. The new team, now based in El Segundo, were completely changing how the Matchbox brand was being perceived. Excellent. Since then, sales have risen, Matchbox has attracted more collectors, and the range has expanded quite a lot. Sure, we know there are still distribution issues. That is not what this blog is for. But the new direction in 2005 amalgamated the 2 ends of the model spectrum. The basic models and the classic premiums were now all in 1 place. And the Cuda appeared in the Burger Zone 5-pack. I have 2. Not specifically for the shade. But because in 2005, the new team decided to switch production from the factory in China to the one in Thailand. Production of the pack started in China and finished in Thailand, giving us 2 slightly different looks for the model. It is actually quite a close match on this model.
2005 saw the model continue in the Superfast series too. When they began in 2004, they created a set of retro looking 5-spoke wheels. But decided that these would only be on a set of 4 models that were retro themselves. The rest, even the classics, would sport the blingy wheels that had been created for the series. Remember, those were thought up in Mount Laurel. After discussions with collectors, the new team decided to expand the 5-spokes to all the classic cars, and developed a new Superfast wheel too. So the 2005 issues, pink for the US market or purple for the ROW market, were now sporting the retro 5-spokes.
There was also a promotional issue, based on the ROW variation, where additional tampo printing on the rear was added. These were given out to attendees at the Matchbox convention, which was held in Hershey PA. It was the last Hershey PA convention, as it had been booked already by the Mount Laurel team, not being far from New Jersey. The new team, now based in California, decided not to try and cancel it, as things were already in motion. But they stopped heading up that far north in USA after that, seeing a certain Albuquerque convention being easy to get to, and aligning themselves with that instead.
2006 saw the first green issue of the model. This was a Superfast release too. However, 2006, now a USA exclusive again, added in some Streakers models to the range, as a nod to the past. They were having fun digging into the past at the time. The Cuda was one of the Streakers models.
For 2007, the model was also included in the new Superfast America series. The original sets of 75 had finished, as all other stores except Walmart had dropped the series. So they created a small set just for Walmart, which also helped to bring Superfast in line with all the rest of the ranges. For 3 years, Superfast had basically been running half a year behind the rest of the ranges they were doing.
After that, the model took 2008 off, before coming back in 2009 as a 10-pack model. At the time, each batch of 10-packs (there were 4 through the year) would feature 1 all-exclusive pack with 10 models found nowhere else. Alongside these would be 2 additional packs. Each pack would contain an exclusive. However, Their thoughts were that these 8 packs in total would only feature 2 models. Each model would see 4 releases. Usually this would entail one of each of the 2 models appearing in each batch. But for 2009, they decided to release the Cuda in both the first 2 batches, and a Mustang Cobra appeared in both the last 2. The first batch saw 1 pack with an orange Cuda, the other with a black one. The second batch saw 1 pack with a green Cuda, the other with a purple.
Again the model took a year off, before returning in 2011 in what was looking like being a swansong. However, it was for MB616. When it returned, it had been updated. The 2011 release was in the Lesney Edition series, and as such, the yellow model featured a metal base, as well as the metal body, giving it quite a weighty feel.
It finally returned, now updated to the newer casting style, which most don't notice the difference with, back in the basic range. The green model was MB19 that year.
This picture features the other Target exclusive. As with the new Retro model, this teal 65th Anniversary model was only found in Target stores, mixed in with the basic range. This is how the new Red series models will appear next year. Mixed in with basics. I think some will already know about the Red series stuff, as I believe it is not a Matchbox original (pun intended, on the fact they call generics "Matchbox Originals").
We then saw a Blue Highways 5-pack release in 2019.
Finally, before this latest release (as 2021 saw no issues), 2020 saw the model back in the basic range again. MB56 was a pale lemon yellow colour. You might notice the tampo design on that is the same as on the new one, except obviously also in different colours. I love the consistency with this.
And if you put all the MB1088s together, you might find quite an area of the colour spectrum in use. Blue to yellow, with green (a mix of the 2) as well. One day we might get a red or white one. Hint hint....
So with 3 models out of the way, and 3 brand-new looks, I wonder if you can guess where the rest of this "new part" to the report is going? What do you mean, you are just skipping to my dive back at the end? Hopefully some will stick around while I check out the carry forwards. Number 16 in the set of 24/18 (however you want to view that) is the MB1183 '68 Dodge D-200 Pickup.
This model is a repeat from.... Checking records, if they go that far back.... yes, 2021. I hardly remember that year. Honestly, I don't. Stuff happened. You ask me which Matchbox model came out, then I will narrow it down to a very specific point. You ask me about anything else? Prepare for a blank look! Ha ha! I have to admit, some of the choices for carry forwards are not the best. The D-200 has only been around since 2019. And that one had only just been seen again in the Walmart Dodge series. To me, the MB862 '66 Dodge A100 Pickup should have been looked at instead. Just imagine another chance to get one of those early ones? There were some really cool issues in the early years of that, which I would love to see again. Especially with the model seeing a small modification since, and therefore giving us an instant variation. So using the D-200 instead, especially the one from last year, feels to me like it was a wasted slot.
It is a nice colour. I did enjoy the blue last year, but I do feel like it is too early to bring it back again. Especially with another D-200 being re-used in 2022. There is such a mass of castings to choose from. And plenty of models that could still look good after over 5 years away (like the A100). I am all about variety. Not the same old same old.
But I still got it. And I still opened it. Why? Well, let's bring in the 2021. Or should I say 2021s. I have 2. As you can see, one MB93 is a paler blue than the other.
Which, when lined up, really doesn't show off any particular shade of blue. Or with the grey base for that matter.
The only real difference I saw with the new run is that the interior is a little bit darker than it was in 2021. Not a lot, but I could see it. So I kept it.
As you can see, the bases both appear to match too. Funny how the Honda CVCC has a grey base that varies in a matter of weeks, but a Dodge D-200 manages to stay consistent a year apart. As I did a dive back on the casting when I did the Dodge report recently, I won't do another dive back on the casting this time.
Next up is the MB864 '74 International Scout 4x4. Or as the packaging is stating, now a '76. It takes the number 17 slot in the set.
This model is a carry forward of one of the 2013 basic range issues. That was 9 years ago. That is more like it for me. 9 years means a big gap between production runs. For the younger kids who want toys, this means they are highly unlikely to have seen this the first time around. For the adult collector, this is fun to check to see if anything has been going on with the casting in the interim.
So time for a little dig into the archives and relive 2013.
It was sold as MB35 that year, and came in 2 different looks. There was a red one, and this purple one. The most common wheels found were the newer 8-spoke wheels, but some were found with ringed gear wheels. The same ringed gear wheels that adorn the new release.
With a 9-year gap, the shade of purple has changed just a little. The newer one appears a little darker than it was before.
The red and orange in the tampo printing are both slightly out to how they were back in 2013. Black and white appear consistent (strangely ha ha).
But what you do find is that the casting has seen a minor modification. The most notable part being that the metal body section behind the seats is now smooth. It was ridged before.
Literally, just before. I pull out the 2020 Rocky Peaks 5-pack release in red to show that model also has a ridged area behind the seats. So the alteration has been made for 2022 (as there was no 2021 issue). I did not mention this last week, with the Local Cruisers report, as I felt it was better tied in with this model. I should have posted these 2 blog reports the other way around. Ha ha!
So what you have is 2013-2020 being the original casting, and 2022 onwards being the modified casting. Although you do have to peer inside to check for sure.
Which brings me to the last model in the batch. Or set? Number 18. The MB668 Mitsubishi Eclipse.
After an 8-year gap, the model returned last year in the Target Retro series, and sees another outing in the Retro series again. Is this a Retro series exclusive now? If so, that's the last we will see of it. Oops! In 2021, it came in an exclusive look. But for 2022, we get a carry forward release. This orange look was originally sold as MB33 in 2009, unless you lived in the LAAM market at the time when it was not sold. So was this the comparison? Nope, I have 2 of the 2022 Retro models. Yes, immediately I am able to obtain shade variations on this orange. Boy is this orange good for a shade.
One is clearly a darker orange than the other.
And as you can see, both are sporting an R05 base code. Both were manufactured during the 5th week of 2022. I swear this orange just likes me.
So, the 2009 MB33 US and ROW issue only. Yes, more shades. This had a lot of variation throughout its run that year.
And I really mean a lot. Because back in 2009, I found 5 distinct shades of orange on the model. Yes, I am THAT crazy. Now, the new ones do match up pretty close to those for shades. So why am I keeping them?
Because the tampo printing is also looking a little different between the 2009 and 2022 production runs. Instant variation there. The model now has black edging around the rear lights. Plus, the Eclipse wording appears to have moved up.
And you might also notice that the smoke windows are not quite as dark now as they were.
Which appear to match last year's "new" Retro offering. It is surprising seeing this model appear 2 years in a row after so long off. Especially unchanged casting-wise. I wonder if it will turn up again? I am not doing a dive back on that this time, as I did one last year, and thought, maybe I should do more of my secondary dive backs. So that is your lot for new stuff this time out.
What could turn out to be the swansong for the Retro series, as batch D looks like it didn't make it. Now, I return to my collection dives, which as I stated a few weeks back, have been scaled back a little. Each week (I know I didn't last week), I am choosing 2 models only to take a look at. If there is a casting you want to see me look at, please let me know. Somebody asked about the first one so I present....
The MB45-A Ford Group 6. Pretty much anybody who likes cars will know of the Ford GT40. Created by Ford with a specific plan to wins Le Mans, the car has since become one of the most iconic vehicles, and even was the star of a film. So how do you follow that up? With the P68. Introduced in March 1968, the P68 was Ford's next plan to keep dominating the Le Mans scene, as the FIA had changed the rules and the GT40 was no longer going to keep winning. However, the P68 was a failure. It did not enter a lot of races, and those it did, it was nowhere near competitive. Stability at high speed proved to be its downfall. A P69 offshoot was attempted in 1969, and then abandoned, along with Ford's involvement in Le Mans. But the vehicle lived on in model form. Lesney had a model of the GT40, and so logically wanted to release the follow-up too. Along with a Porsche 910, this debuted in the 1970 Superfast range. Regardless of how the real vehicle looked, the model appeared to be very sleek, smooth, and stylish. Just perfect for the direction that Matchbox was taking at the time. It came in dark green and had a 7 roundel attached to the front.
Shades were always going to happen with Lesney. For some reason, they first painted them in a yellow undercoat, and then applied the green over the top. You often see parts of the yellow bleeding through.
As a rule, they were actually fairly good at keeping the roundel straight on the front of the car. But I do love a wonky model. I could not resist the one with the off-centre roundel. Now daft story, the original plan was to put the 7 roundels on the side doors. Box art was created using prototypes with them. These prototypes were a solid dark green and a few did slip out, as they were close enough. A few more with the 7 on the front also slipped out. I don't own them. They are extremely expensive.
At first, the base was left unpainted, but they soon switched to a black base.
But they decided round wasn't a good shape. Obviously. So they swapped to a square label. Easier to peel. As production continued, these started appearing in place of the round label.
Then they decided that 7 wasn't a good number, so switched to the model's number in the range. 45. These had the corners cut off the labels. Not perfect squares.
Production ran into 1971 like this, and again shades can be found.
While this was happening in the basic range, Matchbox were also releasing a G-3 multipack. This pack consisted of 6 vehicles from the basic range. But each model sported a label on it, and a label sheet for you to add even more. So a model would arrive with the label on the front, and an additional Burmah label on the doors. Then you could go nuts, adding lots more labels to the model too. By the way, you can find the G-3 set with both a square 7 (much harder to find) or a 45 label (much easier to find).
This casting was very good for wasting paint. Lesney would not want to dispose of anything, so if they received a batch of paint that they didn't like the look of, they simply used it to paint areas of a model that were not the most likely to be seen. The Ford Group 6 had a base that would normally be painted black. But they get a batch of pale pink or pale yellow paint, they would simply use that to paint the base instead. Waste not, want not.
As 1971 progressed, they switched to a light lime green paint instead. The 45 label remained. They also switched the window component from clear to amber. There are both combinations of crossover. The last dark green has an amber window, and the first lime green has a clear window. Both command high prices due to their scarcity, and as yet, I have not managed to obtain either.
By now, charcoal was becoming the most common base colour, as they had received a nice shipment of "not black paint".
The lime green ran through 1972 too, and so did the G-3 multipack. Therefore, the additional labels can be found on the lime too.
Another item often overlooked is that the engine inside (which also forms the rear exhausts) was pretty much always chromed. But for a short while in 1971, they did not bother, leaving it grey. They decided to go back to chroming it again after a short while though.
In 1973, the multipack had stopped production. The basic range model was then changed from lime green to purple. Or burgundy. Dark red. Somewhere in that vicinity. It was definitely good for shades. Production continued with the 45 label.
But often during production, they ran out of labels, so just used the eyes label that would normally be found on the MB31-B Volksdragon instead. Because, why not?
Bases would mainly be found in either black or sea-green. Although some may also be found in grey. I don't own a grey. Not being a base variation collector, I just happened to have sea-green and black through getting shades to the body. The model ran for 3 year like this before being replaced in 1976 by a BMW 3.0CSL.
My other dive back this week is the MB711 Volvo C30. A bit more modern with this one. This is a model that sadly never really took off. It debuted as MB4 in 2007. It was given 2 different looks that debut year too. It started off in silver.
And then later on switched to tan. Sadly, this model just did not prove popular that year. I don't know if it was just the colours chosen. I thought it was a fantastic model, and I loved the realistic looks for it. But I still remember walking in to my old Toys R Us store at the time and seeing pegs just full of both colours. Weirdly, none of the follow-up ones really warmed pegs. I am sure this was just these 2 being in these 2 colours.
Although I am still waiting for the day they decide to dig the casting out for a carry forward to give us another run of this. The 2007 First Editions 10-pack issue in white and gold. This was based on the original concept's look, and was probably one of the most talked about models of 2007. Yet it was buried in a 10-pack. Such a shame.
For 2008, the model was sold as MB38. But only in the US and ROW markets. The LAAM market did not get this black model. A model which appeared to be quite popular. Especially given that it had a variation where some came with and other without the front grille detail.
It was also added to the Modern Rides 5-pack in dark blue. Some of which came out much darker than others.
Then, during production, they ran out of the 6-spoke wheels, so just switched in some double 10-spokes to keep production going.
And that wasn't even the only 2008 release seeing some double 10-spokes during production. The Superfast series had a Volvo and at first sported the special Superfast only wheels that had been created in 2005. But during production they stopped using those wheels entirely. The whole batch switched to wheels used on core items.
After only 2 years in the basic range, most markets dropped the model entirely. The last hold-out was the US market, which had a third year offering in the way of a burgundy MB31.
Although the other markets did have a chance to obtain another, as a red model was included in the "Real" 10-packs that year. After 2009, the model was dropped almost entirely.
Except for this one final release. It was 2011, and a Mickey Mouse Clubhouse licenced 5-pack included the Volvo in white. I did 2 photos of it though, as the 2 sides had entirely different designs, and characters. One side featured Minnie Mouse/best friend, and the other featured a Daisie Duck/look at that sparkle design. You may even notice that the Minnie side's design went beyond the body section of the model into the window. This is because this model used ink jet printing for the design. Tampo pads (4 in total) are used to apply colours to a specific part before assembly. But with ink jet printing, it can use as many colours as is required and is applied after assembly. It never got used too often though, due to being more expensive to do, and with the fact that it has quite a coarse end result, compared to the smooth result of the tampo. But this has proved to be the end for the casting, unless they want to dig it out for another run. I always liked it, and would not say no to seeing it again.
And with that, I do believe another blog report is finished. My fractionally more streamlined report. In total we saw 3 brand new looks on 3 castings.
As well as 3 additional carry forward issues. This is pretty much the norm with these sets. Three of each. I am used to it. Loving the Eclipse and Scout carry forwards due to their gaps between production. Not so much the Dodge, as it was only from last year. But hey, I kept it anyway.
Next week, I should make a start on another basic batch. I am just about getting to E, and F has been and gone, 2023 batch A is just starting to show up. I may be slipping behind a little again. Batches E & F are being split into 2 halves again, before 2023 batches get seen in one entire go, due to the more frequent issues we will be getting. So until next week, I hope everybody has a good week.