Matchbox Monday rescues the first 2024 Walmart set

Matchbox likes a theme.  National Parks.  INC.  Ranec.  Forest Ranger.  These are some of the best known.  Others are coming along nicely, as we have seen a number of MBX Construction issues these last 2 years, and Speed Shop has been pulled out from the 1980s and turned into a new theme.  A few licensed ones have appeared as well, like Mooneyes and Edelbrock.  But, nestled among these is a theme that nobody has really paid a lot of notice to.  MBX Country Rescue. This is because the designs are not as in your face as others.  Plus, the colours are not always the same, which is another way that the theme tends to go unnoticed.  INC is blue and yellow.  Ranec is white and orange.  National Parks is mint. But, in 2024, it appears that the Matchbox team has decided that this theme deserves a little more recognition.  So, they have created a whole set of models to remind us that this slow burner of a theme is out there, and coming along nicely.  As is often the case with these side ranges, there are 6 models in the set, with an even split of 3 new looks along with 3 carry forwards.  I will have a look at them in number order.

Which means I start with the new looks.  That's easy.  1-3 are new, 4-6 are carry forwards.  This means we get the fresh items done first.  And the first of them is the MB1021 '15 Ram 1500 Police.  

The Ram is the only modern pickup casting that Matchbox has as a dedicated emergency vehicle.  Officially, they are known as SSV, Special Service Vehicles.  Ram has been making an SSV version of the 1500 for many years, and Matchbox decided to add this to the range in 2016.  This means that it is a 4th generation Pickup, and Ram are now on the 5th.  Does that matter?  Not really.  With the extra parts for emergency use, a lot of details that would be on a real vehicle would be lost anyway.  I am fine for them to keep plugging away with the old casting.  Especially as it has not had the busiest of runs.  This is only the 7th time the casting has seen a fresh look.  7 outings in 9 years is not exactly what you would call a fast rollout of releases.  

When it comes to this release, I think they have done a lovely job with it.  A simple red look, with a Fire Investigation Unit livery, mingled in with the MBX County theme.  I think it looks absolutely fine.  I love the realistic look to the theme, with the stripes in full effect.  I do like a stripe.  So, yeah, this may not be a real livery, but this is expertly done, and I am giving it a 10 out of 10. I think this deserves a little dive back.

As I said, this hasn't had a lot of outings, but it came out the box running.  Another of the Matchbox brand recurring themes.  Perhaps the best known of them all.  National Parks.  This mint debut was the 2016 MB61.

Did you know that 2017 was the final year this was seen in the basic range?  Yes, after a 2016 debut, we saw one more basic issue.  In 2017, it was given an El Segundo Fire Dept look.  A real licenced livery on the model.  

It then started its multipack run in 2018.  The first was quite the shocker.  This was a part of the Texas Rangers 5-pack, and was unique in that it didn't have the police livery on it.  Just a few simple details added.  An undercover cop?  A look that was replicated by the Ford Taurus Interceptor in the 2021 basic range.  

It did not get used in 2019, but 2020 saw it chosen as a 9-pack exclusive.  This was the year that each model sported 2 looks, one for each of the packs in the assortment in each batch.  Therefore, the California Highway Patrol look was added to either a black or a white Ram.  

I classify the CHP model as 1 outing, in 2 colours, so to me, this is release number 5.  A 2021 MBX Rescue 5-pack issue. Or, if you were to literally go by what the package states, it is MBX Recue.  As there was a typo on the package, and they forgot the "s". This pack was all Boone County themed, which was really cool.

It was then included in the 2022 MBX Service 5-pack in black with an El Segundo Police theme.  It never saw an outing in 2023.

I have to say, to date, this model has not had many outings.  Only 7, with 8 actual vehicles (the 2 CHP ones).  But, each one has been a stellar release.  This model does seem to be in the style of quality, not quantity.  

Number 2 on the list is the MB985 '57 GMC Pickup.  Another pickup vehicle, and another red look.

However, with the other being a modern vehicle in a distinctive emergency style casting, this is a regular pickup truck, which is being given the MBX County look. It also gets a little extra detailing to the front headlights.  Yes, I notice that extra touch.  I do catch these extra little touches that can be added on to a model, as basics (and their offshoots) would usually sport 2 sides of detailing.  

The thing with this MBX County design is that it fits in very well on a modern vehicle, but also works so well with a classic.  It does not look the slightest bit out of place on the side of this 1950s vehicle.  This is a lovely look again.  The white interior fits well with the white stripe.  I cannot knock this down in any way.  Again, a perfect 10 out of 10.  Now, the GMC has been with us a little longer than the Ram, and has seen a larger number of outings.  But, I will still do a dive back, as again, this has been seen since 2022, so deserves a refresher.  

Back when the casting debuted, it was given the MB786 slot. It debuted in the 2010 range as MB38 in a plain light blue look with simple front and side details.  However, 2010 was the first year that Walmart set up some exclusives and at that time, it was simply a case of 4 models in the basic range being given an exclusive look for Walmart stores in the USA.  They later moved to the side lines as exclusives.  So, if you were in the USA, and you went in Walmart, instead of finding a blue MB38, you would find a white one with a  Sam's Deliveries side design, which was a nod to the Walton family's history.  

It was also added to the 1st Editions 10-pack at the end of the year in bronze.  This featured a similar look to the blue debut, and me being me, I did spot a nice shade on this one.

In 2011, the model was given 3 outings.  The basic range was a bit of a shocker.  When the MB38 first arrived, people thought the first ones were errors, as there was literally no tampo printing on the black model at all.  But, no, this was intentional.  A completely plain look on that release.  I am surprised we have not seen another like this.  People quite liked it. It was also added to the Farm 5-pack in blue with an Eco Growers look to it.  It was also in the Lesney Editions series, and this yellow and white premium model also featured a metal base.  That means it is pretty heavy.  After this, the model took a year off.

2013 saw the model get another 5-pack outing, as an olive model appeared in the Battle Mission set.  Again, I was noticing the olive ranged in shades.

2014 saw the model make a return to the basic range in green as MB18 with a Canon Construction theme.  

Then, in 2015, we saw a change to the casting.  It was added to the Mission Force: Farm set in red, and this was the final release for the original MB786 casting.  It was immediately switched to the updated MB985 casting for the later Classic Ride 5-pack, in a matte brown look with a Stephens & Sons Salvage design. This was a nod to a classic Sanford & Sons TV show pickup truck look, and again I did see a little shading to the model.  But, they altered the casting from a slot in method to the current drop method of production, which meant that the rear rivet became exposed around the rear bed area.  

After that change, the casting took another year off before returning in 2017 as MB80 in the basic range.  This was another Boone County model, in what is quite the iconic brown with yellow stripe look.  I also noted some severe shading going on with that release.

2017 was the year that the team came up with another side line.  Color Changers.  Castings were re-cast with metal bases and plastic bodies, although there were small differences (you might notice a body part between the interior and bed of the internal section). They also decided that this particular casting, MB1066, would sport a variation.  Half of the models had something in the rear bed, while the other half were empty.  Early Color Changers used designs as seen previously, and the 2013 Battle Mission 5-pack design was brought back for this model.  

2018 saw a second and final Color Changers issue.  This time, the model was given an exclusive design for the release, and again, this Mario's Auto Parts model was seen with or without items in the back.

For 2019, the MB985 casting was back in the basic range.  MB92 was in red with a Vintage Bicycle side design.  To date, this is the last time the casting has been in the basic range.  

After another year off, the model returned in 2021 with a Ranec themed 5-pack release in the MBX Road Crew set. I noticed the orange interior section would vary in shade.  

It also got another Walmart set exclusive look in the Truck series, and this also sported the National Parks mint look.

And, for the final year before this year's outing, 2022 saw 2 different 5-pack releases.  A carry forward set brought back the 2015 Mission Force: Farm release in red.  However, the MBX Highway II release did see the model in its updated MAN guise, which you can see with the exposed rivet section in the rear bed.  

It was also given a new look for the MBX Off Road pack in white with a Truck Hero design.  

So, this model has seen a number of looks.  I am sure it still has many more left in it.  As long as the casting has life in it, I can see them popping it in and out of range for years to come.  I did notice that this release will mark the 3rd time that if you live in the USA, you will only find it in a Walmart store.

The third and final new look is the newest casting of the trio.  The MB1198 '94 Chevy Caprice Classic Police.  This is the only one of the trio that is not in red.  This one gets a yellow outing for this set.

I think they made a good decision to mix and match the colours just a little.  To date, I think all the MBX County models tend to be red or yellow, so it makes sense to make the new ones red or yellow as well. I think it is cool seeing a Fire vehicle in yellow.  We don't tend to get a lot of those.  Fire Chief models tend to be red or white.  So, this makes a refreshing change. Plus, look at all those stripes!

I like it.  This theme is simple, but effective.  And the 3 new looks were all very well done.  Each one is spot on in my opinion.  So, again, I am rating this a 10. This model may be the "newbie" of the trio, but this one has seen a number of releases in the years it has been with us, and is already on par with the Ram!

It arrived in 2020.  It had a decent debut, as the MB7 basic range debut in white in an NYPD livery was joined later on with the blue MBX Marine Rescue 5-pack appeared only a few months later.

2021 also gave us 2 looks.  The basic range was again a licensed look, as the MB32 in white was in a Royal Canadian Mounted Police livery.  We also had a fun 9-pack outing.  This is still one of my favourite looks on all Matchbox models.  The side you saw in the package had a security theme to it.  But, if you opened it up, you discovered this amazing alternate side design.  The "security stripe" being badly pulled off after buying it from a police auction, and a taxi sign taped on to the door.  It is just brilliant!

2022 came, and yes, we saw 2 outings again.  MB67 for the basic range was in silver, with a Skybusters Security theme, again, another model that had a Ford Taurus Interceptor in the same look in another year.  Again, we had a 9-pack exclusive release in black and white with a San Luis Obispo design.

2023 was the first year that we only saw the 1 release.  The MBX City Drivers II 5-pack was a special design giving us modern interpretations of vehicles from the very first year of 5-packs.  The Metro Police theme was a 1993 debut year look, but the models there were in white, and these were platinum as part of the 70th Anniversary.  However, although 3 castings from that set are still with us (albeit all modified), 2 have departed.  The Ford LTD Police casting is no longer available, so the Caprice was used in its place.  

So, this model is already on release number 8.  It is also the brightest release of the bunch.  I am impressed with these 3 newbies.  It has helped draw people in to this theme, that has been with us for quite a while, and now is not so under the radar any more.  But, with 3 newbies comes 3 carry forwards.  

The first of them, number 4 of 6, is the return of this look on the MB1003 Freightliner Business Class M2 106.

You know what? I am going to be really cruel here.  I am giving this a big fat 0!  Yes, that is a zero.  Why? Well, this was the debut look for the casting when it debuted as MB60 in the 2016 basic range.  They then repeated it in the 2019 basic range.  There was a small change, as the MBX County writing over the side hoses shrunk. So, it was a variation.  And then, it was also repeated a second time in 2021.  It was a part of the MBX Fire Rescue 5-pack, which was all carry forward issues.  This was identical in tampo to the 2019 release, although I did spot the shade of red was a little paler that time out.  During these 2019 and 2021 runs, the model was also thrown in numerous 9-packs as filler. This means, since the debuted, we have seen this particular release so much, I am very sad to see that they just brought it forward yet again for this set.  I really feel they should have hunted a little further for something else to bring forward. There were a few that could have been very much fun to bring back.

Models that would have joined this one.  The MB949 '06 Fire Engine, returning in the number 5 slot.  

Or, as it is now known, the '06 Flame Tamer. This is a repeat of the 2011 5-pack release.  Yes, 2011!  As I said, this theme has been quietly pottering along for a long time.  

This is a carry forward I can get behind.  This is because this is on the updated casting, whereas the original was on the earlier incarnation of the casting.  

This is the 2011 issue.  At that time, the casting was MB698.  It was the original incarnation of the '06 Fire Engine, which debuted in, you guessed it, 2006.  

The casting went through quite an overhaul between these 2 outings.  It was actually changed midway through the model's 2014 5-pack run, giving us 2 variations of that release.  And since then, each release has been with the shorter body.

The one advantage is that the tow hook on the back is much more accessible now.  

But, this overhaul did reduce the overall length of the casting, as well as moving the front grille area to being a part of the base rather than body sections.  Plus, I have to say, that shade variation between the 2 is awesome!  I had to.  As I said, I can really get behind a carry forward like this.  So, you know what?  10 out of 10.  One of the best carry forwards they have ever done.  

The last model of the 6, and the final carry forward, is the MB858 '56 Buick Century Police.  This is another of those castings that rarely seems to get any action.  It debuted in the 2012 basic range, and since that time has seen a grand total of 6 releases.  This is a repeat of the second to last of those issues, the 2015 Fire 5-pack release.  

I am happy to see that they have not forgotten about this casting.  This is the first time we have seen it since 2018.  So, bringing in the 2015 5-pack issue for a little comparison, how does it compare?

I have taken the new model out of the package, so I am seeing something.  Not a lot.  The shade of red is almost identical.  The window and base sections are also very good matches.  

But, I am noticing with the new release that the tampos are coming out in different shades.  The white appears to be much more thinly applied, so has a slight pinkish hue to it.  The gold and chrome parts of the print are also a little different in shade.  So, this is giving the model a bit of a different final look.  It is not a major difference, but it is enough for me.  For that reason, and the fact it is nice to see this casting again, I am going to score this a 7.  Hopefully this will lead to them coming up with a new look for it again.  It deserves it.  

Well, that is it from me for this week. My review of the first Walmart set is done.  3 new looks all looking amazing.

Along with 3 carry forwards that to me were in varying degrees of interest.  I also noticed....

There were 4 models in red.

As well as 2 in yellow.  I definitely think it was a good thing to not have everything in red.  I think a slight mix of colours adds to things a bit.  

Well, as these head off, I look ahead to next week, where I take a little look at some high-end pieces in a little catch-up.  Until then, I hope people have a happy and safe week.

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