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- Tri-ang, Spot-On, fiat Multipla restoration
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- Quick Fix #1
- Aston Martin DB7 refurbishment
- Corgi, Mercedes Pullman 600 renovation
- Removing Corgi diecast wheels
- Quick fix #2
- Removing Chrome from plastic parts
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- Quick Fix #3
- Replacing, Matchbox Superfast axles
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- Corgi Commer Karrier, with a twist
- Salvaged from scrap
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Essex Models and Miniatures archive
During the 1970′s many of the Matchbox range went hotrod, the trucks on the other hand remained faithful to British and US truck makers with a few exceptions.
The Matchbox cement truck from 1976 doesn’t resemble a known maker, although some will say it may be based on an International truck design.
This truck was produced from 1976 until 1981, always painted in red, although different drum colours were issued including black, the glass was green and again purple has been seen, the drum rotates and tips.
But wait a minute, haven’t we seen this casting before?
In 1973 Matchbox registered a design for the following years production run, called the Badger and was released in 1974, numbered 16 and was part of the Rolamatics range.
The Badger is a three-axled radar or communications truck, sporting a radar/communications dish on its roof, as it moved the radar would turn.
Two colours were produced, Olive green in 1974 and metallic copper in 1976 and was removed from the range in 1978.
It is obvious Matchbox re-used the idea of the Badger casting for the cement mixer changing the back part of the casting and removing the winch from the front bumper.
As for a real vehicle, many years later in 2002 the military produced a vehicle called the Badger Cougar, but at the time, in the mid 70′s, not much like the Matchbox Badger existed, Matchbox forsight or designer imagination? there is a resemblance.
For more on the real Badger Cougar, Click Here
The Matchbox Unimog number 49, is another classic and was issued in early 1967.
The first issues were tan coloured with a turquoise baseplate and later changed to blue with a red baseplate.
In 1970 the Unimog was re-issued with Superfast wheels in the blue metallic and red as below, a military coloured version has also been issued with Superfast wheels, the wheels were all black as many of the military Matchbox models did with Superfast wheels, the military version had a different casting for the baseplate and done away with the spare wheel.
Below another military version, the green is different and the decal is of a white star on the bonnet.
It was removed from the range in 1973.
Corgi also did a version of this model, seen below with the Matchbox Superfast version as a size comparison.
Corgi numbered this 406 and produced in 1976 until 1977, this is actually a re-released Corgi model of an earlier produced Unimog from 1971
Another Corgi issue is this dumper. Number 1145 and produced from 1969 until 1976, some later issues have blue chassis rather tha the red seen below.
The later offering of the Matchbox Unimog was made in 1983 and in Thailand
A similar model was made in the Superkings range, K30 but this was issued back in 1978 so predates the Thailand MB issue.
This did come with the K32 Farm trailer, also issued around 1978, with various additional items such as animals.
Another version of K30.
Another later version of this model is number K137 and made in China in 1982, note the different wheels and addition of wing mirrors, this is actually meant to be a crop sprayer but missing the arms, this one is actually hard to find in any condition so to get one almost complete and with good paint is a bonus.
This did come in other colours and sets.
A much later model is the Unimog U300, produced for the Matchbox range in 2006 and ran until 2009, although strictly speaking this is a Mattel diecast rather than a Matchbox but still sold under the Mattel owned Matchbox name.
These are made in Thailand and all slightly different issues (see below).
The number for this casting is MB728 and made it’s debut in the MBX Metal series, both the silver one above and the orange one are from the MBX Metal series, the blue one is from the Construction series and has much less tampo detail than the other two it also has black wheel centres rather than the chrome.
The real trucks.
Used by some European countries by the military services, tree surgeons and below the Essex fire services animal rescue unit.
Unimog is a range of multi-purpose auto four-wheel drive medium trucks produced by Mercedes-Benz, a division of Daimler AG. The name Unimog is pronounced [ˈuːnɪmɔk] in German and is an acronym for the German “UNIversal-MOtor-Gerät”, Gerät being the German word for machine or device. Daimler Benz took over manufacture of the Unimog in 1951 and they are currently built in the Mercedes truck plant in Wörth am Rhein in Germany. Another Mercedes-Benz Türk A.Ş. plant assembles Unimogs in Aksaray, Turkey. Unimogs were also built in Argentina until the first years of the 1980s, in the González Catán factory.
Real truck text from Wikipedia
For more on the Unimog Click Here
Today, we have the Dutch diecast maker EFSI and a brand new addition to my collection.
This Mercedes truck is reminiscent of the Matchbox trucks from the late sixties and the later Superfast in the 1970′s although a different configuration to the cab and a twin rear axle.
The orange plastic canopy is much the same as the Matchbox versions
The canopy is easily removed (and lost no doubt) as was the Matchbox Mercedes, this model, however has one major difference.
It’s also a tipper body although simple and no ram as Matchbox did so the body does not remain in tip position, I’ve actually set the tipper for the picture by using plasticine to hold it up.
This particular model is still available for £1.99 in large numbers on Ebay Here
On trying to research this model and find an issue date and model number, I came across another body version of this truck so have bought it on Ebay, this one has an Esso tanker body.
Out of the packing you can see it is the same chassis, the body is plastic with simple Esso decal stickers.
Both EFSI Mercedes trucks seen below together.
This cab/chassis unit is used a lot by EFSI also as a tractor unit for a range of artic trucks too.
The cab style is more like the later Matchbox Mercedes container truck from 1976, No42
The real trucks
Both the trucks above are likely to be based on the The ‘New Generation’ series of trucks (NG) by Daimler-Benz built from 1973 to 1988.
It was then replaced by the Mercedes-Benz SK series (Schwere Klasse, “heavy series”). With the “New Generation”, Daimler-Benz expanded its market position in the medium and heavy truck segments. The vehicles sold extremely well and spread all over the world.
For more on models of these trucks Click Here
In the 1980′s, Matchbox made a much larger diverse range of Yesteryear model than ever before and included the famous locomotove, Stephenson’s Rocket.
This was numbered Y12 and released in 1987, it came in a display box mainly in red as seen below.
Later in 1995 this was re-issued as YAS01 and although the same model and casting the box and colouring had changed with the addition of brass coloured pistons and black wheel rims and paneling to the tender.
Although I have done an article before on the Benbros model of the Rocket, a picture showing both has been provided below as a comparison, note how close in size they both are.
I was intending to take the pictures showing the locomotive on track but found the gauge to be bigger than the OO track I have, after a bit of measuring and investigation, both these models measure at about 22mm making S gauge track a suitable type for displaying these models, S gauge is also known as 1:64 scale and measures 22.5mm, S gauge is far more popular in the USA than here in the UK.
For more on the Benbros model and the real Stephenson’s Rocket, Click Here