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Essex Models and Miniatures archive
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 I am looking at the popular Austin Mini in it’s various guises, well in my collection anyway, I’m starting with a late Matchbox model from 2008 as this one is what inspired this article, I actually bought this because I used to own one just like it, same colour too.
This is from the ‘Best of British’ series, 1965 Austin Mini van, scaled at 1:51, and made in Thailand, the number I have for it is BB09, this is still in production and has been produced in many colours and liveries and probably better known as MB713, MB7 or MB53.
Next is the Matchbox racing Mini, No29, this one was released about 1970.
Next is the stange looking Matchbox Mini Ha Ha, No14 and released about 1975, it has what looks like an aeroplane engine sticking out of the bonnet, large rear drag wheels and an overscaled driver sticking out of the roof.
Corgi Juniors answer to the ‘hot’ Mini was this BVRT Vita-Min 1300 Mini Cooper S, it would of had racing decals too, the number 73 and a Castrol logo.
Corgi Junior No21, only ever seen in metallic purple.
Lastly two late Corgi Mini’s, don’t have much Information on these but they were popular as give away cars in a ‘Fina’ petrol station box among other cars.
They do have a 1991 copyright on one of the boxes I have so that would make these a Mattel release.
The real cars
The Mini is a small car that was made by the British Motor Corporation (BMC) and its successors from 1959 until 2000. The original is considered a British icon of the 1960s, and its space-saving front-wheel-drive layout (which allowed 80% of the area of the car’s floorpan to be used for passengers and luggage) influenced a generation of car-makers. The vehicle is in some ways considered the British equivalent to its German contemporary, the Volkswagen Beetle, which enjoyed similar popularity in North America. In 1999 the Mini was voted the second most influential car of the 20th century, behind the Ford Model T. This distinctive two-door car was designed for BMC by Sir Alec Issigonis.
Designed as project ADO15 (Austin Drawing Office project number 15), the Mini came about because of a fuel shortage caused by the 1956 Suez Crisis. Petrol was once again rationed in the UK, sales of large cars slumped, the market for German bubble cars boomed. Leonard Lord, the somewhat autocratic head of BMC, reportedly detested these cars so much that he vowed to rid the streets of them and design a ‘proper miniature car’. He laid down some basic design requirements: the car should be contained within a box that measured 10 × 4 × 4 ft (3 × 1.2 × 1.2 m); and the passenger accommodation should occupy 6 ft (1.8 m) of the 10 ft (3 m) length; and the engine, for reasons of cost, should be an existing unit. Issigonis, who had been working for Alvis, had been recruited back to BMC in 1955 and, with his skills in designing small cars, was a natural for the task. The team that designed the Mini was remarkably small: as well as Issigonis, there was Jack Daniels (who had worked with him on the Morris Minor), Chris Kingham (who had been with him at Alvis), two engineering students and four draughtsmen. Together, by October 1957, they had designed and built the original prototype, which was affectionately named “The Orange Box” because of its colour
For a history of the Mini Click Here
As soon as you mention the VW Beetle everyone knows what car you mean, nearly everyone has probably at some point in their life been in one or owned one, I did actually own one many years ago.
The first of our Volkswagen Beetles is from Matchbox, Number 25 and named the 1200 and was released in 1960 and had tinted glass and an opening bonnet at the rear showing a detailed engine, my one below has grey plastic wheels but also other examples have black plastic wheels and silver plastic wheels, this model was discontinued in 1964.
In 1968 Matchbox released a new version and re-numbered 15, the one below has early Superfast wheels, that is thinner than the later versions, this was available in metalic red or white and should have numbers on the sides, the front bumper now sports a rally plaque and a tow hook and seats have been added, again this should have the decal on the rally plaque but has long since gone.
As the Superfast range took a turn towards faster cars the Beetle also took on a custom theme with two very different Beetles added to the Matchbox range.
The first was number 31 Volks Dragon, released in 1971.
This was classed as a dragster and has been fitted with a chrome V8 engine at the rear and roof mounted air scoop, (wonders if it has ever been done).
The second Matchbox Volkswagen Beetle hot rod is Dragon wheels, number 43
This one was in fact a ‘funny car’ dragster such as the one’s you see at Santa Pod raceway where the whole body lifts to show the single seat and massive engine.
Matchbox released another in 1998 and now under the managment of Mattel and made in China the model numbers are no longer printed on the base, this could be MB21, but it did seem that everytime they changed the colour or manufacture year the numbers changed, I can’t actually find this one listed so can’t confirm the number, it ‘feels’ more like a Hotwheels car than a Matchbox but still a nice car, lots of detail and still has the tow hook.
This is the 2002 release by Matchbox/Mattel and is in fact a taxi, this one below is the 2004 release in metallic red and ‘Hero City’ tampo on the sides.
Another Beetle by Mattel/Matchbox is the Beetle 4×4, casting number MB582.
Produced from 2000 the two above are, MB54 issued in 2004 in metallic green and from the Hero City series and made in China and MB64, issued in 2006 from the MBX Metal series and made in Thailand.
While we are talking about Mattel, I had better include the Hotwheels Beetle next, released in 1988 and made in Malaysia, this one has ‘Hotwheels road zoo’ on the tampo on the sides, and to add here , the only one so far with the older oval back window.
Corgi also released a Volkswagen beetle 1300 under the Corgi juniors name and numbered 17, this was release back in 1970 and discontinued in 1977.
Another late Corgi/Mattel offering released around 1992 and parts of the ‘classic motors’ series packaged and offered by Fina petrol service stations in the UK, these are nice little additions to my collection.
The one below is from the diecast maker Realtoy, most of their cars and trucks have fantastic detail, this one is of no exception.
Once you get up in scale the detail gets far better, this Welly diecast version is 1:32 scale and comes in many colours, including the blue below, white and black.
It has opening doors but the downside to this model is the pullback motor fitted in the back seats, great detail though and are subject to a future code 3 custom project with a difference.
For further articles on this blog relating to Volkswagens see the links below;
The real car
The Volkswagen Type 1, widely known as the Volkswagen Beetle and Volkswagen Bug, is an economy car produced by the German auto maker Volkswagen (VW) from 1938 until 2003. With over 21 million manufactured in an air-cooled, rear-engined, rear-wheel drive configuration, the Beetle is the longest-running and most-manufactured automobile of a single design platform anywhere in the world.
For more information on the Beetle and further links Click Here