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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, 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
The Matchbox Mercedes truck and trailer appeared in 1968 as Number 1 and number 2 an replaced the various road rollers and site dumper previously with those numbers these were produced in green with orange canopies and regular black wheels (see picture).
In 1970 Superfast wheel took over from the regular wheels along with a change of colour to gold with yellow canopies and was dis-continued in 1974, my red version could well be at the end of the casting run but it has been said it is a later model made abroad, there was, as with many Matchbox models, a military green version too.
Dinky also made a version of this truck and originally pre-dates the Matchbox one by a year, 1967, many colour variations were made of this and a matching trailer could be bought in a set, Dinky numbered this set 917.
The real truck
Mercedes-Benz » LP heavy range 15-22 tons (1963 – 1974)
For the heavy range a 6-cylinder diesel engine was developed. The most powerful was a 320 hp engine. Future development of the well-known series “333″ became models “LPS2020/2024″ (6×2) with twin steer front axles with a GCVW up to 38 tons. The trucks were equipped with cabins, unified with a medium range, but differed by installing headlights in the bumper. In the early 70′s the range was upgraded.
One of my latest finds is one of the Lone Star Impy Major trucks, this came with it’s box.
Here it is out of the box, the box tells me it’s a Lone Star Impy Major, No183 Low loader, release in the UK in 1979
The trailer is riveted to the cab chassis and has blacked out glass, so looks like Lone Star were doing this long before Matchbox.
Looks good loaded but quite a short bed, here matched up with the Matchbox Ruston-Bucyrus face shovel
Next to the Husky Ford D series low loader as comparison
A much older Impy from my collection is the Timber truck No60, not sure what real truck this would represent but came out in the late 1970′s.
For more on the Lone Star history and brand Click Here
My guess is this is the low loader is based on a Mercedes, although what model I’m as yet unsure, there are echo’s of the old Mercedes Benz L319 but the grill is more square on the Impy version and has the look of a Mercedes 608 , I doubt neither is right but as always will update this article when I have found the correct vehicle.
Updated Feb 23rd 2012
Just added another one to the Impy collection
This is just called freight on the box and again is from the Lone Star Impy major range, and numbered 187, already have seen a few colour variations, mainly of the plastic backs in either red or green.
Another version of the above truck as a tractor/trailer combo, this is Lone Star, Major Series No.184 Pipe Line Transporter
Possibly based on a 1976 Scania 140 or 1978 Scania 141