This is the second Matchbox casting to make its debut in the 60th Anniversary line, the first being the Lamborghini Gallardo Police. Word is the basic version of the Gallardo is starting to hit stores, and hopefully we find it soon to show off here.
But let's focus on the Renault Ambulance. There was a lot of excitement when Mattel announced they were doing a Renault Ambulance at the 2012 Gathering in Albuquerque. Collectors were very excited to see a Euro-centric model get some much needed attention from Matchbox, and the designers were very excited to let the collecting world know. As we moved towards 2013, there were a lot of collectors who had the Renault at the very top of their "most-anticipated model" lists.
That changed a bit when the first Ambassador sneaks were shown. Based on the images, the model looked right, and the livery very appropriate. But all of that was overshadowed by the collector response to the fact that the body was plastic.
We at Lamley wanted to hold judgement until we had the model in hand. We finally do, so here are some thoughts.
1. The model is big. It was a bit hard to understand why this model had to be plastic, as plastic seemed to be reserved for larger models. Now that we have it in hand, it makes sense. Comparing it to the Routemaster, currently the largest Matchbox casting, its base is about the same length, and it is just slightly shorter than the bus. The Renault is also wider. And this is a good thing. The proportions seem to be right on. I do wonder if the smaller disk wheels could have been used, but they have more wheel options with the larger wheel wells.
2. While some may not like the plastic, it at least allows for very crisp detailing. The front grill is the best example. It is crisp and very nicely detailed.
3. The interior is very well detailed as well. Someone will have to take one apart to give us a sense of all that is going on.
4. Our one beef is the fact that this plastic was molded in yellow, therefore bypassing paint. It is not as bad as we thought based on early pics, but painted would be slightly better.
Overall, I like this model a lot more than I thought I would. I hope collectors will give it a chance.
One other note. The Matchbox team hinted that a few of these might appear without the 60th logo on the rear. This one has it, and I assume this is early off the line, so we will continue to look and see if any of the "non-logo" models appear.
(You can find the 60th Renault at MVE Collectibles or on ebay...)
Matchbox Renault Master Ambulance (2013 60th Anniversary):