Monday, January 25, 2016

You can count on at least one new Matchbox Fire Truck each year. Here is the 2016 entry...

There are not a ton of strong opinions out there about diecast fire trucks.

Actually, I take that back.  If you are a diecast fire or emergency collector, you have VERY strong opinions about diecast fire trucks.  I know a few fire collectors, and they are passionate and as knowledgeable as any collector out there.  Many are in the business of fighting fires.  If you don't know a diecast fire collector, especially one who is a fire fighter, get to know one.  There are a few at the Matchbox Gathering, so that is a good place to start.

But outside of those collectors, there are not a ton of strong opinions.  Collectors like them, but I haven't seen any Instagram posts of someone buying 32 Matchbox Brush Trucks at their local Walmart.

But they are staples in diecast, especially Matchbox.  Matchbox isn't Matchbox without them.  So that is what it is a very good thing that every year a new licensed Fire Truck hits the Matchbox line.  I am sure there has been a year or two that it hasn't been the case in the last few years, but for the most part, a new model is released each year.

There are others too, like a couple of 4x4 cartoonish trucks that we hope will soon take a role as relics of what Matchbox was for a few unfortunate years.  But enough about those.

And it is significant that these are licensed.  Firetruck makers are not as well known as carmakers, so Matchbox could make similar replicas without having to do licensed.  And they have, like the popular Hazard Squad hazmat truck, but thankfully most realistic fire models are licensed.  We see names like Pierce, Mack, and Seagrave.  Like Matchbox and Police Cars, variety is the name of the game.  New, old, urban, rural, brush, and on and on.  Looking at the releases from the last few years, with the unlicensed Hazard Squad included, you see some really good stuff.  The castings:

And Freightliner.

The 2016 entry to this long line of licensed fire trucks is the Freightliner M2 106.  The M2 106 is actually a base vehicle, and can be used for freight trucks, ambulances, you name it.  In this case, it is a fire truck:

But it could be one of these:

The Matchbox Freightliner is obviously a replica of the M2 106 when it comes to the cab, but my guess is the rest was designed by Matchbox.  I know that has happened on other fire models as well.  Yes, there is a fair amount of plastic, but at least the cab is metal.

Of all the Matchbox fire truck castings released in the last few years, I still count the International Workstar Brush Fire Truck as my favorite, followed by the Hazard Squad.  But to be honest, there isn't a weak one in the bunch.  The Freightliner probably won't be in my display case, but it will be in the collection, along with all the other fire trucks.  Now let's see what will be the Matchbox fire truck for 2017...


  1. The need to cut costs are hurting castings like this...the pale grey bottom is terrible as it was for the Mack last year. For Pete's sake, raise the price Mattel and make these all metal.

  2. Despite all the plastic parts (because safety requirements for children's toys favor plastic more than metal, and children ARE the main focus) , this is still going to be a good casting. I'm glad Mattel and Daimler are coming to terms with their licensing issues.

    Of their Generic/fantasy castings, I've always loved the Blaze Buster and Hazard Squad. I picked up a Blaze Buster a few years ago, and I'm still looking for a replacement ladder to make it complete. As for the licensed models, the International Pumper is my favorite. I love collecting the different variations, and I have nearly all of them, including the Happy Meal model from 2003. Next, I hope to find all of the Mack and Seagrave variations out there.

    1. The massive amount of plastic is more likely done for the sake of weight savings. Less weight - less cost to ship.

  3. I love this truck and fire and police especially. No body dose them better then MBX! My only gripe would be and continue to be is the light bar. As far as plastic being safer I would strongly disagree! Plastic breaks diecast don't metal can be thrown but imo that is a parenting issue. The metal vs plastic is a money issue plain and simple to Mattel! Mattel "imo" has lost touch with kids with collectors with diecast! Sell sell sell that is all that matters but you can tell by what sits on the pegs they are doing no leg work. They put out some great castings but they also have a lot of garbage! I have in the past few years moved away from collecting HWs first editions in complete form because there are far more bs castings then relevant to me castings. Now sales reports would have to show a drop off because I'm sure I'm not the only one feeling this way. Mattel is holding not just MBX back but imo HWs is also suffering. Mattel used to be about the kids and the toys. Now it's about sales and the bottom line. I have strong hopes for MBX but someone once said Mattel will never keep out of the brands and that's ashame!

  4. Did you note that Freighlitner is a Brand from Mercedes Group?

  5. Why is there a generic (the white and green Hazmat truck) in this "long list of licensed models"?

    Anyway the Freightliner looks nice and I hope I can find it :)

    1. Even though it isn't, the older metal bodied (and even the plastic bodied) version of this casting is a casting appreciated by the majority of emergency collectors.

      I find it to be at least inspired by a Spartan/Crimson. Search "Watkins Glen NY Fire Department Rescue 56" for an example. Yes, this was the model the HW Charger was lettered for. I found that out when searching for the fire department online. Strange Matchbox has never done Hazard Squad as this unit, as it resembles the real thing very closely.

  6. I am one of the rabid emergency collectors. As Jeff stated, the attempts at cost reduction have really hurt the quality of the model. But also I think the "close enough" design philosophy is also to blame. Compare this model to the brush truck above or the earlier International pumper. They are considerably better done and much more in proportion.

    Also while some of the above models may be good castings, most times the decorations leave a lot to be desired. Fire trucks are simple. Simple colors (think red, white, yellow). Chrome chrome chrome. Realistic markings. That formula will work all the time.

    If you look at the new tanker. Not only is the side plastic and look out of place. There is no relief to it. They could have at least put handles on the compartment doors. had they made the tank part of the base and chromed it along with the lower tanker body metal, this would have been much better.

    Lastly, these castings are getting very small. Compare them to castings from just a few years ago. They are almost 3/4 scale. The result is again the proportions appear off. There is no way you could put the "old" 8 spoke truck tires on any of the recent models. And that was the go to wheel for models like this.

  7. The Freightliner hasn't arrived in the UK yet. Looking forward to finding one. But I'll reserve judgement until I've got one of my own.

    I'd like to see an old classic English one for a change - what about an old Dennis F8? Good classic shape, lots of nostalgia.


  8. they coud be making a european fire truck like this MAN TRUCK,c1696177&h=787&w=1181&tbnid=UsWJ952CTIgLOM:&docid=j2V_cuX8ZRFx-M&ei=lYKnVqTQAcvr-AGH7baIBA&tbm=isch&ved=0ahUKEwjk7pmC2MfKAhXLNT4KHYe2DUEQMwgvKBEwEQ

    or this

    1. We have one similar to this. One of the newer Blaze things.

  9. Hotwheels and Matchbox have failed to listen to what the public want
    Matchbox never made generic shit and now they do and the public hate it
    Leave Generics to Hotwheels
    Matchbox needs a massive reshuffle
    What happened to the
    06 charger
    Crown Victoria
    Tahoe etc
    Have emergency cars stick with NYPD livery or the white on black
    This red blue yellow shot ain't real and makes nice cars look like shut
    I could write a massive letter outlining flaws that Matchbox have but you me and rveyone else knows they won't acknowledge it or even read it

    1. Trenr Matchbox has listened they are moving towards more licensed vehicles! The problem isn't the HW or MBX it is Mattel! Mattel has final decisions on everything. The MBX team has made a honest effort to listen through lamley I've seen it first hand. Mattel is the enemy here they are so out of touch with the consumer it isn't funny! They have no clue what is going on with the hobby. They are still under the impression their target demographic are children. Yes kids wil buy some but the majority of their consumers are adult collectors. I mentioned on here many times they need to design around video games to draw in kids because that are where kids are at! Guess what are now being released? yup Need For Speed. Johhny Lightning are also going to put together something in that genre also. The thing is why is it they can not figure these things out on their own. They know guys are out here customizing their product why not cater to them a series that has a decal sheet with an alternative set of real riders? These movie and candy and all the other bs as cool as the cars are they are repeat after repeat. There are millions of cars that have yet to be produced. Both brands have always had fantasy cars but these generic peices of crap and plastic stuff is a waste most of it sits and retailers will not restock until there is room. Who suffers yes them but also us. I'm on Istagram and guys are getting stuff I'm still waiting to see because there is still junk on the pegs. Mattel is Fd up like I said they need to let the brands run the diecast and if they lose money fine make whatever the hell they want and I can sell my shit off!