So I have been sitting here in front of my computer for awhile now, trying to figure out how to start this feature. If it were 25 years ago there would be a trashcan full of crumbled up pieces of paper. Instead there is a well-worn delete button on my keyboard.
I have no idea how to start this. The model we are previewing today is significant, no matter how you look at it. It marks the return of the Mercedes-Benz license to Matchbox. It is the first revealed new model for 2017. It is a unique 3-axle model, which we don't see that often. It is a replica of a beyond-bonkers vehicle. The actual model is Matchbox at its realistic best. And there is not one, but TWO versions being created.
Needless to say, there is a lot to go over, but let's start with how excited I am about this model. Especially after seeing it in person after Matchbox granted me a special preview. Remove all this model represents, and it is still a killer Matchbox. A realistic replica of a very cool car. That is how I like my Matchbox, and the Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6x6 completely delivers.
Matchbox has been teasing the 6x6 for some time now on their Instagram page. A couple of months ago they hinted at a big announcement, then followed that with a post showing the Matchbox and Mercedes logos together. Finally, they revealed a 3D print of the 6x6.
We get to take that further today by showcasing the first prototype examples of the 6x6. Matchbox sent over a 3D print and two unrivited prototypes for us to preview.
My guess is this will become a must-have for many of you when it is released in the 2017 basic range. Duh.
Let's start with the 6x6 itself. It is a completely over-the-top off-roading variant of the Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon. I think I will leave it to Richard Hammond to give you the rest of the details:
I have watched that video, completely in awe, several times. I want one. I want to take it to Moab. I want to go to Jeep Safari and get dirty looks. I will sleep in it if I have to. My guess is that won't happen, so instead, I will happily settle for the mini version.
So let's talk about that upcoming mini version. What you are looking at in these pics are two prototypes and a 3D print. The 3D print was done first, to give the factory the specs to create the mold. The two prototypes are the first castings from that mold, assembled together and painted. I don't know what color the first release will be, but the white used here is the color that was available.
The body is diecast, and the chassis and trim, which include the base of the bed, are plastic. Matchbox, like Hot Wheels, has to stick with the 4-part rule when it comes to basics. That means, besides the wheels, there are four parts, normally the chassis, interior, window, and body. This allows each model to stay in budget.
That budget limitation means that if something is added, something else has to be taken away. In the case of the 6x6, a third axle is added, so compromises have to made elsewhere. For this reason, the basic 6x6 will have no interior. The trim piece will serve as the windows, which will look like they have a dark tint. You can see how it is laid out here:
Is no interior a bummer? Of course it is. I don't know what the other options were, but if one were to make the body plastic and the base metal, I am very glad they went with no interior. I assume if presented with the choice, most of you would go with no interior as well.
But here is where it gets very interesting. While developing the 6x6, the Matchbox Team decided to create a variant. Knowing that the 6x6 would be a signature model for the Matchbox line, and assuming that there might be a premium version in its future, the Matchbox Team created a version with an interior and window piece, as seen here:
How cool is that? They are looking out for us collectors. There are no specific releases for the interior version yet, but it is waiting in the wings in case it gets tapped for a premium line. Here is hoping the Best of World, for example, continues on. This would look REALLY good sitting on the Matchbox premium two-piece wheels.
I have no idea if we will see this no interior/interior thing with other models, but I am thrilled to see this development with the 6x6. Just to give Gerry, Abe, and the rest of the Matchbox Team some props, they do listen to collectors, and when they can, they give us a nod. We saw that with the wheel switch on the Miata, and we are seeing it with the premium 6x6. Hopefully they find a place for it soon.
Putting all that detail aside, let's now focus on how the model looks. Thankfully, Matchbox nailed the proportions. When I first saw the model, I wondered if it were too narrow. After watching the Top Gear video and looking at pics of the actual car, that is not the case at all. The 6x6 is tall and narrow, with protruding wheels and trim. Check out how the Team replicated it:
The rest of the details are there too, from its high clearance and body detail.
I hope you share in my excitement for this model, as well in the direction Matchbox is headed. I wish there were more licensed models in the range, but those they do really are well done. Both Mattel brands seem to be pushing things again, even with these budget restrictions, and we are all benefitting.
Mercedes is back, and I am super excited about the possibilities, especially with this fantastic start. Let's see what else is coming when Matchbox unveils the rest of the 2017 New Models at the upcoming Matchbox Gathering in Albuquerque in July. See you there...