So I am VERY curious to see what you folks say about this one.
In the very near future the Matchbox Land Rover special assortment will debut, and one of the most popular models, if not the most popular, will be the Land Rover Defender.
The surge in popularity of the Matchbox Defender isn't a secret anymore. Prices of older versions have skyrocketed, including models like the Toy Fair version from 2007 that goes for around $400 or more.
The Defender is one of the most used castings of the last 10 years, and each new version is most welcome. To keep it in the mainline, it has also gone through two modifications, primarily to stay within the parameters set for mainline use.
Well, the second modification has been made, and the new LR Defender will make its debut in the Land Rover Series.
So what are the changes? Matchbox lent me a prototype to photograph and illustrate what the changes are. The model is not riveted, hence the rubber band.
The photos will tell the whole story, but there are quite a few mods. I think most folks will initially focus on the increased amount of plastic. Basic models have to fall within a certain weight, and obviously have to stay within budget. That is why we have seen some models move to plastic bodies and diecast chassis, or have been modified to use less metal.
That is the case with the Defender. The original had an all-metal body, and over time it became too heavy to remain in the mainline. So the roof was modified to include a plastic piece that was part of the window. The team also used that opportunity to switch the snorkel to the proper side.
But even the weight of that model has proven to be too much, so another mod has been made. More metal has been taken away and more plastic has been added to the roof. The body is also a little leaner.
I would imagine that the first reaction is one of frustration. How could Matchbox ruin one of its most popular models! More plastic, less metal, such a shame!!
But there is the thing. It actually looks better. To me, the Defender was always a little too tall. The roof rack say too high, and the stance was a little too low. It just didn't have the look of the hill-conquering icon.
But it has it now. The rack is lower, the stance is higher, and the casting is meaner. A lot meaner. And when it debuts in plain green soon, it will be the meanest version yet.
Take some close looks. There are more subtle changes all over the model. I like these changes, but that is me. What do you think?