Posted in Hot Wheels, Matchbox

The sacred quintuple and a few updates.

So this is my twentieth post…. yay!!! Six months or so my granddad’s house was flooded and he had to move out into an apartment. He’s nearly ninety now. Like a lot of oldies, he has cancer. Not severe, but enough to cause worry. Today I was helping to move some of the stuff back from the apartment and got some furniture down from the upper floors in his old place. How long he’s lived there is something on which I’d need confirmation, but it’s got to be 70 years or more.

Anyway, it was my birthday yesterday, and that, combined with me helping out with the family rescue operation, warranted a trip to the Tesco up north where he lived. (It’s a good two hour drive from his place to mine, so I needed something to open when I got back).

I was on The Race Case not too long ago and noticed that Marcboz over there has a lot of Chevy Novas, one of the staples of Hot Wheels muscle car culture. I’ve only got one, which my parents got me many years ago, and it came in the “Robot Revenge” five car pack, the five car gift pack being something I’d regularly see wrapped up on Christmas morning.

I don’t often get five car gift packs these days, as most of them tend to have one or two fantasy models which don’t interest me and don’t warrant the extra cost for perhaps the one or two which I do want. Usually there’s just one car I actually want in the pack, and I pass it up. However, as I was diving into the displays (there was a man of similar age to me looking at Pokemon cards next door – act your age!!) there was one gift pack that piqued my interest and grabbed me instantly.

5pack

Okay, so the first thing I like about it is because usually these gift packs are “Batman cars”, “Weird monster blobs” or “Police liveries on cars that shouldn’t be police cars”. Not a licensed pack of branded models.

If you weren’t a mind reader and didn’t already know what I really, REALLY wanted from this pack, though, Mattel have given you plenty of hints. In fact, it’s proudly been displayed in the middle of the set, and if that was too subtle, it’s also been plastered onto every side of the box. Mattel know what’s popular, at least.

boxback
I was even considering cutting out this pic and turning it into a postcard, I love it so much!

Yes, it’s the “Kool Kombi”, and it’s just as adorable and fantastic as it looked on all the photos of all the blogs of all the other collectors.

Volkswagen vans are the cream of all vans, and someone like me, who normally couldn’t care less about chopped-up, stanced, shark-like lumps of goo fantasy cars and overly modified copies, doesn’t even need to “tolerate” a modified VW van because they’re cool no matter what.

The fact it came with a five pack of four other cool Volkswagens (a testament to the long and happy relationship between VW and Mattel) at a reduced price (Hot Wheels were £1.50 each at this store, the five packs were £5.00) just made the deal even sweeter.

I also thought the box was so pretty, I took extra care not to ruin it, so I could place the cars back in. I’m not a cardboard collector, but because space is getting to become a premium where I live, I’ve realised keeping them in the packaging is having benefits.

Hot Wheels Robo Revenge 5 Pack

But back to Marcboz. He asked me about the Robot Revenge five pack, and so I did my best to scrape them together (it’s been a while you see, and not all of them survived) and display their liveries.

Unfortunately, some of them have been the victims of restoration work – in that they’ve been used as donor vehicles. The Mustang and Muscle Tone, for instance, have been disassembled and had their original wheels pinched. Otherwise, the others – The Chevy Nova, the Saturn Ion, and the Rockster, are in good condition.

I won’t start blabbing about the cars, as this post is long enough, and as it deals with multiple vehicles, we’d be here all day. So here are lots of pictures!

Nova

As we know, our Nova comes in metallic brown with a robot sporting a 1970s Afro. Orange tinted glass, white interior and chrome plastic base finish him off.

Saturn

The Saturn Ion is the only Saturn in my collection and comes with a Robo-skull, gloss blue paint, and hot wheels tampos.

mustang

Here’s the Mustang concept. Those aren’t the original wheels.

tone2

The Muscle-Tone has also become a donor car, offering his original wheels to another. Fantasy cars such as this don’t hold much interest for me, though the Muscle Tone (being a generic muscle car crossed with a tuner) isn’t as bad as some of the wackier models.

rockster

Finally there’s the Rockster, a Hummer H2 inspired abomination designed by Eric Tscherne that looks ready to conquer the quiet leafy lanes of Cheshire. It looks to have a Transformer on it. Blue metalflake paint, plastic base. This, the Nova, and the Saturn, were my favourites from the set.

robo5

 

While we’re on the topic of five-packs, it inspired me to look up some other five packs from my childhood. I distinctly remember getting the Matchbox “construction heroes” set when I was on holiday in Florida, and I was playing with them by the swimming pool of our villa. The School themed set was a gift from some relatives, and I think they came in a tube rather than a blister pack. It had a Nissan Xterra, which is mid restoration, as the axles broke. The Police Chief set is the only one that is still complete, with original colours.

Matchbox Construction Heroes 5 pack

There was a JCB/digger that came with these, however I haven’t seen it in a long time. I remember it being blue. They all sport a cool Rhino tampo.

rhinos

My favourite of this set was always the Delivery Truck, proving that brands and realism weren’t that big a deal to me back then. However, it does seem to be based off a late 90s Isuzu lorry, so that might count for something.

truck

isuzu-truck

I always thought the lifted suspension on the Ford F-150 here made it look a bit wacky, but I like it in a way.

ford

truckbutt

Next up is the Peterbilt cement mixer. Anyone familiar with this casting will know it’s been used on many different Matchbox models, and the story goes (according to David Tilley from The Lamley Group) that the designer, Paul Carr, had only one picture to work from, and so he made up the missing info. This one has a driver in the interior, B1281 number plates on front and back, and “CAUTION” written on the rear.

mixer

tipping

Finally comes the Faun Dump Truck, another model that’s been in regular use since the 1980s. Mine still has the metal tipping bed from the original design (it was later changed to plastic), but the FAUN branding has been dropped on this version, MB209. At 1:140 scale, this has to be one of the tiniest Matchbox scale replicas ever made.

dump-truck

dumping

Matchbox School Spirit 5-pack

I can’t remember exactly when I got this 5-pack, but my favourite models were the Hummer inspired school bus and the Nissan Xterra.

skool

Ford Crown Vic Police with blue paint and “Math” motifs. Thank goodness there were never any real Math Police.

mathcops

The “School Bus” which, arguably, looks to have been inspired by the original Hummer/Humvee. This would have made the journey to school much more interesting (and less comfortable I imagine)! I was always a fan of history so the livery on this one made me happy too.

schoolbus

The opening door is a cool feature that is seen on a few Matchbox models.

schoolbusopen

The Ford Box van has been seen in several liveries. This one came with hints to the advantages of reading.

books

I always liked the detailing on the back door, as I had a Weetabix truck when I was a child that had a rear door that rolled upwards.

truckrear

Lastly, the Chevy Transport Bus. This model was released in 1999, and is a hefty one indeed. Like the Ford van, it came with a metal body, making it very heavy. In 2009 the body was changed to plastic. It’s an ugly shade of green, don’t you think? I was never that good at science, either…chevybus

Matchbox Rescue Chiefs 5-Pack

If there’s one thing Matchbox do best, it’s police cars.

catchingcrims

The only unlicensed model in the box here was the “Police Car”. It came with a plastic opening boot (or trunk), so it has some play value.

trunk

I figured the Silverado needed a light bar (the rest got one, so what the heck?) the model itself was kind of small, and it didn’t have any kind of off-road prowess such a big truck should have. I didn’t like the green plastic base, and the livery made it look more like a park ranger than a police chief. Maybe that was the purpose, I don’t know.

silverado

Up next comes the Beetle 4 x 4, which is a great looking model, but its attraction as a police vehicle is somewhat lost on me. Maybe it’s for the beach cops. The opening bonnet is a cool feature.

bugcop

I already had a Jeep Cherokee model from much earlier, and it was already one of my favourites (a friend recently broke the windshield, much to my fury). The fire livery isn’t as attractive as something else might have been, and I feel some potential was lost here – I might have gone for gold windows and black body with white doors and made it a police car – there was a beach patrol livery that was much more tasteful. Nonetheless, it was still a good looking model.

Last, but certainly not least, comes the Chevy Blazer 4 x 4, which is the pick of the litter, though you’re invited to disagree with me. It’s a fabulous looking casting with a great paint scheme that matches the glass and light bar perfectly.

The drab olive colour looks even better with the yellow and brown stripes, and it reminds me of some of the Ohio county police cars over in the states. Green is a colour I’d happily welcome on more police cars – it offsets the gold very tastefully.

15526007589_e86f295e1d_z
Image credit: Summit County Sheriff Ford Crown Victoria, by Raymond Wambsgans. Link

Unlike the Ford F-150 we saw in the construction set, these wheels feel like they mean business and are not just there for show. They compliment the design of the car well, and it really looks like a rescue vehicle.

I remember once having this model in black and white, and it had a red roof bar. That was a fantastic model too, and I wonder what happened to it. Lost when I moved houses, probably.

Some cool features on this include the winch on the front, and the aerial hitched onto the rear bumper.

blazercop1

blazercop2

together2

Hot Wheels ~ Volkswagen

Before we say goodbye, I’ll share some photos of the original feature of this post, which is the Hot Wheels Volkswagen set I got from Tesco. More on the individual models in the months to come, I promise.

beetle1

beetle2

beetle3

thing

thingrear

combi1

combirear

combigas

combiblurry

facing

Golf

golfbum

weirdbug

 

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed the pictures!

thegang

 

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Author:

Graphic designer, writer for Classic American auto magazine, journalist.

6 thoughts on “The sacred quintuple and a few updates.

  1. Hi Jasmine! Thanks for pulling together your Robo Revenge 5-pack and thanks a lot for the link. I enjoyed seeing all of your 5-packs. I think my favorite is the Construction Heroes. I came across some nice old Matchbox construction vehicles at the flea market recently so I’ll be posting photos of those soon. VWs are nice too, of course.

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  2. Hello! I haven’t been here in a few weeks, which I apologize for. I enjoy your views on cars from ‘our side of the pond’ that you may only see in scale. ESPECIALLY the Chevy Nova. This was a car that we either owned at one time, or knew someone who did. A majority had the 4.1l ‘straight-6’, but some of us were lucky enough to have the 5.0l V8. A very select few had the 6.5l. It really was a ‘Camaro-on-a-budget’. The underpinnings and drive train were nearly identical. Cheaper to insure, as well. I still smile when I see one still on the road. The Saturn Ion is interesting as well. I once leased the earlier version of this coupe, called the SC2 (not very imaginative of a name), from ’93 to ’97. VERY fun to drive. Only had 124hp, but with only about 1100kg of car to move, it did quite well. I could go on, but I’ll have to save some for my next post!

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    1. Thanks for replying, I haven’t been updating it as regularly recently either because it’s been a hectic summer for me. I love to hear your anecdotes about the cars, it really gives a personal insight into them and gives a perspective an outside observer like me couldn’t possibly achieve. It’s interesting to see the Nova as a kind of budget camaro! I look forward to more of your comments 🙂

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      1. If you haven’t seen the address that I leave on my posts to “Swifty’s Garage”, I’d like to invite you to my own web page, where I have detailed information on many of the projects I’ve worked on over the years.

        The address is http://wall-e-and-eve.com/Models/models_main.html.

        It’s not in the blog format that you use here. It’s kind of stripped down and maybe a little primitive, but it’s all mine. It’s also hosted by GoDaddy, so it’s also supposed to be virus and malware free. It had better, since that’s what I pay them to do.

        So far, I have over 80 cars on the page, and I’m always working on the next. With over 400 in my collection, I’ll probably never catch up. Unless I’m able to teach my daughter HTML coding. She’s only 2, but she seems willing to learn.

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      2. I took a look, and wow! That’s going to take some dedication to catalogue them like that. You have some beautiful models, well done!

        I feel your agony when it comes to keeping track. With the rate I collect my cars vs. the number of posts I manage to write here, I’ll need to let my children inherit the task.

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