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176
Matchbox Nostalgia Campaign

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A short history of Matchbox plastic modelling kits
Matchbox kits originated in 1972 when Jack Odell and Leslie Smith, the management of Lesney Products & Co ltd, decided they wanted a share of the plastic model kits market.

The first appearance of Matchbox kits was in 1973 when they appeared in the Matchbox Collectors Catalogue. From the start Matchbox kits were designed to be attractive to the younger modeller by casting them in multiple colours. Already in 1974 the plastic model kit range had grown so much that a separate catalogue appeared "Matchbox Kits Catalogue 1974-75". The majority of the kit ranges were moulded in three colours. This gave a good looking appearance even when the model was finished without painting. Each model was moulded in a set of colours that was chosen to give an appearance as realistic as possible in this way.

In 1982 Lesney went bankrupt and the company was taken over by Universal Holdings/Universal Toys, renaming it to Matchbox International Ltd. In 1991 Revell bought the moulds for the whole range of kits and got a ten year lease to use the Matchbox brand name from 1991 up to 2001. After 2001 a number of the Matchbox kits have been released under the Revell brand. You will most likely see a number of these models available in a hobby shop near you. Some of these kits have been remodelled since or released with new decal sets. From a pure modelling perspective these kits may even be preferable to the serious modeller as having the whole kit supplied in one colour will make it easier to obtain a homogeneous paint job. Vintage Matchbox kits can be found on auction sites like EBay where your fellow modellers, who likely have huge stashes of un-built kits, offer them to the highest bidder.
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About the Author

About Jan Etal (tread_geek)
FROM: ONTARIO, CANADA

I've been building models since about age 10 with the occasional hiatus due to real life events. First armour model was a 1/76 Airfix Tiger I and was followed by a 1/72 Revell F4U Corsair. I've built primarily 1/76 and 1/72 armour and aircraft but occasionally have tinkered in other larger scales....


Comments

Eddy, glad you enjoyed the campaign and liked the feature. I've been in a few campaigns and tried to take the best examples of leadership from each of them. In the "On the Eastern Front Campaign", Andrzej Snigorski [ ENDRJU007 ] broke the ground for campaign features and I merely tried to emulate his work to an extent. He did a great job on his own but I was fortunate enough to have the assistance of my fellow campaigners. Trust me, I both needed and appreciated it. With around 125 build pictures to sort and edit it was quite the undertaking. Thanks, Jan
AUG 02, 2010 - 06:12 AM
All I can say is, WOW. Jan, what a fantastic job you, your helpers and the feature people did. I think that the article part really gives insight into the essence and mood during the campaign. Two thumbs up! Regards, AJ
AUG 03, 2010 - 08:43 AM
A nice trip down childhood 'Memory Lane' looking at some of these little gems; most of which I built as a child then a teenager . Oh for the days of innocence when we all spent more time building kits and less time debating / arguing about fractions of mm's on kit dimensions, indy track links, Panzer 46 colour schemes, chipping or not chipping etc. etc. Great stuff and thanks for sharing all those pics! Gary
AUG 04, 2010 - 04:56 AM
@AJB - AJ, as one of the successful campaigners, take a bow. @redcap - Gary, thanks for your interest and comments. The enthusiasm, efforts and results of the individual builds pictured speak for themselves. Cheers, Jan
AUG 05, 2010 - 03:53 AM
Super article, Jan. Sorry I couldn't reply earlier, I have been in deepest France, away from any computer, for the last two weeks. Glad to see the feature up and published. Not sure why, one of the photos managed to squeak out of place, but never mind. The article does indeed show the spirit of the campaign, which was great fun, and managed to produce so many really quite awesome looking models and photos. Just goes to show how much fun one used to be able to have for 47pence. Something slightly tragic happened in France however... I took the toolkit and an unmade Italeri SdKfz222, you know, just in case I got the urge. As it goes I didn't need it, but somehow managed to leave the toolkit behind. Knife, cement, cutters, pliers, tweezers, files, drill bits, chuck.
AUG 09, 2010 - 11:21 AM
Matthew, I am glad that the article meets with your approval as you were a great help in it's timely completion. You did mention that you were going away on vacation so I couldn't contact you to review the final draft. However, except for the one anomaly I must again say that the feature staff did a very nice job with formatting the article. With all the pictures that were involved it had to be quite the task. I am sorry to here that your toolkit went AWOL. Perhaps it is just misplaced in your luggage? I know what it is like to have a favourite tool or tools, especially those that you have become very comfortable with. As far as preferred tools goes, if one goes missing or is broken it can be traumatic as more often than not you cannot find a duplicate replacement. Cheers, Jan
AUG 10, 2010 - 03:01 AM
If you let the features staff know which picture is out of order and where it should be they will correct it for you.
AUG 10, 2010 - 03:46 AM
It is of course on page 2 of the feature where the first photo of the Humber PK-75 has slewed in front of the Panzer III PK-74. Jan, I will leave it to you to request the change as you know who you contacted etc. Toolkit - no, I know exactly where it is in the house, but I think I can get the next people in the house to bring it back to England for me.
AUG 10, 2010 - 05:41 AM
Error sorted.
AUG 10, 2010 - 05:46 AM
WOW, what fantastic and phenomenal service from the feature people. I was just about to write to Keith about the Humber being out of position but decided to check my archive and the exact position on page 2. Low and behold I missed both Matthew's post and Darren's. My sincere thanks to both of you for seeing to the anomaly being corrected. Big Cheers, Jan
AUG 10, 2010 - 08:27 AM