Matchbox is a popular toy brand which was introduced by Lesney Products in 1953, and is now owned by Mattel, Inc. The brand was named as the original die-cast Matchbox toys, which were sold in boxes similar in style and size to those in which matches were sold. Subsequently, the brand would encompass a broad range of toys including larger scale die-cast models and various non die-cast lines such as plastic model kits and action figures.
Scale model kits Edit
Although Matchbox is best known for its die-cast cars, around 1978/79 it bought the AMT Corporation, the dominant American plastic model kit manufacturer, and set up its own plastic kit division in the UK around 1972/73. Concentrating on 1:72 scale military aircraft and 1:76 military vehicles, it competed with the then-dominant Airfix company. The Matchbox kits had a distinctive appearance, the parts in each kit were produced in two or three colours. The boxes were also more colourful and included clear windows so the contents could be seen. In addition, the Matchbox military vehicle kits all came with a small diorama base. Matchbox also continued AMT's extensive line of 1:25 scale cars and trucks, as well as other kit ranges.
The Matchbox kits were well made, with modern tooling and techniques, but critics felt that the kits were too coarsely detailed and too "toy-like". Yet they were still just as complex and time consuming to construct as any other kit, which limited their appeal to more casual model builders. The company was unable to fully satisfy either the casual or serious model building market, and was one of the first companies to abandon model kits when the hobby started its decline, selling AMT to the Ertl Company and shutting down its own kit division less than twenty years after starting it. In the early 1990s the kit division was acquired by Revell/Germany. Then Revell/Germany reissued many Matchbox kits with the new product number along with some Revell original kits.
Kit ranges Edit
- 1:144, 1:72, 1:48, 1:32 scale aircraft
- 1:32, 1:76 scale military vehicles
- 1:76 scale soldiers
- 1:700, 1:72 scale ships
- 1:32 scale cars
- 1:12 scale motorcycles
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