How far models faithfully reproduce a subject is a frequently discussed topic in the pages of FTS. Is a model accurate? It might seem a little heavy-handed to make this enquiry of cheap toys like the Skybusters range, but unless you examine the question, it’s difficult to form an opinion on their value. So, let’s dive in (pun intended) by assessing the Skybuster miniature of the German wartime bomber, the Ju 87 ‘Stuka’.
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Obviously, Matchbox models are small. But are they too small to worry about their accuracy? I don’t think so!
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As we have seen before on this website (for example, with Solido and Wiking), manufacturers love to release their models many times over, by changing the colour schemes and/or the accessories. Completist collectors can be driven to distraction by this practice – so many models with so many variations to find, and some of them exceedingly rare! Luckily, I don’t share this mania because some of the Skybuster range have many, many variants. But nonetheless, let’s take a look at the practice, using just a few of the most easily available models, to see what fun can be had.
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The famous Matchbox brand was created by Lesney Products in the years after WW2. So the story goes, the idea was hatched when the daughter of one of the owners wanted a toy to take to school. The problem was that only toys small enough to fit into a matchbox were allowed!
Continue reading “Matchbox 1-75 – Introduction”
All of the first selection of Skybusters released in 1973 were models of real aircraft, and recognisable as such. 40 years later, under Mattel ownership, manyof the new releases were wildly fictional! The main reason for this is no doubt the changing tastes of the young audiences that the toys are aimed at, for whom fantasy and science-fiction genres have become commonplace. But when exactly did this change begin?
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Fitting the Box
Matchbox, like other manufacturers of the time, made their models to fit the box. This was convenient for the manufacturer and retailers, because they could handle a single size of product, but as a consequence meant that models in the same range were produced to varying scales. In fact, the scale of an individual model is not usually stated.
What does this mean for Skybusters models? Let’s examine the question by taking two aircraft of widely differing size.
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In 1973, Matchbox introduced two new ranges of aircraft to the market. The first has already been covered in these pages – plastic construction kits. The second was a range of diecast models, the Skybusters.
Continue reading “Matchbox Skybusters – Introduction”