Category Archives: trucks

Road Rollers

I am not generally a great fan of construction vehicles, I tend to collect sports cars. Having said that, however,  I do have a weakness for cement mixers, especially the Foden Cement Mixer (#21) in the Matchbox range at the time of the transition from regular wheels to Superfast wheels (1969-70). I also feel a strong Nostalgia Buzz with the 8-Wheel Crane (#30) of that same period.

frisson of nostalgia crane and refrigerator truck
8-Wheel Crane (#30)  and Refrigeration Truck (#44)

When Lesney launched Matchbox in 1953, the first of the four original Matchbox vehicles was a road roller. A diesel Aveling-Barford Road Roller. So there is an historic significance to road rollers for the Matchbox collector. This was around before I was born, so I have no fond childhood memories of this and I don’t seek out Matchbox vehicles before 1965.

matchbox road roller 1953
A diesel Aveling-Barford Road Roller (not my photo)

Yesterday, on the steps of the clothing market, I was not expecting to find anything interesting except the usual Chinese junk, but I came across a Majorette Rouleau Compresseur (road roller), the asking price just 1 lari. This model has been in the Majorette line for over three decades from 1982 until 2014. Earlier models were made in France, but this is a later model that was made in Thailand, it still has a commendable amount of metal in the model.

rouleau compressor
Majorette Rouleau Compresseur

I only have one other road roller in my collection, a recent Matchbox road roller, which is smaller and more plasticky than the Majorette model. The Matchbox model is in a dark metalflake green, which would look fine on a sports car but is, to my mind, less realistic than the slightly orangey yellow of the Majorette model. Matchbox may be my favourite brand but here I prefer the Majorette.

road rollers
Matchbox and Majorette road rollers

As a young child, a treat was to visit Salt Hill Park in Slough, in the playground was an old traction engine road roller fixed in the ashphalt for children to clamber over and play on. These days it probably wouldn’t be allowed because of health and safety concerns, but I recall it with fond memories.



Trailer without a truck

Yesterday, I was visiting one of the cheap secondhand stores near the central station, rummaging through a basket of toy vehicles, I came across a Matchbox Articulated Trailer. The base is metal the container is plastic.

Big Rig Trailer

Matchbox only offered the Articulated Trailer with a tractor. I couldn’t find the tractor in the basket to hitch the trailer to and one of the rear doors was missing but it was cheap (1 lari : 37¢) and it is Matchbox, so I got it.

World Cup Trailer

Advertising the World Cup in France dates the trailer to 1998. The base is marked Matchbox Int’l Ltd, a name which was terminated by Mattel, who took over Matchbox in 1997. I don’t have a truck for the trailer, searching the internet reveals the original truck would have been a DAF Spacecab .

Image of truck and trailer purloined from the Internet

The Articulated Trailer has a ball-and-post connector replacing the original T-tab of earlier models. These trailers feature a 1981 Copyright. The only truck I have to pull it is the Yatming Kenworth Cab from my Car Transporter. The scale of the two is mismatched.

Yatming Kenworth Truck and Articulated Trailer

The Torque Titan in the current Matchbox line might be a better fit, I think my chances of finding a DAF Spacecab here are slim.torque-titan-tractor-cab

Torque Titan

I have other trailers but not for super rigs.

Some trailers

December 2017 Update… I found a tractor cab for one lari, it is not Matchbox and all the base indicates is that it was made in China. I don’t know what brand of truck it is supposed to be but it has a similar profile to the DAF Spacecab. The wheels are different but they seem a reasonable match.

Matchbox Trailer and cab 2
Truck and trailer

Update: November 2018 In a cheap secondhand store by the central station, I found a Matchbox Ford Cargo cab for the princely sum of 2 lari, which seems a perfect fit for the trailer. What do you think?


London Buses

London buses
London Buses

The red double-decker buses in London have become a symbol of the city. The majority of buses in London are double-deckers. A particularly iconic example was the AEC Routemaster bus, which had been a staple of the public transport network in London for nearly half a century following its introduction in 1956. I lived in London from 1988 to 1991 and would regularly take a #15 Bus from home to work and back. Now these vintage buses can be caught on the 15H (heritage route). On other routes they have been replaced by modern buses which can accommodate disabled passengers more easily.

london bus nino
This is my friend Nino riding in the top of a London Double-Decker bus

Yesterday, I picked up a fourth London bus for my diecast collection, a model made in China, the metal body is cast in two pieces, the top now becoming a little loose from the bottom.

London Bus made in China
Routemaster Bus, Made in China

The model is secondhand and has no numbers or advertisements, maybe it did when new. I found another, bigger Chinese made model last month.

London Buses made in China
Model London Buses, made in China

I know there are many bus collectors in the hobby, I am not one of them. I picked up the buses because of a nostalgia for London. The shape of the Chinese made buses is good, the bodies are metal (the bases are plastic), however, the superfast style wheels are not so welcome.

My favourite bus is the Corgi AEC Routemaster Bus (#468), this model is from the late sixties and the model includes a driver and conductor.

Matchbox put out a series of Routemaster Buses in the Best of British range, there is a Lamley video showing the variety. Lamley Saturday Showcase: Matchbox Routemaster Double Decker Bus I haven’t found one of those models yet. The only Matchbox London Bus I have is a modern “Two-Story Bus“, it is unlicensed and the body is plastic (the base is metal), I’d prefer a metal model of the iconic Routemaster.

Matchbox two story bus
Matchbox Two Story Bus

Not all London Double Deckers are red.

london bus black
London “Necrobus”


Playing with the Car Transporter

Yesterday, I picked up a Yatming Kenworth Car Transporter. I like using Car Transporters for displaying cars.

yellow cars on a transporter 2
Transporter with yellow cars

I like the combination of blue and yellow.

  • Generations have played the yellow car game, where the first person to spot a yellow car and shout ‘Yellow car’ may gently hit whoever they choose.
  • Yellow cars come in every shade from “viper yellow” to “lemon yellow”.
  • Yellow fell out of popularity in the eighties, partly because fashions change but also because of the high amount of lead in the paint.
red cars on a transporter 2
Transporter with red cars
green cars on a transporter
Transporter with green cars
blue cars on a transporter
Transporter with blue cars
Transporter with white cars
Transporter with white cars

Which colour combination do you prefer?

I can also load the transporter with classic Matchbox.

Transporter with classic Matchbox 2
Transporter with Matchbox cars

Matchbox would often have gift sets comprising a Car Transporter and a selection of cars.

Matchbox car transporter set
Matchbox Car Transporter Set from the sixties (Photo: Toymart)

Usually a transporter would be carrying just one make of cars.

Transporter with Chevrolets

I have some other car transporters.

Car transporters
My other car transporters; the Matchbox Guy Warrior is broken.
Car Transporters Yatming and Matchbox
Yatming Transporter with Hot Wheels cars, Matchbox Transporter with Matchbox cars