Lesney Matchbox time is here again. Today is Easter - I don’t have any egg themed vehicles lined up, but this one is kind of rounded, so close enough. Today we examine Lesney Matchbox 21b, the Bedford Duple Luxury Coach. This casting entered the range in 1958, and had a relatively short run, remaining until 1961. This casting is a good representation of the Matchbox line in 1958:

21b replaced a similar but smaller 21a coach. This casting is also somewhat dainty - what happens when you scale models first and foremost to fit in a box. I’d estimate it is smaller than 1:80, and from there, who knows. The real world vehicle was quite large, and this model isn’t large. Even with the small scale, the casting contains ample fine casting detail, with fine lines and thin pillars, this was workmanship. No glazing or interior yet, but the casting detail is a hint at what was to come. The decals have survived in decent condition, and add some charm. This model sits on plastic wheels - the first variant of this casting still had metal wheels. There is significant realism from all angles:

Front and rear have similar detail, the mask painted silver trim being a nice touch:

The base is basic, with enough identifying data, as was now the standard:

This example is lucky enough to live in a nice type B box, the only box type for this casting. With the color and wheel/axle details, as well as the box, I’d estimate this was made around 1959-60:

A fun historical item on this box is the original price sticker:

This is another one I am pleased to have in my collection. The casting detail is somewhat remarkable for something of this size, and the design of these buses is fun, kind of the last gasp of art deco swoopiness before modern postwar style took over:

A few similar 1:1s from flickriver, thamesweb.co.uk, and wikipedia - the British do a good job of preserving these vehicles: