Lesney Matchbox time is here again. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen a bus, let’s take a look at one. Today we examine Lesney Matchbox 40b, the Leyland Royal Tiger Coach. This casting entered the range in 1961, enjoying a long run, remaining until 1967. It is a type of bus most have never seen before:

This casting dates from a time when Lesney Matchbox products were in evolution, going from charming softly detailed mellow castings to sharper higher detailed castings, which could feature glazing, interiors, opening parts, or all three. This model has glazing, which was a modern feature of the time. Fine line casting detail abounds, and this casting is maybe proportioned a little longer than the real world vehicle. Scale must be small, maybe around 1:80. This model represents a Royal Tiger prototype from late 1956, with a Ghia body - it was never put into production. But as Britain has a long history of stylish buses, this must have been seen representative of a modern item complete with tailfins, and was put into production as a diecast vehicle. From all angles, the casting quality is apparent:

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Front and rear have similar high quality detail:

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The base has identifying detail. This example has grey wheels, the least common variant of this casting:

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I am glad to have this in my collection even though it is unboxed. It presents well for a loose model, it is an uncommon variant (silver and black wheeled examples are quite common), and I like the color - all examples of this casting were this appealing shade of blue. I found this at an estate sale earlier this year, where I also found several other uncommon models. The common varieties of this model are very easy to find, so if you like it, you won’t go broke finding one. It’s a pretty piece:

Some 1:1 images from pinterest and ipernity.com:

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