Big things with little cars
Big things with little cars
This is a platform for User Generated Content. G/O Media assumes no liability for content posted by Kinja users to this platform.

[REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox London Bus

Lesney Matchbox time is here again, today we examine a piece of relatively ancient history. This is Matchbox 5a, the first London double decker bus in the lineup. This particular example isn’t just the first bus, but it is among the first Matchbox models produced by Lesney, and the 5th Matchbox branded casting. This casting entered the range in 1954, and remained until 1957. It’s a good example of where things started:

Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox London Bus
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox London Bus

It’s not a large model, maybe just over HO scale, 1:75 is a guess. This has metal wheels, a paper label, no frills, but it still has a good amount of detail for something of its size and age. This would have been considered very accurate for the time, and castings of this quality helped the Matchbox brand take off:

Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox London Bus
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox London Bus
Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox London Bus
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox London Bus

Front and rear have similar detail. The cast in “No 5" is a fun detail, and gold painted details/trim are typical of early castings:

Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox London Bus
Advertisement
Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox London Bus

Minimalist base, as expected for the era:

Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox London Bus
Advertisement

This is what makes the piece really interesting, the box. This is in a type A box, a “Script” box (“Moko” being in cursive script rather than block letters). This was the first Matchbox box type, and only used on the first seven releases. The type A box was only made in 1953-54, meaning this bus is from the early years of Matchbox production. These early boxes are somewhat crude, and they often don’t age as well as later boxes. Not an extreme rarity as these can be found, but there’s historical significance:

Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox London Bus
Advertisement

As I only have one other Type A box in my collection, I am glad to have this - the model survived its 60+ years nicely enough too:

Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox London Bus
Advertisement

Here’s a relatively similar 1:1 example from londonbusmuseum.com:

Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox London Bus

Share This Story

Get our newsletter