Big things with little cars
Big things with little cars

Lesney Matchbox time is here again. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen a bus. This is Lesney Matchbox 5b, the London double decker bus. This casting entered the range in 1957, remaining until 1960, and represents the evolution of the line:

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

One probably notices this casting has just a little wear. This is the first installment of a series of unboxed models, some of them have a bit of patina. This often looks worse in pics than in person, and some think it adds some charm.

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In the past I have reviewed 5a:

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And 5c:

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So this fits in. 5b is an evolution from 5a, larger in scale with more detail. There’s no mistaking what it is, a period London double decker bus. Proportion appears accurate, and it must be a much smaller scale than the typical passenger car, probably something around 1:80. The decals on this model have survived fairly well considering this is unboxed, and has other wear. From all angles, it is a period piece from a time when these were everywhere on the roads in the leading metropolis of Blighty:

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

Front and rear have similar detail. The “No 5" works well for both a number of a bus, and the number of this casting:

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

The base is quite basic, as was the style of the time, with only simple manufacturer data:

Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox London Bus
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As this is a less common variant, I am pleased to have it in my collection, boxed or not. This casting is another from the estate sale hawl last year, where I found several uncommon to rare variants, some with just a little wear which may be more from careless storage than playground abuse, as the grey plastic wheels show little wear. This example, with uncommon “Player’s Please” decals, dates from the end of the production run, probably made around 1960:

Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox London Bus
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Similar buses in service from pinterest:

Illustration for article titled [REVIEW] Lesney Matchbox London Bus

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