PLEASE NOTE: I will no longer be altering the variation codes. All new discoveries will be inserted in to their correct place in the timeline and given a suffix.
So a new variation that would be nearest to variation 4 would become the new 4a, etc.

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Moko Lesney Matchbox 49a M3 Halftrack



In 1958 the Lesney model of the USA army M3 Halftrack became the first military vehicle to join the Matchbox 1-75 series. The body and baseplate were painted in a dark Military or olive green and it had an American army star decal applied to the bonnet (hood). The front wheels were originally grey metal then progressed through grey or black plastic with many different tread patterns, domed head axles with crimped ends were fitted to early issues but this was later changed to domed head with rounded ends. The track rollers used were either grey metal, grey plastic, silver plastic or two different sizes of black plastic and it was usually found with grey rubber tracks but the final issue was fitted with green tracks so when you add all the wheel and roller types used it makes an awful lot of variations for the collector to be on the look out for,

There were several casting modifications, the first was the addition of a strengthening brace below the center axle, then a prominent half round ejector ring was cast into the drivers footwell but this was soon removed and the axle platform under the front axle was moved forwards, then the holes between the bogie wheels were filled in and at the same time shoulders were added to the bogies for extra strength,

The baseplate was always attached to the body by the pinching in of the inside of the front mudguards but this was done away with when a rivet was added, finally thin struts were added to the edges of the center axle braces. it is quite common to see the openings between the bogie wheels flashed over as the mold wore out and it has been listed elswhere as having closed bogie wheel openings without shoulders added to the bogies but I believe the holes had simply flashed over but not having an example to examine I have kept this variation listed. on the version with shoulders added to the sides of the bogies the bogie wheel openings were closed up for good

Unusually this was the only vehicle in the entire 1-75 range that could be found with the grey plastic rollers and this variation is very rare. The silver roller version is also quite rare as is the one fitted with large black rollers, the large black rollers and silver rollers were the same as those used on the Drott excavator. The rubber tracks can perish with age and become very brittle and crack but soft plastic reproduction tracks are available. Box types 'B' 'C' and 'D' were used for the Halftrack which was in the range for nine years which was quite a long run for the 1-75 series so it must have been a good seller in it's day, it was finally replaced by the unimog in 1967.


the rare grey wheel & grey roller version at the front shown with some of the many other variations available.


above left: axle platform to the rear of the axle. center: axle platform to the front of the axle. right: riveted base


left: prominent half round ejector ring. right: no ejector ring


(1) center axle brace. (2) openings between bogie wheels. (3) openings closed and shoulders added. (4) struts added to axle brace.


above: grey metal rollers and the rare grey plastic rollers
photo courtesy George Marshall.

code wheels rollers axles tracks base bogie
code 1 grey metal 10 x 18 grey metal 8mm domed crimped grey axle platform to rear no center axle brace
code 2 grey metal 10 x 18 grey metal 8mm domed crimped grey axle platform to rear center axle brace
code 3 grey plastic 9.5 x 20 grey metal 8mm domed crimped grey axle platform to rear no center axle brace
code 4 grey plastic 9.5 x 20 grey metal 8mm domed crimped grey axle platform to rear center axle brace
code 5 grey plastic 9.5 x 20 grey metal 8mm domed rounded grey axle platform to rear center axle brace
code 6 grey plastic 9.5 x 20 grey metal 8mm domed rounded grey half round ejector ring center axle brace
code 7 grey plastic 10x24 grey plastic 9.5mm domed rounded grey axle platform to rear center axle brace
code 8 grey plastic 10x24 grey plastic 9.5mm domed rounded grey half round ejector ring center axle brace
code 9 black plastic 10 x 24 black plastic 9.5mm domed rounded grey half round ejector ring no bogie wheel openings
code 10 black plastic 10 x 24 black plastic 9.5mm domed rounded grey half round ejector ring no bogie wheel openings, shoulders cast
code 11 black plastic 10 x 24 black plastic 9.5mm domed rounded grey half round ejector ring no bogie wheel openings
code 12 black plastic 10 x 45 black plastic 9.5mm domed rounded grey no ejector ring, axle platform forward no bogie wheel openings, shoulders cast
code 13 black plastic 10 x 45 black plastic 9.5mm domed rounded grey no ejector ring, axle platform forward no bogie wheel openings, shoulders cast
code 14 grey plastic 11 x 45 silver plastic 9.5mm domed rounded grey no ejector ring, axle platform forward no bogie wheel openings, shoulders cast
code 15 grey plastic 11 x 45 silver plastic 9.5mm domed rounded grey riveted base no bogie wheel openings, shoulders cast
code 16 black plastic 9 x 36 black plastic 7.5mm domed rounded grey riveted base no bogie wheel openings, shoulders cast
code 17 black plastic 9 x 36 black plastic 7.5mm domed rounded grey no ejector ring, axle platform forward no bogie wheel openings, shoulders cast
code 18 black plastic 10 x 36 black plastic 7.5mm domed rounded grey riveted base no bogie wheel openings, shoulders cast
code 19 black plastic 10 x 36 black plastic 7.5mm domed rounded grey riveted base struts added to center axle brace
code 20 black plastic 10 x 36 black plastic 7.5mm domed rounded green riveted base struts added to center axle brace

box types notes
B2 none
B3 none
B4 none
B5 Army Half Track MK.II
B5 Army Half Track MK II
C none
D1 one black side one blue
D2 one black side one blue
D2 two blue sides
D2 light blue sides,

values

grey metal or grey plastic wheels with metal rollers 35

black plastic wheels with small black plastic rollers 35

black plastic wheels with large black plastic rollers 50

grey plastic wheels with silver plastic rollers 100

grey plastic wheels with grey plastic rollers 250

values are for mint models in mint boxes

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