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 5b London bus



The Lesney model of the 5b London bus replaced the earlier issue in the Matchbox 1-75 series in 1957 and like the earlier issue it was a scaled up model of the Dinky 29c Leyland bus but this one had been updated by having just four bay widows in the side where the earlier issue had five,
This was probably because the modern buses which were now replacing the old pre war buses which due to the war had been kept in service far longer than had been planned were also made with four bay windows.
The 5b was painted red (shades vary) all over including the baseplate and at first it had hand applied gold trim and later mask sprayed silver trim to the radiator grille,
This model also had a more detailed radiator grille than the 5a but like the earlier issue it did not have headlights.
At first it was fitted with 8.5 x 18 grey metal wheels but later 8 x 18 or sometimes 9 x 20 grey plastic wheels were fitted.
The axles were flat head with crimped ends on the first issues but these were soon replaced with dome head axles with crimped ends, The last issues had dome head axles with rounded ends.

The first release was adorned with bright yellow "Buy 'Matchbox' series" decals with green lettering which were soon replaced by dull yellow decals with the same lettering.
Later colourful "Players Please" (Cigarettes) decals were applied to the model which in this day of political correctness would certaily not be allowed on a childs toy.
The final issue of the bus had "BP Visco-static" (Engine Oil) decals which is quite a hard to find issue that is not often seen.
In 1999 one unlisted version of the bus was sold at a Vectis auction for a hefty 620 + commission (744) that was very unusual because it had "Peardrax" decals as usually found on the 56a London trolleybus which is a bit of an enigma. As far as I know no others have been found with this type of decal.
There was just one minor casting variation that occured around about the time of changeover from metal to grey plastic wheels which was the addition of a raised triangular block cast into the center of the inside of the baseplate, What the block was for is unknown.
The bus was replaced by a larger and much nicer model of the London Routemaster bus in 1960.
The 5b was packaged in box type 'B' only and not the type 'C' as stated in the Stannard guide.

above: rear, the bright yellow decal. front, the dull yellow decal

code number general wheel type axle type decals baseplate type
code 1 red body & base, gold trim 8.5 x 18 grey metal flat head crimped bright yellow "Matchbox" no triangular block
code 2 red body & base, gold trim 8.5 x 18 grey metal flat head crimped dull yellow "Matchbox" no triangular block
code 3 red body & base, gold trim 8.5 x 18 grey metal dome head crimped dull yellow "Matchbox" no triangular block
code 4 red body & base, gold trim 8.5 x 18 grey metal dome head crimped dull yellow "Matchbox" with triangular block
code 5 red body & base, gold trim 8 x 18 grey plastic dome head crimped dull yellow "Matchbox" no triangular block
code 6 red body & base, gold trim 8 x 18 grey plastic dome head crimped dull yellow "Matchbox" with triangular block
code 7 red body & base, silver trim 8 x 18 grey plastic dome head crimped dull yellow "Matchbox" with triangular block
code 8 red body & base, silver trim 9 x 20 grey plastic dome head crimped Players please with triangular block
code 9 red body & base, silver trim 8 x 18 grey plastic dome head crimped Players please with triangular block
code 10 red body & base, silver trim 8 x 18 grey plastic dome head rounded Players please with triangular block
code 11 red body & base, silver trim 8 x 18 grey plastic dome head rounded BP Visco-static with triangular block

box types notes
B1 none
B2 no decal shown
B2 "Buy Matchbox Series" shown
B2 no decal shown, larger box
B3 "Buy Matchbox Series" shown
B3 "Buy Matchbox Series" shown, larger box
B4 "Buy Matchbox Series" shown
B4 "Players Please" shown

values

bright yellow Matchbox decals & metal wheels 50

dull yellow Matchbox decals & grey metal or grey plastic wheels 40

players please decals & grey plastic wheels 80

BP Visco-static decals & grey plastic wheels 200

values are for mint models in mint boxes

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