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 71a Austin 200 gallon water tanker



The Lesney model of the Austin (K9) 200 gallon water tanker joined the Matchbox 1-75 series towards the end of 1959 along with seven other military vehicles to join that year. Like the other Army vehicles it was painted military olive green all over including the baseplate and silver trim was applied to the front bumper and headlights.
The wheels were 11 x 24 black plastic and the model was fitted with a spare tyre which was fitted in behind the cab and was held in place by two studs which did a fairly good job as even on playworn examples the spare tyre is usually still in place.
The axles were dome head with rounded ends and the doors at the back of the water tank were a seperate casting which was a press fit into the back of the tank.
On the final issue the wheels were changed to a finer tread 11.5 x 45 black plastic and on this version the spare can be either the earlier 11 x 24 or the later 11.5 x 45 pattern.
To increase sales Lesney decided to include a "Matchbox collector" badge in with this model which featured a blue badge with a number 1 road roller perched on its box and "Matchbox along the top and "Collector" along the bottom.

The model had a casting modification to the baseplate where the rearmost corners of the baseplate were rounded, This was probably done to ease assembly of the components as the baseplate does seem to be a tight fit in the bottom of the body.
Another minor casting variation concerns the hole in the underneath of the water tank, The hole was originally put there for somewhere for the air to escape when the rear doors were being inserted into the water tank but the hole can sometimes flash over so the model can be with or without a hole.
The final issue with fine tread wheels usually has the hole flashed over completely.
The Austin was packaged in 'B' and 'D' type boxes, The later 'D' box can be quite hard to find and it will probably fetch a premium.
After a five year run the model was replaced by the 71b Jeep Gladiator in early 1964.

above: with scarce 'D' box.

above: Matchbox
collector badge

 photo 71atnt_zps7393f36d.jpg
above. the 'gap' appears to be a gradual filling in due to die
wear rather than a deliberate modification,
the tongue was added very early, most likely to make it easier
to assemble and speed up production
Photo courtesy Antonin Schenk

code number general wheel type spare tyre tank hole baseplate type tongue
code 1 olive green body & base, silver trim 11 x 24 black plastic 11 x 24 black plastic with hole squared corners no tongue
code 2 olive green body & base, silver trim 11 x 24 black plastic 11 x 24 black plastic with hole squared corners with tongue
code 3 olive green body & base, silver trim 11 x 24 black plastic 11 x 24 black plastic no hole squared corners with tongue
code 4 olive green body & base, silver trim 11 x 24 black plastic 11 x 24 black plastic with hole rounded corners with tongue
code 5 olive green body & base, silver trim 11 x 24 black plastic 11 x 24 black plastic no hole rounded corners with tongue
code 6 olive green body & base, silver trim 11.5 x 45 black plastic 11 x 24 black plastic no hole rounded corners with tongue
code 7 olive green body & base, silver trim 11.5 x 45 black plastic 11.5 x 45 black plastic no hole rounded corners with tongue

box types notes
B4 none
B5 "new model"
B5 upper case lettering
B5 lower case lettering
D1 one black side one blue

values

with knobbly black plastic wheels 45

with fine tread wheels and 'D' box 80+

values are for mint models in mint boxes

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