Thursday, September 6, 2012

#190 MATCHBOX – CORVETTE (SEA KINGS Ref. K-302) (1976)


The Sea Kings were first released in 1976, but the line was not very successful, and only a few more models were released over the years. The series had a very short lifespan, and a very short catalogue of only 10 models: 8 released in 1976 and 2 in 1979. It is said that 3 more models were in pre-production in 1981, when the line was cancelled. 

In addition to that, the last three references (K-308/309/310) are difficult to find because of their short production. There are a few variants known, however, like pieces in slightly different colours and that kind of things, but I am not familiar with them.
Plastic cannons on deck -detail-

According to Wikipedia, Matchbox expanded their lines by the mid 70s in an attempt to obtain more benefits. Sea Kings was not the only line from this period of the Matchbox history; Adventure 2000, Battle Kings Sky Busters and the two pack series were also launched at the same time, with almost identical sales. Only the two pack series (a car plus a trailer) and the Sky Busters made themselves place in the catalogue, even though not for a long time. All these series (except the "Two Packs") were derived from the succesful "Super Kings" (also "King Size")

Deck detail
The Sea Kings are reproductions of Battleships and Carriers made in metal with some plastic parts (some of them practicable). They were made with wheels so they can roll, although they’re quite well hidden.

All models and references in this series were:
  • No.K301 Frigate
  • No.K302 Corvette
  • No.K303 Battleship
  • No.K304 Aircraft Carrier
  • No.K305 Submarine Chaser
  • No.K306 Convoy Escort
  • No.K307 Helicopter Carrier
  • No.K308 Guided Missile Destroyer
  • No.K309 Submarine
  • No.K310 Anti Aircraft Cruiser
The pictures belong to the reference K302, “Corvette”. Note in the picture that the hull was re-used in the K306 reference “Convoy Escort”.  I recently found it in a flea-market and bought it within a lot of die-cast models. It’s a nice piece to have, although I don’t think I’d buy anymore of them.

They are “play-proof”, note that the ship is played with condition and despite this, all small plastic details in the deck are not broken. The red cannons can be turned to point in all directions.

Last but not least, a very similar line was launched a few years later by the Spanish manufacturer Mira. I mentioned them in this article (#143) you might like to review now.

  • Name: CORVETTE (Ref. K-302)
  • Scale: ?
  • Year: 1976
  • Company: Matchbox (G. Britain)
  • Size: approx. 18 cm


  1. Cuánto tiempo sin pasarme por aquí!

    Muy curioso estos modelos. No sabía que Matchbox produjo barcos. Lo que me llama la atención son las piezas rojas. A qué se deberá esa elección de color?

    Me interesaría ver el portaaviones y el portahelicópteros.

  2. Hola Speedy!
    Gracias por el comentario!
    Yo también hace tiempo que no reviso mis blogs de referencia por culpa de las vacaciones, la vuelta de las vacaciones, el trabajo, etc.

    Los modelos Sea Kings de Matchbox son un poco desilusionantes, los dos modelos que mencionas tienen partes de plástico blanco muy muy feas (peor que esas partes rojas) y en conjunto es un barco, sí, pero no parece gran cosa. Lo del plástico es seguro para ahorrar en costes, una pena. Para estos modelos, más bonitos los españoles marca MIRA, por ejemplo:

  3. I've always wondered whether K310 was based on an actual ship. I can't think of one.

    1. Good question, I have no clue about military ships, but I would say, none of the references actually represents a real one. This is just my feeling.


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