MATCHBOX BATTLE KINGS
The “Battle Kings” was the series of military models in a bigger scale than “superfast” models by Matchbox. Previously to the creation of this series in 1974, there were no die-cast military models (or at least I cannot remember any now) in the collection. From that year on, in the 1-75 series, there would be a few models released. Why Matchbox decided to release such a line in 1974, I don’t know. What I know is that the series was cancelled in 1980, probably because of a change in the mentality of the company and the society. War toys were not politically correct anymore.
The series was brief, although not as brief as the Sea-Kings. There were 18 references made, but some of the casts/ vehicles had more than one reference number, or like in this case, the reference K-106 includes the K-102 Tank. Most of these vehicles were ground vehicles with only two references including fighters or helicopters (Army Aircraft Transporter K-113 and Kaman Seasprite Helicopter K-118)
Planes and fighters were released in the parallel line “Skybusters”. Both lines were separated because they were made in different scales and the Skybusters line also included some passenger planes and non military models.
As in almost every model made by Matchbox, there were more than one edition of each model. In this case, for example, there are variations in which the tank came in gold colour (earlier references), or the plastic parts in the truck and trailer were made in black plastic instead of red. Some of the references included plastic soldier figures. Needless to say, these figures were the first thing that got lost, and are difficult to find today. You can visit our friend-blog “Small Scale World” for more information on these figures
Back to the toy, this model has the reference K-106, and comprises a truck (in a quite futuristic style), a trailer and a M48 A2 tank. The tank, as said before was available with reference K-102 and came with three plastic figures.
In this model, the truck and trailer are bright green and the tank is dark green (has some kind of black camo, zoom on pictures to see the pattern better).
The tank could be fixed to the trailer by means of a metallic “key” that can be seen in the following picture.
I might expand this article with other Battle Kings references in the future. As said before, they are difficult to find complete because of the figures, missiles, and small parts. Note that the figure on my tank has no head. This figure is made of plastic, and seems to be missing in many M48s I have seen on the internet. Another Weak point of these miniatures are the rubber bands on the tanks, if not stored properly, these might have dried and could be broken or directly missing. In my case, I was lucky, because they’re in perfect shape.
|Tank gunner is missing his head|
To finish this article, I provide here a list of all “Battle Kings” references
- K-101 Sherman Tank
- K-102 M48 A2 Tank
- K-103 Chieftan Tank
- K-104 King Tiger Tank
- K-105 Hover Raider
- K-106 Tank Transporter
- K-107 155 mm S.P. Howitzer
- K-108 M3Af Half Truck A.P.C.
- K-109 M551 Sheridan Tank
- K-110 Recovery Vehicle
- K-111 Missile Launcher / Rocket Striker
- K-112 DAF Ambulance
- K-113 Military Crane Truck / Military Mobile Crane
- K-114 Army Aircraft Transporter
- K-115 Army Petrol Tanker / Military Tanker
- K-116 Artillery Truck & Field Gun
- K-117 Rocket Launcher
- K-118 Kaman Spritefire Helicopter
These are scans from a 1974 catalogue presenting the first 8 references. References K-109 to K-118 were released later.
|German Matchbox Catalogue 1974-1975|
A similar tank transporter was shown here.
FACTS AND FIGURES:
- Name: TANK TRANSPORTER (K-106) (includes M48 A2, reference K-102)
- Scale: Unknown
- Year: 1974
- Company: Matchbox (G. Britain)
- Size: Around 23 cm.