The Coronation of King Charles III
|Marking King Charles III’s Coronation, legendary toy manufacturer recreates historic Gold State Coach model that enabled the creation of the Matchbox brand 70 years agoFourth generation of iconic royal memorabilia model is the most detailed Matchbox to date Strictly produced to order ensuring exclusivity – orders can only be placed between 26 April and 18 May, priced at £60. The ideal way to commemorate, treasure and remember this moment in history.
One of the most recognisable pieces of royal memorabilia has been recreated to mark both King Charles’ Coronation and the 70th anniversary of Matchbox. Strictly made to order, a 1:64 scale model of the Gold State Coach has been announced by the toy car brand, which owes its foundation to the coach used in the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.Seventy years ago, London-based diecasting business Lesney® sold over one million of its 11.8cm Coronation Coach produced to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne. Its sales success enabled Lesney to fund the launch of the newly conceived Matchbox brand. Today the iconic diecast brand has produced over three billion cars and counting.
Available to order from 26 April via MattelCreations.com, the 2023 Matchbox diecast set measures 23cm long and perfectly captures the majestic presence of the 261-year-old, four-tonne Gold State Coach. This specific coach has been a prominent feature in every Coronation since King George IV in 1821.“Not only is 2023 a pivotal moment in UK history, but it also marks an important one for Matchbox. Celebrating 70 years of rich design heritage, Matchbox is launching an exclusive Coronation Coach that evolves the brand’s signature craftsmanship while drawing on innovation and cutting-edge technology to write a new and exciting chapter in our history,” says Roberto Stanichi, Global Head of Vehicles, Mattel. “Being built to order, we expect this coach to be one of the most exclusive models Matchbox has ever created.”
With the goal to create a model ‘fit for a king’, Matchbox creators set out to produce its most detailed version of the coach to date. Its designers pored over hundreds of images taken by Julian Payne, Senior Manager of Matchbox Product Design during a visit to the Royal Mews, together with hours of footage of the most important royal celebrations in recent times to faithfully reproduce the giltwood coach, eight ‘Windsor Grey’ horses and four coachmen. The intensive four-month design process was a true blend of old design practices and some of the most innovative techniques used today. The team used the latest 3D scanners to capture the incredibly detailed sculpted form of the horses and riders from the original Lesney model. Prototype parts were then created in real time using 3D printing.
Julian Payne, Sr. Manager of Product Design
Packed with features, it is the most comprehensive edition of the four iterations to date, including ‘tampo printed’ reins on the diecast horses, rolling wheels with a front turning axle, windows – a first for a Matchbox Coronation Coach – and, inside the detailed red interior, metal figures of King Charles III and the Queen.The designers also seized the opportunity to correct elements of the original 1952 model. The tritons on the front of the coach are now accurately depicted as blowing horns, while the painted side panels are represented for the first time with additional printed decoration. Collectors searching for more detail will be pleased to find that the designers of Matchbox have, for the first time, incorporated three cherubs.
As a nod to the very first model, the 2023 Gold State Coach features the draw chains between the four pairs of horses and comes in a red presentation box.“The original State Coach is a pivotal piece of Matchbox heritage, and crucial to the brand’s destiny,” comments Giles Chapman, author of Britain’s Toy Car Wars (published by The History Press – www.thehistorypress.co.uk). “Lesney’s design genius Jack Odell already had a terrific reputation for accurate detail but this gleaming horse-drawn vehicle – often used as a cake decoration at parties to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s coronation – opened his eyes to ultra-miniaturisation. It was the forerunner to the phenomenally successful Matchbox 1-75 series launched in 1953 that put toy cars and trucks into the eager hands of all children, not just those lucky enough to have wealthy parents. The little coach was the blockbuster product that started it all.”
The story of the first Matchbox Coronation Coach is now part of the brand’s folklore. For the 1951 Festival of Britain, Lesney had plans to produce a scale model of the Gold State Coach. Shortages of zinc meant very few of the 40cm coach were produced but the casting was resurrected when King George VI died and Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation was imminent. Just a few hundred were produced when the makers noted the casting still included the figures of the now late king and heir to the throne, Elizabeth. Subsequent models saw the late king’s figure being cut off at the knees. After some 33,000 had been produced, a new, smaller version, measuring 11.8cm, was created in 1953. Over one million would be sold to fans to mark that Coronation and it was instrumental in the ensuing success of Matchbox.2023 has seen the Matchbox brand invigorated in the UK with expanded distribution of its range of diecast toy cars available at Amazon, Tesco, Sainsburys, Argos, B&M Bargain, Morrisons, The Entertainer and Toymaster stores. As well as celebrating its history, Matchbox continues to consider the future of toys. Initiatives include the use of recycled zinc in some of its Platinum Anniversary models and the move to 100 percent recycled, recyclable or bio-based plastic materials by 2030.The 2023 Matchbox Gold State Coach is available to order between 26 April and 18 May.
Fehmi Uner, Associate Digital Model Maker