Forget commemorative plates, this Matchbox toy is how to celebrate King Charles III's coronation

By topgear, 05 May 2023

It’s nearly time to stick up the bunting and pop the kettle on ahead of some truly record breaking tea consumption. Yep, it’s almost His Majesty King Charles III's Coronation, and there’s only one way for car geeks like us to mark it: with a die-cast model of the royal Coronation Coach.

You’re essentially looking at a £60 scaled-down version of the rather elaborate transport solution ol’ Charlie has fixed himself for the big day. Let’s hope he’s checked it’s ULEZ exempt.

The version we can all enjoy comes courtesy of Matchbox, a company marking its 70th anniversary in 2023. And this latest addition to its range represents a neat link to the past, too; the corresponding model from Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation – 70 years ago – clocked up over one million sales and bankrolled a newly conceived toy car company that’s now a household name. With another three billion sales under its belt.

At 23cm long, this new Coronation Coach is around half the length of the original (sold under the old Lesney branding) with the coach itself true to the firm’s usual 1:64 scale, just with a team of horses to ensure it won’t fit quite as snugly in your kids’ (or your…) toy garage. It’s designed to be a faithful tribute to the model which kickstarted the Matchbox story.

“We did everything we needed to do to make this accurate to the original 1952 Lesney item plus add even more detail,” says Julian Payne, senior manager of Matchbox Product Design, speaking to the coach’s four-month development process.

“We started by 3D scanning one of the 40cm originals. We did this to capture the original details because we want to pay homage to the original item, while adding detail where necessary for improved accuracy. We then marked up the CAD scan with detail overlay sketches for updating the carriage proportions, resculpting the angels and adding missing detail. The CAD was then adjusted digitally.

“The metallic gold finish is achieved through a metal plating process that celebrates the diecast material that Matchbox toys are still made from today. A gold clear lacquer adds the colour and gloss. The front carriage axle pivots just like the original Lesney item, so it can then be posed as if turning a corner.”

Indeed, while Matchbox describes it as ‘ideal for display’, rolling wheels and a turning front axle mean it will move, especially if you’ve unshackled the horses. Though giving too tumultuous a ride to the detailed metal figures of King Charles III and the Queen Consort inside might be tantamount to a short stint languishing in the Tower.

If you want one on your own mantelpiece (or flung royally at your skirting board) then you need to be quick: it’s by appointment only, with online orders closing on May 18. Aka the point at which your tea hangover should have just about subsided…

STORY Stephen Dobie

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