Tag Archives: Construction

News from the Continent September/October 2017 – Herpa.

By Hans-Georg Schmitt

All photographs are by, and copyright of, the Author.

Here are some thoughts on two releases Herpa made in July 2017. These are moulded in plastic to 1:87 in Germany.

307574 IFA G5 Dumper – orange

After the recent fire brigade version, the IFA G5 is now released as a bright yellow dumper. This vehicle was developed for the National Peoples Army of the former DDR and the 6×6 G5 was also used for civil purposes, especially when The Warsaw Pact forces standardised on Soviet trucks. The new  tipper has working action as shown in the photographs below where it can be seen next to the earlier dark orange and Military versions from the DDR Modelcars range.

700665 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 13 double-cab with flat bed and Tilt German Army – “Bundeswehr”.

It seems hard to believe but today German Army vehicles can be seen painted in white or silver in use on the roads. This approach is designed to make it easier to sell secondhand vehicles in these colours, rather than the traditional matt green, when the army no longer want them.

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Extreme Steam

By Robin Godwin

This article was originally hosted on the first MAR Online website. As access to that site is no longer available from zeteo.com we have copied over a number of articles to ensure that they are saved for the future. This article has been adapted from its original form to appear in this blog. NB the product cost and sales site details are now out of date.

TWH Collectibles by Robin Godwin

100 ton shovel at work c.1919

There’s no doubt that Brits have a curious affinity for Steam Traction Engines, especially Showman’s Engines, to whit, models by Matchbox, a complete range by Corgi and now Oxford Diecast getting into the fray. Doubtless, the same type of vehicle was employed here in North America as industrialization took hold and perhaps some even saw use as Showman’s Engines. But one doesn’t see the same level of interest in miniature diecast, even though die casting toy vehicles was essentially an American invention, pioneered by the Dowst Manufacturing Company, Tootsietoys, during the time when steam engines would still have been in use. To be honest, I find that most of the Showman’s models basically look alike, and I’m sure the same casting is used with different liveries on occasion. From my perspective, it seems North American interest in steam driven vehicles, excluding trains, extends more to the construction industry, with many toy ranges featuring period steam shovels, excavators, and steam rollers. It’s not my intention to review steam shovels or rollers as a complete subject, more to focus on a single magnificent steam driven vehicle that was produced by TWH Collectibles a few years back as a special for the US magazine Toy Trucker and Contractor. I’m talking about the 1:48 scale TWH021-08001 Bucyrus Steam Shovel, the 95 ton rail-mounted steam shovel famous for its use in the construction of the Panama Canal. This astonishing all-metal model could have appeal to steam, construction (cable excavators), and O gauge rail enthusiasts alike. The model is still available at it’s original price of 300 US Dollars from the magazine website at http://www.toytrucker.com/construction-models.html You only need to examine the photos to realize that ‘it’s a steal’ at that price. It can also be found on eBay, but at a premium.

A leaflet that comes with the model describes the actual vehicle history best: ‘The 95 ton steam shovel was the largest of 12 steam shovels that Bucyrus offered between 1895 and 1901 and was marketed as the the most powerful shovel ever built. Bucyrus steam shovels comprised 77 of the fleet of 102 steam shovels used to dig the Panama Canal, one of the largest excavation projects of the early 20th century’. This machine was rail car mounted and self-powered via a chain drive. Workers would build the rail bed forward as the machine advanced against the rock face. A second rail line with open box cars parallelled the excavator line to enable removal of the rock.

Mere words are inadequate to describe this model, however the leaflet again outlines some of the working functions:

‘The major functions of the Steam Shovel, including the raising and lowering of the dipper, boom swing, and chain drive locomotion are key-operated using fully functional winches of chain and ropes. Other functioning components include the dipper door trip rope, pivoting operator handles, and hinged adjustable outriggers. The undercarriage of the Steam Shovel features functional trucks, removable rear hitch, individually-linked drive chain, and a brake. The removable house is complete with sliding doors and hinged windows with prop rods. The interior of the house reveals the most impressive workings of the model. Reciprocating pistons and operational gears lead rearward to the nickel-plated boiler piping. The boiler is detailed down to the rivets with a functional coal door inside the hinged coal platform. Prop rods support the hinged back door’.

Few companies can or do build to the standards exhibited by TWH who are regrettably now out of business. There are two UK based websites that provide independent reviews of plant and construction models and both rave about this particular item. One is Miniature Construction World edited by Steven Downes http://www.twh-reviews.co.uk/index.php?menuID=bucyrus&contentID=bucyrus-steam and the other is Cranes Etc edited by Ian Webb http://www.cranesetc.co.uk/library/twhreviews/021/021review.htm. As Ian says ‘This is one of those few models that is such a quality item that almost anyone would be happy to have it on a mantelpiece, even if they have no interest in collecting models, or the machine itself. The detail and features are excellent, and the quality is first class. Hopefully some day all quality models will be made this way’.

Truly a unique and extreme steam machine.

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News from the Continent – Conrad Summer 2016

By Hans-Georg Schmitt


These are special models announced by Conrad and expected over the summer months. All are diecast to 1:50 scale unless otherwise stated.

18704 Conrad 2946_02_Liebherr_A920_2016-Bieber

2946/02 Liebherr A 920

Hydraulic excavator with bucket and grader blade in the livery of Georg Bieber

18705 Conrad 2107-06 TEREX AC100-4L_MERKEL_web

2107/06 Terex AC100/4L

Telescopic crane in Merkel livery.

18706 Conrad 2941_02_Liebherr_R9100_

2941/02 Liebherr R9100

Tracked excavator with Bucket

18707 Conrad 75156-98004 MAN TGS Abrollcontainer und Tieflader_WÖRMANN_web

75156/0-98004 MAN TGS 3-axle Euro 5

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Happy Easter

by Chris Sweetman

Matchbox O&K MH6 hydraulic excavator


Matchbox issued this wonderful working model in 1970 in their King Size range. Originally with red wheel hubs and plastic tyres. However, in 1971 this range was renamed Super King and the models were gradually given superfast wheels as in the case of the version pictured here.

The cab swivels on the wheeled base and the excavator arm has a range of realistic movements. These replicate the hydraulic action of the real vehicle.

Based on the Orenstein and Koppel (O&K) MH6 hydraulic excavator which came out in 1970. This suggests that Matchbox must have been working directly with O & K as there is usually an 18 month period from designing a toy model to bringing it onto the market.

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Conrad Christmas 2015

By Hans-Georg Schmitt

Conrad issued two Christmas specials in liveries from well-known operators. These complicated and large diecast models of construction equipment is made to 1:50 scale.


2744/04  Terex Superlift 3800 tracked crane

This version of this large crane is in the livery of Franz Bracht a crane hire company based in Erwitte whose yellow coloured equipment is used on large construction projects.
17890 Conrad 2744

2100/43  Liebherr LTM 1070-4.1 Auto crane

Here we have the impressive 8 wheeled mobile crane in the livery of Regel. Albert Regel is a German company based in the Kassel area which is marked on the side of the blue, yellow and white liveried vehicle.
17891 Conrad 2100