EXCEPT THEY’RE NOT PLAYTHINGS FOR CHILDREN. THEY’RE INTRICATE, SOMETIMES HAND-BUILT MINATURES — AND AN INDUSTRY IN ITSELF. BOB BEECH LEARNS ABOUT MODELS AND MODELLING, AND MEETS A SUPERMODELLER, GUS O’CONNOR.
Probably the next best thing to owning a full size heavy haulage outﬁt, is to have a scale model of a particular vehicle. Many of the modern diecast models are incredibly elaborate; often a near perfect copy of the real thing, and superb examples of the model makers art. All of this is a long way from the simple toy trucks we played with as children. The Corgi, Dinky and Matchbox toys most of us remember are a far cry from what is available for the present day enthusiast.
Modern day truck and heavy plant models are now incredibly detailed: they often have many moving parts and are properly painted in operators’ livery. For example, some of the trailers available have steering axles, removable dollies and goosenecks, and are capable of carrying authentic loads like a model bulldozer or crane. Many of the mobile or tracked crane models go a stage further: with complex counterweight and outrigger system, they utilise cable pulley blocks and hooks, and are able to support suspended loads.
These engineering marvels in miniature are no longer toys for children to use and abuse, but proper collectors’ pieces in their own right and far too expensive to damage. Most of the major manufacturers of these models have a following throughout the world. Many enthusiasts have extensive collections built up over many years, and even have complete ﬂeets of certain operator’s vehicles.