Het model van de Caterpillar 988K Houtlader in 1:50 is in 2014 als #TR10011 uitgebracht door Tonkin Replicas.
Tonkin Replicas releases with Caterpillar 972K, after the Caterpillar 988K and the Caterpillar 966K, their third Caterpillar Wheel Loader and confirms hereby their determination to produce highly authentic replicas with plenty of detail, functionality and value for money.
One noticeable difference between Tonkin and Norscot models in their packaging choise is the extra firm brown carton transport box which protects both the Caterpillar cardboard show box aswell as the scale model inside. This is in my opion a very important step forward to asure the scale model arrives in good order as one should expect.
The model is fitting nicely between two clear plastic forms which snap together and securely hold the model. The Caterpillar 972K Wheel Loader cardboard showbox is having front, top and right hand side windows allowing the model within to be clearly seen.
Again there is certainly plenty of great detailing to be found, while still maintaining a rugged and sturdy feel when handled, so you don't feel you are going to break this Caterpillar 972K Wheel Loader just by picking it up. A nice touch, which indicates the level of effort Tonkin puts in its model, is the a small full color collector card with relevant specsheet information about the Caterpillar 972K Wheel Loader slotted into a pocket on the inside of the packaging.
The rubber tyres have a finely replicated tread pattern which looks good, while the plastic inner wheel hubs having a ring of tiny fixing bolt heads. Tonkin have told me they will improve the inside of the inner wheel hubs also in to a realistic looking hub with future production runs.
The front axle is fixed to the chassis while the rear axle will oscillate. The articulating chassis is functional with a pair of hydraulic cylinders controlling the steering movement. An fixed access ladder is fitted on both sides of the chassis providing access to the cabin platfrom and accurately scaled grab rails have been added to the cab door and frame.
The rear counterweight has inset lights and surface detailing with the rear engine grille nicely capturing the looks of the 1:1 Caterpillar 972K Wheel Loader. The detailing of the engine housing is very nicely done complete with side located rear facing lights which have painted lenses. The upper walkway surfaces are textured with side grilles also very nicely highlighted with black paint, emphasising the ridged detail. To finish off, tiny safety labels have been added.
Tonkin has modelled the cabin interior with some fine external detailing of the cab including rear view mirrors, front and rear facing lights integrated into the roof and an nice looking, but fragily, antenna fitted on top of the cab. On the model I received the antenna was broken off. I drilled out the original hole, removed the broken foot part and glued it back on which is an easy fix.
The cab interior has been modelled with a grey decorated driver's seat. The front console is also painted grey with a modelled side panel and external windscreen wipers on the front and rear window adding extra detail.
The various grab and safety railings are made from metal and they are very authentically scaled and look therefore realistic. The engine bay has cast handle detailing with a prominent exhaust stack and air intake. Small access ladders have been added to both sides of the rear counterweight with an anti-slip textured upper surface. Their is a (non functional) tow eye with pin molded into the underside of the counterweight.
Tonkin made the loader arms from their Caterpillar 972K Wheel Loader raise to a reasonable height and the range of movement of the bucket tip linkage and loader arms have been authentically captured, allowing the model to be realistically posed loading a suitable kipper truck as the Caterpillar CT660 without any problems.
In my opion the only mishap made by Tonkin with this Caterpillar 972K Wheel Loader is the construction of the loader arms. The inner construction is mounted fixed between the both loader arms which is correct. But Tonkin has chosen to achieve this by drilling two holes in both arms and then assemble the construction which leaves ugly and not realistic looking loader arms. Filling the four holes up with PUTTY and respraying the arms is an option but not as easy to be done.
The main lift and bucket tip hydraulic cylinders have a nice smooth action and will hold at any position chosen. The addition of flexible hydraulic piping really adds to the realism. All the pin and rivet heads have been painted over which adds to the visual appearance.
The Caterpillar 972K Wheel Loader arms are fitted with a quick coupler, allowing the collector a choice of changing the bucket for any another work tool to be connected. You just have to push out the connection pin.
Tonkin shall in 2014 also release seperate sold Caterpillar Work Tools in their Diecast construction scale model program and that will give you the choice for another set up in the near future.
The bucket is produced in metal with a metal adapter plate which clip onto the metal coupler and has been cast with plenty of surface detailing including the cutting surfaces with underside wear panels also modelled. The sides of the bucket have cutting plates while the upper surface of the bucket shows the structural details along with two modelled (but non functional) lifting eyes.
Tonkin has done a excellent job with the finall touch of this Caterpillar 972K Wheel Loader. The paint finish on the model is of a high standard, with an even coating allowing the surface detailing to show through while the printing of the Caterpillar POWER EDGE logo, and the markings are authentically applied with all lights and the mirror surfaces decorated.