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A Matter of Control
Editorial October 2009

Makers of scale model replicas have contented themselves and collectors with high quality renditions of real machines, with an increasing trend in recent years towards more detail and also more features such as opening doors.  However, models in 1:50 scale have all generally been static, and although many can be posed in different ways, they sit silently in their display cabinets.

Although radio controlled vehicles have been around for some time they have previously been in a larger scale and made of plastic, and perhaps more toy-like rather than precision modelled.  Now some manufacturers are taking a new step forward and are providing radio controlled versions of models in 1:50 scale. 

The first signs of this trend appeared at the Nuremburg Toy Fair in February 2006 when Conrad demonstrated some prototype remote control models under the Geschatronic name (see the February 2006 Editorial here).  These models never entered production and the Geshatronic website did not change beyond a banner page.

Two manufacturers have now moved forward with radio controlled models in 1:50 scale.  Kyosho of Japan has demonstrated some Komatsu models which have been announced for some time but are now in production commencing with the D575-A dozer which is reasonably priced at 129 in the Komatsu webshop

Stepping up a level, TWH Collectibles have demonstrated a working prototype of the Bucyrus 495HR shovel, and have also said that a radio controlled version of the giant Bucyrus 8750 dragline will be available.  Neither of these models will be cheap, although of course the base models are very high quality in the first place.

It is impressive to see so much technology crammed into such small models, and it can only be hoped that it is reliable.  The main question is whether there is a market for these models.  Certainly everyone can see it would be fun to have a go of driving a machine but whether the novelty lasts is another matter.  Another way of looking at this though is to fast forward say twenty years.  Perhaps by then radio control will be advanced and cheap and eventually it will be static models that become the exception.

Cranes Etc
Click above to see a video of the TWH Bucyrus 495HR as published on YouTube.
Click above to see a second video of the 495HR.
Click above to see a video of 1:50 scale Kyosho Komatsu models.