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Caterpillar 980M Wheel Loader

Maker:  Diecast Masters
Model No:  85543
Scale:  1:50
Review Date:  January 2018

Diecast Masters Index
Earthworks Equipment Index

Cranes Etc Model Rating
Packaging   (max 10) 9
Detail   (max 30) 22
Features   (max 20) 15
Quality   (max 25) 18
Price   (max 15) 10
Overall   (max 100) 74%


Caterpillar 980M Wheel Loader Video  [Youku video]
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Caterpillar branded tin.
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Decent height.
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Rear grilles are graphics.
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Drive shaft crosses the pivot point.
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Shovelling rock.
Decent bucket height for loading an American tipper.
Good looking load.
Poses well without an operator.

The Caterpillar 980M is a mid sized wheel loader.  It weighs around 36 tonnes.


The model comes in exemplary packaging.  There is an outer shipping carton which contains a tin which is protected by expanded polystyrene trays.  The tin is high quality and includes pictures and details about the real machine.

The review model had no missing parts or defects.

A mini catalogue of the Diecast Masters range is included in the tin.  There is an information sheet describing how the operator is installed and removed from the cab.


The underside has limited detailing with the transmission modelled. The tyres have a good tread pattern and they are mounted on plastic wheels with a detailed outside face and hollow inner faces.

At the rear the radiator grille is plastic as are the handrails around the cab which are soft.  The rear side grilles are formed by graphics.  The exhaust stack is plastic without a hole.

The cab is detailed with plastic grab rails and silvered mirrors.  There is a removable operator in the cab. 

Detail at the pivot point includes the steering rams and transmission, and there are some small graphics which add to the appearance.  However, there are no hydraulic hoses visible.   At the front there are lights mounted on plastic stalks.

The hydraulic rams have plastic piston jackets with no hydraulic hoses.

The loader arms are simple and the connection rivets are painted.

The rock bucket is a nice metal casting with decent teeth.  The top edge grille is solid.


It rolls very smoothly but there is no oscillation of the rear axle.

Steering across the pivot point achieves a reasonable angle.

The bucket has no meaningful cut angle with a moderate carry angle.   The lift height is reasonable as is the tipping angle.

The operator can be removed from or inserted into the cab by taking off the roof panel.  This gives the model additional display flexibility.


It is a reasonable quality model.

The paintwork is very good and the few graphics are sharp.


It is moderately priced.


This model is a nice enough looking and the removable operator gives improved posing possibilities.  In some respects it seems to be a development of the previous Norscot 980K version rather than a brand new Diecast Masters model.


The model first appeared in December 2017. 

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Nice rock bucket.
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Simple underneath.
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Operator in the cab.
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Plastic wheels.
Profile view.
Reasonable carry angle.