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Caterpillar 966 Wheel Loader Evolution

Maker:  Diecast Masters
Model No:  85558
Scale:  1:50
Review Date:  May 2018

Diecast Masters Index
Earthmoving Equipment Index

Cranes Etc Model Rating
Packaging   (max 10) 10
Detail   (max 30) 24
Features   (max 20) 15
Quality   (max 25) 21
Price   (max 15) 12
Overall   (max 100) 82%


Caterpillar 966 Wheel Loader Evolution Video  [Youku video]
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The outer sleeve.
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Models sitting on a base plate in the box.
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Models on the base.
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Nice looking 966A.
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Decent height of lift.
Nice tyres.
Limited steering angle.

This model set traces the history of Caterpillar wheel loaders from the 966A Traxcavator through to the 966M.   It includes models of the 966A and 966M, and also a book describing the history of the wheel loader series.

Diecast Masters has introduced this set as the first of its Evolution series.


The set comes in excellent packaging.  There is an outer sleeve which covers a high quality box.  The box has a hinged lid with a ribbon restraint.  Inside the box there are reprints of 966A and 966M marketing sheets, and various photos of wheel loaders in the series.

The review set had no missing parts or defects.

A mini catalogue of the Diecast Masters range is included.


The set includes a 44 page ring-bound book.  It is comprehensive and is drawn with information from the
Caterpillar archives.  Each version of the 966 is described, including the innovations associated with each version.   As a book it is an excellent reference work to accompany the models.

The models are fixed to a base plate which has nice quality badges embedded.  The models are fixed by screws with stands.  The stand are the same colour as the models when perhaps black would have been less obtrusive.

Starting with the 966A, the tyres are of good quality rubber with a matt finish and a convincing tread pattern.  The wheel detailing is good also.

The casting of the body is high quality with some good texturing of horizontal surfaces, and the radiator grille at the back.  Hinges on panels are detailed within the casting, and the lights at the front and rear look the part.  The area around the operator's seat is very good, with control levers, pedals and instruments finely replicated. An operator is permanently fixed in the seat and has appropriate clothing for the period.  An umbrella is an enhancement to the original version of the model.

The connections on the loader arm is good and although the rivets used are on the large size, they are painted so the look of the model is not impaired much.  Good detailing is also seen on the loader arm cylinder jackets where the hydraulic lines are modelled.  Some of the graphics applied to the loader arm structure are very small and perfectly legible. 

The bucket has teeth and is different from the original Norscot version of the model.

The 966M has nice quality rubber tyres with a good tread pattern are mounted on wheels, with detailed plastic exterior faces and simple inside faces.  The engine cover has graphics for grilles in the sides, and the rear grille is nicely formed.  There is a towing hitch visible.

The walkways around the cab have a non-slip texture and the metal handrails are very good.   The cab is detailed with wipers front and back, and the mirror, grab rails and light assemblies.  The interior has the usual Diecast Masters operator. 

The loader arm with the Z-bar linkages is modelled well with very thin hoses running to the ram jacket, and decent detail in the metal parts.  The rivets in the loader arm are quite large and visible although they are touched up with paint which improves the look. The material handling bucket has good detailing on the outside.


The models can be removed from the base plate by unscrewing.

The 966A rolls easily enough, and there is some steering movement of the rear axle.

The loader mechanism works well with a good tipping angle.

The 966M rolls well, with limited steering across the pivot point. 

The loader mechanism has a limited lift height, and the tilting angle is not good.


The models are very good quality with nice paint and graphics.


The set is good value.


The Evolution series is a step forward by Diecast Masters in terms of the presentation of models that tell a story.  The included book is excellent and the whole package is very pleasing.


The set first appeared at the Nuremberg Toy Fair in 2018.

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Brochure reprints in the lid.
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Book is excellent.
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966A on the left, 966M on the right.
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Good tipping angle.
Very nice presentation.
Nice bucket.