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Caterpillar 657G Wheel Tractor Scraper

Maker:  Norscot
Model No:  55175
Scale:  1:50
Review Date:  April 2009


Norscot Index
Earthmoving Equipment Index


Cranes Etc Model Rating
Packaging   (max 10)7
Detail   (max 30)24
Features   (max 20)14
Quality   (max 25)17
Price   (max 15)13
Overall   (max 100)75%

Footnotes

The CAT 657G Scraper.
CAT box.
An interesting machine.
Large tyre and detailed hub.
Nice handrails and the rear engine has detail.
The door at the front of the bowl opens wide.
Lowering the bail to hook onto a leading scraper.
A good load for a Nooteboom Euro-99-24 Low Loader.
The CAT 657G Wheel Tractor Scraper is an 'open bowl' scraper capable of loading and unloading itself.  These machines are often used for highway construction or other large scale earthworks applications.  Typically they are most economic where the haul distance is in the 500-5000ft range.

The 657G is the largest scraper currently made by CAT and has a heaped capacity of 44yd  (34m).  It has a maximum travel speed of 36mph and a shipping weight of 147,000lb (66 tonnes).

Packaging

The model comes in the usual windowed CAT labelled box, with the model secured inside between clear plastic formers.  It is tied to the cardboard base with plastic ties and Norscot collectors will be ready for the struggle to remove these and free the model.  There were no defects or missing parts on the review model.

As with other CAT models there is no particular information about the real machine and in this respect better use could have been made of the box to provided some technical specifications.  No assembly is required on this model.

Detail

The CAT 657G is a heavy chunky model.  The tyres are very convincing with a good heavy tread pattern and they are mounted on authentic looking hubs.  The driving cab has a step ladder and detail such as door handles, but there are no windscreen wipers.  Inside the cab the operator's station is modelled, although the steering wheel sits high and looks large.

At the front the lights are simply detailed and there is a nice cushioned plate and hydraulically actuated bail for joining 657G's in series.  There are metal handrails and steps which are black on this version, rather than yellow. 

The main support to the bowl is executed well with cylinders and linkages nicely modelled and it just lacks the complexity of the hydraulic lines found on the original.  A big plus point is that the rivets used are painted to match the rest of the model so they do not look obtrusive.  The model has a busy feel in this area.

The elevating mechanism for the bowl is fine and would have been enhanced further with some hydraulic hosing.  The spill guard on top of the rear of the bowl is plastic and it would have been nice if it had a fine mesh insert to replicate the original.  However the bowl itself is rendered well, reflecting the cellular construction of the real scraper. 

The rear engine is also modelled in plastic but the colour match with the rest of the model is exact so it looks fine.  There are more black metal railings and these look good, and rear light clusters add to the detail.  The structure around the pushing point is particularly good and includes a hook for the bail of a following scraper.

Features

The main steering linkage works well allowing an angle of about 45 to be achieved.  It also allows significant articulation between the two axles over rough terrain.

The elevating mechanism for the bowl works well and cutting can be realistically posed.  The front of the bowl also opens fully, although the ejector mechanism is non-functional.

At the front the bail for attaching to a leading scraper works and can be folded up or down.

Quality

The quality of manufacture is good with relatively little use of plastic, and where it is used it is appropriate.  Paintwork is fine, and although there are very few graphics they are applied well.

Price

The CAT 657G is very good value given that it is a relatively large model.

Overall

Motor scrapers are relatively rare and unusual machines, and they make a good topic for a scale model.  Norscot have produced a nice model which will please collectors of this type of equipment.  It poses well on its own and would also look interesting paired up to demonstrate tandem loading. 

As a heavy haulage load it looks the part too.  With some more detailing and a working ejector this would be a great model.  Overall it is just good enough to be highly recommended.

Footnotes

The model first appeared in 2007.

High ground clearance when travelling.
Large plate at the front to enable pushing of another 657G, with a lowering bail to hook on for a tow.
Good construction at the rear with a heavy pushing point.
Very nice detailing between the front wheels.
It can be set low enough to realistically pose 'scraping'.
Sometimes friends need a helping push.  Here a Caterpillar D11T lends a hand.