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Caterpillar 988K Wheel Loader

Maker:  Tonkin
Model No:  10001
Scale:  1:50
Review Date:  October 2013

Tonkin Index
Mining / Quarry Equipment Index

Cranes Etc Model Rating
Packaging   (max 10)8
Detail   (max 30)22
Features   (max 20)14
Quality   (max 25)20
Price   (max 15)11
Overall   (max 100)75%


Caterpillar 988K Wheel Loader Video
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Caterpillar branded box.
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Front bucket carry angle seems a little shallow.
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Good looking model.
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Hoses crossing the pivot point.
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Good hydraulics and Z-bar linkage.
Metal handrails are very good, and the cab interior is too.
Rear grille has a video camera at the top and movement detector at the bottom.
Carrying rocks.
Great looking load on a Nooteboom 3+5 Euro-PX.
Comment on this model.

The Caterpillar 988K is the seventh generation of the machine and its introduction in 2013 celebrated  a 50 year history.  It has an operating weight of around 50 tonnes and bucket capacities of 6.4 - 7.7m³.

This model is the first produced by Tonkin Replicas under their license for Caterpillar scale models.


The model comes in a typical Caterpillar-branded box style with windows, and is enclosed within a one-piece plastic holder that pops open to release the model. 

The review model had no missing parts or defects other than some of the metal handrails were bent slightly out of line.

The box includes a small collector card which has some information about the real machine and a nice photo.


The underside has some detailing with the transmission modelled in metal.  Nice quality rubber tyres with a good tread pattern are mounted on wheels with detailed plastic exterior faces and simple interiors. 

At the rear the engine cover is nicely cast and painted to highlight the grilles.  Small lights and graphics at the back enhance the detail and it is good to see the video camera and object detector modelled.

The walkways have a clear anti-slip pattern and the metal handrails are thin and modelled well.  The ladder up to the cab is modelled in soft plastic with an excellent colour match.

The cab is detailed with wipers front and back, and the mirror and light assemblies are plastic as is the beacon light holder on the roof.  The interior detail is very good with finely detailed controls and the CAT logo on the seat back.

Detailing at the pivot point is good with hydraulic hoses crossing over but the front axle drive shaft is not modelled.  The front axle differential also looks strangely incomplete and the axle shaft is visible although this view is not seen with the bucket down.

The loader arm with the Z-bar linkages is modelled well with hoses running to the ram jacket and nice casting detail in the metal parts.  The rivets at the centre of the loader arm are large, but they are painted at least.

The bucket looks very good with plenty of detail including wear plates.


The wheels roll well with each pair of tyres fixed to a common axle.  The rear axle is able to oscillate significantly on its loose mounting.  However the front axle is also able to oscillate somewhat rather than being fixed.

The model steers across the pivot point and the overall steering angle is very good.

The loader arm lifts the bucket to a realistic height and is stiff enough to hold a pose.  The tipping angle is quite good although the carrying angle when the bucket is low seems a little shallow.


This is a well made model with a high metal content. 

The paint finish is very good and the graphics are sharp and are applied well.


It is reasonable value for the quality offered.


As a first construction model release from Tonkin the 988K is a creditable effort.  Most of the detailing is very good and the functionality is good too although a fixed font axle would be an easy improvement.  It is highly recommended and hopefully Tonkin will be able to improve their future models further with the experience gained.


The model was available from October 2013.

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Model and collector card.
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Tyres and wheels are convincing.
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Detail underneath.
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Good bucket detail.
Profile view.
Strange hole in the top of the front differential.
Impressive lift height.
Shallow carrying angle.
It is a big wheel loader.