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Bucyrus 495HR Rope Shovel - ED Version

Maker:  TWH Collectibles
Model No:  012
Scale:  1:50
Review Date:  February 2009


TWH Index
Mining Equipment Index

Cranes Etc Model Rating
Packaging   (max 10)9
Detail   (max 30)27
Features   (max 20)16
Quality   (max 25)23
Price   (max 15)11
Overall   (max 100)86%

Footnotes


The Bucyrus 495HR ED version.
The giant inner box.
Where to buy
This version has warning notices in Spanish to reflect where it is operated.
The Ten Kay air filtration unit.
Equipment on the roof has been rearranged from the first version of the model.
There is a convex mirror which allows the operator to see who is on the far walkway.
The 495HR compared to a Bucyrus 22RB.
The Bucyrus 495 Rope Shovel was first modelled and introduced in 2006 when it proved to be a popular scale model.  The original version was reviewed here, and this review is of one of the updated series first announced in 2008, and delivered in 2009. The earlier review is updated here to reflect the new model.

The 495 Series are high performance electric mining shovels, produced in two versions.  The 495HR modelled here is a hard rock version and is capable of excavating 100 tonnes of material at a time loading large mining trucks in two or three passes.  The dipper (shovel) capacity is 61m (80yd). The new versions of the model are in various colour schemes of mining companies.  This ED version reflects the Escondida mine in Chile.  The mine operates in two locations in the Atacama desert and is the world's largest copper mining operation.  Over one million tonnes of material is excavated daily, and more than 4000 people are employed.

Packaging

Even in 1:50 scale this is a huge model so it is no surprise that it is delivered in a truly colossal box.  The box is black with TWH and Bucyrus markings but in fact this is only an outer container because inside separated by spacers is an inner box which is a giant picture sleeve enclosing two expanded polystyrene trays.  All this packaging works well and the review model had no defects, or missing parts.  Care has to be taken removing the model from the box as there are plenty of separate pieces to the packaging and its worth marking these up as you go so that the model can be put back in the box again if required.  Also the model is secured by large ties to the tray underneath so it does not lift out as expected.  The ties have to be unwound to remove the model from the tray.

Included with the model is a 24 page brochure.  This has a couple of pages of facts about the 495 series shovels, but most is devoted to the history of the Bucyrus company and the entire product range.  It is an interesting read.

Separate from the model, two winding handles are provided together with a set of handrails which have to be fitted.  A simple instruction sheet would have been a useful inclusion with the model as would an unpacking sheet to describe how to get it out of the box.

Detail

Starting with the lower works, the crawler tracks are suitably massive.  The pads are large heavy links which are individually pinned together and are in black rather than the primer colour of the original model.  Each set of tracks is carried on huge track frames which have various bolt, lifting eye and bearing details.  Between the track frames is some extraordinary detail and heavy construction.  At one end there are huge track drive boxes with heavy interconnections and various cables of different gauges and types.  One item not provided on the ED version is the stinger electrical connection.  This is not included in order to reflect the real machine to which Escondida fit their own version.  Perhaps the aftermarket will produce an appropriate stinger, or it would be good if TWH could make available a standard stinger kit to collectors who would like to add one to complete the model.

Above the turntable there is a large slewing motor on each side of the model.  Although this is a hard to see part of the model without getting your eyes to crawler track level, the detail is outstanding.  Numerous cables are run and clipped at various points.  On one side the access walkway runs under the body complete with mesh floor and handrails and there is an adjacent radiator grille.

The main body of the machine is impressive.  Starting at the bottom of the cab side, a boarding ladder has excellent mesh tread steps and this detail is reproduced throughout the model together with metal yellow hand railing which is all in a reasonably realistic thickness for the scale.  Excellent quality graphics result in legible warning notices and these are sprinkled across the model.  On this version of the model they are in Spanish to reflect the Escondida mine.

The walkway leads up stairs to a mid level which has orange beacon lights and a horn loudspeaker, together with a door and access ladder to the dipper flap release winch.  A pair of floodlights hang down from under the cab and these are beautifully modelled with the bulbs clearly visible inside the lamps.  More floodlights like these are located at various points around the model.

Another flight of stairs leads to the cab deck.  Here, first class air-conditioning machinery is modelled complete with photo etched grilles and cabling.  Doors lead into the cab and this is highly detailed too.  The operator's station has joystick and pedal controls, and tiny graphics are visible on the workstation.  An additional seat is provided and behind there are various cabinets as well as a refreshment station where a coffee machine and microwave oven are visible.  Outside, the cab has a windscreen wiper, mirror and fire extinguisher.

The roof of the machine has various access hatches detailed within the casting.  This version of the model has some differences on the roof compared to the earlier version.  The detailed blue generator complete with high voltage sign sits in one corner, and there is a Ten Kay air filtration system which has a number of electric cables modelled.  Handrails surround the roof area and further ladders with safety cages ascend the A-frame where the strops supporting the boom are attached.  These strops mirror those on the real machine with an appropriate steel-coloured choice of thread.

On the opposite side of the body from the cab a vertical ladder provides access to further walkways and these include a large convex mirror at the front which allows the operator to see if anyone is on the walkway from his position in the cab.  In fact on the model looking through the operator's cab at the mirror you can see how this works.  This side of the model is where the winding keys are inserted to operate the model.  One is a hole in the body and the second is skillfully designed to be accessed through the window of a doorway.

The back of the model is a massive wall of metal with the Bucyrus name cast in relief within the counterweight.  A pair of floodlights and a vents complete the detail in this area.  The boom is of suitably heavy box beam construction and includes stairways which lead to the top where two pairs of very large pulley wheels carry the rope for raising and lowering the dipper.  The tubular handle consists of a silver tube which has a pulley mechanism at one end and a complex arrangement for holding the dipper at the other end.

The dipper is a very heavy piece of modelling work as befits the 495.  A pair of excellent and fully linked pulley connections hold the dipper, and heavy duty riveted connections fix the dipper to the tubular handle. It has very thick walls and at the cutting edge has ten teeth which are complete with rivet details.  The door at the rear has heavy structural members finely recreated.

Features

The tracks on the model work really well considering the heavy weight resting on them and this is in part helped by the working rollers on the track frame.

Access to the machine is provided via a pair of ladders.  One is a stairway which is controlled by a hydraulic cylinder and this mechanism works, and the second is a vertical ladder which can be lowered and raised.

The two doors to the operator's cab can be opened, and the various floodlights around the model can all be adjusted for angle.

The main functions of the shovel work well.  It rotates smoothly although care needs to exercised in terms of not pushing on the handrails to turn the model as these will likely bend before the mass of the model gives in to moving.  The dipper functions are operated using two long keys supplied with the model.  One operates the raising and lowering of the dipper.  This has a brake and the key has to be pushed in to operate it.  A good job has been done to keep the pair of crowd ropes taut, and there is plenty of thread on the drum to allow a full range of action which is an improvement over the original model.  The tubular handle is worked by a separate winch at the front which is frictional and controls it well.

The dipper door can be opened by turning the small winch at the base of the boom and this mechanism is very pleasant to operate.  Closing the door gives a satisfying 'clunk'.

Quality

It is easy to view this model purely in terms of its bulk and weight but this would do it a disservice.  This is a very high quality model which is superbly detailed and gives the feeling that it has been designed with particular care and attention.  The details and castings are all first rate, with graphics and paintwork that enhance the model.  Functionality is very good, with smoothly operating parts not troubled by the significant weight and loads on them.

Price

This model is of course not cheap and will be beyond the range of some collectors.  For those that invest however it is good value for money as it offers a great combination of size and detail.

Overall

This version does not have the set of spare tracks provided previously, and it would probably have been better to provide the stinger attachment as separate parts for the collector to fix if they wanted to.  It offers slightly less for the money as a result.

However it certainly offers the same high quality as the first version and although the scale modelling world has moved on since 2006, this is still an outstanding model and many collectors who missed out first time will be pleased with the chance to acquire it.

Footnotes

The model first appeared in 2006 in the following versions:  Model 011 495HF in Bucyrus colours, run of 1500;  Model 011 495HF in Syncrude colours  (red), run of 500;  Model 012 495HR in Bucyrus colours, run of 1500.  The 495HF
'Fastfil' bucket is available separately from Sword Models and has been produced in a run of 1000.  In July 2008 a second production run in four variations was announced.  The production runs of these variants is: ED, 300; CV, 230; FD, 120; LB, 300.

In 2011 Caterpillar completed the acquisition of Bucyrus and the large mining shovels were rebranded as Caterpillar 7495 machines.  TWH released Caterpillar versions of the mining shovel models in late 2012 in a run of 400 models each of the HR and HF versions.
 
Sharp blue and white Escondida colours.
Air conditioners for the cab.
This version is fitted with black tracks.
Yes, it is rather large.
On the model the convex mirror works, so it is no good trying to hide from the operator.
Together with a Bucyrus 49HR Blast Hole Drill you can set up your own mining operation at home.