Model Construction Equipment
Contractor Leon Thompson’s collection, which primarily features custom-made 1:3 scale models, is housed in a 3, 000-square foot building on his Florida homestead. When he buys a model, he asks each model maker to give him the history of the piece and how they designed it, which he displays on cards alongside the model. Thompson started with small diecast models, and still owns several, but now likes to concentrate on larger scale models.
"I've been a model equipment and real equipment lover since before I could walk, " says John Gibson. "I was even named after John Deere!" John's favorite model is his Ertl 1:50 Deere 470 GLC excavator. "I like it because of it's price, detail, functionality and build quality, " he says, saying it was around $50, and citing details such as hydraulic lines, steps and wide triple grouser tracks. "It also has a hood that opens to show a nicely detailed engine and smooth 360-degree rotation. My more expensive models are incredibly fragile, but this one balances detail and build quality nicely."
Shay Stutsman, project manager for Stutsman Gerbaz Excavating in Snowmass, Colorado, is a third generation contractor. "I got into collecting because as a young boy all I wanted to do was to play with the real equipment, so my dad gave me the next best thing: a model of my favorite machine, a Cat 953 loader." When the company bought a D Series Cat 953 in 2008, Stutsman had a model built to match, including company and dealer decals.
Diego Ara hails from Spain and says he started building his own heavy equipment models after he couldn't find what he wanted, and "the big price or poor quality" of models he did find. He is pictured with his O&K RH400 shovel, a model he's especially proud of, which took him a year to finish, and involved more than 4, 000 pieces.