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In-Box Review
Umex Earth Scraper
Caterpillar 631A Scraper
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:
RailRoad Modeling

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The early 1960s was a time of many model companies and hobby alliances. In Austria Umex was an early maker of detailed 1/87 HO scale models for the railroad community. They had a small series of construction machinery known as Minimovers. In North and South American Umex was distributed by the late great AHM (click here for AHM Reviews). AHM, or Associated Hobby Manufacturers, (Until recently was reincarnated as IHC,INTERNATIONAL HOBBY CORPORATION, until IHC's demise a year ago) was a multi-faceted hobby powerhouse c.1960s-80s. Modelers of that era, especially model railroaders, no doubt had some of AHM’s products.

Sometime in the mid-60s Umex and Minimovers joined Roco. Roco distributed the Minimovers with their Minitanks series of military vehicles (Please see Click here for additional images for this review: above the SUMMARY box for Minitank reviews).

Minimovers models are:

• U301 Caterpillar 4-wheel tractor
• U302 Caterpillar 4-wheel tractor
• U302 Caterpillar Traxcavator
• U303 Caterpillar 16 grader
• U304 Universal backhoe crawler
• U305 Caterpillar D8 bulldozer
• U306 Hamm road roller
• U307 Universal crane truck
U308 Caterpillar 631A scraper
• U309 Euclid R45 dumptruck
• U310 Construction crane
• U311 Hamm tandem roadroller
• U312 Universal clamshell crawler
• U313 Caterpillar grader
• U314 Caterpillar 4-wheel scraper (for U301)

According to our friends at 1/87thscale.info, "Umex was an Austrian company that produced assembled plastic models of construction equipment from the 1960's to the 1980's (?). There were about a dozen models which were all accurate in scale. Almost every model was moulded in a bright yellow plastic with black detail parts and soft plastic tires. The Euclid truck and the Hamm rollers were also moulded in orange. Umex and Roco seem to have cooperated in some way since the Cat grader was also available in military green in the Roco minitanks series during the 1960's. Eventually Umex disappeared from the market but three of the models were reissued by Roco (they probably bought the moulds) in 1982. There were some changes to the models but the imprint on the bottom still read Umex. The Roco models were all released in a dark yellow that resembled the original Caterpillar yellow. In 1988 the models also disappeared from the Roco catalogue.

Roco models were:

1403 - Caterpillar 16 grader
1404 - Caterpillar 631A scraper
1405 - Caterpillar 630A tractor plus 482C scraper

In 1999 Puget Sound Casting began manufacturing an Umex copy, it appears to be a 'remould' in resin.

97013 - Euclid R45 Dumper"

Caterpillar 631A Scraper
Caterpillar is huge construction machinery company dating back to 1925. “Cat” vehicles in their signature Caterpillar Yellow are found all over the world.

As a child I was fascinated by “dirt scrapers”, as these machines were known locally. They reminded me of dinosaurs. The biggest machines on the construction site, they gorged on huge quantities of dirt, loudly erupted black smoke skyward, and could really move when not scrapping – heady stuff for kids to watch. Caterpillar’s 631A scraper was introduced in 196o. Powered by a Cat D343 6-cylinder diesel rated at 420hp, they filled their pan with 21 cubic yards of earth, up to 28 cubic yards heaped. This was the last model with a cable actuated scraper.

Umex 631A Scraper
This model was acquired secondhand without the original packaging, a Umex / Roco blister card that both displays and protects the model. On the back is the history of the scraper.

The model is molded with shiny yellow plastic. The wheels are painted black. Comparing it to two other Umex models it appears the previous owner tried to enhance the model by painting details silver with red wheel hubs. I do not know how much of the model was factory appointed but the painting is a bit sloppy. “CATERPILLAR” should be in black.

The model has fair detail. The CAT diesel has basic simplified detail. The driver’s seat is way too small. The model lacks all the cable and tubing from the tractor part to the scraper pan. The headlights are neither clear plastic nor simulated with paint. Enjoy the photos of the model.

The machine is authentically articulated, the scraper raises and lowers, and the front of the pan opens and closes.

I have not found many of these models on on-line auctions. The Minimovers scraper is a fair model. Reasonably detailed, the model is fairly in scale. It’s an imposing machine! It will look good on any model railroad or construction diorama. Recommend.

[1] 1/87thscale.info

Click here for additional images for this review.

Highs: Fair detail and working parts.
Lows: Small seat, simplified detail.
Verdict: Reasonably detailed, the model is fairly in scale. It’s an imposing machine! It will look good on any model railroad or construction diorama.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:87
  Mfg. ID: U308
  Related Link: Umex Models
  PUBLISHED: Jun 02, 2011
  NATIONALITY: United States

About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2021 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


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