login   |    register
AHM (out of business) [ MORE REVIEWS ] [ WEBSITE ] [ NEW STORIES ]

First Look Review
Umex Road Grader
Caterpillar Motor Grader
  • move

by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:
RailRoad Modeling

  • move
  • move

As a boy one of my favorite construction machines was the road grader. Umex made one for their Minimovers series, item U-303.

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. Associated Hobby Manufacturers, (until recently was reincarnated as IHC, INTERNATIONAL HOBBY CORPORATION, until IHC's recent demise) 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 "RELATED LINK" below in 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 yellow that resembles Caterpillar yellow.
Roco models were:

    1403 - Caterpillar 16 grader (Z-97 in the Minitanks series)
    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 16 Grader
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 “road graders”, as these machines were known locally. They reminded me of dinosaurs. Graders were my favorite piece of heavy machinery on the construction site. I still look forward to the day I can operate a grader—and a bulldozer! Caterpillar’s 16 Grader was introduced in 1960.
Umex Caterpillar 16 Grader
This model was packed in Umex’s red and white blister card that both displayed and protected the model--please see the link Click here for additional images for this review below. On the back was the history of the grader.

The molding is sharp and without sinkholes or flash. The model is snap-tight, parts held by tabs and slots. There is a basic interior detail. The cab can be removed.
This model was detailed with cab steps and a beacon atop the cab. Other features:

    • The rear suspension moves.
    • A nicely molded engine is visible.
    • Most of the parts, such as the blade and rear plow, are positionable.

Umex did not use any clear lenses for lights.
I have not found many of these models on on-line auctions. I wanted one of these forever. Finally I got a hold of one. I like the movable parts and the nice detail.

It will look good on any model railroad or construction diorama. Recommend.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here – on RailRoadModeling.net.

[1] 1/87thscale.info

Click here for additional images for this review.

Highs: Positionable components. Nice detail.
Lows: Molded detail.
Verdict: It will look good on any model railroad or construction diorama.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:87
  Mfg. ID: U-303
  Suggested Retail: Varies
  Related Link: Minitank Reviews
  PUBLISHED: Mar 01, 2012
  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.


What's Your Opinion?

Click image to enlarge
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move
  • move