Benbros Mighty Midgets
No.44 Articulated Low Loader
Mighty Midget No.44 Articulated Low Loader was arguably a model about which Benbros could not make up their minds! There were three separate versions and several variations of the trailer and three different types of wheel including silver plastic wheels for the first time.
The first version Benbros planned for the trailer of No.44 was an articulated Low Loader with a hinged ramp at the rear. This required a simple one-piece casting for the trailer and a small second casting for the ramp. It had a smooth floor, was painted beige or light tan including the ramp and had unpainted metal wheels. There was no identification on the trailer. It measured about 65mm in length with cab which was usually either red or green.
Play value was certainly improved by having a ramp but possibly the factory assembly was awkward. Whatever the reason, in a short time Benbros re-cast the trailer without the ramp. The second version was a plain trailer with no additions although it was given a ribbed floor. It was painted pale-blue, had metal wheels on flat-head & crimped axles, no identification and usually came with an orange Bedford cab.
Soon realising perhaps that it was a bit dull, Benbros then decided to enhance the Low Loader by mounting a crane on it and this was the version which they settled on. The crane was fixed by a central peg slotted into the load-bed which in theory should have enabled it to turn but in practice it was usually fixed. Sometimes for this reason, models are found with the crane out of alignment.
Initially, the crane trailers were painted pale-blue with silver trim on the 'hook', which was actually a ball, and were fitted with unpainted metal wheels. They usually came with red Bedford cabs.
At about this time, Benbros were switching to black plastic wheels so the pale-blue crane trailer was later issued with these. It also came with a matching pale-blue Bedford cab with black plastic wheels, a rare cab which seems to have been only issued with this model.
Two more trailer colours were added with black plastic wheels. These were dark-red and cream (or pale-beige), both with silver trim. Of these, the red version was the most common and it usually came with a mid-blue cab.
The final version of No.44 was fitted with silver plastic wheels on push-fit axles on both trailer and cab, a rare occurrance in the Mighty Midget Series making this a sought-after item. The trailer was dark-yellow and the Bedford cab pale-blue.
The Mighty Midget box for No.44 Articulated Low Loader seems to indicate the uncertainty which Benbros had in deciding what the model was going to be. It does have the correct name on the sides but the picture shows not a low loader but a flat-bed truck loaded with wood planks.
All the Low Loader versions are scarce or rare except the dark-red one and even that is not common. The first version with ramp and the last one with silver plastic wheels are very rare.
Variation 1: Beige trailer with hinged ramp, umw, green cab
Variation 2 : pale-blue trailer, ribbed floor, umw, orange cab
Benbros No.44 Articulated Low Loader
Trailer variations (with frequent cab colours)
All models had Mighty Midget boxes
(1) BEIGE with REAR RAMP, SMOOTH floor, umw, red or green cab
(2) PALE-BLUE, NO crane or ramp, RIBBED floor, umw, orange cab
(3) PALE-BLUE including CRANE, ribbed floor, umw, red cab
(4) PALE-BLUE including crane, ribbed floor, BLACK pw, matching pale-blue cab
(5) RED including crane, ribbed floor, bpw, blue or beige cab
(6) CREAM including crane, ribbed floor, bpw, mid-blue cab
(7) YELLOW including crane, ribbed floor, SILVER pw (push-fit axles), pale-blue cab
photo Robert Newson
Variation 3 : pale-blue with crane, umw, red cab
Variation 4 : pale-blue with crane, bpw, matching cab
Variation 5 : dark-red with crane, bpw, mid-blue cab
photo Robert Newson
Variation 6 : Cream trailer & crane, bpw, mid-blue cab
Trailer underside & coupling