Benbros Mighty Midgets
No.46 Articulated Petrol Tanker
Among the articulated models in the Benbros Mighty Midget Series, No.46 Petrol Tanker is the longest (64mm) and some would argue the most appealing. It was planned as an 'Esso' tanker from the start even if the first issue had no decals because it was only painted red, the colour in 1957 of 'Esso' livery.
The Petrol tanker trailer was cast in two parts, the main one being the tank and mudguards with a second oval casting forming the rear end. There was no identification as with all the articulated models, and the wheels were fixed directly onto the trailer.
Although it was always painted red, there were variations in tone from orange-red to bright red and dark-red, and usually the Bedford cabs, which were always red, were matching. After the first issue which had no decals, all later models carried the 'Esso' logo, usually on the left side but examples with right-hand decals, and sometimes with two decals, are known. Oddly, although they would have fitted, decals were never put on the rear of the tanker.
There were two types of wheels on No.46, unpainted metal on the early issues and then black plastic wheels on the last ones. The models with plastic wheels were darker red than the metal wheeled variations.
Unlike the box for No.22 'Esso' Petrol Tanker which showed a 'Shell' lorry, the Mighty Midget box for No.46 had a correct picture of an 'Esso' tanker.
The Articulated Petrol Truck is not a common model but with only a few variations it does not carry a premium value.
In recent years examples of No.46 Petrol Tanker have come to light in several different colours with matching cabs, some with silver plastic wheels. These differ from other No.46 models in several ways, the main ones being differences in the casting of the trailers. The coloured models, firstly, do not have a toolbox on the righthand side next to the mudguard, and secondly the tank lids on the top do not have hinges. All the red models have both toolbox and hinges. Also the Bedford cabs have been painted inside which Benbros almost never did, and the paint is quite thick, unlike the usual finish. Next, the 'Esso' decal has a rim which the original ones did not have, and finally the wheels are a thin, nearly smooth type not normally used by Benbros.
The conclusion, until more evidence can be found, is that these coloured models are of questionable provenance and were almost certainly not originally issued by Benbros. (See photos below)
Variation 1 : red, no decal, umw
No.46 Articulated Petrol Tanker
Trailer variations (with usual cab colour)
All models had Mighty Midget boxes
(1) RED No decal umw matching red cab
(2) RED 'Esso' decal umw matching red cab
(3) ORANGE-RED 'Esso decal umw matching orange-red cab
(4) DARK-RED 'Esso' decal bpw matching red cab
Estimated Price Guide
(MINT models in MINT boxes)
All variations : £45-70
Variation 2: red, 'Esso' decal on left side, umw
Variation 2: red, 'Esso' decal on right side, umw
Variation 3 : orange-red, 'Esso' decal, umw
Variation 4 : dark-red, 'Esso' decal, bpw
Benbros No.46 colours : models with umw - orange-red & red
Benbros No.46 : colours, wheels & decals
Playworn model with two 'Esso' decals
No.46 Petrol Tanker : underside & coupling
A black Petrol Tanker showing differences in casting, paint finish, decal, and wheels