One of the more popular TV models, No.8 Foden Log Carrier was the first lorry in the Benbros TV Series and bridged the gap between horse drawn items (which had dominated the early issues) and motor vehicles and trucks which soon became central to the Mighty Midget range.
It is interesting that Benbros called this model a Tractor whereas today it would probably be termed a truck. The real vehicle was an off-road, four-wheel drive heavy duty machine and Benbros emphaised this by including a dowel which, by scale, was a very large load.
The tractor was a simple two-part casting comprising the body, painted red or green, and the black base section which included mudguards, axle holders, and a rear hook. Attached by an unpainted towbar, the trailer was a simple 'girder-style' design with six wheels and four upright timber supports. The front wheels and towbar were on a separate casting rivetted onto the trailer so that they could turn. 'Benbros Made in England' was cast along the underside and the load was a length of dowel. When hooked up, the model measured about 110mm.
Although there were only four variations of the Foden Timber Tractor, each one had differences from the others apart from colour. The body had three different variations, the base two and the trailer two. Even the colours did not interchange: the red tractor only had a yellow trailer and the green tractor only a red one.
The first body was cast with an open rectangular space and a narrow crossbar at the rear above the hook at the back. In the centre underneath there was a lug onto which the base was rivetted and near this was cast 'Benbros Made in England' although it is not easy to see. The whole body was painted red inside and out.
The rear space on type 1 must have proved a weakness because the second casting of the body had it filled in and replaced with a small round hole but the id. remained. When it came to painting, the top outer part was done but now the underside was left bare. Both red and green colours were used.
The final casting was similar to type 2 but the id. was no longer cast underneath. This version only appeared in green.
The two base castings were fairly similar but the type 2 base had strengthening around the hook at the rear and maybe on cross-members although poor casting makes this uncertain. Strengthening also identified the two trailers with the second having strengthening on the front timber supports. The casting for this was sometimes done in a clumsy way on the red trailers but on the type 2 yellow trailers the improvement was clearly defined.
The first issue of the Foden Timber Tractor had a type 1 bright red body and black base, a yellow trailer, unpainted metal wheels on round-head & crimped axles, a dowel log, and came in a numbered TV Series box (TV3).
After this, all Timber Tractors were sold in Mighty Midget boxes including the first green version. This had a type 2 body but kept the type 1 base and towed a red type 2 trailer. Like the first issue, unpainted metal wheels on flat-head axles were used.
Next, the type 2 body appeared in red with a strengthened base (type 2), a dark-yellow trailer (type 2) and unpainted metal wheels on nail-head and crimped axles.
The last issue was a type 3 body in green rivetted to a type 1 black base, maybe to use up old stock, and a red trailer. The wheels were black plastic and the axles mostly nail-head & crimped but occaisionally round-head on the cab.
With such variety, the Foden Timber Tractor is interesting to collect. It is not uncommon but TV boxes are scarce.
Benbros No.8 Foden Timber Tractor
(1) RED cab (type 1) BLACK base (type 1) YELLOW trailer (type 1) umw dowel TV3 box
(2) GREEN cab (type 2) BLACK base (type 1) RED trailer (type 2) umw dowel MM box
(3) RED cab (type 2) BLACK base (type 2) DARK YELLOW trailer (type 2) umw dowel MM box
(4) GREEN cab (type 3) BLACK base (type 1) RED trailer (type 2) bpw dowel MM box
Estimated Price Guide
(MINT models in MINT boxes)
(2) (3) (4) £25-45