Benbros TV Series & Mighty Midgets
No.8 Foden Timber Tractor
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 of the trailer. 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 possibly 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 tractor 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 partly 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 the underside was left bare. Both red and green colours were used.
The third tractor casting was similar to type 2 but the id. was no longer included underneath. This version only appeared in green.
There were possibly two castings of the tractor base, the second having strengthening around the rear tow-hook but the often poor standard of the bases on the Foden Tractors makes this uncertain.
Strengthening was also added to the second type trailer on the insides of the front timber uprights and where the support unit joins the central girder. Both yellow and red trailers had this but it was more clearly defined on the yellow ones.
The first issue of the model had a type 1 bright red tractor body (some with silver trim on the grille) with a black base and a yellow trailer with a dowel 'log'. Both tractor and trailer had unpainted metal wheels on round-head & crimped axles. The box was 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 tractor body towing a red type 2 trailer with strengtheners. Like the first issue, unpainted metal wheels on round-head axles were used.
Next, the type 2 tractor body appeared in red or orange-red with a darker yellow trailer (type 2) and unpainted metal wheels on nail-head and crimped axles.
The final variation had a type 3 tractor (without id.) in green with a red trailer and black plastic wheels on nail-head, or occaisionally round-head, & crimped axles.
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 type 1 tractor, YELLOW type 1 trailer, umw, dowel, TV3 box
(2) GREEN type 2 tractor, RED type 2 trailer, umw, dowel, MM box
(3) ORANGE-RED type 2 tractor, DARK YELLOW type 2 trailer, umw, dowel, MM box
(4) GREEN type 3 tractor, RED type 2 trailer, bpw, dowel, MM box
Type 1 cab (left); Type 2 cab (right)
Tractor base variations
Type 1 Trailer (top)
Type 2 Trailer with strengtheners (bottom)
Three Trailer colours
Round-head axles (left), nail-head (centre & right)
Type 1 (left), Type 2 (centre), Type 3 (right)