Budgie Toys No.234
Transporter with Crawler Tractor
Issued 1959-1965 Length 155mm
Many diecast makers often looked for opportunities to re-cyle their existing models to create something new and Budgie did the same with the Transporter. Instead of carrying a military tank as it had when issued as No.222 Tank Transporter, it was given new colours and a Crawler Tractor for a load.
The International Harvester cab, originally part of the Morestone 'Trucks of the World' Series, was this time coloured orange with painted metal wheels. It still carried the original wording on the cab base and had an open front axle (type 1). Early issues had the base colour a paler orange which was probably a primer or pre-finish paint.
Coupled to the cab was the Transporter Trailer with rear ramps which could be lowered or raised. It was painted in tan finish all over including the wheels. Both cab and trailer were fitted with treaded tyres on most of the early models but knobbly tyres similar to those on the Tank Transporter were occaisionally used. Sometimes models had both types but normally they were matching on cab and trailer.
New to this model was the Crawler Tractor. Oddly, it only appeared on the Transporter and was never added to the Miniatures range. Hollow cast in one piece, it had metal rollers and black tracks. These tracks were slightly unusual in not having the conventional raised strips across the tracks but instead cuts or indentations which were broadly spaced along the length of the tracks. Only on the very last issues of the Crawler Tractor when silver plastic rollers were fitted did this change to more conventional tracks.
The Crawler Tractor was always orange like the cab and inside underneath 'Made in England' was cast.
Along with other models, Budgie updated the Transporter cab and trailer in 1962 with push-fit silver plastic wheels and treaded tyres. The Crawler Tractor, however, kept its metal rollers.
The final changes came with the last issue. This utilised a re-designed International cab with a new casting without a rivetted base and with a covered front axle. On the trailer the words 'A Budgie Toy' were altered to 'A Budgie Model'. The wheels of both cab and trailer were changed to ridged silver plastic with knobbly tyres, and the Crawler Tractor was fitted with silver plastic rollers which were smaller than the previous metal ones and had different style tracks.
Boxes for the Tractor Transporter were un-numbered at first (A1) and then had a small number added in the top right corner of the picture faces (A2). When end-flap numbers were introduced, No.234 received the usual upgrade (A4) and after Budgie Toys joined the Guiterman Group, the manufacturer's name on the picture faces was altered to reflect the new ownership (A7). There was also a final issue in open-sided blue & white window packs on which the model name was changed to 'Tractor Transporter'.
No.234 Transporter with Crawler Tractor was a common inclusion in the Budgie Sets and so is reasonably easy to find and judging by the number of box variations it must have been a good seller. However it also had a good 'play' factor so mint models are not so easy to uncover. The last issue with ridged silver wheels and plastic rollers on the Crawler Tractor is scarce, and the C2 window pack is very rare.
Budgie No.234 Transporter with Crawler Tractor
1) ORANGE cab (type 1) TAN trailer pmw (treaded tyres) ORANGE tractor (metal rollers) A1 or A2 box
2) ORANGE cab (type 1) TAN trailer pmw (knobbly tyres) ORANGE tractor (metal rollers) AI or A2 box
3) ORANGE cab (type 1) TAN trailer spw (treaded tyres) ORANGE tractor (metal rollers) A4 box
4) ORANGE cab (type 2) TAN trailer ridged spw (knobbly tyres) ORANGE tractor (sp rollers) A7 box or C2 pack