Budgie Toys No.256
Esso Aircraft Refuelling Tanker 'Pluto'
Issued 1961-64 Length 149mm OO/HO scale (1:76)
The vehicle on which the Aircraft Refuelling Tanker was based could have been seen at many airports in the 1960's. It had a distinctive cab with a high roof and upper windows to enable the driver to see the aircraft when manoevering the tanker. The cab unit was a Foden lorry although for some reason Budgie replaced the Foden logo on the front with an 'Esso' one.
The Aircraft Refuelling Tanker was well cast with plenty of external detail on both cab and trailer. Finished in bright red, the cab had silver trim on the front bumper, headlights and usually on the 'Esso' logo within the grille. The large window insert was clear but sometimes a pale amber. Above the front bumper the black tab of the cab base was visible, the base being fixed in place by a central rivet. This carried the model number and 'A Budgie Toy' with the usual 'Made in England'.
Made in one casting, the trailer body was a fairly unexciting item but Budgie brightened it with some good detail and large side and rear decals. Into the body was fitted the black trailer base with a rear tab and two clip-fit nodules on each side. This was then riveted onto the cab chassis to provide a permanent coupling. On the base the model name 'Esso Aircraft Refuelling Tanker "PLUTO"' was cast along with the model scale 'OO scale' at the rear.
The Refueller was issued with silver plastic wheels and knobbly tyres and these remained unchanged throughout the production run. There was no change to the castings or colours of the model.
The primary type of box used for the 'Pluto' refueller was a Morris & Stone style box with numbers on the picture faces as well as on the end-flaps (A4) but late in the life of the Refueller a box appeared which had 'Budgie Models' named as manufacturer (A6). This is is a rare box.
The red paint finish on the Esso Aircraft Refuelling Tanker was not always as good as other Budgie models and over the years has tended to deteriorate or show wear on the many raised lines. Finding mint examples requires patience and the Refueller is anyway not particularly common.
Budgie No.256 Esso Aircraft Refuelling Tanker 'Pluto'
RED Cab & Trailer
CLEAR or pale AMBER windows
silver plastic wheels (knobbly tyres)
A4 or A6 box