Budgie Toys No.260
Ruston Bucyrus Excavator
Issued 1962 Length (with jib lowered) 155mm
In September 1961 Sam and Harry Morris, owners of Morris & Stone (London) Ltd., sold the Budgie Toys firm to the Guiterman Group and one of the first models under the new owners was No.260 Ruston Bucyrus 10-RB Excavator. This was a close copy of a Moko model from the early 1950's. It had quite a complicated construction and marked an increasing move towards toys with more 'play value' which was affecting all diecast toy makers in the early 1960's.
Following the Budgie tendency to cast two-tone models in separate sections, the Excavator's upper yellow and lower red parts were different castings with the lower section also having 'Ruston Bucyrus' cast at the back. Large decals depicting among other details the engine vents and the '10-RB' name adorned the sides and rear.
Through the centre of the body there was a winder-pole for the black lifting cord operated by a handle on the right side. The cord ran through a block pulley at the head of the jib and then down to connect directly with the bucket. The bucket arm was fixed to the middle of the jib and this meant that by a simple leverage system, both bucket and jib could be lifted. The flap at the rear of the bucket opened automatically when the arm was lifted up so scooping up dry sand was sometimes difficult as it slid out freely unless the flap was held in place manually!
Both the jib and bucket as well as the base on which the Excavator sat were issued in two colours, dark green - as depicted in the box illustration - and beige or light-brown. As well as a colour difference, there was a small variation in the casting to the red section of the body and the jib, and in the the way the jib was attached. The green version had a little spike beside the coupling and the jib was fixed by a metal pin passing through a hole at the base and then bent to secure it. On the beige excavators, the jib was cast with two lugs at the base which clip-fitted onto the red body, and the spike was omitted.
Underneath, the round centre of the casting stated 'A Budgie Toy No.260 Made in England'. The metal roller-wheels, which were painted with the base, had separately cast 'covers' representing small wheels. Black rubber tracks with a distinctive pattern of alternating lateral slits and round hollows, unique to this model, were used by Budgie on most Excavators although on late examples more conventional tracks also seem to have been used.
No.260 Ruston Bucyrus Excavator was the first model to be only issued in a Guiterman Group box (A9) and as the model had a short production life there was no update. These boxes were flimsy for the size of the Excavator and are scarce. Mint boxes are very rare.
Most of the Excavator models were released with the dark-green base and jib so the light-brown versions are rare but models in either colour are hard to find, especially in an original box.
Budgie No.260 Ruston Bucyrus Excavator
1) RED & YELLOW body DARK-GREEN jib, bucket and base black tracks A9 box
2) RED & YELLOW body BEIGE jib, bucket and base black tracks A9 box