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Benbros Qualitoys

311 Medium Excavator

Benbros devised two completely different models for the Medium Excavator with each one being differently illustrated on the two types of boxes in which they were issued.


The first version, which carried no identification or maker's name, was possibly created when the Benenson brothers were trading as Pure Rubber Products before the Benbros name was introduced, but from the illustration on the box, which does have the 'Benbros Qualitoy' logo, it seems clear that the older model was part of the initial range.


Cast in four separate parts with four metal wheels and no tracks, the first Excavator was a fairly basic model. It shared body, working handles, base and wheels with the Medium Crane but instead of a jib it had a heavy lifting arm and bucket. These were fixed to the body with a crimped pin and were controlled by two lengths of string attached to winding handles. A central rivet fixed the body to the base and this meant that the Excavator could swing in a complete circle. 


Benbros painted it in bright colours and there seem to have been four variations. All had red bodies and yellow jibs but the bases, buckets, and wheels could be different with dark-green or pale-green bases, red or unpainted buckets, and yellow or unpainted wheels.


It was not long before Benbros replaced the first Excavator with the much more familiar Ruston-Bucyrus 10-RB version which was a detailed and well made model. The body, painted in yellow and red, included the two control handles and was fixed to the base by a central rivet. It was finished with 'RB-10' decals on each side. Underneath the body, 'Benbros' and 'Made in England' were cast. The green base had unpainted rollers and dark-grey rubber tracks and no id.


There were three separate castings created for the excavator section, the lifting jib, the bucket and supporting arm, and the separate opening bucket base. These were all painted dark-green. There was also an unpainted pulley or block at the top for the string connection to the bucket.


The link between the jib and the body at first continued with the 'pin type' method of the early crane, and the operating handles remained unpainted. Later Benbros began painting the handles with a glossy black finish and at about the same time recast the jib-link to a 'slot-in' connection similar to the Medium Crane. The handles were normally one on each side.


The two boxes used for the Medium Excavator were shared with the Medium Crane. They were completely different in both colour and illustrations, and the second one was quite a bit larger. The first one was red and black with pictures of the first versions of the Excavator and Crane. 'Benbros Qualitoy' and 'Made in England' were printed on the end flaps with a blank panel for model details. 'Medium Excavator 311' and '310 Medium Crane' were printed on two of the picture faces.


The second shared box was a pastel coloured one with illustrations of the Ruston Bucyrus models. Names of the two models (but no numbers) and the word 'Qualitoy' were included on each picture. As with the first box, 'Benbros Qualitoy Made in England' was printed on both end flaps and a blank panel was left for the name of the model inside to be stamped although this does not seem to have been done much.


The first version of the Medium Excavator is a scarce model and rare in good condition. The Ruston Bucyrus variation is more common but both the boxes are hard to find, especially the second one.

Benbros Qualitoys Medium Excavator
Benbros Qualitoys Medium Excavator

Variation 1: First version, dark-green base, yellow pmw, red bucket

Benbros Qualitoys Medium Excavator (first version)

photo Christopher Took

Variation 4: First version, pale-green base, unpainted mw & bucket

Benbros Qualitoys 311 Medium Excavator



1)  RED body,  unpainted handles,  YELLOW jib,  RED bucket,  DARK-GREEN base,  YELLOW painted mw

2)  RED body,  unpainted handles,  YELLOW jib,  um bucket,  DARK-GREEN base,  unpainted mw

3)  RED body,  unpainted handles,  YELLOW jib,  um bucket,  PALE-GREEN base,  YELLOW painted mw

4)  RED body,  unpainted handles,  YELLOW jib,  um bucket,  PALE-GREEN base,  unpainted mw 

5)  RED/YELLOW RB body,  green jib/bucket (PIN link),  UM or BLACK handles,  DARK-GREEN base,  um rollers/grey tracks 


6)  RED/YELLOW RB body,  green jib/bucket (SLOT-IN link),  BLACK handles,  DARK-GREEN base,  um rollers/grey tracks

Benbros Qualitoys Medium Excavator
Benbros Qualitoys Medium Excavator

Variation 5: RB version, pin-type jib link, um handles, type 1 box

Benbros Qualitoys 311 Medium Excavator
Benbros Qualitoy 311 Medium Excavator

Variation 6: slot-in jib link, black handles, type 1 box

The two shared boxes: type 1 (top), type 2 (bottom)

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