Caterpillar MH3049 Material Handler
by: Steven Downes
Presented here is the 1:50th scale Caterpillar MH3049 material handler which has been produced by Tonkin Replicas. The MH3049 is certainly an unusual looking machine, futuristic in design with curved body panels and some interesting design features. The new range of handlers have been designed from the ground up by Exodus, who have signed an agreement with Caterpillar to build the machines from their factory based in Superior, USA.
The model from Tonkin Replicas has certainly captured the revolutionary looks with a wheeled undercarriage that has working outriggers with pivoting pads which can actually raise the model off its wheels.
One of the axles is steering and the tyres have a very interesting and authentic tread pattern.
The body has access steps integrated into the front body design for servicing, complete with proportionally scaled metal safety railings and small printed labels.
Cab entry and egress is achieved, just like on the real machine, by extending the cabin to ground level and this works very well on the model, while also allowing the cabin to be positioned at height for a perfect view of the work area.
The riser mechanism geometry also allows the cabin to be moved forward which could be usefull for looking into waste bins and the like.
The model is supplied with three different work tools, a functional magnet, and both 4-tine and 5-tine grapples which are modelled on the interesting cam operation for opening and closing although because there are no hydraulic cylinders, the individual tines are loose and cannot grip anything.
The magnet has a magnetised centre so will hold small metal objects which is a nice touch and is connected to the model via small chains with a flexible cable to connect to the line fitted to the stick.
Overall, the model is a good addition to the growing Caterpillar model fleet although the first batch has a couple of small issues, like the light housings on the stick which are mounted upside down and the loose hydraulic cylinders fitted to the boom and stick which prevent the model from holding certain poses.