1. Quality of the model. I’m getting really tired of the toy companies producing cheaply constructed models of inferior production quality. I cant fault the manufacturers for using plastic or resin due to the cost of metal, and the ease of molding plastic, but anybody who still produces die cast with high detail receives bonus points. Furthermore 3 models in specific with high detail were kept off this list because the gross amount of plastic than cheapens them (John Deere Baler, and The Case IH baler. Both are good models, but are more toy like than collectible like in my opinion.
2. Level of detail. This is different from quality. You can create something from plastic, paint it, and it looks exactly like the real machine (HN320). My problem with plastic is when it comes from the mold and is a different color than the die cast part of the tractor (Look at the Ertl 4wd produced in the last 10 years. Only a few have the painted plastic cab top. The ones that don’t are a different color, have white stress lines, and often don’t fit correctly.) This is an easy thing to fix, yet Ertl doesn't because it probably costs 8 cents more per model. So models that score highly in this category will have excellent details, hoses, fuel lines, working doors, and show minimal casting flash, and have excellent paint. If something is made from plastic, fine, but I shouldn’t be able to tell its plastic just by looking at it.
3. Uniqueness. Ideally I would have 100 brand new models to choose from that have excellent detail and a very high level of finish. This is not reality, and toy companies are in the business of making money. Not their fault, but it limits the models that are produced because they have to maximize the usage of their existing casts, and minimize tooling costs. So I will give bonus points for a model that we haven’t seen before or sticks out from a long lines of the typical clones of previous models that are paraded out every year.
The Top 5
5. 1/64 Steiger Panther II Stars and Stripes (ertl)– While the new Steiger casts are relatively fresh in the 1/64 tractors, they made their big splash in 2007. I chose this tractor mainly because it scored highly in level of detail (for 1/64th) and Uniqueness. Sure this close to the 10th variation to come from the new Steiger castings, but it’s the first one covered in the American flag. The original tractor was produced in 1976 for the Bicentennial, and Toy Tractor Times has produced a 1/64 replica to commemorate the production of this tractor. It was released as part of a spirit of 76 set, and comes with a Case 1370 that also is bearing the stars and stripes. This tractor is not just unique but boasts very good detail for a 1/64 4wd. It has excellent paint and finish, cab glass, window trim, and a mini toolbox. In general the Steigers have had good detail, but this one has a very good finish.
4. 1/64 John Deere DB44 Bauer Built (spec cast)– Basically this is a smaller version of the DB90 that was released a few years ago. The reason it son the list is because it’s a smaller version of the best 1/64 implement of all time. This may be a bold statement, but Id say I’ve personally seen 99% of all 1/64 scale implements on earth, and this model has the highest detail, best finish quality, and smoothest operation of any mass produced 1/64 implement that I have seen. And on top of all that its mostly die cast, and has a hitch pin that actually makes sense and works with many tractors. The DB 44 has realistic seed tanks, row openers, tires, wheels, and telescoping hitch. It may be the little brother of the DB90, buts its just as nice, and in fact probably makes more sense on most peoples farms.
3. 1/64th John Deere 9630T (ertl)– I Just really, really like the improvements made on this model. This is not unique because Ertl has produced many 9000 series tracked variations, but they added cab glass, a very nicely casted hood and engine, and excellent finish and paint on they whole model. So this model for a 1/64 boasts excellent quality and good detail. I do have 1 major criticism of the detail and that’s of the louse replica of the adjustable hitch on the back. If you look at the cast there is a giant line down the back that makes the cast halves and the drawbar is made very sloppily. Overall a great model with good detail. And to top it off is only about $8.
2. 1/16 Big Bud HN320 (universal hobbies)– The only 1/16 scale model on the list has the best detail of any tractor in my collection including all of the precisions that I own. I will do a future article on this tractor in full photo detail, but let me tell you what put it on the list, Imagine a tractor that has exact replicas of the fan belts and spark plug wires. Yes its that detailed.
1. Case IH 7088 (ertl)– If you have ever read this blog purposely and not because you were searching for Zac’s Trackers, or Macs Tractor Trailers, or Wax Packaging, then you know mainly this site displays highly detailed 1/64 scale replicas. So just about any precision that is produced in 1/64 is bound to occupy this spot. This is a unique model because it’s the first 1/64 Case IH Authentic model, and the first authentic combine, but I have to note that there have been many Case IH combines produced, especially with the 8000/7000 body style. The level of detail is good but not great. The wheels steer, the cab opens, and the feederhousing can raise and lower, so that is good for detail, but all of these things are relatively sloppy. The quality is better than the 7930 sprayer (Please don’t get me started) But there is some quality lacking. I will go through all of the intricacies of the 7088 in a future article, but because of the level of detail in 1/64 it gets my #1 release of the year.