Lesney Matchbox time is here again, time for something different. Today we examine a piece of heavy equipment. This is Lesney Matchbox 24a, the Weatherill hydraulic excavator. This casting entered the range in 1956, and remained until no later than 1959. For this early date, it has good detail:

Weatherill was the conversion company for this type of equipment, I have read the tractor basis was a Ford. This model would be enlarged slightly for the similar looking 24b - the easy way to differentiate these is the wheels. 24a has metal wheels, 24b has plastic wheels. The Weatherill decal at rear would also be used on 24b As one can see, this is a metal wheels model. Scale is hard to estimate as I don’t know the dimensions of the real world vehicle, but this is not a large casting - I will guess somewhere around 1:75 or so. There’s a nice amount of casting line detail, and the driver adds charm to the piece. The hinged shovel piece adds endless play value. From all angles, it is a high quality casting: 

A few views of the shovel in action, one can see it has a wide range, no doubt these were enjoyed in the sandbox and play floor:

Front and rear have similar detail. The cast-in “WH” on the grille area is a nice touch. The decal has survived perfectly:

The base is basic, typical for the time, with maker data barely visible in the hollow area:

This model is lucky enough to live in its original pristine time warp quality box. The silver trim also appears as-new, as this model has not seen much time outside. Judging by details on the box, this was made in roughly 1957:

I am definitely happy to have this model. This came in an original owner collection I bought several years ago, and is as good of an example as one can find:

A couple of somewhat similar examples from fordsontractorpages,com and tractors.wikia.com. Finding an identical vehicle would be very difficult, as these lacked the production numbers of normal cars, and were used up and discarded, very low survival rates. Nowadays such vehicles are being preserved: