If you are a collector of small scale die cast vehicles, or if you have an HO scale model railroad layout, dollars to doughnuts says you don’t have anything like this in your collection.
The German die cast manufacturer Siku announced the release of an HO scale sugar beet harvester scheduled for 2012. Based on their 1/32 scale version, the new 1/87th scale williprobably include some of the features that make the big brother so cool. Those features include movable conveyor belts in the rear section, a movable forage arm, and adjustable grubbers. While grubbers don’t sound all that exotic to the off-the-street person, they are in fact the heart and soul of a harvester. The grubbers, reproduced in rubber on Siku’s 1/32 model, are the devices that pull the sugar beets from the ground. Having positionable grubbers means that you can display your harvester in either the working or in the driving mode. That has particular significance to model railroaders, for whom accuracy is a critical point.
Details on the new model remain sketchy, but we do know it’s scheduled for release in July of 2012, and should retail for around 16€, which works out to around $21 USD – not bad if the model carries the same features as the much larger 1/32 harvester currently on the market. Details are so difficult to find, in fact, that Siku themselves show the 1/32 scale model as their image for the new 1/87 unit.
In case you were curious, the sugar beet harvester Siku has chosen to model is the ROPA Eurotiger, an advanced design harvester powered by a Mercedes V8 engine. Although Siku calls them grubbers, ROPA refers to the beet-plucker units as scalpers, and in that the Eurotiger is a revolutionary machine. The scalper unit features mechanical feelers that sense the shape of each beet and slice it off just below the crown before feeding it into the hopper. The result is a much cleaner, healthier beet that requires much less processing once it’s been harvested and greatly reduces waste. This business is called micro-topping, and is quite new in the beet harvesting industry.
So, for twenty-one bucks, you’ll be able to get a truly revolutionary, truly unusual harvester for your die cast vehicle collection or model railroad layout. Although you’ll have to wait until July to get yours that’s okay, because who harvests sugar beets in January?