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Collector-Quality Precise Models
Dave Bell has made a lot of farm kids of all ages happy with his collector-quality, pewter and diecast farm equipment. For more than 30 years, his company SpecCast has made as many as 1,000 different units from which perhaps 10,000 variations have been produced and sold through a network of dealers.
“When we make a 1750 or 1850 Oliver, we are also making the 1755 and 1855,” explains Bell. “Collectors often want the entire series, plus 6 versions of each with wide and narrow front ends, etc. That’s how we can justify the precise tooling needed.”
Bell admits that it is hard to put an exact number on the number of models the company has made. At one time he kept one of each.
“If I had kept doing that, we would have a 50 by 100-ft. warehouse full,” laughs Bell.
Bell spent the first half of his career with mega farm toy maker Ertl. Wanting to be his own boss, he bought a small company that made cast belt buckles, key tags and other specialty pieces. At first, he expanded into 1/50 scale pewter tractors. Then he made some spincast 1/16 scale tractors. Even then, they weren’t toys.
“I knew we couldn’t compete in the low-cost toy business, but we could compete in the collectors’ market,” says Bell.
While the company is still selling the belt buckles and key tags, the big business is farm equipment. Over time, SpecCast expanded from original tractor manufacturers to add brands like Kinze and J&M Mfg. Products now include tillers, swingarm toolbars, pump and hose units, planters, grain carts and more. Farm trucks are also included, from classics like a 1941 Plymouth pickup to new Fords and Chevys.
“Farm miniature collectors have evolved from farmers to small town Americans whose dads, uncles or grandfathers farmed. They want a model of the tractor they remember, and then they start buying others.”
Although Bell built the company around detailed models, even that has changed...for the better. “The quality has continued to improve since we started 34 years ago,” he says. “Each time we make a new version of a tractor it’s better than the previous one with more detail.”
With new equipment, the detail is easier to produce, thanks to CAD drawings. With older equipment, SpecCast works with photos, taking measurements, making a model, reviewing it and critiquing it to make sure it’s accurate.
“With CAD drawings we can do more detail, do a better job and make a better product than ever before,” says Bell.
SpecCast makes precision models in a wide variety of sizes from 1/16 to 1/64 ratios. The company has licensing and partnering agreements with OEMs of all sizes and works closely with them when making a new model from their company lineup.
Prices for SpecCast replicas vary by model and by the outlet. A 1/16-scale Oliver Super 88 diecast tractor with a 74H picker sheller varies in price from $174 at Dalton Farm Toys to $349.96 when purchased from Hamilton Collections.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, SpecCast, P.O. Box 368, Dyersville, Iowa 52040 (ph 563 875-8706; toll free 800 844-8067; custservice@speccast.com; www.speccast.com).

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2021 - Volume #45, Issue #5