Diecast Mas­ters Cater­pil­lar 349F L XE

Brains and Brawn in a Fu­tur­is­tic Hy­draulic Loader

Die Cast X - - OUT OF THE BOX -

The se­lec­tion of ma­chines man­u­fac­tured un­der the Cater­pil­lar brand seems lim­it­less: in­dus­trial equip­ment of nearly ev­ery size and de­scrip­tion serv­ing func­tions so di­verse they would be im­pos­si­ble to list. That is how a com­pany like Diecast Mas­ters can de­vote it­self to mod­el­ing Cat prod­ucts and be con­stantly com­ing out with new and in­ter­est­ing mod­els.

And be­cause Cat it­self man­u­fac­tures its prod­ucts to com­ple­ment each other, work­ing seam­lessly in con­cert to ac­com­plish projects of enor­mous size and com­plex­ity, Diecast Mas­ters like­wise man­u­fac­tures its mod­els to in­ter­act—their scale and range of func­tional fea­tures nat­u­rally al­lows the mod­els to be dis­played to­gether as they func­tion. That presents an ex­tra level of en­gage­ment for col­lec­tors, as each dis­play com­bi­na­tion be­comes truly one-of-a-kind.

This time, we are tak­ing a look at the new High Line se­ries 49-ton hy­draulic loader: the 349F L XE. The model is so new, in fact, that Diecast Mas­ters had a pre­pro­duc­tion sam­ple shipped to us di­rectly from their fac­tory overseas be­fore the pack­ag­ing had even been fi­nal­ized. By the time pro­duc­tion pieces reach col­lec­tors, the model will in­clude the usual High Line metal pre­sen­ta­tion box (we’ve come to think of them as “lunch­boxes”) with pho­tos of the ac­tual 349F in ac­tion, along with specs and other in­for­ma­tion screen- printed on it. It re­ally is some of the nicest pack­ag­ing we see on any model these days.

The 349F L XE it­self is a tech­no­log­i­cal mar­vel. When it was launched in 2017, it in­tro­duced in­for­ma­tion and con­trol sys­tems that would have been pre­vi­ously unimag­in­able. It starts with Cat’s ex­clu­sive Adap­tive Con­trol Sys­tem valve— the smart valve in­te­grated into the pump that routes hy­draulic pres­sure quickly and pre­cisely to all the ve­hi­cle’s func­tions, in­creas­ing its speed and ef­fi­ciency. The 349F also of­fers a quick cou­pler and tool con­trol sys­tem, with mem­ory func­tions that store the pres­sures and flows for 10 dif­fer­ent boom at­tach­ments, al­low­ing quick changes be­tween tools. But the most im­pres­sive in­no­va­tion is prob­a­bly the Cat Pro­duc­tion Mea­sure­ment sys­tem, which ac­tu­ally weighs the pay­load in the bucket as it moves to the truck, keep­ing track of pre­cisely how much ma­te­rial has been loaded. And it can up­load that info wire­lessly, to be mon­i­tored re­motely. All that is in ad­di­tion to the 349F’s phys­i­cal ca­pa­bil­i­ties, which in­clude a bucket that is able to lift 35 feet up, can dig 25 feet be­low the sur­face, and has a draw­bar pulling strength of more than 75,000 pounds.

So, as one of the new­est, strong­est, most ad­vanced ve­hi­cles of its type, it was the per­fect can­di­date for Diecast Mas­ters’ new­est model. Like other High Line se­ries mod­els, it comes in 1:50 scale and is con­structed pri­mar­ily out of sturdy diecast metal for the un­der­car­riage, su­per­struc­ture, and boom, giv­ing it sub­stan­tial heft. The paint per­fectly matches Cat’s sig­na­ture yel­low, and the Cat brand in­signia and model des­ig­na­tion be­hind the cabin and on the boom are screen-printed. Those are aug­mented by warn­ing la­bels at var­i­ous places around the model. There are rub­ber lines and fit­tings at the base and along the boom that at­tach to the hy­draulic pis­tons at each of the hinges. Those pis­tons are

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