Farm Collector Blogs > Looking Back

Model Toy Hubers

by James N. Boblenz


Tags: Huber, farm toys, James N. Boblenz,

What’s a grown boy to do when he wants a 1/16-scale model of his favorite collectible farm tractor?

Model Huber collection of James Boblenz
My model Huber collection.

  Box of toy tractor parts
A box of toy tractor parts.
Huber Roto-Rack separator
Huber Roto-rack separator.
Model Huber LC and L on rubber
A Huber LC and L on rubber.
Huber HK on steel
Huber HK on steel.
Huber HK on rubber
Huber HK on rubber.
Huber B
Huber B.
Huber BG grader
Huber BG grader.
Minneapolis-Moline Twin City
Minneapolis-Moline Twin City.
Why, just go buy one, right? Wrong!

Unless you want a newer model John Deere of an IH-Case, you will look long and hard to find what you want. If you want a model of an older antique tractor or a classic tractor, you can look on eBay or go to a toy show or, maybe, find an auction with an old toy. And most times those toys are just about shot.

But what do you do if you want a Huber tractor, for instance. You will be hard pressed to find one. None are being made today.

Long ago Hubley made a few copies of Huber steam traction engines and steam road rollers. Tootsie toys made a few copies of road rollers, but not 1/16 scale. In the 1920s, a German firm made and sold Huber steam road rollers, but finding one of those is tough and expensive. Besides, those are not farm tractors.

Ertl made one Huber Model L tractor on steel wheels. Frankly, it was a rather crude production not even close to the quality toy for which Ertl is known. Later a collection of cast aluminum Huber toys was made; a Roto-rack separator, a Super Four cross-motor, an HK on steel wheels and a Model B on rubber. All of those are long out of production.

So what if you wanted a more modern HK on rubber? You are out of luck unless you are lucky enough to find one and convert it. What if you wanted a Model L on rubber? Or an LC Huber? Nothing there either.

You could do as Jim Gibbons of Canada did. He was fortunate enough to find a couple of Model L tractors. He converted on L to rubber, added head and taillights and a battery. For the LC, he made major modifications to the L to add drop axles, eliminate the wide front end, construct a steer gear and post, fabricate a Huber hitch and simply make a new tractor.

Me? I have in my collection two of the very early cast iron steam road rollers. I have a Hubley Steam Traction Engine and a Hubley Steam Road Roller. I bought a rough cast aluminum copy of a Roto-rack separator that was just parts and pieces. Although the castings were rough, they cleaned up very well, but I had to furnish all the hardware and make a few missing parts.

I was fortunate also to be able to find two HK tractors. One I kept as found. The other, I located a set of IH wheels with rubber tires and painted the tractor red (as it was painted in 1941 and 1942). One day I’ll find the round spoke F&H wheels similar to those Huber used and put those on the tractor. Perhaps wheels with rubber tires from a John Deere Model D will fill the bill.

Huber built four versions of its only styled tractor, the Model B. I would like to have one tractor of each model; a tricycle cultivating tractor, a wide front end style, an orchard tractor and the grader. So far, I have located three Model B Huber tractors. One, I kept as the original tricycle cultivating tractor. One I made serious modifications to for an early tricycle grader tractor. Currently, I am completely reworking another to make an orchard tractor: widening the front end, lowering the rear end and making a set of fenders. If I ever find another Model B, I’ll make the easiest transformation by cutting off the front axle stub and adding a wide front end.

I still keep my eyes peeled for a Super Four cross-motor. One day perhaps I can add that to my Huber collection.

Another tractor that caught my attention was the 1934-37 Minneapolis-Moline Twin City Model J. None are on the market. I found a relic painted John Deere green and yellow. With just a little work and paint, I now have a great looking Model J Twin City MM tractor.