Santa's Elves at Work


| January 2005

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    Gilson Riecke with one of his current works, a Caterpillar D6 tractor.
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    This colorful addition to Gilson Riecke's scratch-built tractor line-up is a Minneapolis-Moline Jetstar model.
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    A side view of a Caterpillar 60 by Gilson Riecke shows extensive detail in the tracks, engine and gas tank.
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    The Farmall F-20 shown here is still considered Gilson Riecke's classic scratch-built tractor.
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    Though this John Deere 5A combine is one of Ev Weber's early works, the detail collectors prize is clearly visible.
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    This John Deere Maximizer 9600 combine took Ev Weber more than 500 hours to complete, and brought $12,300 at the National Farm Toy Show auction in 1997. It is one of a kind.
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    Ev Weber shows off an acrylic John Deere A toy tractor he made.
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    A Caterpillar No. 33 Grader scratch-built by Terry Rouch.
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    A Caterpillar Terracer, by Terry Rouch.
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    Terry Rouch with his scratch-built Caterpillar Auto-Control.
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    Terry Rouch's prototype for the 1/16th scale Oliver Hart-Parr 18-36 tractor is crafted almost entirely of brass.

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Farm toy scratch-builders make miniature masterpieces

Scratch-built farm toys often begin as labors of love, created in a rush of playful fun, according to Gilson Riecke, Ev Weber and Terry Rouch.

Gilson, of Ruthven, Iowa, says, 'That's why I build tractors. So I can have fun.'

Ev, of Lima, Ohio, says he was looking for something fun to do when he retired from his U.S. Department of Defense job in 1977.

And Terry, of Royal Center, Ind., says, 'It's fun to do, an ego trip. And it isn't really business, so how could I go wrong?'



According to collectors who covet toy models produced by these three scratch-builders, they can't go wrong either. They get realistic farm toys exhibiting great detail, pieces that continue to rise in value, and toys that only a limited number of collectors have.

Gilson Riecke

Each scratch-builder began creating for different reasons, uses different materials and works differently to make his little masterpieces. Gilson Riecke became interested after he had made six patterns for tractors for the late Lyle Dingman, one of the farm toy hobby's earliest scratch-builders.