Spring is Here!
by Bill Walters
Posted on Monday, April 3, 2017
Greetings from Dyersville. Now that Spring is here, I can’t wait to see fieldwork starting in Northeast Iowa. Farmers are itching to get started. Every time I do another blog, I’m always looking at what new product we have coming out and whether or not I can start talking about them. We’ve announced our new 1:16th FFA licensed tractors for 2017. They include the Farmall 560, Ford NAA and John Deere 2520 tractors. When I was young I asked my dad what the “560” in the Farmall 560 meant. He told me that the “5” meant this tractor could pull a 5-bottom plow, the “6” meant it had a six-cylinder engine, and the “0” meant that you would have zero problems in the field. He never owned a “560” but he really liked those tractors. If he didn’t have a friend who owned an Allis Chalmers dealership; I probably would have grown up driving a “560” vs. an AC D-19. All of these FFA tractors are age graded 3+ so younger kids, including some future FFA members, can play with them. I’ve been getting quite a few questions lately about our different levels of tractors and what they represent. I’ll try to explain our current lines and how they are different from one another. Let’s start at the top and work our way down. Our most highly detailed line currently is our “Precision Elite” Series. We produce tractors for both John Deere and Case IH under this series. These tractors are age graded 14+ (meant for adults at least 14 years old) and are produced to be a collectible vs. a toy. They typically have over 200 individual parts and include more die cast and individual parts than our other replicas. Our “Precision Elite” models are produced in a numbered series. Our current models include the John Deere 4320 with ROPS (#5 in the series) and the Farmall 1026 with randomly inserted “Gold Demonstrator” models (#4 in the series). Our next level of detailed models is called our “Prestige” Series. These replicas are also age graded 14+, but don’t have the same level of detail that we put into our “Precision Elite” models. By reducing the level of detail (and replacing some die cast parts with plastic) we can reduce the overall cost of the replica while still providing the collector with a very nice model for their collection. We produce “Prestige” models in both 1:16th and 1:32nd scales. For those of you who collect 1:64th scale, our highly detailed models are sold under the “Authentics” brand. These are also age graded 14+ and include as much detail as we can get in that small of a model. This detail includes opening hoods (where applicable), opening cab door, engine detail and an authentic rear hitch. These are also produced in a series, just like our “Precision Elite” offerings. Now let’s discuss the farm toys we produce that are meant to be played with by younger children. When we design toys we have to ensure that our product will be in compliance with the toy safety standards as specified in the ASTM F963-16 publication (Standard Consumer Safety Specification for Toy Safety). These standards specify all of the mandatory tests that a company must pass before they can sell toys to consumers. Our company spends millions of dollars every year to comply with these standards. If you look at our packaging you will see that we incorporate several different age grades on our toy product. For most of our farm toy items you will see 3+, 5+ and even 8+ on our different items depending upon the detail and type of item. Each of these age grades have different testing requirements that must be met. For everyone who will be in the fields soon, please be safe. I had an uncle who was paralyzed in a farming accident. Take your time and keep a close watch on everything. Your loved ones will appreciate it. Thanks, Bill