“Models & Mods” is back to spotlight the modifications done to our models at home by collectors.  This month we had the opportunity to speak with Oliver Mariani from Austria about a few incredible hydraulic conversion projects that he has completed.

Let’s take a look at the modifications that Oliver made to his models!

1. Did you start with an existing model or build from scratch?  If an existing model, which one?

I started my hydraulic modifications on existing CCM models, the Cat® 983B and the Cat D10.

2. Why did you choose these models to modify?

First of all, I like old construction machines much more than the modern ones, and for this, all paths lead to CCM. The models are really high quality and because of the high metal proportion, they are very heavy. That is good for increased traction and allows the model to be worked hard.

Both models I converted originally had very good functionality so the conversion work was quite easy. The best thing is that the tracks actually grab into the sprockets, so the transmission from the gears to the tracks is given. (Many models from different manufacturers have no bolts in the tracks.)

3. Can you walk us through the process of building these modified components?  Material used, tooling required, any challenges you had, etc.?

I use Pololu motors for the transmission and the end-drive is a custom-made bevel gear. For the hydraulics I use my self-made micro-hydraulic system. Each pump has everything needed for one function in one housing. (Motor, tank , gear pump and valves)  I have different sizes reaching from 18 mm³/s up to 350mm³/s flow. The pressure of the system goes up to 30 bar. (The smallest pumps up to 10 bar). Dimensions of the units range from 5.4x9x13mm to 12×16.5x25mm. The bigger pumps are driven by a brushless motor, the smaller ones with brushed motors.  The cylinders are also self-made starting with 3mm outer diameter up to 8mm. The cylinder heads and bases are designed to look quite similar to the original ones.

The biggest challenge was to develop a hydraulic system in this small size. To create good working and durable hydraulic systems took me some years of developing and testing. Now I’m lucky to say I can produce really good working systems in different sizes. Even still, the production of a single pump is still quite a few hours of work. For the production of these pumps, a CNC mill is absolutely necessary (I use the KX3 from Sieg) and also a good working stereo microscope.

4. How long did this project take you?

Only speaking about the conversion of one model, including the production of two pumps, cylinders, and gearboxes, etc., I would guess about 90 hours.

5. Do you have any advice for other collectors looking to modify a model?

There are many ways to convert models without real working hydraulics. This makes life much easier!

6. What project do you have in mind next (or are currently working on)?

I am not yet sure which model or type, but I would like to put my hydraulics system into an excavator. I would prefer a vintage machine again, so maybe a Cat 245 (if I can find one?!)

7. Any suggestions for CCM on which model to make next?

I would love to convert a Menzi Muck 3000, but I don’t think anyone knows these small old Swiss machines. They were produced quite near my home.

For Cat models, I would love to see a DW6 Tractor with winch and blade, an 830MB Tractor either with scraper or configured as a logging machine, or a D57T with scraper.


Many thanks to Oliver Mariani for sending us pictures, videos and details about his hydraulics conversions of these CCM models.  The level of workmanship that went into these models is stunning. Anyone involved in scale model production can tell you that hydraulic fluid doesn’t scale – so count us extremely impressed with these functional conversions!

If you would like to see more videos and connect with Oliver, be sure to check out his YouTube channel here.

Have you been working on modifications to one of your CCM models?  Send in your answers to these questions, along with pictures of your model and “build-in-progress” photos via Facebook message and you might be the next collector featured in this series!



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