Matchbox’s Oshkosh P-series Snowplow is a Rare Find
Collectors of HO scale vehicles will want to watch out for Matchbox’s Oshkosh snowplow. It features a wealth of detail for a reasonable price. Finding one, however, could be a bit of a challenge.
Generally speaking, HO scale vehicle collectors are interested in over-the-road (OTR) trucks, and are therefore quite familiar with names like International, Peterbilt, Volvo, and Mack. Oshkosh is more familiar for children’s clothing than for heavy trucks. But Matchbox’s Oshkosh P-Series Snowplow makes a unique and welcome addition to any HO scale collection.
Our sample, painted a brilliant vermilion that matches the plastic plow and dump bin, scales in exactly with our Peterbilt 389 from Norscot. The Oshkosh sits a couple of scale feet taller than the 389, but that’s not a surprise considering it’s a snowplowing rig where the 389 is built for OTR duty. The two vehicles share the same HO track – if Matchbox had chosen to provide the Oshkosh with realistically molded tires, the 389 could follow it while dashing through the snow.
But, of course, the Oshkosh features wide-track tires on steel, one-piece axles. Where the real truck has dual wheels in back, the Oshkosh features standard die-cast style tires. That being said, the wheels themselves are finely detailed single piece affairs. Although they feature a correct 8-lug pattern, they look more like OTR wheels that the rugged wheels on the prototype.
The massive waffle grille across the front is molded in bright chrome, while the side fuel tanks, batteries, and other frame details are molded in a nice flat black. The plow mount in place of the front bumper is a trifle robust when compared against the prototype, but certainly lends an air of brute functionality to this truck.
Matchbox captured the Oshkosh’s rugged good looks, from the reverse-slant windshield to the massive frame that juts out ahead of the front wheels. The windshield is flanked by triangular windows that are sadly not clear, but a touch of silver paint would fix that quickly.
Most important to HO scale collectors is that this model fits perfectly with any modern-era HO scale model railroad and holds its own against models costing much more. The limits of die-casting require some heavier-than prototype details, but they do not detract from the unusual nature of this massive snowplowing hardware. A little careful painting, perhaps a new set of wheels, and this truck would be a natural for a snowed-in scene. It would look good sitting in a maintenance yard, waiting for winter.
You might have trouble finding this truck, however, in the real world market place. While we found ours at a supermarket in Southern California, Matchbox’s own website (www.matchbox.com) no longer features it. A quick web search for the truck, part of Matchbox’s assortment N3242, part number T9103, turns up a few on eBay, and several at online hobby stores that are sold out.
The bottom line is that Matchbox’s Oshkosh P-Series snowplow is a fine looking model, accurately cast in HO scale, that would look great in your collection. If you can find one!