What's the original name and specifications of this probably 1970s pushback? The bottom of this model is stamped "Mitsubishi towing tractor." Made by Tomica. Bought at a flea market in Kyoto circa 2010. Googling finds only the toy.photo of toy

I'm particularly interested in what looks like an elevating cab, possibly at both ends.

Details from comments so far: This model is 1:119 scale. The pushback was in use at Tokyo's Haneda airport at least through 1976-78. It's not a Hough T-500 Paymover.

Photos of other pushbacks show that this one is unusual in having four separate cabs, and wheel arches that are perfectly semicircular.

Sept. 2020 edit before the bounty expires:
The toy is from a box labeled ジャンボエアポートセット ミニカー
which translates as Jumbo Airport Set Minicar. The UPC code is 4904810 26441 5 (or 8 instead of 5).

These sets are sold at the Japanese ebay. Can a Japanese speaker glean any clues from the back of the box? (I can guess at the kana, but not the kanji.)

back of box with Japanese text

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    $\begingroup$ No. I have no more data. But Tomica's reputation for sweating the details is second only to that of Hergé. Miyazaki is more obvious, but he produced not nearly as many examples. $\endgroup$ Nov 3, 2019 at 3:02
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    $\begingroup$ A similar toy with claim that it's a TRACMA: 1-87vehicles.org/photo242/tracma_tug.php $\endgroup$
    – amI
    Nov 3, 2019 at 5:20
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    $\begingroup$ @aml "T-500-gvw" Paymover looks close. aviationgse.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/… $\endgroup$ Nov 3, 2019 at 5:52
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    $\begingroup$ Here it is in use (1976). Another one in 1978 $\endgroup$
    – DeltaLima
    Nov 3, 2019 at 22:03
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    $\begingroup$ Just spent a good while searching photos of airports I have visited. I could swear that I have seen this exact model of tug or one nearly identical to it in the last 2 or 3 years. I remember the tug being very distinctive and interesting due to its configuration. But, I do not remember which airport to which it belonged. I have narrowed it down to Abu Dhabi, Doha, Colombo, or (with a slim chance) Muscat. Wherever it was, it was a fairly long bus ride from the aircraft to the terminal. So we got a fairly good look at the tug. Unfortunately, I can not locate any pictures. $\endgroup$
    – Dean F.
    Sep 24, 2020 at 7:22

2 Answers 2

  • I Have found out this Mitsubishi pushback tug in real life at Haneda airport, Tokyo. but I wasn't able to get the original model number but I belive Mitsubishi hasn't set one for it otherwise the TOMICA toy co. would have named it as the other toys.

  • This pushback tug was only associated to pushback the B747 only, since all the photos the tug was with B747 only! cheers

HL-7411 - Boeing 747 235B at Tokyo Haneda Airport in 1974

China Airlines Boeing 747-132 August 26, 1976





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    $\begingroup$ Nice find, the first picture, however, is of a different tug. The wheel arches are not round on that one. $\endgroup$
    – Jpe61
    Dec 7, 2019 at 8:33
  • $\begingroup$ yeah, I think so but I tried to get all of the pushback tags that were next to a b747 or towing this the ones I found! $\endgroup$ Dec 7, 2019 at 18:32
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    $\begingroup$ Second photo: so the cabs do elevate at both ends! $\endgroup$ Dec 7, 2019 at 21:18

I found an old magazine advertisement that displays the pushback tractor in question. The ad is for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries "ground support equipment" or G.S.E.:

Mitsubishi G.S.E.
Source: Aviationancestry.co.uk

The advertisement is from Interavia November 1970 issue (also March 1971). Unfortunately it offers no further information about the tug, but I will amend this answer if I'm able to dig deeper.

AviationAncestry kindly sent a full-resolution version of the image, cropped below. The four kanji at left also appear on the other 3 vehicles, so they don't identify the pushback itself; they may mean simply Japan Air Lines. At right, a 10 in a triangle, and either "C 701" or just "701." Above the front wheel there may be some writing, but it's as small as the grain of the print process.

enlarged photo

  • $\begingroup$ For a photo with enough resolution to discern text on the pushback, we might need an actual paper copy. All I can make out here is the JAL logo on the front door. $\endgroup$ Sep 28, 2020 at 22:54
  • $\begingroup$ This ad pushes the pushback's start of operations at Haneda back from 1976 to 1970. $\endgroup$ Sep 28, 2020 at 22:56
  • $\begingroup$ That's the one. Even the headlights and front fascia match. Tomica wisely omitted the rear view mirrors, though. Prepare to be bountified... $\endgroup$ Sep 28, 2020 at 23:07
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    $\begingroup$ "It has to be towed to the ramp..." Really? The 747 didn't taxi up to the gate under its own power, but was towed in (possibly under early operating procedure)? Or am I misreading that and they're referring to the push-back as "towed to the ramp"? And did they actually wash them between flights as that implies? $\endgroup$
    – FreeMan
    Sep 29, 2020 at 11:06
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    $\begingroup$ @CamilleGoudeseune I almost got carried away, but unfortunately with some trickery, I found out the kanji reads Japan Airlines: 日本航空, Nihon Kōkū. $\endgroup$
    – Jpe61
    Sep 29, 2020 at 20:55

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