Monday, March 30, 2015

7 ton Semi-trailer, Panel Cargo

Some time ago I purchased the 1/72 kit of a Studebaker US6 truck with semi-trailer and was hoping to use it on my HO layout like I did with the LCVP. Unfortunately this kit is accurately scaled and thus too large compared to my other HO trucks.


I searched the internet of useable models in HO. It proved that Roco (now Herpa) manufactured a 1/87 model of a M118  Semi-Trailer. It was listed under Roco Minitanks with the item number Z168. Although being a more moder version, it could be modified and give a good stand in for the WWII 7-ton Semi-trailer.

I purchased six trailer models, some already modified. This model seems to be out of production for some years because in Europe I couldn't find any, so I had to buy them all in the US. None came in the original boxes, which didn't matter much because I would modify and paint them anyway.

The first step consisted in removing the landing gears, rear axles and spare tires.

Then I started to build up the tool box which on the model only had the front panel and no sides, back or bottom.

I used .020" plain styrene pieces from my scarp box to build new tool boxes.

On the prototype the landing gear is attached to the underside of the frame near the center and is used as a temporary support, or whenever the trailer is uncoupled from the tractor. It is operated through a worm screw and miter gears by a hand crank, located on the right side of the trailer. I used C-channel to represent the long worm screw and the nut where the guide bracket is attached.

Using .015" brass wire I bend the back brace assembly in shape.

In the photo above the tool boxes are completely built-up and a steel bracket for the spare wheel was installed on the front of the body. (The spare tire on the model was attached to the underframe)

This photo shows the operating mechanism of the landing gear. The wire back brace assembly is locked into a hole that represents the guide bracket srewed to the long worm gear (C-channel). The detail isn't visible from the side.On the prototype, turning the crank handle in either direction, rotates the worm screw. The nut and guide brackets, which are connected to the landing gear back braces, follow the thread of the worm screw, thereby raising or lowering the landing gear, depending on the direction fo rotation.

I also decided to represent the cross ties on the frame because they are partly visible when viewed from the side.

I primed the bodies and sprayed them with Tamyia Olive Drap from a spray can.

The finished semi-trailers.

Roco/Herpa did not manufacture a tractor (Studebaker or GM) so I also had to transform a GMC truck by removing the truckbed and installing a saddle plate.

 I will probably also convert some of the Classic Metal Works tractors to pull the trailers.

I still need to find bigger wheels for the landing gear (or eventually build them from scratch). The trailers will we loaded with boxes and equipment and some also covered with tarp before they are put into action on Broadway Pier for loading on the next cargo ship.

Stay tuned for my upcoming conversion of a Roco/Herpa M30 Fuel Tank Semi-Trailer into a commercial tank truck.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Garbage Truck

To populate the streets on my layout I am constantly looking for interesting vehicles and figures to create unique scenes.

One such vehicle is a garbage or refuse truck, to collect all the garbage bins placed along the sidewalk. A few modern models of garbage trucks exist, but I need a model that suits my 1940's era.
I searched the internet for appropriate pictures and probably would need to scratch-build one. has a wealth of vintage pictures from the 1930's until the 1960's.
The truck above is equipped with a Leach garbage Loader.

The smaller rear bucket loader garbage trucks above would be right for smaller communities and I will try to scratchbuild one of these. (A Heil Collecto truck at left and a Leach at right)

Then on ebay I was fortunate to find a couple of resin bodies that I could mount on an existing truck chassis.

THE RAIL CONNECTION offers several resin bodies and trucks.

I choose one of my flatbed truck models from Classic Metal Works to accept the garbage body.

I removed the flat bed by inserting a small screwdriver between the bed and the chassis and popped the deck off. It is actually glued at several spots.

The rear axle and wheels are wider than the garbage body so I needed to add fenders. I salvaged two rear fenders from a Con-Cor Steam Era 1930's Ford Truck kit.

I drilled a small hole (#76 ??) in the side of the fenders to accept a piece of .019" brass wire.

Then I also drilled the same size hole in the side of the body where the fenders would be.

As you can see, the resin body casting is not very clean and has a lot of small holes that came from trapped air bubbles during the casting process. I tried to fill some but as the truck will not be too close to the layout edge they will not be visible after painting.

I test fitted the body on the chassis, to check if the fenders would well cover the wheels. Then I glued them to the resin body with a few drops of CA.

Then I applied a coat of grey primer from a Tamyia spray bottle.

After the primer had dried I brush painted the body with Vallejo Alluminium paint. I didn't feel the need to fire up my airbrush because the Vallejo paints cover well even with a brush.

Finally I glued the garbage body to the chassis with a few drops of contact cement.

Soon later the city workers were busy collecting the garbage bins.
I will apply a decent weathering to the truck and body and keep on checking for appropriate lettering for the garbage truck.

Stay tuned for more special vehicles to be added soon.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

California Packing Corp. (Del Monte Quality Foods) Part 2

Here's my update on the Del Monte packing house on my layout. Check the first part California Packing Corp., Santa Ana, CA.

After my initial thought, placing the packing house next to the aisle, I had to admit that the available space was not enough to put it there. I had planned to use 2 kits and to make it double in length, but even without the loading dock it was too wide.

I will put the NeHi Bottling Company in that spot instead. This would be a scratchbuilt structure so I could use some selective compression on that.
                                                                                                                                                                          Photo of former NeHi building courtesy of Jim   Lancaster

I will place one side wall against the backdrop and add a turnout with a stub track to serve the packing house.

But now first things first.
After assembling the wall sections I airbrushed them with Vallejo Military Green paint. (#70.975)

Then I masked the different trim sections and door sashes...

..and brushpainted them with a bright red color.

I lightly brushed the loading dock planks with Vallejo Khaki (#70.988) and gave them a Black Shade wash after drying.(73201)

Then I sprayed the railings, doors and windows with a coat of grey primer

and after the primer had dried, a coat of Vallejo Vermillion red. (#70.909)

I inserted the window frames and glued the castings from the back side with Deluxe Glue 'n' Glaze. I also used this medium to glue the window glass. It dries transparent and doesn't craze the clear acetate windows.

I scaled and printed the Del Monte Logo on plain copy paper. Then I cut it roughly out with a pair of scissors.

I gently sanded the logo from the back side until the color of the logo was barely visible. Extreme care must be taken with this method, not to tear the logo apart. Then I trimmed the excess paper around the logo outlines.

I applied a thin coat of Deluxe Card Glue on the back of the logo and positioned it on the wall.

I pushed a paper towel on the logo to squeeze the excess glue out. The logo is thin like a decal and fits snuggly between the clapboard siding of the wall. A light weathering of the walls will dull the logo down.

I placed the packing house temporarily against the backdrop until the track gang moves in to lay the new turnout and stub track.

To prevent the blue backdrop from shining through the windows, I glued pieces of black drafting paper behind the window glass. Railings had to be modified because I arranged the wall sections a bit differently than intended by the instructions. Shown are the 4 Vallejo colors that I used on this project.

Now waiting for the weekend to install the stub track.