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.


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