Saturday, April 4, 2015

Ford AA 1934 Leach Refuse Getter

Inspired by another photograph on, I challenged myself in scratchbuilding one of these garbage trucks. The picture above shows the unpainted model.

I have a couple of 1/87 scale Ford 1931 AA truck kits from Con-Cor with different body styles which I could easily swap against a new refuse body.

From the prototype picture I approximated the length and height of the garbage body. The width was defined by the width of the track chassis. I cut the floor and sides from .040" plain styrene. 

I glued the one side to the floor using the magnets from the Micro Mark glueing jig to keep the assembly square.

After one side had dried, I glued the opposite side to the floor also.

To ensure that the side walls were spaced evenly with the floor, I inserted a piece of strip styrene like shown in the picture.

In the meanwhile I started construction on the collecting bucket using a piece of styrene tube, cut to the width of the body. I removed one side, giving a "U".

I glued a piece of .015" plain styrene to the front of the body. After this had dried thoroughly I attached one side of the roof using clamps to hold it in place. Because the body is curved, I waited until the glue had dried at the front edge before continuing to glue the roof along the curved side walls.

Using a "Curvograph" (that´s a ruler to draw eliptical, sinus etc curves) I sketched the special shape of the top lid brackets.

Taking the original photograph as a guide, I positioned the bracket on the side of the body.

When the glued had dried a trimmed and sanded the bracket smooth with the top.

Again, using the picture for reference, I added .010" plain styrene sides and rear panels to the bucket.

With all the brackets in place I glued the top lid to the roof of the body. I had to use four clamps to keep it in shape on the curved body until the glue set.

The Con-Cor kits don't feature an interior for the cab, so I scratchbuild one using scrap pieces of .040" plain styrene and C-channel as shown in the picture above.

Then using the cabs as a guide, I glued the interiors to my four truck chassis. The two on the left side will be for garbage trucks the third a produce truck and the one on the right will have a flatbed.

I contemplated a lot on how to represent the roller guides that lift the bucket to the roof top for unloading. Again I approximated the shape from the prototype picture and used a cutting compass, which has a scalpel blade insteat of a pencil tip, and cut the curved shape on .020" plain styrene.

I also fabricated two brackets to attach the bucket to the roller guide and placed the body on the truck chassis to check if everything fits.

I´m very pleased with my first attempt to scratch-build a truck only from a picture. Unfortunately I did not find any reference about what kind of garbage trucks were in use in Southern California during the 1940's. I will use some modelers license and suppose these vintage 1930's trucks were still in use in smaller towns, considering that because of the war effort there was no money for newer garbage trucks anyway.

Now the trucks are ready for the paintshop. As always stay tuned for updates.