Friday, September 5, 2008

From just one model

The 1/87 Vehicle Club s pretty much set the standards for this scale vehicle modeling and was actually the beginning of any attempt at organizing folks in the hobby. Since then it has grown to include modelers from every continent but Antarctica as far as I know. The galleries that are posted there by one of the hobby's "forefathers", Bob Johnson, show some of the most magnificent modeling in any scale. I have a habit of doing my research on the 1/1 prototype of any model I build and then going to the galleries to see what has been done by any others in scale. Several years ago I noticed an obscure little model of a 1930's Russian Zis-5 truck built by a Polish modeler by the name of Robert Gawel. A little research into the prototype shows that a group of American truck manufacturers went to Russia in 1927 and set up a plant there that began producing what most closely resembles the Autocar truck of the era. It remained unchanged in style and engineering all the way into WW2. Roco Minitanks (now distributed through Herpa) in cooperation with a Russian company called Komo made this truck available in 1/87 scale for several years. I found the injected molded castings to be not just prototypically accurate to scale but extremely crisp and highly detailed for a model of the era. So I bought a few, and quite a few since my first purchase. The truck lends itself to be finished nicely, right out of the box and has terrific potential for modifications. The first image you see above is right from the box and has only been painted and has what is referred to as a shop body on it. This next photo shows the only other configuration that the Roco piece is offered in, a utility flatbed with wood sides and a canvas top. I have however, chopped the wood sides down on the curb side of the truck and "rolled" the canvas up for a vegetable truck. This fellow seems quite annoyed at the boys drinking on the loading dock as he labors to unload his baskets of tomatoes.I've always had a fascination with tow trucks in spite of my aversion to the need for one in real life. This next Roco was a true test of my scratch building skills. The boom is made from styrene rods and I fabricated the winch from different styrene pieces and parts from an old wrist watch to make the hand crank.

I figured there was certainly a truck like this that was a solely dedicated highway tractor and found some very similar to the one below. I scratch built the trailer and used some soapstone rods as a granite load to come up with this rig. These soapstone pieces were by the way, used years ago in the glass business to write on the glass. If you ever come across a piece of soapstone, give it a try. The addition of the fifth wheel was all that was necessary to complete the truck itself. This next version is an example of my looking for something and finding something else other than what I wanted. I ran across a photo of an old telephone pole setting truck. An interesting feature on this truck is that the cable comes from the winch on the back, under the bed of the truck and emerges out of the center of the bed to go then up to the sheaves on the boom. Again, most of this bed and boom were scratch built and the winch was made from watch parts similar to the wrecker.

I actually have several other models of this truck but will present only one more since the hour is getting on. This was perhaps the quickest vehicle I have finished and truthfully is nothing more than the cab sitting on an empty chassis. But I would like to show a weathering technique here to close out this session on how many varities one can get out of a particular model. The rusting effect seen here is done by merely painting the model in critical areas with a clear flat finish. In this case an acrylic. Before the finish is allowed to dry, I sprinkle rust made by soaking a steel wool pad and letting it dry, then crushing it up, waving a magnet over to get the particles that have not been fully oxidized. This produces a very fine rust powder. After letting the flat finish dry, I simply blow off the excess rust to produced the look you see here. Well thank again for stopping by. I hope to improve this "experiment" I'm doing with this blog as I learn more.

1 comment:

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