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1941 Australian Ford 4 x 2 Tractor build Part Two - Scale Model World
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Home arrow Articles arrow Softskins arrow 1941 Australian Ford 4 x 2 Tractor build Part Two
1941 Australian Ford 4 x 2 Tractor build Part Two PDF Print E-mail
Jul 31, 2010 at 12:20 PM
Cliff Hutchings brings part two of the build article on the:

1941 Australian Ford

4 X 2 Tractor & 7 ton Bow Front 

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Thanks Cliff

Al

Copyright retained on text 2006@Cliff Hutchings

Copyright retained on colour photos 2003/2006

 

PART TWO

The Trailer & finishing

History

The trailer was originally designed with the bow front so it could be positioned closer to the cab of the tractor unit, thus having a shorter overall length for the whole unit. Hindsight has proved however that all it really did was to lessen useable load space.

The build

I was fortunate, as told in Part One, to have a friend, Bob Moseley from Adelaide in South Australia measure and photograph a surviving trailer. This had been modified slightly but was period corrected using photos from the Australian War Memorial Museum. ( http://www.awm.gov.au/ )

 

Another sad tale is that I lent this model for display purposes to a good cause and when I went to pick it up from the shop it had been displayed at I was presented with a box of parts and told they had no idea how it got broken. Closer inspection showed the trailer had been dropped, landing on one of the rear corners. The load of heavy resin drums had broken loose to complete the destruction. On closer inspection the trailer springs, not having the brass reinforcing strip like the tractor unit ones, had snapped as well. So with this damage, which was worse then first thought, along with new information about the tractor/trailer connection I decided it was easier to build a totally new trailer rather then try & repair the old one. Most of the photographs seen here are of the new build rather then the old.

Chassis & Deck

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 A sheet of 30 thou styrene card was used for the deck. The deck was drawn as a square and checked to ensure it was truly square by taking diagonal, corner to corner measurements. From Bob it was learned that the curved front had an 8 foot (2400mm) diameter. This was converted to 1/35 scale and a circle cutter used to scribe the circle. The deck was then cut from the sheet using a sharp knife. The timber decking boards were marked out on both sides of the decking sheet and scribed using an OLFA P-cutter 450 tool and a steel rule as a straight edge. Because of the round nose the edge stiffener was made from two layers of sheet styrene cut to the right width. One was first glued in place and then the second fixed to the first. The chassis & cross-members were then made from styrene strip with 30 thou square strip used on the edges to form a ‘H’ beam and fitted to the deck.

Springs

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The main & over load springs were made using brass strips bend into a slight curve and CA glued together. A styrene block was shaped to position between the main and overload springs. Spring mounts were made and positioned on the chassis rails at the rear of the trailer. These were located by scaling from original photos.

Axles

The single Axle was cut from a piece of brass tube the right diameter and some brake drums I had modified and poured in resin were drilled out to suit.

Brakes

These were air brakes and the air reservoir was formed from a spare piece of aluminum tube with styrene ends added. I was going to add thin brass rod as brake lines but decided in the end that as it was all out of sight it was not worth the effort.

Wheels

The wheels were the same resin copies I had made for the Tractor Unit.

Side panels & tailgate

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There were four panels per side and one tailgate. They were all made from sheet styrene and suitably scribed to look like boards. This was done on the outside only as the inside would be covered with the drums being used as a load. The square holes, which were stepping places for personnel to use when the sides were down while climbing into the trailer, were drilled out and finished with a file. Hinges were made from channel and glued in place. These hung down below the deck level. A small strip of styrene was added to the top edge and a square of thin sheet added to each side near the top to take the latch.  To make it look like the channel hinges were bolted to the wooden sides Grandt Line bolt heads were glued inside the channel. Latches were made for each end by using a leather punch to make small circles of thin styrene to which were glued short pieces of thin styrene rod. Two extra thin squares were added to either side of the tailgate to hold the unit and tactical signs.

 

The removable posts that went between the separate side panels were cut to shape from styrene and had a thin piece of styrene added to the back to support the sides when they were fixed in place.

 The curved front panel was made & finished as a flat panel and left for the glue to dry overnight. A tin was found and emptied (contents Tuna in spring water) that was the right diameter and the panel heated slightly to soften it under my halogen desk lamp. Rubber bands then held it firmly and flat around the tin. This was then placed into just boiled water and left to cool off. I use metal such as tins to do this as the water heats the metal fast and this applies the heat better then other materials to the part being bent. Once the water was cold the part was taken out and dried but left attached to the can until required. 

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Assembly

The removable posts were glued to the side panels starting from the back and each one was then joined to the next panel and then laid flat on the bench to dry. These were then placed level with the back of the trailer and fixed in place. The tail gate was now fitted as well as this helped keep the side panels’ upright. There are a few minor discrepancies in height but as the trailer represents a well used one this will only enhance the look.

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The curved front panel was taken off the tin and first checked for fit. CA glue was then used to fix it to the deck. CA glue was used because this panel still had a tendency to flatten out so it needed an almost instant fix as I did not have the patience to hold it while my normal glue set enough to hold it in place. 

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Small pieces of styrene were then cut and fixed at the lower end of the channel ‘hinges’. This represented the other half of the hinges which were welded to the trailer side.

 

The new tractor/trailer connection was now made by shaping some styrene and drilling it for some brass wire pins so that it could tilt backwards and forwards like the real one. A round plate was cut using the circle cutter and a hole drilled in the centre to take the pin on the tractor units half of this connection. This was then fixed to the trailer base.

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The brass springs were added along with the axle. Styrene squares were made and drilled to take brass wire to act as the holding bolts between axle and springs. The air reservoir tank was added now too. Tichy Train Group nuts were used to form the bolts which held the trailer to the connection and these were also added to the spring mounts to act as the spring bush pins. I have found these nuts and bolts of far better quality then the Grandt Line products so will use more of this type in the future.

 

I managed to salvage the brass tie down rails from the damaged trailer as well as the spare wheel holder. The tie down rail had been bent to the shape of the bow front and small blocks of styrene drilled and slid onto it. These were then spread out to the correct positions and the finished rail glued to the trailer. The spare wheel carrier was made from brass strip that was CA glued together and the spare wheel added. This was fitted into its position under the trailer bed with CA glue.

 

The tail light plates which were styrene squares with a short piece of round rod as a tail light were also rescued from the wreck and added to the rear. The inner wheel of the dual wheels was added to both sides and once the main base painting is done the outside wheel will be added.

 

The painting & finishing - part one

 (All paints are Humbrol enamels unless noted)

 Pre 1942 Australian Service Green Formula 

11 parts of #10 service brown

 6 parts of #2 emerald green

 

These are gloss colors and require a clear matt coat over them to finish.

 

The already finished engine bay and cab interior on the tractor unit were masked off using a thin cling wrap plastic screwed up to fill the spaces and masking tape to hold it in place. The windscreen of the tractor was also masked off. Originally this base coat of green was sprayed onto both the tractor unit as well as the trailer. As I did not prime the model first time around I was lucky that this coat covered the differences in material without showing any variance in color. When rebuilding the trailer I did use #1 primer which is standard practice to me now.

The Load

I worked out that I required 88 barrels for the main load and 4 maybe 5 to stand upright in the bow front of the trailer. These were purchased from ‘Arms Model It’ in Brisbane as they had resin ‘distressed’ barrels in both open and closed top. The main load was ordered as closed top and two sets of open top ones were ordered for the front.

 

I removed the thin pouring block from the base of the barrels (these are poured as a unit of 4 barrels) and then placed them in the trailer to see how they looked. The important thing I had forgotten was the weight of the solid resin barrels and in an effort to reduce this weight I made a balsa wood former for the centre of the load and painted it with Tamiya matt black acrylic. In this way I removed the weight of 20 barrels making the weight factor a bit more acceptable.

I placed the barrels onto a board by using a strip of masking tape and sticking one end down and then laying the tape back on itself so the sticky side was up. A mixture of Tamiya acrylics in different colors was Air Brushed on so that the barrels did not all look the same. I decided to make the open toped drums white on the interior, the ulterior motive to show just how many white painted rocks the army had as here were the empty paint drums to prove it. Tamiya acrylics were used so that the barrels would dry faster as I was on a roll now and wanted to carry on as fast as I could.

 

Half of the barrels were fixed in pairs using CA glue as this would make it easier to fit the load into the trailer and secure it. The bases of the drums were hand painted with Tamiya matt black & CA glue was used to fix the drums in place in the trailer. 

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Once the trailer was loaded with the main load 4 of the open topped barrels were placed in the front curved section of the trailer. Instead of a 5th drum a piece of fine weave material was cut and rolled as a tarp and placed standing upright along with the 4 drums. CA glue was soaked into the cloth to both hold it in position and seal it for painting.  

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After being left overnight so that the CA glue had plenty of time to cure Model ship rigging cord was cut to length and tied using the correct knot to the tie rail on one side. It was then stretched as tight as possible over each row of drums and tied off the same way on the other side. A bead of CA glue was then carefully run over this to hold it in place and seal the cord for painting.

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  The cord was then painted cream #103 by hand and any defects in the drum paintwork were also touched up by brush. The tarp was painted matt khaki #26 and everything was then left to dry for a few days.

 

The painting & finishing - part two

The outer wheel of the dual wheels was added at this time and as the base paint was already gloss a gloss clear coat did not need to be applied so a dark grey acrylic wash was used on all the tyres. I also made an army registration number for the bonnet out of some Archer dry transfers for US trucks and applied them. I had left the decals off the original trailer I had made as I had no decal paper to make any Australian unit signs. I now have a sheet of homemade decals printed so with the rebuild of the trailer I will apply them now.

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A wash of Burnt Sienna Oil paint was used and red chalk pastel was applied with a lot of enthusiasm by brush. The red was chosen to try and duplicate the red dust of the Australian outback where this truck operated. More then was necessary was applied because when the matt clear coat is applied by air brush some will blown away. 

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The whole model was now sprayed with Matt varnish # 49 and left to dry before lightly spraying a mixture of Tamiya acrylic buff & red mixed together to act as dust. A cotton bud soaked in water was used to rub the ‘dust’ off the windscreen as though a driver had just wiped it clear with his hand.

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Conclusions

This was at times a very tedious model to build. The extreme disappointment of the broken trailer episode along with ill health made me not want to build models for a while and it has taken me almost a year to get the enthusiasm up enough to rebuild the trailer. The rebuild has however allowed me to fix a few mistakes I had made originally and also to add the decals to the trailer so in my opinion I have ended up with a better model. 

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Reference

 

Australian War Memorial Museum Canberra, Australia.  http://www.awm.gov.au/

 

Alan Smith “Convoys Up The Track”. 

Thanks to

Bob Moseley of Adelaide, South Australia for the time taken to measure and photograph the surviving truck and trailer.

 

Mike Cecile of the Australian War Memorial Museum, Canberra, Australia, for the Australian service paint formula.

Last Updated ( Sep 25, 2010 at 01:41 PM )
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