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Peterbilt 379

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Friday, October 23rd 2015,

The other day I got a pm from Casey, if I wanted to do a blog about my current building project. For a Build-Off on a facebookpage I'm planning to build a Peterbilt 379-127. I was surprised by Casey's message, but also pretty honoured. I don't consider myself a so-called Master Builder, but I'm not a complete dunce either. So I figured: yeah, why not? Please bear with me, while I'm also trying to figure out how to put up this blog as I go...

First of all, for those who don't know me, I think introducing myself to you all is the decent thing for me to do. My name is Joris Scholte, born in The Netherlands in 1977. I emigrated to Switzerland in 2012 for various reasons, none of them really matter for this blog. Met a nice girl here, coincidentally she's Dutch too. I've been building 1/24th and 1/25th scale trucks since 2005 or so. In my pre-teens I have built models before, mainly military aircraft. Pretty cumbersome with the wings sticking out, and sooner or later you run out of possibilities. 

Restarting this hobby, almost right away I got into contact with Tim Ahlborn through email. As you all probably know, Tim has a Peterbilt fascination and builds extremely good trucks. I happen to like the Peterbilt trucks too, the main reason why I focus on building them. Tim has been giving me background info on the real Peterbilt trucks and tips how to recreate them in scale over the years, he's a great guy! Back in 2011 he even helped me get a tour of the Peterbilt plant in Denton, Tx, when I went over to Dallas for the Great American Truck Show. Nice!


Anyway, back to this truck I'm going to build. On the (closed) facebook group "Building Big Rigs..Tips and how did you do it.." a build-off for members got my attention. Participants have from October 1st 2015 till March 2016 the time to build their truck. One of the 4 classes to enter is Custom. Basically, not building the kit exactly box-stock. Since I bent the rules a little on a previous Build-Off, the Custom-class would be where I'd put my entry. Furthermore, for the contenders not in Rebuilding-class, a fresh kit has to be used. Sounds logical, but okay…


Thinking about what I have in stock for kits and parts (and yes, I have quite a lot), I remembered I had some nice resin stuff from P&P Vintage kits. Actually all the conversion parts to turn the Italeri Peterbilt 378 kit into a nice Ultracab Peterbilt 379-127, with the newer door and dash (post '05). In this blog I will post updates as they come on the build, progress and the issues that will (undoubtedly) arise during construction. The final result will be shown here, as well as the result in the Build-Off.

So why a Peterbilt 379? For me, the non plus ultra American truck is a Peterbilt 379. The way it looks, the reputation and all. Also, if you consider that for the aftermarket parts market there are supposedly more items available for Peterbilts alone than for all the other brands combined, you can build a scale Pete any way you like.

The truck I'm building has no definite plan yet. The kit I'm using is an Italeri kit, the so-called Long Hauler (#3857). Comes with the 63" Standup-Sleeper, and a Detroit Diesel 60 Series under the hood. The truck the Italerians offer is not a 379 model, but a 378. Cab sits a little higher and the hood is different. I don't like the terms "Short Hood" or "Extended Hood (or EXHD, which I dislike even more) so I try to refrain using them. There are 2 ways of making the 378 into a 379. The first is lowering the cab a little and adapting the hood. Tim Ahlborn gave me that tip many years back, and it works great! This way you'll turn the truck into a Pete 379-119 aka Short Hood. On Tim's site (http://www.timstrucks.com) you can find the instructions how to do this if you are interested. I have done this several times in the past with what I think great results. The other way is making or ordering a resin conversion kit; I have ordered in the past lots of parts from P&P Vintage kits and a 379-127 hood conversion is one of them. Now of course there are many sellers who offer them, I'm sure they are all good. I stick with P&P because I had good experiences with them in the past. Also I have a resin cab with the newer doors and a raised roof (the so-called Ultracab); this cab has a true Unibilt sleeper transition too. I picked up an extra set of frame rails too somewhere in the past; actually it's the whole sprue, with engine parts and stuff. Since I have to alter the cab supports anyway, I figured a frame stretch using the extra rails would be great. And here comes the first dilemma: do I make a Large Car, with custom fenders and cowboying it up, or do I make a heavy hauler with a lift axle? Both of them are appealing… At the moment I'm working on getting a lift axle through Jamie Rahmoeller from Mo'luminum.

The Detroit Diesel I'm definitely not going to use. Don't get me wrong, it might be a fine engine and the Italerians did a fine job in moulding it, but I want something different. Through my friend Patrick Tompkins I got a Caterpillar C-15. A nice resin kit, comes with lots of detail. Should be a nice engine for my project. But then again, if I can pick up a Cummins ISX again, I might put that in...

Also I have tons of spare parts accumulated over the years, so I plan to put on lots of extras. Since the 379 I'm building is a newer type, with the new door latches and window sills, I need a newer style dash too. P&P has them as well, and I got 3 sets back then.



The cab is already primed, I'm working on the Unibilt transition in the sleeper front panel.


Saturday, October 24th 2015,

I got the panels on the sleeper together, and cut out the opening for the Unibilt sleeper transition. The cab and sleeper make a flush fit. Also I shaved off the door handles on the all the doors. Either I'm going to make 4 matching ones, or perhaps I'm keeping the doors like that. Customized, opening by remote or something...


Ahm, I seem to have forgotten to put the doghouse in the firewall on the front of the cab. Let's get that corrected...

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