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DRIPTROIT 71

CF Freightliner pusher truck

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These trucks were used by CF to push trucks over Donner pass in the snow.

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I will start with the AMT kit. It has two options; a 63” daycab or a 86” sleeper cab. My reference truck appears to have the 72” cab. So that is where I am starting.

63” cab

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86” cab:

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New 72” cab:

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Nice! I like the 72” cab, love to see things not in the original kit.

I imagine the CF pushers were used exclusively to push CF rigs. Did CF pushers ever provide service to other trucking lines? 

What a unique operation. Reminds me of the railroad pusher operations over mountain passes, including Donner. Some railroad pushers are still used to this day, despite improvements in distributed power, technology, and horsepower increases in the industry.

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A little more progress on this one. Power comes from 903 Cummins, 5 speed Spicer transmission, large air tank for the air starter.

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Nice progress. Was the air starter spec’d on the trucks because of the winter environment? I’ve heard of them before but never looked into the pros and cons. Not something you see often modeled. 

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11 hours ago, vincen47 said:

Nice progress. Was the air starter spec’d on the trucks because of the winter environment? I’ve heard of them before but never looked into the pros and cons. Not something you see often modeled. 

I’m guessing that CF liked them to cut down on battery cost, but I’m not sure. The main con is that once your air leaks down, you have to have an air hose to jump it off. I assume that is why they had the big tanks. There is a video on YouTube of an old CF truck that has the air tank for the starter where the passenger seat should be. It looks like a big water tank. 

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Nice. Looks almost ready. Was there weight added to the bed? I also imagine they used tire chains or at least aggressive-tread drive tires? Might be hard to tell from the research photos. Maybe the hooks are for chains.

Edited by vincen47

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On 2/15/2022 at 4:54 PM, vincen47 said:

Nice. Looks almost ready. Was there weight added to the bed? I also imagine they used tire chains or at least aggressive-tread drive tires? Might be hard to tell from the research photos. Maybe the hooks are for chains.

Thanks Vince! There was concrete in the bed for weight. I am trying to decide how I want to replicate the concrete. Creative license has been used on many things that I have no photos of. The look of the concrete falls into that category. I have tire chains for the drive tires and there will be chains on all the hangers. I always wondered why they didn’t use tandem drive trucks for this. 

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If I had to venture a guess on the concrete, I would imagine they’d use a couple large rectangular precast concrete blocks. This is just an assumption. Nothing pretty, just reinforced with an iron loop to hook onto to and load them into the bed.

To replicate them, you could use plaster or a similar modeling medium and cast them by building a mold out of styrene or gator board. I’d make them hollow, leaving out the bottom. Plaster can easily be stained, chipped, and weathered to look exactly like concrete. Woodland Scenics makes a whole line of stuff designed to create roads for model railroads. They have a product called Smooth-it that works great, or you can even use plain ol’ plaster of Paris. Acrylic paints and stains, I’m sure you have. I’ve even used concrete patch found at the hardware stores, too, but some of them are a little too viscous to work with easily. 

It’s also possible you’d find something useful in resin from the 1/35 military guys. I’m sure they have precast concrete blocks for dioramas. 

Now, if they poured the concrete into the bed, which I guess is also possible, that look could also be replicated with plaster, too, I suppose, carefully. I know of railroads that literally poured concrete into former locomotive fuel tanks when the units had their engine removed when converted into essentially just cab units later in life for push/pull service. 

Love the chains, btw. Awesome details.

Edited by vincen47

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This one is pretty much done. I used plaster from Woodland Scenes for the concrete. This was my first experience experimenting with snow.

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Awesome job. It really looks like a workhorse with a mission to accomplish. Excellent details, and a nice and simple base that gives it a sense of place. Honestly, you don’t have to add anything else. Snow is tough to replicate and more doesn’t always make it better, it just covers up the detail work you did, and looks gaudy. Besides, if it’s just parked on a decent day on the pass, waiting for the next storm, most of the snow will have melted off in the sun, save for a dusting from the blowing wind.

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On 2/20/2022 at 9:58 AM, vincen47 said:

Awesome job. It really looks like a workhorse with a mission to accomplish. Excellent details, and a nice and simple base that gives it a sense of place. Honestly, you don’t have to add anything else. Snow is tough to replicate and more doesn’t always make it better, it just covers up the detail work you did, and looks gaudy. Besides, if it’s just parked on a decent day on the pass, waiting for the next storm, most of the snow will have melted off in the sun, save for a dusting from the blowing wind.

Thanks Vince! I agree that I didn’t want it to be gaudy. I figured that after the snow had stopped falling that the heat from the engine and cab would have most of the snow melted off in that area. 

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