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Everything posted by Cornbinder

  1. As a lifelong lover of International trucks, and a model builder, I have to say that among my all-time favorite kits are the '70's-era Ertl International kits. Mostly accurate and crammed with detail, it takes little more than clean and careful building techniques to make a real show piece from one of these kits. While the Paystar kits are relatively easy to find, the others can be a bit more of a challenge. Case in point, the Transtar II. Though it was reissued in 1996 and run until 1999, it's tough to track down today, which is ironic considering that it was a bit of a flop in the marketplace at that time. This kit started out as a Transtar CO4070A, and Ertl later updated it to the current Transtar II Eagle specs. The original kit had an innovative feature- templates for painting the stripe scheme, a feature picked up later on by many of the Japanese kit manufacturers but pretty much forgotten by everyone else. The 1996 reissue, which is what I'll be showing here, does not include these templates, though their presence is still called out on the box. Ertl's box art was always striking, and fortunately this kit was not reissued in the unimaginative "standard" AMT-Ertl boxing of the time. The 1996 reissue is pretty much a pure duplicate of the original Transtar II box art. Here we have the cab, and the piece to the right is the upper interior bucket, which has the inner door and side panels, rear upholstery, and headliner with sun visors. Almost anything that could be done as a separate piece on the cab, WAS done as a separate piece. If you take a close look at the cab, you might be thinking "Hey... it kind of looks like a big Cargostar." That's because, in a way, it is. When IH designed the Transtar cabover, they opted to use as many existing stampings from the Cargostar as possible, in order to cut costs. In fact, I know of a resin caster who is using one of these cabs to master a Cargostar. But that's a story for some other time... Here we have a sprue full of engine and chassis parts. The Detroit V8 in the kit has very nice surface detail... much more so than AMT kits of the period. I have heard it is a tad underscale, but it is an impressive looking engine when built up and detailed. We also have the battery boxes, dash, cab floor, sleeper partition (complete with a rolled up curtain), visor, and various other doodads. Here we have the passenger's side frame rail up top, with more chassis parts, mainly wheel parts, front axle, forward drive axle, air brake chambers, and radiator. Again, all parts exhibit very nice surface detail. Keep in mind that this kit dates from the mid 1970's! Here we have the driver's side frame rail, rear drive axle, the massive walking beams, batteries, inner front spring halves, and the fifth wheel plate. Two high-back buckets, standard on the lux Eagle model, are also included on this sprue. Also note the CB radio... a feature which is strangely lacking in many "big rig" kits. Unlike AMT, Ertl did not go "primate feces" with the chrome plating, though you will want to strip the fifth wheel. Again, great engraved detail on these parts, and the chrome plating doesn't muck it up too badly at all. The "International" lettering on the grille frame stands out far enough to accept a paint wash quite well. You'll want to strip the exhaust manifolds and piping, and possibly the air cleaner, but the rest here is good to go. Again, sharp detail and the plating quality is pretty good. Again, the "Transtar" lettering in the side trim stands out proud- note that the side trim pieces also include the door handle and side step. Oddly, Ertl had a love affair with molding the fog lights into the bumper. A little detail painting... or going to the extent of drilling out the molded lenses to replace with clear units, helps quite a bit. Still, that's a very small fly in the ointment, considering how good the rest of the kit is in terms of parts breakdown. Again typical of an Ertl kit, all the "clear" parts are just that... clear. You'll need your favorite clear red and clear orange for the taillights and turn signals, respectively. The clear parts are relatively thin and don't exhibit much distortion. Tires are hollow Goodyears by way of MPC. Remember at one time Ertl, AMT, and MPC were all separate companies. Ertl did buy out MPC's "big rig" tooling in the late '70's. A few years later, Ertl took over AMT, and later, MPC. If you've built pretty much any AMT, Ertl, or AMT-Ertl semi reissue from the late '80's onward, you are no doubt familiar with these tires! The decal sheet includes the Eagle graphics, along with door signage for two fictional hauling firms- Eagle Freight and TSR Freight Lines. Several small permit labels and detailing graphics are also supplied. The names "Linda" and "Elaine" are also on the sheet (hard to see in the pic but visible just to the right of the top "Eagle Freight" decal... so your Transtar can have a name, or so you can put a female driver behind the wheel. Like most '90's Ertl sheets, the carrier is thick and you'll want to trim it as closely to the graphic as possible, but they do tend to lay down well and look good once in place. Barring that, Jerry at modeltruckin.com does a set for this kit, and no doubt there are numerous other choices available through the aftermarket or kitbashing. Ertl kits don't have instruction sheets. They have full-blown, bona fide, honest-to-Thor instruction booklets, laid out in a checklist format. This booklet also includes a few photos of 1:1 Transtar IIs for reference, thought the photos are black and white and not quite as sharp as you might hope. As far as building goes, there are really only two things to watch out for. The front track is a bit wide, so you may look into modifying the axle and or front hubs so that the front tires won't stick out past the sides of the cab. You also may want to move the battery box rearward just a tad. Every time I hear someone comment on building this kit, those are the two things always mentioned. Of course, since the kit has posable steering you could always take the lazy way out and just display the model with the wheels turned to hide the track! I have not yet had the chance to build this kit, but I am very much looking forward to it. The Transtar was once a very common sight on American highways- even 40 years later you'll still see a few out and about from time to time. It's an iconic kit of an iconic semi tractor, an I do hope Round 2 will see fit to bring it back again. Given the superiority of Round 2's decal sheets to the old Ertl sheets, that alone would be an improvement over what is already a great kit.
  2. Cornbinder

    1968 Dodge D800 Dump

    Love it! I still see these occasionally in use as farm trucks.
  3. Cornbinder

    Reo Gold Comet

    I'll have to buy that cab now because my father has a 6x6 Reo out behind the barn.
  4. Cornbinder

    15.8L Caterpillar 3406E Custom Reman

    Damned shame that has to be covered up by a hood.
  5. Cornbinder

    1950 Ford F4 Wrecker

    I love it! I have those same decals somewhere.
  6. Cornbinder

    International RF-190

    Love these trucks. You definitely did the subject justice.
  7. Cornbinder

    Peterbilt 358 twin stick 1100 cab

    Love it!
  8. Cornbinder

    Mashpee 354 International R190

    Shaping up to be one beautiful brute already!
  9. Cornbinder

    1965 Ford F100 Utility truck.

    I must confess I bought way too many of these when they came out
  10. Cornbinder

    AMT Autocar A64B

    Nice! Is that the stock wheelbase?
  11. Cornbinder

    International 4200 built in 1989

    Very nice! Even as-is. Even though it doesn't look like it would take an awful lot to bring it back up to 100%
  12. Cornbinder

    1983 IH F-2674 Tri-axle Dump

    Lovely! The local gravel pit once had a similar unit to this.
  13. I recently nabbed three Italeri parts packs and thought I'd take some photos and show people what's in the boxes. We'll begin with 720- Truck Accessories for European and American trucks. On the box top we see illustrations of what's included- various parts and three figures depicting Waylon Jennings, your creepy uncle, and former BBC Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond. This sprue contains some mirrors, mud flaps, sides to an underbody tool compartment, and a road hazard triangle. There's also a very nice bottle jack. Here's the engraved detail on the mud flaps close up. The other sprue contains more parts and some pieces to the figures. Here's a close up of the detail on the bolt cutter and some of the air fittings. I consider this kit worht buying due to the chromed smokestacks and cast six-spoke wheels shown here, but you also get some nice air horns, a variety of lights, and more. Clear lenses are also included, along with coated wire for use as air and electrical lines. Lots of decal graphic choices, though the US plates are way too large- they might look about right on a 1:16 scale vehicle. The European plates look much closer to correct in size. 764's box art is similar, showing what is included. Among much more, here you get another Michelin man as well as what appears to be the love child of the Big Boy logo and the Elephant Man. You also get not one but TWO creepy uncle figures! Someone at Italeri must be very fond of Bibendum, aka The Michelin Man. If you're thinking this one doesn't seem to include as many pieces as 720, you're right. The chrome sprue gets the job done, and includes plated cab lights with separate clear orange lenses. Sadly- the clear parts sprue is missing from my particular example. The decal sheet is simple but contains some interesting and useful markings. The topless blonde graphics are a nice touch. Lastly, we have my personal favorite, 776. This is the third example of this kit I have gotten over the years. I struck out on this one. I'll explain why later. This sprue is dominated by the lift gate components, and the six spoke cast wheels. Here's the detail present on the cast wheels, and some of the lift gate components. Here we have the components for the Effer knuckle-boom crane. This one is molded in a red-orange, the other two I've had were molded in gray and orange, respectively. Here's where I struck out. The first two of these I bought had the soft vinyl Michelins. This one has the old two-piece plastic Michelins. Perhaps this is an earlier issue of the kit? And the decals- most of these are for the crane but the lift gate is not overlooked.
  14. Cornbinder

    1980 Volvo N10

    This was a quick and relatively pleasant buildup of the old Ertl Precision Series kit. You know, the one with that diecast frame that seems to scare off many a modeler. I didn't have too much trouble with that, but the diecast front spindles sucked, so I made new ones from plastic strip. Other than the roof top A/C unit and the decals it's totally box stock and finished in Tamiya flat yellow. I also cut away the exhaust stack and replaced it with aluminum tubing.
  15. Cornbinder

    Volvo N10

    This is a kit I've wanted for a while. I recently was able to nab one at a not-too-terrible price. The diecast frame gave me pause, but it turns out to be a minor matter. The diecast front spindles were useless and replaced with new ones fabricated from styrene. The tractor will be weathered to resemble a semi-retired rig, no pun intended. Much of the hit chrome has been stripped. The metal frame has eight pins, meant to protrude through corresponding holes in the bumper to simulate bolt heads. Things didn't quite line up, so the pins were filed off and replaced by heads cut from straight pins. More building and detailing to come....
  16. Cornbinder

    Volvo N10

    I have not, but I have a few military kits I want to get around to sometime. This one is a done deal, Showroom pics coming soon.
  17. Cornbinder

    Volvo N10

    The engine is in. Not much will be visible once the cab is on but I have it some weathering. I tried Vallejo pigments for the first time and I'm reasonably happy.
  18. Cornbinder

    DAKAR Diamond REO

    Love it.
  19. Cornbinder

    Diamond REO Dump Truck

    Love it! Just the right amount of dirt and schmutz.
  20. Cornbinder

    1967 Diamond T DAKAR Rally Truck

    I've wanted to build this for years, so I'll definitely be keeping a close eye on this project.
  21. I've been buying the Revell Peterbilt 359 snap kits for years. For being snap kits they're actually not too bad (aside from the terribly-fitting tires and visible snap tabs on the cab), and they're cheap. If you want that Cat engine or what have you, you tend not do feel as bad about hacking into a $25 kit as you would a $60+ kit. But I always wanted to do something crazy and, you know, BUILD one. But I wasn't about to leave it box stock! Oh, no. I set about building something of a mild custom. I began with the grille. It is the stock kit piece, but I removed the molded headlights and brackets. I also removed some mold seams, and scribed in the missing cut line for the grille crown. Headlight brackets from a round-light 359 were modified and fitted with headlights from a Revell '29 Model A Roadster kit. I also cut out the grille mesh and replaced it with some grooved plastic sheet, which I believe was meant to be for a steel roof in 1:48 scale. The red oval is from the Revell decal sheet- it may or may not stay there. The hood ornament was also removed- I may reinstall it, I may use another style, or I may leave it off entirely. I'll know once more progress is made and the Pete "tells me what it wants". I also began the "daycab-ification", by cutting away the molded sleeper and the portion of the sleeper floor molded to the chassis. I may go with a flat panel, or one more like this... I may not even modify the wheelbase. Plenty more to come-further modifications including straight pipes and possibly even an extended hood. I'm not planning for anything over the top- just a nicely-done custom job, but something that would still be practical as a working tractor.
  22. Cornbinder

    Delayed Gratification

    Well, I was going to order a couple of cab conversion kits from AITM. But I guess that's on hold until next payday now. 23 years of exposure to the elements and metal fatigue and the left front leaf spring mount on my F-250 decided to file for (and receive) a divorce from it's lower half. Hard to see in the pic, but the eye of the leaf spring is touching up against the fuel tank filler tube. So tomorrow after work it's getting lugged off to Midas, because even though it'll cost me quite a bit more to have them do it (the mount itself is only about 40 bucks), they can do in a few hours what would take me all weekend. So... the Ford F600, IH Fleetstar, and GMC 9500 long hood are on hold for the time being. I suppose that means I have a bit more time to worry about the current projects I already have without having to worry about any new distractions.
  23. It seems like every truck model with a tilt hood has something off about the fit of the hood to the cab. It seems like if you build by the instructions they never line up the way they should. Here's one area where you will want to ignore the instructions. The instruction sheet usually has you install the cab, then the hood. If you do it that way, chances are good you'll never have an even fit between the hood and cab at the cowl. Hood-to-cab fit is always iffy in general when a tilting hood is concerned, and on those old AMT truck tractor kits in particular. That's not to say that other manufacturers kits are any better, but the AMT kits seem particularly iffy. You can fight the hood fit all day and still not get it looking good, but it's easier to install the hood first, and then tailor the position of the cab to suit, rather than vice-versa. The first thing you want to do is to install the hood hinges to the back of the grille- make sure you get them as close to straight, level, and even as you can. On the chassis, the openings for the hinge pins can be opened up slightly. That will give you a bit more "wiggle room" so that you can fine tune the hood position. Tape cab to the hood, making sure the rear of the hood fits tight and flush against the cowl of the cab. On a kit like the White Road Boss, where the hood isn't meant to fit against the cowl, this can be trickier, but still workable. Gently close the temporarily unified hood/cab to get a feel for any modifications you will need to do to the cab's mounting points. Now, onto the cab mounts themselves. You may have to remove material from the top of each of the front cab mounts. You may also want to move the rear cab mount/crossmember a couple millimeters forward of it's intended position. You can install it in the intended location, but know that you may need to bend the mounts forward and/or trim material from the top and possibly rear of them. Here are a few photos explaining the process, on Tim Ahlborn's Fotki page- http://public.fotki.com/mackinac359/how-i-did-it/amt-white-western-s/ Tim's tutorial uses an AMT White Western Star, but the same basic techniques can be used on any kit.
  24. Cornbinder

    1982 Peterbilt 359 Custom

    I really need to get back on this thing. 😒