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A few HO trucks & loads

Started by Bill Gill, December 29, 2014, 10:13:15 AM

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Bill Gill

After detailing a CMW Ford Woody for the New England Berkshire & Western RR, the club dropped off a handful of trucks and said to try whatever I wanted with them. Here are some results.

This is the Mini Metals 1941-46 Chevy Bell telephone truck right out of the package

Bill Gill

Here is the truck after messing up the closed rear end storage by trying to open one of the back doors to the compartment. The two telephone pole cross arms hanging in the brackets have the pegs for insulators and the galvanized braces already attached as found in a prototype photo of a similar telephone truck rig. The two larger lower tool lockers on this side and one on the other side had the round knobs replaced with rectangular latches cut from a scrap diesel shell.

Bill Gill

Here's the other side. One tool locker was opened and bits of plastic & aluminum were piled in to look like the usual jumble of tools. The two pole tools (gray poles with yellow tips on each end) slung in the brackets under the ladder are shaped bronze wire glued into holes drilled into monofilament fishing line (more resistant to breaking than styrene rod). The silver water cooler on the backend was some scrap casting slightly reshaped and a thin aluminum handle added to it. A hole was drilled below the black strap holding the cooler to its bracket and a nut, bolt, washer casting glued in the hole to look like the spigot. The block & tackle were salvaged from a pirate ship model. A gas filler neck and cap were also added.

Bill Gill

Since the back of the truck was open, some tools and other stuff was tossed in. The taillights were repainted and given a coat of gloss acrylic varnish to look like plastic lenses. Most of these trucks have trailer hitches, so one was added here.

Bill Gill

One more look at the back end. The shovel and pickax (only the ax handle is visible here) were reworked from the scrap box. The tarp in the front left corner is dyed and painted tissue wrapping paper. The cardboard box behind that is Kraft paper and the galvanized nuts and bolts in it are more N,B,W castings with the washers cut off and squares of styrene strip with holes in them to look like the nuts. the trailer hitch is more visible in this view. It is simply a short length of styrene 4x4 with a long shanked N,B,W casting poked up from the bottom. The top of the shank was dipped into thick CA several times to make the ball connector.

Bill Gill

Often little people are the least realistic parts in model photos, but to me they often add a purpose to the other models in the picture, and sometimes are essential to complete the story. The Bell telephone truck is parked beside a newly installed bare pole in the North Creek scene on the NEB&W, so a lineman prepping the pole for the new cross arms on the truck was needed. Here's the scene and also a close up of the lineman, closer than he can be viewed on the layout. His adapted pose and clothes are based on photos, drawings and paintings in old magazine ads for Bell Telephone.

The photo, at North Creek, was taken by Will Gill. The other is a close up of the lineman. His climbing belt, tool belt and leg straps are paper plasticized with CA and painted to look like leather. The D rings on his climbing belt are fine wire, painted dull silver.

Ray Dunakin

Very nice! Excellent job on the lineman, considering how tiny an HO figure is!
Visit my website to see pics of the rugged and rocky In-ko-pah Railroad!

Ray Dunakin's World

Bill Gill

Thanks Ray, I have admired your figures for some time now. Sculpting not only from scratch, but also to create a likeness of family members is quite a talent. I sort of hacked up a couple figures and pasted them back together.


Very nice work Bill.

Looks like Chester has company doing these trucks.

Why isn't there mouse-flavored cat food?
George Carlin

Bill Gill

Thanks Jerry! Any mention of these trucks in the same post as Chester's trucks is quite a compliment!

Malachi Constant

Hey Bill --

Great to see you in these parts!  Once again, I'm struck by the amazing detail and realism you put into these teeny-weenie little HO vehicles.  The truck, linesman and pole is an amazing 3-piece scene combo!

-- Dallas Mallerich  (Just a freakin' newbie who stumbled into the place)
Email me on the "Contact Us" page at www.BoulderValleyModels.com

Bill Gill

Thanks, Dallas. With three you get eggroll.

Bill Gill

Another example where I feel a Little Person helps an overall scene. The driver helps convey the idea that this truck was moving, maybe even racing the train, when the photo was taken rather than parked in the middle of the road. (photo by Will Gill)

Adding the driver was one of the trickiest parts of this project. He had to be glued onto the seat, sans left arm, before the cab could be reassembled and then his arm could be positioned and glued casually resting out the open window and finally the paint touched up - like building a person in an eyedropper

I wonder which convention (LPs or no LPs) most helps the viewer 'believe" in situations like this. There was discussion in the "A Neat Swedish On3 Layout" thread (General Forum) about the noticeably ghostly effect of a lack of engine crew in part of the video. There the locomotive was moving, so the empty cab is even more noticeable. What do others think about this?


Hi Bill,

I built earlier and HO car models and figures on the scale.
2 I built HO fire trucks I was here before.
But unfortunately this is not both combined.
What I have still not achieved is such a perfect realistic aging as you show here.
Meanwhile I build everything in scale 1: 22.5, and especially since moving vehicles are equipped with staff and also decorate the model accordingly.

To include figures for me absolutely so.
Regards Helmut
the journey is the goal

Ray Dunakin

As you've mentioned, moving trains or other vehicles need figures to look "right". The opposite is true when it comes to the figures themselves -- with rare exception, figures look best when they are not frozen in an action pose. As a general rule they should be in a relaxed position of minimal motion.

Figures are kind of a tough thing if you're modeling for realism -- even the best figures don't look completely lifelike, and break the illusion of the rest of the model. Yet in many cases figures are necessary to complete the scene. For instance, a town without figures looks desert. Businesses without figures look closed or abandoned.

Visit my website to see pics of the rugged and rocky In-ko-pah Railroad!

Ray Dunakin's World