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March 2006 - Page 38


A Few Old Favorites
by Bernie Fahrner Photos by the author

Shown in this rare lineup are three of my all-time favorite trucks. Each one represents a different era and brings back many fond memories of these specific times.

T

he recent introduction of many new 1/87th scale products has made it possible to model trucks that I consider to be the classics. By classics I mean trucks from the 1950s to 1980s that I have always admired. Athearn has led the way by updating their Freightliner and Kenworth truck tractors. Added details such as windshield wipers, mirrors, detailed interiors, sun visors and high-quality paint schemes have made it easy to build models of these trucks. Athearn has also introduced two new Mack trucks, the R 600 and the B 61. These are available as a tractor or as a truck with a dump, wrecker or cement mixer body. Boley offers a GMC Topkick and International 4600 as a refrigerated straight truck, dump truck or fuel tanker truck and pull trailer. These highly detailed models are constructed of die-cast and plastic parts that make them easy to work with. While these particular trucks may not be considered classics, they offer many useful parts and truck bodies. Smaller manufacturers such as Sheepscot, Don Mills and Dennis Aust Models are producing a line of high-quality cast-resin models and detail parts. There are many other new products and manufacturers that now make it possible to build models that we could only dream of before. The prototype of the first model that I am featuring was manufactured from 1954 to 1957. It is the International Harvester RDFC 405 Emeryville. The nickname Emeryville comes from the International Harvester manufacturing plant located in Emeryville, CA. This truck was popular with many large freight companies such as

P.I.E., Ringsby and Johnson Motor Lines, to name a few, as well as being a big hit with the owner/operators of the day. Sheepscot Scale Products produces a cast-resin model of the RDFC 405. This is one of the finest cast-resin models that I have ever worked with. The casting is clean, and the details are superb. The kit comes with cab, chassis, wheels, fuel tanks and other detail parts needed to complete the model. The model represents my version of the Emeryville as an owner/operator truck leased to Watson Bros. Transportation Co. of Omaha, Nebraska. To achieve a longer wheelbase, the cab was mounted on an Athearn Freightliner chassis. Other details include Athearn six hand-hold steel wheels, A-Line windshield wipers and fuel tanks and scratchbuilt sanders. Decals are from Ken Goudy and Microscale.

1960s-1970s Era
The Athearn Freightliner is an excellent example of a truck from this era. The prototype that the model is based on was produced from the early 1960s up into the 1980s with only slight variations made to the basic body style. The Freightliner cabover was one of the most widely used and purchased trucks in history, popular with companies and owner/operators alike. Conservative length laws in the Midwest and East made the short wheelbase cabover tractor attractive to operators in these areas. This is my version of a mid 1970s owner/operator leased to Greenstein Trucking Co. of Pompano Beach, Florida. I used a predecorated Athearn Freightliner as the tractor model and shortened the wheelbase to 152. Athearn is to be commended for these predecorated models. The accuracy and quality is second to none. A-Line wheels and fuel tanks along with a scratch-

1950s-1960s Era

Watson Bros. was a large freight company that operated out of Omaha and ran thru Denver to many of the Western states using company trucks as well as owner/operators. These grueling routes required the use of some large trucks of the day, and the Emeryville certainly met the requirements. Sheepscot has done an excellent job of capturing the look the classic Emeryville.

38 MODEL RAILROADING

MARCH 2006

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