Monday, January 15, 2018

LN 8000 Crew Cab: Initial planning

Those of you with an interest in oddball trucks will recall the transporters used by Grand Prix teams in the '50s and '60s. Of course there is the mythical Mercedes 300 transporter, but on a more mundane level one finds the typical Fiat transporter used to carry three Ferraris, boxes of spares and a crew of 5 or 6. Click here for a classic photo of this iconic race team circa 1957. 

There are 1/18 diecast models of this, which change hands for ridiculous prices; the closest you can get today at 1/25 is AMT's Ford LN 8000.

Now the LN 8000 has a few flaws. It can only carry one car; the semi-circular dip in the ramp, which is meant to trap the front wheel, is not realistic; and it only has seats for two.

As a solution for the number of seats, I was inspired by a 1953 F600 crew cab (click here and scroll down). I figured I could use Jimmy Flintstone's F100 crew cab as a replacement for the LN 8000 cab. However the F100 is too narrow to cover the big Diesel or the wider front axle in the LN 8000, and the fenders don't fit the larger truck tires. So a lot of cutting would be needed.

So an alternate approach was required. I decided to build up a crew cab LN 8000. It seems someone once made a resin crew cab body for the LN 8000, but I couldn't find any, so it was off to the chopping block once I'd acquired a second LN 8000 cab as donor.

I learned from the '53 COE project that you can graft on a second cab in one of two ways, either back to front or back to back. After a lot of planning, it seemed to me that back to back would work best.

In spite of it all being nice and square, there are still enough shallow angles to make the cuts challenging. First I cut the back off the 'rear' cab, and glued that cab, back to back, to the 'front' cab to maintain some structural integrity. Then I cut off the fenders and windscreen of the rear cab before grafting on the back panel removed in the first step. I left the back of the front cab in place as a partition, and again to ensure it has some strength. 

Right now it's got suicide rear doors but that is easily fixed.

The rough cut looks good on the standard length chassis. Next will be lots of cleanup (putty and sanding) and building the interiors. Plans for the car carrier portions are in the works and will be revealed in due course. Stay tuned!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Bombardier sidewalk plow: Completed (#1 for 2018)

I'm going to call this one done, with one or two exceptions, just in time to help with cleaning up the 30 cm (that's a foot for the metric-impaired amongst you) of fluffy white stuff that fell on Saturday.

I screwed up the glass (sliced up Falcon windshield) but apart from that it turned out OK -- maybe I'll see about another approach specifically for the windsheild. Mirrors are from AMT's Dodge Stealth kit.

The red tool box came from the military kit that served as a basis for all this, and was likely meant to be munitions storage. I like the shovel, pick axe and jack attached to the right rear fender. This baby means business!

Still to do: hinge for the canopy to tilt up and forward, and a piece of chain to hold the plow off the pavement. Stubby exhaust pipes jutting out of the mufflers on the fenders wouldn't look out of place either. All will have to wait for the end of renovations and my move back into my home -- this was done, because I was going stir-crazy being away from the bench since late November, with minimal tools and essentially no access to the boneyard.

Let it snow!

For the record: the basis was Japanese Medium Tank Type 97 (1/35 Tamiya kit #3575), although any cheap kit of a light tank would do; engine is a blown Pontiac 421 (Revell parts pack); interior and canopy from AMT's Ford Falcon Ranchero; plow from the Revell GMC pickup kit.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Bombardier sidewalk plow: Final assembly, major components

There is lots to show since the last post. To recap: this hot rod snow plow started off as a 1/35 Tamiya kit of a light Japanese tank, with a blown Pontiac 421 motor from the old Revell Parts Packs series, and a roof and interior carved out of an AMT Ford Falcon Ranchero. I suspect there are other interesting things to be built using military 1/35 kits as a base, but I'll leave that for another day.

The plow components came from the Revell pickup kit, sourced from an eBay vendor. It would be nice to have some of the other kit parts, but I am too cheap to buy the entire kit and wouldn't know what to do with a GMC pickup truck once I'd stolen the useful stuff.

The upper body components got Testor's yellow, while the chassis and drivetrain got Tamiya semi-gloss black and flat aluminum respectively, all over a base of Tamiya primer. (The dark brown plastic was going to be difficult to cover without a good coat of primer).

Boy do tanks have a lot of wheels! 10 per side if my count is correct, with the foremost one being the drive wheel. This fits with what I have seen of the little plows on the street.

Engine and radiator are now in, along with the interior. The blower scoop obviously faces backwards over the bell housing as the engine is turned around. This should not be a problem as I am guessing the drives would be hydraulic on most modern plows.

Lots of nice little details, like the chains and tow hooks, came from the tank kit. There is also a shovel, pickaxe and jack, along with what was probably meant to be a munitions box but which will be recycled as a tool box.

It's a snowy day here today and it's unfortunate the plow isn't ready to help out, because the yellow paint has to harden before I can handle it. So I'll be shoveling the old fashioned way later this afternoon. Final assembly will include things like mirrors, glass, headlights, and the plow assembly. Stay tuned!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Bombardier sidewalk plow: canopy

Well, the old Ranchero got sacrificed. But it was not in vain as you will hopefully agree.

I never met  a roof I didn't want to chop... the cut is just over 3" at scale. I took the opportunity to shorten the canopy by the simple expedient of sliding the roof section forward to meet the windshield posts. Normally a chop of this scale would have required splicing in a roof section to maintain the distance between pillars at the window sill level.

The canopy uses the chopped roof and the upper door sills, all narrowed by about 20 inches at scale. Once it's all set, I'll clean it up and start thinking about hinging it. These tilt up towards the front on the commercial sidewalk plows.

Clearly I should have narrowed the roof a bit more, as demonstrated by the poor fit of the windshield posts. I'm undecided as to whether I'll simply trim the posts, or cut another 1/32" out of the roof panel. Then I'll worry about cutting up the glass. Ugh. Meanwhile the remnants of the Falcon are available for future hair-brained (or is it hare-brained) ideas.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Bombardier sidewalk plow: Interior and engine detail

The interior is a sectioned Ford Falcon Ranchero tub from the AMT kit. Gotta love the 54 TPI blades which are not easy to find. The tub sits one person, realistically, although the cushion is a bit more than half the bench seat out of the Falcon. Two in a pinch and they had better be good friends.

The engine, which faces rearwards, has wires, and there is a simple plan for exhaust headers which will include two mufflers (not shown) from the tank kit and which mount on the rear fenders. The radiator will sit facing rearwards behind the motor, and I may open up the small hatch in the middle of the rear deck for improved airflow. A better view of the engine compartment when complete may require opening up one or both of the vented panels on the left and right side of the engine compartment.

What is missing is a canopy. In the sidewalk plows used around here, the canopy is hinged at the front and allows the driver to clamber over the treads. I will probably cut up the greenhouse from the Falcon for this purpose. Stay tuned!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Bombardier sidewalk plow: chassis layout

As the snow falls and the windchill drops to -35 C, now is a good time to look at getting the hot rod snowplow operational.

The engine sits nicely in the rear bay. I think I'll set the engine facing rearwards, with belts and a radiator at the rear of the chassis. A larger opening for a radiator may be needed.

The central gun turret structure has been removed and the chassis layout is looking good. A simple firewall is in place. 

It's a bit narrow for two seats so it will probably be a single seater. There is lots of room in the footwell (although I am assuming that a real tank would have lots of machinery related to drive wheels and idlers).

I'll root through the parts bin for a suitable roof. I seem to recall having an early Ford Falcon Ranchero that got cut up for something else and maybe that will supply some interesting shapes. Failing that, I'll build up something square from sheet styrene. Next will be some engine detail. The Revell Monogram Parts Packs motors were nice kits but with all the chrome, fit was a challenge. The blown 421 will offer plenty of grunt, so let it snow! 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Bombardier sidewalk plow: planning stages

Now those of you who live in climates with real winters may well be familiar with the sidewalk plow made by Bombardier (inventor of the Ski-Doo) and others. This little tracked vehicle barrels down city sidewalks after a storm, scattering everything in its path (including pedestrians). The basic unit is a compact little thing, powered by a rear-mounted 4-cyl Perkins Diesel; overall width is just over 4 feet. Drive is by individual hydraulic motors to each track; steering is managed by altering the power to left and right tracks, with the result that they can turn donuts by reversing the drive to one track. Click here for more info.

So it occurred to me that it would be interesting to build a hot-rod version of something similar in 1/25. It further occurred to me that the world of 1/35 tank kits would be an excellent source of bits, such as tank treads and wheels.

On investigating this option, I discovered that 1) there is a huge selection of tank kits out there, and 2) they tend to be expensive. So when I found a stash of cheap, opened kits in a local hobby shop, I decided to grab one and see what's inside.

This 1/35 Japanese light tank from Tamiya scales to a bit less than 13 feet long at 1/25, or less than a new Mini. It's about 5 and a half feet wide, wider than a sidewalk plow but 9 inches narrower than a Mini with the mirrors. Track width is 9". The kit is pretty simple, and the fact the instructions are entirely in Japanese won't be a problem.

The figure of the soldier scales to a child-like 3 feet 9 inches. (At 1/35, he's a slim 5'3"). The pictures show the Diesel V8 from AMT's Ford LN 8000 kit, to give you an idea of scale.

The louvered rear engine compartment is a perfect spot to locate some form of big block with a blower, while the forward structure under the gun turret will be cut away to build a cabin. I'll need to scratch-build a plow, or find one online; there is a Revell pickup with a plow which can be found on eBay.

So this won't build an exact replica of the Bombardier SW4S, but then there isn't room for a big block in an SW4S. Yeehaw!