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RailRoad Modeling
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Metal Farm Tractor Kit
JPTRR
Staff MemberManaging Editor
RAILROAD MODELING
#051
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Tennessee, United States
Joined: December 21, 2002
KitMaker: 7,772 posts
Historicus Forma: 172 posts
Posted: Saturday, September 01, 2012 - 06:22 AM UTC
A couple of weeks ago I reviewed the O Scale Ford Style Farm Tractor from Wiseman Model Services, as you can see here:
Ford Style Farm Tractor
.

So how does this metal model come together? Let’s take a look!

I did not photograph every step leading up to assembly although I will describe it. White metal kits are handled much like a resin model. The first thing one should do with a white metal kit is scrutinize it for any flash, seam lines, holes, etc. Compared to resin parts, metal tends to be malleable and less brittle. It also does not sand as well, although one can sand metal. I spent an hour cleaning up some minor flash and seams while watching TV. I also filed several surfaces to make the parts mate smoothly.

Next, prepare the metal for glue and paint. Do this by first scrubbing them with soap and water. Next is an important step, bathing the parts in vinegar for a few hours. Vinegar is a mild acid. It imperceptibly pits the surface, and it further cleans the metal.

To start off easy I joined the main wheel haves together. Aligning the spokes takes a bit of rotating one side to find the right combination. I finally did and secured them with CA. They look good and I do not see anything that needs filing. There is, however, a secret to these assemblies which I will not share until the end of this build!


WMS tells us that this model is made up of several min-models. First, I assembled the combination engine, transmission, and rear axles.




Then I assembled the radiator and fuel tank. These subassemblies are a challenge! The tank halves have no tabs or pins; the top and bottom pieces are slippery upon each other and alignment is eyeball only! When I build another, I will glue small plastic tabs inside of one half, much like one does when building a vacuform model, or many other cottage industry kits. Finish it by attaching the dash panel. Be careful aligning it as the panel’s angle against the tank is very important when the assembly is mated to the radiator, and thence to the transmission and differential part. After the initial CA set, I flooded the inside of the tank with gap filling CA to both fill gaps, and reinforce the seams between the three parts.


The radiator subassembly seems simple: insert the fan baffle into one side of the radiator, then attach the cross brace underneath. The cross brace was fashioned for the railway tractor and sports a pair of end brackets which need to be removed. It also has two faint pins to mate into shallow dimples under the radiator. I drilled those out as there is not much room for the pins. The cross brace also has a semicircular fairing that is intended to be removed. The fairing will conflict with joining the special axle brace made to build this model as a traction tractor. When affixing the axle to the cross brace, again alignment is very important. All of these parts were joined with CA. The fit was good although pins and dimples, or other means to help align the parts, are necessary.


Now attach the tank and the radiator. This is difficult. Only a narrow shelf at the end of the tank fits onto a lip around the radiator. There really isn't a way to clamp these parts together except by good ol' shaky fingers!


If you do not accurately align the top and bottom halves of the tank, the joint between the tank and radiator will be askew. The tank spaces the dash panel and the radiator for spanning the engine. While the bottom of the dash panel is contoured to seat onto the tranny case, the radiator assembly attaches to the nose of the engine via a small cupped tab which attaches under a small lip on the front of the engine. Clearances are extremely tight. I broke the tank away from the radiator several times. I scrapped the mating surfaces to create something for the CA to hold to; if it breaks again, I will reinforce it with epoxy or gel CA.

What you see above is approximately 3.5 hours of work, including the hour spent cleaning the pieces.

More photos will be posted soon! Thanks for reading and check back soon!
JPTRR
Staff MemberManaging Editor
RAILROAD MODELING
#051
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Tennessee, United States
Joined: December 21, 2002
KitMaker: 7,772 posts
Historicus Forma: 172 posts
Posted: Sunday, September 02, 2012 - 02:49 AM UTC
Happily, the radiator-tank seam held and the angles are aligned allowing the assembly to straddle the engine.


And just to make sure it won’t bust apart again, I squirted a good shot of CA into the seam between the radiator and bottom of the tank.

When I build another of these kits, I will shim the dash panel and radiator-tank joint with something to square everything up all good-n-true.



JPTRR
Staff MemberManaging Editor
RAILROAD MODELING
#051
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Tennessee, United States
Joined: December 21, 2002
KitMaker: 7,772 posts
Historicus Forma: 172 posts
Posted: Sunday, September 02, 2012 - 07:22 AM UTC
Part III:

I decided I needed something easy for the next step, so I attached the tow drawbar cup to the frame. I had to drill the hole out. Most holes in these castings are shallow dimples and need work.


I inserted the tow cup after cleaning it up. One tool I highly recommend is an etching awl. (Glad I have something to show for all of those years as an artist!) It is hardened steel and great for poking off small flash and seams, and for making starter holes for drilling.


Another tool I highly recommend for any model project is at least a pair of machinist squares. These are precise right angles, hard enough that model materials will not gouge them, and heavy enough that few models can move them. I used mine to quarter the front wheels while preparing the front axle. The axle is a supplied length of approximately .45mm brass rod that fits into dimples in the inside of each front wheel. The dimples are, as mentioned above, too shallow and needed to be drilled out a bit. My “a bit” was less than my drill bit and I drilled right through. Oh well, now the axle definitely seats well in each wheel! To square the axle in the wheel hub I used my metal square ruler. I leveled the square ruler on each wheel, held vertical and true between the machinist squares, and aligned the ruler edge with the axle, set loose in the hub hole. Carefully I leaned the axle upon the edge of the ruler and set it with a drop of CA.


After it cured I set the other wheel on the axle; this time I could not align the axle along the edge of the ruler, so the machinist squares were used to quarter the wheels. The squares were gently pressed against both wheels until the loose one was flat against the face of its square, and the squares were aligned with the metal square ruler.


I used calipers to gauge the width of the wheels to fit astride the axle cross brace.



When I was satisfied the wheels were quartered as precisely as I could make them, onto the brass axle at the wheel hub went another dab of CA.

This concludes the third part installment of my metal tractor kit build. Coming up next, "fiddly parts"!
JPTRR
Staff MemberManaging Editor
RAILROAD MODELING
#051
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Tennessee, United States
Joined: December 21, 2002
KitMaker: 7,772 posts
Historicus Forma: 172 posts
Posted: Sunday, September 02, 2012 - 05:20 PM UTC
PART IV:

As I write this, the subassemblies are drying after being scrubbed free of my oily fingerprints. Beforehand I drilled out the dimples for the seat, stick shift, and the steering column, and added the foot plates and clutch pedal. Next, priming the metal.

WeWillHold
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Wisconsin, United States
Joined: April 17, 2002
KitMaker: 2,314 posts
Historicus Forma: 59 posts
Posted: Thursday, September 06, 2012 - 04:33 AM UTC
Great thread. The pics are helpful as are your tips. Thanks.
KoSprueOne
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Myanmar
Joined: March 05, 2004
KitMaker: 4,011 posts
Historicus Forma: 90 posts
Posted: Thursday, September 06, 2012 - 08:53 AM UTC
Looking good Fred. Thanks for making a WIP thread with all the pictures and thorough descriptions

I can't wait for the secret!




JPTRR
Staff MemberManaging Editor
RAILROAD MODELING
#051
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Tennessee, United States
Joined: December 21, 2002
KitMaker: 7,772 posts
Historicus Forma: 172 posts
Posted: Saturday, September 08, 2012 - 02:53 PM UTC
Installment V

Gents, Thanks you for your kind words.

Well, I thought I'd have a lot more done by tonight, but life tripped a point and put me on the ballast.

Anyway, here's where I'm at tonight. The tractor was primed and painted. Although Fordsons of this series were painted gray with red wheels, I decided to paint the model to honor my father-in-law, a great guy who grew up on a farm driving boneshakers like this. So I asked his favorite colors, and created a paint scheme. Here's the result.

What was to be red-brown wheels look a bit rusty. That's OK, cause that was how I was going to paint them anyway. Serendipity!

These pix not only display the colors, they serve to show the progress of attached parts; alignment of the major components; and test fitting. Note, the front wheels will be cut to attach into holes drilled into the front axle. As I often do, I present the same photo with different exposures to show off detail.


WeWillHold
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Wisconsin, United States
Joined: April 17, 2002
KitMaker: 2,314 posts
Historicus Forma: 59 posts
Posted: Saturday, September 15, 2012 - 01:42 PM UTC
This will be fun to paint/weather/dust etc. What a sweeheart of a kit.
JPTRR
Staff MemberManaging Editor
RAILROAD MODELING
#051
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Tennessee, United States
Joined: December 21, 2002
KitMaker: 7,772 posts
Historicus Forma: 172 posts
Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2012 - 12:00 PM UTC
Hi Group,

The tractor is complete! Update pending. Here's a teaser!
JPTRR
Staff MemberManaging Editor
RAILROAD MODELING
#051
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Tennessee, United States
Joined: December 21, 2002
KitMaker: 7,772 posts
Historicus Forma: 172 posts
Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2012 - 05:17 PM UTC
Installment VI

Wow, how’d almost 3 months go by without another installment!? Oh yeah, now I remember -- the wild, spectacular, better-than-Hollywood-but-true totally awesome straight out of Indiana Jones odyssey that my past 81 days have been!

Ah...but back to the tractor. I left the tractor almost finished save for joining the main sub-assemblies and the fiddly parts. Here’s the breakdown.

The radiator / fuel tank / front axle / dash panel firewall sub-assembly is very challenging to fit to the engine / trans-differential / rear axle sub-assembly. There is a very small shallow semi-cup on the rear of the axle part that simulates the housing where the starter crank enters the engine block. Into it fits a tiny narrow lip on the front of the engine block. Mind you, the radiator and tank sub-assembly is relatively heavy, and the engine sub-assembly fits into it from above. Moving the parts around puts stress on the radiator-tank joint. It broke apart and had to be re-glued.

After a great deal of time fiddling with these I decided that the front wheels should be secured to the axle first. I hollowed out more of the axle ends to accept a 3/16” length of wire supplied in the kit for the axle. The front wheels, already glued to a wire axle, were cut loose. Drops of CA went into the holes followed immediately by the axles. Those wonderful machinist squares and the caliper were used to quarter them square.

After the wheels set I test-fitted again. Eventually I maneuvered the tank-radiator and the engine-trans-differential together. It was a tenuous union until I noticed a gap between the bottom of the tank and the fuel feed pipe cast on the engine head. A quick slice of sprue created an extension that let the pipe contact the bottom of the tank. Now the two main sub-assemblies were touching at three points: axle to engine; tank to pipe; and dash panel to trans axle. CA was quickly squirted into these joint and allowed to cure.

With that the model was finally self-supporting on its wheels. Now I had a sturdy model to attach the fiddlies to. There is no guidance as to what sequence to attach these parts. I proceeded based on what I thought would be easiest to attach verses what would be most likely for me to knock off accidentally: seat, gear shift, clutch pedal, starter crank, exhaust stack, and pin and loop drawbar. Those all went on without trouble.

Three items needed some TLC: steering system, radiator supply pipe, and headlight. The radiator water pipe is a two-piece assembly. They need to be carefully aligned and the glue must cure strong. One end fits into the engine and the other into the bottom of the radiator; again, weight and gravity makes joining this assembly tricky.



The steering wheel is actually a freight car handbrake wheel. It’s cast with a pin for mounting into the freight car but for this tractor, it needs to be mounted onto a steering column. Some careful drilling does the trick, and then slide the column through the hole I also drilled, obliquely, through the firewall. The kit contains a two more lengths of straight wire. Using some good ol’ fashioned gizmology I cut a length spanning between the front wheels as a tie bar; I bent the tips to represent knuckle arms, then attached it to the axle with CA glue. Another length was cut long enough to span between the tie bar to the steering shaft: the drag link. One end was kinked to represent the pitman arm. That looked pretty basic and it was at this juncture that I added the only non-kit piece: a styrene floating lever from a railcar brake set. It adds interest as linkage where the drag link connects to the tie rod.

Finally, the headlight. The instructions show it mounted on the radiator. I deviated from the plan a tad and decided the lamp looks better mounted from the side. I was able to glue the lamp pin into the corner of the tank and radiator.

With that the model is complete. Next I touched up the paint and then started weathering. I wanted the tractor to look like it has been in the weather. That’s easy with metal wheels that grind in mud and dirt. I had previously painted them to look like a tarnished brown. I hit them heavily with brown weathering powder by Bragdon Enterprises. Then I drybrushed them with brown, red and orange. I used this technique for the muffler and exhaust pipe.

Several steps were employed to make the nice showroom blue finish look weather beaten. First, I tried a technique called color modulation. Color modulation is applying small dots of different colors – blue, green, ivory, orange, red, yellow – and then brushing over it with thinner to dilute and lightly glaze the underpaint. I use acrylics so this is tricky because the dry quickly. To attempt to slow the drying I mixed up a diluted solution of Future, wet the model with it, applied the dots, and quickly brushed over the dots. I painted the newly attached parts as I attached them with a continuous palette of blue base color randomly mixed with those colors, weathering as I went. Next was good old fashioned drybrushing. Finally, various washes were applied to bring up detail and to simulate grease, oil, and fuel stains.

I spent about 5 hours finishing this tractor. It’s a challenging and fun model to build. There are a few new tricks I’ll use on the next one. I hope you enjoy the results. Thanks for looking!


JPTRR
Staff MemberManaging Editor
RAILROAD MODELING
#051
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Tennessee, United States
Joined: December 21, 2002
KitMaker: 7,772 posts
Historicus Forma: 172 posts
Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012 - 11:40 AM UTC
BTW, about the aforementioned surprise. I misaligned the main wheels! The spokes and cleats should have been staggered. I guess it is the modeler version of target fixation! Anyway, replacement wheels are en route.
dioman13
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Indiana, United States
Joined: August 19, 2007
KitMaker: 2,184 posts
Historicus Forma: 80 posts
Posted: Friday, November 30, 2012 - 03:27 PM UTC
Hey Fred, just caught this build, nice to see a bone buster being done. Turned out pretty well I'd say. When I saw the compression crank I had a good laugh. My father had an old red ford that had one, and yours reminded me what happens when you crank too far. As a kid you darn well get your arm torn off, and you are dumb and don't let go, you get thrown across the barn. Learned fast and didn't repeat that ever again.
JPTRR
Staff MemberManaging Editor
RAILROAD MODELING
#051
_VISITCOMMUNITY
Tennessee, United States
Joined: December 21, 2002
KitMaker: 7,772 posts
Historicus Forma: 172 posts
Posted: Saturday, December 01, 2012 - 07:13 AM UTC
Hi Bob,

Good story! Thanks for the compliment.
KoSprueOne
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Myanmar
Joined: March 05, 2004
KitMaker: 4,011 posts
Historicus Forma: 90 posts
Posted: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - 01:37 PM UTC
Well done, Fred.
Funny about the staggered cleats, I would have never noticed