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Hello everybody,


Today i start this topic what is already ongoing.

I like to switch between a few projects and in this case, i'm working on 3 projects of which this is the 2nd project i like to show you.

Its  the last Actros kit from Italeri with new moulds what's resulting in a very detailed truck.


I could build it out of the box but as usual, it didnt work out for me and couldn't resist to modify things and add extra details as i did with the other 2 lowliner tractors.

First of all i wanted a module chassis with all the holes in it, and the kit doesn't have that kind of chassis, while this is very characteristic for this Mercedes .

Its just a plastic chassis with some nuts and bolts and no holes.:(


Second modification is the front suspension, this one has to exchanged for an air suspension, Mercedes Actros lowliners have always full air suspension and as far as i know, every european truck brand what is a  lowliner has an air suspension on the front axle.

As a starter i show u the first 418 holes i drilled by hand in a styrene sheet of 0,75 thickness what has to be the first frame part.

The second frame part has also 418 holes, and after this long and boring work i have a special and a realistic chassis for this model.

I dont like to cover the chasis with side fenders, so this work will pay off on later term.




After this drilling work i attach the front pieces of the kit to my new chassis.

All the black pieces are parts from the original kit chassis and the grey nuts and bolts are from Meng.

These nuts and bolts will give this chassis more realism.



The rear crossbar from the kit will be used after i drilled extra holes in this one.


The crossbar in the middle was not ok to me, so i made this one out of styrene.



After this i glued the frame together and glued the engine to place the engine supports in the right place.

d3b189073fd81fb1032ddcf1b2e9eaeb.jpgTthe next detailwork are the brake disks on

The next job was to make the brake disks on the front and rear wheels.

The red arrow in the picture shows the spacers i glued on the inside of these brake disks,  so that there is some space between the wheelhub and the brake disk.





Now it was time to shorten the air bellows on the rear axle and modify the wheel suspension for a lower ride height.




Next job was the modification of the drive shaft to give it more realism and a more natural look.

The universal joints have been cut loose and made them  movable.

Wih this job it doesn't look like a a lump of plastic .;)

The picture below shows the real thing......


Source: Jochen Walz

And the plasic version.





Ok guys, despite this being a European, I hope you find this an interesting project.

To be continued.







Edited by Hermann Kersten

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I am personally loving this build. While I am in the USA, I spent a short time in the UK and I love the Euro Trucks, I have built a few. Keep it coming and give all the details you can, I for one will enjoy it all. You do great work.

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Excellent start to an interesting project.  You would never see pre drilled holes on a North American heavy truck tractor chassis.  Every frame is drilled to the users specifications only.  


I look forward to the updates.

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Thank you guys, nice to see that you like this project.:)

@Chuck, Instead of the North American manufactures,  the European Truck manufactures are stepping over to this predrilled chassis.

   Mercedes Benz started this with the Actros 2nd and 3th generation, and with this 4th generation the chassis is more developed as a real module chassis so that the build-up of chassis attributes is easier and faster and afterall it should be cheaper also, but with the last one im not really sure.:unsure:


Today its time to show the construction of the air suspension on the front axle.

after i removed the supports for the leaf springs, i can make and attach the air bellows and attach the axle to these bellows.




After this i'd like to attach more details to the engine for a more realistic look.

Firs of all, i wrap some copper wire around the pipe what is leading to the turbo, and with this job i simulate a flexible part.

The white pipe is the cooling water pipe to the Retarder, what i also have, or rather sayed, i like  to make.B)

One pipe goes to the retarder, and one is coming from the retarder.


Also a fuel pump had to be made, and various connection nozzles, where later the wiring and pipes are attached on.






And in between the chassis for the looks....


The next detailwork is the Euro 6 exhaust.

First the real one....


And the 1/24 version.....


On top of this exhaust, i used the CTM photo etch part, what gives the right looks instead of the plasic one from the kit.





To be continued.



Edited by Hermann Kersten

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Thank you Dan and Brian.


Today its time for the cabine and bumper.

First job was to cut the steps of the bumper open, because the footboards in the kit are also open.

With this detail you can look thru the footboards.



On the sides of the front of the doors i glued a strip, what's following the shape of the door,  so that after this job you can no longer look through the bumper and the cab.


Than i made the steps on the inner side, so that when the cab is tilted, you can see these steps, just like as with the real one.


Than i removed all the moulded wires and cables from the the front panel, because on later term, i will use real wiring.


And than after this job, it looks like this.....


Now this job is done, i made some more detailing on the front panel.

The front grill will be foldable, So these detail job will later pay off.


The tilting supports are also moved to the front, 3mm to be exact.

When the cabine is tilting, than it touches the edges of the bumper and pressing this bumper to the back.

To resolve this, i have to make the tilting supports as on the real cabine.


Firts i cut the front outer supports and move them to the front.

The white strip is a 3,2mm styrene spacer, so that i stay on the same height on the chassis.


Below you can see the difference in distance between the 2 supports.


Than you put the cabine on the old supports and start from here to start building the new tilting hinges.

By this method, you are sure that the cabine stay at the same height.



Than remove the old tilt hinges from the floorboard....


Cut and replace the inner supports to the front....


And than, when everything is dry and hardened, place the cabine on the new supports and this cabine will tilt in the same way as the real cabine does.


In the meantime, I have modified the front tires into Low profile supersingles.

I cut off 2 profile sections and attach the other 2 pieces with  3 profile sections  together.


Then adjusted the rear front fender, because i don't like to use the side fenders.

I also shortened the underside of the front bumper, only  lowliners have this because of the low ride height .






I hope you guys enjoyed and  find this an interesting update.

To be continued .




Edited by Hermann Kersten

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Thanks for the comment Pat.

Aaaaaand we continue with this German Lowliner.

Today i show you some fun details, not really details that are needed, but fun to make and to make this model look more realistic.

We start with the front crossmember and the FUP, or better said....the Front Underride Protection.;)




And with the radiator placed.


And the distance between the FUP and the front bumper......


Then it is the turn of the torsion bar on the front axle.


From Styrene I renewed the steering bar, because  this steering bar comes into a little different position with an air suspension, than with a leaf-spring axle.





I removed the paint from the exhaust and painted it with silver paint, after this paintjob i worked with Ushie van der Rosten chrome powder, to create a better metal look.

First i tried this on a part what was gloss painted, to see if this gave the desired result......and it did.


And the exhaust......



Then it's time to make my own fuel tanks.

With a Lowliner these tanks are flatter and wider than with a regular version, and there is no use to modify the tanks from the kit.

First i made an inner skeleton from styrene, and after this i wrap it with 2 styrene sheets of  0,5mm.

After this build I have finished the whole tank with ctm welding seams.

The long rods are shortened on a later term, this is my "hand" for the spraying, and is also the filling pipe of the tank.





And together with the tractor......



Thats it for today folks, to be continued!





Edited by Hermann Kersten

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 Herman ,

                I for one , will follow builds of American ,Australian or European trucks. Especially when they are being built by a skilled craftsman such as yourself. 

  The level of detail that you are adding to this model is fantastic . I am awed by your attention to detail and skill at bringing out the details.


Be Well


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Hermann, that is a lot of real detail work!  What is the source of all the information?  Do you work with rigs like this and/or do you have documented information?  Whatever it is you really know what you are doing.  Great job!

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Another impressive build Hermann.

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Thank u guys, for the nice comments!


On 31-5-2018 at 4:48 AM, Chariots of Fire said:

Hermann, that is a lot of real detail work!  What is the source of all the information?  Do you work with rigs like this and/or do you have documented information?  Whatever it is you really know what you are doing.  Great job!

Im not a truck driver, far from that hahahaha, but i get the info from the internet, and from a guy who works in the factory of Mercedes Benz in Worth.

He is also a modeler on a modelling forum in Germany and has a lot of  valuable information.

Drawings  that i get from him are for personal use, because this is actually factory property, but we have a good relationship of trust so that i'm able to use them for my Mercedes models.



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On 5-6-2018 at 10:46 PM, Chariots of Fire said:

Honor the trust.  That is the most important part!  

That's right Charles. ja.gif


Hello guys, today i show you the modefication of the front wheel arch and fenders.

At the real Actros with the super single tires, there is "normally" a fender extension placed.


Source: Hermann Kersten.

 The inside of the indicator housing must be filled with a 1 mm styrene plate., because in the new situation the indicator will be moved more to the outside.




And together with the fender....



At the front i made also a radiator protector, just like the real one.


And with a fitting with the front bumper......


After this job, it's time to modefy the inner roof for a better fit to the rear wall of the inner cabin.




For more details, I have cut open the storage compartments , and make some casings, so that there are real storage compartments in the front side of the inner roof.




The other detail job is to make real storage drawers in the middle console.

First i cut partial the middle console and made the conversion for a more realism and a better look.


A fold-out table will be placed in the open daschboard cabinet, I like to put some features of the real truck, into this model.


Then the conversion of the co-drivers side.

With this model I would like to make a solo star, this means that the co-driver seat will be replaced for a large comfortable chair.

Of course I have to make this chair myself, and i will show you how to modefy the cabine for this Solo chair.



First i cut the right cabinet and the 2 middle cabinets.


Than rebuild 1 small cabinet, what is actually a fridge, and make it more detailed than the kit version.





Than the start of the Solo Star seat....



In the meantime i painted the inner roof, the dash, the rear- and side walls.

With some CTM photo-etch parts i put some more details in the dash and inner roof.

I don't use all the CTM parts, but a few that really add something to the model.



And a fit with the chair and the new bed....



That's it for today, and until the next round!








Edited by Hermann Kersten

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Hello fellow modelers,

Today it's time to show some further progress on this German Lowliner.

The door panels are now also painted, and the, CTM photo-etch, grids for the sound boxes have been installed.


After this interior job, I'd Like to have the cabin ready for the paint job.

This means that the front cover must be made hinged but.....there is a catch.

The front cover must both fold down and open.

After some thinking, i made some  buckling hinges from metal, but the problem was that there was not enough space between the sides of the cab and the inner side of the front grill.

So in this case i had to rethink about this job and figure out a more simple system.

At the sides of the cab i made small raillings and small pins on the inside at the ends of the front cover, so that the cover will fold down when it opens.

Last but not least, I made two supports from brass, which fall in the folded position, exactly between the front cover and the sides of the inside cabin.


On the inside of the front cover, another 2 small pins have been made, which, when the cover is folded up, these pins are resting or fitting in the cab supports.

In the next picture, the red arrows will explain this.


If there are no pins attached here, this will happen to the cover.....:huh:


And with the pins attached.....:)


The next pictures shows the overall image.





The next job is some detailing of some chassis parts.

We start with the exhaust supports.....


Making a power steering unit....


Then the protective plates on the cabin bottom....


More realistic details on the inner wheel arches...



As you can see on the pictures, real rubbers have been used on the protective plates.

These rubber tubes are from Revell kits and are a nice application for this work.

To glue these tubes straight on the plates, I put a brass shaft in the tube, glue the tube on the plate and removed the brass shaft.

The result is a perfect straight tube.



And a complete picture with the cab on the chassis.


A lift cylinder, made out of brass, for the cab, so that this lift cylinder holds the cab in a maximum tilt position.




And a picture where the cab is in the maximum tilt position.

The battery box, hanging in the back of the chassis, is filled with fishing lead, so that the rear part of the chassis stays on the ground when the cab is tilted.;)


So gents, that's it for today and as usual, until the next round!





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Wow!  Incredible work!  You would think with all of your ultra detailing, you would drill out the holes on the grille on the front facia.  I know CTM offer a photo etch grille for the MP4.  You should cut open and hindge the doors to display all of that wonderful detailing.  


Keep going!

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On 12-2-2019 at 5:43 AM, chuckyr said:

Wow!  Incredible work!  You would think with all of your ultra detailing, you would drill out the holes on the grille on the front facia.  I know CTM offer a photo etch grille for the MP4.  You should cut open and hindge the doors to display all of that wonderful detailing.  


Keep going!

I have the full CTM set, but there is a downside, regarding the grill parts.

The grid parts are not in line under each other, you can see this when you place the grid parts under or above each other.

In the end I choose for realism, and in my case,  the kit choice is the best.

Drilling out is also not an option, because the plastic is pretty thick and im not convinced that this will give a good result at the end.;)


Ok guys, today i show you some progress on this Lowliner.

Today it is time to show you the diesel tank supports and straps.

These straps are seperated from the tanks, so that with the paintjob i can paint seperate the tanks.

The tanks get an aluminium colour and the straps getting the chassis colour.

After the paintjob, i can place the tanks in the straps and the 1mm pinns at the end of the straps are then glued into the supports.








The next job was to finnish some details at the front.

First of all, the side covers of the radiator....



The honeycomb structure in the front cross beam....


And a look at the front where you can see the round tubes, where in real life, the front bumper is attached.


Than the last work of the front wheel suspension with the torsion- and reaction rods,  to complete the front air suspension.




Then make brass a movable steering column, so that when the cab tilts, the steering column extends and follows the movement to the front.


After all this detailing, it was time for colour.

I choose for a retro colour  which is still regularly seen in Germany, also for this New Actros.

Personally, I really like this "typical German" color.:wub:



After the paintjob, it was time to attach the details at the front side that i had made in an earlier stage like the air supply tube or channel, the module on the right and a wiper mechanism.




And an intermediate overall picture with the cabin placed on the chassis.


When the paint is hardend, than i will polish this cabine with regular car polish and wax for a shiny finnishing.

Thats it for today gents, and see you next round!









Edited by Hermann Kersten

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14 minutes ago, Hermann Kersten said:

In the end I choose for realism, and in my case,  the kit choice is the best.

I concur.  Authenticity is paramount.

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Fantastic work on this, you had me at all the holes you drilled......

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