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Been totally scratch building the wrecker end of a GMC-based tow truck, and have two questions.

     1) What guage chain should I look for? I'm considering either 13 or 15 links per inch, but hard to be sure without seeing it in person (trouble with online purchase)

     2) Are there charts/illustrations/photos which show where the chain should connect?  Most photos do NOT show it coming from the boom arms, until I see photo #1 here.  Photo 2 shows it hooked on the body below it and not connected to the booms at all.  Tough to scratch build what one cannot see.

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As for the chains, I'm with you, if you can't hold it in your hand it's hard to tell if it looks right. The chains hook to the bottom of the tow bar. There is a hook welded on each side of the bar for the chain link to sit into. The hooks on the top bar of the tow sling is for the slack of the chain so they don't drag the ground. Picture 2 of yours shows Luke taking the chains out of a storage hole in the back of the body.  If I'm not explaining this right check out this pic. The tow bar is folded up but you can see what I mean. Here is a couple of mine too but I let the chains drag on mine. I hope this helps.

Mark

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Nice work on those Mark!

Yes, the first two pics show something similar to what I'm looking for, namely the one coming off the very center.  

Then when I go through the dozens of stills I've taken from the show in my research for this, I often find contradictory info...which is par for the course when one is dealing with Hollywood props.  

Here are a few more showing what I though I was looking for....there is a single chain coming off the middle, with one large hook stowed along the back to the left.

And then, with what you just explained, I re-checked and found two chains coming off the bottom corners of the sling, on the last photo here.....not like the other pics.  Grr...

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Back in 82  and 83 I spent some time riding with my brother on a wrecker. Too long ago to tell you chain size.  The chain in the center is there to keep the sling from swinging around when not in use. Every driver did this differently. That big hook ( that you have circled) is a J hook you use to hook up the car. Does the same job to hook the sling as a smaller chain. You use what is on the back if the truck most of the time. Around here you would leave them on the back of the truck between tows, unless you went into a sketchy place. 

Edited by 1930fordpickup

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5 hours ago, Andrew D the Jolly Roger said:

Been totally scratch building the wrecker end of a GMC-based tow truck, and have two questions.

     1) What guage chain should I look for? I'm considering either 13 or 15 links per inch, but hard to be sure without seeing it in person (trouble with online purchase)

   

 Agree this is not something easy to buy without looking and touching, but a little math can help. At 13 links to the inch that works out to about 2" links (1 scale foot is 1/2" in 1/24 so 6.5 links to the foot = 1.85 scale inches in 1/24 or 1.92" in 1/25), that seems like pretty big chain to me, 15 links to the inch is 1.6 scale inches per link which seems more appropriate. Maybe even 18-20 links / inch (1.2-1.35 scale inches). 

I have some chain I got to tie down a dozer on a flatbed that looks about right for that. It doesn't say the size, but I measure it at 14 links per inch and it looks decent for a heavy chain for that task. Looking at the photos, I'd guess that is a little lighter weight chain on the tow truck.

There is a towing company around the corner from me, I'll see if I can get an idea of the size chain they use on their trucks.

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Very useful and helpful information, thank you everyone!  I have a much better idea of what I'm doing, I think, especially not being knowledgeable in this area (I mostly do aircraft).

I'll give you a sneak preview of my project, COMPLETELY scratch-built except for the yellow of course....the winch was quite a bit of educated guessing based on bad photos.

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Edited by Andrew D the Jolly Roger

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That scratchbuilt wrecker bed looks good. Where did you find the yellow resin arms, haven't seen those around.

Squads by Tony has some nice beacons to make that look period correct, great product and fast service.

As for chain, I have found some decent stuff in the craft sections at Hobby Lobby and Michaels. Different colors and sizes and usually a package will last a while.

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I used anchor chains from the revel Cutty Sark kit which was probably universal for all their clipper boat kits. Micro Mart has boat chain, If you search the internet 'sling towing' you can find some videos on how the chains are hooked to the towed vehicles. The crane body looks like a Holmes 480, which could be another search. The beacon they used with their wreckers were Deitz beacons. All the other suggestions seem to be good advice. have fun building

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greg

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In addition to Hobby Lobby and Michael's as mikemodler suggested you might checkout Jo-Anns Fabrics. They also have a jewelry section. I have gotten chains that I have used for pickup tailgates and they have many other sizes. They also have materials that I think you could use to makes cables also. A lot of sizes and shapes plus some interesting tools. I found some perfect "Blue Dots" for '50's style tail lights. 

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Not sure if this helps you with size but I drove a tow truck for a long time and on wreckers like that and roll offs we always used 3/8th chain. It will at least give you something to reference.

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On 12/1/2020 at 5:50 AM, mikemodeler said:

That scratchbuilt wrecker bed looks good. Where did you find the yellow resin arms, haven't seen those around.

Squads by Tony has some nice beacons to make that look period correct, great product and fast service.

As for chain, I have found some decent stuff in the craft sections at Hobby Lobby and Michaels. Different colors and sizes and usually a package will last a while.

Thank you! The main bodies of the arms came from the Datsun Monster Truck Wrecker kit; only one arm per kit, but I found a guy on Ebay who was selling several in one batch.  Still had to modify the details and scratch build the ends.  I've got Tony in mind for the big central beacon if I can't find something to scratch build it with (nothing like spending shipping for a single item the size of a thimble....)

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