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BRBO 2021 International Transtar F-4270 Rebuild

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Better late than never I suppose, here's my entry into the BRBO 2021. Over the last couple years, I've accumulated an Ertl Transtar F-4270 built up, and the parts of several other built ups, some fresh kit parts and pieces, and two boxes. I've got one chassis, three cabs, three hoods, and multiples of almost everything in between. The only thing I don't have is a pristine front bumper. I have a couple of 4300s to rob parts from if I have to (Thank you, Ollie's) but I'd really prefer to keep this one all 4270 DNA. If anyone out there has a bumper they'd be willing to work out a deal for, please PM me. I think between all that's on my table, I can build a 4270 that's faithful to the original Ertl kit as a whole, and I'm heavily leaning toward box art paint. Here's what I got done over the weekend:

Here's my start. A whole bunch of glue-bombed, clean used, and new pieces. I'm going with the logic of real car restorations here, you just can't beat NOS parts.


Here's the chassis I'll be using. This originally had a cab and hood on it covered in thick brown paint with silver trim. More on that later. Note the deckplate and trunion from a Paystar logger kit. The interior bits are also from this built up.



Looks like Ford Louisville tail lights, and lots of gobbed on paint. Luckily this has already been through the purple pond and came right off.


This isn't where the starter goes...


The firewall doghouse has been used as the driver's seat base...


Cab #1 is trashed.


Cab #2 has some damage as well. This cab and a matching hood came in a lot of spare parts I bought. They were screwed together with small machine screws for whatever reason.


This is the formerly brown cab from the original truck. It has some damage and glue staining, but nothing like the other two. The hood also has a crack in it, but one of the others I have is absolutely pristine.


The first real assembly work I did was to put together the Cummins 903. International painted all their engines red during this era, but I have seen multiple sources that the 903s were black (Also true of Peterbilt and Kenworth, who were painting engines white at the time.) This is 100% NOS parts from the main incomplete kit I had. I wish I had another one of these for a different project, but luckily Auslowe offers it in resin. Just like the other Ertl International kits I've dabbled in, this thing just falls together. Paint is Tamiya gloss black.


Next up is likely multiple rounds of glue scraping, filling glue scars and primer. As I mentioned, I'm leaning toward a box art look for this, as Modeltruckin.com makes the decals for this stripe kit. The only thing I'm unsure of is weather to do a solid or metallic blue. I have several metallics, and a brand new can of Tamiya TS-15 I picked up for the occasion. I'm going to use various brands and sheens of black on the chassis, fuel tanks, and etc. so it doesn't all get lost in there. All the chrome, save for the wheels and tanks (which will be painted) is going to be the brand new, NOS stuff off the sprue. Things are moving along fairly smooth, so I'm going to try and stay diligent on this. I appreciate everyone stopping by to take a look!

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Nice rescue project !  Its always an Easter egg hunt when working w rebuilds..but never seen screws used to gold them together   !  Guess the original builder thought the starter looked like an air dryer..hmm 

You'll have a great rescue once its done and its an original 

Pm sent on bumper / parts 

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I spent some time late on Sunday doing a little more work to my 4270, but am just getting around to getting these photos up. I'm currently working second shift, 4 10s because of how my employer has chosen to handle things during these strange times. So the only time I really have to work is weekend evenings, which I'm pretty ok with.

I cut up the cab that was missing the lower front corners and had the extraneous screw holes in it. I deemed it easier to cut this one up to make something out of the glue-infested one. I cut the doors out for practice, as well as providing potential future photo backdrop parts. I carefully cut out the rear panel (which also had a screw in it). I will graft this into the glue damaged cab, which I've already hatched a plan for. The corner of it looks exactly like a truck that's been jackknifed or had something hit it and the dent was repaired hastily. Add in the straight rear panel, and I've got a useable cab.



Got the main interior parts primed. I found some paint at my local Ace hardware that is a near perfect match for the gold that IH used during this era. It looks to have a slight greenish tint on the can, but a sprayout matches up to brochure pictures. I've already painted the seats burgundy with a satin clear, but didn't take a picture. I'll either mix up some brush paint or spray the burgundy on the appropriate surfaces too, going for an accurate depiction of International's Deluxe Interior since that's what the kit depitcts.



Then I had to just set the parts up, well, because.


Edited by Casey429
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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, full Mission Creep has set into the Transtar build. After some talks back and forth with Jeff, aka gotnitro (thanks again buddy!), to acquire some parts from a partial 4270 he had, we ended up making a deal for me to acquire the whole shebang. So now that I am retaining zero parts from the original truck I started with, is it really a rebuild? It's a classic case of Houdini's Wand. So as of now, this is a fresh build using parts of 2 or 3 partial kits to make one entire 4270, exactly the way Ertl originally intended it to be. The idea is remaining the same, fathful to what's in the box. But it's the contents of 2 or 3 boxes. So whatever it is now, here it goes.

Here's the current status. Chassis is built from fresh pieces I got from gotnitro, with a few loose bits robbed from another partial that was missing the framerails. Engine is all new parts from my original incomplete 4270. Interior parts are too, as one from this kit was badly warped. Also, I already had them painted and somewhat detailed when this arrived. I'm really happy with my interior work. I used two the previously mentioned Ace Hardware brass for the gold parts, and the burgundy is Rustoleum Satin Cabernet. I hit all the burgundy parts with flat clear, then a mix of flat and gloss clear on the surfaces that would be upholstered to get that '70s naugahyde look. The flat-finished surfaces are carpeted in the real truck. Dashpad is a mix of red, black, brown, and white to get a close, but not exact match, as the real trucks had a slightly different material there too. Seats are also a random mix of paint to get a close color, but look like a woven fabric or something. Floor is the Cabernet misted over flat black to look like deep pile carpet. All these surfaces painted the same color would lose detail and look, well, boring.





Speaking of the dash, I'm especially happy with how this turned out. I personally think this is one of, if not my best dashes. Semi gloss black on the dash, the aforementioned custom mix on the padded side, Molotow chrome topped with gloss black on the gauges. Different gloss black on the tachographs, various washes and details everywhere else. Steering wheel is the kit black plastic, satin silver spokes, and a white horn button. This all matches my best guess at actual interior surfaces based on factory photos. The color on some is so washed out the burgundy looks bright red, so I just tried to tone everything down and make it work from there.



Seats and floor, all as mentioned above.


Chassis is 100% as Ertl intended. I just took my time filling a couple minor flaws (note the white spot of filler) and cleaning mold seams and ejector marks. This is basically all from the most recently acquired kit, save for a few bits robbed from the others as needed. Out of all the stuff that was still in the kit, one critical piece was missing, and that was one of the halves of a front knuckle. But luckily, I have a few broken Transtars laying around, and the cabovers use the same steering bits as the conventionals. I know this becaue in a fit of irony, I robbed the steering parts out of my incomplete kit to restore my dad's 4070A. So I grabbed a piece of broken axle with a nice knucke and the tie rod nicely swaged on and clipped that onto the new axle. 



I've left the front axle out for now, so I can install the engine after paint. Ertl didn't really intend for much to get painted on these, which is great for first time builders, but I'm picky. So I'll paint the axle separate so I can spread the rails to slide the engine in, and then install the axle.

That's all for now. It's supposed to warm up this week so I'd like to shoot some paint. We'll see what happens. I'm going away for a wedding this weekend so that's shot for me, as were the other two weekends in March. I need to get in touch with Modeltruckin' for some decals for this, then pick a shade of blue. I'm going to plug away this week when I have time before work so wish me luck.

Thanks for looking!

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Back again with what seems to be a weekly Monday update, not that I'm complaining. I got to make a little progress Friday and yesterday. I attended the wedding of two very good friends of mine Saturday, so that was a worthwhile interruption. 

The grille had some odd discoloration, and a run in the original chrome. I cleaned it up and foiled it with some aluminum BMF, which I feel more represents the anodized grille on the real trucks. My work on the other hand, I'm unsure of. Might peel this off and redo it if I decide I can't live with it. I've polished BMF before, so I might do that and brighten this up just a touch. Emblem is washed with Tamiya black panel line, many times, then gloss coated since that dries flat. I'm completely satisfied with that part.



Chassis is Duplicolor universal gloss black. I never got a decent black paint job with this stuff on a body, but it looks about perfect on a chassis. Go figure. Engine is Tamiya black, trans is Duplicolor semi-gloss engine enamel. Exhaust is Rust  Oleum Canyon black, manifolds are gunmetal metalizer with some rust shading. I'm trying to represent a brand new truck that's either sitting at the factory for transport or sitting on a dealer lot. It's been started and lot driven, so a little flash rust is beginning to set in. Airbags and mud flaps are a mix of various black shades. My local hobby shop was out of Tamiya rubber black, so this had to stand in. I hand painted the IH Man on a Tractor, and despite my best efforts it looks blurry as all get out. In person, it looks virtually flawless. Cameras are so cruel, aren't they?




And last but certainly not least, the wheels. These were stripped of their chrome, base color is Rust Oleum Aluminum, spokes are good old Testors black to get that enamel deep shine. Wheel wedges are flat silver, lugs are metalizer, front hub caps are flat aluminum. Keeping with the MO that different shades of the same color bring some variety.



And a couple of parting shots. The 903 is nestled home with the radiator. The fan was dechromed and it was this neat bronze colored plastic, so I left it. I usually paint my fans off white, as it seemed like most of the real ones I encountered were some sort of fiberglass or other composite and were that color. I'm going with the same idea for this. Plus it breaks up an all-black powertrain. Front steering is hooked up and functional too. 




That'll be all for now. I've placed my order with Modeltruckin to get some box-art style decals. I ordered a white set, as well as another color as I'm contemplating changing up my original idea of box art colors. I'm going to keep that under wraps until I decide what I'm doing, but I wanted to keep my options open. I'm going to get the cab and hood prepped for body and paint this week hopefully, and hopefully have a color picked out before my stripes arrive. This thing is practically building itself, a testament to Ertl's excellent development of this kit nearly 50 years ago. The only issue I'm having is the manifolds. I've got a feeling I'm going to have to fight them a bit, but I'm ready for it. It's also nice to build something straight from the box for once, it takes a whole lot less time than the stuff I decide to do a bunch of kit bashing or fabricating on. I'm already gearing up for another variation on the Cornbinder theme here, since I've got a few laying around now. 

Thanks again for looking!

Edited by Casey429
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Just a quick update for today. Not a lot of progress to report, but as usual, the last 5% takes the most time. The chassis is up on its wheels, and most of its accessories are on. Fuel tanks are painted up to look like raw, unpolished aluminum with gloss black straps. My research showed that this is how aluminum tanks from International were finished as standard. I debated painting them black to look like steel, which were chassis color by default. Again, I've been sticking to the plan that various brands, sheens and shades of the same colors will bring out the details. I also have the cab and hood taped to get a little warp out of the latter. I was able to work one out of the battery box in a similar fashion so I hope a couple days taped together does the trick. My decals from Modeltruckin' arrived last week, and they look fantastic. I'm still up in the air on what the base color is going to be, despite my original desire to go for a box art look. So for now I'm going to leave it primered and figure it out one of these days. We had a couple nice days here in PA over the weekend, but I was too busy to paint. Now that I've got some free time, the high for today is 51...




Edited by Casey429
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All your work is paying off, really like the random metal sheens on the parts . Patiently waiting for your paint choice ....figure it out yet ? :)

the deadline has been extended to Dec 31st , so you'll have plenty of time . Trying for 6 months was too tight especially those that rely on decent outdoor temps for painting 


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I was debating holding off revealing the color I chose, but in good conscience I couldn't. The reaction from the gang here has been far too positive to keep it from you folks, so its time to unveil the paint for the F-4270. Tamiya TS-15 Blue, rubbed out with Meguiar's Compound, followed up with Meguiar's Polish. Stripes are decals courtesy of Modeltruckin'. I have mixed feelings about them, which we'll get to in a moment.



As I mentioned, I'm having mixed feelings about the decals. As far as quality goes, they're excellent. Thin enough to do most of the conforming on their own with only a small bit of Micro Sol needed for some of the harder contours. But, here's issue number 1. Minor, but I'm nitpicky when it comes to stuff like this. It's slightly difficult to see but the lower blue stripe (clear decal) on the cab decal is narrower than the hood. Don't let the cowl intake throw you off, that's an extra scrap of the hood decal, since these are made to fit the 4300 as well. I trimmed approximately 5/16" off the hood side decal and it was perfect for the cowl vent. The cowl vent reinforces my stance on the fact these are quality decals, as I was able to conform around it with one relief cut and Micro Sol.


Which brings me to my next conundrum. On the decal sheet it was impossible to tell how thin the decals were as the backing was that light blue that we're all accustomed to. However upon application, the decals are quite grainy and have a flat finish. The latter could be remedied with clear coat, but I'm not planning on clearing the paint since it polished out so well, and it has that '70s single stage look I was after like the real trucks had. I have an area on the cowl vent that overlapped the decal and boom, bright white. That doesn't solve the lack of gloss, but it means I could layer these decals and they'd be fine...but it means I'd have to order another set. I'm not averse to layering decals, but as opinionated as it sounds, I don't feel like I should have to. I've reached out to Mr. Reeter at Modeltruckin' to see if maybe I got a bad set or if there's something he's willing to do before I just go buying more. I haven't gotten a response yet. Make no mistake, I am not bashing the man, the business, or the product, I am personally just not completely satisfied. We'll see how this pans out, and I will keep you posted.


Aside from all that, I'm 100% satisfied with my paint and decal choice. I love the look, and I've started to trim out the cab with painting the window trim and things of that nature. There's still a few details to pick out, the door jambs need a black wash and the decals need some secondary trimming and touch ups (regardless of what happens next) I'm going to pause for a bit until I decide what the fate of the stripes are, so it might be a couple more weeks before I update, or I might hold out until it's ready to move under glass. 

Thanks again for checking in!

Edited by Casey429
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Casey your truck looks great as well as the paint job. I ordered the exact same decals for my 4200 I’m gonna have to check mine now since I’ve seen the difference in your stripes I have a lot of problem with his decals be an offset from the original color strips a small band of white stripes outline in your main stripe that’s not supposed to be there my brother and I have addressed him on this issue but he still fails to correct it. I’ll get mine out and post you a pic of it. 

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This looks really good, and I really like the decal choice... Tiny flaws aside, they look great.... I may have to get a set of these for mine.... Excellent work on this restoration project...

I'm impressed with the dash work, too... Mine are always very basic... Yours looks quite convincing.... Very nice work... 

The frame and engine look clean and well put together, as well... This is a nice project and I'm looking forward to seeing the finished version...

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I've heard from others that his decals need to be layered to have an opaque color.  I ordered the same decals for mine, but in red as I plan to paint it white.

I was wondering --  I'm in the middle of my 4270 kit.  I had to move the front axle forward so that the front wheels would be centered in the fender.

Did you find that the out-of-box assembled front axle and wheels were the correct width ??   

I've heard with the 4300 the front axle is too wide and the front tires stick outside the front fenders.   I haven't snapped the front wheels on my front axle yet to see, since once snapped on they won't come back off easily I'm guessing.

Just curious if that's another thing I'll have to deal with  ?

Thanks !


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