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A tale of two trailers

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Having quite a Snaptite fleet now, I needed some trailers to go with them. Got the AMT Trailmobile van and the Monogram van for decent prices on eBay and was desperate to get them done. 

I love plain white or silver boxes. I've got one white already, the fridge van, so I might do the Fruehauf white and the Trailmobile silver. 

Both kits are a mixed bag but the Monogram Fruehauf is decidedly better engineered than the AMT. A drawback that they both have is ride height. Because they both have the sliding duals setup the rails stack up to make them sit too high. I've cured it before by just fixing the duals and deleting the slide rails but I was wondering if I could retain the slide feature and still lower the ride to a more realistic level.

The rails sit on top of the ribs across the floor of the van. I eventually decided on channeling the ribs and dropping the slide rails into them up to the van floor. This allowed the slide rails to sit further in. Though the difference is marginal, the visual effect is far from it. Both trailers now look great sitting behind my GMC. 

On the Fruehauf I also used the two hole Budds I made for my Aeromax, they look fantastic, I wish they were easier to do because I'd make a few more!!







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  • 2 weeks later...

Thanks all for your kind comments. 

I know they're not a match for their 1/24 big brothers with all the detail you can add, but they take up less space and with a little work, can be quite presentable. I'd love engines to detail etc... but how often would I see the finished product?

I'll be doing a few other things to improve the look, like improving the appearance of the landing gear, a bit of plumbing, tidying up the rear view of the AMT Trailmobile and realigning its atrocious tandems subframe. I forgot just how bad an AMT kit can be in terms of fit and alignment. Looks like it's been cast in a plasticene mold. 

The AMT is is below, just looks awful. Mansfield bar doesn't match the rails, the rail ends are so tatty and you can just see that the axles aren't level (nothing's level!!!!). I'm thinking of just using a closing panel across the end of the slide rails. 


Edited by Rockford
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Focusing on the Fruehauf, the most obvious fault is the landing gear. You can have it up or down by snapping the relevant lower sections on but they look terrible. The bottom half is too narrow and there's a huge gap at the top. This should be one solid square steel tube.

I cemented them in place. Then added plastic card either side to bring the width up. Then rubbed them down to size. 

A quick skim of putty. Then wet sand, and ready for paint. 

I also drilled the mounting tube for the sandshoes, these were just held on with a huge cotter pin at either end. Then a black line around the lower section to replicate the splurge of grease that would creep out through the legs being wound up and down.. 






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Now the Trailmobile landing gear. This is pretty poorly moulded so lots of cleaning up Himalayan scale separation lines. The crank handle needed major filing to give it some shape rather than the blob it comes as.

The triangular shaped braces were just solid pieces and looked a bit characterless in place so I drilled some lightening holes, working up from 0.5mm up to 3.2 to keep them tidy, then a little chamfer on each one. The end result looks much better I think. 

I like giving these trailers a bit of self respect. 






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Looking at the AMT Trailmobile, the mudflaps are sooooo thick. They measure 1.5mm which at full size would be 2 scale inches thick! I pondered what I could do. I thought plastic card, at least that would be thinner, but then I hit upon an idea. Electrician's insulation tape. I bought a pack of 5 small rolls for less than £2. I want to use white mudflaps on this trailer but I conducted my experiment with the black. I removed the AMT slab, then cut two pieces of tape, placed them sticky-side together and left a tab of sticky bit hanging over to affix it to the bracket. Once mounted I trimmed to size. 

Now I have flexible, rubber-like mudflaps, in-scale, that can take a bit of contact without snapping off (I've already snapped one off the Fruehauf). They've even got the little curl the real ones get through sailing in the wind! Don't know why I didn't think of it before, I might have to retrofit some vehicles. 






Edited by Rockford
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They look better than any kit mudflaps because they're self coloured, not painted so they have a more realistic appearance. The tape is 19mm wide which is just right for 1/32 scale, I don't know if wider types are available for you 1/25 lads. 

Edited by Rockford
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  • 2 weeks later...

I've not done anything for a week or so because I finally got my cataract surgery!!!! They had to use ultrasound to shatter it because it had got too big. 

Anyway, after a week and a bit I decided to try doing some work and the difference is unbelievable, I've got my depth back, when I use a blade or a drill I know exactly where to place it instead of chancing things. I decided try my new eyes out by doing some drilling because they say to avoid dust, so no filing/sanding. 

I first drilled all the location holes in the slide rails of the tandems. I used a template for the Trailmobile because the rails were just plain. The Fruehauf had dimples in the rails which I used to locate the drill bit. I then added the airlines for the sliding bogie.  

I had to deal with the fact that the Trailmobile axles were too wide and stuck out past the trailer sidewalls. The outer wheel wouldn't sit all the way on the stub axle and the inner wheel was too fat to allow that. I trimmed both accordingly and the tyres now sit snugly under the van sides. Looks much better. 

I know it would have been easier to do all this before I fitted the slide rails and built the rear bogie but I seem to be working backwards all the time on these two vans. The end result is ok I think.  











Edited by Rockford
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  • 2 weeks later...

Had a spell of decent weather last week, though still cold of a night, daytime temperatures were about 12C and humidity not too bad so decided to paint my trailers. Using Hycote rattle cans I primed both, then masked the roof off on each and will leave them grey primer. The Trailmobile is looking good, the slider still works but I do like the tandems all the way back. just been experimenting with my mudflaps out of electrical insulation tape, the curvature depends on how you tension the tape as you put them together. Need to look for some marker lights and reflectors to finish up, but looks good.   







Edited by Rockford
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                 I can relate to getting your vision back . Had my cataracts removed in 2012.

Nice work on the trailer . And I agree with Bill about scuffing the tires . Either way it looks good.


   Be Well


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Thanks everyone, very kind comments. Funnily enough I did scuff the treads with a sanding stick but obviously not too well 😆. I'm thinking of adding a BMF strip along the lower side rail, just as a highlight, but I'm not entirely sure. Sometimes less is more and I like the plain Jane workaday look.   

Fruehauf is still to come. It's looking good but when I photograph it all you can see is a white box! Update on that next. 



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For me, this is the perfect stance for the American truck, and that is what I am trying to achieve with my trailers. The bridge law gave American trucks a look that no other country had, with the duals spread as far apart as possible. 



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I feel I've achieved the look I wanted. 

The Fruehauf is looking good. So pleased with the paint finish using a Hycote rattle can. With such a big flat surface ang blemishes would stand out but all turned out excellent! I used the extra bright Bare Metal Foil on the upper and lower rails. That stuff is a pig to work with, brittle, doesn't stretch like the ordinary foils, doesn't adhere as well either. I took ages with a cocktail stick working it into all the rivets etc... but I got there. Used ordinary foil on the bulkhead at the front. 

On the Trailmobile In experimenting with my mudflaps using electrical tape I've realised I can change the colour as it suits me, so I've gone to black. Looks ok. 

I still need to finish the pipe work and few other things I can't remember. The two are looking good together. Still want to work out a way to replicate the airlines between the tractor and the trailer. 








Edited by Rockford
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