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BRBO 2022 Diamond Reo C-116 Tractor -It's Done!


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As promised, here is my 2022 BRBO build thread. I started with a fresh sealed AMT Diamond Reo reissue.

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I actually started on this a couple of days ago and between house chores and a couple other things, here's what I was able to get done.

I got the engine and trans assembled and lightly detailed. Oil pressure and return lines for the turbo, fuel lines from filters to PT pump, and feed and return from PT pump to head. Fuel filter housing is also drilled for future fuel line from chassis. I don't want to go overboard on this, but I am going to do some light chassis plumbing and wiring.

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I got the rails stretched too. I used the front section of a set of partial DR rails I got from Tbill (back in 2014!). I went back and looked at my PMs to make sure I gave credit where credit is due. He'd used a piece of them to stretch a frame, and I was going to do the same, but the truck I was stretching had a different contour to the rail, so I never used them. I trued them up, and they ended up being cut right behind the factory DR rear cab mount location. I took the rails from the fresh kit and cut them 1 inch ahead of the location the front sections were cut, giving me a 1 inch stretch. I can't remember what the stock DR wheelbase is, but it's now 25 scale inches longer. I want to run a sleeper, and the DR is too short, in my opinion, to pull it off out of the box. Great for a daycab tractor though. I started assembling things like the rear axle housings that will need seams addressed.

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I came up with my frame stretch amount by staring at this for a while. This is a survivor of my dad's. It's been rebuilt a few times, and with the number of spare DR kits I've accumulated, I need to replace what's missing and give it a proper redo.

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That's all I have for now. Plan is to use an AMT Peterbilt sleeper since I'm not a fan of the quilted aluminum Mercury found in the DR and the other White Motor Co kits from AMT. I know it's period correct, but I think they're kind of ugly. The Peterbilt sleeper is a Restrite unit to the best of my knowledge, and I've seen pictures of them on Diamond Reos. Plan is for a period correct owner-operator or small fleet look. Might be some dirt and grime in the nooks and crannies but it'll have a clean overall appearance and a few fancy doo-dads. Haven't picked out a color yet, but I want to use one of the sets of included stripe decals.

Thanks for checking in!

Edited by Casey429
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  • 2 months later...

I thought I had posted more about this project, but it's been so long since I updated that well, I plumb forgot. I didn't get a whole lot done over the summer, but with the weather turning quickly here in PA over the last two weeks, I've managed to, in CB terms, "Put the Hammer Down!" on the 'ol DR. 

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This picture, taken April 11, shows the basic look I was going for. I did the stretch I outlined above, swapped a Peterbilt sleeper for the Mercury, and that's about where it sat for about 6 months. I was hung up on what to do for fuel tanks. I tried making new ones out of PVC as I've read online, but couldn't find quite the right diameter to match up with the kit endcaps. I also didn't have a pair of matching tanks that I felt like using. This left me one choice. Slice and dice a set from a second Diamond Reo kit. Good thing I stocked up when they had them at Ollie's... I ended up splicing two tanks together to create a longer driver's side one. I left the passenger as it was to not interfere with the exhaust pipe. I shaved the straps off of both and redid them with strip styrene. While I was at it...I just went ahead and about assembled the whole thing...

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Paint is Tamiya grey primer topped with Tamiya clear. My original plan was going to be white or red with these same yellow decal stripes. But once I had all the body work and block sanding done, I liked it way too much. So I shot some clear on it, and laid down some decals. Stripes are from the DR, door signs from the recent issue of the MPC Mack DM800, permit stickers from various big rig kits from my stash and/or left over from previous builds. They actually cover a paint boo-boo on the driver's side lower cab skirt. I like to hide easter eggs in my builds and this is no exception. Truck number 16 for Tennessee being the 16th state admitted to the union. What can I say? I'm a history nerd too.  I plan to shoot some more clear over the decals after another go around or two with the MicroSol to get them settled down a little more. With the color and the door signs, I have inadvertently created a very Confederate flavored tractor. I wanted to create the look of a working truck that isn't abused. It's got some miles on it now, but it's part of a small fleet or leased to one by an owner operator. Not quite as fancy as an equivalent Peterbilt or Kenworth, but nothing that's shameful to be seen in. I can't recall if I read it somewhere, or if this is something I just came up with, but the theme here is "Working Dirt". It's showing the signs of logging some serious highway miles, but it's nothing that a day spent with the steam jenny, some wax and some Nev-R-Dull couldn't fix! Any truck I've run across in life had dirt on it, even when it was freshly washed. The only time they're spotless is when they're new on a dealer lot.

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To pull of my "working dirt" motif, nothing other than the paint and most of the frame is shiny and clean. Inside the frame wears a coat of road grime and grease. The dirt is heavier under the hood and cab where it's harder to wash, especially if you're just cruising through the Blue Beacon. The fifth wheel is filthy, which I accomplished using some black RTV silicone from my garage, Tamiya panel line wash, and a couple shades and brands of black paint. There are grease "stripes" inside the frame at the u-joints. I've greased enough real ones to know how they fling it everywhere. There's also some grease daubs at where I know fittings to be. Forward rear spring mount on the Hendrickson suspension, both ends of the front leaf springs, steering gear, etc. You also might have already noticed that there are mismatched tires a plenty. Something else I picked up from growing up around trucks is that unless you buy tires in bulk, or are super particular, it's pretty rare to have all 10 tires match on a tractor. Steer tires are Revell (I think?) Michelins. Front drive axle is Goodyears from an AMT Transtar 4300. Rears are the kit Uniroyals. All have the tread sanded and dirtied. Front drives have more tread than the rears, which means they're newer. Rear drives also tend to scrub on tandems so they typically wear faster, at least in my experience. I even did the brake drums differently, even though they can't really be seen. Front drive has new drums in a raw cast steel grey/silver and the rear drives are rusty. Aluminum wheels are from the AMT White Freightliner dual drive. Fronts are reasonably clean but the rears could use a polish. 

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I'm not a fan of how thick these kit mudlfaps always are, and ordinarily I'd replace them with some .020 or so plastic sheet. I wanted the raised Diamond Reo logos so I did what I could. I block sanded them as thin as I dared, and the sanding scratches on the back add to the aged rubber look. I scratched the Tamiya Rubber Black off of the DR logo with my Xacto and gave them a light dry brushing of grey to look like old rubber. I like the result.

The cab, hood, and sleeper are not yet mounted. There's still a ton of little things to do before they're ready to go on, and I want to wait until they're mounted to get the sleeper stripes installed and aligned properly. I'll do that, then re-clear the sleeper and mount it last. 

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The Cummins and Spicer trans were treated to various washes and dry brushing to age them a bit. Again, I don't want this to look clapped out, but it's probably got a few hundred thousand on the clock and it's ready for a few hundred thousand more. There's a few oil stains, spilled fuel, a little rust and general dirt but nothing worth carrying on about. I built new tank steps for both tanks with Plastruct checker plate attached to the sides from the kit steps and a strip of square styrene on the front to give them some depth.

That's it for now. I think I'll be done with this comfortably before the Dec 31 deadline. There was a time I wasn't sure, but this load of progress is what I've gotten done over the last 2-3 weeks from that photo from April. The best part about building a dirty truck is if you have a paint or glue booger somewhere you don't want it, hide it with dirt. I really like how this is turning out, so as long as I don't FUBAR it on the home stretch, I think I'm going to be a happy builder!

Edited by Casey429
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  • Casey429 changed the title to BRBO 2022 Diamond Reo C-116 Tractor -It's Done!

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