Moebius Models Great Dane reefer update

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Casey a reefer is a reefer, they all have 2 bay access doors, a control panel, and an external monitor (that little green light on the trailer corner). If anything designing it the way they did with the separate grilles the way they are would identify it as T.K. Unit. I didn't expect logos and markings, I just expected something that could pass for something other than a solid bay window.

I stand corrected. I didn't see the separate grilles earlier, and on my laptop the parts pics are much clearer, so it does look a lot like an actual TK unit when compared to an actual 1:1 TK unit.

What were you hoping for as far as the reefer is concerned, detail-wise? Separate doors? Just not so blob like? :D

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Alright back to the goodies...

For Jonathan...Here's the front and rear panels. How hard or easy to open those doors...man I dunno...the nubs on the tops and bottoms are integral to the entire unit being structurally square, so if you did open the doors, you'd have to figure out a way to re-attach those to whatever you fabbed up, not to mention I'm not sure how you re-replicate the door hinges themselves. it might be easier to de-chrome the entire thing and re-shoot it in Alclad or wrap it in BMF since the door hardware itself (handles, swivel hinges, door hinges and all the bolts and whatnot) isn't chrome, not even on the most tricked out Owner-Op rig. Moebius gets bonus points in my book for molding in the tiny rubber donuts that are on the bottom hinge that keep the hinge from scuffing the paint on the trailer. However the chrome itself seems a little...shellacky? Kind of thick and gooey in spots. The front panel has a rudimentary light-line socket, but no airline gladhands, so you can make your trailer light up, but it ain't going no where.

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For Casey...here's the reefer unit (along with the grilles and mudflaps on the runner). Now the size, shape, and overall look is fine. It's kinda clunky in one piece, but it does come off as a passable T.K. Spectrum SB *shhhh it's not really a T.K...don't want to scare the lawyers*

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However what isn't included in the kit, or on those babysmooth reefer sides is the requisite parts that make it "go". There's no handle on the door, there should be a semi-circular door handle on the right (top in the photo) door that would allow bay access to the motor. No I don't expect the doors to open, but the handle being molded in would have been nice (especially considering the grilles are separate pieces). It's also missing the entire area (again didn't have to be an exact T.K. unit, but all reefers have this control panel) where the temperature/diagnostic control panel goes. There's also no representation in the kit of the "divot" that the external monitoring light (on a Thermo King it's a Green "T" when it's A-O.K., and Amber "K" when it's check engine light is on and the dreaded flashing T-K-T-K-T-K when you have a critical failure). Even if they didn't want to cast the divot in the front wall for the dry van folks, there is an "after-market" setup where a piece of stainless steel is rivoted to that area and the monitor is mounted to that. I ran outside and shot my reefer to show what's missing, I apologize for the mist...

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FWIW I know it wasn't going to be an official T.K., so I wasn't expecting the logos, the Spectrum SB labeling, the Ingersol-Rand logo, etc. But some attempt at...well we've hashed that out already.

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Posted · Report post

Note, I'm not trying to flame this thread.

The trailer will couple to more than the not available yet ProStar.

I agree this trailer will look great behind the LoneStar, a Volvo, a Pete, a KW, and for that ultimate show truck look any of the recent AMT reissues. Although it needs MOOOAAAR chicken lights for that! ;)

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I agree this trailer will look great behind the LoneStar, a Volvo, a Pete, a KW, and for that ultimate show truck look any of the recent AMT reissues. Although it needs MOOOAAAR chicken lights for that! ;)

Exactly (except for the chicken lights).

Any truck modeler would know that.

Thanks for your first impression review of the kit.

As for the glad hands. There are after market gland hands, scale hinges of many types as well has other after market items. Stripping the chrome is something that should be done on every model kit. The factory plating is always too thick and not very realistic. Stripping the chrome always exposes more of the molded detail. Alclad, for example has many shades of metal to accurately reproduce many materials.

Edited by chuckyr

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Exactly (except for the chicken lights).

Any truck modeler would know that.

Thanks for your first impression review of the kit.

Not a fan of extra lighting I take it? To each their own. LEDs have sorta revolutionized the "chicken light" frontier since they draw such low amps, no more flickering light shows rolling down the road.

I do however notice this is the 2nd reference you've made about some apparently Masonic rite of passage one must go through to become a "truck modeler/true big rig builder". Was there an entrance exam I failed to take or are you this charming with everyone that bothers to scroll down this far in the forum basement?

I ain't done yet, when I am, then you can thank me, but you aren't running me out if here no matter how badly you might try.

Edited by niteowl7710

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Posted · Report post

I like ostentatious lights, but it doesn't need them.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

I like ostentatious lights, but it doesn't need them.

Lights are pretty and shiny, I love me seeing them rolling light shows on the highway at night

James, thanks for your thoughts on the trailer, so looks like its no go on opening up the rear doors

Edited by martinfan5

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Posted · Report post

Out of curiosity, do these tires work with older big rig kit wheels, or are these a "modern" size which didn't or rarely existed before?

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Posted · Report post

The trailer will couple to more than the not available yet ProStar.

I am acutely aware of that. B) I have two not-quite-finished LoneStars that'll end up hooked up to one, but I really want to couple one with a ProStar, because a friend of mine runs a ProStar/Great Dane combo. And many of the rigs I see every morning at work are ProStars pulling vans and reefers (though not always Great Danes), so there's lots of inspiration for a project or two there. Most of the semi tractors I have are roughly vintage 1970-1975 models, and while it's certainly possible for an older rig to pull a late-model trailer, I want to try and keep things consistent. Even though I'm pretty sure a causual viewer wouldn't be able to tell the difference!

I do plan on hinging the back doors on at least one of these as soon as I get a gameplan figured out for that. I'm toying around with doing a (most likely non-operable) roll-up door too. All I'll say for now is look for a WIP when the first one hits my workbench.

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Posted · Report post

and while it's certainly possible for an older rig to pull a late-model trailer, I want to try and keep things consistent. Even though I'm pretty sure a causual viewer wouldn't be able to tell the difference!

Italeri has a whole line of modern tractors.

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Posted · Report post

Alright let's put an end to this insanity and crank out the last of this review.

Here's the bottom and top of the reefer. I haven't actually counted them, but I believe there amount of cross members is correct (being I imagine this trailer is made from CAD data straight from G.D. I'm sure they are).

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If you're thinking off opening the back doors, here's the flip-side of the floor to show what you'd be working with, no matter a wood floor or the "corrugated" metal reefer floor can be done without constructing a "sub-floor". But that shouldn't phase any serious scratchbuilder. This shot also shows the simple, yet ingenious mounting system for assembly...peg into hole, it's so simple it's brilliant.

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Here are your sides. Apparently Moebius has created a new way to roll steel as there isn't a single rivet on these 53 foot panels. That's a trivial nit to pick I realize, but it is in fact a reality that the 1:1 is several sections riveted to the inside sub-frame. It's probably impossible (or should I say reasonably priced at least) to actually mold the cut lines and thousands of rivet heads in a commercial kit.

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And here's the box. Please not there isn't a stitch of tape or glue holding this thing together, just gravity and Moebius' engineering department. You can apply say a 10lb house cat to this thing and it might weeble-wobble without the ends, but it don't fall down!

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Moebius...cat tested, trucker approved! :lol:

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Onwards...

Here's your clear runner. 4 taillights, 2 belly lights, and the assortment of DOT Clearance lights for the front, rear and sides. There are no pins, but all of the "lights" do have a "pin" like pattern. Perhaps that's supposed to represent the lightbulb itself. No LEDs...how barbaric!

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Next up the "accessory" decals. This includes your DOT tape...which is of a weird pattern that combines the old school Red & White with the new school Red & Silver, and yet does neither in a way I've seen on the road, BUT does appear to be how the newest G.D. (as show on their website) are striped from the factory...interesting. My minor quibble is with the over all registration of the warning signs, seems Revell's small decals are clearer., along with Decal #4 the G.D. logo. On the 1:1 this logo is a piece of metal riveted onto the door, so it's missing the rivets, and the wording should be in silver. There's also no red "dog" (silhouette of a Great Dane) that would go on the front panel's top edge on a dry van. But overall a good job.

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Your next decal sheets are the HUGE puppies with your rolling stock markings. There are next to no Brandsmart USA trailer images on the net, the only one I can find shows a smooth walled Wabash, but Erb does indeed use this exact type of trailer set-up. This sheets are as large as the box is itself, and the decals for Brandsmart are in two pieces, but even then getting them off the backing and onto the model without tearing will be a feat of strength for anyone who hates decal work. You get one sheet from each side, and the Erb markings look complete from all the images I've looked at, these are EXCELLENT!

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Here's your other shiny runners! Each one will complete an axle's worth of wheels. Not sure what Part #57 was supposed to be other than it's round, chrome and not called out on the instructions, must be something LoneStar specific. Chrome plating on these items is much smoother and presentable compared with the front & rear panels.

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Here are your axle parts. Again two runners, each one completing an axle. You have the axles themselves, one half of each slider rail system (WITH DRILLED OUT HOLES!), shocks, brake drums, slack adjusters, brake canisters, suspension airbags and one half each of the option to display the trailer with the dolly legs down on the ground, or cranked up and ready to roll. Some may cringe at the idea of the brake canisters and airbags being two halves, but no matter what there was going to be a seam or molding line going through them, I don't have a problem with it. The airbags themselves have the faintest of texture to them, which is fantastic! If you want to pick a nit, the airbags are compressed meaning your trailer will always be full loaded.

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Some detail shots showing brake canister and brake drum detail. OUTSTANDING!

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You then get two small runners. One has half of your suspension arms, the other has the other half plus the main body of the reefer fuel unit. I'm not sure it was technically feasible due to how the tank mounts to the trailer (on therefore how it had to attach to the runner itself), but had Moebius rotated the tank a 1/4 turn it would have put the molding seam on the tank where the actual welding seam is on the 1:1 item.

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Next runner has the tank ends, the rear ICC bumper area, the dolly crossmember, and trailer air tank. Moebius scores more engineering points by making the reefer's fuel filler neck and cap a separate part.

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The other "half" (you can see it was molded as a unit, and then sheared in two) of that runner has your dolly leg side supports, the crank handle, the DOLLY "driveshaft" as it were as a SEPARATE part (connects the two legs together with the gearbox and handle), the main suspension sub-frame, the G.D. logos, along with the "extended" legs inners. The two little "nubs" are two different size kingpins! There is also one of the aluminum "foot" steps for the front of the trailer. It would have been nice if there would have been some way to display the crank handle in it's stowed position (being there are fully cranked dolly pads), but that's an easy fix.

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One last picture showing the detail of the dolly gear box and aluminum foot step.

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Edited by niteowl7710

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Now it's time to sum it all up and get all wordy on you folks.

PROS -

- HELLO??!?!? It's a modern 53' Foot Trailer!!!! This is a kit that should put anyone with even a passing casual interest in model trucks at a near Mardi Gras level of partying.

- In my example there wasn't a sign of warping, odd-ball molding issues (weird texture on the Hudson's hood anyone), or any excessive flash. The warping especially would be a concern with four body parts that are so large. I can't promise you every single kit is going to be that way, but mine was nyah, nyah, nyah.

- The molding and detail work of the dirty side parts is fantastic. Whoever sat down and designed these parts needs a raise.

- While we're at it promote whomever came up with the terribly basic, but ingenious way of putting the box together with a minimum of fuss and need of 3 of your modeling buddies and an army of clamps.

- The instructions are finally everything I think Moebius wanted them to be all along. There are the photos of the actual assembled kit, and there are paint call outs FOR EVERY PART! The technical drawings are large and detailed. My biggest gripe with the LoneStar was it's instruction booklet (like the part where the frame magically assembles itself with no drawing of HOW), and that gripe continued with all of their cars. Small drawings and huge pictures, which was a good thing since not all of the parts had a color call out. All of that fixed in this kit, you guys deserve a pat on the back for that.

- This model is literally going to be a tour 'de force with the guys who love to A)Detail Paint and B)Weather. There's a myriad of ways to build this kit from fresh off the factory floor, to beat, banged and full of grime, rust, scrapes and dents. The time alone one could spend with all of those cross members and trailer floor! The trailer floor also has the side rail which will I didn't count them (ha ha rivet counter get it - I slay me), appears to have the correct amount and position of all the cross member bolts. Each one of those needs to be picked out in a chrome/nickel paint different from the brushed aluminum of the side rails themselves...holy detail painting nirvana Batman!

Cons -

- The biggest flop of this kit is the reefer unit itself. Which says a lot I think. There was a lot that could have gone wrong here, and to have the reefer kinda-sorta look like something, but it's not due to not getting the licensing in time...meh.

- For all of that suspension detail including the slider rails there are no slider pins or release handle. Now I know those things can be fabbed up easily, but seems like for all of the work that went into the underside to leave those out is a glaring omission to people who know the real thing.

- There is no license plate mount to be found. Have fun explaining that to the scale DOT...

- The price. $45 is going to be a high entry point for the casual hobbyist. For truck guys they don't care, they've been buying resin trans-kits and whatnot for years. Overheard Hunter at the 3RAM showing saying he had $300 in aluminum wheels on one of his models there, $45 is petty cash in this section of the forum, but to the cheapo car guys one level up the forum, they may balk at the cost.

Pick the Nits -

- The sorta-off registration of the warning decals, the not quite right G.D. rear door logo, and missing G.D. silhouette for the front of a van trailer.

- There are also no license plates for the trailer. Got ahead a write "LOST PLATE" on the...oh right there is no place to mount one...

- The fact this is a Great Dane, and not a Utility Reefer. Utility is by far the larger fleet reefer trailer, other than Erb, I've only personally seen one fleet with this exact reefer set-up and that's Dutch Maid. Wal*Mart Grocery Distribution uses about 85% G.D. (the other 15% being Utility), but we have smooth exterior walls, not the ribbed for your pleasure as in the kit. But with a few minor tooling changes (rear doors, ICC bumper, DOT lights and reefer mounting location) this could be easily kicked back out as a Utility Reefer, perhaps with the ThermoKing licensing rectified, and the appropriate level of detail put into the unit itself.

- The lack of sidewall detail...as mention before the lack of panel lines and rivet heads. Probably not feasible, but noticeable to those who deal with the 1:1.

- The tires and rims are from the LoneStar, economics being what it is I understand that, but it would have been nice to get some steel wheels, and tires that didn't look most appropriate on a container chassis. A good set of trailer position tires, could have been swapped into the LoneStar and ProStar as steer tires as well.

Conclusion -

This is by far the best "automotive" effort put forth by Moebius thus far, and yet the reefer unit issue just keeps me from declaring it a homerun. It is however a triple. This detailing is top notch, the mold work is state of the art, and the fact you can finally put a '53 foot trailer behind something is fantastic. I see progress with each Moebius release, this one (pending assembly) has the least issues directly out of the box and that's a good thing.

Would I buy another? Yes Is it worth $45? Man that's a tough one, for truck modelers it's an easy yes. For the casual builder making a foray into the world of Heavy Commercial...how bad do you want one? Realize that no pre-existing trailer really looks right behind a modern tractor. Realize also your missing out on a little piece of plastic model engineering marvel by depriving yourself of this one.

I give it an A- on a curve. Bring on the ProStar!

Anyone who wants to see the full- size images, or page through them without going through the posts scattered across several pages they are all in this Flickr album.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/policecararchives/sets/72157631668359308/

Edited by niteowl7710

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Posted · Report post

Great review. Thank you for that.

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Posted · Report post

Casey a reefer is a reefer, they all have 2 bay access doors, a control panel, and an external monitor (that little green light on the trailer corner). If anything designing it the way they did with the separate grilles the way they are would identify it as T.K. Unit. I didn't expect logos and markings, I just expected something that could pass for something other than a solid bay window.

Your a model builder?? So make it look the way you want. I really don't see the big deal.

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Your a model builder?? So make it look the way you want. I really don't see the big deal.

So when are we gonna get those new after market items you announced?

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So when are we gonna get those new after market items you announced?

Never announced, I Mentioned they where being worked on. So when there ready you will see em.

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Your a model builder?? So make it look the way you want. I really don't see the big deal.

Simply because I feel the more money I shell out for something, the less basic mistakes I should be forced to deal with...Can I sit down and spend hours fabbing all the missing reefer detail? Sure I can, but $45 it of my pocket says I shouldn't be forced to do so. You can go buck-wild super detailing this thing without question.

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Posted · Report post

Great review. Thank you for that.

I'm not even into big rigs that much, but this is one of if not the best review I've ever read on this forum. :)

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Posted · Report post

James, A++ on the review, very nice, I really can not wait to get the ProStar , I know I will getting atleast one trailer

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Posted (edited) · Report post

James, A++ on the review, very nice, I really can not wait to get the ProStar , I know I will getting atleast one trailer

I'm seeing I need 2 of them, one to do a 98% version of the truck I used to drive (we and most fleets don't use the BIG power NaviStar engine that requires the longer hood/cowl), and one to combine with this reefer kit to make a Dutch Maid combo. Heck I guess I need another trailer too since I'm leaning on going "box stock decals" and making a LoneStar Erb rig now that we have decals for both the tractor and trailer. Perhaps more trailers depending on what decals come from Moebius I the actual ProStar kit.

Edited by niteowl7710

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Posted · Report post

Sounds like you are going to be busy for awhile there James :lol:

I am thinking that the ProStar might look good hooked up to a Featherlite race car transporter, ( read scratch building another one), least thats the plan ;):D

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Posted · Report post

I know Juan Pablo Montoya (your jet-dryer killed my racecar, prepare to die) had a LoneStar pulling his trailer this year.

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