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Peterbilt 348 4x4
Stickframe
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Posted: Tuesday, July 28, 2020 - 09:51 AM UTC
Hello model builders,

I ran into a delay with my D7R, stuck waiting for some parts to arrive - in the meantime, I had begun collecting parts and ideas for a truck build, specifically a Peterbilt 348 4x4 service truck. Unhappily, no such kit exists, so how would a guy get this? Scratch build it of course.

I had the idea of the 4x4 but wasn't sure about a body, so I looked on line and looked around and settled on the service body. I like the look:



and the rolling frame:



And finally, the front end - this will be a real challenge to achieve - the hood and grill from my donor kit look nothing like this!



A big assumption here is that I'll figure out how to make the sloping hood and those fenders! and I've already conceded, nope, I won't be able t make those headlights...I'll likely either mount them in the bumper, or hang them off the radiator, like a 378.

To get going, I went onto ebay and found a guy selling a Peterbilt cab - might have been a 378? I don't know - anyway, it came with the cab and interior. BTW, the package was complete, well packed, and it arrived in a short time, so, good deal.

Next up, I have an Italeri Renault Super Magnum - a truck I've never liked all that much - I purchased it a long time ago for a good price and never touched it - so, from it I scavenged an engine and rear axle.

Then off to Kit Form Services for a chassis kit, resin tires and wheels, and front axle.

In addition to this, lots of evergreen, K+S and so on.

First up the chassis kit. It's really nice, a CNC cut set of evergreen-like parts - a bit tricky to get parallel/perpendicular etc, but not that much harded than a regular kit:



With a chassis assembled - I need to add a note here - the chassis has cross members. As I didn't start with complete parts or instructions, I eyeballed their locations - if not, well, a guy would be stuck sitting with a pile of materials and some cool prototype pictures - which is not what I want.

I built the leaf springs from brass - after I finished the front pair, I thought someone out there might be interested in what I did, so here we go, on the rear pack:



and to shape them:



Pretty high tech approach!! - haha - gently roll the brass over the shape and you'll get it. It works for styrene too, except, you need to tape and glue each leaf in place, gradually laminating them as you go, and they'll set up formed to match the curve. OK, back to brass:



Above, you can see the matched pair. You'll note I filed the ends down, which makes installation a bit easier. These represent 4" wide leafs.



And with "eyes" - later, I filed down the edge cause by the filing



This is a bit slow going, but it's worth getting some precision, as it's a lot easier for a guy to assemble the pack - the center holes being centered on each is well worth the headache. I used aluminum tubing for bushings - this is really helpful, because I eventually used 1/16" brass rod for pins, that get fed through styrene on each side - and not having to wrestle it together reduces the risk of shearing the styrene connections off.





I did order a set of not that expensive resin leaf packs (not from KFS) and they were not good - at all. While time consumptive, heck, these take time to build, but I'd rather try and get closer to good looking and strong, than starting with clearly weak and not good looking!

Next up, it turns out that each leaf hanger is different. I'm not a big truck expert, so had to spend some time to see what these are supposed to look like -the front horns are tricky, as in addition to holding the leaf springs, they're part of a large assembly to mount the hood, radiator and front bumper - perfect. I've built about half of the assembly - didn't do all of it because I don't quite know where my scratch built hood will actually "land" or how wide it will be. The rest are less visually complex, but equally interesting to figure out.



and the rear, which has something like part of a four link arm, below the leaf pack:



I added the white squares, in the rear drum, to add gluing surface, as this will eventually get attached to the resin wheels - I hate wobbly wheels - and wheels that fall off even more. As this axle was not intended for this use, it received a variety of mods -



The engine....well....yes, a guy needed to do some modifications. The Renault kit's engine is a turbo V8 (I think?), and the Paccar PX7 is a turbocharged inline 6. So, off came the canted heads, and up went a central head. The kit had a turbo, so I cut it and the plumbing up to make something closer to my needs.



Clearly more to do on the engine!!



And above - to get a sense of scale, but not the right hood. The hood I'll be doing would be about 1/4" shorter than this (vertically and horizontally) - the yellow line on the end marks the approximate length of the future hood.



Viewed from the rear. It turns out, the body of this truck sits above the top of the frame rails - enough that you can see between the two, so I'll eventually add cab mounts. I mention this because that space/gap will help to determine how to set the engine height and what modifications will be required to the firewall. The kit firewall part is flush, but the 348 version has a recess area. I'm guessing this is the case because of the short, sloping hood on the 348.

I included some relevant tech diagrams that spell out a bit about the leaf springs, chassis, and engine mounting:







These were helpful - the last one in particular showing the slope (the oil pan on the paccar PX engine tho is reversed - the well is forward?)

Ok - enough talking - back to the bench -

Cheers and stay well -

Nick

Dixon66
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Posted: Tuesday, July 28, 2020 - 11:32 AM UTC
Ahhhhh. No words, well one. Wow!
AussieReg
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Posted: Tuesday, July 28, 2020 - 11:37 AM UTC
Outstanding!

A super cool and unique project Nick, as always, and off to an awesome start.

Definitely following this one and eagerly awaiting updates.

Cheers, D
jimb
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Posted: Tuesday, July 28, 2020 - 11:52 AM UTC
Amazing work, Nick! Just incredible. It looks like your cab is a 359.

You might be able to find something at AITM that you could use for the hood.

Jim
KoSprueOne
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Posted: Tuesday, July 28, 2020 - 12:43 PM UTC
Good stuff man.




Cosimodo
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Posted: Tuesday, July 28, 2020 - 01:28 PM UTC
These are educational sessions I just love reading!
Great work Nick!

cheers
Michael
Dixon66
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Posted: Wednesday, July 29, 2020 - 12:28 AM UTC
Good call Jim, I think the AITM 386 hood could work for Nick.
LonCray
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Posted: Wednesday, July 29, 2020 - 12:45 AM UTC
Wait, you're not a big truck expert?!? I can only imagine that if you WERE a big truck expert, your final result would be fully driveable by somebody 1/24 the size of a human.
Stickframe
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Posted: Wednesday, July 29, 2020 - 06:27 AM UTC
Hello gents,

Thanks for leaving some comments - they're appreciated!

David and Jim, yes, the 386 hood - it is fairly close to the 348, but it's longer. I seriously thought about buying one of those and cutting it up to match the 348. The AITM part is shown as sold out on the website, so I wrote and asked about the timing of a restock, apparently the hoods should be there eventually, but I couldn't get a confirmed date. That and being $40, I decided to try and scratch build it. Who knows, if they restock it and I fail with my attempt(s) I might get one!

Believe it or not, I'm sort of looking forward to trying to figure it out, because as of now, I haven't been able to make compound curves with evergreen.

For the fenders, my basic idea is start with two key pieces, first the vertical curve that makes the wheel opening, and then cut the broad horizontal, flat part that goes over the wheel. Next, glue two or three fairly thick pieces of thick (.30 and .40) sheet over the flat part, then, bend into a sweeping curve to generally match the shape of the vertical part and glue them together. Then begin filing the laminated pieces to achieve the look of the curves of the lightweight cast(?) fiberglass/composite?) that makes up the actual part. Building the hood would follow the same basic steps.

For now, I'm sticking with the engine and chassis. I've already spent a lot of time on this, but it needs work. The chassis needs shock absorbers, brackets and so on. The engine, needs a lot more. Then, figuring out how to bring the engine and chassis together. Once I figure out how to mount the engine, will be figuring out how to mount the transfer case and drivelines. This all "seems" fairly straight forward, but likely easier said than done as parts include some resin, kit, and scratchbuilt pieces. I want the parts to fit, look right and be fairly stable/strong.

Like I said about the wheels, I hate parts breaking or falling off over the course of the build - I seem to have the habit of flicking, snapping, dropping, and bending parts off over the course of the build!! I don't mind breaking things when figuring it all out, it seems almost integral to the process, but once the parts are together, nope - they need to stay together!

Ha! yes, being an "expert" or not - haha - not indeed! I'm generalizing or guessing about many parts/connections on this and almost any scratch builds. That said, I really don't want to build something that is flatly wrong! So, I do some research and look at as many pictures I can find, and try to get reasonably close with the build.

OK gents, stay well and happy model building. Hoping to have an update in the next day or so.
Stickframe
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Posted: Tuesday, August 04, 2020 - 06:37 PM UTC
Hello gents,

hope you're all staying well. A guy has to ask, why try scratchbuilding? the fun and good times? No, not those things.

I've made progress since the last post. I have the interior of the cab done, and I like the results. I'll post that another time, as while it was challenging, it was simple compared to the hood and fenders.

That said, the hood, while complex and slow, it worked out pretty well. The fenders, another story. I'm currently making headway through the third version.

As a refresher, while walking in my nhood I saw this Peterbilt - I'm guessing a 330, but, it clearly reflects the hood and fenders I'm attempting to copy:



Nice rig - shiny, new, and the fenders - in all of their simple glory - how hard could they really be to make out of styrene?

First, start with the wheel arch from the el-cheapo donor cab - perfect! then, add a little base to the front to support the big curve and headlights:



OK, feeling good! this will work fine!

Rookie move #1: build what's in your mind, not in the photo:



One good element, the outer facing edge - two bad - the front-most plane is almost vertical - WRONG!; second, the horizontal plane, not flat, but not curving either - WRONG!

OK - tear those off and try again:



OK, rookie move #2 - the "image" in the mind, coming to life! lots of steps to make these fenders - big swooping top curve, internal ribs, incrementally installed plane surfaces, all right! here we go!



Compared to the starting point, seeing the inside of the new fender - ok ,feeling it - not perfect, but ok....

And a little diversion, why not? the fenders looking so good - lets look at the hood - you can see the new hood in the foreground, and the kit in the background. The new hood is shorter, and slopes downhill from the drivers seat:



and the radiator is much smaller - smooth sailing and good times!



It's getting there, but wait, even without putty to fill the gaps, is something wrong with fender? nah - no worries at all - I'll finish both, and glue them onto the hood, after test fitting alignment with the front axle, ahh...good times.

BUT:



Even with some fairly nice body work (If I say so myself), once again, WRONG!!!! crap - - - the front face is once again too vertical, and the big, sweeping curve, isn't either.

Remember this:



Clearly I decided that I should build what I thought was the form, not what the form is!!! crap, again...so, out came the knife. You can see the cut line defined by yellow tape below:



You can also see the new forward curve line on the now permanently attached hood!! perfect....Of course, both fenders match, so they each suffered the same fate:



A guy could have lived with the wrong fenders; well - why do that?? they looked like a Kenworth for crying out loud! This is supposed to be a Peterbilt! hence, matching cut outs in the fenders - the upside (actually really good news) of course is the cut line on the outer edge is fairly clean, on both sides. You can clearly see the new curve line on the hood.

An as of now, this is where we are:



The outer edge is cut and filled with a new small filler sheet to create a new line for the top of the fender, and a new lip is scribed in against the hood. The small piece of square rod in the front will be filed to match the curve of the soon-to-be added fender top.

The only good news from all of this is that despite my earnest efforts to screw up these fenders, I haven't. I ran out of evergreen, so will get some more of the .10 sheet and finish these!

Stay well and happy model building

Nick

Cosimodo
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Posted: Wednesday, August 05, 2020 - 12:18 PM UTC
Very interesting Nick. Such great work.
When you were talking about the front face being too vertical I read that as the radiator rather than fenders. Seeing your changes I could see what you mean about the fenders but is the radiator also not too vertical. Maybe it's just the photos since there is no pure side on shot to tell. God forbid that anybody would think your building a Kenworth!

cheers
Michael
AussieReg
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Posted: Wednesday, August 05, 2020 - 01:35 PM UTC
Nick, this thread is a great insight into the thought process and the amount of work that goes into your builds. I'm just blown away by the levels of complexity in the fenders alone. Way beyond my skill (and patience) levels!

Keep the updates coming, and keep up the awesome work.

Cheers, D
165thspc
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Posted: Wednesday, August 05, 2020 - 03:33 PM UTC
Love the leaf springs!

Those front fenders are a real booger! Actually a tapered conical shape.

Best of luck!

Mike
RussellE
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Posted: Wednesday, August 05, 2020 - 10:47 PM UTC
Wow!

The leaf springs!
SpeedyJ
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Posted: Thursday, August 06, 2020 - 12:29 AM UTC
Good grief. You used KFS aftermarket. They make real nice materials to work with. I used it to rebuild the HINO chassis with their CNC cut styrene. Have a lot of white metal detail also. Hope to use it for my planned MACK.
Very nice work so far. Enjoy!
Will keep a close eye on this one for sure.
jimb
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Posted: Thursday, August 06, 2020 - 01:14 AM UTC
Nick, that hood is coming out fantastic. Have you entertained the idea of maybe having AITM or GW Trucks casting it for us "mere mortals"?

Hey, Michael! What's wrong with a KW?

Jim
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Posted: Thursday, August 06, 2020 - 01:59 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Very interesting Nick. Such great work.
When you were talking about the front face being too vertical I read that as the radiator rather than fenders. Seeing your changes I could see what you mean about the fenders but is the radiator also not too vertical. Maybe it's just the photos since there is no pure side on shot to tell. God forbid that anybody would think your building a Kenworth!

cheers
Michael


LOL
Stickframe
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Posted: Friday, August 07, 2020 - 07:03 AM UTC
Hello gents,

Happy Friday to all! Alas, here it is essentially groundhog day - Friday is Tuesday, is Saturday....the quarantine - trying to balance normal day to day life, doing work, and of course, building models!

A guy can't play favorites here - build models all day + no real work gets done, no semblance of social activity, recreation, or even buying groceries. Odd, being stuck at home requires discipline!! Who'd have guessed? In the parlance of our times, it is what it is.

Hi Michael M - - yes, good point "vertical" compared to what? - sort of like those white metal tubes on your 917, when held one way they look perfect, change the viewing angle - and oh no! adding to the question of perspective is the reality that I'm guessing how the parts (fabrication steps) should look - there's lots of trial and plenty of error! To your observation, as Michael Koenig noted, the front fenders are indeed conical, which it took me a while to: A understand and; B, figure out to to make.

The forward facing corner of the fenders gave me grief. This corner is not a strictly 90 degree bend - it has an element that is parallel to the chassis, and another that is parallel to the bumper. It also includes two sloping curves - one, which generally matches the wheel opening, and the other, exaggerated, and set inward, along the hood wall. It looks so simple in the photos - maybe it is??? It just took me a while to understand how to recreate it with very low tech tools and materials! No 3d printing etc here!

As to the Kenworth - I don't mind KW's - but after this amount of work - it should at least resemble what I'm trying to copy!! lol


Hi Damian, as you can probably gather, I get a kick out of the process - it can be frustrating! but sort of fun too! I don't golf or gamble, so, this is my vice!

Mr Michael K! nice to hear from you buddy. Michael is the king of suspensions and chassis - and he gets them right! Glad you like those leaf springs. While not easy to do, in the end, I think they look pretty good, and are strong enough to hold the weight. You win the big prize for immediately seeing what took me a while to figure out - the fenders are indeed conical!

Hi Russell, glad you like those springs! I thought about using brass a few builds back, when I made them out of styrene for an old, chevy suburban 4x4 - they looked ok, and worked, but, were also a bit, well, wrong - just not that terrific.

Hi Robert, yes, KFS, Kit Form Services makes some really nice stuff - ideal if you want to experiment a bit - and high quality!

HI Jim, well, I appreciate your faith in this hood turning out! This hood though is just going on the build. It's funny you'd mention AITM, I wrote them a few times about the Pete 386 hood they sell - they did reply, but with "yes" "no" and "soon" as replies, which were not all that helpful. I probably would have sprung for the $40 (btw - what was I thinking?? - a nice part, but I needed to cut it up to work for my purposes - not too bright of an idea by me), but they didn't seem that interested in my business - I'll chalk that up to being part of these strange times -

OK - enough rambling, on to some results. This is probably still not "correct" but, I'm calling it done:







Since the last post, I kept adding smaller bits to serve as the frame for the exposed, sweeping body lines. In a way, this is probably like building the ribs on an airframe or a ship's hull. Each member needs to contour to both the immediate arch they are supporting, and the large arch they are a part of. Michael M, you can see the radiator face is indeed vertical, and it's supposed to be, and the fender, well, does what it does!







So, the fenders seem ok, and the hood, just OK. The hood slopes forward, gets narrow at the grill, generally matches the cab, has nice curves as is transforms from vertical to horizontal on the sides, but, it largely flat on the top side. It should curve from the cab to the top of the radiator. I couldn't figure out how to do it. In retrospect, a guy could have made the top as a series of individually cut and fit planes, essentially building up to the curve, but come on! that would be nuts!!

I didn't feel like un-taping the cab just yet, so only a pic of the dashboard and interior through the window! The dash and seats are from the Renault - the seats, essentially as the kit provided with a few changes - the dash, not so lucky - lots of cutting and test fitting:



Sorry about the poor quality pic - it looks fairly decent in reality.

Next up, the engine. I'm not sure if the hood will tilt forward, but it might. My long history of making ill-fitting body parts is well documented and never far from memory!! Think, 908 and GT40's which "almost" look fine. In any event, should I figure out how to make the hood tilt, I need a "convincing" Paccar PX-7, so, here we have it:







That's my version and I'm sticking with it! I found a variety of pics and worked toward that visual goal. The turbo and exhaust from the kit received lots of cutting and re-gluing. I think the intercooler is located below the radiator, so that's why you see three hoses entering the radiator "area" on top - two air, one water, but not intermingled. Other odds and ends from the scrap etch pile, evergreen and various pieces of wire and solder. Should I figure out how to make an operable hood, the vied should be OK.

OK - that's all for now. I'll get back to the suspension/chassis - needs shocks, steering etc - oh, and those full on tires and wheels, from KFS!

Take care, stay well, and happy model building!

Cheers
Nick
jimb
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Posted: Friday, August 07, 2020 - 07:53 AM UTC
Excellent job on the PACCAR PX-7 engine & transmission. That's really well detailed.

Jim
AussieReg
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Posted: Friday, August 07, 2020 - 11:31 AM UTC

Quoted Text

Excellent job on the PACCAR PX-7 engine & transmission. That's really well detailed.



Jim said it, I don't need to! I will just nod my head in agreement!

Cheers, D
pnance26
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Posted: Saturday, August 08, 2020 - 01:54 AM UTC
Just stumbled across this build!

Excellent scratch building! Getting those compound curves is very hard and you are doing it very well!

Do you have plans on lighting it up? If so, I can give you some help unless you've done it before... and I have a feeling you have!
Stickframe
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Posted: Sunday, August 09, 2020 - 03:59 PM UTC
Howdy gents,

Jim and D, thanks! Guess-building that PX was sort of fun - with pictures stuck on the laptop screen, switching back and forth between left and sight side, and plastic/scratch on the workbench - glad to have your thumbs up!

Hi Patrick, it's been a while since we've chatted - first thanks for the offer! you might remember, a few years back I built a dio that had some LEDs in it - ugh! what a handful! For now, no lights, but sort of ironically I suppose, this truck with the service body would be ideal for LEDs in that the batteries could easily be hidden back there somewhere!

ok - only a short post tonight - I made progress on two key areas, figuring out how to mount the cab in a credible and removable way, and, as you'll see below, how to make a visually workable steering gearbox! I see this as a sort of minor victory, as I've built operable steering before, but never tried the steering gear, so, take a look:



above, turning right, and below, turning left:



and the same from a different view:





As to what's going on above, the front drive axle from KFS is positionable, but converted to being steerable. Metal pins replace the resin parts, so the wheels now go left and right. The kit includes a steering arm, but nothing else. This assembly will be visible, and even more visible, will be the steering gear.

The solution involves first, a junkbox salvage/adaptation steering gear - I think it was originally a part from the P34 F1 car, I replaced with white metal parts. It's modified on one side to accept a steering column, and on the other, part of what I imagine in real life could be a worm gear.

Next, a shaft is added to accept a steering arm. This has a series of various really short sections of glued and not glued aluminum tube sections, assembled to allow for a free moving piece of aluminum sheet to form the movable arm.

Next, the drag link, a piece of aluminum tube with brass eye bolts glued in place in opposing orientations.

Much to my delight, it works! No, it doesn't steer from the cab, but when you turn the wheels the parts move as intended!

From another view:



So far so good - all of this even fits under the hood - so, good!

I spent some time sorting out how to set the cab in place. For this, my goal was to be able to set it temporarily pre-paint etc (remaining stable enough to figure out how to make the hood hinges with some order of precision) and to be able to firmly glue it all in place when the time comes.

Next up, figuring out how to do the hood hinges and how to attach them -

Happy model building, and stay well.

cheers
Nick

RussellE
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Posted: Sunday, August 09, 2020 - 04:09 PM UTC
Nick, this really is next level stuff!! Amazing
Cosimodo
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Posted: Monday, August 10, 2020 - 05:04 PM UTC
Just great stuff. Do you make the brass eyebolts or source them from somewhere? They're always seem to be a bit of a weak link in plastic, especially in suspension parts.

cheers
Michael
165thspc
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Posted: Tuesday, August 11, 2020 - 03:51 AM UTC
Not a thing wrong with a KW - just those fenders with such an extreme slope/taper are quite the challenge. They are so extreme that they are almost crying to be Vac-Formed rather than built up.