Vintage vehicles – 2

I took a break from building freight cars after an odd issue appeared on two boxcars when I applied a flat coat. I started building a Jordan Highway Miniatures 1923 Mack dump truck kit. After building it, I built another. I’ll need several vehicles for the future layout, so I kept building those kits. Oh, and I did solve the issue on the boxcars. Those details are in the previous post. Let’s take a close look at these Jordan kits.

My next layout will be an urban setting in November 1926. I see very few photos of freight houses and team yards that do not have a truck in the scene. Often, there are several trucks. A 2018 post covered prototype resources to understand the different makes and models of the era. It was interesting to see many regional companies.

I’ve accumulated a decent number of Jordan kits over the years. I’ve paid between $1 and $5 for each of them. The kits are injection molded styrene with fine parts and a sheet of instructions. I spread out the parts sprues and read the directions first. I didn’t know what some of the parts were but figured them out by eliminating the ones I knew.

I focused on building Mack trucks. The basic parts are the same, except for the bed details.

There’s flash to eliminate on many of the parts. A toothpick points out the flash on cab parts above. I used a single edge razor blade to remove the larger pieces, then employed sanding sticks, nail boards, and files to clean up the fine lines. I dry fit many parts before gluing anything together. I still managed to install a couple things upside-down and backwards!

with the first kit, I built sub-assemblies of the major elements and painted those before gluing everything together. These early trucks were mostly painted in basic colors. There are many images to review with a simple web search.

For some reason, I had trouble gluing parts together with plastic cement. Even the raw castings were problematic, so I used cyanoacrylate (CA) for the adhesive. Above you see the wheels on the chassis and the remaining parts ready to be installed.

Here’s the completed first kit! Well, mostly complete. The headlights are missing and some paint needs to be touched up as it wore away with handling. Without hesitation, I opened another box.

The second kit went together easier but the details were different. I changed out my plastic glue bottle and that worked much better to weld parts together.

I’ve determined this is an early version of the kits with a longer frame, separate parts for the drive train, different cab and headlights, and a couple extra details. This was a chassis-only kit that I found at a train show for a dollar. As you can see, all but the wheels have been assembled.

I washed the models and primed the bodies after assembly. A clothespin makes it easy to hold the model at the spray booth. The area hidden by the clothespin was touched up with a brush after the primer coat dried.

I kept the wheels on the parts sprue for the Vallejo German red brown primer coat. The tires were also painted while on the sprue. Vallejo dark rubber from the Panzer Aces line was used.

I did the same for the bed parts. Since these represent wood, I sprayed them with Vallejo desert sand primer.

I caught up with the dump truck headlights and painted them while they were attached to the sprue.

I built a small fleet in just a few weeks. After slogging through the first couple of these kits, I came to understand the assembly process. The last chassis was assembled and ready for primer in three hours. These still need some lettering, weathering, and a couple more details.

A year or so ago I built an 1:72 scale FWD Model B three-ton truck produced by Roden. These are 1917 prototypes used by the thousands in World War 1. Many came back to the US and were sold off. The photo above offers a size comparison between the HO scale Mack and the 1:72 scale FWD.

I have not glued the beds onto the trucks, so I swapped them for a few photos to see how they look. I really like how the stake bed changes the look of the FWD truck. The Roden bed on the Mack gave me a couple ideas for future trucks with a low-side bed.

An element missing from both of these truck models is a tarp to protect the load from the November elements. The 1918 GMC in the above photo is one idea to guide the tarp details. I’ll share what works on a future blog post.

The Jordan line of vehicles has been discontinued. There are plenty out there at train shows at decent prices. Shop around and avoid double-digit prices for any RARE models.

There are additional options for early vehicles. Keith Wiseman has been producing metal kits that were formerly made by Walker Model Service and others. The Autocar, Kleiber, and Mack models from Wiseman Model Services can add variety to your street scenes.

Woodland Scenics offers an older Diamond T and a Federal dump truck.

Inter-Action Hobbies has a few older Fords in their line.

Artitek has a couple older trucks in their line.

I know I’m forgetting a few models out there. Drop a link in the comments for 1920s vehicles that I missed.

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18 thoughts on “Vintage vehicles – 2”

    1. Thanks for the nudge, Bruce! The Roden FWD truck is 1:72 scale, not OO. I updated the text. – Eric H.

  1. What great builds!
    It’s a shame, that when the owner of Jordan died a number of years ago, that his family did not want to continue producing the HO vehicle kits and destroyed all the dies/molds.

    Mark Lewis
    North Carolina

  2. Don’t forget Sylvan Scale Models. Though a lot of their models are from the 50’s and early 60’s, Clare Gilbert also has some from the Thirties and even a bit earlier.

    1. Thanks for the reminder, Alan. Sylvan Scale Models has lots of great HO scale vehicle kits. As you note, they follow later era prototypes. This blog post is focused on HO scale models for earlier prototype vehicles. Otherwise there would be a host of other companies to list. – Eric H.

      1. Eric,
        Sylvan has three 1927 Hudsons, 2 & 4 door sedans and a flatbed truck. two 1927 Jordans, a Victoria sedan & a Playboy roadster. Also a 1929 Divco delivery truck.
        Dave Lawler
        Avon Lake, Ohio

        1. Ack! How did I miss those in the Sylvan line? Thanks for flagging those down for me, Dave! – Eric H.

  3. A quick perusal through my stash revealed much of what you’ve already mentioned: Jordan, National Motor Co (Packard sedans, mostly), an SS Ltd Autocar Light Delivery truck, Woodland Scenics. None are cheap anymore, save the WS, and the best way I’ve found to purchase them is in lots where the cost per vehicle comes down. The other trick I have used successfully on eBay is to look for mis-spelled listings or items listed under some variation of the manufacturer’s name or partial product name.

    Dyna Models made some vehicles that were pretty crude by comparison with Jordan or even National. Another newcomer is Berkshire Valley Models, though we’re talking horse-drawn wagons. Still, many were found right alongside their horseless counterparts well into the 1930s.

    But the better deal I think is the AHM hearse which can be found by itself or in the W. E. Snatchem Undertaker kit or the Lastop Funeral Home. For the price of a Jordan, you get a decent Model T Hearse plus a building which, admittedly, isn’t a craftsman kit, but could be good kitbash fodder. Herka makes a hearse which appears to be identical. A quick search as of this posting found an AHM undertaker kit which includes TWO Jordan kits. The deals are out there, but you have to be persistent and search often.

    1. Thanks for your notes, Galen! Keep you eyes open at train shows. I’ve seen most of these on tables with pre-owned items. Prices are typically decent.

      I didn’t realize a vehicle came with the AHM structure. IIRC, a fire truck was also included with their fire station kit. – Eric H.

  4. So many of these lists omit information about the product. The biggest omission is the date span of the prototype. I am certainly not going to purchase a model if I cannot determine if it fits my modeling era.

    1. Jared, I can’t determine if this is a complaint about this blog post or kits in general. It’s only been in the last couple decades that an HO scale plastic includes a reference to a time span of use. With vehicles, every place is a little different. I’m sure a few 1923 Mack trucks survived into the 1940s but they were slow and cantankerous. Newer trucks were favored. The demand was for more power and hauling capacity. Trucks from the 1920s were typically left in the dust or relegated to very local work. – Eric H.

      1. Most of the wood I paint is new wood, i.e. crates or lumber loads that wouldn’t be weathered. If you want weathering apply some degree of graying to achieve the effect you want.

        Jared Harper
        Athens, GA

  5. You mentioned painting some parts to represent wood. Recently I wanted to paint a bunch of”wooden”
    crates. I had the paint department at The Home Depot scan one of their paint stirers which resulted in a perfect wood color. It also turned out to be a good color to paint skin on figures.

    1. Thanks for your note, Jared. But wouldn’t that color only be representative of wood that hasn’t been in the elements long? These stake beds will receive a wash and PanPastel color soon. If the canvas coverings obscure most of the lattice, I may not bother weathering them. – Eric H.

  6. I’m an old trucker, and I’ve been a truck enthusiast all my life. A couple of comments. Jordan also made a beautiful Packard truck, which can be found on Ebay. The SS Ltd. Autocar appears to me to be the Wiseman Autocar. Wiseman also offers a White, an AC Mack — the Jordan is the better kit — and two Kleibers. Kleibers were seldom seen outside of the far west. The Woodland Scenics represent a late teens Diamond T, an early 20s Diamond T, and an early teens Federal. A company called Showcase Miniatures does a 1929 International, but I have only seen an ad, not the model.
    I don’t recall seeing any raw wood bodies, except crude homemade sideboards once in a while. Bodies like the Jordan kits were usually painted the same color as the cab, and often elaborately pinstriped.
    Most early hard-tire trucks were rounded up in WWII scrap drives. But early Macks remained popular in off highway work up into the 70s and 80s. Well drilling, wreckers in junkyards, crane trucks in boat and steel yards, that sort of thing. Schaeffer brewery in New Jersey had a fleet of them carrying enormous vats for in-plant use. There was a seawall building company in Fort Lauderdale that used a pre-1910 Mack Senior in their yard well into the 90s.
    Get me started on old trucks, I’ll never stop. Sorry. I’ll shut up now. Bob Ellis

  7. If you really want some stunning old truck photos, get the following books:
    Mack Model AB Photo Archive Thomas E. Warth Iconografix
    Mack Truck Photo Gallery Thomas E. Warth Iconografix
    This Was Trucking Robert F. Karolevitz Bonanza

  8. In HO Micron Art has assorted vintage vehicles including a beautiful 1914 Knox chemical fire engine; Model Power’s firehouse kit comes with a period open cab fire truck.

    1. Thanks for the suggestions! I think that Model Power kit was the AHM kit mentioned in a previous comment. – Eric H

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