Checking a Model Vehicle's Scale

Toystate CAT 797F compared to HO scale.

Several years ago I acquired this CAT 797F manufactured by Toystate.  This diecast model is sold in a package that does not indicate scale, however a majority of the eBay listings I browsed indicated it was 1:101 scale.  You can find these models on eBay or on Amazon here.

Read along as I show you how to compare a vehicle like this to the scale you model.  In this case, 1:87 (HO) scale, or 3.5mm to the foot.

Modeling UPS (United Parcel Service) Trailers (2008)

UPS trailers, 26' parcel trailers, 28' parcel trailers, 28' pups (UPS & ex Overnight, ect.), 28' containers, 40' parcel trailers, 45' dry van (UPS bought & ex Overnight, ect.), and 48' dry van (ex Overnight). We'll cover UP schemes, UPS Freight, UPS Logistics (Martrac, ect.), and "patched" trailers. Also included is how I replicate a number of them in HO scale.

Early observations Body color: For starters, I've tested a few colors of commercially available gray paints. Here's what I've found so far, I've got more colors to go, on more trailers.

  • Model Masters Light Sea Gray, Too light, though close to the gray Walthers used on decorated 26' pups.
  • Model Masters Navy Aggressor Gray Very nice color for newly painted trailers.

Roof & Rib colors: Next for the roof & rib colors. It seems most modern trailers have white roofs, I'd assume this is done to keep the interiors cooler. Older trailers have silver roofs, some have both (patched area's a different color). Most trailers that have exterior length wise ribs, have them painted silver. I'd suggest any normal white paint for the white roofs, and Testors Silver for the silver roofs and ribs.

Wheel colors: Trailer wheels, like their tractor & parcel delivery van counter parts, are black, with a silver ring. The edge lip is left silver (unpainted) so that when wheels are replaced, there would be no noticeable damage to the black paint.

Other colors: Some trailers have silver corners, and/or silver bracing around the doors. The 26', 28', & 40' parcel trailers seem the most common in this department.

Lettering, Logos & Reflective stripes: Some decals are available from A-line

Detailing: A majority of trailers have black brush material above the wheels, and around the kingpin. UPS does this to combat rocks, dirt & road debris from being flung outwards, and upwards dirtying the trailers. This is one of the most noticeable details, that should be included in any UPS trailer modeling efforts. The rear of EVERY trailer has rubber bump stops, for when drivers back up to the loading/unloading docks. Parcel trailer models have this molded on, but if you're planning to make one of the normal body trailers, you'll need to add this detail. They're usually black rubber.

Notes: There seems to be no rhyme or reason to any of the details and colors, that can vary, so you do not need to be too picky. The only thing that should not be left out are the bump stops, brush material, and lettering/logo/stripes.

Model Photos:

Redoing a Scale Vehicle

How I "fixed" a 1:87 (HO) Chevy Bel Air. Simple step by step, on giving your scale vehicles a different look.

When I was sorting a recent collection of the HO scale vans available at Wal*Mart, I discovered I had bought a
damaged one. Instead of just fixing it, I decided I'd take the wheels for one of my yellow & white Chevy Bell Airs.
Here's what I did.

Creating Worn Trailer Mud Flaps

Tools
- Cutting the flaps
- Melting the flaps
- Painting the flaps
- Installing the flaps


Tools: This one is quite simple, all you'll need is a sharp knife, a pair of needle nose
pliers, and a lighter of your choice to do the "damage." Paint & a brush to finish the part
off and to cover up and burn damage, and the glue to attach it to the trailer is also needed.