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:


Prototype Photos:

This article was originally written and published in 2008, with prototype photos from 2007.  It serves as a great resource for middle 2000's modelers.  Hopefully I can work though an additional article for the late 2010's into 2020 soon, as I've started a new set of trailers for a 2020 era UPS train.

©2007/2008/2020, Josh Baakko,