Home Page
PRR Chartiers Branch
The Layout
Articles
My Library
About
Site Map

Peter's Model Railroading | Articles | Automobiles | Ford
1917 Ford Model T Truck

This is a pewter metal S-scale kit of a 1917 Ford Model T 1-ton truck, manufactured by Reviresco, a company well-known for its pewter-metal figures.
(external link: Reviresco page)

The instructions are printed on the inside of the paper cover that is stapled to the plastic bag that holds the kit's parts. The instructions are spartan, basically telling you the order of how the kit is to be built. However, the individual parts are not at all identified, so it is left up to the modeler to associate the name of the part with the actual part, most of which require knowledge of automotive terminology. Your only go-by is the front-cover photo, and the two drawings in the instructions. It is my hope that this article will help you to build your model. Since this is my first time building one of these kits, I am going to build it following the instructions. There are no instructions for painting this model. See the bottom of this page for my commentary about this kit.
(external link: Prototype photo)

This is the kit's bag of parts. The kit's instructions say to use a piece of 0.025" wire, which is not included in the kit.

As near as I could identify, I positioned the parts in their relative position with respect to the truck's body. As Reviresco is well-known for their pewter figures, it is no surprise to find one included in this kit.

And now, we can start the actual construction. There is a hole in the front wall of the cab, into which to insert the steering wheel with its steering column. The steering column is a short section of 0.025" metal wire (not included with the kit) that I cut to length and then glued into the steering wheel. I had to drill a hole into the back of the steering wheel first. I use superglue to build this model. Once that cures, you can install the steering column wire into the hole of the front wall. You have to eye-ball the position of the steering wheel, then attach with glue. When the glue has cured, make sure to file off any protrusion of the steering wheel column wire into the engine bay area, as that will interfere with the front parts later on.

The two tabs at the bottom of the front wall match up with the two holes in the truck's frame.

We're building a car!

The instructions state to install the brake next, which, as near as I can tell, is this part shown in my photo. The brake in a Model T was like a tall stick shift.

There is a hole for it in the floor of the cab. Then, the next step is to glue on the motor/hood assembly to the front of the frame.

The front radiator-with-lamps-and-front-suspension-system part glues into the place in front of that. I put my model in a small vice, as the part is fiddly to glue on. Also, I had to do some minor bending and filing of the front wheel arches, to clear the lamps.

The cab's side walls and doors are next. These are one part, one for each side, so make sure to use the correct one. The two small holes on the side walls are for inserting the outside lamps, which are shown in the sprue at the bottom of the photo.

I couldn't quite figure out which side of the lamp part is supposed to be glued into the hole of the side walls, as none of the protrusions from this part match the hole. I finally decided that the "plug" shown at the top of the part in this photo is the one that is to be glued to the side walls. Since its diameter is larger than the hole in the side wall, I found a drill bit that was slightly larger and enlarged the hole in the side walls.

I could then glue it into the wall, in what I thought was the most correct direction.

Gluing the side walls to the frame is the next step. I had to bend the parts a little to get them to fit, but other than that, it was easy enough to glue them in place.

And, then, I hit my first serious snag in this project. The instructions state to install the cab rear to the frame. The only problem is, there is no rear part in the kit! Oops!

So, I am building the back wall of the cab from scratch using some styrene sheet. This photo shows the basic wall in its position. It is not glued in yet, because there is more to do to it. In between this photo and the previous one, I did glue on the roof, and I painted the model a "primer" color.

I cut out the rectangular back window from the back wall. Looking at prototype photos, the back window came in all different shapes and sizes, so I took the easy way out. I plan on having this truck sitting under the coal tipple, being loaded with coal for local use. To make the scene have some action to it, I will have the owner of the truck outside the vehicle talking with the crew loading his truck bed. That means the interior of the truck is fully visible. The model comes with a molded-in gas tank under the bench seat, but without a bench. So, I cut and shaped a bench seat and glued that to the back wall.

My next step was to construct the truck bed. A bit of filing and straightening was necessary to get the side boards to fit and sit correctly. I used the square to make sure it was perpendicular to the truck bed. I used regular superglue to attach the side boards.

The side boards fit together reasonably well. I would have preferred for them to be a bit longer, so that one can file the ends down to get a tighter fit. The ends to some of the boards were a bit damaged. One thing to note is that if you look at the individual boards of the side board panels, there are two skinny boards and one wider one. The wider one needs to be at the bottom. After the four side boards were installed, I reinforced the joints by applying a tiny bead of gel superglue to the joints between the boards and the truck bed bottom (on the insides).

There are two holes in the bottom of the bed (sorry for the blurry picture). These are where the rear wheels' fenders go.

The rear fenders have a matching tab. The tab is too wide for the hole, so you have to file them down a bit. If you look closely at the relative position of the tab to the long edge of the fender, you will notice that the tab is not centered on the fender. The side that is closer to the tab is the side that needs to face the outside of the bed. That way the fenders line up with the outside edges of the bed. My fenders were quite distorted, so I had to carefully bend them to the correct shape. I also looked at them side-by-side to make sure that I got them to be as equal as possible. I applied gel superglue to the holes to install the fenders, and when that was cured, I went back in and applied some regular superglue to where the fenders make contact with the spans at the bottom of the bed, just for some extra strength.

Next up is the rear axle. This part fits into the rectangular gap in the back of the truck frame.

I cut two sections of the wire supplied with the kit for the axles. I purposely made them longer, so that I could trim them to the proper length later on. Once fully cured, I used the axles as my guides to visually get the front and rear axle to be even with each other and square to the body.

I then hand-painted all the sub-assemblies with Vallejo black primer. And, that is basically what you have to do with this kit, which is to build a set of sub-assemblies. The back wall cannot be installed yet, because the glass still needs to be installed, but that can't be installed until the model is painted. The bed cannot be installed, because if I do, the back wall can't slide into position. So, it is a bit of a puzzle.

The kit comes with a "taillight", but I can't figure out how to position it. The same goes for the exhaust pipe. So, I decided to just leave those parts off. Most of that would probably not be visible anyway. I have also decided to leave off the spare tire; I have seen plenty of prototype photos where they are not hung on the side of the car.

Installing the wheels wasn't easy. The metal wire provided with the kit is skinnier than the pre-drilled holes in the wheels, so the wheels hang loose. I forgot to take a photo of this process, but I put the car on a metal weight so that the area where the wheels would sit was out in open air. I then hung the wheel on the axle and applied a tiny amount of gel superglue. While the glue set, I used a pair of tweezers to hold the wheel in as straight of a position as possible. After I had done all four, I noticed that they were still very wobbly, so I applied regular superglue to the contact point between the axle and the back of the wheel. This make a big difference. Next, I trimmed the excess length of the axles to as close to the wheel as possible. I then applied another tiny drop of regular superglue to the wheel's hub on the outside. This finally did the trick in getting the wheels to stay solid. I had to twist the axles a bit to get all four wheels to make contact on a flat surface.

The next step was to apply the final coat of paint. From left to right in the photo, the Polly Scale gray color was used to dry-brush some raised areas after the final coat of paint had dried (it wound up being really subtle, but I didn't want to overdo it). The acrylic red/maroon color was used for the wooden spokes of the wheels. The Vallejo black color was used as the main body color (since Henry Ford said "You can have your Model T in any color, so long as it is black"). The Delta Ceramcoat dark gray was used to paint the tires. And, the final brown color was used to paint the wooden parts of the truck bed.

And this is the final painted result. I wanted a very conservative-looking car, without garish bright colors that people are painting their real-world Model Ts these days.

This is an extreme close-up of the cab's back wall where I have used some clear acetate to simulate the back window. To do these, it is a matter of cutting a piece close to the final dimensions and then filing it down little by little until it fits. I used Aleene's Clear Tacky Glue for gluing it in place. The tweezers slipped and scraped off a bit of the paint of the back wall that I'll need to fix.

This photo shows the final model. I put glass in the front windshield (exceedingly difficult to do; it is flush with the pillars), and decided to just glue a piece of the clear plastic behind the oval side windows, as cutting and shaping a small piece like that is just too hard to do. I decided to leave the main side windows off, as if the owner had rolled down the windows (I model the summer, after all). Overall, I am not 100% happy with how the model came out, but it will probably grow on me over time.

Conclusion:
My conclusion about this kit is that it really is a craftsman kit. Pewter is easily twisted during manufacturing and shipping, so you have to carefully shape the parts back to their intended shape. There is always a bit of flash on the parts. This particular kit was missing the back wall of the cab, but it had a lot of duplicate parts, such as one extra wheel (6 instead of 5), two extra long side panels for the bed, and one extra cab front wall (without the windshield pillars). The kit's parts are not identified in the instructions. The instructions presume that you know how to identify car parts. The instructions should really be considered "high-level guidance steps", as there are way more intermediate steps necessary during the assembly than there are provided. The kit comes with a figure, but it has its arms molded such that the hands rest on the top of his legs, which means he is not a driver figure. There is no "glass" provided with the kit, and you are instructed to cut up a needle pin for some of the parts. There are no diagrams for assembly. So, while this kit does yield a reasonable model, it is not a trivial project to put together, will require a good bit of time, some extra parts not provided in the kit, and requires some thinking-through the process of construction so as to not "paint yourself into a corner". I would not recommend this as your first pewter kit, if you have never built one. As these kits produce unique models, I will, however, be buying more of them; I just need to remember that they are serious projects, not small little side-diversions.