A familiar sight to all who have traveled the highways and byways of the United States is the “semi” tractor-trailer truck hauling goods from coast-to-coast. One of the leading manufacturers of the “tractor” portion is Freightliner, a subsidiary of Daimler AG established in 1942.
Big truck, big box, big model – lots of “wow factor” for the young builder! Molded in light blue, white, black, and clear, the kit comprises of 102 parts. A sheet of peel-and-stick decals and instructions are also included. Copyright data on tractor and trailer parts indicate 1979 and 1980 vintage of the original tooling, respectively. As expected with tooling over 3 decades in service, there was quite a bit of flash along mold parting lines which required some extra effort to clean up prior to assembly.
At the bench assembling this behemoth was my 8-year old son and modeling buddy, Camden. Literally with dozens of builds and many review contributions under his belt, Camden looked forward to the new challenge of building a big rig. Looking to build on his prior experience, we decided to go the extra mile and paint this kit to make it a bit more “show worthy.” Armed with an ample supply of sanding sticks, a sprue cutter, and 4 cans of spray paint, Camden dove into the build.
Wanting to do some assembly right off the bat, he chose to actually follow instruction sequence for tractor chassis construction with the exception of attaching wheels and chrome parts. Once assembled, he sprayed with flat black, then later added wheels and chrome gas tanks and “horse collar” trailer hitch. Despite significant modeling experience, he still needed a bit of parental coaching to interpret the instructions to get proper part placement and orientation. Even for dad, some placement required a little “trial and error.” All non-moving parts throughout the build were bonded using Tamiya extra thin cement.
Cab assembly followed. After painting the tractor body and select parts Testors Model Master French Blue from a rattle can and painting the interior Walmart primer gray, he assembled the windshield and interior tub into the truck body – with some prying assist from dad while he aligned and set the tub. Chrome running light lenses were painted Turn Signal Amber and installed once dry. He then wrapped up body assembly by adding the chrome exhaust stacks and air horns. The body was then affixed to the chassis and wheels and grille were added.
Moving on to the trailer, chassis assembly was advanced shy of adding wheels, so that it could be painted silver, again from a Testors rattle can. The trailer body was painted Walmart generic cheapo rattle can white to kill the “plasticky” look. Once paint was dry, wheels were added and the body and chassis of the trailer were assembled and the doors were carefully popped into place.
Stickers were then carefully applied, and a great sigh of relief was breathed – the mammoth truck project was finally complete.
Conclusion and Recommendation
Although rated “Skill Level 1,” this was not a trivial snap-together build. The abundance of flash and tricky assembly required close supervision and coaching to keep the builder from becoming discouraged – and to get him back to the bench. Many of Revell’s more recent SnapTite releases (since the 1990’s) are much better suited for beginners. Nevertheless, for young builders with several good builds to their credit, this kit will stretch and challenge them and will provide a very impressive finished product – if they stick with it.
All things considered, I do recommend this kit for “experienced beginners” and strongly suggest some adult coaching and encouragement along the way.
Thanks to Revell for the review sample and another opportunity to spend several quality hours at the bench with my son, and thanks to IPMS/USA for the opportunity to provide this review.