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  1. Hello model builders, A while ago, a guy went ahead and purchased a 1/25/24 scale Mack tractor from AITM. I am not a big Mack truck enthusiast, but when I saw this kit, it reminded me very much of an experience I had with my dad and brother, likely more than 40 years ago. Across town from where we lived was Hitchings Lumber - as the name suggests, it was lumber yard, but, not anything like the big-box mega stores we see today. Instead, located in a rural part of the west side of town, a throwback from the past (even then!). The yard seemed (as a youth) to be a big, overgrown place, with a gravel drive, lumber storage sheds, and a main office packed full of odds and ends, photos and wood burning stove. In the yard and surroundings, were numerous Mack trucks in various states of repair. But, there were always a few good looking, even shiny, vintage Mack trucks - which were their main service rigs. So, when I found the kit, I decided I'd build a version of one of Mary Hitchings' lumber haulers. I found the images below on-line: Yes, that's Mary Hitchings on the upper left. As a boy, it was something of an adventure to visit the yard with my dad and brother, on what inevitably were cold and wet Saturday mornings - which we always enjoyed! This is the AITM kit: It is something of a mixed bag, as many small shop kits tend to be. On one hand, they seem to have accurately captured the distinctive look and proportion of the somewhat iconic fenders - which is great. On the other, some of the castings are a bit clunky, and have required some carving, filing and sanding, but, are for the most part true, and thankfully, not warped! First up, I needed to make posable steering: Mercifully, the material they used is fairly tough, but not so tough that it can't be worked with, so, off came the steering from the axle, and the knuckles. Some clean up, and reassembled with a metal pin - I would have used a small bolt and but don't have any here right now. Next will be to glue the steering control arms back on and make up a tie rod. I'm going to try and make a drag link from the steering gear to the knuckle - not something to worry about just yet. Then, I noticed in the photos, that the wheels on the front axle of the prototype are not spoked, so several months ago I ordered a set (incorrect version it turns out - too many small holes) from Auslowe (very nice BTW). But, they were a bit too wide and either the tire or rim, or both wasn't round - so, fixed that (inside of wheeel): Maybe odd to do this so early but, a guy likes to have generally functional tires/wheels early on, as there always seem to be many test fits etc as we go. The tires really don't look much like they are meant for the highway, so I'm going to do the right thing, and use them anyway - not in the mood to search for and buy another set of resin tires! Then, on to some resin carving: The frame, leaf springs, and shocks, front and rear, were cast as one piece, so, I went ahead and cut out the necessary gaps - you can just see I did this for the shocks, while the frame/spring opening is obvious enough. Less obvious is what's going on with the fenders. The kit provides a stout block for mounting the fenders, which works well, but, doesn't match the fender outer contour, so it was cut and carved to match. The kit doesn't come with instructions, which is more or less OK, as fortunately I've built a few models. It seems the kit would have you mount the cab interior to the frame, and then rest the cab on top of it. I went ahead and changed that. It seems the one piece interior might not actually be for this kit? I don't know - but, I didn't care for the fit. I cut about 1/8" (3 or 4mm?) out of the vertical part, and glued the shortened version back together. Then, build a base and floor that would be attached directly to the cab, then to the frame - sort of like how you might with the real thing. Then, while taking these photos - I found a bigger problem: Well this isn't too good - something is amiss here. The frame provides a distinct body locating point for the inside of the radiator. These pics are of the cab lined up on that mark, and well - not so good. Tho, you can see the outside of those modified wheels! What to do? As I was looking at what I was taking photos of (all just taped together), tried relocating the body until it looked about right: That looks better - but, strangely, to look correct, the cab need to be mounted just inside the raised lip? - what's that all about??? well....I guess a guy will have to get after that and figure out how to make it work! OK, thanks for having a look, Cheers Nick
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