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TonyW

Airfix Ferguson Tractor

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Like I need another entry for the GB!

 

Despite an SS France, Bulldog, pair of Wildcats and possible Hercules and Devastator in the pipeline, I'm going to add a real oldie to the GB.

Allowances have been made by the GB organisers to accommodate a restoration/refurbishment of an Airfix Ferguson Tractor. Thanks Guys.

 

The first Tractors were made in 1949 and ran in a few different boxes and bags both here and on the continent via Plasty in Germany.

My one is shown here as it stands at the moment. It needs stripping down a bit, re-assembly, then a few parts scratch building and a bit of paintwork to get it presentable. I'll be building it an appropriate base to show it off.

 

Yet again, it's this Group Build that's got me off my backside on this long stalled project. I'll make a start today!

 

IMG_5186.jpg

 

To put the Tractor into perspective in the history of Airfix, here's the sort of thing the company were more used to building in the 1940's...

 

IMG_5184.jpg

 

If they had an idea and the plastic to mold it, they had a go! Babies rattles, bricks, even Violins came out the factory. The rattles shown here had left over chunks of plastic used for the rattling bit! The toy side of the company grew alongside the models for many years. A fascinating story.

Edited by TonyW

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So good to see this Ferguson Tractor Tony and thanks for the quick history lesson as well. This will be a popular restoration so all the best for a successful re-build. 

 

Big pat on the back for hosts Mike and Ian for bending the rules a wee bit with this one! 

 

Cheers.. Dave 

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 I've made a start on the restoration. First up, ping one of the steering parts off and dunk it into a bath of bleach. Two reasons for that, firstly to see if the paint will strip off. That's not always the case with unknown paintjobs. Secondly, and a bit more concerning, is to see if bleach will attack the plastic in any way! No attack happened, which is good. No paint striping either, which is less good. Any paint removal now has to be by mechanical means, W+D paper in this case.

 

IMG_5192.jpg

 

IMG_5190.jpg

 

It would make things a whole lot easier if the model could be broken down into component parts. One big wheel came off with a bit of twisting. The second one came off with a bit missing! It looks like old acetate gets rather brittle. Plastic cement won't touch the early issues, they were made of acetate. Later issues were polystyrene.  Acetone was the usual adhesive, used neat. Balsa cement also works as it has acetone in it. Neat acetone makes for a very strong bond, as I've demonstrated!

 

IMG_5191.jpg

 

Discretion is called for at this point. If a part wont come off easily, it's going to have to stay put. There's not much chance of the Airfix Parts Dept. holding many spares for these things so I can't take a chance of wrecking bits. The repair in this case is easy enough.

 

Once it's all flattened off and ready for paint, a colour scheme needs deciding on. There's a few things to consider here. This is a restoration of a model, not a replica of a Ferguson. That means superdetailing is out. Then there's historical accuracy to allow for. There's two angles to that one. Firstly, accurate to a real Ferguson to some degree but also accurate to the model itself. Real Fergusons seem to have been predominantly a rather boring grey. Airfix however made these things in an astonishing variety of colours. Pink tyres in one case! Mine appears to have been one of the first, and probably factory built. The colour gives it away, a creamy tan was used on the early models that were sold ready built. So I have conflicting requirements here. I want an interesting looking tractor so straight grey is out. I want it looking like a possible Airfix original finish, with a bit of added paintwork. I also want the bare Acetate showing as it lets a knowledgeable viewer see that the model is an early one.

 

I decided that the chassis and wheels are to be grey. The hood and wings in the same red as it came to me but finished better. The grey I'm using is Extracolour Mobility Command Grey. It's brushing out perfectly. One coat coverage with an extremely thin coat at that. Lovely paint. The red/maroon is Humbrol 20 and is a perfect match for the existing colour. I was going to leave the wheels unpainted but they just looked wrong like that so they got a hit of grey. The look a million times better. I've left the inside of the rear wheels unpainted to give me a compromise original area on the model.

 

Here's how it sits as of this morning...

 

IMG_5203.jpg

 

Next up is a bit of scratch building to sort out the seat, steering wheel and front suspension.

 

So far, so good.

 

Tony.

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13 minutes ago, TonyW said:

 I've made a start on the restoration.

 

It would make things a whole lot easier if the model could be broken down into component parts. One big wheel came off with a bit of twisting. The second one came off with a bit missing! It looks like old acetate gets rather brittle. Plastic cement won't touch the early issues, they were made of acetate. Later issues were polystyrene.  Acetone was the usual adhesive, used neat. Balsa cement also works as it has acetone in it. Neat acetone makes for a very strong bond, as I've demonstrated!

 

Discretion is called for at this point. If a part wont come off easily, it's going to have to stay put. There's not much chance of the Airfix Parts Dept. holding many spares for these things so I can't take a chance of wrecking bits. The repair in this case is easy enough.

 

Here's how it sits as of this morning...

 

Next up is a bit of scratch building to sort out the seat, steering wheel and front suspension.

 

So far, so good.

 

Tony.

Absolutely excellent, Tony. I couldn't agree with you more about discretion - when I saw the centre pulled out from that wheel, I broke into a cold sweat! Anyway, I am convinced that this kit is in safe hands. That's interesting that you think it was made up in the factory? 

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1 hour ago, Heather Kay said:

Are the tyres hard plastic, or are they rubber/vinyl?

 

They are rubber Heather. A bit on the hard side after all these years but no reaction with the wheel rims that I can see. Sometimes the tyres wreak havoc on the wheels. Everything turns into a melted mess. That may be on the polystyrene ones though. It's something to watch out for in old kits. issues like the Airfix James Bond Aston can be damaged by the tyres resting on a bit of the kits plastic parts,. The plastic starts to melt. Tyres on rims also do the same. It's a very common problem.

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:doh:  You know your mind is elsewhere when...

...you scan down the GB list and read...

 

Alex Ferguson Tractor :lol:

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1 hour ago, Ventora3300 said:

Absolutely excellent, Tony. I couldn't agree with you more about discretion - when I saw the centre pulled out from that wheel, I broke into a cold sweat! Anyway, I am convinced that this kit is in safe hands. That's interesting that you think it was made up in the factory? 

 

 

There's not much to base that on really. The Ferguson is so old now that any information is hard to come by. The more discussion takes place, the more information comes to light. 

 

A couple of bits of info from Steven Pietrobons Ferguson article on Modelkitcollecting.com,  The colours of mine match a factory example owned by another collector. That's it! Not enough to say for sure, but a link of sorts.

 

The acetate tractors appeared in all sorts of colours. I've only seen red and grey with black tyres for the bagged tractors. For the early kits I've seen

Pink (with yellow tyres)
Pink (with white tyres)
Dark Blue (with white tyres)
Black (with red tyres)
Black (with brown tyres)
Grey (with brown tyres)
Grey (with black tyres)
Dark grey (with brown tyres)

 

All my tractors in boxes are acetate and the ones in bags are polystyrene.
I can add dk blue with brown tyres to the list.
The one that came factory built is cream with black tyres.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, TonyW said:

 

 

There's not much to base that on really. The Ferguson is so old now that any information is hard to come by. The more discussion takes place, the more information comes to light. 

 

A couple of bits of info from Steven Pietrobons Ferguson article on Modelkitcollecting.com,  The colours of mine match a factory example owned by another collector. That's it! Not enough to say for sure, but a link of sorts.

 

The acetate tractors appeared in all sorts of colours. I've only seen red and grey with black tyres for the bagged tractors. For the early kits I've seen

Pink (with yellow tyres)
Pink (with white tyres)
Dark Blue (with white tyres)
Black (with red tyres)
Black (with brown tyres)
Grey (with brown tyres)
Grey (with black tyres)
Dark grey (with brown tyres)

 

All my tractors in boxes are acetate and the ones in bags are polystyrene.
I can add dk blue with brown tyres to the list.
The one that came factory built is cream with black tyres.

 

There is also the possibility that mine has been made up from more than one model. It's unlikely, it seems to have been in one bit for a very long time, but possible.

 

 

 

Edited by TonyW

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18 minutes ago, TonyW said:

They are rubber Heather.

Thanks Tony. I don’t know why, but I really enjoy all the background and historical stuff like this. It’s lovely to see this model getting the TLC, and I have to say it’s the first time I’ve seen one - albeit digitally - in the flesh.

 

More questions: what scale is this tractor? I seem to recall it’s a large scale, but is it one of the orthodox scales were used to these days, or something "to fit in the box"?

Edited by Heather Kay
Fumble fingers

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6 minutes ago, Heather Kay said:

Thanks Tony. I don’t know why, but I really enjoy all the background and historical stuff like this. It’s lovely to see this model getting the TLC, and I have to say it’s the first time I’ve seen one - albeit digitally - in the flesh.

 

More questions: what scale is this tractor? I seem to recall it’s a large scale, but is it one of the orthodox scales were used to these days, or something "to fit in the box"?

 

 

It sounds like latent collecting tendencies there Heather, beware!

 

The scale listed on some of the boxes is 1.20. That's a shame as the recent Heller kit is 1.24. That one could have saved me a fair bit of scratch building.

 

In 1949 scales hadn't really taken hold other than quarter scale (1.48) in the States and 1.72 with FROG Penguins and Skybird solids

 

The model was built as a promotional one for Ferguson so scale was probably an afterthought. It just had to look OK on a desk or similar.

Edited by TonyW

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4 hours ago, TonyW said:

It sounds like latent collecting tendencies there Heather, beware!

I call it "hoarding". I get it from my father. I do my best to keep it under control. Originally I was collecting aircraft of the Battle of Britain; that started to spread to include the latter stages of the Battle of France … and before I knew where I was I'm collecting types throughout 1940!

 

I do enjoy the nostalgia, and appreciate the work and enthusiasm folk put into collecting such things. I love learning about the early years of favourite companies.

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On 10/08/2018 at 10:20, TonyW said:

Next up is a bit of scratch building to sort out the seat, steering wheel and front suspension.

 

So far, so good.

 

Tony.

Now that you've started.........are you coming across any bits and pieces to finish this little beauty? 

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The Ferguson is in line still, awaiting it's turn.

I'm on a bit of a Comic book rush at the moment and that one has to run its course. By the time I've finished the three currently on the go I'll be itching for a change of scenery. The Ferguson and the also stalled SS France step up to base at that point.

 

It's a daft thing to put in print, but I think all my current builds should be done and ready before the deadline.

 

...better dig out a few more in that case 😁 

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Well, the Ferguson finds itself back in the line, and right at the front as well!

 

First job was to brush away a layer of dust that has accumulated on it since I last touched it. Shame on me.

 

Next up was to make a start on the missing bits of the front left suspension. Various tubes and straights of plastistrut came to the rescue here. Once the part assembly's have dried off they get a bit of whittling into shape and then all fitted together.

The right front wheel has been re-glued and luckily the bits are all there to act as a guide for re-glueing and as something to copy for the other side. The tractor is propped up against the Humbrol tin while the glue sets.

 

IMG_5754.jpg

IMG_5756.jpg

 

Next up will be the steering wheel and seat. They both need scratch building. I have good pictures of both so things should run fairly smoothly here. One rather annoying thing is that looking at old pictures of when I first got the kit, there is a seat on it!! Where it's got to in the meanwhile is a mystery. It will hopefully turn up one day and can be substituted for my copy.

 

More later.

 

Tony.

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Time to quit for the evening, steady progress got me a tractor sitting on all four wheels!

The front suspension scratch build went just fine. It all has to match up to the existing steering arm drag link as I don't fancy removing that bit after the near disaster with the rear wheel. Everything got carefully balanced into place with a bit of turn added to the wheels to bring the model to life a bit. Careful gluing then commenced and it's all sitting there drying until morning. I'll reinforce the joints then and file a couple of small details down to match the other side.

A bit of brass tube has been bent into a circle for possible use as a steering wheel. It might be a bit too thick though. I have some other tubing that might look better but that can wait until another day.

 

IMG_5760.jpg

IMG_5758.jpg

 

Tony.

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Nice progress!  It's a bit like watching one of these car sos type things but to scale! :)

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...and a bit more gets done this morning.

The third attempt at bending a brass tube circle looks like it will work for the steering wheel rim. It's the thinner one in the tray. I'll make a start on the spokes this evening.

I've also hit one of the cheapo picture frames I bought with a first coat of Humbrol 20 to match the finish on the tractors hood and fenders, or bonnet and wings if you must. It's just a try out for a possible base for the model, I'll give it another coat this evening and see how things look then.

 

This restoration is a whole world away from the Commando Comic builds I've just done, the change of pace is very refreshing.

 

IMG_5761.jpg

IMG_5767.jpg

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You're doing a cracking job and that base sets it off perfectly. Can't wait to see that steering wheel finished - what did you use to get the perfect circle?

 

Andy

 

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Thanks,

I wrapped the brass tube around a 19mm bit of pipe, cut it at the crossover and pined it with a bit of finer brass rod inserted into the open ends. I surprised myself at how easy it was!

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Cracking restoration job going on here Tony. This will end up as a great memento and fittingly will always be the first subject on the ever growing GB build list. Just loving this. 

Cheers.. Dave 

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Did the original kit come with all that engine and steering detail?

 

If so that's really impressive for a 69 year old kit!

 

IanJ

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Here's most of the parts laid out as they came.

 

fergie_02.jpg

 

The chassis and most of the detailing, exhaust manifold, starter etc. are all moulded as two parts. Suspension and steering are separate parts. Simple but fairly effective. The appearance of the model could be improved quite a bit if the starter and stuff were detail painted in different colours. Ferguson seemed to like that rather dull grey for everything though. The base looks like it will be used although the black bit is a bit gloomy. The grey and maroon don't help here. A bit of the field outside my house might get pressed into use as a very simple scenic base for the model.

 

Here's how it sits this morning. It's had a wash with a darker grey in an attempt to bring out a bit of the detailing. It doesn't look any better for it and may well get covered with another coat of the gloss grey. Shadows will have to provide any detailing.

 There might be a bit more to report later, Dinosaurs permitting!

 

IMG_5801.jpg

Edited by TonyW

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Great stuff Tony

 

There are lots of these tractors still around up here affectionately called "Grey Fergies" a mate in Mallaig has 6 of them hidden in various places so SWMBO doesn't know !

I have never seen one in anything but battleship grey, looks like the locals didn't buy the posher coloured ones 

 

cheers Pat

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Today's been a day for bases and scenic stuff, on this build and on a couple of others.

 

The Fergusons maroon base got a layer of Fenland Field Dirt (The real deal) added to a layer of PVA glue as an experiment in cheering up the rather drab base. It's a definite improvement over the painted board and might even get used. Another tryout was built out of yet another cheap picture frame. I took the glass out of the frame, sprayed one side with black aerosol and glued that to the top of the frame, with the painted side facing down. It looks very posh! Maybe too smart for a grey tractor though.

 

IMG_5838.jpg

IMG_5840.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

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