Note: This feature is in the April TT&C 2017 issue.
Gene Gregory behind his masterpiece, a highly detailed, scratch-built, radio-controlled Peterbilt truck in 1/4 scale. Note: The truck can be raised and lowered via hydraulics. This convenient platform provides convenient access for work.
Gene Gregory has scratch built scale models for nearly 20 years, but his latest creation has set a new standard for quarter-scale radio-controlled trucks.
The Loudonville, Ohio, builder’s first endeavor was a limited-edition Silver King pedal tractor. Over the next several years, he built an additional 10 pedal tractors. Gene is a fanatic about realistic features, so each subsequent model became even more detailed. Those associated with collecting pedal tractors agree that Gene’s crafted tractors set a new and challenging standard.
Through the course of building pedal tractors, Gene gained a new focus. Although the pedal tractors were limited editions, he desired one-of-a-kind scale models for his personal collection. And, Gene wanted to operate them.
“Building pedal tractors got to be a job. I wanted my scale model work to be enjoyable. I wanted to build something that was unique and strictly mine. I also wanted to take the model outside and be able to operate it. Scale model engines can be temperamental, so I decided to build something different and make them radio-controlled,” he recounted.
Gene’s first highly detailed creation was a radio-controlled (RC) John Deere 8020 diesel farm tractor he built in 2006. Following that masterpiece, Gene built a John Deere 5010 diesel with a John Deere pan used for construction work. He then built a CAT D5N bulldozer on a high track. These were all scratch built in 1/4 scale.
Vision for a big rig
Through crafting those three pieces, Gene had covered a wide gamut—a tractor for farm use and two model construction units. He began visualizing something a little different.
“I had been looking for something to build when I saw two Peterbilt trucks on a calendar at a local business. The trucks had the signature Peterbilt long nose that sets them apart from other big rig trucks. That picture caught my fancy, so I considered building a radio-controlled version in 1/4 scale. Soon, I noticed a Peterbilt 379 day cab parked next to a gas station/convenience store in the nearby community of Hayesville. I thought the truck would be easy to fabricate, so I focused on that truck model,” Gene noted.
Gene then gathered his camera, tape measure and notepad and planned a visit to study the truck.
“I thoroughly examined the underside of the truck, including the steering. I also noted details top to bottom and front to rear. I do not make sketches or drawings before I start building. However, I took over 50 pictures and made countless measurements. These were necessary references as I began constructing the Peterbilt in 1/4 scale,” he commented.
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