By Fred Hendricks Note: This feature is in the July TT&C 2015 issue.
Jim proudly displays this 1/16 scale transport truck with a rollback bed that he customized. The truck started as an Ertl International Loadstar with a broken frame. The frame was rebuilt and extended 12 inches using square brass tubing and channel brass. Brass strips were installed across the braces. The floor bed is made of wood, stained and polyurethaned. Jim made the hydraulic cylinder hoist using brass tubing with a compressed spring inside. The head rack with lights is made from brass. Additional details include mud flaps, along with lights for brakes and turn signals. The cab is painted Oliver green with a white bed frame. The final touch included decaling the truck as a Loadstar 1600.
Jim Gorman’s toy model hobby emerged from a need to buy soybean seed. On a visit to Jim’s friend, Don Kelly, to inquire about buying soybean seed, the subject suddenly shifted. “It began to rain, so hauling seed home in an open pickup truck bed was not the thing to do. Don asked me if I would like to see his farm toy collection in the house. I took the offer and we headed off to the Kelly home. Don’s collection was mostly John Deere tractors and equipment. I thought to myself, ‘That was a nice collection of farm toys,’ but I didn’t dwell on it much.” Later that day, Jim went to his local White/Oliver dealer where they stocked welding supplies that were needed at the farm. “When I arrived, I began browsing around the dealer’s store. I noticed a few farm toys that were offered for sale. My interest in farm toys was stirred earlier in the day when I saw Don’s John Deere collection. I pondered a short time and bought a 1/16 scale die-cast White Model 2-135 tractor made by Scale Models. As soon as I bought that first piece, I was hooked on collecting trucks and farm toys! The interest in scale model toys began to grow. I soon started hunting for them. Admittedly, that became an obsession,” Jim related. The human spirit’s yearning to reminisce is defined in the dictionary: “to indulge in enjoyable recollection of past events or things, remember with pleasure or call to mind.” Jim may not reminisce, but he loves to share past memories through his collection. And so, Jim has crafted trucks, construction machinery and farm equipment of yesteryear and titled his collection, “Precious Memories.”
Customizing, building emerges Toy truck hobbyists agree: The quest to find that next special piece invigorates the interest. Early in his collecting days, Jim was on a toy hunting excursion when a light suddenly flickered. “I found toys of all kinds; marred, dented, scratched and some were basket cases. When I found something that could be fixed, ideas started rambling through my mind. But, restoring an old toy was not enough. I wanted them like the original, whether a truck, tractor or implement. Adding details make them look better and more enjoyable to own. During my days farming, I did a little repair work on equipment, including pounding out dents and repainting. I figured I could do the same with a toy version. It wasn’t long before I was doing a lot of customizing,” Jim said. Jim’s friend, Don Kelley, encouraged him and provided help when Jim had questions. “There was one occasion in particular when Don bailed me out of trouble. I got caught baking paint on a model in my wife’s oven. I wanted to enhance the finish, so baking the painted piece seemed very logical. Fortunately, I had removed the tires before I tried baking the paint. That’s a lesson I’ll never forget,” he noted. Whether customizing or scratch-building, everyone gains experience through trial and error. “Believe me, I’ve made plenty of errors along the way. There’s always someone close by who can assist when you encounter a road block. Don and others have assisted me on several occasions. There have been a few pieces that were quite challenging. I’ve been told, ‘You won’t be able to do that.’ A statement like that only makes me more determined. And so, I’ll go after it and try my best,” Jim noted.
Want to read the rest of the story? It's available in the JULY TT&C 2015magazine! Download here: JULY TT&C 2015