By Fred Hendricks Note: This feature is in the April TT&C 2013 issue.
This high-detailed 1:50 scale scratch-built tractor and Diamond Heavy Haul replica is the craftsmanship of Lowell Henthorn. The die-cast Peterbilt tractor was made by First Gear. Note the several unique features of the trailer: 20 axles with 78 wheels and tires, eight flashing lights with two on the tractor and six on the trailer–all powered by a 9-V battery pack, custom decals and two patrol cars: one in the lead and one on the tail. The entire tractor and trailer measures 50 inches in length.
Shown is a photo of an actual Diamond Heavy Haul’s Super Dual Lane Transport rig. (Picture used with permission of Tonya Engel, owner of Diamond Heavy Haul, Inc.)
The scale cargo located on the trailer platform covers the 9-V battery pack. The battery pack supplies power for the flashing lights on both the tractor and trailer.
Lowell is holding a 1:32 scale die-cast Peterbilt tractor made by New-Ray Toys Co. LTD of Kowloon, Hong Kong. The original was a Redi-Mix truck. He stripped the truck down, added a third axle and several enhancements. The tractor will pull his next heavy hauler that will measure 6 feet 4 inches in length.
Other stories in the April TT&C 2013 are: • Scratch-Builder Strives for Details by Bill Vossler• STRUCTO Storied History of a Toy Truck Company by Fred Hendricks • 2013 custom-built/scratch-built Projects • Gary Morton’s Cast-resin Truck Model Collection by Larry LeMasters
Collectors often get diverted or find an alternate course with their hobby. Model train enthusiast Lowell Henthorn had that experience in the recent past. “People accuse me of getting sidetracked from my years as a model railroader. Much of our basement is occupied by a large model railroad setup. I continue to find fulfillment with the setup as I’m applying enhancements all along. “Through my employment at Rolls-Royce Energy Systems, I marveled at the massive heavy haulers that transport the equipment from the shop at Mount Vernon, Ohio. I had never seen a commercially made scale replica of a heavy hauler, but I learned about Vernon White of Scribner, Nebraska, who scratch builds truck models. “After several discussions with Vernon, he agreed to build a heavy hauler in 1:64 scale that would fit my S-gauge railroad operation. Once I received Vern’s nice rig, I started dreaming about the possibilities of building one myself in a larger scale. “It’s true, I’ve gotten sidetracked. I’m devoting most of my time building heavy haulers these days. With one completed, I’m now working on the second one,” Lowell admitted. Lowell was born on a farm near Mount Vernon. At 3 years of age, his parents quit farming and moved to town. Although his early years were on the farm, the toys of preference were trucks. “My parents were wonderful, but we grew up in an average home so they couldn’t afford a lot of toys. Among our limited toys, the trucks were always my favorite. When we were a little older, my brother and I played with model trains. I still have some of those trucks made by Structo we had as kids, but model railroading has been my principal hobby as an adult,” he shared. Lowell and Carleen Henthorn reside in the picturesque Apple Valley Lake development located in the Knox County, Ohio, community of Howard. The county seat is Mount Vernon and is named for General Henry Knox, an officer in the American Revolutionary War. A longtime friend of George Washington, Henry Knox later became the Secretary of War. Through time, Knox County has prospered with a large portion of the economy derived from agriculture. The county is known for Kenyon College, located in Gambier and Mount Vernon Nazarene University situated in Mount Vernon.
Building the Heavy Hauler While Lowell’s labor of love was model railroading, he wanted to explore something different. He explained, “I had devoted my hobby to the scale model trains for years. As mentioned earlier, I’ve always admired the massive Diamond Heavy Haul trucks that transport from our Mount Vernon Rolls-Royce plant. The plant manufactures power generators used in connection with oil and gas production. I wanted to try something new. I wanted to build one like those immense over-the-road carriers.” On an occasion when Lowell was attending a train and toy show, he discovered a 1:50 scale Peterbilt tractor made by First Gear. Lowell began admiring the sleek truck, and he reflected on the possibility of building the complementary trailer for the heavy equipment. “My creative juices got churned up when I saw that nice Peterbilt truck. Without thinking through all that was involved with the materials needed for a trailer, I bought the truck. “That’s the joy in taking on a project like that. There are unknowns, but you begin researching. And soon, leads and referrals help develop the course of action. My experience in building the model railroad helped a lot,” Lowell reflected.
Want to read the rest of the story? It's available in the April TT&C 2013magazine! Download here: APRIL TT&C 2013