Monday, July 8, 2019

Modeling highway trucks, Part 6

Awhile back, I wrote a group of posts for this blog, about ways I have approached the modeling of highway trucks. One of the posts was entirely about semi-trailers, mostly Ulrich metal models, and in it I introduced a source I have really valued for truck graphics, Graphics on Demand (you can visit them at: ). You can read that earlier post at: .
     I followed that post with two additional posts, merely giving more examples of the truck lettering variations I chose to apply. Those posts can be found by using the search box at right, with the search term “modeling highway trucks.” In most of the models I used the Graphics on Demand lettering, which to be clear, is not a water-slide decal but is thin, clear vinyl that is peel and stick. With a coat of flat over it, you would find it hard to detect the lettering sheet.
     Previous posts have been about box vans and closed semi-trailers. I wanted also to model a tank truck, partly so I could represent another regional oil company. Of course there were many cargoes in tank trucks other than petroleum products, but that was one goal. I was able to find an Ulrich tank trailer on eBay awhile back, and cleaned it up preparatory to a coat of primer. I then added Reefer Yellow to the trailer. I think the prototype trailers were probably a lighter yellow, but decided to go with the bright color anyway. Photos of Signal highway equipment vary considerably in paint scheme details, so it does not appear that any one scheme is essential. Below is an internet image of one example, with a black underbody. This tractor is yellow, but Signal used black tractors too.

     With the tank body yellow, I applied the Graphics on Demand lettering for Signal, a little different from what you see above, bu certainly in the same ballpark. I also added Signal Gasoline emblems on the sides and rear. With a coat of flat over this, the glossy stick-on graphics pretty much disappear.

The trailer is shown here with a Mini-Metals International Harvester tractor, not one that I might necessarily pair with this trailer on the layout, but one that was handy for the photo.
     I have continued to develop other semi-trailers, as in previous posts. One example is the Denver Chicago Trucking body, which I showed in a previous post to have been painted with a blue roof by some prior owner (see that post at: ). The Ulrich roofs are held on with a single screw from the bottom, so I could remove it and repaint aluminum. This becomes an attractive trailer, with these original Ulrich graphics on the body.

I don’t know for sure that this company used aluminum (rather than green) roofs, but the photos I was able to find on the internet for this prototype were ambiguous, so I am going with this.
     One trucking line I especially wanted to represent on the layout was one that was very familiar to me, growing up in Southern California. It was Pacific Intermountain Express, or PIE. Their huge lettering on trailers, decades before the era of “supergraphics,” were really eye-catching. Graphics on Demand offer this scheme, so I added it to one side of a silver-painted Ulrich trailer:

This semi-trailer, pulled by an Ulrich cab-over tractor, is shown on Pismo Dunes Road on my layout.
     These new trailers add variety to my fleet of these models. I like to have a whole group of tractors and semi-trailers that can be mixed and matched on the roads of my layout, and can be varied from operating session to session. This is part of making sure the layout looks at least a little different every time people visit.
Tony Thompson

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