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Menards: Now Denver Models HO Trucks? Yeah!

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Menards: Now Denver Models HO Trucks? Yeah!
Posted by mlehman on Monday, May 07, 2018 4:12 AM

Was in the local Menards and not even looking for a model of any kind this weekend when I walked by the $2.99 toy vehicle bin. Usually nothing much of interest, although they had a neat  maybe 1:43 scale Land Cruiser 40 series in it recently I like just because I like Land Cruisers. I turned over a box and saw a "Denver Models" Mercedes Benz branded double axle van. Hey that looks almost hoHO scale -- because it was!

Now, my 1974? Colorado NG layout didn't really need this, but for $2.99 I thought it was worth it for the spare parts.

The wheels look good, but are the weakest link other than the paint, which looks better in person than in these pics. It just doesn't roll very freely, etc.

But there are a number of pluses. The cab has a full interior.

The lights are all painted in neatly and accurately. The rear door isn't bad for under $3, either.

The van body itself removes easily and cleanly. It can be used elsewhere and you end up with a decent chassis, presuming you improve the wheels and tires.

Maybe this has been around the block and I just wasn't paying attention, but I'd rate this as a definite buy.

We dug around some more, but this was the only HO scale item in the huge bin we could find. Anyone know whether more HO scale items are lurking?

Mike Lehman

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Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Monday, May 07, 2018 4:32 AM

Well, certainly way beyond comparison with the likes of Herpa, Brekina, Wiking, Schuco or Busch, but for the price it seems more than just OK. I´d place it somewhere more in the back and no one will notice the lack of detail.

After all, the above model costs more than 10 times as much!

Happy times!

Ulrich (aka The Tin Man)

"You´re never too old for a happy childhood!"

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Posted by mlehman on Monday, May 07, 2018 12:53 PM

Ulrich,

The cab is nicer on the Antos example, but most of the rest looks to be a matter of a steady detail brush hand.

BTW, forgot to included the SKU, 279-3699.

Mike Lehman

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Posted by chutton01 on Monday, May 07, 2018 1:35 PM

mlehman
The cab is nicer on the Antos example, but most of the rest looks to be a matter of a steady detail brush hand.


What if you stripped the paint off the model that Menard's was selling - do you think it be like old-school Tyco rolling stock and (well, often) reveal some decent model tooling and casting hidden under a thick coat of paint?
Failing that, at 3.00 looks like you can get a set of 3 or so, add some dull-coat and some mirror details, and line them up at a loading dock (preferably a little bit in from the layout edge) - bang, a decent delivery fleet.

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Posted by mlehman on Monday, May 07, 2018 3:19 PM

chutton01
What if you stripped the paint off the model that Menard's was selling - do you think it be like old-school Tyco rolling stock and (well, often) reveal some decent model tooling and casting hidden under a thick coat of paint?

Yeah, it looks somewhat like heavy paint in the pics and it's mostly not an issue. On the van box, it's actually quite thin. For me, it's mostly the largish glitter specks visible in cloese-up pics. At normal viewing distances, they aren't so obvious.

True enough about this being a good fleet vehicle. You buy a fleet of these for what one high end truck costs.

Mike Lehman

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Posted by mlehman on Monday, June 25, 2018 4:02 AM

Bought up some more of these trucks to serve as raw materials for a container project. First, you get some great screws with big heads. Save em.

There's one screw to take loose on the box, which also sets on two pins. Pull apart to separate.

Here the chassis and frame you get after taking off the van box.

I made up these roller transfer assemblies from Plastruct stock.

These are glued front, center and back. You may have to cut down the box mounting post in about the center. The rear bumper is relocated upward for a better departure clearance angle.

 

Mike Lehman

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Posted by Eilif on Monday, June 25, 2018 9:45 AM

Dang, why doesn't my Menards have these? I've frequented their 1:43/48 selection for wargaming terrain and have opined several places that they should have some HO scale in their lower-priced Denver Die Cast line, and now it looks like they do.

However, one interesting thing is that the red version (sku 2794472)  listed at $15 each on the website, so are these a new product or some overstock/limited-run that they put out at the lower price point?  

Will head to Menards to investigate.  At $3 I'd buy a bunch and fill a lot or shipping center. For $15 I'll pass these up and source something a bit better and more specific to my layout needs. 

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Monday, June 25, 2018 10:45 AM

Looking very European there.  

Rio Grande.  The Action Road

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Posted by mlehman on Monday, June 25, 2018 1:13 PM

Eilif
Dang, why doesn't my Menards have these? I've frequented their 1:43/48 selection for wargaming terrain and have opined several places that they should have some HO scale in their lower-priced Denver Die Cast line, and now it looks like they do.

They surprised me when I found them in the big $2.99/each bin at the front of the local Menards. I'd also hoped they would start producing HO scale vehicles, so it was great to see them and even better they werre so affordable. I think it's the first HO vehicle they;ve done, but not totally sure. I have dug into that pile several times, but so far the silver MB truck is the only HO scale item I've found.

Eilif
However, one interesting thing is that the red version (sku 2794472) listed at $15 each on the website, so are these a new product or some overstock/limited-run that they put out at the lower price point?

Didn't know about the online red ones. Yeah, $15 would be a bit rich, but not really out of line with what many scake vehicle models cost at list now. I looked to see if they were much different than the silver ones. Nothing except the color seems to differ. Since they are so recent, I kinda doubt the silver ones are overstock. Since Menards only moved into HO scale recently, they may simply be testing sales at different price points.

Mike Lehman

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Posted by mlehman on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 9:44 AM

riogrande5761

Looking very European there.  

 

Not exactly sure why that's a problem. The globalization of vehicle production means many vehicles are produced in only slightly differing versions for different markets. M-B in particular follows this model. They had a brief alliance with Chrysler that has Sprinter vans running all over the US now, varying only in a few details and badging from their M-B cousins. This is relatively recently, so could be an issue if you're uptight about era.

However, M-B has been seling medium trucks in the US since the early 70s. The cabs of the early ones look a lot like a Unimog's, which is not surprising. Relatively few in number, they are out there. I'm actually anticipating finding suitable replacement cabs to backdate and "Americanize" the chassis itself. Of course, that solution is only available if you're willing to slice, dice, and paint models, which I have no problem with doing.

Honestly though, the cab/chassis I have on hand now are pretty much a by-product of getting the van bodies I needed to convert to containers. Try finding a new container of any sort that is only $2.99 these days. Yep, they need some work and the prototype is obscure ( Wink , think early WP&Y containerization as a good enuf example) enough to require some imagination on the part of the viewers, but it's my railroad so...

While we're still dealing with the "modern" version of a model I've yet to build, here's another mod that helps if you plan your containers to be delivered into the boonies. I installed a l"ifted suspension" by installing some 1/64"x1/64"  bits to push the axles down in their retainers. The effect is subtle but does give a more appropriate ride height for those really tough deliveries. Here's a comparison shot, wth the stock truck on the right.

It's a little dark but the extra ride height can be seen in the extra clearance above the tire in the wheel arch opening.

 

 

Mike Lehman

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Posted by mlehman on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 2:08 AM

Getting ready to "pop the top" fairing off the roof of the cab on one of these...will report back shortly. That may help some with the overall look of the cab being more generically "North American" for those who need the home-spun look.

In the meantime, the container "system" is forming up. Here's a pic of another of the transporters in the yard at the Durango freight station with one of the dry boxes.

 

The silver paint that is standard on these vehicles (unless you insist on plausible fits right in in helping the protofreelancer create a plausible fiction on their layout.

I'm still sizing up the best location for the Durango terminal/hub it makes sense to have them operate in and out of town via the reliable network that benefits from the overhead crane and concrete paving next to Track 4 and 5 initially installed to help support TOFC traffic.

Up in Silverton, our intrepid photog capture several views of a transporter there loading a fridge container. Notice that you can now see the shiny roller sets installed on the flat car and the transporter that facilitate the transfer between road and rail and vice versa.

 

Mike Lehman

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Posted by mlehman on Wednesday, June 27, 2018 5:31 AM

mlehman
Getting ready to "pop the top" fairing off the roof of the cab on one of these...will report back shortly. That may help some with the overall look of the cab being more generically "North American" for those who need the home-spun look...

Turns out you'll want a cut-off disc in your Dremel for this. I started with a razor saw and decided to get the Dremel quickly. Cut the fairing off right above the usual roof line and it will come out fine. Smooth the cut edges with a file and do final shaping for the roof line on all 4 sides.

The plastic is thin .010" stuff and does not need to be exact. Once glued down, the edges where it meets the roofline can be shaped and smooothed in with a file.

I used gap filling CA to bind the new roof to the cab and it worked well; be careful you don't get stuck to your work. Note that it IS possible t provide your truck with a sunroof with just a little more work.

Then I shot it with some Rustoleum Bright Coat Metallic  aluminum (7715) paint. I was done in an hour and letting the paint dry if it sounds like too intimidating a project.

It's a handsome and rather generic looking truck, even without scraping the M-B Tri-Star off the grille.

I started on the bed.

The cab needs the clearance light cluster above the windshield. Some side mirrors would also be nice. This truck looks like a good one to haul hay and straw to the broker at Hesperus who supplies much of narrowgauge with fodder and bedding. I managed to fit 18 round bales on it in a test fit.

Thinking about a short wheelbase version with the other chassis. Then back to containers

Mike Lehman

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Posted by mlehman on Thursday, June 28, 2018 4:48 AM

A paint issue cropped up with the short version. The factory paint and Krylon's Short Cuts spray paint kinda curdle up when they meet. This is another reason to like the price, as you can laugh at this stuff rather than cry.

Before the curdle and before I chopped the fairing off.

Bales on the longbed before it was painted

With the bed painted

Side by sides of all 3 modded versions, From above

And side by side

Happy freighting

 

Mike Lehman

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Posted by mlehman on Sunday, July 01, 2018 1:31 PM

mlehman
A paint issue cropped up with the short version. The factory paint and Krylon's Short Cuts spray paint kinda curdle up when they meet. This is another reason to like the price, as you can laugh at this stuff rather than cry.

The gnarly paint on the yellow short wheelbase conversion was visually irritating enough that comments from Dave from Canada (Happy Canada Day!) in WPF finaly pushed me over the edge to correct it. I wetted a paper towel with acetone and wiped most of the yellow right off. The OEM paint ws somewhat more stubborn, but eventually yielded, too. That gves an opportunity to show what the modified cab (no fairing) looks like.

Shot it with a different yellow and this resulted:

While parked under the POL rack to make this pic, I have been thinking more about it as a water truck than for fuel. Then I saw where Walthers Scenemasters now has a modestly priced tank truck and trailer tank pup combo. Might go that route, borrowing the towed pup tank to put on this one instead of the mocked up tank on there now.

                                                                 

Mike Lehman

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Posted by Eilif on Sunday, July 01, 2018 10:52 PM

Loving this project and the mods you keep coming up with.  

Unfortunately I visited my Menards and there were none to be found.  I'll keep looking and hoping that it wasn't a short run.

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Posted by mlehman on Sunday, July 01, 2018 11:15 PM

Keep your eyes open and report back is all I can say.

I spotted them several weeks before I started writing this thread, I bought one to see what was there, figuring "what do you expect for $2.99?" Turns out it's a pretty satisfying little deal. Sure, it's not a foreground model, but most of us can't populate our layouts solely with the high grade stuff. It's OK to suit my needs, but sometimes it sounds like expectations far outrun our wallets. Here, its the reverse. How much value can you find in $2.99? Even if you stick it back at the wall somewhere so its silhhouete is all you see, it's pretty hard to say you're not getting some value if all you do is take it out of the box and set it there.

You really want to have fun, get out the tools. Is it even possible to make a _bad_ mistake on a $2.99 car? I don't really think so, gotta have something to sit outside the body shop down by the tracks. Get a couple of these under your belt and the fear of "ruining" something will be replaced by the thrill of creating something.

I will say I picked things pretty clean here after finding 4 total. Haven't seen any more or signs of anything new in 1:87...yet. Here's a tip though, to help with scratching through all those other vehicles. You can see in the front window, of course, when pawing away gently, but a quick spotter is that the ends of the box say "1:87" on them! Very easy to spot then.

A safety and handling tip when chopping off those fairings. As I did use a Dremel and cutting disc, I was careful to keep speeds down, avoid jamming, and kept my fingers outta the way. I mostly used a large spring clamp to grasp the body, then held onto this at a safe distance while running the Dremel with my other hand. It's stout, so you're unlikely to damage it, unlike those tender juicy fingers. Take care!

Mike Lehman

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Posted by Eilif on Tuesday, July 03, 2018 5:27 PM

Thanks for the tips. I'll keep checking in and looking for the 1:87 tag.

They look great for me and my "tabletop" quality layout plans regardless of location.   I like cheap railroading and have been enjoying the 16-for-$16 4D brand HO auto kits.  These trucks would fit right in.

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Posted by Eilif on Wednesday, October 10, 2018 12:43 PM

Still haven't found any of the 3 buck trucks at Menards, but I was reminded to check this post again by the diecast thread.  If you're still looking at making a tank truck, maybe consider stealing a tank from a Matchbox? 

The current Jurassic World line has resulted in the reissue of their "Utility Truck" Tanker. http://matchbox.wikia.com/wiki/Utility_Truck_(2006)

It's listed at 1/64, but it's actually darn close to HO scale.  The JP paint is kind of lame, but for a buck, it's worth a shot.  If you want to try it but can't find one in stores, let me know. I've probably got an extra lying around somewhere that I can send you.

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Posted by dknelson on Wednesday, October 10, 2018 3:38 PM

It is amazing how much detail can be "added" without having to add any detail, just by tracing each slot and crevice in the casting (such as around the doors) with a very sharp #2 pencil.  I think that trick was in a Mont Switzer freight car weathering article in MR or one of the now-gone magazines.  

I'd suggest DullCote to tame the somewhat textured look of the silver paint, but after seeing what that Krylon paint did to the factory paint in an earlier posting to this thread-- hmm, maybe not.  Some Soft Scrub using an old toothbrush? 

Then again for $2.99 maybe take the chance -- DullCote followed by a light spray of india ink and weak isopropyl alcohol to highlight details further.

Seems like my local Menards is holding off getting the train stuff on the shelves until after Haloween.  If my local Menards gets those cheap trucks with luck it would coincide with their sales where everything you can put in a paper bag is 10% off.  And they usually give you the bag back ....

Dave Nelson

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