Custom Finishing Log Truck Kit – Frame and Modifications

With pulpwood loading operations being a major feature of the Algoma Central Railway, I want to have some vehicles and loading equipment as well to feature at at least a few of the loading spots on the layout. To that end, some while back I picked up a couple of Custom Finishing pulpwood truck conversion kits. These kits are cast in white metal and contain all the parts including log bunks and parts for an integrated loading crane to kitbash from a semi truck model (you have to supply the base truck to combine with the kit.)

The Custom Finishing Kit has a cast metal frame piece and the instructions indicate that it is designed to fit the old Atlas Ford “LNT” truck. I didn’t have any Atlas trucks but I did have an old Athearn Kenworth truck kicking around from my old 4×8 layout in my parent’s basement 20 years ago. I didn’t have any other real use for this truck cab so I decided to convert this into the pulpwood truck.

I did my own frame modifications on this one, removing the fifth wheel and filling any remaining nubs and raised detail flat on the top surface of the rear frame and cutting the frame right in front of the axle springs. The frame was extended with pieces of HO 4×10 strip and capped with a piece cut from .040″ sheet. A few pieces of .010x.040″ strip along the bottom of the frame also helped reinforce and strengthen the joints.

The fuel tanks in the Athearn kit are designed to sort of clip on over the frame, which looks rather toy-like. I cut the mounting clips off of the tanks and glued them directly to the sides of the frame, which looks a little better.

The rest of the frame conversion consists of gluing the protective bars and log bunks to the frame with CA, as well as the assembled base for the integrated log handling crane. There’s also an end piece for the frame.

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