My long-running 1:24 scale Ford LTL9000 project is now on the home straight. After finishing the bodywork and hydraulic crane, the various elements have been weathered separately before final assembly. It's only at this late stage, with the cab permanently in position, that I've been able to finish the detailing of the engine compartment. Lots of electrical cables have been added, along with a fusebox and various connections, including to the wiper motor and alternator. This alone took a few hours, creating the wiring looms from fine nickel jewellery wire, then painting and weathering them in situ.

I then realised that the bulkhead was still missing a few things, like a washer reservoir, so I fashioned a couple of tanks, brackets and filler caps, from scrap bits of styrene, fixed them in place and plumbed them in with flexible hose. Again, painted and weathered after installation, they look pretty convincing, whether or not all this is 100% prototypical.

Ready to close the hood... once the front fender is installed, this view won't be possible again, as the hood will only open partially unless the hinge brackets are modified.

The Italeri crane took an age to paint and weather, with the extra details and hydraulic hoses adding to the challenge. 

The exhaust stacks have been added and the various pipe joints filled and touched-in as neatly as possible. Heat shields and grab handles still need adding before the crane can be fixed to the chassis.

So, what's next? Just final assembly of the crane and rear platform, plus the hood, front fender and wing mirrors. I also need to create some appropriate Illinois licence plates. It'll certainly feel momentous when this project is complete, but it's already feeling like one of the best jobs of my career so far.


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