Monday, February 23, 2009

eBay Auctions

The Auctions for the Modern and Classic lawn tractors are ending tomorrow, and a few new auctions will be put up tomorrow night.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The New John Deere Soundgards - 4850, 4955, 4960

Pretty soon (April 27 according to Ertl will be releasing models of the 4850, 4955, and 4960 based on the soundgard tractors that they have been producing for about the past 5 years. The castings are different, and they have added cab glass and more realistic FWA, but these are basically the same level of casting detail as the others. When Ertl released this set it was a VAST improvement over the original soundgards that I remember from my childhood. When this new set is released I will be buying it, but I just wanted to post and show everyone a 4850 that I made from a 4450 casting. These are fun because the castings are relatively thin and I was able to morph FWA into these so that they were more accurate than the weak attempt by ertl of just using treadded front tires (Note: The new tractors look like they have really nice FWA wheels and tires). I also made some custom 4850 graphics, painted the wheels, added front hubs, and a hand railing.

Here is the original picture from the Ertl catalog that shows what the models are based on. Its always fun when the manufacturer doesn't have pictures of the prototype to put in the catalog or doesn't want to release a picture of the toy because it leaves us collectors to speculate as to what the configuration will be. I have seen people in heated arguments debating whether the 4850 will have duals or not.
Here is an updated picture from VanKley's website (below) that shows what the toys may look like. As you can see the FWA looks better, but using history as a guide about 50% of the time on a new model something will be different from the original publication photo. Usually its a model number, wheels or tires, cab glass, or in the case of the recent 9870 combine what header it is packaged with. Nevertheless these models look great and I will be reviewing them fully when they are released.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Case IH Fall Farm Show Editions

Ertl has posted a flyer on their website with the Fall Farm Show Edition models. This year they will have a 1/16 Magnum 180 Stars and Stripes and a 1/64th 9120 Combine with front tracks and a 16 row corn head. Coincidentally I made a 7010 with front tracks about 2 months ago that I was going to show on my blog in the future, but I guess now would be an opportune time. This is a regular edition 7010 that I removed the wheels from and epoxied brass stock into place on the bottom. I then put the axle that goes through the top wheel through the normal axle housing, and a second brass rod to suspend the tracks through the bottom of the tracks. It is an interesting model and I'm happy Ertl will have one out too. Most importantly we get to have a 1/64 scale 16 row corn head to harvest with this fall.

Progress of a Custom - Time to Detail

Here is the 7930 with all of the detail accessories in place. I have added turn signals, railing, front hubs, mirrors, and a rear hitch. Above you can see everything except for the rear hitch in painted form. Below I will show the details unpainted.
Here you can see the left front hub, mirror, turn signal, and railing.

Here you can see the right side of the tractor in addition to the custom made hitch. The hitch was made out of styrene and super glued into place.

Here is a picture of the painted tractor.

Rear view of the painted tractor with hitch. You can see that the cab details have been painted.

Front hub installed and painted.

Rear hitch installed and painted.
This will be the last update on this tractor for about a week since it will take me a few days to make the details and paint the 3pt hitch.

New Model Release - Case IH Spirit of 76 Set

I took these photos several months ago but I forgot to post them. So this is more of a "relatively" new model release. These are basically repaints of existing castings, but they are very nice, and if you read my artice on the top 5 of 08 you will notice that the Steiger was on there.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

1/64th Scale Lawn Tractors

These are customs that I have been working on for about a month. There is a relative lack of 1/64th scale lawn tractors so I decided to create a modern and a classic style tractor. These tractors were initially formed out of clay, then casted in a silicon mold. I then poured resin into the silicon mold and created the resin tractor. I then sanded down the original and made a resin tractor with a nice finish. The Wheels and tires are also casted from resin and attached on axles. Both the front and rear axles are free rolling. All of the details are hand painted by me, and the decals were created by me. I am selling green versions of my modern and antique tractors on eBay so if you are interested you can purchase one that way or contact me directly through this website to purchase one. At some point I will also offer kits so you can build your own lawn tractor, and a mower deck so you can use it for other utilities.

(Above) Modern tractor side profile

(Above) Classic tractor side profile

(Above) Modern tractor grille view

(Above) Classic tractor front view. Note: this tractor will eventually have headlights and an implement control lever.

Progress of a Custom - Wheels On

Here you can see the wheels installed on our custom 7930. I purposely left the front wheel hubs green because I am going to cover them with a realistic looking wheel center section. I am also going to paint the brass axles in the back yellow. I usually paint the axle ends black but in the literature (which also doubles as the background in this shot) it shows mostly yellow ends with a small amount of green in the center. You also can see the ladder which was painted separately and the freshly painted cab top. I can't stress this enough (can you hear me Ertl), paint you cab tops. It looks glossy and makes the tractor much more attractive.

4020s Were not meant to go this fast

I took this photo while I was driving down I-75 in Florida at about 75mph. It's fair season down here, so this guy is no doubt headed to the next pulling event. This may be an idea for my first ever custom puller.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Just Like the Real Thing.......Only Smaller

Wow, flashback 15-20 years ago when nothing mattered more than 1/64th scale farm toys and this was my theme song. Wait, that actually is a pretty accurate description of 2009. Any of you carpet farmers from the 80's and 90's will enjoy these.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Progress of a Custom - Painted

Here is our project 7930 with a fresh coat of green paint. As you can see I have sealed the casting half so that it is smooth, painted the cab top to get rid of the ugly plastic look, and drilled holes in the fenders to install turn signals. I also have painted the wheels so they look like real wheels instead of plastic. From this point I am going to install the railing and steps, turn signals, mirrors, front wheel hubs, and rear wheels on a brass axle. I also have to design the rear hitch to closely match the real tractor.

A Real 70 Series Deere Combine

Here is a 9570 that I found at the local Case IH dealer of all places.

Friday, February 13, 2009

New Model Release - John Deere 9870

Here is another variation in the 9000 Series of John Deere combines. The first model in this series was the 9750 and Ertl produced many variations from that model. It was a big deal back in 2000 because it was one of the first combines that had completely clear cab glass. There were some earlier gleaner combines that had "smokey" windows, but this was the first John Deere combine that didn't have the cast black plastic windows. The next generation was the 9x60 series. This combine restyled the intake manifold on the side of the combine and restyled the cab top. Also the second model of the 9x60 that was released had the folding unloading auger which is a neat detail for this scale. This model has the exact same casting as the 9x60 series, the only real difference I can see is the graphics. The big difference is that the 9870 comes with the big draper head. (Note: Check the package when you buy this model because some of the early releases of this model had the regular grain head, the later ones had the big draper head). The draper head is very nice, and is in fact the nicest John Deere head ever mass produced in 1/64. It was first released only as part of a 4 combine set from Ertl a few years ago. So if you didn't get the draper head then this is a great chance to pick one up for $15.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Tractor in the airport?

I recently flew into Harrisburg International airport in pennsylvania and saw this New Holland 820TL near the baggage claim area. I'm used to seeing tractors out on the tarmac for the purposes of clearing snow runways or moving baggage but this is the first time ive seen one used for advertising. Harrisburg is the home of the pennsylvania farm show so I guess it makes sense, but definately an interesting sight for someone used to big city airports.

New Project - White Field Boss 185

One of the projects on my workbench is a white fieldboss 185. This tractor was made by scale models several years ago but has some of the best detail that scale models has ever produced. The only bad thing about this model is that it has allot of plastic, but that makes it really easy to work with.

I will be adding: A more detailed cab interior, cab glass, new rear wheels, steerable front wheels, new stairs new paint and a more detailed hitch. I will probably add a few other things that I run across, but this should be a fun project. Check back for progress.

Nice Wheels

This week I customized a couple of tractors with new wheels that I had laying around for other projects. The first one is a John Deere 7020. This is the lesser detailed version of the model that ertl produced. I know of 4 versions so far: 1. 2003 National Farm Toy Show edition, 2.7020 withy disk (With fenders), 3. 7020 in 4wd tractor set (Has cab glass and window trim), 4. This one which is sold on its own with no fenders and no cab glass.

The wheels I used for this one came off of a 9630. I drilled holes in the wheels and used brass for the axles. I then superglued the wheels on and painted the bare metal ends.

The second tractor is a STXS 535 50th anniversary of Steiger edition. You can see my review of it here -->http://http// I took the wheels from 2 STX 335s and put them on this tractor. It required t hat I cut the axle housings on the tractor down about 1/2 of an inch so that the wheels fit under the fenders, so it isn't a basic swap. I really like how the bigger wheels and tires look on this and the TJ530 so it well worth the effort.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

New Model Release John Deere 8440

Somehow I took these photos and forgot to do review of the tractor. Overall this is a nice unit with clear cab glass and big dual wheels. This is the 3rd variation Ertl has done from this casting. The last one was an 8630 and it had some strange wheels on it, so the new one with the big duals is a welcome addition.

This tractor is significant to me because it is similar, although not exact to the 8850 that Ertl produced in the 80s. That was the first "big" 4wd that I owned, so it has always been my favorite tractor. I don't know if Ertl will make another 8850, but this is a nice reminder of an Ertl Classic.

I have also included a picture I took of an 8440 toy in the snow, and a real one on the lot so you can see how good the detail is compared to the real unit.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

New Model Release - Case IH 7088 Combine

I have been meaning to write this review for a while, but I have been waiting until I had some good pictures of the combine. I named this model the #1 new release of 2008 because of its detail, number of working parts, uniqueness, and quality of finish. Although it is not perfect in any of these categories it scores very highly, especially for 1/64th scale.

Features of the 7088:

1. The feederhousing raises and lowers to allow the heads to move up for transport position.

2. Clear cab glass with interior detail and opening cab door.

3. Detailed railings with ladder that swivels out of the way for transport.

4. Rear ladder that folds up for transport, and down for access to the rear of the combine.

5. Metal front dual wheels, and metal rear wheels with flotation tires on the rear.

6. Steerable rear wheels. The axle also moves up and down so that the combine can level itself when going over small hills, rocks, or valleys.

7. Extra large grain head with reel that spins.

8. 12 row corn head with auger that spins.

9. Dual chaff spreaders that spin.

Overall the detail on this model is excellent as you can see from the pictures. The price for this model is about $25, if you consider that a custom combine with this level of detail could cost $200 a production tractor with this level of detail it is an excellent deal.

Although this model is excellent I do have some basic criticisms. One of the models I bought had a silver paint streak on the left rear quarter panel. I can easily remove with with acetone but it was there. Another of the models had a bin extension that didn't fit flush, and a small plastic ribbon inside the cab. I was able to fix all of these things but you would expect that things like this would be removed when quality control examined them.

There is allot of plastic on this model, but it allows Ertl to make a great model for a great price. If the parts were all metal it would cost a fortune and more importantly it would be inaccurate since the real combine has plastic panels on it. If I could change anything about the model I would have painted the grain bin and the cab roof or make them out of metal.

Number of people who have visited Zac's Tractors