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TOPIC: Blakbird's 56309 Ford Aeromax Build

Blakbird's 56309 Ford Aeromax Build 5 months 1 week ago #55737

The 56309 Ford Aeromax kit was released in 1997 as the 5th tractor truck option by Tamiya and the first licensed American truck. The first two, the King Hauler and the Globe Liner, were American style but not any specific model. The next two were Mercedes models, but here we have a Ford longnose style truck with a full sleeper and air dam. The real Ford L-series trucks were made from 1970-1998 with the aerodynamic models after 1988 being called "Aeromax". The Aeromax 9500, the subject of this model, rolled out in 1995 to much fanfare which apparently included working with a toy company to produce a replica in 1/14 scale. Yet after spending hundreds of millions developing their first all new Class 8 truck in 25 years, Ford mysteriously sold their whole commercial truck business to Freightliner in 1997. We haven't seen another Ford Tamiya tractor truck since, but you might notice similarities in style with the 56340 Freightliner Cascadia Evolution released in 2014. They share the same DNA.

Like the other tractor trucks, this is a leaf sprung model with a 3-speed transmission and solid C-channel frame. The rear two axles are driven and feature open metal differentials. It is provisioned for using the MFC (Multi-Function Control Unit) for lights, sounds, and vibration. The doors do not open and there is no access to the interior.. An interior dash and seats are included and unlike many of the other tractor trucks you can use the interior and the MFC at the same time. I used a 55 turn motor in lieu of the 27 turn silver can in the box since that one seems much too fast.

I followed the box art for color and decoration on this one because I think it just looks good and I didn't have any better ideas. It is a strong color but works well here.

Since I've already fully documented a tractor truck build on my King Hauler page and the chassis is 90% similar, I'll be providing only a cursory overview of the build here.

Here's the usual huge box with Tamiya's typical amazing hand drawn box art. It is interesting that the text on the box lists this truck as "No. 9" because, while it is #56309 and the 9th model in the series, three of those were trailers and other was a "metallic special" edition of the King Hauler so this is really only the 5th truck. The inside of the box is slightly less extravagant than some other tractor trucks I've built, but you can certainly see the huge number of plastic parts trees that make this as much like a static model build as an RC build. Look at all that nice, shiny chrome.
Here's the completed chassis which looks pretty much like the others except for the large cylindrical fuel tanks on each side. The tank on the right will get replaced when I install the MFC and will contain the control panel. On the right I've added the front bumper and the side skirts. The side skirts have been painted and clear coated before installing the chrome steps. The electronics platform supports some temporary equipment which will be used until I install the MFC. Most striking of all are the huge chrome vertical exhaust stacks. These will not be so pronounced once the body is installed, but they are a distinctive feature of this truck and American trucks in general.
Here are some close up shots of detail parts of the truck. The side skirts are very long and stretch from the front wheels to the first drive axle. There are four chrome steps which look much better than painted silver. The front bumper I've done in gun metal with a semi-gloss clear coat. The silver portions are stickers. There are a couple of license plate options on the sticker sheet and I chose Nevada for this truck.
Behind the exhaust stacks is the diamond plate chrome panel that supports the release mechanism for the fifth wheel. It has a slot for a power switch, but this isn't used by the MFC or by my temporary ESC. On the right you can see some of the detail of the main cab. I've painted and top coated it and also done all the black trim around the windows (which takes forever). The stickers were applied under the clear. I assembled most of the parts before painting with the exception of the windows and chrome parts. The roof lights are quite tricky to install because you have to drill your own holes to pass the 3mm LEDs and then bend the wires 90 degrees into the housing.
The completed body now has the grille, the headlights, the roof horns, the mirrors, and all the other details you'd expect from Tamiya. The front amber turn signals are intended to use stickers, but I painted them instead since I think it looks much better. You can't see the interior very well, but there is a full dash board and a pair of seats in there. I suppose an interior light could be added. On the right you see the completed truck with the body installed on the chassis. It installs with only 2 screws because it locks under some tabs above the bumper in front and then bolts down near the exhaust stacks. The body does not need to be removed to access the battery which sits under the frame rails.
The following user(s) Liked this: stingray-63

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Blakbird's 56309 Ford Aeromax Build 5 months 1 week ago #55738

This model is box stock except for the addition of the Multi Function Control Unit. I used the older MFC-01 because of the more "American" engine sound. This unit provides lights, sounds, vibration, and serves as a speed controller. This particular model doesn't use every single light option but does include headlights, brake lights, turn signals, fog lights, and marker lights. The left hand images shows how I was able to install all the electronics in the large sleeper behind the cab and still leave the interior in place. This is the first of the Tamiya tractor trucks I've built that allow both the MFC and the interior at the same time. You can see the main control unit, the vibration motor at the right, and the receiver at the lower right. The control panel is installed in one of the fuel tanks where it is hidden. The right hand image shows how the speaker can be installed in the roof under the wind deflector. There are no molded holes for the speaker so you need to line it up and drill them yourself.
For whatever reason, this model seemed under powered with the Axial 55T motor that I use in most of my tractor trucks. I had never tried the Tamiya TR Tuned motor which is made specifically for this purpose so I ordered one from Japan. I have to admit, it is perfect here. I'll be using these in all of my tractor trucks from now on.
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Blakbird's 56309 Ford Aeromax Build 5 months 1 week ago #55739

The instructions call for TS-37 "Lavender" paint, but my daughters were highly offended claiming that this color is nothing like lavender. Maybe its a translation problem. In any case, I think it looks pretty good. In terms of a appearance, this truck can appear a bit monotonous since it is all one color without much contrast and hardly any stickers. I was worried that it would be too much of a strong color and look bad. Although I do wish it was a bit more decorated, I still think it looks great. Particularly after you hook up a trailer, the amount of purple doesn't stand out so much. I also like that the tall wind deflector fairs nicely with the top of the trailer making everything look like it fits together just right which, of course, it does.
Here's the real 1996 Aeromax for comparison. Look familiar? I think this brochure photo also tells us where Tamiya got the color.

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Blakbird's 56309 Ford Aeromax Build 5 months 1 week ago #55741

blakbird wrote: The instructions call for TS-37 "Lavender" paint, but my daughters were highly offended claiming that this color is nothing like lavender....


They're right ... When i was young, Lavender was a dusky pale blue, but even modern purple & violet plants are nothing like that colour. That shade is more often referred to as Fuchsia, and even that's a misnomer due to the almost infinite variety of Fuchsias, most of which are not that shade. :)

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Blakbird's 56309 Ford Aeromax Build 5 months 1 week ago #55743

I painted mine in this purple and it fits well.

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Blakbird's 56309 Ford Aeromax Build 5 months 1 week ago #55756

This conversation feels much like when I show a model to my wife. I work for weeks on something and she only notices the color. :laugh:

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Blakbird's 56309 Ford Aeromax Build 5 months 1 week ago #55759

blakbird wrote: This conversation feels much like when I show a model to my wife. I work for weeks on something and she only notices the color. :laugh:

Lol mine to.

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