buford's barn cars PORTFOLIO

1955 / 1956 farmall 300 LP weathered tractor

The SpecCast models are brilliant and contain all of the prototypical details that I need necessary as a perfect base for a weathering project. Upon doing research I was able to pinpoint the areas that really get heavy usage. It is amazing to me what these machines go through to 'do their job." They can get the snot beat out of them and they just keep going. It was more difficult for me to get details on the Farmall 300 LP than say, most Deere models. It seems to be a rare tractor, but nonetheless quite a beauty. The 300 LP wide front has an impressive stature and the fact that the engine was fueled with propane just blew my mind. Perhaps that is why the LP was only made for a two year period! Can we say, fire hazard?! I spent a great deal of time being sure that nothing on this tractor was shiny. 50 years in the fields might do that to a tractor... 

Fine details of this model include the following:

  • A piece of rough sawn teak was cut to scale and placed as a support for the For Sale sign.
  • The entire tractor was dismantled, primed and  treated the same as all of my models. By combining my own balanced combination of complex reactive mineral components specially ordered from Croatia, I'm able to produce the impression of natural rust with organic color variations. These components are meticulously applied to panel locations where the original finish would be vulnerable to decay. The process provides for unmatched beauty and an authentic appearance.

Several modifications were made to the tractor to make it more realistic:

  1. I learned some very interesting facts about tractor tires and accrued a good deal of photographs from a variety of tractors being used today by local farms here in Connecticut. One thing is for sure, they're worn! Those new, shiny, "toothy" tires just had to go. The end result is a near match to those you'll find in the field. Throw in a little dirt stuck to the treads and you've got yourself a tractor wheel! Note that the front wheels are worn more on the outside than the inside to reflect the weight imbalance when cornering. I also left slight wear in local areas of the rims where the tractor may scuff up against large rocks.
  2. The seat pans almost always have holes for cooling. I drilled the solid seat appropriately using a drill press and a drill bit that made holes that were to scale.
  3. The steering wheels are made of a hard rubber that crack over time so I made small slices into the "rubber." 
  4. All areas that you'd expect the driver to touch, grab, rub against etc. have traces of polished metal. I've polished the seat pan, all levers, fender tops, light sides, propane tank top and rear, foot rests and areas the driver may place their feet to get to the seat. Those areas include the hitch, rear PTO drive box and rear axle housings.
  5. The PTO, if used to power other equipment, also had polished metal. Though the metal was typically pitted with a polish over the pitting from the frequent cycle of surface rust from nonuse to being used and getting polished again. Do this several hundred times over and those pits remain but the raised surfaces become polished. I used a dental pick to indent the PTO drive a bit, then "rusted" it then polished it.
  6. The tractors should be good and greasy! Should the owner stick to their maintenance, many areas should be dripping in goo. You'll find obvious grease marks on steering joints, engine components, drive gears and anything and everything that moves. This model is just the same. When I spoke to a local farmer about International Harvester he said his biggest problem with this tractor was a squeaky seat which explained why it was loaded with axle grease. I couldn't resist giving the seat pan spring a separate treatment. :) 
  7. The exhaust was solid. I drilled it. Need I explain more?
  • Vintage signage from a vast library of vintage material was used to create a Farmall, No Trespassing and Danger sign attached to two vertical weather barn-red posts. Two of the signs have been framed in aged teak complete with nails to hold the frame together. Hey, we're trying to mimic life here right?
  • The diorama base is made of real gravel. The downside? It's heavy!
  • The grasses were also handmade and spread around a bit. I was going for a more Midwestern look so I left the grass blade a natural brown.
  • The dead tree is a sagebrush armature. They always work well for modeling.
  • At this stage I'll go over the entire vehicle verifying all components have been properly reattached and that the finish is complete. I may airbrush some light shading of the final coat, add some dust or additional hay or shattered glass. In this particular case the model was basically complete and I'll move on to photography.


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