buford's barn cars PORTFOLIO

1959-1965 International Harvester TD-340 Weathered Crawler

The International Harvester TD-340 was a popular crawler in its heyday and can still currently be found frequently working the fields. Its stout nature and powerful diesel makes handling easier than its T-340 gas powered little brother. This crawler was, and is still used for even larger jobs that would be appropriate for more modern day machinery. The model here is one that took considerably more time than I had expected. But that's not terribly surprising to me as every time I feel like I'm finished I have something else to add. The seat was something I sat on (no pun intended) for a while. I didn't like the hard plastic that existed on the base model. I did some research on seats and was surprised how little information was available. But I was able to find pictures that depicted just what I was looking for.


  • The entire tractor was dismantled, original paint stripped, primed and treated a little differently than my typical work. I used a great deal of fading with enamel washes, powders and some sandblasting. I made sure that the "International" and "TD-340" logos were visible by masking off the graphics.
  • The tracks were also completely sandblasted of their original paint as subsequent weathering layers would have made the finish much too bulky. They were treated appropriately to bring out the cast appearance followed by multiple layers of professional grade weathering materials.
  • Vintage signage from a vast library of vintage material was used to create a "Out of Service" and "For Sale" sign all loose for a variety of staging.
  • 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 joints, engine components, drive gears and anything and everything that moves. This model is just the same.
  • The exhaust pipe was typically non-ferrous and oxidized rather than rusted but due to this tractors age and condition I opted for extra weathering. The gray was sanded down, primed, and then treated with a metallic paste then soaked in a rust solution, then powdered to make it appear true-to-life.

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

  1. The entire tractor frame was stripped bare, polished clean, sanded then coated to make it appear cast. 
  2. The radiator guard was originally solid on this model. I used a drill press and .8mm high speed steel bit (that's a tiny bit!) to very carefully drill out the aeration holes. The holes are 16 high by 20 wide. Do the math! 320 .8mm holes!
  3. The seat was a fake looking hard plastic. I had seen many seats from this era that had steel coil innards mounted to 1/2" plywood and covered with vinyl. I completely remade the seat by cutting 1mm thick piece of weathered pine that I stock for diorama buildings using a band saw. I then wrapped .6mm steel wire using needle nose pliers and added a slice of nitrile for what's left of the "vinyl" seat cover.
  4. There was an unsightly front axle running the full width of the tractor. I removed it, drilled the front wheel holes a bit larger, tapped the frame for steel screws and trimmed off the excess metal sticking out of the exterior wheel hubs using a rotary tool and grinding disc. The front is now clean and unobscured.
  5. If you look carefully at the front left headlight you'll see a "crack" going horizontally. Behind the lens you'll notice a hazy brown. Sure looks to me like there's a bit of water pooling in the headlamp housing!
  6. These crawlers never survived even a single day working the fields without a scratch. I scratched the surface in all of the places that are susceptible to being scraped by foreign objects. 

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