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1960-1968 Allis-Chalmers HD-3 modified logging Crawler with backhoe weathered model

The SpecCast models have proven themselves to be exceptional weathering foundations. I had the intentions of completing a model that would prove to be the most elaborately detailed weathering project to date. To do so, I had to find an available model that would work for my purpose - a custom logger! I needed a front blade that loggers would use to make the dirt road into a forest for proper equipment entry and exit. I had also wanted a rear backhoe for stump removal. But the most important part to me was room around the driver's seat for a custom driver's protection canopy. The Allis Chalmers HD-3 by SpecCast met my needs. And here, 75 total hours later, I have the exact model I had pictured at the start. There are are few "firsts" with this model including chassis modification, scratch-building and weathering materials used. Details below.


  • The entire tractor was dismantled, primed and  treated differently than any model I've produced to date. I've combined enamels, natural rusting compounds, weathering powders, finely sifted natural sand, baking soda, chemical solutions for darkening white metal and the use of several tools in my woodshop to obtain the finished results. This will also be the same formula I will use going forward.
  • The primary body, tracks and drive wheels were treated by scuffing the original gloss finish to a dull matte. I had then spent several hours adding deep scratches to the entire unit with a sonic engraving tool. Several coats of primer, weathering powders, enamels and a sensitive chipping process was to follow.
  • Vintage signage from a vast library of vintage material was used to create the following signs: Allis Chalmers Oil Filter, No Trespassing, Farmer Stockman Service Bureau and of course the expected "For Sale" sign.
  • The hydraulic hoses were first removed, heat treated, matte coated then painted with a matte black mixed with finely sifted sand. 
  • The blade was a cumbersome chore. As the surface area is so large, even the most minute details could be seen. I did research on aged blades and found several photos that had the look I was looking for. Unfortunately, it took three attempts to mimic that appearance. But I've documented the steps for the next crawler in line. I don't want to go through that again! Of particular interest is the side rails of the blade. Scratches were horizontal from earth scraping the steel, but rust was gravity pulled from top to bottom. I had to etch the sides horizontally then apply my weathering to reflect gravity's pull of the rust. 
  • The backhoe was done the same way as the body of the crawler with the exception that the bucket is the only truly rusted part. 
  • Grease can be found at all major joints and were made with enamels mixed with sand and weathering powders.

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

  1. Both steps to the driver's platform were bent just a little as if material had been stuck between the platform and the tracks.
  2. The driver's seat was completely dismantled and the base removed. Several hand wound springs and side rails were made to scale to represent the seat's internal components. I then stuffed a little cotton material into the springs to show what's left of the cushion. A seat cover was made to show the operator needed a quick fix after the base rusted out. A single armrest and the backhoe operator's seat were made to show the surface material had broken and the cushion was wearing through.
  3. All areas that you'd expect the driver to touch, grab, rub against etc. have traces of polished metal. I've polished the tread cleats, pedals, foot rests and areas the driver may place their feet to get to the seat. The blade and backhoe scoop are also polished at the edges.
  4. The front grill was solid with depressions that reflected the holes. I can't blame SpecCast for not offering a drilled grill as doing so would certainly up the price of this model. I used a 1.2mm high speed steel drill bit on a drill press to drill the holes out. That would be 254 holes for anyone counting.   
  5. The logging canopy was scratch built from styrene L-Beams, rails and 2mm plastic sheets. Each piece was measured, cut on a band saw then the roof was heat treated around plumbing pipe with a heat gun. I used a heavy duty epoxy to weld each piece together. The entire unit was then sanded and then weathered. It had to be measured precisely to curve over the driver's seat with the post bottoms resting on plates. The canopy only rests in place and would be removed if the driver would use the backhoe. You can note that the backhoe operator's seat swivels to the side and out of the way. A rusty hook holds a length of old rusty chain.
  6. The exhaust was solid. I drilled it. Need I explain more? :)


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