The Ultimate Guide: Selecting trucks for your harvest crew
To see a fleet of matching Peterbilt 379s or Kenworth W900s in a harvest crew makes me a lot excited. Not all harvesters are using long hood Petes and Kenworths though.
What do the real harvesters use? Hop on Facebook, and we can find Johnson Harvesting, Frederick Harvesting and Taylor Harvesting with their matching Kenworth T800 and W900s. There are a variety of harvesters using matching 379s or various colors of them. Braathen Harvesting uses matching Peterbilt 367s.
Then, there is Stevens Entities using matching white over blue Volvo’s, Befort updated their fleet in 2015 from Petes and KWs to matching blue Freightliner Centuries, Thurman Harvesting uses matched Freightliner Cascadias, Thacker Harvesting uses matched white over yellow IH 9900s, and Haynes Custom Harvesting runs a mixed bag of Freightliner FLDs and Cascadias. There is one Canadian outfit using all Freightliner Coronados. Mark Heil Harvesting is running two older IH tandems including an S Series. It appears there is not much rhyme or reason to what the harvesters are using.
I asked Chester Gray of Haynes Harvesting if he planned to update the fleet after he bought the crew. He has an employee posting some very slick matching units of Petes on his Facebook wall. Chester told me that his older Freightliners set all winter. Tying up money in trucks that are parked isn’t what he needed to be doing at the moment. Plus, if a driver lays one over or is involved in some sort of calamity, the truck can be replaced for 20k about anywhere they happen to be. Danielski Harvesting keeps a fleet of matching Petes closer to home for the trucking business and sends late model Freightliners out on the harvest run. Much more than looks goes into what these harvesters use. It really depends on the personality of the owners as to the kind of iron they use.
When considering our models, much like in the chapter on combines, there are different scales with different degrees of detail in scale. Again, I will touch briefly on a couple of popular sizes.
1/16 – Very limited on choice. Ertl has a couple of variations of the Peterbilt 367 in their Big Farm Series. This does include an end dump that looks pretty cool. I drove the wheels off a single axle IH Transtar as a kid and remember a couple variations of this truck. But, a Transtar from the 70s pulling a S670 Deere around? Not as cool.
1/32 – Just like combines, there are more choices. Newray and Jada offer a nice variety of trucks beginning at the $14 range and are easy to find on the web by searching for Newray or Jada trucks. For a few dollars more, a whole semi with grain trailers can be purchased too. These brands are carried at various farm stores as well. The trouble comes when looking for a combine trailer to pull behind them as nothing exists except custom built trailers.
1/64 – This scale offers the widest variety of models, detail options and price points. Plus, the widest variety of combines to go into the crew and combine trailers. I am a huge fan of the Die Cast Promotions (DCP) brand of trucks. There are many choices from Peterbilt to IH Transtars and brands in between. The detail is fantastic in these models. Price point starts at $65 for a tractor trailer and goes up from there. Not the least expensive choice by any stretch but for the money this brand offers the best detail, widest variety of brands and sleeper options.
Keep an eye on Liberty Classics models. This brand does not have as many offerings as Die Cast Promotions (DCP), but the detail is great and the tractor trailer can be bought in the $40 range. A bit of hunting on EBay or model websites can yield cab only options for a bit less.
First Gear is another manufacturer that does not have many offerings, but the detail is freaking amazing. Price point for this brand begins at $65. It is available all over the web.
Speccast has been in the model truck business a long time and offers a great variety of trucks. Price point for the brand varies quite a bit, but expect to find most trucks in the $30+ range. With a lower entry price the detail begins to drop. Great models for the money, but detail is sacrificed.
Ertl is a long time manufacturer of a variety of 1/64 scale trucks. These models are designed for play, and the price point proves that. Not much detail to be found on a $14 model. The great thing about this brand is the price. If building a harvest crew on a tight budget, $60 will buy several trucks with grain trailers! Plus, if a we want to try customizing, learning on a $14 truck can be much less scary than learning on an $80 DCP or First Gear.
1/87 – For the money this size of truck can be bought in the $15+ range and offers nice detail. The trouble is combines are very limited. Plus there are no combine trailers either.