The ultimate guide to building a model harvest crew part 2

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To begin our journey it is good to brainstorm what we intend to do with a harvest crew. Will these models go on a layout with fields and an elevator, or will the models set on a shelf to be enjoyed. If the models are replicas of an existing or past crew, the story resides in the models.  If going on a layout, a whole story can be developed around the models, giving color to what we choose and how those models evolve. Garrett Mauch of Mauch Farms in Colorado has a huge fleet of model harvesting machines involving combines, choppers, grain carts, semis and support equipment. Brands from John Deere, CaseIH, Gleaners and Lexion create a great story to go with it.

The primary harvest crew sets out for Texas in May while another part of the crew goes to Oklahoma. They follow ripening wheat through Kansas, the home place in Colorado, Nebraska, Montana and South Dakota. Then they head south to harvest fall crops. Sound familiar? This is the same story the real harvesters tell, only Garrett doesn’t have to leave the basement to tell it. Garrett works his hay and crop farm plus cattle operation along with a custom chopping business with his dad in real life. This is the luxury models afford us.

I have several harvesting crews that have been replicated from what I have seen since childhood. I grew up in Great Bend Kansas which is a major thoroughfare for cutters. My house was not far from the K96/50/156 junction. I would hear the distinctive sound of an old Chevy straight truck downshifting to make the turn toward highway 281. I hopped on my bicycle and raced to the ball diamond next to the road and watched the caravan march on. It was a treat to see these machines making their way to Texas, then back north not long after.

My present model harvesting crews include a fleet of five 7088 CaseIH Combines with matched 379 Petes in white. A crew of A series and S88 Gleaners with mixed 379 Petes. New Holland TR98s including an IH Transtar and S Series IH end dump trucks. IH 1480s with matched IH Transtar end dumps. John Deere 7720s with a mixed bag of Mack R end dumps on custom made A frame combine trailers.

These models live on shelves and give me big smile when I see them. The fact the models live on shelves does not stop me from daydreaming where they go and the fields they cut.

Choosing the Correct Scale

If you are reading this as a novice in the model world, it is good to know what scales of models exist. There are several sizes of combines and model trucks available. Each has advantages and disadvantages. Selecting a scale to create a harvest crew will largely be determined on the amount of room we may have to set the models out and enjoy them.

A common question asked is “how do I calculate scale?” There are slide rulers that automatically calculate the correct scale in a variety of sizes. This is extremely useful for custom model builders. For the average or novice model builder/collector, a calculator will accomplish this task with ease.

Take any measurements needed, convert the measurement from feet to inches and divide by the scale desired. For example:

1/16 scale — 1 foot x 12 inches (12 inches in a foot) divided by 16

1×12/16 = .75″

3/4″ is equal to 1 foot in 1/16 scale

1/32 scale — 1 foot x 12 inches (12 inches in a foot) divided by 32

1×12/32 = .375″

3/8″ is equal to 1 foot in 1/16 scale

1/64 scale — 1 foot x 12 inches (12 inches in a foot) divided by 64

1×12/64 = .1875″

3/16″ is equal to 1 foot in 1/64 scale

To expand this formula a bit more let us use the example of a double combine trailer we want to recreate in 1/64 scale. We find one and measurent is 53′ long.

53×12/64 = 9.78 or a tick over 9 3/4″ long in 1/64 scale

This simple formula does all the work. For any type of customizing, use this to determine how big to make your piece or resize an object from life size to model size.

For people who want to customize their models, I have one caveat to converting real measurements to model size. In small scales such as 1/64th, it is not uncommon for a scaled measurement to be impractical. There are various parts and pieces I have created that do not “look” right in the accurate to scale size. Or, the part is so small it is insanely difficult to work with. Take decals for example. A door logo can be measured and printed accurately in scale but due to the size it cannot be read. Other examples are hydraulic cylinders on the Rockin H MA and AS series grain beds. There are places designed into the piece to allow cylinders to be added to the end gate. The close tolerances make it very difficult to add this detail.

When customizing in small scales each person has to decide on the level of detail desired and just how accurate the piece needs to be.

Please post your comments and question. The next version will be even better with your ideas incorporated into the text.

Talk to you soon.