by: Alex Howie [ ]
(Taken from the instruction sheet)
When one thinks of American trucks the Peterbilt 359 Conventional is the first one that comes to mind. Their durability combined with a virtually unchanged appearance has led to a universal presence of these trucks on American highways since the mid-60s. The owners, often drivers operating alone, did everything they could to turn their truck into the best thing that a man could own. Powerful engines from Caterpillar, Cummins or Detroit Diesel with up to 600 bhp, lightweight aluminum cab, bonnet and rims, chromed exhausts, fuel tanks and bumpers turned each trucker into his very own King of the Road. On the long Coast to Coast journeys he has his own home with him which gives him a feeling of total independence. The dream of the American way of drive has for decades been, and still is, the Peterbilt 359 Conventional.
This 1:16 scale kit comprises of fourteen sprues, ten individual tyres, the cab and engine housing (bonnet if in the UK, hood in the USA) and according to the Revell of Germany web page a total of 257 parts and suggest this is a "skill level 5" which is very challenging. I wish I had looked at the website before agreeing to do this build review, but now I do not feel so bad about my build.
The finished model is 507mm long.
The parts are moulded in black, grey, white, clear and chromed plastic. On initial inspection the detail is very good, there was a small amount of flashing and raised seams, but nothing to get upset about.
There are ten individually moulded tyres with a manufacturing "centre piece" that looks like spokes, these have to be removed during assembly, although the tyres have a reasonable tread detail there is also a pronounced centre seam all the way round that needs some work to remove, I sanded a few of the tyres to remove the seam and make them a little worn.
There are two bracing brackets in the kit to provide support when assembling the chassis, this is important as it maintains the alignment while springs, axels and drive shafts are added.
Most of the parts fit together easily, I had to smooth off some seams but not many.
I did have a few minor difficulties where mounting points were not too clear for the front shock absorbers and again when I fitted the cab to the chassis, again this did not cause any real difficulty, just a bit of fiddling around.
The chromed parts did cause me some issues, I am an infrequent modeller and think this is the first time I have worked with chrome. After a bit of experimentation I found it is best to scrape the joins clear of the coating and glue as normal and be very careful about over-gluing. The wing mirrors and radio antenna were "challenging" as I had to scrape and drill very small gluing points, but with the aid of a magnifying lamp and a 0.5mm drill in a craft knife handle they went together very well and I was a little surprised how "solid" they felt.
For those of you familiar with Revell of Germany kits you will know that the instruction sheets are good, with clear and precise line drawings. For the rest of us; I have included a link to the relevant page on the Revell of Germany website where you can download a copy of the instructions and see some more about this kit, the page is in German so the word you are looking for is Bauanleitung, next to this you will see the link for a PDF file.
The kit is relatively easy to build although I would recommend getting some practice with chromed parts on a smaller kit if like me you have never worked with them.
I think this would be an excellent father and son (or daughter) project (providing one of them had reasonable modelling experience), it could be built with the minimum of painting (as I chose to do) but really deserves to be taken time over, so as to achieve a superior finish, you could consider customising the rear of the cab and sleeping compartment and scratch build a bunk bed and associated "home comforts".
Revell model kits are available from all good toy and model retailers. For details visit www.revell.de/en, @RevellGermany or facebook.com/Revell