Here is a selection of build logs for some of the kit-bashed and customized vehicles on the layout.

I will list new logs from the top down as I get the projects done.

1938 New Mexico State Police Officer (Motor Patrol):

The New Mexico Motor Patrol was founded in 1933. Four years later it became the New Mexico State Police. I wanted one of these early troopers for my layout so I started with this picture from 1935. The officer is shown wearing a light colored shirt (probably khaki) with dark grey or black pants on a white motorcycle.

motor 0

This picture from 1937 shows the all black with grey highlights uniform that is still used today. Uniform details are reminiscence of military cavalry officers. Details include epaulets on the shoulders, a bow tie and jodhpurs with riding boots. The emblem on the cap badge says “Chief” rather than the police badge of the basic trooper.

motor 1

I found this picture of a traffic stop in 1935. I like the pose and decided to duplicate the scene but with only the one officer. I will also use the later black uniform.

motor 2

The project started by cutting up a Tamiya figure and positioning the right leg to rest on the step of a Hubley Chevrolet. The belt buckle, pockets and shirt closure are made from heavy paper while the badge,  gun belt and shoulder strap are styrene.The pen is a piece of brass rod. The citation pad is made from a styrene rectangle with a folded over cover made from paper.

The legs proved to be rather difficult. Normally I make pants which are rather loose fitting so they do not have to be perfectly symmetrical. With the closer fitting riding pants and boots I found that getting a decent look required much more effort. I did the straight left leg first and then tried three times to match the bent leg. Each time the calf and thigh bulged out horribly. I finally resorted to using the band-saw to grind the back and inside of the right leg down before resculpting the entire thing.

motor 3

With the body done I took on another new goal; making an eight point hat. I cut the top off of the head and glued on a styrene oval. This was sanded down on the top of the outside edges and the center from underneath. This gave the brim a bit of a curve. Next a base about 1/8th thick of Milliput was added and allowed to harden. Then another layer of 1/8th putty was added. I shaped it into the eight sided upper part of the hat and mashing the rear half down over the back of the head. To finish I sanded the front and sides to give some hard edges before adding a small amount of putty to the top to give the hat a crown.

motor 4

A little finish sanding of the putty and I was ready for paint. The uniform is the same basic color and design as shown on this modern officer. I printed state police shoulder patches and badges on plain bond paper. The patches went on easily but the badges were just to small to handle with my big caveman hands so I gave up and painted them bronze with metal flake paint.

motor 5

Not a bad result at all. I will eventually repaint and weather the car as well as make a driver. I will also paint and detail the motorcycle for the patrolman using the same method as the bike shown below.

motor 6


1937 HD Knucklehead with rider:

Using the generic knucklehead motorcycle made by Matchbox and a lot of Milliput I hope to make a decent figure and bike for the layout.


I found this picture on line of a beautiful turquoise blue knuckle-head. When compared to the Matchbox bike you can see the two are very similar. The model is going to need some paint and detail work but first I will makr the rider.



Here are a couple of reference photos for 1930s period clothing. Use what works was the motto of the day.  To protect their head and hands from insects and road debris first world war pilot’s helmets, gauntlets and goggles were used. Equine riding pants and work boots along with a scarf and short coat or sweater would cut the wind and keep riders comfortably warm. I will be using using the third guy from the left as inspiration for my rider.



I assembled then cut up a Tamiya figure reattaching the legs at the necessary angles. To make it easier to sand the arms will wait until the legs and torso are done. Once the plastic glue dried I out filling the butt, hips and knees. Hopefully this will give it strength at the joints during the sculpting process.



Starting the pants and helmet.



Pants, boots, helmet and goggles complete.  I added a scarf to keep his neck warm and have the bottom of the coat done.


The arms are added. Getting him to fit the bike and hold the grips was real pain. Once the glue was dry I gave him sleeves and then finally gauntlet style pilot gloves. He will need some sanding and a coat or two of primer before the painting starts.

Time to get going on the bike. I drilled out the rivets holding the engine together and the axle ends. With it in pieces I can easily paint the frame and other details.


The rims on the real bike are black with metal spokes. Each rim on the model is made of two pieces so I had to paint inside and out to hide the chrome finish. Once dry they were reassembled and set aside.


To make the bike stand upright on the layout a nail was embedded through the bottom of the bike frame with the head glued inside of the engine using E3K. I had to notch both halves of the engine casing at the bottom for it to pass through.


The other half of the engine was added. The rivets that hold it together were molded to the right half of the engine case. With the ends drilled out there was nothing left to fill the holes on the left side. To hide this I cut the head off of some brass furniture tacks and glued them in place.


I waited for the glue to dry then reassembled the bike, replacing the front and rear axles with lengths of ribbed panel nail. To finish I painted two satchels and glued them on to serve as saddle bags. Some touch up and final detail painting and the rider could climb on and hit the road.



1912 Model T Ford Delivery Truck

The concept for this vehicle is based on this delivery truck.


I am using a Hubley Model T Runabout for the basis of the truck. These kits are the cheapest of the series and don’t want to discard an entire body just to get the basic parts. Everything gets filed and cleaned up ready for paint. I will primer this with white to brighten the yellow.


Out of the paint shop and ready for initial assembly. I originally intended to use the bottom of the Runabout to support the cab and bed but it was to high. I removed it and started over with wood and styrene.


The cab is formed from .040 styrene while the bed is made from coffee stirs. Everything had to be repainted as these parts were not removable.


The metal parts of the running gear were spray painted black but the plastic pieces had to be hand painted after assembly.


Detail parts in plated brass and test fit of the wheels. To finish I cut a small piece of blue foam for the seat cushion and added button and crease details this gave some light weathering. The clear window was cut from a sheet of acetate and glued in with Elmer’s white glue. It is strong enough to hold it in place but does not craze or fog like model glues.


All done ready to deliver fireworks to Bupp’s.




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