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Former M-52 Converted into a Brush Truck

Chariots of Fire

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Chariots of Fire

The next door town to me had this former M-52 1957 Diamond T tractor made into a brush truck.  Here in our part of southern New England we call them brushbreakers and are designed to drive into wooded areas to put out brush fires.  A retired USA Colonel who successfully brough the original tractor to town asked me if I would build a model of it for him.  The truck is known as "Big Red" and was built in 1/25 scale.  Below is the actual truck as it was in 2016 and the start of the build with resin castings of wheels, tires and axles.  (Overall photo date is wrong).



The frame is made of soldered brass strip stock.  Springs are also made of brass strip stock soldered together at the ends.


The frame and running gear are in progress.  The grill guard is also soldered brass stock.  The cab measurements were taken from the real truck.  The hood was carved from Renshape, an extruded plastic that has no grain and is easily carved in any direction.  The hood you see is a resin casting of the Renshape master.


The engine is a 6 cylinder gasolene Continental.  it was made of plastic sheet, strip and round stock along with assorted brass wire, small nuts and bolts and turned aluminum pulleys.



The cab portion of the build is nearly done.  Hood sides still to be built along with cab doors, interior and windshield.


The completed cab sans hood sides.  The rebuild into a brush truck was done by a local fabricator who built a metal roof for the cab.  The rear of the fenders have been cut off for the changes in the body and other fabrication.


The interior of the engine compartment is complete.  On front is an extended bumper and the beginning of a front mounted winch.  The large box in front of the radiator is to protect the radiator from tree branches that might poke holes in it.  Some decal work has been added.


The body is constructed and the bar work to protect the truck is under construction.  When the original truck was built the front bar was extended way too far out in my opinion but to be accurate with the model, I did it also.


The back of the truck has a manifold system of piping that allows water from the pump to be directed to a number of different hand lines.  The pump is by Hale and is quite small but effective.  The water tank holds about 1000 gallons of water.


All of the work is done on the truck.  Now to fill up the hose bed and add some hand tools!


Hose is made of sewing elastic, left white in some cases and stained a light tan in others.  Departments use a variety of hose and depending on the purchase date could be either cotton jacket or dacron.  Smaller coils of forestry hose are located topside.  Hand tools are also placed up top.  Traffic cones are to protect the truck if filling at a hydrant on a public



The open space in between the tank and cab is where the crew would operate from when fighting fire.  Two crew members would stand in the corners of the "gunnels" and operate hand lines on each side to put out the fire while the truck is in motion.  A tool box functions as a seat when not in actual fire operations.  961506880_1193.jpg.27d9c44ba98dc294fe7190a3472079d4.jpgb

The business end of the rig.  The model was painted with Duplicolor # 398 bright red and with semi-gloss black.  Decals were done using computer graphics and a dry printer.  The town seal was copied from a photo and downsized to fit on the cab doors.


The actual truck is no longer in operation.  It was taken out of service and was to be replaced with a newer military chassis but was never finished.  This one, however is now preserved in model form and is in the hands "the Colonel".




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Brian Dentino

Again, the detail and scratch build of your models is just outstanding and truly worthy of a museum for sure!  Love seeing your posts....thanks for another awesome project.

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Proud Kraut

I haven´t seen such a truck before, very interesting. Your model looks 100% like the real one, outstanding!!!

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Chariots of Fire
3 hours ago, Proud Kraut said:

I haven´t seen such a truck before, very interesting. Your model looks 100% like the real one, outstanding!!!

They have been pretty common in our area for more than 90 years.  Here is one that was built up using a more modern chassis.  Originally a long cargo truck it was shortened by about 4 feet by moving the tandems forward and then cutting of the excess frame to build what you see here.  The tank is fiberglass and holds about 800 gallons of water.  It has a built-in foam tank as well so that Class A foam can be used to put out fires more efficiently.  It is skid plated underneath with panels than can be removed for maintenance.  The winch on this rig was placed on the rear and with guides that will allow the cable to be run forward when necessary.  The second photo shows a firefighter in the area where they would operate from in a fire situation.  It's a really powerful truck in the woods.


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Your models are unique and amazing! I love to see your work.



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