LZ Models 35510 1/35 US Army LeTourneau CarryAll LS Scraper
Please see the Full Build review on the AMPS website.
Both Mirror Models and MiniArt have, since 2014, produced a series of kits based on the Caterpillar D-7 tractor. PlusModel has produced a Caterpillar D-12 Motor Grader. And now LZ Models has produced the first accessory for the D-7, the LeTourneau Carryall LS Scraper.
R.G. LeTourneau was born in 1888. Following a number of jobs, he bought a Holt tractor and leased a scraper in 1920 to go into business as a grading contractor. Using skills learned in those early jobs he started modifying the equipment, then began designing his own. Within 10 years, he had established R.G.Tourneau, Inc. and the rest, as they say, is history. By 1935 he retired from contracting and devoted himself to manufacturing earth-moving equipment. He designed and built machines using technology ahead of its time and became recognized worldwide as a leader in the development and manufacture of heavy equipment -- the LeTourneau name became synonymous with earthmoving worldwide. His machines represented nearly 70 percent of the earthmoving equipment and engineering vehicles used during World War II.
Scrapers are earth-moving machines capable of digging and loading, hauling, and dumping and spreading. They are designed to make shallow cuts, haul the material a considerable distance, and spread it in thin layers. They are most effective on large earth-moving jobs such as airdromes and roads through rolling country. The Carryall LS was a towed, cable-operated, 8-cubic-yard struck / 11-cu-yd-heaped, single-bucket scraper produced from 1940 to 1960; one of the most widely produced scraper models.
Please see The Half-Point below for additional information that should help one understand the relationship of the components, cables, and levers to whatever position one would like to display the scraper . The instructions provide you no advice whatsoever.
The towed scraper model in the review kit pairs with either the Mirror 35851 Bulldozer kit or the Mini-Art 35184 Angledozer kit as those are currently the only ones with the R-7 Power Control Unit on the back to control the scraper. It was usual to remove the dozer blade when pulling the scraper although I have seen a few pix with a blade still attached.
This review kit showed up and caught me with a stash full of the Mirror and MiniArt D-7 kits, but none even started. I'm going to stretch this build a little and "throw together" the Mirror kit just to illustrate how these go together -- hopefully you will consider it a bonus.
The kit comes in a strong, roomy, but plain, brown box with a box art label. Inside are 3 bags of parts, a CD for instructions, and ample bubble-wrap to keep it all safe. Two of the parts bags hold resin parts while the third holds two frets of photoetch, 4 resin wheels, and a very nice "wire rope".
Note the kit has mis-spelled LeTourneau; this is not a "fatal flaw", move along.
The CD has a directory for this kit and directories for three other kits. Inside the kit directory is a PDF for the instructions, with another PDF for a one-page correction for "early instructions" which was not needed. There are also 36 .JPG images: four are from a LeTourneau brochure and the other 32 are detail shots, not all unique, of a couple preserved scapers. There are no historical images. It would have been helpful to rename the images to indicate their content or tag them to a page/step in the instructions.
The instructions are 21 pages long, and in color, but there are no page numbers or specific step numbers. First thing I did after printing them, and checking I hadn't shuffled anything, was number the pages and I'll refer to them by page# throughout the review.
Page 1 has generic construction tips for resin and photoetch.
Page 2 is a resin part display, where all the parts are laid out and given a number, but there are no numbers on the resin runners/blocks themselves ala Accurate Armor or Resicast so this sheet is literally the keys to the kingdom. There is not an equivalent sheet for the photoetch, but those parts are numbered on the frets. At the bottom part look at parts 41-45. The red "xN" means the number of pieces, not the number of runners as is common with many other kits. So, part 41 x 5 means 5 pulleys; 4 are on the runner and the 5th is on the part 43 runner. And, part 42 x 9 means 9 pulleys; 4 are on each of two runners and the 9th is also on the part 43 runner. Thus, when you get to part 43 x 2, you don't get two runners, just 2 part 43 pulleys with notches, and the other two are as noted before. It takes a moment for the lightbulb to come on as the instructions say nothing about the notation. I initially thought I hadn't received all the parts but when I could not find 20 parts 41 or 36 parts 42 in the instructions I finally figured it out.
Pages 3-20 are the instructions. As with many resin/short-run instructions, they are a series of photographs or drawings of parts with part number labels and possibly some explanatory text. There are also a few real world photos to clarify things; these same photos are on the CD. While the individual photos (steps) seem adequate there are, as I mentioned earlier, no indications as how to properly assemble the scraper components for a particular earthmoving task. This could make the pulleys and cables quite interesting.
Page 21 shows two views of a completed, but unpainted, model, tells you to paint it all OD, and informs you that most real ones didn’t carry markings …. Now you know why there are no decals with the kit. The tractor kits give you military and civilian finish options, and I would expect the same here - and that is a good argument for at least a set of manufacturer decals.
The first thing I did, after studying the instructions a couple times, was to wash the parts. During this, I inventoried and inspected them. The kit was complete and I only found one broken part, but all pieces so no problem. The resin looks good, no air holes, no warpage, no short shots, quite thin and crisp. On the other hand there is a lot of flash/membrane; this requires care when washing up to not confuse membrane with detail, and to not lose a tiny part in loose membrane floating in the bath.
There are 50+ resin parts and 60+ photoetch parts - a very reasonable part count. I suspect building and rigging the resin/PE blocks will be challenging, but the rest seems straight-forward. The "wire rope" is great -- most folks give you a white thread, which you then need to run through beeswax to get the fuzz off and protect from humidity, then color up to look like steel. In this kit it appears to be already done for you, maybe just add some grease effect. By the way, it is about 44 inches long, or about 120 scale feet, and should be plenty.
There do not appear to be many "moving part" options. The instructions generally say to get things in position then glue them down (a good example is positioning the front axle). This makes it doubly critical to understand the operation of a scraper and to be diligent such that all the cable rigging is appropriately taut. I'm old-fashioned and like moving parts, so I might explore some options.
First Look Impression
Pros: Resin and photoetch look good, no flaws in the review sample. The "wire rope" is the best I've seen. The tractors were welcome enough, accessories like this just make life great.
Cons: No decals or paint guide (especially for civilian use), no how-to-build for realistic operation, lackluster reference CD.
(pending Full Build).
I would like to thank
for providing AMPS the review copy.
Reviewed by John Ratzenberger, AMPS/Central-Virginia.
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The Half Point
The bowl is what holds the stuff. It is comprised of two fixed sides and a fixed floor/ blade, a moveable apron, and a moveable tailgate. The bowl is measured in cubic-yard capacity in two ways: struck, meaning level with the top of the bowl and thus contained entirely inside the bowl, and heaped, meaning the struck capacity plus whatever can be piled on top and carried. Heaped capacity can vary by type material.
Wheels, towbar, yoke, control cables, A-frame, boom, and sheaves all are there to support and operate the bowl. The gooseneck yoke allows larger tires, sharper turns, and provides clearance to prevent rubbing on uneven ground. The A-frame raises the control boom to allow for larger heaped loads. The control boom allows for cables and sheaves to be outside the load itself..
There are 3 things to control -- the apron, the blade/bowl, and the tailgate -- but only two control cables. The two-cable Power Control Unit is on the rear of the tractor.
The scraper is hinged at the yoke for raising and lowering the bowl/blade in or out of the ground. The actual raising and lowering of the blade is accomplished by the Power Control Unit by spooling or unspooling cable on or off the right cable drum. The scraper apron can be raised to allow dirt to enter the bowl by spooling cable onto the Power Control Unit left cable drum, and can be lowered to hold the dirt in the bowl by releasing the brake for the same cable drum.
For ejecting or unloading dirt or other material that has been loaded into the scraper bowl, the scraper is equipped with a tailgate which serves as the rear end of the bowl and which can be moved either to the front or rear inside the bowl on rollers. The forward movement of the tailgate is controlled by the Power Control Unit, while movement to the rear is performed by large coil springs inside the springpipe. The Power Control Unit, by spooling the dump cable onto the left cable drum, raises the scraper apron and pulls the tailgate forward to eject the material from inside the bowl. Releasing the Power Control Unit brake allows the tailgate springs to return the tailgate to the rear and the apron to lower after the material has been ejected
The longer control lever controls the raising and lowering of the bowl. Moving the lever toward the center of the tractor (to the left) engages the right clutch and raises the scraper bowl. Returning the lever to neutral position applies the brake to the cable drum and holds the bowl in the raised position. Moving the longer control lever away from the center of the tractor (to the right) releases the brake from the cable drum and allows the bowl to lower. Returning the lever to neutral position applies the brake to the cable drum and holds the bowl at the level to which it was lowered
The other Power Control Unit control lever controls the apron and tailgate. Moving the lever toward the center of the tractor (to the left) engages the left clutch and raises the apron. When the apron is raised to its full height, the tailgate is then pulled forward and the tailgate return springs inside the springpipe are compressed. Returning the control lever to neutral position applies the brake to the cable drum and holds the apron and tailgate in the position desired. Moving the control lever away from the center of the tractor (to the right) releases the brake from the cable drum, allowing the tailgate return springs to return the tailgate to its original position at the rear of the scraper bowl, and also permits the apron to lower
Refs #1-3 focus mostly on tractors but have a number of "in action" pix towing scrapers and such, and many detail shots of the R-7 PCU.
Ref #4 is the "how to" manual for earth-moving, well-illustrated with pictures and drawings. If you aren't, by trade, a construction type, and want to know how to properly portray your tractor, dozer, scraper, grader, etc, in operation then this is the book you need. The diagrams above came from here; there are lots more.
1. Doyle, David; The D-7 Tractor A Visual History of the D7 Tractor in U.S.Army Service 1941-1953; The Ampersand Publishing Group, Delray Beach, FL, 2014; ISBN: 978-0-9773781-8-0.
2. Franz, Michael; US WW2 Caterpillar D7 Tractor (Tankograd 6022); Tankograd, Erlangen, FRG; 2011.
3. Hoark, Jan and Koran, Frantisek; U.S. Army Earth Movers Part One; Wings & Wheels Publications, Prague, Czech Republic, 2014; ISBN: 978-80-87509-30-2.
4. --; War Department Technical Manual TM 5-252 Use of Road & Airdrome Construction Equipment; U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 1945. (Reprint by Portrayal Press).
5. Orlemann, Eric C; R.G. LeTourneau Heavy Equipment The Mechanical Drive Era 1921-1953; Iconografix, Hudson, WI, 2008; ISBN: 978-1-58388-214-6.
6. --;A number of internet searches for variation on "scraper" that yielded bits of information on equipment from various manufacturers. (Yes, that's a cop-out but I didn't keep good track of finds.)