FTF F-8.8.20D with Floor drawbar trailer and Hulo loading crane
FTFs always have had a lot of attraction to many Dutch truck enthusiasts. Powered by Detroit Diesels they had a
magnificent two stroke sound and nowadays tens of these trucks are kept as old timer. None of these are in service anymore.
FTF started building there own truck during the sixties after assembling Mack trucks for a couple of years. The first FTF
trucks had a home build cab but soon they started using Motor Panels cabs from the UK. They had quite some success in
heavy transport and even a couple of loyal haulers had a whole fleet of FTF trucks during the 70s and 80s. As the main
area of FTF was heavy haulage and competition was getting harder they had to stop production in 1995. A unique Dutch
manufacturer less unfortunately but still which lots of appeal to many truck lovers.
I saw this four axle FTF in a book of 1986 and at that time I always wanted to have a scale model like this. But as I was
only nine years old I couldn't have thinking of building such. Impossible then as well as many pieces I used weren't there
During the years I photographed many FTF trucks and also collected pictures of truck which aren't existing anymore. But
from the beginning I already knew which one to build, this brick truck. It has been a one of kind and usually you see
heavy haulage units FTF trucks in the world of scale models.
The problem now was there only a few pictures known of this particular truck. Just the one from the book I had as well as
one from another book. Fortunately a friend of mine had some very useful pictures, also taken from the back side. He took
them in the early eighties when the truck still was running with its first owner. I was very pleased with those pictures
because from then I knew how the truck looked like at that time. But then I still missed the dimensions, especially from the
drawbar trailer. In a magazine I saw its current owner was trying to sell the trailer. I didn't knew he also bought the trailer
during the mid 90s when he bought the FTF after it was put in a shelter for many years. I called the guy and made an
appointment to take pictures and measure the trailer. He also had the original Hulo loading crane. Then I had some more
info about the whole truck so I could start building it.
I discovered the truck had only been in operation till 1983 or 1984, just for five years. With only 200.000 kilometers
underneath its wheels it was sold and went info a shed for about 11 years. Its current owner bought it then and restored
the truck to his own livery.
After I visited the current owner in December 2007 I started building the cab. Another
just finished a FTF
himself. I made a copy of his cab but then started to modify it heavily. The front of his cab is flat while the real thing is
wedged from the grille to the side panels. From one or another reason I suddenly stopped the project (I had nothing more
than a plain chassis and cab exterior then). I put it aside for about four years when I picked it up in October 2011. In the
years between I built a couple of other models.
When I started again in 2011 it went quite rapidly. I constructed the whole chassis with the help of some pictures and specs
which I collected during the years. The chassis has the same width from the front to the end which makes the model quite
sturdy. The tandem is driven and both front axles are steered. It's quite a simple frame but it's really like a FTF. I continued
Detroit Diesel 8V71
engine. I found quite some pictures on the internet. The engine fits on top of the first axle and
the part in front of it. The V8 is made of the standard LEGO cylinder blocks and the rest I made myself from those
pictures. In front of the engine there's not a very wide but rather high radiator. Till then nothing rather difficult, more or less
a routine job for me. The big challenge was the
tilted Motor Panels cab.
The cab I had already I totally redesigned. I started
with the floor to strengthen it. This part really took many hours and lots of trial and error. To get the right shape I really had to
be creative with the LEGO pieces and also to prove its possible to build it with genuine LEGO pieces without cutting or gluing
something. I eventually succeeding that with lots of SNOT. Of the cab I really found quite some useful pictures on the
internet. As it's a vintage truck lots of them are scrapped or have been restored. Useful to have for building your model!
On these pictures I could see its rather high, red leader engine hump. I ordered some dark red pieces for this, I color
I didn't use so far. The front panel of the cab might have been the biggest challenge. The wedged parts aren't easy
to reconstruct but again after lots of trial and error I managed to build a cab which meets my expectations. Disadvantage of
all these nice SNOT techniques is the cab isn't stiff at all. But it fits and stays there so nevermind. Sometimes you really have
to chose between the looks and sturdiness but almost every time the looks are more important for me. The first type of
FTF had its headlights next to the front grille. But when regulations changed in 1977 the headlights had to be placed on a
lower position, in the front bumper. The small black panels with the indicators integrated were also a pain in the head. It
really is spot on this particular FTF so it really had to be like that. Fortunately nowadays you have lots of useful pieces to
connect something upside down. These two small things only took me about a whole evening. Also the mudguard are
quite typical but nearly impossible to make them both round on top and underneath it. The top is stagewise but above the front
wheels I made them round.
The finishing touch
The bodywork and drawbar trailer weren't difficult to build. A couple of months before I already built a brick trailer and
I decided to use it for the FTF on beforehand. This trailer I only had for a few months on the fifth wheel of the Scania L110
and I rebuilt it as a Floor drawbar trailer. I used the same Hulo crane but rebuilt it in yellow.
The details are very typical for that decade; a roof board, an imperial and a mascot. The mascot actually should have been
a Michelin man but in LEGO I don't think you can make a nice one on this scale. I created a 'Flipje van Tiel'. This is the
mascot of a Dutch marmalade producer which you saw on top of many trucks during the 70s and 80s. With a Minifig you
can easily build such and with a nice smiley you can give it the right character more of less.
If I'm looking backwards and see how much time I spent on this model it was pretty OK. At the beginning it took a while but
when I actually started the construction of it progressed very well and within I couple of months I finished it. Especially the
cab was interesting to build and if I succeeded building this one there definitely will be more challenges to come!
23 cm (cab roof)|
October 2011 - March 2012|