Converting a Single-axle M2 Ford COE

Roy Meissner is well-known within the S-scale community as a kitbasher of 1:64 vehicles. He sells some of his creations (see this page for his models). Roy usually attends local model railroad shows as well as the annual NASG Conventions, where he has a table selling his products. Roy has given us permission to publish this article, the raw contents of which he shared on the "64VintageVehicles" Yahoo!® Groups discussion forum. Photos are copyright © Roy Meissner.

About the Prototype

The Ford C-series Cab-over-engine (COE) trucks were made from 1948 through 1956. These "helmet-shaped" cabs shared some with Ford's F-series pickup trucks of the time. Between 1948 and 1952, these commercial trucks we simply COE versions of the F-5 through F-8 pickup trucks. In 1953, they were designated the "C-series", but they were still essentially the same as before. Shown on this page is a 1955 COE, C-600. The cabs started to become more squared-off with the 1957 model year.

About the Model

M2 has produced a number of Ford cab-over-engine models over the years. Some of which you can see listed on this page. Since many variations of this truck existed in the real world, this article shows how to convert a truck used for trailer-pulling services to a box-van-like model.

The Conversion

We start off with a photo of the model as it comes from the factory.

There is a Phillips-head screw on the front underside that holds the cab to the frame.

The fifth-wheel coupling provides the link between the trailer and the truck, and it is attached with two nips that are peened over. I drill them deep enough to get the fifth-wheel off. The gas tanks (shown on the left of the photo below) are held on by prongs. Put a screwdriver between the frame and tank, or just pull them off. (note that the photo below shows the frame rotated 180-degrees from the photo above)

On the cab, remove the seat assembly, and the windows. The windows are attached the same way the fifth-wheel is. Drill enough to get the windows out. The grill and bumper are attached with small nips that are melted to hold them in place. Take a small screwdriver or a hobby knife and remove the heated part. Then gently remove the grill and bumper. If you are not going to repaint the cab, just leave as is.

Next, I removed the paint from the frame.

I cut the frame behind the gas tanks.

I start to add styrene to lengthen the frame. I put one piece on the cross member, then add styrene along the length of the frame. You will have to determine the length of the frame by what kind of body you will use.

A piece of styrene was added to the back half of the frame, so that it can be attached to the front half.

The next photo shows the frame back together.

Next, I filled the frame on the outside with some more styrene.

The frame has been painted, and the gas tank and wheels re-installed. I chose to only use one gas tank, so I filed off the frame holders from the right-hand side. I don't like the M2 wheels, they are too small and don't look right. I used Hartoy wheels on this truck. I make my own wheels and tire, using the Hartoy ones as a pattern.

This completes the truck cab and frame. I will paint in some of the detail that was lost when I stripped and re-painted the cab.

The last photo shows the body I will use. It needs to be painted. It will be an IGA truck.

A Note About Wheels and Axles

The M2 wheels are held on with a 0.035" rod, but the Hartoy wheels' holes are 0.080". In a 0.080" rod, I drilled a 0.035" hole, so that the 0.080" rod can be inserted into the Hartoy wheel. I have tried to drill out the M2 frame, but it is not possible; there is not enough material. When I cast my own wheels, I can drill out the wheels to 0.035".

I can supply anyone with wheels, if you want them, at 50 cents per wheel, drilled. Contact Roy at:

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