56 Ford semi


Well now that my yet unnamed construction company has enough dump trucks I need a light duty semi for local hauling.... And I just happen to have another 56 Ford cab and since the Semi and dump truck are sorta similar I just made 2 of the basic frames as I went along... the wheel base is a a little different but the concepts are the same...
I cut down some "U" channel about 12 1/4" long,


Made a set of off-set hinges so the cab would set closer to the wheels

Get the front wheels centered in the wheel arch


The track looks pretty good... these 56 cabs are just a little narrower than the newer Dodge cabs...but it will be fine



and both axles mocked up

I'll get the fifth wheel and motor mocked up this week ...


Active member
Cool project! Do you think the Tonka cab is more of a 'F' or 'C' series truck?

Do the 'lego tires' fit the wheelwells better than the 'rock tires', or did that take some fender trimming?

For the 5th wheel, are you thinking Tamiya, Weidico, Tonka, or printer?


I think the Tonka cab is more an "F" series... but when I put the tool/battery boxes on it gives it more of a "C" series look at least that's what I'm telling myself..
The wheel arches were messaged a little because they had some excess metal from the stamping process so they were smoothed and opened up a little. But the Lego tires fit pretty well, They are just a little taller and wider than the WPL "rock" tire but I wanted a more street looking tread on this one.
5th wheel is going to be a Lesu piece, it's a little big and slightly out of scale but the 3d printed ones didn't look right to me, the Weidico and Tamiya are a little pricey...


I've got the 5th wheel on and motors mounted
I used a mounting plate I found on thingiverse for WPLs it was a little small to my eye so I remixed the mount to fit a LESU 5th wheel... yeah it's a little large but I think it will make getting a trailer on it easier....I can always fall back to a smaller assy if it doesn't work as I hope...

Just a mock up.




After I looked at this I decided to move the 5th wheel up to just ahead of the rear axle center line....don't have a picture of that

I wanted to try a dual motor configuration.... the bottom mount is the original from thingiverse... the top is after I remixed it to move the motors closer to each axle..

the motor shaft is 4mm and the axles are 3mm so I drilled out one end of the drive shaft.. I tested it on an older type shaft first...

Here it is mounted... yeah it hangs down a little more than I like but once I get the fuel tanks and steps on you won't see it...I hope

These are 6v 500rpm motors the axles are 2:1 giving me about 250rpm at the wheels

I'll start getting some details done this week.... it's almost time to get out in the yard and garden


Active member
I really dig that dual motor setup, are you thinking of running it with 1 esc or 2 esc?

I'd probably try to load up some type of trailer or make a 'trailer simulator' to see where the chassis can deal with weight before final mounting that 5th wheel. Unless you're feeling really trick and make an adjustable plate like the real ones to shift weight on / off the front axle


I'm running a single Hobby Wing 1060 I think it will be enough.
I used my "Gray Line" moving van for a test it has no problem with 10 lbs... but it is a really short wheel base and has a locked front drive axle so turning is a little tough.


Worked on this a little this week..
Adding a couple small details like mirrors, a different design from Bill Maryka, these are slightly different than the ones I used on the dump truck.. I think I'll paint them white cause crome cost to much..

Again nothing fancy but I think they will look pretty good.

When I get better at working with brass I might get a little more detail in them but for now.


Like the dump truck a simple steering wheel

One of the down sides to doing these at 1/16 is the 1/14 stuff is to big and the 1/24 is do small... there just isn't a lot in this scale for detail pieces so you kind of have to "roll your own"

Again wiring is pretty straight forward, a master on/off with a charging jack

Terminal block for the power and lights...I'll stick it down somewhere

I always slip a little cut off piece on the diodes so after I cut them I still can tell +/-

Wiring in the headlights, Yes this one will be blue... The way this grill and headlight lens go in you need to paint the cab before you put it together...

The head light lens are the "button" that holds the grill in so once you wire in the lights your stuck.


Yeah I picked up a couple wasn't sure if it was the locked axle or to much weight on a short wheel base that was causing the problem I guess I need to try one out and see if it helps


Active member
Sharp mirrors. Maybe you could add a diagonal brace, but i like that it's not really cluttered

How did the lego tires.sidewalls hold up to that much weight? I wonder when they'd need foam.

Cool, I didn't know there was a WPL working diff! I thought you had to go with the JJRC huge pumpkin axles for having that


I looked at different things I might be able to do with the mirror frames but I think my soldering would have got to clunky looking
The Lego tires are super stiff they held up fine...
I saw them on aliexpress and picked up 2 front sets just to try then I built this truck so it looks like I might need them. An they fit in the WPL housings.


Well it took me longer to get back to this... it's spring time so the yard and gardens and mowers had to be taken care of....
I didn't get a lot of pictures of the final assembly but it was pretty straight forward....I did a set of tanks and again put the battery box steps on it...I made a different style of rear view mirrors for this ... just cause...so anyway here it is...I still need to finish a drop deck trailer for it, I'll work on that this summer..

I wasn't really sure how to paint the rims it seems to me there should be more black in there some where

More of my Ford mud flaps and a simple tail panel with tail lights and back up lights.




Here it is with my Wyandotte trailer behind it... these are the same scale, looking at vintage pictures the cab of the older trucks were way smaller than the trailer so it may look odd that seems to be the way it was...This 5th wheel does keep it up a little but I'll just live with it for now


So my Tonka construction company is coming along...still trying to keep it made up of 50s metal toys....might be a few modern ones in the mix but the goal is all metal toys....
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V.I.P. Member
That looks fantastic! I love these steel-toy conversions.

Next time I need scale cargo hauled, I know who to turn to. Nice job!