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Trailmobile 40ft Flatbed Trailer by Lonestar Models Review


Please note: The opinions expressed in our reviews are the views of the reviewer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the 1/87 Vehicle Club.

model critique by Wayne Calder

You know the difference when you see it. Some 1/87th vehicles are toys, others are models. To put your finger on what makes that difference is difficult to qualify, but two criteria to judge by are detail and scale accuracy. Applying those two criteria to Lonestar’s trailers definitely puts them on the model side of the deal. To say that the benchmark has been moved in terms of trailers is an understatement (I have not found any other trailer that has real wood decking!). Even if Herpa were to do a "High Tech" line of trailers, Lonestar would still hold the benchmark.

Of course fanatical attention to detail and accuracy set high expectations in terms of fit and finish. To save you jumping to the end of this review, let me give away the plot and say that except for some minor problems this trailer does not disappoint. Before gluing fingers together and hauling out the magnifying light (believe me it will come in handy) a bit of an intro is needed about the real life product.

Trailmobile got started in the transportation business some 150 years ago by manufacturing horse drawn vehicles. They introduced the 40ft. flatbed just over 30 years ago, and with many updates it is still a favorite in the transportation industry today (on this continent at least). Although this kit is a 1/87th reproduction of the 1983 version of the trailer, Lonestar has made it possible to build the early 60’s version. On the topic of options, buying and building this trailer will give you so many choices, you’ll be forgiven for wondering if you haven’t just walked into a Trailmobile dealer and are putting together a package that will best suit your needs. The models come in a variety of colors (most reflecting various railway companies), with a variety of decal options, as well as a plethora of accessories.

Assembly of this kit will take about one and a half plus hours. For the most part assembly was straightforward. The instruction sheet was very thorough, with a good diagram, that looks upside down at first. Fear not folks! There is a good reason that will give you an idea of the attention to detail that Lonestar is becoming known for. You will build most of this model with the trailer on its deck, allowing you to build it as you see it. Some of the very fine parts (such as the support rods) were difficult to remove from the sprues. Having these pieces held on by two sprigs rather that four would certainly make removal easier. Very little flash has to be removed, or drilled out, cutting down on assembly time. Again, with the modeler in mind, some parts that would take forever to glue and clamp at just the right angle (such as the main beams) are snap together pieces. The only part that became a mystery novel was the spare tire rack option. It certainly didn’t fit the way the diagram suggests. Having no photo’s in my file of how spare tire racks are mounted under trailers (yup, the need for the critical shot is directly proportional to how much mud you have to crawl into to get that shot in the first place), it became an educated guess. Oh, yes Lonestar, how about including a spare tire for the spare tire rack?

This is a "you’ve got to perceive it to believe it" kit. When you’re done you’ll have a work of art, at one heck of a price ($15.95 list). Buy up those trailers folks, it will allow Lonestar to expand its product line. Oh, that we could have a U.S. (and, at that, much improved) version of Kibri.

Gotta' go, I’ve got a box marked Lonestar on the outside, with a livestock trailer on the inside that I’m pulling the lid off of right now.

Wayne Calder