Thursday, November 21, 2019


THIS EXCELLENT LITTLE RETRO MODEL will make a useful accessory for dioramas based on US 0-gauge railroads, and aircraft kits to 1:48 scale.

Mat Irvine reports: During a recent trip to the US east coast, I had an opportunity to drop by Atlantis Models, located on Long Island, New York.

Atlantis are now best known for taking over the vast amount of unwanted tools from when Revell itself was taken over a year ago, the new owner deciding that it just didn’t want all the old moulds. Fortunately, Pete Vetri and Rick Delfavero – who head Atlantis – stepped in, and acquired the lot. And they have been busy with several reissues a month of models that originated not only from Revell, but also Monogram and Aurora, with some Renwal kits as well.

One of the Revell old moulds is the White-Fruehauf Gas Truck in 1:48 scale, which forms one of a quartet of similarly-scaled kits.

1:48 scale was not a scale often used by Revell, especially for vehicles, but 1:48 is 0-gauge in the US, and is also a main aircraft scale, so these kits will find their way into many railroad scenes or aircraft-connected dioramas. They also make intriguing little models in their own right.

Sinclair is not too well known outside the US, but was formed as Sinclair Oil in 1916 and so is one of the oldest names in the oil business. Its logo is a bright-green Brontosaurus dinosaur, chosen presumably because of the fossil-fuel connection. The creature (named ‘Dino’) is still used as the company symbol.

The Atlantis kit parts are the same as the 1956 Revell issue and, given the vintage, are fairly well detailed. The cab is of multi-piece construction with a simple interior, while the six-wheel chassis includes an engine. This need not be hidden from view, as the cab tilts forward, as in real life.

The main tanker unit comes in two large upper and lower tank parts, with opening doors to access the connecting pipes. Underneath are more pipes from the tanker compartments, and eight wheels on twin axles. Because of the kit’s vintage, there are no niceties such as clear parts for the cab windows, though these could be cut from clear acetate sheet, which would be closer to scale thickness, anyway. The wheels and tyres are moulded integrally, so you have to paint the tyres carefully. But the definition line between wheels and tyres are fairly prominent, so painting is not difficult though it is slightly laborious.

Parts layout (below) with new decals and instructions, which are more or less a reproduction of the Revell originals.

A military tanker can also be built from the kit, and for this, painting details are printed on the box base (below). The decal sheet contains markings for both Sinclair and US Army Air Forces. However, it would be easy enough to have a plain US Army tanker, just by snipping off the last two words with scissors.

The finished model (below) parked on a diorama base I constructed. The freestanding sign is included with the kit, as are the figures.

The cab (below) tips forward, to reveal the nicely detailed engine.

Photo of a Sinclair truck and trailer (below) taken back in the day.

A Sinclair gas station (below) complete with dinosaur company mascot. The pic was taken in the town of Shawnee, Oklahoma.

Taken during my visit (below, left to right): collector Pete Ceparano, Rick Delvafero of Atlantis, well-known kit historian and former Aurora Project Manager, Andy Yanchus, who advises Atlantis. Lastly, Pete Vetri of Atlantis and myself.

Kits stacked (below) at the Atlantis warehouse, ready for dispatch

Others in the Revell series (below) include the Kenworth truck and Fruehauf trailer, Ford pick-up truck, and a Chevrolet 2-ton truck. I’ve built these three, but not the gas truck, so the new Atlantis kit gave me the ideal opportunity for a build. What Atlantis has done is not to reproduce the truck exactly as the Revell issues. For that there were two versions, the original in Mobilgas markings, later produced by Revell GB in Shell livery. This time, Atlantis has opted for the Sinclair version. Note also in the pic, the Honest John missile with mobile carrier, which is featured here.

Scale stats
Revell: White-Fruehauf Gas Truck
Scale: 1:48
Parts: 57
Assembled length: 260 mm (10.25 in)
Manufacturer’s ref: H1402

Click here to visit Atlantis Models.

Prehistoric postscript
Brontosaurus (meaning ‘thunder lizard’) was first used as a name for Sinclair’s dinosaur type, back in the 19th century. But as more and more dinosaur fossils were found and identification became more precise, palaeontologists reckoned the Brontosaurus was misnamed, and should instead be called an Apatosaurus. But the name changed again a few years ago, and now it’s thought that Brontosaurus was in fact correct. There are approaching 20 species and sub-species of Diplodocidae (the overall family name) and they should now be separate, though not all palaeontologists agree! Anyway, the Sinclair 'Dino' name remains the same!