Fork It Over

The NPP mostly has material-handling industries on line, so I’d been debating whether to acquire some forklifts. I’d gotten some pallet jacks and scattered those about, which helped. But now that I’ve started developing the lumberyard, I needed forklifts. You can’t credibly have an industrial-scale lumberyard without them.

Forklifts being utilitarian objects, machines from the 40’s don’t look a whole lot different than the modern version. I went to my boutique printer of choice in Shapeways,  and maker wuttermelon offers a set of five N-scale forklifts without safety cages. They do have propane tanks mounted on the rear deck, but I figured that to be an easy fix.

[There was a problem on my initial order when the printer couldn’t render the models with the selected material. The available material added about $5 to the cost. Wuttermelon contacted me immediately and apologized while offering a solution that would save some money. I want to do business with people like that.]

To get the models to your door is about $30, which to my mind is a bit pricey for five detail parts. However, these are true models. Considering the scale the parts are well-rendered. The forks on most of the pieces were bent, and one was missing a steering wheel. The forks could be straightened a bit, so not a deal-killer, and the steering wheel? Well, that’s production.

A photo search showed that most forklifts of the 1940’s were painted the same as today: yellow. After cutting off the propane tanks, I started with thinned Yellow acrylic as a base coat. I wasn’t too concerned about even coverage. During weathering I’d be modeling a crappy paint job, so why not start with one?


I used Flat Black dry-brushed on the detail parts. Weathering started with a thin wash of India Ink, then earth – colored pastels. Dullcote finished the job.


The lift on the right accepted weathering a bit too enthusiastically, but it was the one with the missing steering wheel, so I squirreled it away in a warehouse:


And a machine for the other warehouse:


The remaining forklifts will be saved for the lumberyard.



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