by: Brian Culbertson [ ]
Originally published on:
Kenworth company history
For those of you that have no idea how this company come into being, here’s a brief company history.
Kenworth has been in business since 1912 when they were founded by brothers George and Louis Gerlinger in Portland, Oregon as a car and truck dealership under the name of Gerlinger Motor Car Works. They quickly saw a need for a heavy haul truck for the logging industry and in 1914 built their own truck using a more powerful inline six-cylinder engine than was currently in use at the time.
The “Gersix” was introduced in 1915 and was constructed with structural steel paired with the more powerful motor made it ideal for logging application for use in the rugged Northwest Mountains.
In 1916 the company, Gerlinger Motor Car Company, had moved to Tacoma, Washington renting warehouse space from Edgar K. Worthington which made 78 trucks in the first year in the new space. In 1917, Worthington and his business partner, Capt. Frederick Kent bought the company and renamed it Gersix Motor Company.
In 1923, Henry Kent, who took over after his father, Capt. Frederick Kent who retired in 1919, and Edgar Worthington combined the last names, “Ken/Worth” together making the current company brand we see today.
In 1926, Kenworth started making buses and by 1933 started introducing diesel engines as standard on all trucks produced. Finally in 1945, Kenworth was bought by The Pacific Car and Foundry Company, Paccar, as it’s known today. In February 2013, Kenworth celebrated its 90th year of making heavy trucks and buses.
(Sources: .www.wikipedia.org, www.overdriveonline.com/photo-timeline-kenworth-celebrating-90th-anniversary/)
Kenworth W900 history
The model W900 line was started in the early 1960’s with the introduction of the W900 and the K100 Cab-over models. In 1976, the Aerodyne raised roof sleep system was introduced to both models. The W900A, W900B, W900S and the W900L series, which is a favorite with Owner/Operators, soon followed. Sleeper sizes vary from the 36” to the 87” Aerodyne and Studio Aero cab sleepers on these models. Wheel base is 120 inches for the W900, W900A, W900B, W900S models with the BBC (bumper-to-back-of-cab) W900L wheel base at 130 inches. Engine sizes vary for the W900 from 9 to 16 liters (with room for up to 625 horsepower.) Front axle ratings for the W900 vary from 12,000 to 22,000 lbs. with the rear axles rating from 23,000 lbs. single axle to 58,000 lbs. tandem rear axles.
Kit #85-1507 contains 115 parts placed on six sprues with one bag that contains 10 tires, four sprues of which are molded in white plastic with the chrome parts on two other separate sprues and one clear containing the window shield, headlights, and upper sleeper window. The hood, cab/sleeper shell, cab interior, frame, and sleeper are loosely placed in the box. The box of the kit is made from card stock and measures 13” L x 9.5” W x 4.25” D (33.5cm x 23.5cm x 10.5 cm). The box art shows the finished kit in one of two decal setting which I’ll go over later in the review. The kit looks to be depicting a W900 from the mid/late 1970’s to 1980’s time frame. A 15 page instruction book and one waterslide decal sheet for two different version for this kit are included as well.
The frame is molded in white plastic with the shape of the cab and sleeper floors molded on to it. This holds the frame rails, cross members, front axle springs, rear tandem airbag placement tabs along with the fifth wheel plate finishing out the frame. The fifth wheel plate detail shows that it appears to be a sliding fifth wheel, with “teeth” on the fifth wheel rails. Details on the frame rails show the mounting bolts for the cross members, front spring axle mounting plates, and under cab/sleeper shock absorber mounts. There is little to no flashing on the frame rail and cab/sleeper floor plate that can be seen.
Cab Shell and Cab Interior
Both the cab/sleeper shell and cab interior are molded in white plastic. One piece for the cab/sleeper shell and a separate piece for the cab interior which includes the sleeper area bunks. The sleeper interior has a lower bunk space shown by a closed curtain with folds molded into it and is molded to hold the upper bunk in place when mated with the cab/sleeper shell. Access to the sleeper is clear since this is molded in one piece with the cab area. The cab doors are molded into place and can be cut out by the modeler in show off the interior if so desired. The “Kenworth” name is molded onto both sides of the sleeper exterior. There are side box doors and escape doors molded into both sides of the sleeper along with the sleeper air vents which can be cut out to show off the inside of the sleeper if so desired. There is a dome vent or light fixture in the top of the sleeper that has been placed on the center line of the roof. On the back of the sleeper there are four dome-type lights, two large rear deck lights and two smaller marker lights, with the smaller marker lights placed towards the lower corners of the sleeper while the larger rear deck lights are placed at a 30 degree angle and up inward from the rear holes for the rear hand rails. The door handles for the side boxes and driver/passager door appear to be of the slam lock type.
Rivets cover the exterior skin of the cab/sleeper. The front of the cab/sleeper shows some detail on the firewall. There is no flashing that can be seen for the above mentioned parts.
The W900 hood is the classic square nose with the large radiator grill. The hood and front fenders are molded together in to one piece with the headlight mounts molded into the fender as well. On the top of the hood there is an “arrow” shape that runs from the base of the wind shield and ends at the center line of the radiator to form a point. The hood has the “Kenworth” logo/name on both sides of the hood. We also have two notches on the sides of the hood near the wind shield to provide clearance for the dual air cleaner pipes that exit that engine area and connect to the dual air cleaner cans themselves which are mounted on the cab/sleeper piece. There is no flashing that needs to be dealt with on this piece.
This sprue is the largest of the three white plastic sprues. This contains the engine parts, radiator, radiator fan housing, dashboard, steering column, gear shifter, fifth wheel, driver/passengers seats, front shocks, wheel caps/hubs for the tandems, cross pipe from turbo to air cleaner cans, airbrake tanks, and steering arm. The engine used in this kit is the Caterpillar 3406 inline 6-cylinder, which is written on the header covers, with a turbo charger. The driver/passenger seat detail shows a diamond pattern on the seat and back rest of both seats. The timing belt detail shows the “teeth” and needs some clean up. The rear of the dashboard shows some pot marks in the molding but this will not be seen but has been noted. There is some flashing that needs to be addressed and cleaned up throughout the sprue, but this is very minor. A quick run with the back of a Xacto knife should fix this or fine grid sand paper would work.
This second sprue contains the tandem axles, “T” bracket, steering tie rod, steering wheel, and rear mud flap mounting bracket. The tandem axles are molded into one piece with the driveline connected into the front/rear transfer cases. Air bags and cross members are also molded to the axles. The tandem axles appear to be that of an Airglide 100 W/40,000 lbs. suspension used in this kit. There is no noticeable flashing on this sprue however this are mold marks on the mud flaps that need to be sanded down.
This sprue contains the front axle, lower half of the tandems transfer cases, main driveline, exhaust pipe from engine to duel stacks, cross over pipe from turbo to air cleaners, and two wheel hubs. There is no noticeable flashing on this sprue.
This is the smallest sprue in this kit which contains the rear mud flap half fenders, air cleaners with mounting brackets. The detail on the half fenders is rough and raised to resemble the diamond plate texture. The underside of the half fenders shows molding marks which should be sanded down and filled. No noticeable flashing with this sprue.
Chrome Sprue A
This sprue contains the duel 100 gallon frame mounted fuel tanks, duel exhaust stacks, air horns, sleeper side hand holds, diamond plated step/battery boxes, rear deck hand holds, and front bumper. I did noticed there is some bubbling on the inside of the fuel tank half’s, one can ignore this flaw. There is no noticeable flashing seams with this sprue.
Chrome Sprue B
This sprue contains the Ten hole/ten lug nut Alcoa rims, two front, four rear, duel air cleaner top caps, radiator grill, round-type duel headlight mounts, upper cab marker lights, side mirror mounts with C.B. radio antennas, two cab hand holds, four tail lights, and rear frame deck diamond plate. The rear frame deck diamond plate detail is raised to show texture of the diamond plate.
This sprue did show some warping which did affect one of the C.B. antennas. This can be removed/remounted or replaced completely with aftermarket antennas or scratch build. None of the other parts on the sprue seem to have been affected by the warping. There is also some flashing on the rear frame deck diamond plate. The cab roof marker light does have mold marks on the insert tabs, these can be sanded out. Overall, the sprue is pretty clean other than the above mentioned flaws.
Bag of Tires
The bag contains 10 tires made from hard rubber compound, hollow interior with a three holed backing to attach to the rim and blocking spacers. No brand name is seen on the tires. There is a mold seam that runs centerline on 4 of the 10 tires. No warping was noticed around the rim bead.
This contains the clear plastic parts like the wind shield, upper sleeper window, and headlights. The wind shield is a one piece mold, flat surface with wind shield wipers molded in. When installed, this will be a split wind shield configuration. The upper sleeper window is also a one piece mold and will be a split window when installed. No warping or flashing was noticed with the windows.
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