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Built Review
Ford Style Farm Tractor
O Scale Ford Style Farm Tractor
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by: Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]

Originally published on:
RailRoad Modeling

O Scale Ford Style Farm Tractor
Product Code: kerotracto
O/On3/On30 Wesminster Kerosene Locomotive Kit

Wiseman Model Services offers this kit of the ubiquitous Fordson tractor consisting of white metal parts.
    Kit is based on an article written by Tom Yorke and uses our kerosene loco as the base of the kit with new wheels, fenders etc. Includes kero loco instructions and a copy of the Yorke article telling you how to do it! [1]

Ford Tractors
Henry Ford was born and raised on a farm. He understood the hard work and what he would call "the drugery of farming", Henry Ford held a life long dream of make farming easier. He achieved that dream, revolutionizing and changing the farming industry in the process. In 1906, Henry created his first farming endeavor: the "Auto-mobile Plow." Lighter than other tractors, the AutoPlow was powered by a 24-horsepower, Model B, four-cylinder, vertical engine . However, in 1908 a Ford Motor Company board of directors that was well satisfied with the sales and profits from the Model T force Henry Ford to put tractor production on the back burner.

The first popular Ford Tractor wasn't a tractor the Ford company or Henry Ford produced instead it was the Ford Model T or Model A car converted into a tractor.

Several companies including the Pullford Company got its Model T tractor conversion kit to market several years before Henry Ford' s own highly successful Ford tractor, the Fordson. The Pullford Company also stayed in business longer than Fordson. These kits became so popular even mail order giants Sears, Roebuck and Co and Montgomery Ward sold the ford tractor kits. Therefore it appears that one of Henry Ford' s toughest competitors in the tractor market was his own popular Model T.

Henry Ford had established a separate company called Henry Ford and Son for the purpose of producing farm tractors and in 1917 Ford's tractor company introduced the Fordson. This smaller, lighter tractor was so well accepted that in 1923 Ford produced more than 100,000 of them. Henry Ford made no public announcement before introducing his first Ford Tractor . A group of promoters in Minneapolis hired a young man named Ford and brought out "The Ford Tractor" ahead of Henry Ford, although it was not a success. This was why Ford named his tractor "Fordson."

Fords first tractor ushered in a new era in tractor history by introducing automobile industry mass production. At the same time, the Fordson tractor touched off a bitter commercial rivalry that had lasting consequences. Technical innovation and Fords unwillingness to improve the Fordson proved to be the decisive factor in the competition for the tractor market, and in the process it altered the nature of the tractor itself.

The Kit
This model appears to be a 1917 Fordson. You build the model with 51 cast white metal parts, and three bronzed rods. To guide you through assembly Wiseman Model Services includes an isometric “exploded-assembly” diagram, textual description of the process, and a parts list; not only that, WMS includes a build-article of the model by Modeler Tom Yorke. All of those items are packed in two zip-lock baggies, which are held in a bigger “package” zip-lock.

I do not know when the original masters were tooled although this kit was originally released by Scale Structures Ltd (S.S. Ltd). The parts are typical white metal and although they have seams and flash to clean off, the quality is good and sharp, and most components are clean. Some of the smaller parts, like the gear shift, have some seam lines.

WMS writes that this model is really several models in one. It is a 12-piece engine, kerosene tank, and radiator assembly; a 10-piece transmission/frame/body/axles assembly; an 8-piece wheels and front suspension assembly; controls for the engine and steering controls, seat, and headlamps add many more parts.

The perforated seat is sharply cast. Two empty concave headlamps are included, without any clear lenses.

Fordson front wheels were two flanged metal wheels welded together to create a middle ridge. Each wheel is cast as a single piece.

Instructions, Painting, Decals
This model was originally a railway loco for an iron works: Wesminster Kerosene Locomotive -- the illustrated instructions are for that model. The guidance to build a farm tractor is described by WMS and in the Tom Yorke article. The isometric schematic is useful and anyone who has a few 1960s-era or cottage industry models under their belt should have no trouble with it.

Other than suggesting the assembled components be painted before final assembly, there is no information on the colors of an early Ford tractor. Most images I found show that Fordsons were overall gray, with red wheels and a black radiator grille and manifold.

No decals are provided. Aside from the Ford logo impressed in the radiator, I did not find any photos of this model of Fordson with any markings.

I find this to be a neat little model of an interesting subject. The castings are good even though several will need some clean-up. Detail is on par with injection-molded kits.

Anyone who does not take the time to study the instructions may be confused at first. Mention of the basic colors the tractor was painted would be helpful.

The progress of building this model can be seen here: Metal Farm Tractor Kit

Overall I enjoyed building this model. I am very impressed with the casting and detail. Recommended!

Wiseman Model Services
Wiseman Models Services is a company that specializes in shortline and logging/mine railroad subjects. They have a huge selection of train rolling stock, road vehicles, and detail parts. Wiseman Models have acquired a treasure trove of models formerly produced by beloved model manufacturers. Some of these are:

    1. Former American Model Builders kits: several kits previously produced by American Model Builders, including the Skeleton Log Car, Disconnects, Shop Crane, and those cool Bates Bulldozers, Crawlers and Logging Arch.
    2. Former Durango Press O scale kits
    3. National Motor Company Vehicle kits: Wiseman Model Services is now offering The National Motor Company line of HO 1/87 and O scale 1/48 vehicle kits.
    4. On3 and On30 Former Thomas A. Yorke kits: We have recently acquired from Tom some of his formerly produced resin rolling stock kits.
    5. On-Trak Models HO and O scale Vehicles: HO and O scale Scale Structures limited and Walker Model Services Truck kits
    6. Railway Engineering Agency: HO structure and Mining kits included Old Town Lighting, Mining Hoists and The Horseshoe Meadows Depot.
    7. Smoky Mountain Series kits: Smoky Mountain Model Works is still in business, but concentrating on S scale kits.
    8. Triangle Scale Models Sn3 Freight Car kits: Craftsman Kit line, mostly Colorado prototype rolling stock and some logging.
    9. V&T Shops kits: Wiseman Model Services now owns the V&T Shops which We acquired from Dale Darney and His family.

Please remember, when contacting retailers or manufacturers, to mention that you saw their products highlighted here – on RailRoadModeling.

[1]. Wiseman Model Services On-Line Store

[2]. Antique Farming. The Ford Tractor. http://www.antiquefarming.com/fordtractors.html. October 07, 2010.

Welcome to the Home of the Fordson And Caterpillar Tractors. http://home.gwi.net/~dclough/fordson.html

Click here for additional images for this review.

Highs: The castings are good. Detail is on par with injection-molded kits.
Lows: Anyone who does not take the time to study the instructions may be confused at first. No mention of the basic colors the tractor was painted.
Verdict: This is a neat little model of an interesting tractor for lineside or flatcar load detail.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: 1:48
  Mfg. ID: kerotracto
  Suggested Retail: $39.95
  Related Link: O/On3/On30 Wesminster Kerosene Locomotive Kit
  PUBLISHED: Nov 30, 2012
  NATIONALITY: United States

Our Thanks to Wiseman Model Services!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Frederick Boucher (JPTRR)

I'm a professional pilot with a degree in art. My first model was an AMT semi dump truck. Then Monogram's Lunar Lander right after the lunar landing. Next, Revell's 1/32 Bf-109G...cried havoc and released the dogs of modeling! My interests--if built before 1900, or after 1955, then I proba...

Copyright ©2021 text by Frederick Boucher [ JPTRR ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of ModelGeek. All rights reserved.


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