Layer on layer

In May 2023, Mini Big Rigs3 MinutesBy Carl KirkbeckJune 17, 2023

We visit prolific model-truck builder and transport industry enthusiast Neville Hazelton – who will have a crack at building anything from sheet plastic.

Neville Hazelton’s passion for model- truck building started when he was a young fella riding around in the cab of good friend Warwick Denton’s W-model Kenworth on contract to Trailways.

“They certainly were good times – taking Jap squares out of Kinlieth over to the Mount and returning with backloads from Dominion Salt,” says Neville. The experience of riding along also allowed Neville the time to study the various trucks and trailers on the road.

Neville’s first model truck was the Italeri Scania 142H, a great kitset but, out of the box, no way near Kiwi enough for our budding model builder. So he added a second steer axle, bringing it in line with what he saw out on the road.

His next project was the Italeri Iveco 4×2 ‘Cosmos’, another great kit requiring the Kiwi touch. This time the frame was stretched, allowing the addition of a second drive axle and a second steer.

Not content with a standalone 8×4, Neville needed to complete the rig with a matching three-axle trailer, a project that started his foray into scratch building. Whittling away at cardboard and other household items, replicating the rigs Neville saw in his travels became more and more achievable.

As Neville honed his model- building skills, he progressed to sheet plastic. It’s fair to say that plastic rewrote the scratch-building manual in one hit. The new medium’s characteristics allowed much more opportunity to add detail and achieve more technical builds.

Looking over Neville’s current projects on the bench, you could easily be mistaken for thinking you were looking at purchased items from a hobby store. The proportions and quality of fit are superb, and a tribute to Neville’s careful research.

On closer inspection, you will notice how Neville uses multiple layers to add depth, detail and strength.

For example, looking at the scratch-built Kenworth L710 cab, you will see that three sheets have been laminated to create the main front lower panel, allowing the ability to shape and form the corners to achieve the correct radiuses.

As you look over the images laid out here, take the time to understand the process of scratch-building. Neville’s layering approach shows how virtually any item can be manufactured. This style opens the doors to successfully building anything at all. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain, so like Neville, get in and give it a go.