Not-so ‘stock’ units

In Mini Big Rigs, May 20223 MinutesBy Carl KirkbeckJune 19, 2022

Perfect replica diecast models of iconic Kiwi nine-axle stock units – who could have thought? This month, we drop in and meet those who did imagine, and have now made them a reality.

For an eternity, diecast model-truck collectors countrywide have dreamt of a manufacturer that could make accurate representations of the typical Kiwi rigs we see on our highways. Well, that wait is over. Our good friends at Model Barn, outside of Thames, have been extremely busy resolving this gap in the market. After many years of research, Model Barn’s director Jeremy Welsh is proud to reveal the company’s pet project is nearing completion.

Arriving at the Orongo Road retail store it’s impossible to miss the pair of FH Volvo Globetrotters sitting proudly in a display cabinet front and centre. We find ourselves staring in awe of the two pre-production blanks. First impressions of the 1:64th-scale Globetrotters are the accuracy of the finer details. At this scale, many manufacturers will skim over the finer points. But it is not the case here. From the spotlights to the signwriting and scrolls, the team has captured the essence of the life-sized rigs from every angle.

Jeremy explains that the vision behind ‘Kiwi Replicas’ was to provide the market with model trucks that accurately depict the unique configurations found in New Zealand. “There are plenty of trucks out there that we get from Australia. They are great; they are right-hand-drive, so they are similar, but the trailers are not the same.

Jeremy Welsh owner of Model Barn and Kiwi Replicas.

“There are also plenty of trucks available from Europe and America, but they are all left-hand-drive, so I wanted to make something that was uniquely New Zealand. The four-axle truck with five-axle trailer combination that we see here was what I wanted to build.”

The choice to base the first builds on the Volvo Globetrotter was assisted by Jeremy’s project manager, who had worked with Volvo previously on another project. The FH Globetrotter is also a common weapon of choice with many livestock operators, ensuring no shortage of candidates for the future.

The first two cabs off the rank for Kiwi Replicas are ‘Miss Stacey Jade’, an FH750 belonging to the local Thames Valley fleet of Graeme Wright General Carriers in Puriri, and ‘The Swedish Palace’ FH700 of Transport Services Ltd (TSL) from Nightcaps, deep in the south. According to Jeremy, both companies were elated to have their trucks replicated as models, and he is moving forward with plans to build another eight units. He has already approached other well-known liveries to garner their interest, and they are equally as excited, so watch this space.